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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Democrats and State Legislative Races

Blake Hounshell at NYT:
Fund-raising appeals on behalf of Democratic legislative candidates note the fact that at least six Republican state lawmakers were in Washington on Jan. 6, and that Republican-led states from Arizona to Georgia have passed laws tightening the rules around voting. And revelations about Mr. Trump’s ad hoc efforts to overturn the previous presidential election are fueling fears that in a rematch of 2020, Mr. Trump might conspire with G.O.P. state lawmakers to alter the outcome illegitimately.

“We believe the right wing is signaling a strategy to steal the election through state legislatures in 2024,” said Daniel Squadron, a former New York state senator whose group, the States Project, has announced plans to raise $30 million to support Democratic candidates in state legislative races in 2022.


In 2022, Democrats are focused on flipping several of the state legislatures that remained tantalizingly out of reach after 2020 — chiefly Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania. In North Carolina and Wisconsin, they are simply trying to stave off Republican supermajorities. They also must defend narrow majorities in Colorado, Maine, Minnesota and Nevada, and could be dogged by economic worries and President Biden’s dismal approval ratings.

Jessica Post, president of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, acknowledged the rocky terrain ahead, but said new maps in Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania could present opportunities.

“We’re very cleareyed about what may happen out in the electorate,” she said, but she insisted that “if we run good races, we can win in tough territory.”

The explosion of gerrymandering after the Republicans’ 2010 romp, however, has meant that few seats are truly competitive. Charles Nuttycombe, an analyst of state legislative elections, has calculated that between 2018 and 2021, only 15 percent of statehouse contests were decided by 10 percentage points or less.

“The bigger story here is that the Democrats are kind of in a rut, and I don’t know how they’re going to overcome the structural disadvantages they face,” said Michael J. Behm, a lobbyist who tracks legislative elections.