While most of the nation was watching the struggle for control of the House and Senate, power was changing hands in the state legislatures across the country.
Tuesday night, elections occurred in more than eighty percent of the country’s 7,382 state legislative seats.
Political insiders and nerds will note the importance of this year’s state legislative races, as the coming class of state lawmakers will be responsible for redrawing the boundaries of electoral districts for the House of Representatives, a process which occurs every decade.
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee explained that thirty six states give their respective state legislatures authority over redistricting. “These 36 legislatures will draw the maps for 384 (most likely, pending final Census results) of the 435 congressional seats.”
Pre-election, Republicans controlled both legislative chambers in 14 states, Democrats controlled them in 27, 8 states’ chambers split power between the parties, and single chambered Nebraska has a “nonpartisan senate.”
As of the publication of this article, the Republicans had flipped 14 state chambers, thereby controlling both legislative chambers in 22 states and leaving the Democrats to control them in 21, with 6 states’ chambers splitting power between the parties, and Nebraska continuing to boast a single chambered “nonpartisan senate.”*
With an increase in their control over state legislatures across the country, Republicans have the opportunity to throw their weight around in the redistricting process and gerrymander their way into more secure majorities for the coming years.
*Update: Since publication, the Republicans took hold of another five state legislative chambers, making for a flip total of 19 legislative bodies into Republican control.