* Democrats shine in Colorado, New York, Minnesota, Maine
* Republican "bright spots" include Wisconsin and Arkansas
Nov 7 Democrats were on track to capture more
state legislative seats than Republicans in Tuesday's election,
as President Barack Obama's re-election spilled into local
races, the National Conference of State Legislatures said on
"It's still too early to say how many seats Democrats have
netted, but clearly they are going to wind up netting seats in
state legislatures, and they are also going to wind up winning
over more chambers than the (Republicans) this time around,"
said NCSL analyst Tim Storey.
Democrats wrested the Colorado House of Representatives, the
New York Senate and likely the New Hampshire House from
Republicans and gained control of the Oregon House, which had
been evenly split, the bipartisan NCSL reported.
The president's party also took back both chambers of the
Minnesota and Maine legislatures that had gone to the
Republicans in 2010's midterm election.
Michael Sergeant, executive director of the Democratic
Legislative Campaign Committee, said he expects his party to
pick up at least 300 legislative seats.
"We were successful even in places where the president
wasn't successful," he said.
Storey said redistricting, a process that allows the
dominant party in legislatures to determine voting districts in
most states every 10 years, was a huge help to parties in
control, resulting in bigger majorities for Democrats in
Illinois and for Republicans in North Carolina.
There were "definitely some bright spots" for Republicans on
election night, Storey said.
Republicans took the Wisconsin Senate, where Democrats had
held a short-lived majority as a result of a June recall
election touched off by a Republican-led effort to limit the
power of public sector unions in that state.
They also gained control of the House and Senate in
Arkansas, which was the last southern state in which Democrats
were the majority in both chambers, the NCSL reported. Alaska's
tied Senate also swung to Republicans.
Republicans defended most of the chambers they won in 2010,
said Chris Jankowski, president of the Republican State
The election pared the number of legislatures with split
party control to three - Iowa, Kentucky and New Hampshire - from
eight. It left the Virginia Senate as the only evenly split
chamber, but where the Republican lieutenant governor can break
a tie, Storey said.
Republicans now control both chambers in 26 states, the same
as before the election, while Democratic legislatures total 19,
up from 15.
Tuesday's election results left Republicans in charge of 56
chambers, while Democrats control 41, Storey said.
Heading into the election, Republicans controlled 59
legislative chambers, while Democrats controlled 36 and three
were tied, according to the NCSL. Nebraska's single-chamber
legislature is nonpartisan.
There were more than 6,000 races for state lawmaker on
ballots nationwide, accounting for 82 percent of legislative
Four years ago, the battle for state legislative seats ended
in somewhat of a stalemate between the parties. But in 2010,
Republicans made big gains, riding on a political wave that gave
the party control of the U.S. House of Representatives.