Democrats Poised to Take 3 State Legislatures From GOP; Could Impact Abortion Bans

While the results are far from conclusive in Arizona, Democrats are threatening to end Republican control over both the state’s House and Senate.

(photo: Ted Eytan via Flickr . / (CC BY-SA 2.0) )

While the results of Tuesday’s election are still trickling in, Democrats appear poised to take control of several state legislatures that had been in the hands of Republicans.

In Michigan, Democrats are close to securing majorities in both the state Senate and the state House. While the final vote tallies are not in, Bridge Michigan reported that Democrats have claimed to have won control of both houses for the first time since 1984.

Democrats have secured at least a 19-19 tie in the state Senate, according to the report, allowing the reelected governor, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, to cast any tiebreaking votes.

In Minnesota, Democrats held onto their majority in the Minnesota state House and won a majority of seats in the state Senate, giving their party control of both chambers of the Legislature and the governor’s office. Republicans have held a majority in the state Senate since 2017.

While the results are far from conclusive in Arizona, Democrats are threatening to end Republican control over both the state’s House and Senate. Republicans have held “trifectas” (when one party holds the governor's office and has majorities in both chambers of the legislature) for a total of 22 years since 1992.

Several tight races could put the state Senate into Democratic hands, according to AZ Central. As a result of redistricting, Democrats are competitive in several seats this election season and may threaten Republicans’ slim 31-29 majority in the state House.

Democratic majorities in the Arizona Legislature would have an effect on abortion law in the state. When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, the 1864 Arizona law banning abortion went into effect and has since been challenged in court. Without a Republican majority, however, there would be nothing to stop Democratic legislators from simply repealing the state’s abortion ban.

Midterm Fundraising Effort

Democrats pumped tens of millions of dollars in resources into state legislative races in 2022. The Democrat-aligned super PAC The States Project spent $60 million on the effort, and another group, Forward Majority, committed $20 million this cycle. In a press release today, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) said it raised $50 million for the effort.

The release, posted on the DLCC’s website, noted that Republicans had the advantage in the midterm elections.

“Democrats are on track to overcome historic odds defending our majorities in key states and even flipping the legislatures in Minnesota and Michigan. Republicans had everything in their favor: record fundraising and a midterm political environment under a Democratic president, and they have little to show for it,” the Democratic campaign operation said.

“This election should have been a landslide for Republicans — instead Democrats fended off the so-called ‘red wave’ in the states and gained critical ground for the decade ahead,” the statement read.

For its part, the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee (RLCC) raised $71 million in an effort to hold onto their advantage at the state level, according to an Axios report. Going into the 2022 midterms, Republicans controlled 61 legislative chambers compared with the Democrats’ 37.

Andrew Romeo, spokesman for the RLCC, told CNA that it was the GOP that had “defied the odds.”

He noted that Republicans had managed to hold onto their majorities in other states and increase their representation in others.

“While chamber battles are still playing out across the country,” Romeo explained, “state Republicans defied the odds last night by facing down an onslaught of more than $130 million in national liberal spending and an incredibly challenging political environment and still managed to preserve their hold on an overwhelming majority of state legislatures throughout the country; secure a veto-proof supermajority in Florida, and gain supermajorities in the North Carolina Senate, Wisconsin Senate, Iowa Senate, and South Carolina House.”

However, Republicans in North Carolina and Wisconsin failed to secure supermajorities in both legislative chambers, which they would have needed to do in order to override vetoes from their Democratic governors. Iowa, Florida, and South Carolina have Republican governors with Republican majority legislatures.

A pro-abortion protestor, center, uses a megaphone as pro-life demonstrators rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court during the March for Life, Friday, Jan. 20, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

America’s Abortion Impasse

EDITORIAL: An odd legislative drama playing out in Michigan this week draws an important distinction between the two parties when it comes to dissenting views on abortion policy.