November 4, 2010
ELECTION: Deeper Than Appreciated:
While the GOP’s major congressional victories will deservedly be examined closely, serious attention ought also be paid to down-ballot results in the state contests. Republicans took control of at least 19 additional state legislative bodies Tuesday for a total of 26 in which the party controls both chambers, compared with 21 for Democrats and with three still up for grabs. Among these are legislatures in Alabama and North Carolina that had not seen elected Republican majorities since the Reconstruction elections of 1876 and 1870, respectively. Those that argued just two years ago the GOP was in danger of becoming a Southern regional party were proved resoundingly wrong as state legislative chambers in New Hampshire, Maine, Wisconsin and Minnesota flipped to GOP control. Republicans even made major inroads and could end up on top of legislative bodies in Oregon and Washington. Republicans won 16 of 30 races for state attorney general, taking five such offices away from Democrats, pulling within four of their opponents’ total. The GOP also won 17 of 26 secretary of state races, a gain of six, giving the party a 25-22 edge (three states don’t have such offices).
These developments have national implications, especially for redistricting.
Looking even deeper, a lot of these were Tea Party candidates, and Tea Party folks have also moved in to a lot of precinct and state-committee posts. We’ll see more of that over the next couple of years, too.