When West Virginia Democratic Gov. Jim Justice officially declares his switch to the Republican Party alongside President Donald Trump Thursday evening, the GOP will take full control of a majority of states in the union.
The GOP will control the legislature and governor’s mansion in 26 states, including Florida, Ohio, Georgia and Michigan (the highest populated states controlled by the GOP). After Justice’s switch, GOP-controlled states will comprise of 164,139,104 people, according to Americans for Tax Reform. In comparison, Democrats control 6 states, or 50,190,213 people.
The Democratic Party’s strongholds includes California and Oregon on the West Coast, and low-population states on the East Coast — Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware. Dems also control Hawaii. (RELATED: West Virginia Governor To Switch Teams To Join Trump)
Republicans control the rust belt states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, while Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf represents the only rust belt state with a Democratic governor.
Trump’s message of ‘America First’ and his criticism of trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), appealed to working class households and blue collar workers throughout Midwest, down South and across the Great Plains. (RELATED: Trump Is Polling Above 50 Percent In 17 States)
Republicans completely control states across the south, with the exception of North Carolina and Louisiana, both of which have Democratic governors.
Trump’s successful campaign trickled down ballot, but the Republican surge at the state level started well before 2016. In the 2010 midterm elections, the first after President Barack Obama’s 2008 victory, Republicans went from controlling both legislative chambers in 14 states to controlling 25.
Republicans continued to pick up control of state legislatures, now controlling both chambers in 33 states. While Republicans control 33 legislative chambers, Democrats have governors in six of those states (Alaska’s governor is an Independent).
Justice, a coal billionaire and real estate tycoon, ran as a blue dog Democrat, refusing to endorse former former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. His switch to the Republican party comes two years after leaving it.
Trump and Justice will appear together at a rally Thursday, where Justice will make the switch.
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