While overshadowed by the Republican gains in the House and Senate, the GOP made even bigger gains in state houses this week, switching at least 19 into Republican hands. So far, the Republicans have picked up a total of 680 seats in state legislatures, a 50 percent gain over what the party did in 1994, the last Republican revolution. And, according to Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican State Leadership Committee that funded many campaigns, the GOP gain is more than double what the Democrats took in 2006, when they won back control of the House. "This year's mid-term election reflected the reality that voters are fed up with Democratic policies of increased spending and higher taxes at both the federal and state levels. Republican candidates understood this frustration and capitalized on voter demand for new leadership," Gillespie said in a memo. "This new reality will dramatically impact the states and the country as a whole, including a new direction for state legislative polices and control of the redistricting process." And the number of pickups could reach 682 or more.
Just electing Republicans wasn't the only goal of Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee chairman. His focus was making sure that the Republicans won enough state houses and governorships to take charge of the upcoming congressional redistricting plan. "The bottom line is that Republicans will have a much greater impact on the redistricting process as a result of yesterday's elections," he said.