By Ralph Z. Hallow, The Washington Times
Republicans will pick up a minimum of 10 state legislative chambers in November, putting the party in a much stronger position for the coming battles on redistricting and the battle for control of the House, Republican State Legislative Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie predicted Thursday.
The former Republican Party chairman and counsel to President George W. Bush said the GOP will see an especially strong rebound in the Great Lakes states, the crucial electoral battlegrounds of the 1990s that have drifted away from the party in recent years.
If Mr. Gillespie is right, the shift in statehouse control would be the largest gain since the 1994 “wave” election that swept Republicans to power in Congress and that yielded the GOP a net gain of 19 state legislative chambers.
RSLC Vice Chairman Tom Reynolds said that “under a best-case scenario,” the GOP would gain control of enough state legislative chambers to ensure that when the electoral map is redrawn after this year’s national census, Republicans will have at least 20 – maybe 25 – additional safe congressional districts.
The RSLC has set a goal to raise at least $30 million for state candidates in the fall elections, Mr. Gillespie said. That would be about $10 million more than Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee spokeswoman Carolyn Fiddler told The Washington Times her organization expects to raise for Democratic state lawmakers.
Of the more than $30 million the RSLC expects to gross in contributions, the organization hopes to net $18 million or more to be spent for selected state GOP candidates, from lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state on down to state senator and state house member, RSLC Executive Director Chris Jankowski said.
Control of the state legislature and the governorship potentially can give one party total control of redrawing House district lines for states that will gain or lose seats when the 2010 census numbers are tabulated. Individual states differ in how they deal with redistricting, with some giving governors and independent commissions a larger say in the process.
“In Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, there’s a very good chance there will be Republican governors, Republican House speakers and Republican Senate majority leaders,” a beaming Mr. Gillespie said over scrambled eggs and sausages with reporters on Thursday. “In Illinois, there will be a Republican governor and possibly a Republican state House, and in Wisconsin, a Republican governor and Republican state chambers as well.”
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