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A Ray of Sunshine for the GOP in State Races

Smartly selected local candidates are making a huge difference.

by
Jennifer Rubin

Bio

May 1, 2009 - 12:34 am
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It seems that all is bleak for Republicans these days. Sen. Arlen Specter has defected. Sen. Norm Coleman is nearing the end of his appeals. And the Democratic president is riding sky-high in the polls. But beneath the surface, or more specifically out in the country, something is happening: Republicans are winning races.

Yes, winning. In a series of special elections in state legislative races Republicans are on a roll. Here’s what Daily Kos had to say about a House district special election race in South Carolina:

If Republicans pick up this seat, it will give them a net gain of two in special state legislative elections.  So far they have gained Democratic seats in Delaware and Maine, while Democrats have picked up a Republican seat in Kentucky.  The seats in Maine and Delaware were heavily Democratic seats that were lost due to low Democratic turnout.

I will note that these state legislative elections are highly important for several reasons.  One is that state legislatures determine control of redistricting for the U.S. House.  Another is that state legislatures are a breeding ground for future candidates for the U.S. House or higher.  Many of the winning Democratic candidates in 2006 and 2008 were state legislatures.  Our goal is to destroy the Republicans’ cornseed advantage before it begins.  If Republican Steve Moss wins this special election, there is a decent chance that he will be replacing Democrat John Spratt in South Carolina’s fifth district.

Well, Moss won that race this week. But that isn’t all. Republicans have won a batch of other special elections for state legislative seats since November, including Tom Kovach, in the special election for the 6th District of the Delaware House (which includes part of Vice President Joe Biden’s hometown); Barry Knight, who won the special election in the 81st House District in Virginia (which is  DNC Chairman and Governor Tim Kaine’s home state); and Joan Huffman, in a Texas state senate race.

We have heard that Republicans in New Hampshire and throughout New England are at death’s door. Not in New Hampshire state races. Marilinda Garcia regained her seat (which she lost in a controversial recount) this week in the New Hampshire House to represent the 4th District. The previous week, Jeb Bradley, former two-term U.S. congressman, won in the 3rd Senate District in a hotly contested election. Both Garcia and Bradley won with a message of limited government and reduced taxes.

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