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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Will Women Ride Blue Wave to Power?

There are no polls that specifically address which party is ahead in all races in the 50 state legislatures. But it seems reasonable to assume that Democratic candidates for state legislature will benefit if there is a big blue wave in congressional elections. The balance of power in the state legs may be closer now than it has ever been, as Kirk Johnson explains in “Democrats Are Seen to Gain in Statehouse Races” in today’s New York Times:

Republicans control both chambers in 20 states, Democrats in 19. One state, Nebraska, has a nonpartisan legislature, while the parties split control in the remaining 10 states…What makes the races even more suspenseful is that the parties have not been so even in decades, if ever. Of the 7,382 statehouse legislative seats across the country, Democrats hold 21 more than the Republicans, a margin of less than half a percent.
In 17 of the 46 states that will elect some or all of their state senators, a shift of only three seats would alter party control in the senate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 12 state houses, a shift of five or fewer seats would tip the balance.

Prospects for Democratic candidates are very good, with one caveat. The Republicans are outspending them in state legislative races 2-1. Those who want to see more women in government have a singular opportunity to make a difference by making a contribution to Democratic campaigns, since Democratic women in the state legislatures outnumber Republican women nearly 2-1. If the blue wave rolls over the state houses, more women will advance to leadership positions — and later to congress.