GOP Wave Stuns State Democrats in 2014 Midterms
While it was a great day for Republicans in Congress, it is quickly becoming more visible that their recent electoral victories reach much farther than Capitol Hill.
Although a few races remain undecided as final vote counts are still being tallied, it is clear that Statehouse Democrats were not able to fend off the GOP on Election Day and may now have their lowest representation in state legislatures since before the great depression.
As it currently stands, the Republicans were able to take the majority in 10 chambers that were previously held by Democrats, including taking both the Nevada Assembly and Senate. The National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) reports that Republicans now control a total of 29 State Legislatures to the Democrats 11 with the remaining being split between both parties. In addition, Republicans also won four important gubernatorial elections in Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts.
In Illinois, businessman and Governor-elect Bruce Rauner was able to dethrone Chicago Democrat and incumbent Governor Pat Quinn by focusing on the state's financial hardships. In Maryland, another businessman, Larry Hogan, was able to pull out a win over a Democrat by focusing on economic issues. However, Democrats were able to win the Pennsylvania governor seat from Republican incumbent Tom Corbett, which marks the first time in Pennsylvania that an incumbent governor was defeated for re-election. According to the NCSL, Republicans now control 33 Governorships to the Democrats 16, while Alaska's race remains undecided.
Even though it is not entirely clear on how this will shape future state policy, it does highlight the fact that the electorate does truly want change at both the state and federal levels. While Washington will most likely remain politically gridlocked, state legislatures will continue to tackle many significant issues head on.