Just how bad off is the Republican Party (Part 2)?

A state-by-state look at the state of the Grand Old Party in the Age of Steele.

Published March 18, 2009 10:23AM (EDT)

As of press time, Tuesday evening, March 17, Michael Steele is still running the Republican National Committee. But tomorrow is another day, as Katon Dawson, I mean Scarlett O'Hara, once said. Perhaps Steele will be ushered offstage soon -- if, say, the GOP fails to win back Kirsten Gillibrand's old seat in New York's traditionally Republican 20th Congressional District on March 31. Perhaps Michael Steele will survive till 2010, and lead his party in a miraculous comeback in the midterms.

But as the nation waits to learn Steele's fate, we thought we'd take a ground-level look at the state of his party after two consecutive electoral drubbings. The following list examines the trends in each of the 50 states over the past three election cycles, assessing demographic shifts, voting patterns, rising and falling political stars and organizational strengths and weaknesses. The picture it paints is not pretty, but it is not hopeless either. We have (roughly) ordered the list by the relative love that each state has for its Grand Old Party. While there are some places where love is not for sale, there are others where love is all around, and even some spots where hearts are growing fonder. Each entry also includes the cold, hard numeric facts about the electoral strength of the party in 2005 versus its strength today. (Most data on state legislatures is from the National Conference of State Legislatures. State legislature numbers list majority party first, minority party second and independents third; figures below may not account for all special election results, party switches and vacancies.)



PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 67-26 2008: McCain 62-35
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 2R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 2R-1 2009: 2R-1
STATE HOUSE 2005: 56R-19 2009: 53R-22
STATE SENATE 2005: 21R-8 2009: 21R-8

For the modern Republican Party, Utah is a refuge in the storm. The blue island of Salt Lake City is surrounded by miles of red. As sometimes happens in safely Republican states, however, there is a schism between the conservative and ultraconservative wings of the party. Utah is home both to the pragmatic (and popular) and pro-civil union Gov. John Huntsman and loopily anti-gay state Sen. Chris Buttars, who says homosexuals post "the greatest threat to America." Just don't expect the Democrats to benefit from the spat. At least 60 percent of Utahans are Mormon, and Mormons are among the most loyal voters in the GOP's diminished national coalition.

Memorable quote: "It's the beginning of the end. Oh, it's worse than that. Sodom and Gomorrah was localized. This is worldwide." -- State Sen. Chris Buttars, speaking of the gay rights movement. 


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 58-41 2008: McCain 56-43
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 2R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 2D-2 2009: 3D-1
STATE HOUSE 2005: 75D-47 2009: 74D-48
STATE SENATE 2005: 28D-24 2009: 27D-25

When Barack Obama started running, some Democrats fantasized about Mississippi. A massive black vote, they reasoned, could push the state into the blue column; Obama himself said in 2007, "If we just got African-Americans in Mississippi to vote their percentage of the population, Mississippi is suddenly a Democratic state." In fact, black turnout in Mississippi is generally pretty good; it's just that the white vote, which is more than 60 percent of the population, is about 90 percent Republican. A conservative Democrat, Travis Childers, did pick up a House seat in Mississippi in 2008, and Democrats still control the state House, but the racial polarization of state politics makes the outcome of most races on the federal level easy to predict.

Notable fact: When Democratic state Rep. Billy Nicholson switched parties in February, becoming a Republican, for the first time ever black Democrats outnumbered white Democrats in the state House.


 PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 59-28 2008: McCain 60-38
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 1D-1R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 1R 2009: 1R
STATE HOUSE 2005: 26R-14 2009: 22R-18
STATE SENATE 2005: 12R-8 2009: 10-10

The Sarah Palin saga drew previously unheard-of attention to Alaska politics, and may have created the illusion that elections up north are interesting, competitive affairs. By and large, they are not. The two Democrats who have won major races in recent memory -- former Gov. Tony Knowles, and Sen. Mark Begich -- have benefited from running against felons and/or third-party candidates and/or fibbers. (Things are different in Alaska; the legislature even had a "Corrupt Bastards Caucus." Though her popularity isn’t what it once was, Palin is still well over 50 percent and can probably count on being reelected in 2010, as can Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski. As in other red states, however, not all is peaceful within the dominant party. Neither Murkowski nor former state Senate president Lyda Green is in Gov. Palin's fan club.

Notable fact: Since 2006, enduring a "Bipartisan Working Group" composed of all the chamber's Democrats and half of the Republicans has run the show in the Alaska Senate, effectively making those Republicans who are not in the coalition the Senate's minority party


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 58-37 2008: McCain 57-41
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 2R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 3R-1 2009: 3R-1
STATE HOUSE 2005: 83R-42 2009: 76R-49
STATE SENATE 2005: 30R-10 2009: 31R-9

Kansas is the proverbial "red state," a rock-ribbed Republican redoubt that hasn't voted for a Democrat for president since LBJ. However, it is also one of the states where friction between factions of the dominant GOP first resulted in electoral gains for Democrats. Main Street pragmatists and religious fundamentalists have battled for control of the state GOP, and popular two-term Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has made a practice of recruiting moderate Republican refugees. But with Sebelius headed to Washington, her party's short era of relative strength may be at an end. Lt. Gov. (and former Republican) Mark Parkinson will finish the remainder of her term, but has announced he will not run for the office himself in 2010. Ultraconservative Sen. Sam Brownback (R) appears likely to win the governorship.

Memorable quote: "What's happened in Kansas, and what's attracted me and excited me about serving on this ticket is that the person that's captured (the political middle) of Kansas is Gov. Sebelius." -- Former Kansas GOP chairman Mark Parkinson on why he switched parties


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 60-38 2008: McCain 66-34
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 2R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 4R-1 2009: 4R-1
STATE HOUSE 2005: 57R-44 2009: 61R-40
STATE SENATE 2005: 26D-22 2009: 26R-22

Socially conservative Oklahoma was among the slow handful of states where John McCain actually improved on George W. Bush's 2004 electoral performance. It was the only state in which every county voted for McCain. And it is getting redder, with Republicans adding seats in the state Legislature even as the party has ebbed nationally. The only Democratic congressman from Oklahoma, Rep. Dan Boren, a member of the "blue-dog" coalition, often votes with the Republicans out of political necessity.  Longtime state GOP Chairman Gary Jones supported Ken Blackwell over Michael Steele for RNC head because of concerns about Steele's views on social issues.

Memorable quote: "I would submit, furthermore, that not only is there a debate, but the debate is shifting away from those who subscribe to global warming alarmism. After studying the issue over the last several years, I believe that the balance of the evidence offers strong proof that natural variability is the overwhelming factor influencing climate." -- Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 62-33 2008: McCain 57-42
U.S. SENATE 2005: 1D-1R 2009: 1D-1R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 3R 2009: 3R
STATE HOUSE 2005: N/A* 2009: N/A*
STATE SENATE 2005: 32R-15-2* 2009: 32R-17*

Nebraska splits its electoral votes by congressional district, and Obama won the electoral vote of the district centered on Omaha. He became the first Democrat to win an electoral vote in the state since LBJ's 1964 landslide. But Nebraska remains a Republican stronghold. Gallup ranks it the fifth most Republican state in the nation. Nebraska's Republican governor, Dave Heineman, seems poised to win reelection, and the new head of the state GOP, Mark Fahleson, vows to use new technology to help Republicans Twitter their way to victory. He also predicts that the lone Nebraskan Democrat in Congress, Sen. Ben Nelson, will be vulnerable in his 2012 reelection bid.

