Thursday, November 4, 2010

The State of the State Legislature Elections

In my last post, I was cheerleading about the importance of state legislature elections. I decided to continue the theme and provide some analysis on the November 2 election.
The state legislatures elected on Tuesday night will be the ones responsible for redistricting when the 2010 Census numbers are released. The party controlling the legislature will have a hand in shaping the House of Representatives districts for the next 10 years.

I used this link as the guide for the states that are poised to gain and lose seats following the release of the census data.

Which state legislatures retained Republican control following the November 2, 2010 election?AZ FL GA ID KS MO ND OK SC SD TN TX UT WY

Which state legislatures shifted control from at least a partial Democratic Party controlled state legislature to full Republican Party control? AL IN IA ME MI MN MT NH NC OH PA WI

Which state legislatures are under Democratic Party control after the November 2 election? AR CA CT DE HI MD MA NV NM RI VT WA WV (plus NJ and LA but they didn't have elections on Nov 2)

Who's controlling what?

The Republican Party will control eleven state legislatures (AZ FL GA IA MI MN OH PA SC TX UT) that will probably gain (the ones indicated in bold) or lose seats during redistricting.

The Democratic Party will control six state legislatures (IL LA MA NJ NV WA) that will probably gain (the ones indicated in bold) or lose seats during redistricting.

By counting the seats, the Republican Party controlled state legislatures are set to gain power of redistricting 9 new House seats in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. The remaining states are likely going to lose a total of six seats to redistricting.

What about the Democratic Party controlled state legislatures? They are going to gain redistricting over two new House seats in Nevada and Washington. They are likely to lose four seats to redistricting in the remaining states.

Presidential Swing States

If you are still awake and haven't nodded off from the large lists of states yet, the last interesting tidbit of information I was to add is about the 2008 presidential swing states. A swing state is one that was won or lost with 5% or less of the overall total vote.

Which of these states set to redistrict their U.S. House seats were swing states in 2008? FL IN MO MT NC OH (I'm using this link to determine these states)

Were any of these swing states carried by Obama in 2008? Yep. FL IN NC OH

Here's where this gets interesting. Of these four swing states, they are now all under full Republican Party control in their state legislatures. Before November 2, only Florida was under full Republican control. The other three had at least one of their chambers controlled by the Democratic Party.

How many of the 2008 swing states have Democratic Party controlled state legislatures? Zero.


The Republican Party was a big winner on Tuesday. They solidified control in many state legislatures as well as gained it in many others. They won the majority of state legislatures that will control states adding to their U.S. House delegations when the census is released next year. In addition, they won control in swing states where they can work to build party support through state party connections.

I'll likely leave the U.S. House and U.S. Senate analysis to my other colleagues on this board. However, by looking at the state legislatures, I'd bet on the Republican Party using redistricting to reinforce Republican control over U.S. House seats to help extend their majority control over the chamber for the next several years at least.

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