By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor
Voters in Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia cast ballots Tuesday, Nov. 8, to decide who will represent them at their respective statehouses.
This election season includes 578 state legislative seats up for regularly scheduled votes. The amount pales in comparison with the 81 percent of the country’s 7,384 state legislative seats that will be included on the 2012 presidential ballot.
In Virginia, a slight four-seat margin in the Senate has vanished for Democrats. An apparent 20-20 tie would give Republicans functional control of the chamber because the GOP lieutenant governor has the tie-breaking vote.
The House of Delegates swung further to the right by adding eight seats for Republicans. The night’s gains give the party a two-thirds majority.
Control of the Mississippi House is uncertain. Republicans appear poised to gain majority in the chamber for the first time since Reconstruction. When the state Senate convenes the 2012 session in January, Republicans will likely account for 28 seats while Democrats will have 22 seats.
New Jersey Democrats kept control of both chambers. In the Assembly, the party gained one seat to widen its majority to 48-32. Democrats in the Senate maintained a 24-16 margin.
The November elections are not over yet. Louisiana voters will wrap up proceedings at the ballot box on Nov. 19. Republicans are assured of holding the majority in both chambers following an October primary vote.
Heading into the 2012 presidential campaign, in addition to holding the majority of the nation’s governors’ seats, Republicans continue to have the upper hand in most statehouses. The GOP holds 21 legislatures while Democrats control 11. The parties are split in 17 statehouses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Nebraska has a single-chamber legislature that is nonpartisan.
With this year’s elections nearly wrapped up, both parties turn their attention to 2012. At that time, 86 of the nation’s 99 chambers will hold state legislative elections.
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