Memorable quote: "At the end of the day, the Democratic plans, if installed, would make Americans dependent upon the federal government like never before. Perhaps that is the Democrats' ultimate goal." -- State GOP Chairman Mark Fahleson

*Nebraska has an officially nonpartisan unicameral Legislature made up of 49 senators. However, party affiliations are known.


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 57-41 2008: McCain 54-45
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 2R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 4R-2 2009: 4R-2
STATE HOUSE 2005: 74R-50 2009: 71R-53
STATE SENATE 2005: 27R-19 2009: 27R-19

The homeland of secession is also the homeland of Lee Atwater, and a reliable redoubt of quadrennial GOP nastiness. South Carolina gave us George W. Bush, since his rebound victory there propelled him to the 2000 nomination. South Carolina is bright red and will stay that way, with Republicans dominating both state government and the congressional delegation, even though margins in statewide elections are closer than one might think. South Carolinians are now helping to define the post-Bush GOP. Gov. Mark Sanford was the loudest anti-stimulus voice, debating whether he would take the federal money, while state Chairman Katon Dawson nearly became head of the Republican National Committee. RNC voters may wish they had a do over.

Memorable quote: "I’ve always been involved in politics. And I guess it goes all the way back to my school career and education. I, in the 1960s, was a product of school [integration] ... Government reached into my life and grabbed me and shook me at the age of fifteen." -- Katon Dawson


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 68-28 2008: McCain 65-33
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 2R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 1R 2009: 1R
STATE HOUSE 2005: 46R-14 2009: 41R-18
STATE SENATE 2005: 23R-7 2009: 23R-7

A recent Gallup survey places Dick Cheney's home state second only to Utah as the most Republican in the nation, despite a habit of electing Democratic governors. Current Democratic Gov. Dave Freudenthal term-limits out in 2010, and three GOP heavyweights are considering bids.

Notable fact: Dick Cheney returned home to a standing ovation in the Capitol building in Cheyenne on Jan. 21. Lawmakers passed a resolution encouraging Cheney and his wife, Lynne, to "lay their heavy burdens down, and fish and write to their hearts' content."


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 67-28 2008: McCain 62-36
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 2R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 2R 2009: 1D-1R
STATE HOUSE 2005: 57R-13 2009: 52R-18
STATE SENATE 2005: 28R-7 2009: 28R-7

Democrats made small incursions in Idaho, the country's third-reddest state, in 2008. Incumbent Republican Rep. Bill Sali proved embarrassing enough that Walt Minnick was able to take his seat. The arguably more embarrassing Larry Craig, for obvious reasons, decided not to run for reelection to the Senate, but he was replaced by a Republican. But the victory was narrow, and Minnick, who now represents the most Republican district of any Democrat in the House, will be a top target for the GOP in 2010. Hence, perhaps, Minnick's vote against the stimulus. Idaho will remain red, despite Larry Craig's sexcapades.

Notable fact: The last Idaho Democrat to win a U.S. Senate race was Frank Church, in 1974.



PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 51-47 2008: McCain 57-42
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 2R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 5D-4 2009: 5D-4
STATE HOUSE 2005: 53D-46 2009: 50R-49
STATE SENATE 2005: 17R-16 2009: 19R-14

Among the few bright spots on the map for the GOP in 2008 was Tennessee, where John McCain improved on George Bush's totals from 2004 and where the GOP added three seats in the state Senate and gained a majority in the State House for the first time since Reconstruction. (Never mind the Democratic coup that took place when it came time to elect a speaker.)

Tennessee has been a late bloomer among Southern Republican states, and given the state's high number of white evangelical voters -- 51 percent of the electorate -- the GOP has good prospects of holding its own here for the near future. State party head Chip Saltsman has taken credit for Tennessee's turn to the right, and used it as part of his bid to become head of the Republican National Committee. But as a symptom of what's wrong with the GOP leaning too hard on its Southern base, Saltsman is the guy who campaigned for the post by sending out free CDs of "Barack the Magic Negro."

Memorable quote: “With the Democrats having such a weak field of candidates for governor and the fact that our state has such a strong GOP voter base, it is a very strong likelihood that one of these Republican candidates will be Tennessee’s next governor." -- Nate Schott, chairman of the Rutherford County GOP.


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 53-45 2008: McCain 59-40
U.S. SENATE 2005: 1D-1R 2009: 1D-1R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 5R-2 2009: 6R-1
STATE HOUSE 2005: 67D-37-1 2009: 51D-50-3
STATE SENATE 2005: 24D-15 2009: 22D-15

Bucking the national trend, Louisiana Republicans grew in strength in the last election cycle. The state has consistently voted Republican on the national level, and the GOP has made significant inroads on the local level. The state's Republican governor, stimulus refusenik Bobby Jindal, is considered a national figure in the making and a potential presidential contender; perhaps by 2012, Americans will have forgotten his dismal performance delivering the GOP response to President Obama's 2009 quasi-State of the Union address.

Notable fact: George W. Bush's inept response to Katrina helped make Louisiana more Republican, since population displacement meant a net loss of as many as 60,000 Democratic voters in New Orleans alone.


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 55-43 2008: McCain 52-47
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 2R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 7R-6 2009: 7R-6
STATE HOUSE 2005: 99R-80-1 2009: 105R-75
STATE SENATE 2005: 34R-22 2009: 34R-22

While most of the rest of the nation was souring on Republicans, Georgia was growing redder. It has added Republicans to its state Legislature over the past four years. Still, on Election Night last November, state Republicans had a good scare. Long lines of African-American early voters startled incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss enough to warn a crowd at a rally that "the other folks are voting." That near-death experience, and the December runoff that Chambliss needed to dispatch his Democratic challenger, may explain why state party Chairwoman Sue Everhart backed Michael Steele for RNC chairman. Hailing from a state that is 30 percent black and has a surging immigrant population, she must have realized the pendulum may one day swing back, and that the GOP needs to appeal to someone besides white males. Or maybe she was just mad that the Georgia GOP is such a (white) boy's club that she was barred from the stage during the celebration of Chambliss' victory.

Memorable quote: "John McCain is kind of like Jesus Christ on the cross." -- State GOP Chairwoman Sue Everhart


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 57-42 2008: McCain 60-39
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 2R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 5R-2 2009: 4R-3
STATE HOUSE 2005: 63D-42 2009: 62D-43
STATE SENATE 2005: 25D-10 2009: 19D-13

Alabama is a two-party state, if by two-party state you mean a state of war. A bitter power struggle began to favor the Republicans in 1994, when former Democratic Gov. Fob James was reelected as a Republican, and Democratic Sen. Richard Shelby crossed the aisle to become a Republican. Today Alabama has a GOP governor and a majority Republican congressional delegation. In the state Legislature, while the Dems still hold sway, the GOP is slowly eroding the traditional Democratic margin. As in neighboring Mississippi, voting is racially polarized. The Democrats managed to add a seat in Congress with a win in the 2nd District last November, but that was due to high black turnout in a general election featuring a black presidential candidate. Odds are good that the GOP can grab it back in 2010.

