Morning Jay: The Down Ballot Rout
6:30 AM, Nov 4, 2010 • By JAY COST
One of the most important results of Tuesday's election occurred below the governor, Senate, and House lines on the ballot. The Republicans overwhelmed the Democrats in state legislative races all across the country, picking up more than 500 seats and flipping a dozen and a half legislative chambers.
The following charts list the number of seats the Republicans gained (or, in a few cases, lost) in every legislative chamber in the country, except those that did not have elections this week (Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia), Nebraska (which has a non-partisan unicameral legislature), and those for which sufficient returns were not available as of this writing (New York, Oregon, and Washington).
Let's run through the list by region, starting with the Northeast.
Now the South.
Now the Midwest.
Now the West.
We can combine the gubernatorial results with the state legislative results to get a read on which parties control which state governments. The following maps are from the National Conference of State Legislatures. This was the picture before election day.
And now after election day.
This is a hugely important advance for the Republican Party. For two reasons. First, state legislatures are like the minor leagues of baseball. In future years, these gains will yield a new crop of Republican recruits for the House, the Senate, and maybe even the White House itself.
Second, next year state governments will begin redrawing the House legislative lines, and this offers the Republican party an advantage that it has not enjoyed in 50 years. As Sean Trende notes:
The political effects of redistricting are somewhat quantifiable. Trende notes that the 2000 cycle was one during which the GOP pulled to rough parity with the Democrats. On Tuesday, the Republicans appeared to have won roughly the same share of the House popular vote that they won in 1994, yet the party picked up approximately 13 more seats.
Recent Blog Posts