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FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR

State races are vitally important this year.

This is why.

In the 43 states where the congressional redistricting process is in partisan hands, Democrats control both houses of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion in 15 states, while Republicans hold 8 states, and 20 states are split between the two parties. Going into 2010, Democrats control redistricting in nearly twice as many states as Republicans, but states where the GOP controls the process – for instance Florida, Texas, and Utah – are also the most likely to be adding congressional seats. And for the first time since it joined the union in 1850, California may not add a congressional seat.

…37 states will elect new governors and 36 new state legislatures next fall. That means that every state house race – especially in states like Tennessee, where the legislature is closely-­divided – has the potential to have effect on the next decade’s political landscape.

(Via 73Wire, via The Other McCain)

Let’s look very quickly at the eight states listed here as being the ones most likely to lose seats:

  • Iowa: The legislature has final say over redistricting plans. 56/44 Dem/GOP in the House, 32/18 in the Senate.
  • Louisiana: Currently split in control and the state house representatives do not have elections in 2010.
  • Massachusetts: State legislature does redistricting.  141/19 Dem/GOP in the House, 35/5 in the Senate, and at least they can’t actually take away a Republican’s Congressional District from him or her.
  • Michigan: State legislature does redistricting. 67/43 Dem/GOP in the House, but 21/17 GOP/Dem in the Senate.
  • New Jersey: Done by independent commission and there will be no state legislature elections in 2010.
  • New York: State legislature does redistricting. 104/41 Dem/GOP in the House, 32/30 Dem/GOP in the Senate.
  • Ohio: State legislature does redistricting.  53/46 Dem/GOP in the House, 21/12 GOP/Dem in the Senate.
  • Pennsylvania: Bipartisan redistricting. 104/99 Dem/GOP in the House, 30/20 GOP/Dem in the Senate.

I note this because by now the conventional wisdom has shifted from whether the Democrats will lose seats in 2010 to how many seats the Democrats will lose.  This means that, among other things, Democrats in the states that are losing House seats anyway will have, perhaps, an incentive in creatively redrawing Congressional District boundaries for 2012.  This makes it very important that state races are supported; good nights in Iowa and Ohio could save the GOP seats in the long run.

So support your local and state GOP.  There isn’t any such thing as a meaningless race: they’re all important.

Moe Lane

Crossposted to Moe Lane.

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