Memorable quote: "2009 promises to be more exciting than originally planned as we now face 3 special Senate elections. I believe we have a good chance to really make some gains in the Alabama state Senate." -- State GOP chairman Mike Hubbard



PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 50-47 2008: McCain 49-49
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 1D-1R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 5R-4 2009: 5R-4
STATE HOUSE 2005: 97R-66 2009: 89R-74
STATE SENATE 2005: 23R-11 2009: 23R-11

Elections are often cliffhangers in Missouri, because the state is almost evenly divided between the parties. Almost, because rural Republican Missouri is often able to eke out a win over urban Democratic Missouri, as it did in delivering the state's electoral votes to John McCain by the smallest margin in the nation (less than 4,000 votes). Republicans continue to dominate the state Legislature, but lately the GOP seems determined to give Democrats a helping hand. A backlash against an anti-stem cell initiative in 2006 helped Claire McCaskill oust Republican Jim Talent from the U.S. Senate, while Republican Gov. Matt Blunt, son of former GOP House Whip (and Tom DeLay crony) Roy Blunt, was so unpopular he opted not to run for reelection. Democrat Jay Nixon took his job in a landslide with a campaign that focused on Republican misrule. Next year, Missouri's remaining Republican senator, Kit Bond, will not run for reelection, and likely Democratic nominee Robin Carnahan, Missouri's secretary of state, is polling well. The state GOP is already attacking the daughter of late Gov. Mel Carnahan as "Missouri's Caroline Kennedy."  Her likely Republican opponent? Roy Blunt.

Memorable quote: "The Republican Party in Missouri is very strong because the majority of Missourians agree with our positions on the issues. I intend to do everything I can to sustain that strength and increase it." -- New GOP state chairman David Cole


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 51-46 2008: McCain 59-39
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 3D-1 2009: 3D-1
STATE HOUSE 2005: 72D-28 2009: 71D-28-1
STATE SENATE 2005: 27D-8 2009: 27D-8

Bill Clinton's home state, which has one of the highest percentages of white evangelicals in the country, has turned increasingly Republican in presidential elections over the past three cycles. Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, was one of the last men standing in the battle for the GOP nomination. Republicans have also maintained their numbers in the state Legislature while losing ground nationally. However, they are still massively outnumbered in both state chambers and in the Arkansas congressional delegation, and Arkansas's current governor is a Democrat. In 2008 the Republicans didn't even bother to field a candidate against incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor.

Memorable quote: "Those of us that followed Bush for the last eight years, I think you look at his presidency, he did a good job." -- Mike Sevak, the first vice-chairman of the Republican Party in Benton County 


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 61-33 2008: McCain 53-45
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 1D 2009: 1D
STATE HOUSE 2005: 67R-27 2009: 58R-36
STATE SENATE 2005: 32R-15 2009: 26R-21

North Dakotans have worked out a system that assigns distinct roles to the two major parties. Congress is for Democrats; everything else is Republican. The state has sent an entirely Democratic delegation to D.C. since 1986, but always opts for the Republican presidential candidate and lets the GOP run the state government. The governorship has been Republican since 1992, and the GOP has long controlled both houses of the state Legislature. Within the GOP, there is some of the now familiar strife between the pragmatic and Cromwellian wings of the party. State party chair Gary Emineth is a stimulus puritan. "I would like to say, as a North Dakotan to the Federal Government when they show up with our share of the stimulus appropriations, 'NO THANK YOU.'" Popular Gov. John Hoeven took the money without complaint.

Notable fact: The last Democratic presidential candidate to get electoral college votes from North Dakota was LBJ.


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 52-46 2008: McCain 56-43
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 2D-1 2009: 2D-1
STATE HOUSE 2005: 68D-32 2009: 79D-21
STATE SENATE 2005: 21D-13 2009: 28D-6

The Mountain State is having an identity crisis. A longtime Democratic bastion, thanks in part to unionized mineworkers, West Virginia went for Michael Dukakis in 1988 even as he was getting creamed nationwide. But the state turned to George W. Bush in 2000, chose him again in 2004 and preferred McCain to Obama. Outsiders may speak of Obama's Appalachian problem, but the party switch is generally attributed to abortion, guns and coal. Democrats who keep the faith on those issues continue to hold most of the major offices, and Democrats have strengthened their hold on the state Legislature since 2005.

Notable fact: Moody’s projects that unemployment in West Virginia will go as high as 9.5 percent by the end of this year.


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 58-33 2009: McCain 49-47
U.S. SENATE 2005: 1R-1D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 1R 2009: 1R
STATE HOUSE 2005: 50-50 2009: 50-50
STATE SENATE 2005: 27D-23 2009: 27R-23

This decade, Democrats have added two national stars in Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Sen. Jon Tester, and Montana is among the Western states where Democrats see opportunity. But even though the state party headquarters is on a street called Last Chance Gulch, the Democrats' "Montana Miracle" has stalled. Montana has actually bucked national trends in the past two election cycles by awarding slight gains to the GOP in the state Legislature (and Montana Democrats are often conservative enough to frustrate activists in the state's liberal enclaves). Republicans once again control the state Senate, and the lower chamber is evenly split. Looking ahead, Montana does not have the same demographic pressures -- an influx of suburban voters, increased Latino population -- that have turned other Western states blue.

Memorable quote: "It's like a feeding frenzy. My reaction and that of many of my colleagues is we're actually sickened by this" -- GOP state House floor leader Roy Mendenhall re the economic stimulus


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 57-41 2008: McCain 58-41
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 2R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 5R-1 2009: 4R-2
STATE HOUSE 2005: 57D-43 2009: 65D-35
STATE SENATE 2005: 21R-15-1 2009: 22R-15-1

In many of Kentucky's mountain counties, John McCain's 2008 numbers were better than George Bush's 2004 numbers. But Obama's Appalachian problem masked the Republicans' Appalachian problem. Republican power in Kentucky may have peaked. Sen. Mitch McConnell is the Senate minority leader, but had to survive a tough reelection battle. On the state level, Kentucky politics may be getting bluer. Ernie Fletcher became the first Republican governor in three decades in 2004, but because of scandal lasted only one term. Democrat Steve Beshear won the 2007 contest with nearly 60 percent of the vote. In 2008, 57.5 percent of new voters in Kentucky registered as Democrats, reasserting the party's registration advantage. For 2010, the GOP's Appalachian problem is vulnerable  (and dotty) incumbent Sen. Jim Bunning. The national party wants him to step down, but he won't go. He has threatened to sue the National Republican Senatorial Committee if they support a challenger in the primary.

Memorable quote: "I've had miscommunications with John Cornyn from, I guess, the first week of this current session of the Senate. He either doesn't understand English or he doesn't understand direct 'I'm going to run,' which I said to him in the cloakroom of our chamber." – Sen. Jim Bunning on NRSC head John Cornyn, who doesn't want the incument to run again in 2010.


