After midterms, the GOP could control a record number of statehouses

CRISTINA SILVAINTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES

Republicans are poised to win control of more statehouses than ever after the 2012 redistricting process gave the GOP an unprecedented advantage in legislative elections.

There are more than 6,000 legislative races on the ballot in 46 states this year, and Republicans stand to win enough contests to gain a bigger voice in state government, according to a Washington Post analysis

At risk are programs backed by Democrats, such as Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Republicans already control 59 of the 98 partisan chambers in 49 states, while Democrats control only 39 chambers.

Before the 2010 election, Democrats held a 62 to 36 advantage in state legislative chambers, according to Governing magazine. Of the 87 chambers holding elections next week, nearly 70 are extremely likely to remain in the hands of the same party.

“The states have been pushing the envelope from all directions, and sometimes counter-intuitively,” Tim Storey, a legislative analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told the Washington Post. “Immigration, minimum wage, tax increases, tax cuts, environmental legislation, abortion rights, all of those things, you’ve had a real uptick in policy-making at the state level.”

The projected 2014 legislative gains would come after Republicans picked up more than 700 seats in 2010. That enabled them to redistrict many states to their advantage when lines were redrawn after the 2010 Census. This year, Republicans stand to gain seats in New Hampshire, Washington, Virginia and Nevada, among other states.

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