WE ARE ILLINOIS
GOP Expands State Legislature Playing Field
Republicans are increasingly bullish that they will capitalize on the national mood and make significant inroads in state legislatures this fall, something that could prove pivotal to their redistricting efforts after the census.
The Republican State Leadership Committee, which is leading the GOP's efforts, said Thursday that it believes it will net new majorities in at least six chambers with a total of 17 chambers now in play.
Ed Gillespie, the chairman of the committee, said the committee is quickly expanding its efforts into Democratic states. They now believe they will win majorities in six chambers: the Indiana House, Michigan House, North Carolina House, Ohio House, Pennsylvania House and Wisconsin Senate.
And in a sign of how confident Republicans are getting, the RSLC is now planning to spend money in the Illinois House. Currently, Democrats hold a 21-seat majority there.
The RSLC efforts are significant because in state legislatures are critical to Republican redistricting efforts. As one RSLC staffer put it, "We're going to put the pens in the right hands."
A large part of why why the GOP has such a large playing field this year is the Democrats have been very successful at the state level in recent cycles. Currently Democrats control 28 state Houses and 32 state Senates.
This year, the Democrats are cursed by their success. Republicans are entirely on offense. In fact, the RSLC will invest only in districts that Pres. Obama carried in '08.
A good example of how Republicans will be targeting their resources can be found in the Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania Houses. The RSLC says there are at least 30 districts in these legislatures that Obama won and will determine majority control.
The RSLC will seek to capitalize on national issues in each of these districts. In each, they say, the Democratic incumbent voted for increased government spending and taxes (sound familiar?).
"The outcomes in these races will be a clear referendum on Democrats' leadership in the states and in Washington, and will play a significant role in congressional redistricting process," a report from RSLC released Thursday says.
September 16, 2010 11:02 AM
By Jeremy P. Jacobs
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