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Tipsheet

GOP Looking to Defend These State Level Majorities, and Maybe Even Pick Up Some Seats in Deep Blue States

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With November elections fast approaching, the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) on Thursday released a memo highlighting their efforts to defend the majorities that they have in 55 out of the 88 state legislative chambers on the ballot this year. Such is their main, but not only, goal. "The current political environment also puts certain chambers in play that were out of reach at the beginning of the cycle and presents us with numerous opportunities to make meaningful gains in liberal strongholds across the country," the memo also notes. 

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"We may have started the cycle exclusively trying to defend our razor-thin majorities, but the failures of President Biden and his Democrat allies in the states have created opportunities for us to go on offense in places we never could have imagined," said RSLC President Dee Duncan. "Democrats across the country will be held accountable for standing by Joe Biden and the disastrous policies that have given us the highest inflation in 40 years, record gas prices, raging crime, and learning loss for an entire generation of kids."

State where the RSLC is defending majorities include:

  • Arizona 
  • Florida 
  • Georgia 
  • Michigan 
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina 
  • Pennsylvania 
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

When it comes to "flipping chambers," the memo include Colorado and Minnesota as such possibilities, noting "our early data suggests that Democrat-controlled chambers in two states are increasingly vulnerable," also noting how "President Biden is underwater in these states by more than he was in our Virginia internals and voters want their state legislature to push back on the president’s agenda by double-digit margins — something Democrats in both states have refused to do time and time again during the last year."

The memo continuously references last year's races in Virginia as a success story. Republican candidates won the office of governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general, in addition to Republicans gaining control of the House of Delegates, where they now hold a 52-48 majority. The Virginia Senate is still under Democratic control, with senators not up for reelection until next year.

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Even former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) who won in 2013 and was running again in 2021, acknowledged that Biden "is unpopular today, unfortunately here in Virginia," though he still had him and other Democrats from out of state campaign for him. McAuliffe went on to lose to Gov. Glenn Youngkin, his Republican opponent.

About these states, the memo continues to note that "we believe that both chambers in Minnesota and Colorado could end up in Republican hands come November if everything breaks our way."

Data from Civiqs shows that Biden has a 39 percent approval rating in Colorado and a 51 percent disapproval rating. In Minnesota, 41 percent of respondents approve while 49 percent disapprove. 

New Jersey is also similarly listed as a success story, where Republicans had a net gain of 7 seats in the state legislatures there. It's included in the memo as an example to highlight a specific success when it comes to how not even the most liberal states are thrilled with Biden. 

"The results of November’s election in New Jersey made clear that voters, even in the most liberal bastions, are not necessarily supportive of the big government agenda President Biden and his allies in the states are pursuing," the memo notes. "This phenomenon mirrors the seismic shifts we have seen on the congressional generic ballot in public polling and provides an opportunity to make meaningful gains in numerous liberal strongholds."

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The following states are included as Possibilities for Meaningful Gains in Liberal Strongholds:

  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Washington

When it comes to what "meaningful gains" means, the memo notes that in "some states like New York, meaningful gains can be defined as breaking the Democrats' supermajority. In states like Nevada and Maine, our goal will be to make gains that could potentially put those chambers in play later in the decade."

The memo's conclusion highlights in part that "This year’s election presents a unique crossroads for state Republicans. We can go backwards and hand our state capitols over to Joe Biden and the radical left, or we can hold our ground, fight for more, and have our most successful election cycle since 2013-2014."

Further emboldening the RSLC, in addition to past successes, are the results from a Cygnal survey in January commissioned by the RSLC. 

The poll found that Republican state legislative candidates have a 6 point lead on the generic ballot, 48 to 42 percent. Among self-identified Independent voters, Republicans lead by 15 points.

"Among the voters surveyed, 51% said they would prefer a Republican candidate who would act as a check and balance on President Biden and his Democratic policies compared to the 40% who would prefer a Democratic candidate who would support President Biden and his Democratic Policies," a memo about the poll highlighted. 

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This is not merely a tactic at the state level, but nationwide, as well, when it comes to what could be "sleeper" races. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who is the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), spoke with The Hill for a piece by Max Greene published on Monday. 

"I think we’re going to have some sleepers, where people are going to say, boy, we didn’t anticipate that one," Scott told The Hill, also referencing Colorado, Washington, and Vermont. 

In addition to Thursday's release of the memo, the RSLC released an ad titled "Defend America" highlighting their mission and some of the states where they're fighting.


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