Democrats Take Entire State Legislature In Surprise Sweep

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Democrats in Minnesota will have unified control of the state’s legislative and executive branches of government for the first time in nearly a decade, according to available results.

In other state legislative wins, the party also believed it would eventually secure a majority in the Pennsylvania state House for the first time since the early 2010s, and in Michigan, Democrats took control of the entire state legislature for the first time since the early 1980s.

The results in Pennsylvania were among the closest. In one race potentially critical to the party’s chance at a majority, the Democratic candidate was leading by just two votes as of Thursday. In another race where the Democrat was behind an incumbent Republican by about two dozen votes as of the same point,¬†The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that county authorities had “about 4,300 mail ballots left to count, and provisional ballots had not yet been processed.” Throughout early voting in this year’s midterms, Dems consistently participated in key locales to a significantly higher extent than their Republican Party counterparts, no doubt due in part to increasing levels of GOP distrust for mail-in voting, which was the only option for early voting available to residents of the state. The thousands of absentee votes left to tabulate as of Wednesday, when the margin in the latter district was also at just a couple dozen votes, suggested Dems would prevail since the party was doing so much better in ballots cast through that method.

Democrats were ready to declare victory in the race for control of the Pennsylvania state House, likely benefiting from fairer district lines following the most recent round of redistricting. State Rep. Joanna McClinton (D) would likely become House Speaker if Democrats prevail. “Pennsylvania voters overwhelmingly rejected fear, Pennsylvania voters overwhelmingly rejected hatred, Pennsylvania voters overwhelmingly rejected division,” she said. Control of the Pennsylvania state House by Democrats would among other ramifications help with curtailing Republican efforts to restrict abortion. Putting a proposed amendment to the state Constitution before voters in the state — like one limiting abortion rights — requires the legislature to approve of the measure, and a Democratic-led state House obviously wouldn’t be inclined to do such a thing. Democrats were successful across the ticket in Pennsylvania with wins in races for governor and Senate.

In Minnesota and Michigan, the governor was also on the ballot. In both locales the Democratic incumbents defeated Trump-backed challengers who supported or expressed an openness towards conspiracy theories about the 2020 elections. Predictably, the Republican candidate in Minnesota also featured an anti-“lockdown” message as part of his campaign, although describing any policy implemented on a society-wide scale in connection to the COVID-19 pandemic with such terminology is a stretch. Although in both states, Democrats will now control the executive and legislative branches once results are finalized, in Pennsylvania, Republicans may hold onto the state Senate.

Image: Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons