11.04.2010 0

Statehouse elections set the course of the nation for the decade to come

While all the media attention on November 2nd was focused upon the battle over control of the U.S. Congress, the elections that will impact the nation for the next ten years at the state level were overwhelmingly won by Republican candidates.

After the census is taken, Congress and state legislative districts are reapportioned in order to ensure that each district has roughly the same number of people in them. This is important so every individuals vote counts roughly the same due to their having approximately the same amount of voters in their voting district.

According to Polidata, many of the states where Republicans made astounding gains on Tuesday, will be losing at least one Congressional seat in 2012, as their population has shifted south to Texas (with a projected pick up of four seats), Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Washington, Florida, Georgia or South Carolina. Republicans now control 25 state legislatures outright, and many others are divided.

Consider Ohio as an example of how this election impacts future Congresses. Ohio is projected to lose two of its current eighteen congressional districts. The election of Republican John Kasich as Governor of Ohio, combined with Republican victories in both the state senate and state house of representatives gives Republicans the opportunity to decide which two congressional districts disappear. You can bet that those Democratic incumbents who remain will get the opportunity to run against one another in 2012, while Republican districts are solidified.

Or take the case of Massachusetts, which is losing one seat. While the Democrats thoroughly control the Massachusetts statehouse, no Republicans currently serve in Congress from Massachusetts, guaranteeing a loss of at least one seat currently held by a Democrat.

In an article in the D.C. newspaper Politico, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie estimated that as a result of the massive repudiation of Obama’s leadership, “Between 15 and 25 [House] seats will be protected … or are more likely to be Republican after redistricting, after we have won these legislative chambers.”

This is particularly significant due to the congressional realignment that occurred with Republicans picking up between 63 and 67 seats depending upon the outcomes of recounts. Many of these seats would be automatically vulnerable in a higher turnout election year, but due to the redrawing of the lines, may become significantly less likely to fall back into Democratic Party hands.

Another significant impact of the Republican domination at the statehouse level, is that much of the action needed to implement Obama’s signature issue, health care reform, will take place at the state level. Rather than having mostly complicit state governments, Obama’s Justice Department is much more likely to find themselves facing additional states joining lawsuits against the implementation of the law.

Elections do have consequences, and for the Obama Administration and their Democratic allies, they will be feeling the effects of November 2nd, 2010 until 2022. With the anticipated increased majorities in the House as a result of redistricting, hopefully, Republicans use their newfound power to deal aggressively with the our impending budget disaster, repeal ObamaCare and roll back crazy EPA regulations that will threaten our nation’s economic recovery. They have a historic second chance, something Nancy Pelosi is not likely to get.

Rick Manning is the Director of Communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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