Voter casts a ballot next to a poll worker at a drop-box on Election Day in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., November 3, 2020. REUTERS/Marco Bello


Statehouse democrats fell off the surfboard rather than riding the long-promised Blue Wave this election. 

The Democratic party’s ambitious nationwide campaign to win majorities in Republican strongholds had them outraising the GOP by nearly $30 million. But if Arizona’s chambers stay in Republican control once all the votes are counted, the only two chambers to flip will be the New Hampshire House and Senate, which went red, not blue, thanks to gains in southern and rural communities.

Democrats worked hard to flip state legislatures to prepare for redistricting, which is planned after Census results are tabulated. Of the country’s 98 state chambers (except Nebraska, which is unicameral), 59 chambers are controlled by Republicans. Democrats control 37.

Democrats still have diversity wins to celebrate despite their Blue Wave remaining a low tide. Millennial Mauree Turner (D-Okla.) became the first non-binary state lawmaker (a person who doesn’t define 100% as a male or female) and the first Muslim to serve in Oklahoma’s state legislature. Michele Rayner-Goolsby (D-Fla.) was the first openly queer Black woman in Florida’s House of Representatives. Shevrin Jones (D-Fla.) will be the state’s first openly LGBTQ lawmaker after winning his race for the Florida state senate. In Georgia, voters handed Kim Jackson a victory as the first openly LGBTQ member of the state’s senate. 

Transgender representation in state legislatures doubled this week, with eight gender nonconforming candidates winning in six states. Sarah McBride (D-Del.) became the first transgender person elected to a state Senate, and she will become the country’s highest-ranking transgender elected official once she takes office. Taylor Small will be the first transgender person to serve in Vermont’s state legislature. Stephanie Byers (D-Kan.) will become the first transgender Native American to serve anywhere in the country.

The GOP had one odd state representative victory: Although he passed away last month from COVID-19, Republican David Andahl won his race for North Dakota’s House of Representatives. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum attempted to fill the seat one day after the election. However, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said last month the seat should be deemed vacant under the circumstances, and a committee representing the Andahls party would fill the opening by appointment.


Democrats suffer big losses in state legislatures during a crucial year for redistricting – Fortune – 11/5/2020
Heading into the election, Democrats were counting on record-breaking fundraising and a vulnerable GOP to flip a number of state legislatures in a crucial Census year. That would have allowed Democrats to redraw unfavorable congressional and state legislative maps that would influence election results for the next decade. Instead, it’s the Republicans that will do just that after Democrats seem poised to miss nearly all their statehouse targets.

Republicans Win State Legislatures in Key Census Year – Breitbart – 11/5/2020
Republicans thwarted Democrats’ efforts to win control of state legislatures — in a key Census year, when state legislatures are poised to redraw congressional districts for the next decade. […] Democrats failed to flip ten legislative chambers that they had targeted, despite spending at least $88 million. They said that misleading polls were partly to blame.

This Might Be The Democratic Party’s Costliest Election Loss – HuffPost – 11/5/2020
Ten years ago, Republicans redrew congressional and state legislative districts overwhelmingly to their advantage, tilting the playing field by making it harder for Democrats to win and hold control of both statehouses and the U.S. House. They’re poised to do so again next year after the Democrats’ disappointing down-ballot performance in Tuesday’s elections, which saw unprecedented voter turnout for both parties. The GOP appeared to have held on to control of key legislative chambers across the country where the decennial redistricting battles will take place after the 2020 census.

Democrats’ ‘Blue Wave’ Crashed in Statehouses Across the Country – The New York Times – 11/4/2020
After an election that failed to deliver the powerful gains that Democrats had hoped for, results from statehouses painted a similar picture, with the lowest number of chambers changing hands in more than half a century. Democrats had hoped for a “Blue Wave” to sweep statehouses that Republicans had controlled for years, running expensive ad campaigns and extensive get-out-the-vote efforts. But as the results came in, it became increasingly clear that they had failed on multiple fronts.

These Newly-Elected Leaders Made History as “Firsts” in State Legislatures and Congress – Town & Country – 11/5/2020
Although the race at the top of the ticket has yet to be decided, the 2020 election is already a historic one. Across the country, voters threw their support behind candidates who will become “firsts” in both state legislatures and the U.S. Congress.


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