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 51-45 2008: McCain 54-45
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 2R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 6R-2 2009: 5D-3
STATE HOUSE 2005: 39R-21 2009: 35R-25
STATE SENATE 2005: 18R-12 2009: 18R-12

If John McCain had not been from Arizona, there's every reason to believe Barack Obama would've carried that state's 10 electoral votes as well. The same long-term demographic trends that are pushing Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico into the Democratic column are turning Barry Goldwater's home state blue as well. Republicans still control the state Legislature, but there are now as many Arizona Democrats in Congress as Arizona Republicans. The governor is Republican, but that's only because former Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, now runs the Department of Homeland Security, and Secretary of State Jan Brewer inherited her old job. She also inherited a busted budget that has required her to ask for a tax increase, which earned the support of state party chairman Randy Pullen but has caused friction with the conservative base. Chances are still good, however, for the GOP to hang on to the governor's mansion in 2010.

Memorable quote: "I think we have some denial on the right that they are not, nor do they want, to accept the fact that we are in a financial crisis and that they are going to have to step up and make some tough decisions." -- Gov. Jan Brewer 


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 59-38 2008: McCain 56-44
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 2R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 21R-11 2009: 20R-12
STATE HOUSE 2005: 87R-63 2009: 76R-74
STATE SENATE 2005: 19R-12 2009: 19R-12

The era of Bush -- and DeLay, and Armey -- has passed. Tom DeLay engineered a mid-decade redistricting of the state that added five Texas Republicans to Congress. Now DeLay and Dick Armey and George Bush no longer hold elective office, and Texas no longer looks like a Republican fortress. In 2010, incumbent Rick Perry will face a challenge from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, in what is likely to be a fractious intra-party fight. Strains are showing between rural social conservatives, who back Perry, and big-city Republicans, whose concern about changing demographics have helped motivate their support for Hutchison. A Democratic presidential candidate hasn't won the state since 1976, but a closer look shows the margins are surprisingly narrow, even when a Bush is running. In 2005, Texas officially became a majority-minority state. Republicans still control both the state House and Senate, but the Democrats have netted 11 House seats since 2004. The DNC is making a concerted push to turn the state blue -- and soon, since Texas will probably add three U.S. House seats after the 2010 census.

Memorable quote: "I'm kind of more of the say-you're-an-underdog-everywhere-and-sneak-up-on-people (school), rather than tell them you're going to win, but I will say this: The trends in Texas are very positive." -- DNC Chairman Tim Kaine


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 60-38 2008: McCain 53-45
U.S. SENATE 2005: 1R-1D 2009: 1R-1D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 1D 2009: 1D
STATE HOUSE 2005: 51R-19 2009: 46R-24
STATE SENATE 2005: 25R-10 2009: 20R-14-1

 Bloggers in South Dakota are incensed that Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, South Dakota's rising-star Democratic congresswoman, just voted for President Obama's stimulus bill. Why? Because Herseth-Sandlin, a supposedly fiscally conservative blue-dog Democrat, is being pegged to run for the governorship and place it in Democratic hands for the first time since 1978. Republicans include state Sen. Dave Knudson and Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugard, though it's anyone's game. Despite historical precedent, the recent Gallup "State of the States" poll puts South Dakota as trending ever so slightly to the left, and Sandlin's fiscal conservatism, support for gun rights and pro-choice stance make her a moderate, balanced choice for a conflicted state. That is, of course, unless she just made "the first mistake of the 2010 campaign." Republicans will need to fight this hard.

Notable fact: Tom Daschle's unsuccessful bid to beat Republican protégé Sen. John Thune for a South Dakota Senate seat in 2004 was the most expensive of the election, at a cool $30 million.



PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 53-44 2008: Obama 53-46
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 8R-3 2009: 6D-5
STATE HOUSE 2005: 58R-39-3 2009: 53R-45-2
STATE SENATE 2005: 24R-16 2009: 21D-19

The Old Dominion holds its state elections in off-years, which means that starting in 2005, Virginia Republicans have had four straight years of bad news. First the Democrats held on to the governor's mansion, then Jim Webb knocked off George Allen, and then the GOP lost control of the state Senate. The losing streak was capped by last November's rout, in which Republicans lost the other Senate seat, three House seats, and Virginia's 13 presidential electoral votes (for the first time in 44 years). Can it get worse? The GOP may win back two of those House seats in 2010, but all the long-term demographic trends are daunting, especially the continued expansion of the Northern Virginia suburbs and the inexorable rise of the Latino population. A huge registration effort in 2008 added as many as 300,000 new Democrats to state rolls.  And the Republican Party of Virginia has not yet adapted to change. While the state becomes more and more like the rest of the Northeastern corridor, the Virginia GOP is still essentially a Southern Republican Party. Much like the Kansas GOP, the Virginia GOP is at the mercy of its socially conservative base, the same faction that nominated Ollie North for the Senate in 1994. There is hope for the GOP, however: All five remaining congressional Republicans have now called for bungling state party chairman Jeff Frederick to resign.

Frederick first earned renown for saying that Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden "both have friends that bombed the Pentagon," and then, in February, for prematurely tweeting about a party-switching deal with a disaffected Dem that would hand control of the state Senate to the GOP. Frederick's leak allowed Democrats to browbeat the renegade back into the fold.

Memorable quote: "This Jeff Frederick stuff is a disgrace. I don't know where he is coming from, but the party is going down the tubes with him at the helm." -- Vincent Callahan, former member of the House of Delegates (the state Legislature's lower chamber) from Fairfax County


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 56-43 2008: Obama 50-49
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 1D-1R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 7R-6 2009: 8D-5
STATE HOUSE 2005: 63D-57 2009: 68D-52
STATE SENATE 2005: 29D-21 2009: 30D-20

In November, North Carolina gave its electoral votes to a Democrat for the first time in 32 years and fired first-term Republican Sen. Liddy Dole and five-term GOP Rep. Robin Hayes, the guy who said we would win in Iraq by spreading Christianity and that "liberals hate real Americans that ... believe in God."  A Democrat also succeeded a Democrat in the governor's mansion. As in Virginia, the bluing was due to an influx of highly educated transplants plus a huge voter registration effort. Again, however, there is hope for the GOP in a changing of the guard. Linda Daves is stepping down as state chairwoman in June. She is best known for refusing to pull a TV commercial paid for by the state party linking Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bev Perdue to Rev. Jeremiah Wright even after John McCain asked her to kill the ad. Perdue won in November.

