Death of the Southern Democrat?
By CSG Staff
North Carolina might be a signal of the death of the Southern Democrat … or at least an end to the Democrats’ control of the South.
For the first time in 100 years, Republicans will control both chambers of North Carolina’s legislature. They hadn’t controlled the state Senate since 1898. Now, the GOP claims 31 seats while Democrats held on to 19. That’s a shift from 30-20 in favor of Democrats. Republicans control the state House by a 67-52 margin, a shift from Democratic control with a 68-52 margin. One House member now is unaffiliated.
The Tar Heel state isn’t the only one to see flips in the balance of power. Alabama’s Senate shifted from a 20-14 Democratic edge with one Independent, to a 22-12 Republican edge with one Independent. The Senate saw a similar shift, from a 60-43 Democratic edge with two vacancies, to a 62-41 Republican edge.
In Tennessee, Republicans picked up another seat in the Senate, increasing their margin of control to a 20-13 seat advantage. Republicans in the Tennessee House picked up 12 seats, all by knocking off incumbent Democrats. The GOP now controls the House by a 63-35 seat margin.
But it wasn’t all bad news for Southern Democrats. They remain in control of the West Virginia state legislature, although Republicans made some slight gains, picking up six seats in the House to narrow the Democrats margin to 65-35. Democrats hold a 28-6 majority in the West Virginia Senate.
Democrats have been losing ground in the South over the last 10 years. After the 2000 election cycle, Democrats controlled 21 of the 30 chambers in the South. Democratic control dropped to 15 chambers after the 2004 election cycle; to 13 chambers after the 2006 election cycles; and moved back up to 14 after the 2008 election cycle. After the 2010 vote, Democrats will control only 10 of 30 legislative chambers in the South.