Republicans expanded their control of state legislatures in the 2020 election, flipping both chambers in one state while gaining more than 160 seats overall.
Their lead over Democrats thus increased to more than 700 seats (about 67 percent) from over 400, although that number can still change with some remaining contests still to be decided.
Republicans further solidified their lead in the 2014 and 2016 elections, reaching a high of more than 4,200 legislators out of a total of some 7,400. Then they started to lose ground.
The 2020 gains bring the GOP to a total of more than 4,000 seats.
Biggest GainsThe largest boost for Republicans occurred in New Hampshire, where a gain of 61 seats flipped control of both chambers to their side, while a major gain of 21 seats in West Virginia ensured GOP supermajorities in both chambers. Another pair of supermajorities came as a benefit of 15 and 10 more seats in Kentucky and Montana, respectively. A gain of 10 seats in Maine, however, wasn’t enough to overcome a strong Democrat majority.
Democrats made some advances of their own. They achieved gains in Connecticut (8 seats), Massachusetts (3 seats), California (2 seats), as well as Colorado and Virginia (each 1 seat).
But they made no advance or even lost ground in other blue states, including New York (lost 2 seats), Illinois (lost 1), Oregon (lost 1), as well as Washington and New Mexico (both no gain).
SignificanceThe balance of power has major consequences. States decide much of the policy that affects people’s daily lives, in areas such as education, law enforcement, health care, housing, and infrastructure. The differing approach to lockdown measures amid the CCP virus pandemic particularly highlights the importance of state government, although the measures were largely the result of executive actions by governors.
Contested ElectionThe results may still change as the campaign of President Donald Trump and several other groups challenge election results in several battleground states where Trump trails his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump has recently suggested that the state-level success indicates that something was amiss with the results of the presidential race.