Memorable quote: "North Carolina Republicans need to hold a Boston Tea Party. [B]ut it's not tea they need to dump overboard. It's Linda Daves ... Find a harbor. A river. A lake. A big puddle would do." -- Editorial, Fayetteville Observer


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 50-47 2008: Obama 51-47
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 1D-1R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 12R-6 2009: 10D-8
STATE HOUSE 2005: 61R-38 2009: 53D-46
STATE SENATE 2005: 22R-11 2009: 21R-12

Ohio remains the key to victory for presidential candidates of both parties, and its Republican cast has historically proven a structural advantage for GOP contenders. But everything has been downhill for the GOP since 2004, when evangelical voters turned out in force to help George Bush win the state and a second term. Ken Blackwell is no longer secretary of state, and didn't get close to becoming governor, losing by more than 20 points to Democrat Ted Strickland in 2006. (Republicans may also regret that Blackwell lost his latest election, for RNC chairman). Democrats have also picked up four U.S. House seats, one U.S. Senate seat and control of the state House. The remaining Republican senator, George Voinovich, will not seek a third term in 2010. The most prominent Ohio Republican, at least for now, is U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner, whose "Party of No" strategy seems to be pushing GOP poll numbers even lower.

Memorable quote: "Rather than discarding our platform, we need to embrace it. Rather than purging our ranks, we need to multiply them. Rather than simply rejecting the ideas of our opposition, we need to offer bold, visionary solutions of our own." -- Kevin DeWine, recently elected chairman of the Ohio Republican Party.


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 57-41 2008: Obama 50-49
U.S. SENATE 2005: 1D-1R 2009: 1D-1R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 7R-2 2009: 5D-4
STATE HOUSE 2005: 52R-48 2009: 52D-48
STATE SENATE 2005: 33R-17 2009: 33R-17

Indiana is no longer the GOP's Midwest bastion. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first Democrat since LBJ to win the state's electoral votes, but cracks were evident long before -- the GOP lost three House seats in the 2006 midterms. Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels' easy path to reelection last November offers the party a ray of hope, and the national Republican officeholders who remain, including Rep. Mike Pence and pumpkin-shooting Rep. Dan Burton, are conservative die-hards. The conservative tenor of state politics is the reason many of the Indiana Democrats in Congress are Blue Dogs, and why Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh was one of the few Democrats to oppose the recent spending bill. The Indiana GOP has targeted Bayh in 2010, though he won each of his first two terms with more than 60 percent of the vote.

Memorable quote: "It’s becoming nearly impossible to know where Sen. Bayh stands on anything. He votes for the so-called stimulus that spends hundreds of billions of dollars, but as quickly as humanly possible, he starts to backtrack on this recklessness by opining on the pages of the Wall Street Journal about the virtues of austerity." – State party chairman Murray Clark


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 49-49 2008: Obama 51-48
U.S. SENATE 2005: 1D-1R 2009: 1D-1R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 18R-7 2009: 15R-10
STATE HOUSE 2005: 84R-36 2009: 76R-44
STATE SENATE 2005: 26R-14 2009: 26R-14

After the butterfly ballot year of 2000, Florida was supposed to be the ultimate swing state, but seemed to cede that status during the Bush years. One Bush brother was president, the other was governor, and Republicans dominated both the state Legislature and the state's congressional delegation. But now the pendulum seems to be swinging back toward parity -- GOP margins in Congress and Tallahassee have shrunk, and Obama won the state in 2008 without Supreme Court intervention. And you know it's a purple state when the Republican governor, instead of pretending to hate the Democratic president's economic stimulus plan, helps to sell it to the nation. Gov. Charlie Crist maintains a high approval rating by making such forays into the political center. In addition, there is one demographic trend that suggests a bluer future for Florida: As more non-Cuban Latinos move into the state and as successive generations of Cuban-Americans become less Republican, Florida's Latino population has begun to tilt Democratic.

Memorable quote: "I'm a Florida Republican. And in the Florida way, we work together in a bipartisan fashion to do what's right for the people." -- Gov. Charlie Crist


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 50-46 2008: Obama 54-43
U.S. SENATE 2005: 1D-1R 2009: 1D-1R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 2R-1 2009: 2D-1
STATE HOUSE 2005: 26D-16 2009: 28D-14
STATE SENATE 2005: 12R-9 2009: 12D-9

In the past, Nevada Republicans spread across the vast rural wastes of the state could overcome the Democrats concentrated in Las Vegas. But the fast-growing Latino population, combined with the organized casino workers, have made this one of America's most politically competitive states. Democrats had a breakthrough year in 2008. After going for Bush narrowly in 2000 and 2004, Nevada went for Barack Obama by a landslide. The GOP also lost a House seat. Colorful first-term Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons, who has survived a federal bribery investigation and an allegation of sexual assault, looks doomed in 2010 -- he might not even be renominated.

Notable fact: After Gov. Jim Gibbons filed for divorce in 2008, he tried to evict his wife from the governor's mansion. She now lives in an apartment adjacent to the mansion and Gibbons has moved back into the mansion. Their divorce is still pending.


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 48-46 2008: Obama 54-44
U.S. SENATE 2005: 1R-1D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 4R-4 2009: 5D-3
STATE HOUSE 2005: 68R-66 2009: 87D-47
STATE SENATE 2005: 38D-29 2009: 46D-21

There have been signs in recent years, like an uptick in evangelicals and the reddening of some suburbs, that the Republican Party might be gaining traction in the home of Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy and Walter Mondale. Though Michele Bachmann managed to survive the 2008 election despite herself, last November's "tsunami" was evidence that Minnesota remains one of the bluer of the battleground states. The GOP lost ground in both houses of the state Legislature, and Norm Coleman lost his U.S. Senate seat, though he has not yet come to terms with that. Gov. Tim Pawlenty, an evangelical Christian, may be considered a rising star in the national GOP, but he won both of his two terms without ever garnering more than 47 percent of the vote.

Memorable quote: "Let’s face it; our party is just not as well organized as it used to be at a time when Democrats have leap-frogged ahead of us. Part of the reason for our organizational problems is activist apathy." -- Tony Sutton, candidate for state GOP chairman



PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 56-40 2008: Obama 57-42
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 7D-6 2009: 8D-5
STATE HOUSE 2005: 48D-32 2009: 48D-32
STATE SENATE 2005: 22D-18 2009: 23D-17

 Once upon a time, the Garden State was a classic political bellwether. With a mix of blue-collar ethnic whites, minorities and upscale suburbanite moderates, New Jersey had a lively competition between the two major parties. But as moderate, educated whites broke Democratic in the 1990s, the Republican position began to erode. A quirk in state polling seems to understate support for Democrats, which often gives Republicans undue hope come Election Day, but no Republican has taken the state's electoral votes in 20 years and no Republican has represented Jersey in the U.S. Senate since 1982. Republicans once again have hope for success because of bad poll numbers, but this time they might be real. Unpopular incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine faces an off-year election this fall, and a solid likely opponent in corruption-busting ex-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie. If Christie can't win, maybe no Republican can.

