Democrat Victories Across the Nation

Perhaps even more important than 2010′s Republican sweep in Congress was the corresponding sweep at the state level. Much of the worst Republican mischief took place at the state level, away from the spotlight of Washington.

While Democrats still are locked out of power in the South, they made significant gains outside the region, taking control of eight legislative bodies, while Republicans gained power in four. The power shift should help advance progressive aims across the country.

Marriage Votes Help Dems in Minnesota, Maine

The biggest prizes for Democrats were in Maine and Minnesota, where turnout boosted by votes on same-sex marriage helped Democrats gain flip control of both Houses and Senates.

In Maine, Democrats gained seven seats in the 35-member Senate, and took 17 seats in the 150-member House. The wins reverse gains made by Republicans two years ago, when Republicans gained control of the legislature thanks to the Republican wave and the coat-tails of Gov. Paul LePage.

Democrats are gleeful at the chance to stand up to LePage, who gained national notoriety for removing artwork from the Maine Department of Labor which depicted labor struggles.

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the victory by the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party gave Minnesota a House, Senate, and Governor from the same party for the first time since 1991. Pending a recount, DFLers gained either 12 or 13 seats in the 134-member House, and nine seats in the 67-member Senate.

The DFL benefited from two huge mistakes by the Minnesota Republican Party. The first was a scandal involving Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, who was revealed to have been having an affair with Michael Brodkorb, the pugnacious Senate Republican Caucus Communications Director.

Brodkorb was fired, and subsequently sued the state for sex discrimination; Koch was forced to step down as Senate leader. Coming just a year after Republicans gained control of the Senate for the first time in over 30 years, the unforced error was a huge blow.

The other mistake came when Republican legislators put an anti-same sex marriage constitutional amendment on the ballot. While Republicans and some pundits thought the contentious issue would help turn-out among conservative voters, the fight instead energized progressives and young voters, who turned out in droves to beat back the amendment, and helped deliver the state house to the DFL.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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Image Credit: rpeteg


Ken W.
Ken W5 years ago


JACarlton Author
jill c5 years ago

James M said: "I am heartened by the Democratic gains in Texas
as it supports my contention that Texas will soon
again be a Blue State."

I'm hoping and hoping and hoping some more that you're right on the money!

Kenny W.
Kenny Wes5 years ago

It's a different time, Lie's won't win anymore, because of social media we are more knowledgeable. "Obama doesn't have a record to run on, you didn't build that, Obama's a socialist", and on and on. I don't know if republicans will be viable in the future, I do know they're going to have to get smarter.

Sandra L.
Sandra L5 years ago

(smiles) you are very welcome.

Michael M.
Michael T5 years ago

Thanks for your recognition of a truth I have long recognized absent in myself. Well it isn’t absent, just not as refined and fine-tuned as I have learned and observed in some of the really great women in my life and our times.

Society may not honor it the way it once did, but those who no longer choose to walk in sleep, and instead prefer to talk in consciousness continue to honor and recognize listening to one’s waters. A beautiful phrase I might add. Thank you, Sandra, for sharing this with me.

Sandra L.
Sandra L5 years ago

Off topic, but Michael M, I loved your comment "I am a male and cannot compete with a woman's intuition and facts and readily admit it."

We did a great disservise to ourselves and society when we stopped honouring that innate gift of intuition, or as my clever SIL calls it, listening to your waters.

Michael M.
Michael T5 years ago

This just in

Anarchy in the USA? Folks in 15 states file petitions to secede

It’s either the political theater equivalent of a hissy fit or the start of more than a dozen new countries: Citizens in 15 states have filed petitions to secede from the United States after Tuesday’s election. These include Louisiana (which led the charge), the Republic of Texas, Kentucky, Colorado, New Jersey, Montana, North Dakota, Indiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Oregon. And somewhat hilariously, someone in North Dakota filed a petition requesting New York secede, which seems pretty rude, given they are sort of handling a major natural disaster right now. Although this is largely seen as symbolic, the filers in each state still have a month to gather 25,000 signatures to have their peaceful withdrawal from the U.S.A. considered by the president.

Winn Adams
Winn Adams5 years ago


Michael M.
Michael T5 years ago

Kathy C. Jim posted this link to an article that explains why the GOP's retained the house that was very helpful. I can't remember if this was the forum he posted it on or not so I am going to post it here so you can have a read on it.

Kathy Crews
Kathy Crews5 years ago

I thank you for this...very interesting. As a political junky this entire election was one of the most talked about, most filled with anticipation of any election I have seen, I believe, during my voting lifetime. Between the democrats attempting to get into senate seats across the Nation in an effort to take control of the Senate, as well as Congressional Seats....HOW exciting!! As a strong democrat I am, of course, pleased with the results. I would have liked to have even seen MORE democrats win their efforts at these elections and who knows, with AZ still out we just may still see at least one more democrat pull in a win. Hopefully they can now get down to business and the right wing republicans who ARE in the Senate and Congress can learn to work WITH their democratic counterparts to actually ACHIEVE things rather than attempting to break each other down.