Cook Political Report has more or less formalized their 2012 redistricting scorecard; their final score is a gain of one Republican seat, based solely on redistricting. Cook notes that this total actually represents about 10 to 15 seats being fortified for the GOP, given that the majority of legislators who benefited from redistricting were Republicans. This will no doubt infuriate Democrats, but then: elections matter.
In particular, state legislature elections matter.
As you probably remember, in 2010 state Republican parties did very well, flipping state legislatures across the country. This is important because it happened just before it came time to redraw congressional districts as per the new Census.
Which means that the GOP was extremely lucky to have gotten control of a critical number of state houses before the axe came down. Below are Cook’s estimated gains/losses that occurred in states where the legislature flipped to the GOP (none of them flipped to the Democrats, of course). Note that Colorado is listed as divided: we flipped the state House in 2010, but not the state Senate.
|State||Control||+/- D||+/- R|
That’s nine net Congressional seats that the national GOP may very well pick up because of state GOP parties. That’s the equivalent of 14% of our gains in 2010. And our projected net gains could have been larger, yet. Consider Illinois, where the Democratic-controlled legislature has manipulated the map to wipe out Republican gains in 2010: Cook calculated that our failure to be more competitive in Illinois state races will ending up costing us a net seven seats.
In other words: elections have consequences. Please keep this in mind in November; as well as the fact that there is no such thing as an unimportant race.
Moe Lane (crosspost)