Dems Take Over in New York, Colorado, Oregon
Democrats also gained full control of New York’s government, taking control of the Senate; they already controlled the State Assembly. They also added control of Colorado’s House to their control of the state’s Senate, and took control of the Oregon House of Representatives, which had been evenly divided. Democrats also gained ground in New Hampshire, taking control of the state’s House of Representatives, and falling just short of control in the Senate.
While the takeover of these states does not guarantee smooth government, it does help. Minnesota likely will not face a repeat of 2011, when the state’s government shut down over a budget impasse between Gov. Mark Dayton and the GOP-controlled legislature. Democrats’ gains in Maine and New Hampshire are just as important, allowing them to force concessions from conservative lawmakers.
GOP Gains in Red States
The news was not all good for Democrats. In Arkansas, Republicans gained control of the state legislature in Arkansas, flipping both the House and Senate to Republican control. Republicans also gained control of the Alaska Senate, and — much to the chagrin of Democrats — retook control of the Wisconsin Senate, giving Republicans full control of all three states.
Overall, the shift toward unified government is part of a trend. Generally speaking, legislatures in Red States are under Republican control, and legislatures in Blue States are run by Democrats.
Still, some trends can be viewed even in the states where control did not change. Throughout the southwest, Democrats gained seats. Democrats made gains in both Arizona houses, closing the split in the Senate from 21-9 to 17-13. In California, Democrats gained a supermajority in both houses of the legislature. Perhaps the most intriguing, however, was Texas. Democrats remain woefully outnumbered in the Lone Star State, and they are still nowhere near control in either body — but in the state’s 150-member House, Democrats gained 7 seats this year. That still leaves them at a 95-55 disadvantage, to be sure — but it’s an early sign of increasing Democratic strength in the state.
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