ELECTION 2016: Statehouse races reveal little change

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Seats in 86 of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers were on fall ballots with party control remaining relatively unchanged.

The GOP now claims the majority in 67 chambers while the Democrats rule 29 chambers – changing from 67 and 30 before Nov. 8, respectively.

Majority control is significant because it can often allow a party to control the agenda and advance legislation on its own.

Democrats wrested both chambers away from the GOP in Nevada – two years after Republicans did the same to Democrats.

Democrats also won back the New Mexico House.

The Hawaii Senate is now all Democrat. The Aloha State claims the nation’s first single-party chamber since 1980.

In Kentucky, Republicans took control of the state House. As a result, the GOP now controls all 30 legislative chambers in the South.

Republicans also won new majorities in the Iowa Senate and Minnesota Senate, and the GOP managed a tie in the Connecticut Senate.

As a result, the GOP now has the majority of both chambers in 32 states. Democrats have the majority in 13 states. Statehouses split between the parties decreased from seven to three.

Nebraska has a single-chamber legislature that is nonpartisan.

In addition, 31 states have a trifecta. The distinction is for political parties that hold the governorship, the state Senate and state House majorities. Republicans have pulled the trick in 25 states and Democrats can claim it in six states.

The grip of a party’s control is significant because it can allow for the majority party to push through initiatives despite opposition from the minority party.

With this year’s elections nearly wrapped up, both parties turn their attention to 2018. At that time, 87 of the nation’s 99 chambers will hold state legislative elections.

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