Memorable quote: "In New Jersey if you have a generic Republican and a generic Democrat, the Democrat is going to win … I think Chris [Christie] is someone who can [change] that. [I] do think we have a great opportunity this year. The reason being we have a governor who is damaged, clearly." – New Jerseyite Mike Duhaime, political director of John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign and, earlier, presidential campaign manager for Rudy Giuliani


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 51-46 2008: Obama 55-44
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 1D-1R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 12R-7 2009: 12D-7
STATE HOUSE 2005: 110R-93 2009: 104D-99
STATE SENATE 2005: 30R-20 2009: 29R-20

 Thanks in part to the bluing of the Philadelphia suburbs, there's a lot less swing in the ultimate swing state than there used to be. The last time a Republican won Pennsylvania's electoral votes was 1988, and though he spent much of last fall in Pennsylvania, McCain lost it to Obama by 11 points. Republicans have lost five U.S. House seats since 2004 and control of the state House, though they still have a majority in the state Senate. What is the GOP's answer to Pennsylvania's leftward drift? Potentially, a turn to the right. Former House member and current Club for Growth president Pat Toomey ran against incumbent Republican Sen. Arlen Specter in the 2004 GOP primary, and lost by only 1.7 points; Specter was probably saved by President Bush's last-minute endorsement. After Specter, one of the last GOP moderates in the Senate, voted for the stimulus bill, Toomey vowed to take him on again in 2010, when Specter, who has battled Hodgkin's lymphoma, will be 80. But before voting for Toomey, Pennsylvania Republicans may want to remember what became of ultra-conservative Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, evicted from office in a landslide by Democrat Bob Casey.

Memorable quote: "Specter’s vote was a profound betrayal of the Republican Party and conservative principles." -- Pat Toomey


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 48-47 2008: Obama 54-45
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 1D-1R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 2R 2009: 2D
STATE HOUSE 2005: 253R-147 2009: 225D-175
STATE SENATE 2005: 16R-8 2009: 14D-10

New Hampshire's defection from the ranks of the rock-ribbed Republican is particularly emblematic, since it was the home of the Manchester Union-Leader newspaper, oracle of conservatism, and it was in the snows of New Hampshire that many a Republican presidential candidate proved his mettle. Now New Hampshire's governor and two Congresspeople are Democrats (both seats flipping in 2006), and GOP scion John E. Sununu just lost his Senate seat to former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen. In 2006, the Republicans lost fully a third of their state House seats and control of both chambers of the Legislature. Could the party's declining fortunes have anything to do with the fact that the head of the New Hampshire GOP was convicted on federal conspiracy charges in 2004 for his role in jamming phones at Democratic headquarters on Election Night 2002? Or is it just about the Southernization of the national GOP, and New England's regionwide distaste for same? Either way, New Hampshire was one of the seven states with the biggest shifts in party ID between 2004 and 2008. State Republicans have placed their hopes for a comeback on new party chairman John H. Sununu, father of the recently dislodged senator, who is himself a former governor and chief of staff to the first president Bush.

Memorable quote: "[Sununu] inherits a party that has lost resoundingly in back-to-back elections, suffers significant financial and organizational disadvantages and faces demographic changes that analysts say have shifted the state to the left." – Margot Sanger-Katz, Concord Monitor


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore: 48-48 2008: Obama: 56-42
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 4-4 2009: 5D-3
STATE HOUSE 2005: 60R-39 2009: 52D-46-1
STATE SENATE 2005: 19R-14 2009: 18D-15

 Currently, the most intimidating aspect of Wisconsin's Republican Party might be the party Web site, which invites state residents to an anti-tax "Madison Tea Party" in the state capital on April 15. Otherwise, the fortunes of Republicans in the land of dairy have dwindled in recent years. After narrowly opting for Gore in 2000, the state no longer swings in presidential elections, but seems firmly Democratic. Add to that the fact that Wisconsin has two Democratic senators and a Democratic majority in the U.S. House and it's a bleak picture for the GOP. Presently, because they're the minority in both chambers of the state Legislature, Wisconsin Republicans are helpless to stop Gov. Jim Doyle from raising taxes on the state's wealthiest residents to offset Wisconsin's budget deficit. Republicans have placed their hopes in a young, aggressive leader, state party chair Reince Priebus, though they may wish he would defend Michael Steele a little less vociferously.

Memorable quote: "The elected officials have put us in a situation where we are having to rebuild our party and our credibility at the same time ... And if we can't admit that, we'd be pretty clueless." -- State party chairman Reince Priebus


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 55-43 2008: Obama 62-37
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 10D-9 2009: 11D-7
STATE HOUSE 2005: 65D-53 2009: 70D-48
STATE SENATE 2005: 32D-26-1 2009: 37D-22

What gives Republicans a chance in this solidly Democratic state? One word: Blago. Two, you say? Burris? Well, without Blago there is no Burris. Things are actually going better than expected for Republicans in Illinois, thanks largely to impeached and now former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. On the way out the door, Blagojevich managed to make both the governor's mansion and Barack Obama's old Senate seat inviting targets for the GOP in 2010. Republican Rep. Mark Kirk would be a formidable opponent should Blago Senate appointee Roland Burris try to stick around in 2010. Still, any Republican has to overcome long odds in Illinois; the state is ranked as the eighth most Democratic by Gallup, and voters may also remember that past Republican candidates for statewide office were named George Ryan, Peter Fitzgerald and Alan Keyes.

Memorable quote: "We live in the most corrupt state in the country right now. It is the result of the Democratic Party's complete arrogance in a one-party state." -- Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill.


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 51-46 2008: Obama 57-41
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 9R-6 2009: 8D-7
STATE HOUSE 2005: 58R-52 2009: 67D-43
STATE SENATE 2005: 22R-16 2009: 21R-17

John McCain implicitly acknowledged that Michigan is staunchly Democratic when he pulled his campaign out of the state over a month before the election. Democrats were also able to flip the state House in 2006, with the help of campaign cash from local millionaire Jon Stryker.  Yet Democratic dysfunction has given Michigan Republicans some grounds for optimism. While both of the state's U.S. Senate seats are filled by Democrats and Democrats now hold an 8-7 majority in U.S. House seats, the party brand has been dragged down by Kwame Kilpatrick and Jennifer Granhom. Kilpatrick is now the former mayor of Detroit and a convicted felon; Granholm will be the former governor in January 2011. After two terms, her popularity has plummeted as the state's spectacular economic woes have worsened. Current Attorney General Mike Cox, a Republican, made his name going after Kilpatrick and looks like he will be able to mount a very strong campaign for governor in 2010.

Notable fact: Former state party chairman Saul Anuzis, who failed in his bid for the RNC job now held by Michael Steele, will head an anti-union advocacy group formed by Newt Gingrich called the Save American Jobs Project.


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 49-48 2008: Obama 54-45
U.S. SENATE 2005: 1R-1D 2009: 1R-1D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 4R-1 2009: 3D-2
STATE HOUSE 2005: 51R-49 2009: 56D-44
STATE SENATE 2005: 25-25 2009: 32D-18

Iowa was one of the three states that flipped in the 2000 and 2004 elections, but lately it is looking less like a swing state. Democrats now hold the majority in both state houses and in the Iowa congressional delegation. The problem was not just George Bush. Recall that while the Iowa caucuses made Barack Obama the Democratic front-runner, they also made Mike Huckabee a GOP contender. Evangelical Christians helped the socially conservative Baptist minister from Arkansas take first place in the Republican caucuses over Mitt Romney. Iowa's Democratic-leaning general electorate, however, prefers moderation. Now Iowa Republicans have a new party chair, Matt Strawn, who talks about using Facebook to compete with Democrats. In 2010 he will try to retake lost ground in the Legislature and Congress while also mounting a challenge to incumbent Democratic Gov. Chet Culver and perhaps contending with the retirement of moderate Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley.

