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The Other House Race

Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

When voters go to the polls, they need to not only pay attention to the congressional races but also the races for the state legislature. Karl Rove refers to this as “the other House race.” We talked about his commentary recently on Point of View.

These days, most people are focusing on the elections for the U.S. House of Representatives. About 60 of the 435 elections will be competitive and ultimately determine whether Republicans or Democrats control the House next year.

The other house race is at the state level. Who the voters elect to state legislatures will determine the congressional districts of the next decade. That’s why we should also pay attention to the battle over 6,066 contests this fall and another 6,318 races next year and in 2020. Since most state senators serve four-year terms, those elected this November will be the ones casting votes on congressional redistricting plans.

None of this has escaped the notice of political parties. Republicans currently hold 67 of 99 chambers (Nebraska has a unicameral legislature). They control both legislatures in 32 states. By contrast, Democrats have legislative majorities in both houses in 14 states. Both the Republican State Leadership Committee and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee are raising money for these key races in state legislatures.

None of this should escape the notice of voters. Who you vote for in state legislative races this fall and in the near future will determine who you can elect to Congress a few years from now. Remember that I mentioned that only about 60 of the 435 races for the House of Representatives are competitive races. I might add that number is a bit higher than usual because so many Republican members of Congress decided to resign this election.

This is another reminder that you really need to pay attention to all the candidates you elect, up and down the ballot. It will have an impact on you in the future.

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The Other House Race

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