Democrats Are On The Brink Of Historic Legislative Election Achievement


Republicans have dominated the parliamentary election landscape for the past decade, but after this year’s midterm elections, Democrats are about to make history on that level of the vote.

Democrats are expected to maintain their existing majority in both the Nevada State Assembly and the Senate when all votes are counted. If that happens, it would be the first time since at least 1934 that the party that controls the White House retained all of its legislative majorities in the state in a by-election, according to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

Democrats have already confirmed they will retain the majority in Colorado and Maine, where Republicans had targeted both chambers of every state legislature. The DLCC claimed victory in Nevada on Thursday, although the results have not been officially confirmed.

They also turned over at least three chambers on Tuesday night — the Michigan House and Senate and the Minnesota Senate. A single additional win in Pennsylvania, where votes are still counted in some races, would land them the majority in the state house.

And they may succeed in breaking the GOP’s stranglehold on one or both chambers of the Arizona legislature, where a single overturned seat in both bodies would result in a tie.

The 2022 cycle was expected to be a tough one for Democrats, as the party that controls the White House typically loses significant ground at every level of the vote during the midterm elections. After failing to overturn a single state legislature in the 2020 election, Democrats entered this cycle, largely focused on protecting existing majorities from GOP takeover attempts.

But the typical medium-term dynamics changed, thanks to the fall of Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion, and the GOP embracing the “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from then-President Donald Trump.

The Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe turned the legislature into major battles over the future of abortion rights, as Republicans rushed to codify new restrictions — some of which effectively banned abortion. The backlash to the decision has shaken Democrats’ hopes, especially in states like Michigan, where a new independent reclassification committee also busted a Republican gerrymander and produced fairer cards that fueled optimism about a possible turnaround.

The Supreme Court’s overthrow of Roe v. Wade and the GOP’s attempts to pass new abortion restrictions sparked backlash that propelled Democrats to victory in states like Michigan, where they overthrew both chambers of the legislature.

Jeff Kowalsky via Getty Images

The interim results are “nothing short of a political thunderclap and will help protect our democracy from Republican extremism,” Vicky Hausman and David Cohen, the co-founders of the progressive group Forward Majority, said in a statement.

The DLCC spent $50 million on state legislature races but received no funding from the Democratic National Committee, The Daily Beast reported in September. But Post touted the wins as confirmation of the DLCC’s efforts over the past decade to invest in infrastructure for state legislative campaigns across the country as the organization struggled to recover from huge losses during Barack Obama’s presidency. .

Forward Majority, which said it invested $20 million in state legislative races, was one of several outside groups that also spent a lot of money during the 2022 cycle to water down the long-standing advantage Republicans gained by both committed funding as well as aggressive gerrymandering practices.

The States Project, another progressive group, has spent $60 million in state legislative campaigns over the past two years.

An aggressive approach was needed from the start, investing heavily in Pennsylvania and other places that seemed remote for democratic success. That strategy, the group’s leaders said at a news conference on Thursday, was driven by concerns over GOP election denial and fears that the Supreme Court would soon bless Republican efforts to seize power in future elections — a ruling that could pave the way for GOP election deniers to undermine results in ways they tried in 2020 but failed to do.

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“We had a very clear mission to build pro-democracy government power in the key states most likely to prevent the 2024 elections from being stolen,” said Adam Pritzker, co-founder of States Project. “That dictated our primary goals.”

The group’s investments helped fund a data-driven approach to state legislative campaigns in key swing districts that could yield majorities. And they allowed candidates like Michigan Democrat Kristen McDonald Rivet, who won a race for the state house on Tuesday, to gain the level of media coverage and run the kind of recruiting more typical of larger, more expensive campaigns.

That helped secure an overall Democratic victory in Michigan, where party members will now take full control of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion for the first time since 1984. The Minnesota Senate flip, meanwhile, completed the Democratic trifecta.

Democrats also prevented Republicans from taking supermajority control of general assemblies in Wisconsin and North Carolina, results that preserve the veto power of the states’ Democratic governors.

However, the most shocking result may ultimately come from Pennsylvania, where Democrats came in on Tuesday and had to flip 12 seats in the state house to secure a majority. Even The States Project, which said it had spent $11 million on Pennsylvania State House races alone, thought that an unlikely outcome and deemed it more likely that the Democrats could make enough profit to bring the majority into the game by 2024. .

Instead, the Democrats took statewide victories that could now land them the majority for the first time since 2010 if the results broke their way in a final race.

“It was a big, big night that dramatically exceeded all our expectations,” Pritzker said. “If we really invest in these races and make these rooms the main priority that they are, we can win.”