Political Report: Final Report
Introduction | Shortly after the 2008 elections, the RSLC began planning for the 2010 election cycle, formulating a strategy to keep or win Republican control of state legislatures with the largest impact on Congressional redistricting. That plan, which was labeled the REDistricting MAjority Project (REDMAP) focused resources on states projected to gain or lose Congressional seats in 2011 based on the most recent Census data.
The Landscape | The 2010 state legislative elections were a referendum on the Democrat approach to the economy and government spending at all levels. In state after state, Democrat Governors and Legislatures responded to the economic crisis by increasing taxes and failing to cut spending, mirroring the approach so aggressively pursued by President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats.
In numerous legislative districts won by President Barack Obama in 2008, voters shifted away from the Democratic incumbents, preferring a strong crop of fresh new Republican candidates. In Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, for example, there were dozens of House Democrats who voted for larger state budgets and massive tax increases in the midst of a recession. In each of those states, voters gave control of the House to Republicans.
Twenty legislative bodies which were previously split or under Democratic control are now under Republican control. This includes key chambers where the RSLC devoted significant resources, including the Michigan House, New York Senate, Ohio House, Pennsylvania House and the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate.
The Execution | In total, the RSLC raised more than $30 million for the 2009-2010 cycle and invested $18 million after Labor Day, alone. Specifically the RSLC:
- Spent $1.4 million targeting four New York State Senate seats, winning two and control of the New York State Senate.
- Spent nearly $1 million in Pennsylvania House races, targeting and winning three of the toughest races in the state (House Districts 39, 54, 130).
- Spent nearly $1 million in Ohio House races, targeting six seats, five of which were won by Republicans. Notably, President Obama carried five of these six legislative districts in 2008.
- Spent $1 million in Michigan working with the Michigan House Republican Campaign Committee and Michigan Republican Party to pick up 20 seats.
- Spent $750,000 in Texas as part of an effort that resulted in 22 House pick-ups.
- Spent $1.1 million in Wisconsin to take control of the Senate and Assembly, including spending nearly $500,000 to target Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker. The RSLC was the only group to target Decker who was defeated soundly by Republican Pam Galloway.
- Committed resources to Colorado (more than $550,000), North Carolina (more than $1.2 million), and Alabama ($1.5 million).
- The RSLC also invested more than $3 million across a number of other states including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, Washington, Nevada, New Jersey and Oregon.
The Impact | Election Day 2010 proved to be an even bigger “wave” election, nationally, in addition to REDMAP targeted states. As a result, Republicans will take control of 20 legislative bodies and move one from Democratic control to being evenly divided. Since Election Day, at least 20 Democrats have changed parties including several in Louisiana, making Republicans the majority party in the House. There are now 25 states where Republicans hold majorities in both legislative chambers, up from 14.
Newly Republican Majorities
- AL House
- AL Senate
- CO House
- IN House
- IA House
- LA House
- ME House
- ME Senate
- MN Senate
- MN House
- MI House
- MT House
- NH House
- NH Senate
- NY Senate
- NC House
- NC Senate
- OH House
- PA House
- WI Assembly
- WI Senate
- OR House
- AK Senate
Republicans Control Both Chambers
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
In comparison to past elections, Republicans had more success than either party has seen in modern history. Republicans gained nearly 700 seats on Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, outperforming the 628-seat Democratic gains in 1974, 472-seat Republican gains of 1994 and more than doubling the 322-seat Democratic gains of 2006. Before Election Day 2010, Democrats controlled 60 state legislative chambers to the Republicans’ 36. After the November 2nd elections, Democrats control 40 chambers, Republicans control 55 chambers, two remain tied and one (NE) is unicameral/non-partisan.
Impact on Congressional Redistricting| Due to the Election Day victories, Republicans hold majorities in 10 of the 15 states that will gain or lose U.S. House seats and where the legislature plays a role in redrawing the map. In the 70 congressional districts that were labeled by National Public Radio as “competitive” in 2010, Republicans now control the redrawing of at least 47 of those districts; Democrats are responsible for 15 and a non-partisan process determines eight. To put REDMAP’s achievements in historical perspective, the following chart* demonstrates the change in the redistricting situation over the last 30 years.
|Change from 2001||+ 95||-91||-58||+ 54||0||0|
* Source: Republican National Committee, December 2, 2010