Control of Congress at stake in state races like Colorado’s

Control of Congress at stake in state races like Colorado’s

  23 Sep 2018

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Democrats looking to regain a foothold in state capitols largely led by Republicans had anticipated flipping control of up to a dozen legislative chambers during the last presidential election. It didn’t work out that way.

As Republicans remain in overwhelming control of state legislatures, Democrats are doubling their spending for this year’s state House and Senate elections. It’s a renewed and increasingly urgent attempt to put a dent in the Republican ranks before it’s too late to influence the next round of redistricting, which is set to occur after the 2020 Census.

“To us, the next decade is on the ballot in November,” said Kelly Ward, executive director of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which is being aided by former President Barack Obama and led by his former attorney general, Eric Holder.

Voters will be deciding more than 6,000 state legislative races in a November midterm election held in the pervasive shadow of President Donald Trump and high-profile contests for the U.S. Senate and House, as well as 36 governorships.

Of particular importance are more than 800 races spread across about two dozen states where voters will be electing state lawmakers to four-year terms in which the winners could play a role in approving new congressional or state legislative districts.

State legislatures, which form the grassroots of the political parties, appear to have a greater percentage of Democrats on this year’s general election ballots than at any point since at least 1992, according to research by the national Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and Saint Louis University political scientist Steve Rogers, who focuses on state legislative elections.

“I would attribute it to Trump,” Rogers said. “When the president is less popular, members of the opposition party are much more likely to run.”

Republicans remain hopeful they can rebuff a potential blue wave. In many states, candidates will be running in districts drawn by Republicans after the 2010 Census with boundaries shown by statistical analyses to benefit Republicans.

Partisan control is at stake in more than a dozen closely divided state legislative chambers.

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