In the lead up to the November midterms, the Republican Party has its eyes set on more than just the Capitol. At the state level, where the GOP already dominates, the party is looking to add legislative chambers similar to what occurred in 2010 when outrage over Obamacare helped it pick up some 720 seats across the country, according to NPR
Republicans already control 59 of the 98 partisan legislative chambers, according to The New York Times. In 23 states, the GOP controls both legislative houses and the governor’s mansion, compared with 13 controlled by Democrats. Republicans have the opportunity to add two more states – Iowa and Arkansas – to the list of those with total political control, according to the Times
In this year’s races, Republicans are heavily targeting New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado, New York and Kentucky, where a Blue Grass State Democrat told NPR that his party is fighting tooth and nail to keep Republicans, who already control the Senate, from taking the state House.
"They're trying to grab the House, and we've got barricades, picket fences and booby traps and everything else trying to defeat that,” said Rep. Brent Yonts.
Should they be successful, the GOP hopes to pass legislation “stymied” by Democrats, according to the Times, such as rolling back gun laws in Colorado, eliminating a tax on manufacturing in Iowa, the same state where the GOP wants to prohibit “telemedicine abortions,” where women living in rural areas are prescribed abortion pills following a videoconference with doctors.
By gaining a majority in individual chambers, Republicans can beef up their negotiating prowess with Democratic governors and statehouses and block Dems from passing legislation, according to the Times.
The 2010 GOP sweep – a tea party-driven referendum on Obamacare – allowed the right to “cement their advantage on the congressional map” via the redistricting process, Politico reports.
In Iowa, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal advises candidates in his party to focus only on what they can control, NPR reported.
"We'll be talking about campaigns, and people will be lamenting the top of the ticket, or lamenting the mood in their community," he says. "And I'll kind of go, so what part of that do we have control over? And people pause for a minute and go 'none.' OK, what are the pieces that we do have control over? Let's do those really well. And then whatever the outcome, we'll know we tried our very best."
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