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Election Brings Wave of GOP Control to State Legislatures

By guest blogger Erik Robelen:

As everybody knows by now, yesterday's election was a big day for Republicans. But what you've probably heard less about so far is the sea change in state legislatures.

Republicans wrested control of at least 18 state legislative chambers from Democrats, according to Tim Storey, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan research organization based in Denver. And that figure could climb as high as 23, since the majority was still undecided in five chambers, he said.

No chamber is switching from a Republican to a Democratic majority, he said.

State legislatures, of course, have a lot to say about education policy and spending matters, so this change in party control is likely to have some pretty big consequences.

Here are the ones that have flipped to GOP from Democratic control, according to NCSL: The Alabama House and Senate, Indiana House, Iowa House, Maine House and Senate, Michigan House, Minnesota House and Senate, Montana House, New Hampshire House and Senate, North Carolina House and Senate, Ohio House (which is a big redistricting win), the Pennsylvania House, and the Wisconsin Assembly.

In all, with the control of five chambers still uncertain given some undecided races, here's the breakdown of party control in state chambers across the country: 54 chambers are in GOP hands, 38 in Democratic, and one is tied.

Another way to look at the change is in individual seats. Storey tells me that the election means Republicans will hold the most seats they've had since 1928. That's right, 1928.

His count as of earlier this morning was 3,892 Republicans and 3,340 Democrats in state legislatures, with 70 seats still undecided.

For an overview and analysis of results for governors' races, state legislative contests, and ballot measures, check out this EdWeek story. And stay tuned for more analysis here.

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