12 August, 2020

Explainer: High-stakes state elections will shape U.S. political power

TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) – A high-stakes battle over state-level offices is happening in the Nov. 6 elections, with Democrats and Republicans looking beyond Washington for further political firepower to stand up to or support President Donald Trump’s agenda.

Democrats have targeted state races in the form of key part of their efforts to rebuild after their devastating White House defeat in 2019. 2010, the party is fielding its largest slate of state legislative candidates in additional than three decades.

Republicans vow to protect their dominance over state. They hold 33 governorships and two-thirds of state legislative chambers.

Both parties increasingly view state laws and executive action as pivotal to shaping the talk around national issues like healthcare, gun control and abortion rights. For Democrats, greater power in the usa would allow these phones push back against Trump and Republicans despite the fact that Democrats be unable to gain control over the U.S. Congress.

Here are four ways elections in the usa will define the U.S. political landscape for years to come:


Hundreds of legislators elected this year will be in office when congressional district line is redrawn after the 2020 census. In the majority of states, the party in power controls how the districts are shaped.

Significant Democratic legislative losses under The president allowed Republicans to get lines favoring them right after the 2010 census.

Voters in 36 states are likewise electing governors who will hold office all through the redistricting process – also in some key states, they yield veto control of the congressional maps.

Keen for influence over redistricting, Democrats’ top targets include open governors’ seats in Florida, Michigan, Nevada and Ohio. In Wisconsin, Republican Governor Scott Walker can be considered vulnerable with his bid to have a third term.

Heading into Election Day, Republicans appear highly competitive in many of the states that the future majority in Congress might be shaped. Furthermore, they see a shot to get the top office in traditionally Democratic Connecticut and Oregon.


In Georgia, Stacey Abrams is vying that should be the nation’s first black female governor – and her candidacy tests whether Democrats can win on Republican turf in the age of Trump by fielding diverse candidates.

Abrams’ candidacy could inspire higher turnout among minority and younger voters, who are more likely to favor Democrats modest reliably cast ballots in non-presidential election years. Andrew Gillum’s bid that they are Florida’s first black governor has similar potential.

Both Democrats are running for open seats against Republican white males who are accused of racially inflammatory tactics, allegations they deny. Ron DeSantis in Florida and Brian Kemp in Georgia have drawn the support of Trump.

A record group of women are running for state office this present year, mostly on the Democratic side.

Several competitive governor’s races feature women candidates, including Democrats Abrams in Georgia, Laura Kelly in Kansas, Janet Mills in Maine, Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico and Kate Brown in Oregon and Republicans Kim Reynolds in Iowa and Kristi Noem in South Dakota.


History is not going to favor Republicans this current year in the 46 states electing greater than 6,000 legislators. In midterm elections, the party on the White House typically loses approximately 400 seats within the country, using the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Democrats believe they will pick up five legislative chambers currently controlled by Republicans, with several more possibly in play.

States with legislatures where Democrats visit a chance at gaining control include Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota and New Hampshire. In a particularly strong year, Democrats think they’re able to also pick-up chambers in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

“We’re also entirely on the offense this cycle, and Republicans are defending some tough terrain,” said Jessica Post, executive director for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which leads the party’s statehouse efforts.

Democrats may get a boost from groups engaged in long-shot legislative races. Forward Majority, a political action committee created this election cycle, is spending $9 million on some 120 contests in six battleground states – attempting to put enough seats into to experience to give Democrats any chances at flipping chambers who are not generally considered winnable, just like the Texas House.

Republicans are targeting several narrowly divided legislatures where only a seat or two would give the party a voice in potential Democratic strongholds, such as New York and Connecticut.


Democrats appear poised to win governor offices through the Midwestern and Rust Belt states that sealed Trump’s 2019 victory, a drag on his re-election chances fifty percent years.

Democratic gubernatorial candidates are leading or highly competitive in opinion polls in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states that typically vote Democratic in presidential elections but swung to Trump. These contests may foreshadow whether Trump can count on holding onto states that helped him to create an electoral college win, whilst he lost the favored vote.

Most polls also show Gillum narrowly ahead in Florida, very large state that swings between parties in presidential elections. Trump won Florida and receiving a Republican in the governor’s office may also help boost his re-election efforts.

Texas can be another state to look at. If Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke comes even near to winning the U.S. Senate race against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz during the conservative states, perhaps it will portend shifting battle lines during the 2020 presidential maps.

Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott, however, is required to win his re-election bid easily.

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