Everyone is (rightfully) buzzing about Republicans' dominant victories in contested Senate, House and gubernatorial races on Tuesday, but another historic GOP accomplishment shouldn't be overlooked: When January rolls around, the Republican Party will control more legislative chambers at the state level than ever before in the history of our nation. That's no small thing. The Washington Post reported on this outcome yesterday:
Republican gains extended to state legislative chambers as well. Before Election Day, the GOP controlled 59 of 98 partisan legislative chambers across the country. On Tuesday, preliminary results showed Republicans had won control of both the Nevada Assembly and Senate, the Colorado Senate and state House chambers in Minnesota, New Mexico, Maine, West Virginia and New Hampshire. That would give the party control of 67 chambers, five more than their previous record in the modern era, set after special elections in 2011 and 2012. It also would give Republicans total control of 24 states, in which they hold the governor’s mansion and both chambers of the state legislature (Nebraska’s unicameral legislature is technically nonpartisan, but in practice Republicans control the chamber by a wide margin). Democrats, by contrast, are likely to control all three legs of the governing stool in only six states.
Since that piece was published, there have been additional updates. State Senates in Maine and West Virginia have officially gone red, meaning that the GOP will field majorities in 69 out of 98 partisan legislatures (Nebraska's state legislature is unicameral and nonpartisan). For those keeping score at home, that's 70 percent of all legislatures. And that's with Republican governors presiding over nearly two-thirds of all states. As I said yesterday, not bad for a "regional party." According to the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), the party also broke Democratic legislative supermajorities in California, Delaware, Maryland and Vermont. Nowhere did the Republican wave hit more dramatically than in Nevada. Jon Ralston explains:
The Sandoval Sweep was unprecedented. When was the last time the Republicans held all constitutional offices and both houses of the Legislature? Never, say the great folks at the Legislative Counsel Bureau.
Republicans narrowly flipped the Nevada Senate, but decimated the Democratic majority in the lower chamber. Before the election, Democrats enjoyed a 26-15 advantage, with one vacancy. After the election? GOP 27, Dems 15. A total reversal. A supposedly "safe" House Democrat in Nevada's 4th Congressional District was also swept away by the undertow. I'll leave you with these info-graphics on what President Obama has wrought for his party:
UPDATED: Evolution of state legislative control in the Obama era: pic.twitter.com/suekwk4OtQ— David Freddoso (@freddoso) November 6, 2014
Obama's legacy. He didn't make the oceans recede, but he sure made the country a whole lot redder. pic.twitter.com/UiaHoCg1TD— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) November 6, 2014
Obama, yesterday: Who me? Change?