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GOP Gains in Statehouses Increase Its Clout in 2012 Redistricting

3 years ago
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While much of the post-election attention has focused on the Republican takeover of the House and their increased leverage in the Senate, the GOP's victories at the statehouse level have put the GOP in "their best position for the looming redistricting process since the modern era of redistricting began" in 1962, according to Tim Storey, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Storey said that a court ruling in New York last week in favor of a Republican candidate for the New York State Senate gave the party a majority and represented the 20th legislative chamber picked up by the GOP in the midterm elections. When Oregon and Louisiana are added (in Oregon, Republicans moved into a tie with Democrats in the state House and, in Louisiana, a Democratic House member switched sides), majority control changed in 22 states.

The gains mean that Republicans now control the entire legislature in 25 states, a gain of 11 states over what they had going into election day.

Redistricting"By adding over 720 legislative seats to their column in the past two years, Republicans easily cleared the 1994 expectations bar," Storey writes. "In 1994, the last big wave election, they netted over 500 seats and the majority in 20 legislative bodies. There are now more Republican state legislators (3,941) than at any point since they held 4,001 seats after the 1928 election."

That obviously gives the Republicans an added advantage as they head into next year's exercise of redistricting based on the population changes recorded in the 2010 census. Storey notes that legislatures have the first authority for drawing new districts in 43 states.

Storey's analysis appeared on Larry Sabato's "Crystal Ball" political website.

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