Political Animal


November 07, 2012 12:44 PM Dems Make Major State Gains

By Ed Kilgore

In another bit of unfinished business from Election Night, information on state legislative contests is now becoming readily available. And it seems to have been quite a good night for Democrats overall, which you might expect given a presidential-cycle electorate and the over-exposure (and radicalism) of many GOP winners from 2010.

Our pre-election post on the state legislative landscape mentioned as Democratic takeover goals both Houses in Maine and Minnesota; the House in Colorado and Oregon, and the Senate in New York. All were achieved (check out the National Conference of State Legislature’s nifty interactive results map for details). Democrats also appear to have picked up the gigantic New Hampshire House (a major source of so many of those “we won a million net seats!” claims from Republicans in 2010). And moreover, Republicans failed in their own goals of picking up the Colorado, Iowa and Washington Senates, or the New Mexico House (they did pick up one, and possibly two, chambers in Arkansas, and consolidated temporarily-lost control in Wisconsin and Alaska).

Out here in California, it appears Democrats have finally achieved the impossible dream of super-majorities in both Houses of the legislature, breaking the veto power of the GOP over any legislation involving taxes.

It’s also important to note that Democratic state legislative gains would have been a lot larger had not Republicans possessed the skill or luck to engineer a national landslide immediately prior to decennial redistricting. That saved many a chamber for the GOP last night.

While we are “back in the states,” BTW, there were only eleven governorships up, eight currently held by Democrats. Republicans, as expected, picked up North Carolina, but that could be it in the way of partisan takeovers, depending on what ultimately happens in Montana and Washington, where Democrats currently lead with many votes still out.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • AndThenThere'sThat on November 07, 2012 1:21 PM:

    Nationally, everyone knows about McCaskill's victory here in Missouri, but other democrats did well too. While Romney cruised to an easy 10 pt victory, McCaskill won by 16 pts, our democratic governor was re-elected by 12 pts, and the attorney general won by 15 pts. In fact,all three McCaskill, Nixon, and Koster garnered more popular votes than Rmoney. Dems also eeked out a victory for state treasurer while narrowly losing lieutenant governor. I haven't seen a break down for the legislature yet, so can't speak about that.(although the makeup was heavily R going in).

  • RalfW on November 07, 2012 2:14 PM:

    We'll see what the punters say, but I feel pretty strongly (and at a briefing this a.m., a former T-paw cabinet member echoed) that the two amendments in Minnesota actually helped to defeat the GOP legislature. Yeah, the one that cynically put marriage on thinking it would help them against juggernaut Amy Klobuchar.

    LOVE IT.

  • Altoid on November 07, 2012 2:14 PM:

    Here in PA, the Dems won all the statewide offices-- Attorney General, Treasurer, Auditor-general-- and picked up a couple of seats in the state senate. GOP still has both chambers but the senate margin is very tight now.

  • John Sully on November 07, 2012 2:21 PM:

    Looks like Bullock is going to win in MT. +2% with about 80% of the vote counted. Turnout appears to be north of 70%, but we are historically a high turnout state.

  • TCinLA on November 07, 2012 2:55 PM:

    The Republican Party has now been officially declared the seditious sounthernist conspiracy it is, here in California.

  • TomParmenter on November 07, 2012 3:43 PM:

    Great cooga-mooga! You changed the title from 'Meanwhile, back in the states'! Wrong wrong wrong!

  • pjcamp on November 07, 2012 10:25 PM:

    Hot Damn! Time to redistrict!