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Swing States Prepare for 2012, Redistricting

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
President Barack Obama came close to winning Missouri in the 2008 presidential race. Democrats might hold their convention in St. Louis in 2012, and the Show Me State will retain battleground status in the next cycle given competitive contests on the ballot.

Missouri Republicans had more than double the cash on hand that Missouri Democrats had in their federal account a couple weeks after the election. But Democrats will get the boost of the presidentís re-election campaign and the resources and high-level visits that come along with being a battleground state. Obama narrowly lost Missouriís 11 electoral votes in 2008, a break from the stateís near-century tradition of backing the White House winner.

Democrats hold four of the six statewide offices, in addition to McCaskillís Senate seat, and Susan Montee, who lost her re-election campaign for state auditor in 2010, was chosen as the Democratic chairwoman over the weekend.

St. Louis is a top contender for the Democratic National Convention, which could give Missouri additional attention in 2012.


The state Democratic Party is at a crossroads. For the past eight years, the organizationís de facto leader has been Gov. Ed Rendell, a larger-than-life personality widely respected for his political acumen, charisma and ability to execute priorities.

The term-limited Rendell, who will cede his stateís top elected post to Republican Tom Corbett in the coming weeks, helped deliver the swing state to Obama in 2008, but he sometimes ignored the less glamorous, but equally important, party responsibilities such as candidate recruitment and grass-roots organizing.

His Democratic Party is reeling from devastating election losses at virtually every level. The GOP in November took control of the governorís office, the Senate seat previously held by now-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter and the state House of Representatives. Republicans also maintained their state Senate majority, control of most of the statewide general officers and even control of the state Supreme Court.

Rendell also leaves behind a formal party structure led by former Millvale Borough Mayor Jim Burn that has in some ways been on cruise control for much of the past decade. And the GOP has a substantial cash advantage in its federal account.

There is good news for Democrats, however.

Despite the November drubbing, Democrats maintain a healthy 51 percent to
37 percent voter registration advantage over Republicans. That advantage is due, at least partially, to the Philadelphia market and key labor union strongholds.

In the redistricting battle, Pennsylvania is likely to lose one seat, but insiders believe Republicans who now control the legislative and executive branches of state government will be hesitant to push the envelope given their 2010 gains.


Democrats got ďshellackedĒ nationwide, as Obama put it, but not in California, where Democrats swept the statewide offices and held on to each of their handful of vulnerable House seats. But Republicans did not just lose, they struggled to even be competitive.

Former Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is returning to serve as governor despite being outspent by Republican Meg Whitman by $135 million. Whitman received just under 42 percent of the vote, and things were not much different downballot, where just one Republican in the five other state office races garnered 40 percent.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) defeated Republican Carly Fiorina despite being one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country. Fiorina won just 42 percent.

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