Reuters reports on state legislatures:
Democrats were on track to capture more state legislative seats than Republicans in Tuesday's election, as President Barack Obama's re-election spilled into local races, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported on Wednesday.
"Democrats will almost certainly net more seats than the GOP, continuing a strong 'coattails' trend," the bipartisan organization said in a statement. "Including this year, the party winning the White House has gained seats in legislatures in 21 of the past 29 presidential-cycle elections."
Democrats wrested the Colorado House and New York Senate from Republicans and gained control of the Oregon House, which had been tied, the NCSL reported.
The president's party also took back both chambers of the Minnesota legislature that went to Republican control in 2010's midterm election. While the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee said the party won control of Maine's chambers, which Republicans also captured in the 2010 wave, the NCSL said it could not confirm the takeover.
Meanwhile, Republicans took over the Wisconsin Senate, where Democrats held a short-lived majority as a result of a June recall election touched off by a Republican-led effort to limit the power of public sector unions in that state.
Republicans also gained control of the House and Senate in Arkansas, the last southern state where Democrats were the majority in both chambers, the NCSL reported. Alaska's tied Senate also swung to Republicans.AP reports on key ballot measures:
Altering the course of U.S social policy, Maine and Maryland became the first states to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote, while Washington state and Colorado set up a showdown with federal authorities by legalizing recreational use of marijuana.
The outcomes for those ballot measures Tuesday were a milestone for persistent but often thwarted advocacy groups and activists who for decades have pressed the causes of gay rights and drug decriminalization.
"Today the state of Washington looked at 70 years of marijuana prohibition and said it's time for a new approach," said Alison Holcomb, manager of the campaign that won passage of Initiative 502 in Washington.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who opposed legalization, was less enthused. "Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don't break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly," he said.
The results in Maine and Maryland broke a 32-state streak, dating to 1998, in which gay marriage had been rebuffed by every state that voted on it. They will become the seventh and eighth states to allow same-sex couples to marry.