- Elton John blasts Russia’s anti-gay laws during Moscow concert
- U.N.: Afghanistan slow to enforce law protecting women
- Heart cancels SeaWorld concert after ‘Blackfish’ documentary
- South Carolina sheriff refuses to lower American flag for Nelson Mandela
- South Africans hold day of prayer for Nelson Mandela
- Mandela not on life support in final hours, friend says
- Ukraine protesters topple, decapitate Lenin statue in Kiev
- Kim Jong-un’s uncle removed from North Korean state documentary
- Thailand crisis deepens as opposition quits Parliament
- Campbell Soup apologizes for SpaghettiOs’ Pearl Harbor tweet
Rising number of states seeing one-party rule
Divided government still rules in the nation’s capital after Tuesday’s vote, but unity is increasingly the name of the game in Annapolis, Topeka, Concord, Little Rock and other capital cities.
In a little-noticed footnote to the elections, votes to fill legislative seats produced the highest number of states with one-party rule in 60 years. Democrats or Republicans now have sole control of the governorship and both legislative chambers in 37 state capitals.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks party representation in the country’s 50 state governments, Democrats now control all three bases of power — the governorship and both houses of the state legislature — in 14 states and Republicans in 23, with only 12 states sharing power. Nebraska’s unicameral legislature is considered nonpartisan.
Regional power bases also are emerging, with Democrats increasingly dominating state governments in New England.
Conversely, the GOP for the first time since 1872 now will control the Arkansas House and Senate. Just 20 years ago, Republicans didn’t have a majority in a single legislative house in the states of the old Confederacy; now they will control all 11.
The number of states with divided government is down from 31 just 16 years ago to 12 today, prompting speculation about the country’s evolving partisan geography.
“I think it is a reflection of a growing ‘sorting-out’ of our population — where people live — and our politics,” said Karl Kurtz, a political scientist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “They tend to go all the same way for governor, for legislator and — for that matter — for president.”
Bill Bishop, author of the book “The Big Sort” about the growing polarization of American politics, said, “There are more states that have tipped either increasingly Republican or Democratic over time. Even in close elections you have a majority of voters who live in counties where the election wasn’t close at all. The world they see at their doorstep is different than the rest of the country.”
With state legislatures often seen by the parties as the “farm team” for recruiting national candidates, Republican and Democratic party officials were trying to spin the results of last week’s voting in their favor. Republicans scored stunning state-level gains in the 2010 wave, which also brought them control of the U.S. House of Representatives. This year, the results were far more mixed.
Democrats reclaimed majorities they had lost in 2010 in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and the Minnesota House and Senate. They also took control of the Colorado House, the Oregon House, the Maine House and Senate and the New York Senate, for a total of eight pickups.
In addition to the Arkansas sweep, Republicans could point to only one other pickup, but it was a satisfying one: the Wisconsin state Senate, where Democrats held a brief majority as a result of a number of recall elections this summer. GOP officials said the final tally was not as bad as it could have been, considering the defeat of Mitt Romney and the party’s weak showing in U.S. Senate races.
“Clearly, [Election Day] was not what Republicans were hoping for, but we remain encouraged by the successes seen at the state level across the country,” Republican State Leadership Committee President Chris Jankowski said in a statement as the final returns were rolling in.
“One thing remains clear — Republicans are the dominant party in the states holding a majority of state legislatures, governorships, lieutenant governorships, secretaries of state and half of the nation’s attorneys general.”
But Michael Sargeant, Mr. Jankowski’s counterpart at the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, noted that in addition to flipping eight state legislative bodies, Democrats gained seats in 40 chambers overall and obtained veto-proof supermajorities in California and Illinois.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Sen. Rand Paul pushes 'economic freedom zones' for Detroit
- Redskins' season hits bottom with Chiefs blowout
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- FENNO: Mike Shanahan's empty words no salve to free-falling Redskins
- U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion tops $17 trillion for first time
- Sen. Rand Paul: 'I am seriously thinking about' running for president in 2016
- Legalizing illegal immigrants is the solution to Obamacare: Democrat
- Obamas call to close Vatican embassy is 'slap in the face' to Roman Catholics
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
Film Reviews and Articles by Kevin Williams
"Critical thinking is thinking about your thinking while you're thinking in order to make your thinking better." - Dr. Richard Paul
Go beyond tourism's "top 10" bus tour destinations with Susan McKee as she explores the varied history, culture, food, and gardens, of the world.
Let it snow
White House pets gone wild!