Memorable quote: "Was [a lack of using social networking and communication tools] the sole reason we lost in 2008? No. But it was likely part of it. We need to be using every tool in the toolbox. It's insane not to use the technological advances we have out our fingertips." – State GOP chairman Matt Strawn


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Bush 51-42 2008: Obama 54-45
U.S. SENATE 2005: 1R-1D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 4R-3 2009: 5D-2
STATE HOUSE 2005: 35D-30 2009: 38D-27
STATE SENATE 2005: 18D-17 2009: 21D-14

 The problems of the Colorado GOP are the problems of the national party. Just five years ago, Colorado was a locus of right-wing power. It was the home of anti-immigration obsessive Rep. Tom Tancredo, anti-gay obsessive Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, megachurch pastor Ted Haggard and Focus on the Family head James Dobson. Republicans had the governor's mansion, both houses of the state Legislature, both U.S. Senate seats and five of seven House seats. Now Colorado has gone from bright red to bright blue because of growing Latino political strength, and because extremists in the state Republican Party alienated moderate suburban voters. As of 2009, both Tancredo and Musgrave are out of Congress, with Musgrave replaced by a Democrat, Haggard is still trying to recover from a scandal involving a male hooker, and Dobson has resigned as chairman of the board of Focus on the Family. Democrats have the governor's mansion, both houses of the state Legislature, both Senate seats and five of seven U.S. House seats. However, the GOP still dominates many counties, and party leadership is talking tough about regaining their footing in 2010. They're hoping a backlash against Obama might bring them strength in time for redistricting in 2010. Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams wants to start the comeback in 2010 with Ken Salazar's old Senate seat in 2010, now filled via appointment by the largely unknown Denver schools director Michael Bennet, and first-term Democrat Rep. Betsy Markey, who defeated Marilyn Musgrave last November.

Memorable quote: "This notion that Colorado has suddenly become a Democratic state is preposterous. I think Democrats who have a grip on reality know that." -- State GOP chairman Dick Wadhams


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 48-48 2008: Obama 57-42
U.S. SENATE 2005: 1R-1D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 2R-1 2009: 3D
STATE HOUSE 2005: 42D-28 2009: 45D-25
STATE SENATE 2005: 23D-19 2009: 27D-15

New Mexico exemplifies the bleak future that awaits the GOP in the Southwest unless the party can figure out some way to improve its image with Latinos. George Bush narrowly won the state in 2004 after Al Gore narrowly won the state in 2000. Thanks to mobilized Latino voters, however, Barack Obama swamped John McCain by more than 10 points. Republicans also lost all three of their Congressional seats and seats in both state chambers, which were already controlled by Democrats. Things are so dire that the state GOP's Web site includes a section called "What we're up against."

Memorable quote: "I made the point to every candidate I helped that ... if they perceived this to be the usual race, the normal race, they were going to get a great surprise on [Election Day] because this was a race with wind in our face." -- Former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 49-44 2008: Obama 58-41
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2R 2009: 2R
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 2D 2009: 2D
STATE HOUSE 2005: 76D-73-2 2009: 96D-54-1
STATE SENATE 2005: 19D-16 2009: 20D-15

A New England state with two Republican senators? Surely, Maine must be fertile Republican soil. Not so fast. Both Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are moderate Republicans who have largely supported the positions of the Obama administration so far, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he views them as protection against GOP filibusters. Meanwhile, Democrats have surged in the state Legislature and Maine has voted increasingly Democratic in presidential elections over the last three cycles. Only one county went for John McCain in 2008.

Notable fact: "Olympia Snowe has sided with the administration on 26 of 31 roll call votes so far." -- Nate Silver, fivethirtyeight.com



PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 51-41 2008: Obama 68-31
U.S. SENATE 2005: 1I-1D 2009: 1I-1D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 1I 2009: 1D
STATE HOUSE 2005: 83D-60-7 2009: 95D-48-7
STATE SENATE 2005: 21D-9 2009: 23D-7 

For more than a century, Vermont was the most reliably Republican state in the nation. Now it is known as the home of Ben and Jerry's (Yes Pecan!), Bernie Sanders, Howard Dean and towns that issue warrants for the arrest of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. In 2008, the state GOP opted not to field a candidate against first-term incumbent Rep. Peter Welch. Vermont's best-known Republican, the now retired Jim Jeffords, is famous for bolting the party, becoming an independent in May 2001 and delivering the U.S. Senate to Democratic control for 18 months. Though Vermont has a popular four-term Republican governor, Jim Douglas, the best metric of relative party strength (since voter registration does not identify party) is the balance of power in the state Legislature. Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1 in the lower chamber, and 3-to-1 in the state Senate. A 2008 poll found that a higher percentage of Vermonters described themselves as liberal than in any other state. Only residents of the District of Columbia were more liberal.

Notable fact: A recent history of the Vermont Republican Party is titled "The Star That Set."


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 61-32 2008: Obama 63-35
U.S. SENATE 2005: 1D-1R 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 2D 2009: 2D
STATE HOUSE 2005: 59D-16 2009: 69D-6
STATE SENATE 2005: 33D-5 2009: 33D-4-1

All the Republicans in both houses of the Rhode Island state Legislature could sit together at one big table at Applebee's. Once there were 18, but as of January 2009 there are only 10. That apparently does not leave enough hands free to update the state party Web site regularly, but it does leave enough to divide the party into factions.  The only Rhode Island Republican in Congress, RINO Linc Chafee, never popular with the conservative base, lost his Senate seat in 2006, quit the party in 2007, wrote a book bashing Bush in 2008, called Sarah Palin a "wacko" and endorsed Obama for president. When incumbent Republican Gov. Donald Carcieri leaves office in 2011, his successor will probably not be a Republican, because only one in 10 Rhode Island voters is a Republican.

Memorable quote: As one state GOP blogger put it, "There has to be a thorough house cleaning. In fact, we need not only to throw out the bath water, but the baby, the tub and the nanny with it!"


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 60-35 2008: Obama 62-37
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 20D-9 2009: 25D-3
STATE HOUSE 2005: 105D-45 2009: 109D-41
STATE SENATE 2005: 35R-27 2009: 32D-30

In 2006, after Democrats walloped Republicans in statewide elections, former GOP Sen. Al D'Amato said, "The party's not dead, but if the Democrats take the Senate out, it will be pretty close to dead." In 2008, the Democrats did "take the state Senate out," even after Spitzergate, and the former Republican leader of the state Senate is under indictment. Is the party dead? The unpopularity of Gov. David Paterson gives the GOP some hope for 2010. State chairman Joseph Mondello gleefully called the shambolic process by which Paterson picked a successor for Hillary Clinton "a circus." But long-term trends look grim. Democrats have surged in the New York City suburbs, and the population of Republican areas upstate is in slow free fall. It would also help if some of the state's Republicans, e.g., Mondello and former Gov. George Pataki, liked each other.

