“The Obama team has done some amazing things, those guys are really something, but the Democrats plain got skunked on the state houses,” says former Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), chairman of REDMAP, the group founded by Republican über-operative Ed Gillespie in late 2009 to influence state races ahead of the critical once-a-decade map-drawing process.
“They weren’t in the same league as us, and that’s having lasting consequences,” added Reynolds, who represented the Buffalo, N.Y. area for five terms.
It might be the greatest opportunity cost of the Obama Era in terms of sheer damage to Democrats, a gift that keeps giving to the Republicans in the form of GOP-dominated redistricting and a barrage of state actions that challenge Obama’s core agenda on health care, civil rights and abortion.
“Huge pain in the ass, yeah, every day,” is how one senior Obama aide described the GOP’s creation of safe House seats — and the subsequent assaults on Obamacare, abortion rights, gun control, voting rights and municipal unions emanating from suddenly GOP-dominated states like North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio.
”Everyone is focusing on the House as hampering us, but no one has really focused on losing all those governorships and state legislatures,” the person added.