Democrats hope to reverse steep declines in statehouses across the U.S. after decades of work by Republicans who have seen their numbers of state lawmakers increase, the Pew Research Center reported.
Their urgency comes as redistricting plans unfold for after the 2020 Census, Pew said.
Citing a report from the Democratic National Committee,
released in the wake of deep congressional losses incurred in the November 2014 midterm races, Pew noted the capacity of state legislatures to enforce redistricting plans.
"The current GOP stranglehold on statehouses, governorships and congressional seats is a byproduct of more than 30 years of organizing, fostering talent and signiﬁcant ﬁnancial investments at the state and local level," the DNC report noted. "The DNC must develop —
and accelerate —
programs at the state and local level to ensure that the next redistricting and reapportionment projects encourage Democratic growth."
In their report, Democrats described such losses over the last few elections as "devastating," Pew said.
"The Democratic Party today has 919 fewer legislative seats than it did in 2009. Democrats control both legislative chambers in just 11 states, down from 34 states in 1982 and 27 as recently as 2010, though that number had fluctuated in the years in between, " Pew wrote in its national analysis.
"Meanwhile, Republicans have gained a total of 888 legislative seats since 2009, and control both chambers in a record-high 30 states. In eight other states, each party controls one chamber," Pew noted.
The party's concerns come as the Supreme Court prepares to weigh in on the constitutionality of redistricting in a case that pits the interests of Arizona's GOP-controlled legislature against the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission.
"It could upend political districts and election laws from coast to coast before 2016."
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