Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The untold victory story - Democrats made big gains in state legislatures

In the excitement over the federal Congressional and probable Senate win for the Democrats, the six Governorships picked up from Republicans and the Rumsfeld purge, one other quiet good news story passed almost un-noticed. Democrats made big gains in state legislatures all over the country:

The two major parties are no longer locked in parity in state legislatures. Wresting control from the GOP in all the chambers that changed hands outright, the Democrats now control the legislatures in more states than they have since 1994. And not since that election year have all the chamber switches gone one way.

As of 7 a.m. MT, Democrats control both houses of the legislature in 23 states; Republicans in 15, and nine are split. Final counts aren't available yet for three chambers in two states: the Montana House and Senate and the Pennsylvania House. This adds up to 49 states because Nebraska's legislature is nonpartisan.

Before the election, Republicans controlled 20 state legislatures; Democrats 19, and 10 were split.

Democrats won approximately 275 more state legislative seats, adding up to new majorities in nine chambers across the nation: the Iowa House and Senate, the Indiana House, the Minnesota House, the Michigan House, the New Hampshire House and Senate, the Oregon House and the Wisconsin Senate. (The Iowa Senate was previously tied.)

When you consider that its in the state legislatures that the Republicans rammed through some of the more grotesque gerrymandering of the last decade, and the increasing number of states even before these results taking local action on climate change, this was the change last night that may actually end up making the most difference going forward.

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