Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009 – While Republicans were notching victories in the prized elections for the governor’s offices in New Jersey and Virginia, the majority of state legislative seats also were on ballots in the two states.
It was a good night overall for the GOP in Virginia where they strengthened their hold on the House of Delegates. At the start of Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, Republicans held 53 seats and Democrats held 45. Two independents generally vote with the Grand Ole Party.
By early Wednesday, Nov. 4, Republicans appeared poised to have gained six seats in the chamber increasing their margin to 59-39.
In the Virginia Senate, which doesn’t hold elections until 2011, Democrats have a narrow majority of 21-19.
The bigger GOP majority in the House is expected to make it much easier for Republican Governor-elect Bob McDonnell to get his legislative programs through the chamber.
Among the transportation initiatives McDonnell unveiled while on the campaign trail are tolls on Interstates 85 and 95 and tapping into public-private partnerships. He also wants to reroute money going to other sources for transportation. McDonnell has indicated he is opposed to tax increases.
In New Jersey, the state’s 80 Assembly seats were up for grabs. Going into the day Democrats held a 48-32 margin in the chamber. With most ballots accounted for, it appears they lost one seat, allowing them to keep a comfortable margin of 47-33.
Two offices in the New Jersey Senate were also on local ballots. The victors were split between the parties, keeping the tally for Democrats at 23-17.
With Democrats in control of both chambers, Republican Governor-elect Chris Christie could face some battles over programs such as transportation during his term. Christie said during his campaign that he is opposed to increasing the fuel tax rates to fund transportation infrastructure improvements.
2010 State Elections
Despite all the activity, the day will pale in comparison to the action around the country during the midterm elections in November 2010.
As this year’s elections conclude, both parties now turn their attention to 2010 when nearly four of every five governorships will be on ballots – 37 to be exact. Of those, 20 governors’ seats are open with 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats not eligible to seek re-election.
For states with incumbents on the ballot, nine are Democrats and eight are Republicans.
In November 2010, 46 states will hold legislative elections. Democrats now control 60 of the 99 chambers throughout the country.
Democrats control both chambers in 27 states. The GOP controls 14 states, according to MultiState Associates. Eight statehouses are split between the parties.
Nebraska has a single-chamber legislature that is nonpartisan.
The 10 open governors’ seats held by Democrats on the 2010 ballots are in Kansas, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The 10 open seats held by Republicans are in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Minnesota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota and Vermont.
Incumbent GOP governors on the ballot are in Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, Texas and Utah. Incumbent Democratic governors on the ballot are in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Ohio.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor
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