Republican trifecta gains create recipe for powerful impact on redistricting
By Geoff Pallay
- Story updated to reflect Oregon House has been called as a tie.
As of early afternoon on November 3, Republicans have made sweeping gains in state legislatures and gubernatorial seats, having picked up as many as 19 state legislative chambers and a net gain of 6 gubernatorial seats. Apart from these individual gains, the GOP saw a dramatic increase overnight in the number of states where it has a state government "trifecta", or joint control of a state's gubernatorial position, state senate and state house.
The GOP's hold on state government trifectas has increased from 8 to 20, while the Democratic Party's hold on state government trifectas has declined from 16 to 9. Three states remain in play as of mid-afternoon on November 3. In these states, the Democratic Party could pick up an additional 2 trifectas giving it a total of 11, while the Republican Party could pick up 1 more, giving it a total of 21.
These GOP gains will resonate strongly in the redistricting process that follows the 2010 census, because in most states, the process of congressional redistricting is strongly influenced by the governor, the majority leader of the state senate and the majority leader of the state house.
Despite the Democratic Party winning a trifecta in California, California also voters overwhelmingly defeated Proposition 27 and soundly approved Proposition 20. Proposition 20 further empowers the California Citizens Redistricting Commission to also draw California's U.S. Congressional district boundaries, circumventing potential meddling by the California Legislature. Similarly, the Republican Party picked up a trifecta in Florida, while Florida voters approved the SEIU-sponsored Amendment 6, which sets new standards that the Florida State Legislature must conform to when it draws congressional district lines.
State legislative changes
With 88 out of 99 state legislative chambers at stake, the Republican Party picked up 19, with two chambers still undecided. Thus, the current breakdown of power in state legislatures is:
- Republican Party: 55 chambers
- Democratic Party:39 chambers
- 2 ties (Alaska State Senate and Oregon House of Representatives)
- 1 nonpartisan (Nebraska State Senate)
The remaining two undecided chambers as of 4:00 p.m. Eastern on November 3, 2010 are:
In addition to the state legislative swings, Republicans have picked up 11 gubernatorial positions, while surrendering 4 seats to the Democratic Party and 1 seat to an Independent, for a current net gain of 6 seats, with results still to be determined in 3 close races in Illinois, Minnesota and Oregon, as of mid-afternoon on November 3.
Potential additional trifectas
There are still 3 states that could become trifectas. Two of those states could become Democratic trifectas while 1 could become Republican. Those states are:
Based on the current breakdown of 20 states and 8 states, the following number of Congressional districts would be in states with trifectas held by each party:
Before and after chart
|State||Before November 2010||After November 2010|
|Governor||State Senate||State House||Governor||State Senate||State House|
- State legislative elections results, 2010
- November 2, 2010 election results
- Republican and Democratic state government trifectas