Democratic Drive for State Legislatures a Total Bust

From the New York Times:

On Wednesday, the results were not yet final, but the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state-level races, said there were changes or potential shifts of control in just four chambers: the New Hampshire House and Senate, which Republicans took back from Democrats, and possibly the House and Senate in Arizona, though the contests for those chambers were still too close to call. He said it was the first time since 1946 that so few chambers were changing hands.


“This is crazy in that almost nothing has changed,” said Tim Storey, an expert with the N.C.S.L. “It really jumps off the page.”


Democrats failed to take control of the Texas House from Republicans, a prize that had seemed within reach. They also lost the battle for North Carolina’s House and Senate, chambers they had set their sights on after years of Republican control. And they failed to flip the Iowa House, according to the N.C.S.L. Democrats also failed to flip the Houses in Pennsylvania and Michigan, Mr. Storey said.


“Our electoral targets in this election were in difficult states that remain gerrymandered from a decade ago,” said Patrick Rodenbush, communications director for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. “It was always going to take a ‘blue wave’ for us to get deeper into the map in states like Texas and North Carolina, and that didn’t happen for Democrats.”


He said Democrats had achieved some victories, like preventing Republicans from gaining a supermajority in the Wisconsin Assembly, which will stop the Legislature from overriding any veto of electoral maps by the Democratic governor. And the election of Judge Jennifer Brunner to the Ohio Supreme Court reduces the court’s conservative majority from four to three, he said.


Republicans retain a strong majority of state legislative chambers thanks to the fight over Obamacare, which is a gift that keeps giving in this respect:


Republicans still have a distinct advantage since winning two dozen chambers in the 2010 election cycle, double the average number of chambers that flip every two years, according to Mr. Storey. Before Tuesday’s election, Republicans controlled about three-fifths of all 98 partisan legislative chambers. If no other chambers flip as new results come in, that Republican dominance will not change.


“It was a huge night for state Republicans,” said David Abrams, deputy executive director of the Republican State Leadership Committee, which focuses on electing Republicans to state offices. “Democrats spent hundreds of millions of dollars to flip state chambers. So far, they don’t have a damn thing to show for it.”

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