Dems Make Major State Gains

In another bit of unfinished business from Election Night, information on state legislative contests is now becoming readily available. And it seems to have been quite a good night for Democrats overall, which you might expect given a presidential-cycle electorate and the over-exposure (and radicalism) of many GOP winners from 2010.

Our pre-election post on the state legislative landscape mentioned as Democratic takeover goals both Houses in Maine and Minnesota; the House in Colorado and Oregon, and the Senate in New York. All were achieved (check out the National Conference of State Legislature’s nifty interactive results map for details). Democrats also appear to have picked up the gigantic New Hampshire House (a major source of so many of those “we won a million net seats!” claims from Republicans in 2010). And moreover, Republicans failed in their own goals of picking up the Colorado, Iowa and Washington Senates, or the New Mexico House (they did pick up one, and possibly two, chambers in Arkansas, and consolidated temporarily-lost control in Wisconsin and Alaska).

Out here in California, it appears Democrats have finally achieved the impossible dream of super-majorities in both Houses of the legislature, breaking the veto power of the GOP over any legislation involving taxes.

It’s also important to note that Democratic state legislative gains would have been a lot larger had not Republicans possessed the skill or luck to engineer a national landslide immediately prior to decennial redistricting. That saved many a chamber for the GOP last night.

While we are “back in the states,” BTW, there were only eleven governorships up, eight currently held by Democrats. Republicans, as expected, picked up North Carolina, but that could be it in the way of partisan takeovers, depending on what ultimately happens in Montana and Washington, where Democrats currently lead with many votes still out.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.