With the 2010 elections still visible in the rearview mirror, state Republican and Democratic parties have already begun planning for the next two years, when reapportionment, redistricting and the presidential election will bring new challenges for each state.
State parties will be integral to raising money and building ground games for the national party committees in the next cycle, when President Barack Obama is up for re-election. With the upcoming release of new census numbers, Republicans and Democrats in each state have the added responsibility next year of redistricting, which can set the course of Congressional and state legislative elections for the next decade.
At the Congressional level, both parties have challenges ahead. After losing six Senate seats last month, Democrats are heading into another difficult election cycle as the party must now defend the seats it picked up in 2006. Many of the House seats Democrats picked up in 2006 and 2008 were lost to Republicans this year, which in turn adds a stable of vulnerable seats the GOP will need to work hard to defend in 2012.
Roll Call surveyed the state of state parties in every region of the country, paying particular attention to a handful that will play significant roles in the presidential election.
The Ohio Democratic Party may have been the best organized state party heading into the 2010 elections, but Republicans still went on to amass major gains at every level in the Buckeye State. Republicans took control of the governorship, the state House and five House seats from Democrats, and the GOP also retained control of the Senate seat left open by the retirement of Republican George Voinovich.
The results put in jeopardy a key electoral state for Obama heading into his re-election, even though he won Ohio by 5 points after President George W. Bush carried it in the previous two elections.
“We were as aware as the White House was of what it meant for national politics,” Republican Governors Association Executive Director Nick Ayers said last month, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Ayers said the group had spent $11 million helping John Kasich defeat Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland.
Along with the presidential race, first-term Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is up for re-election and is expected to be a top target for state and national Republicans.
The state could lose two Congressional districts through reapportionment next year. Because of the GOP’s House gains, it’s likely the party will lose a seat.
However, thanks to the party’s sweep of statewide offices, the five-member redistricting commission that draws state legislative districts will include four Republicans, and the GOP-dominated state Legislature will redraw the Congressional map.