Historic gains in state legislatures
The GOP went from controlling 60 out of 99 state legislative bodies to controlling 69. The previous high was 64 in 1920. Republican now hold over 4,100 of the nation’s 7,383 legislative seats. That is their highest number of legislators since 1920.
When it comes to total state government control (both houses and governor) the GOP advantage is clear: 23 R, 7 D, 18 divided and 1 undecided (Alaska). Those majorities can now move to undue much of the damage that Dems have done these past years.
Here's a chart from Real Clear Politics which illustrates the profound change:
While the story above doesn't get as much media coverage as federal races the importance is profound. Here's what Marc Thiessen wrote at the Washington Post:
This is more than an anti-Obama swing of the political pendulum. A conservative revolution has been taking place in the American heartland. And that revolution will have lasting consequences in a number of areas.Thiessen added two more points:
the success of conservative reformers in the states has allowed the party to cultivate the national leaders of tomorrow. The Republican Party is like a pro hockey team that has been struggling at the NHL level but has drafted well for the past three seasons. As a result, the GOP now has a deep bench of talented prospects. Democrats, by contrast, have experienced what Politico recently called “the virtual wipeout of the Democratic talent pool across the country.”Add just one more point: these state gains will also pay dividends for the GOP in 2016!
Third, the GOP success in the states provides a road map for national Republicans — one the new Republican-led Congress would be wise to heed. Republican leaders in the states have been successful while the national party has struggled because GOP governors are focused on reforms that are relevant to the daily lives of their citizens. Instead of fighting over fiscal cliffs, sequesters and debt limits, they are focused on improving education, reforming government, lowering taxes, fixing entitlements, caring for the poor, reducing dependency and creating jobs and opportunities for the unemployed. If Republicans in Washington want to cement their new majority, they should take a page from the GOP playbook in states and champion a positive, hopeful reform agenda.