* Republicans win at least 18 state legislative chambers
* Republicans now control 54 state legislative chambers
* Gains may help Republicans pick up more U.S. House seats
(Updates Republican gains, comments, redistricting measures)
By Karen Pierog
CHICAGO, Nov 3 The surge that gave Republicans
control of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday also
shook up state legislatures, giving Republicans the power to
potentially cement their hold in Congress for the next decade.
In most states, legislatures will be redrawing electoral
districts for the U.S. House -- an adjustment of boundaries
every 10 years that tends to favor the party in charge in each
The big Republican Party wins at the state level give it
the edge in reinforcing its strength in the U.S. House.
Republicans took control of at least 18 state chambers from
Democrats, according to Tim Storey, an elections analyst at the
bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
"The Republicans really swamped the Democrats," he said,
noting that Republicans will be in the best position to control
congressional redistricting since modern remapping began in the
Republicans' heavy presence on the state level could allow
the party to preserve, or add, between 15 and 25 U.S. House
seats through redistricting, said Ed Gillespie, chairman of the
Republican State Leadership Committee, which poured millions of
dollars into state legislative races.
But Alan Abramowitz, political science professor at Emory
University, said redistricting may make a marginal difference.
The 2012 elections could swing back to favor Democrats and
will likely turn on factors such as the state of the economy
and voters' perception of President Barack Obama, he said.
The party in control of the White House almost always loses
congressional and state legislative seats in midterm elections
and 2010 was no exception.
Republicans saw a net gain of at least 680 seats in state
legislatures, giving them control of chambers in Alabama,
Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New
Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin,
the NCSL reported.
Storey said four chambers remain in play, including the New
Election results so far have Republicans in charge of 54
legislative chambers, with Democrats controlling 38 and two
chambers with a partisan split -- the Alaska Senate and the
Oregon House. Control of four chambers remains undecided.
Republicans will fill more state legislative seats than
they have since 1928, Storey said.
Heading into Tuesday's election to fill more than 80
percent of the nation's 7,382 state legislative seats,
Democrats controlled 60 chambers, while Republicans had 36 and
two were tied.
Nebraska's single-chamber legislature is nonpartisan.
Meanwhile, voters in California removed congressional
redistricting from the legislature, giving the power to a
citizen-run commission. Florida voters approved a plan
requiring compact districts, reducing the chance of
oddly-shaped districts favoring one party over another.
(Additional reporting by Jim Christie in San Francisco;
editing by Chris Wilson)