LAMBRO: Republicans romping down-ticket

GOP muscle grows in state capitals

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Ever since President Obama won re-election, the news media and their pundits want us to think the Republican Party is in steep decline.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Obama won only 51.1 percent of the popular vote, hardly a strong vote of confidence in his presidency — though he managed to turn out just enough voters in a handful of swing states to win 332 electoral votes.

Dig a little deeper into last year’s elections and the nation’s electoral infrastructure and a far different political reality emerges: Republicans are much stronger than they are routinely portrayed in the national news media.

While Mr. Obama carried just 26 states (hardly a re-election score to write home about), Mitt Romney carried 24. At the congressional district level, Mr. Obama won 207 districts, but Mr. Romney carried 228.

This suggests that the GOP has a significant amount of ground support nationally that could lead to future House and Senate victories.

Elsewhere, Democrats are becoming an endangered species among the nation’s governorships, suggesting that voters are increasingly turning to the GOP to fix problems closer to home.

At the state legislative level, Republicans remain a power to be reckoned with, too. Their governors and state legislatures are now in control of nearly half the states. Let’s take these one at a time.

The GOP now holds 30 of the nation’s 50 governorships, and many are in the country’s bluest or Democrat-leaning states: Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania, Chris Christie in New Jersey, John Kasich in Ohio, Rick Snyder in Michigan, Brian Sandoval in Nevada, and Scott Walker in Wisconsin.

These are states Democrats usually carry in presidential elections, but voters have been increasingly turning to Republicans to deal with severe unemployment, high taxes and deepening debt.

The number of GOP governors is now at the highest level (for either party) in at least a dozen years. In a number of cases, they have turned their states around.

In Ohio, for example, Mr. Kasich has turned an $8 billion budget deficit into a projected $1 billion surplus.

When he was elected in 2010, Ohio’s unemployment rate was 10.9 percent. He has aggressively courted big businesses to come into Ohio, and the state’s jobless is now at 6.7 percent, well below the nearly 8 percent national average.

In heavily Democratic New Jersey, Mr. Christie’s latest job-approval polls have him tied with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, for the highest rating of any governor in the country.

A recent Quinnipiac poll shows that 74 percent of the state’s voters approve of the job Mr. Christie is doing, with a very impressive 68 percent saying he deserves re-election this November. Mr. Christie leads all of his potential Democratic opponents by 2 to 1 or more.

Since his come-from-behind election in 2009, Mr. Christie has cut an out-of-control budget, capped property tax hikes, and won wide praise from voters for the way he has handled the state’s response to the devastation wreaked by Superstorm Sandy.

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About the Author
Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is the chief political correspondent for The Washington Times, the author of five books and a nationally syndicated columnist. His twice-weekly United Feature Syndicate column appears in newspapers across the country, including The Washington Times. He received the Warren Brookes Award For Excellence In Journalism in 1995 and in that same year was the host and co-writer of ...

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