New Majorities

It makes sense that Republicans were able to make gains this year in Oklahoma and Montana. Oklahoma is a conservative state and the Montana legislature ...
by | November 10, 2006
 

Uppermidwest It makes sense that Republicans were able to make gains this year in Oklahoma and Montana. Oklahoma is a conservative state and the Montana legislature is one of those that changes hands with some frequency.

But does it have any particular meaning that most of the legislative chambers that Democrats took were in the Upper Midwest?

Some of them were fluky. A few seats switched in the Indiana House, giving Democrats control. But those turned on purely local issues like a toll road and daylight savings time.

I'm not sure if there was some sort of realigning trend that accounts for the flip of the Wisconsin Senate, the two Iowa chambers or the Minnesota House, where Democrats really romped.

The other chambers that went Democratic -- the Oregon Senate and the entire New Hampshire legislature -- are in states that have trended toward the Democrats at other levels. Democrats also did well in Vermont, picking up 10 House seats, although not the majority.

Democrats gained a mind-boggling 87 seats in the New Hampshire House to take the chamber for the first time since the 1920s. But what does that even mean in a small state with a 400-state legislature? How can you parse that many tiny races?

Maybe we'll figure this all out today at the conference Governing is cosponsoring with NCSL.

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