November 14, 2010 by USA Post
Alabama Unemployment, (AP) – Republicans seized control of about a dozen state legislative chambers Tuesday night, delivering a major blow to Democrats and picking up key redistricting powers along the way.
The GOP scored decisive wins in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. In all three states, they knocked Democrats from the majority in the state House chambers — putting the split legislative bodies into full Republican control.
In Ohio, former Rep. John Kasich also ousted Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, and Pennsylvania’s governorship went to Republican Tom Corbett over Democrat Dan Onorato — putting the GOP in the driver’s seat for the upcoming redistricting. Ohio could lose two congressional seats and Pennsylvania may lose one.
Adding to their wins, Republicans pulled off double upsets in four states by wresting the state Senate and House chambers from Democrats in Alabama, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
The GOP also took the Iowa House and Minnesota Senate from Democratic control.
In New York, Republicans were seeking to take back the state Senate, but it was still too close to call.
More chambers were expected to fall from the Democrats, as voters registered their disenchantment with an anemic economy, high unemployment and an overall gloomy national mood leading up to the midterm elections.
Several states, including Montana, had races that had yet to be called.
Still, Republicans put their total take of chamber flips from Democrats at 19 early Wednesday.
“As we enter a time with huge policy and political implications, new Republican officeholders will be given an opportunity to demonstrate common-sense conservative leadership and implement solutions that promise real results and positive change for voters,” said Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican State Leadership Committee.
Overall, more than 6,100 state legislative seats were up for grabs in 46 states.
A bright spot for Democrats was in Illinois, President Barack Obama’s home state. The GOP had the Illinois House on its target list, but Democrats were able to fend off Republicans to retain control of both the House and Senate.
While state legislative races draw scant attention on the national level, the party that controls the legislature plays a powerful role, crafting domestic policy and having an oversized role in the redistricting process.
Based on 2010 Census figures of population shifts, the legislatures in most states will draw political district boundaries for the U.S. House, often subject to a veto from the governor. The party in control has a huge advantage and can draw district lines in its favor, helping Republicans or Democrats dominate a state’s congressional delegation for an entire decade, and possibly influencing control of the U.S. House.
While party control of redistricting is crucial, it may be not be a smooth process in states such as Ohio, says Michael McDonald, who teaches government and politics at George Mason University.
“The Republicans are still going to be able to create a map that’s favorable to them, but they may have to sacrifice one of their own because they won so handily in the state,” said McDonald.
Republicans now hold an eight-seat edge in Ohio’s congressional delegation. The legislators must draw the new boundaries based on equal population districts, so they may not be able to draw enough safe 2012 seats for Republicans.
Texas also turned out to be a tough one for Democrats, who had been hoping to turn a slim GOP majority in the House to their favor. Instead, they faced a potential rout, with Republicans poised to pick up about two dozen seats in the state House.
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