It was a good night.
I mean, it was long (note to self: don’t get in front of a camera at 1 AM after being up for 20 hours without at least checking my hair), and it was by no means perfect.
But it was tasty as heck, especially down-ballot.
And you’ve shown great Patience hanging in here over the course of the cycle for campaign updates and statehouse news and election predictions.
(By the by, I did pretty well in terms of prognostication—all of the Lean and Likely D chambers on this list were won or flipped by Democrats, as well as two of the four Tossup chambers and one Lean R chamber.)
So here’s what happened while you were sad about the U.S. Senate.
Paradise Capital City: The bottom line: Democrats came out of Election Day 2018 with a lot more power in statehouses—and in states generally.
By flipping key state legislatures and governorships, passing game-changing ballot measures, and stripping Republicans of total government control in key swing states, Democrats made significant progress towards building real power at all levels of the ballot this weekend.
Democrats flipped over 350 statehouse seats on Tuesday, but as I’ve pointed out (with some ire) before, that number doesn’t actually matter. Here are the numbers that do:
- Democrats flipped six legislative chambers:
- Colorado Senate
- Maine Senate
- Minnesota House
- New Hampshire House
- New Hampshire Senate
- New York Senate
- Republicans, on the other hand, might not have flipped a single chamber.
- Democrats entered the election with a majority coalition in the Alaska House, and we won’t know if that holds or not until the parties have their leadership elections in a few days.
- On top of flipping chambers, Democrats won four new supermajorities by picking up seats in the Connecticut Senate, Nevada Assembly, the Oregon House, and the Oregon Senate.
- More importantly (since all those states have Democratic governors, so how many vetoes do we really expect them to need to override, anyway?), Democrats stripped Republicans of supermajorities in four chambers:
- Michigan Senate
- North Carolina House
- North Carolina Senate
- Pennsylvania Senate
- Of these, North Carolina is the real game-changer.
- With Republican supermajorities broken, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will be able to veto the GOP-controlled legislature’s terrible bills without Republicans basically saying “Oh, how adorable” and just overriding him.
- It’s super weedy (you’ve met me, right?), but the Pennsylvania Senate Republicans’ loss of their supermajority is significant, too.
- Early this year, you may recall that the House had threatened to impeach the state Supreme Court justices who had overturned their congressional gerrymander.
- Articles of impeachment need only a majority to pass the lower chamber, but actually impeaching and removing justices requires a supermajority in the Senate—which Republicans most definitely were in possession of at the time this drama unfolded.
- Republicans ultimately backed off their attempt to usurp the court, but the existential threat to Democratic justices remained.
- Now, though, with the GOP’s loss of at least five Senate seats, the independence of the state’s highest court is quite a bit more secure.
- While some results are still outstanding as of this writing, and other races are expected to go to recounts, we know that Democrats also picked up seats in a number of heavily Republican states, including some of the most heinously gerrymandered chambers.
- In Texas, Democrats flipped at least 12 House seats and two Senate seats.
- In Pennsylvania, Democrats flipped at least 16 House seats and five Senate seats.
- In Florida, Democrats flipped seven House seats and one Senate seat.
- In Michigan, Democrats flipped five House seats and five Senate seats.
- In Iowa, Democrats flipped five House seats.
- In West Virginia, Democrats flipped five House seats and two Senate seats.