A new Democratic strategy memo sounds a hopeful note that voters are ready to erase the Republican majorities they ushered into statehouses around the country in 2010.
A fundraising email sent to supporters by the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Wednesday contains a “DLCC Strategy Memo” citing generic ballot polling Democrats say shows they’re leading Republicans in GOP-controlled states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
In all, 15 Republican-controlled legislative bodies in 10 states will be on the ballot in November. The DLCC’s polling memo says Democrats are running ahead of the GOP in every single one. “While such polls are rare,” reads the DLCC analysis, “we’ve now seen enough of them to show that Democratic opportunities this cycle are expanding across the country.”
The DLCC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the memo. State legislative races in 2012 promise to be well-funded and nasty.
From National Journal:
The Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, responsible for electing Republican state lawmakers, is pouring at least $35 million into legislative campaigns across the country. A spokesman for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee said its candidates would also be well-funded, but declined to give specific spending figures.
The deep ideological divide that’s gripped national politics since the tea party’s ascendance is most pronounced at the state level, where Democrats say the conservative Republican agenda — which has voted to curb union rights in places like Wisconsin and limit access to abortion in places like Pennsylvania — has worried voters.
The impact of Republican state legislature control has frustrated Democratic lawmakers, who have found themselves powerless to veto-proof GOP majorities. Some examples of the headlines caused by GOP state legislative control that could be causing polls to shift:
• Pennsylvania: The Keystone State was one of several to pass laws requiring ultrasounds for women seeking abortions. When women’s groups and Democrats decried the legislation, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) countered with a now-infamous defense of the law: “I don’t know how you make anybody watch,” he said at a press conference. “You just have to close your eyes.”
• Michigan: The Republican-controlled legislature passed sweeping rules allowing the state to take over struggling local governments and run their budgets through a single official selected by Gov. Rick Snyder (R), not the local voters. When Snyder threatened to seize the budgetary reins in Detroit, locals worried their services would be cut and they’d have no power to stop it. Democrats and progressives have said the locality takeover rules disenfranchise voters, and in response they’ve suggested recalling Snyder.
• North Carolina: The veto-proof majorities won by state Republicans in 2010 left the state’s Democratic governor, Bev Purdue, powerless to stop the Republican agenda. Republicans set about redrawing the state’s congressional districts to squeeze out Democrats and ensure a solid Republican majority in the state’s congressional delegation.
• Wisconsin: Perhaps the nation’s best-known Republican state legislature is found in the Badger State, where Republicans swept into power in the 2010 wave kicked off two years of protest and recall elections when they voted to eliminate collective bargaining rights for thousands of state workers.
Read the DLCC memo here.