Republicans Seek To Hold State Legislature Majorities Ahead Of Redistricting

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Millions of Americans in 44 states will vote in dozens of state legislative races this November, in some cases determining which party has majority control before states begin congressional redistricting.

Though Republicans have held legislative majorities in most swing states throughout the last decade, Democrats hope that their momentum at the national level will lead to state legislative wins in critical battlegrounds like Michigan, Florida, Arizona and more, according to NBC News. If Democrats manage to flip majorities in states across the country, they would have a greater influence over how states redraw their congressional districts for the following decade as well. (RELATED: Polls Show A Widening Lead For Biden In Some Critical States)

Here’s where some battleground state legislatures stand only 22 days from Election Day.

Michigan

Democrats need to pick up just four seats in the state House of Representatives to regain the majority. Though President Donald Trump won the state in 2016, Michigan has trended blue since then, electing a Democratic governor, attorney general and secretary of state and flipping two GOP-held congressional districts in the 2018 midterms.

LAKE ORION, MI – MARCH 22: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at an event where General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra announced a $300 million investment in the GM Orion Assembly Plant (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads Trump in Michigan by over eight points, according to FiveThirtyEight, and the Cook Political Report rates control of Michigan’s lower chamber as a tossup.

Though the state legislature has little role in redistricting – voters approved the establishment of a nonpartisan redistricting commission in 2018 – a Democratic state house would be a blow to Republicans, who have held both state chambers since 2010, according to NBC.

Florida

Like in Michigan, Democrats need to flip only four seats to flip the state Senate in Florida, which, if successful, would break Republicans’ control of the state’s executive and legislative branches.

Though senior voters, who vote at disproportionately high rates across the state, have long been reliable conservative votes, they have expressed their disapproval with Trump, creating opportunities for Democrats at the state and national levels, according to NBC. (RELATED: Battleground Polls Show Massive Shift Among Senior Voters)

Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Florida four years, ago, but trails Biden by 4.5 points, according to FiveThirtyEight.

North Carolina

North Carolina is already the only state with competitive races at the presidential, senatorial and gubernatorial levels, but it has competitive state legislative races as well. Democrats need five seats to flip the state Senate and six seats to flip the state House, and are relying on growing support in rapidly-growing suburbs outside cities like Charlotte and Greensboro, NBC reported.

If Democrats flip both state legislative chambers, they would have unified control of North Carolina’s government, assuming Gov. Roy Cooper, who leads his GOP challenger in the polls, wins reelection. The state is the only one in the nation where the state legislature is entirely in control of its redistricting, according to Ballotpedia, meaning that Democratic control could result in a new map without a GOP gerrymander and possibly costing Republicans future victories as a result. (RELATED: Judge Throws Out North Carolina’s Gerrymandered Congressional Map)

WILMINGTON, NC – SEPT. 02: President Donald Trump speaks to a small crowd outside the USS North Carolina on Sept. 2, 2020 in Wilmington, North Carolina (Photo by Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images)

The Cook Political Report rates both chambers as “lean Republican,” and the race between Trump and Biden as a tossup.

Arizona

Democrats also have an opportunity to flip the state House in Arizona, where they have not had a majority in 54 years, according to NBC. Republicans currently hold a slim 31-29 majority in the state’s lower chamber, and are fending off Democratic momentum across the state at multiple levels.

Though Trump won the state by almost four points in 2016, he trails Biden nearly the same margin, according to FiveThirtyEight. GOP Sen. Martha McSally has also consistently trailed her Democratic challenger, Capt. Mark Kelly, and the seat has emerged as one of Democrats’s best pick-up opportunities, forecasts show.

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