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Forget D.C., look what Republicans won in state legislatures

the Ohio State Capitol where newly elected Republican governor John Kasich will reside

So much of the national media's attention is focused Wednesday, shockingly, on Washington, where they live and work and where Republicans captured a half-dozen new Senate seats and five dozen new House seats. But out where most regular Americans live and work, voters also made historic changes -- to the long-lasting benefit of Republicans.

This is especially important in years ending in '00 because these newly elected governors and state legislators will (with the exception of California) be the ones redrawing legislative and congressional district lines that will stand for the next decade until the 2020 census. And occupying the governor's mansion puts that party in control of an immense statewide political apparatus to help its presidential ticket two years hence.

Come January, Republicans will now run crucial governors' offices in....

...major presidential battleground states like Florida (Rick Scott), Ohio (John Kasich), Pennsylvania (Tom Corbett) and Iowa, where former Gov. Terry Branstad returns.

New Mexico voters elected their first female governor, Republican Susana Martinez, a Latino. Sometimes-maligned South Carolina voters chose Nikki Haley, who is not only the state's first female governor but only the nation's second of Indian American descent (Louisiana's Bobby Jindal being the other.) Oklahoma also picked its first female governor, Republican Mary Fallin.

According to the authoritative, the country's contests for governor and lieutenant governor cost $850 million. Heading into 2012, the GOP will control at least 29 of the 50 governor's suites.

Perhaps more importantly, the Republican wave at the national level was also felt at the grass-roots level, where Republicans gained control of at least 19 more state legislative chambers, possibly two dozen as vote-counting continues.

The GOP will have a majority in at least 54 of the 99 state legislative chambers, including a minimum of 53% of state legislature seats (about 3,900). That's the most the party has controlled in 82 years -- and up about 700 seats from Monday.

Not only does this help with redistricting, it is also the minor league political training ground for future office-seekers, such as Haley and South Dakota's new U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem. She's a 38-year-old rancher, marked as a rising star by national party leaders, who upset an incumbent Democrat and is coming out of four years at the state level in Pierre.

Not to overlook Marco Rubio, Florida's new Republican U.S. senator, who's a former state House speaker.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Ohio state Capitol building; Credit: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (5)

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The republican gain indcates only one thing. Stupid people vote for stupid people.

You know the difference between this election and the election two years ago?

Two years ago, the losers didn't say things like, 'Stupid people vote for stupid people."

Class matters.

Class does matter, but hey wait a sec, two years ago the losers were claiming that the newly elected president was a non American Muslim terrorist. It is also important to have a good memory. Why if the voters of this mid-term election had a good memory, they would recall what the economic state was of the the country just three years ago.

Now Jim, we never called the President a terrorist.
Additionally, three years ago the unemployment rate was 4.7% - people had jobs!

To all you haters out there, you must be racist if you disagree with Nikki Haley or MArco Rubio both of Indian American or Cuban American REpublicans. Remember how the liberals accuse us of being "racist" when you disagree with Barack Obama? So I guess You must be a rAcist when you disagree with MArco Rbuio, Nikki Haley, or Susana Martinez who is the First Latina Republican Governor of NEw MExico.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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