While President Obama has downplayed Tuesday’s Senate results, arguing that Democrats were fighting on GOP ground, Republicans also picked up governorships from Democrats in liberal strongholds like Massachusetts, Maryland and Illinois, as well as in Arkansas. Result? The number of GOP governors has risen from 21 to 31 since Obama took office (32 if Gov. Sean Parnell holds on in Alaska) — just short of the all-time high of 34 Republican governors in the 1920s.
Voters have also given those governors Republican legislatures to enact their agendas. When Obama first took office, Republicans held just 3,220 state legislative seats. After Tuesday’s vote, the number stands at 4,111 — a net gain of nearly 900 seats on Obama’s watch. Thanks to the 291 state legislative seats Republicans added in 61 chambers across the country last week, there are now more Republican state legislators than at any time since 1920.
Put another way: In 2008, the GOP controlled just 36 state legislative chambers. It soon will control 69 — and voters have given the GOP total control of state government in nearly half the country. In 2008, Republicans held both the legislature and governors’ mansion in just eight states. Today, the number is 24. By contrast, Democrats now control both the legislature and governor’s office in just seven states, down from 15before the 2014 election. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, that is the lowest number of states Democrats have controlled since 1860.