From The Rothenberg Political Report
Texas Insider Report: WASHINGTON, D.C. — “2010 will go down as a defining political election that shapes the national political landscape for at least the next 10 years,” says Tim Storey, elections specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Democrats couldn’t have picked a worse year to get hit with a political wave at the state level — The surge of 2010 puts Republicans in total control of redrawing congressional maps for more than 40% of the seats in the House of Representatives.
“The GOP, in dramatic fashion, finds itself now in the best position for both congressional and state legislative line-drawing” that it has enjoyed in “the modern era of redistricting,” Storey said.
In the 2006 and 2008 elections, Republicans lost dozens of races up and down the ballot. But this was a great year for a comeback, with 37 of the 50 states electing governors, covering four of every five Americans. Among the biggest prizes, only California switched party control (to Democrats), while New York remained Democratic, and Texas and Florida stayed in the GOP column.
Democrats are facing a net loss of seven governorships. With votes still being counted in Minnesota, it looks as though Republicans will control 29 next year.
Still, after they had been significantly outspent in a toxic political climate, it could have been much worse for Democrats.
Off-screen, however, Republicans strengthened their position in state legislatures, which are equally important in the redistricting process that will follow the 2010 census. The GOP gained at least 680 state legislative seats on Tuesday, according to an analysis by the bipartisan NCSL.
That’s the largest gain by either party since 1966, surpassing the Democratic gains in the post-Watergate election of 1974, and it’s the most legislative seats Republicans have held since the Great Depression.
According to NCSL, the GOP will have unilateral control of about 190 U.S. House districts, and a strong voice in many other remaps.
The Change Game
At least 16 governorships switched party control, but it looks like a net gain of only six for the GOP. The minimal Democratic losses are exceptional considering that the GOP was practically given four of them.
Democratic governors were term-limited out of office in four thoroughly Republican states (Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wyoming) where Barack Obama failed to crack 42 percent in 2008, and Republican candidates won those seats easily.
Republicans added to their number in a Rust Belt rout that took over open governorships in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania while also defeating incumbent Democrats Ted Strickland in Ohio and Chet Culver in Iowa.
Democrats spent millions of dollars in advertising trying to demonize Kasich for his direct connections to Wall Street (as a managing director for now-defunct Lehman Brothers) and to Washington (as a former House committee chairman) .
Read the comprehensive story at Texas Insider » GOP Gains at Least 680 State Legislative Seats, says NCSL’s Bipartisan Analysis.