Memorable quote: "I know that if we put our hearts and efforts and our money and our spine into this election, we work hard, we'll be able to take New York State over. That's the first step toward making this both a Republican state and a Republican country again." -- State GOP chairman Joseph Mondello during the 2008 Republican National Convention


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore: 56-38 2008: Obama: 61-38
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2D 2009: 1D-1I
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 3R-2 2009: 5 D
STATE HOUSE 2005: 99D-52 2009: 114D-37
STATE SENATE 2005: 24D-12 2009: 24D-12

Just how blue is Connecticut? Gallup rates the state as the sixth most Democratic in the nation, Connecticut doesn't have a single Republican representative in the U.S. Congress, and both houses of the state Legislature have Democratic majorities of two-thirds or more. U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, who lost the Democratic nomination in the 2006 primary but won the November race, is an independent but caucuses with the Democrats. Rep. Chris Shays, a moderate who had been the last House Republican in New England, lost his seat in 2008. Gov. Jodi Rell is a Republican, but her support of civil unions for gay couples puts her out-of-step with the national GOP. The party's best hope may be incumbent Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd's mortgage-related plunge in the polls, which gives the GOP an opening for 2010.

Memorable quote: "It is obvious that the Connecticut Republican Party -- or at least what's left of it -- has been successful in inciting a lot of press coverage about a handful of real estate transactions." -- Dodd spokesman Bryan DeAngelis


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 55-42 2008: Obama 62-37
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 1R 2009: 1R
STATE HOUSE 2005: 25R-15-1 2009: 24D-17
STATE SENATE 2005: 13D-8 2009: 16D-5

 The vice president's home state, meanwhile, is somewhat more hospitable territory for Republicans, even though Democrats control the governor's mansion and the Legislature. That's because there is at least one very popular Republican in the state. Former Gov. Mike Castle, who is now Delaware's lone representative n the U.S. House, could probably take Joe Biden's old seat in the Senate if he ran in 2010. Polls say he has a narrow edge over Joe's son Beau, Delaware's attorney general. Unfortunately for the state GOP, Castle can only hold one office at a time.

Memorable quote: "Build a big tent, or a small coffin." -- Mike Protack, candidate for GOP state chairman, whose Web site urges, "Let's Rebuild the Delaware GOP"


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 56-38 2008: Obama 72-27
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 2D 2009: 2D
STATE HOUSE 2005: 41D-10 2009: 45D-6
STATE SENATE 2005: 20D-5 2009: 23D-2

Democrats are as popular as Spam in the Aloha State, especially now that a local product is president. They outnumber Republicans in the state Legislature by nearly 10-to-1. The state's popular, pro-choice Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, the first GOP governor in four decades, term-limits out in 2010, and she is likely to be replaced by a Democrat. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, part of Hawaii's all Democratic congressional delegation, has announced his candidacy for the job.

Memorable quote: "The very first thing the president said to me was, 'Tell everyone back home I said, 'Hi,' and the last thing he said to me before he left the room today was 'I'll see you back home.' " -- Gov. Linda Lingle, after meeting with President Obama in Washington in Februrary


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 50-45 2008: Obama 58-41
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 6D-3 2009: 6D-3
STATE HOUSE 2005: 55D-43 2009: 64D-34
STATE SENATE 2005: 26D-23 2009: 31D-18

The bright spot for Washington Republicans in 2008 was that Rep. Dave Reichert (Wash.-8) survived a challenge from Netroots favorite Darcy Burner. Otherwise, Democrats maintained their decisive edge in the congressional delegation and expended their majorities in the state Legislature, and incumbent Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire easily defeated Dino Rossi, whom she'd beaten in their first match-up four years earlier by only 125 votes. Reichert should expect another tough battle in 2010. Last month, the DCCC targeted him with radio ads and phone calls telling constituents that he had voted against President Obama's economic plan. West of the Cascades, if Republicans want to survive they must, like Reichert, temper their conservative stands; but in this increasingly blue state even some Republicans in the GOP heartland of eastern Washington are pledging support for civil unions.

Memorable quote: "I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh. I don't think he speaks for the [Republican] party. He doesn't speak for me. I certainly hope the president doesn't fail. If he does, America fails." -- Rep. Dave Reichert


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 47-47 2008: Obama 57-41
U.S. SENATE 2005: 1D-1R 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 4D-1 2009: 4D-1
STATE HOUSE 2005: 33R-27 2009: 36D-24
STATE SENATE 2005: 18D-12 2009: 18D-12

Is there still a GOP in Oregon? Even senior state Republicans aren't quite sure. Delivering a post-election analysis to the Portland City Club in December, local GOP strategist Dan Lavey said: "I think the Republican Party in Oregon is dead." Democrats dispatched incumbent Sen.  Gordon Smith in November, leaving only one Republican in the seven-member congressional delegation, and made gains in both houses of the state Legislature. Soul-searching and an internal power struggle ensued, with the GOP electing Bob Tiernan to be the new chairman of the Oregon R.P. on Jan. 14. This move has left some observers wondering how a staunchly conservative "loose cannon" helps the GOP win in a blue state that's getting bluer all the time.

Memorable quote: "It looks as if GOP insiders are ignoring the lessons of November 2008 and committing themselves to more years of wandering in the political wilderness." -- Editorial, Portland Tribune


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 57-40 2008: Obama 62-37
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 6D-2 2009: 7D-1
STATE HOUSE 2005: 98D-43 2009: 104D-36-1
STATE SENATE 2005: 33D-14 2009: 33D-14

Republicans have long had a hard time in deep-blue Maryland, and lately they've made things harder for themselves. There used to be two Republicans in Maryland's 11-person Congressional delegation. Now there is only one, and that's the fault of the GOP, not the Democrats. Rep. Wayne Gilchrist, Md.-1, lost his job when a conservative purist bumped him off in the GOP primary; Gilchrist returned the favor by endorsing Democrat Frank Kratovil in the general, and Kratovil won by a whisker. If there was any recent bright stop for Maryland Republicans, it was that one of their own now heads the Republican National Committee. But that's not liable to be a permanent gig, since his name is Michael Steele. (It is difficult to find any mention on the Maryland GOP's official Web site, even in its "News" section, that the state's Lt. Gov. Michael Steele has been elected the head of the Republican National Committee.

Memorable quote: Asked by a conservative blogger how many people thought he was "completely crazy" to seek the job of state party chairman, Dr. Jim Pelura answered, "Not as many as one would think, although a friend said that he was going to give me a few sessions with a psychiatrist for Christmas that year!"


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 53-42 2008: Obama 61-37
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 33D-20 2009: 34D-19
STATE HOUSE 2005: 48D-32 2009: 51D-29
STATE SENATE 2005: 25D-15 2009: 26D-14

In the state that has always the nation's leading indicator of social trends, recent Democratic dominance has been based on the same coalition of urban liberals, suburban social moderates, and minorities that elected Barack Obama last fall. After a few wipeouts, the GOP learned how to survive in that environment and nominated Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose politics would make him a Democrat in most non-coastal states. With the voting population getting less white by the day, there's probably no turning back for California Republicans, though conservatives keep trying. The decision by six GOP lawmakers to side with the Democratic majority in the state Legislature and pass a state budget containing tax increases brought demands for censure from the party's conservative base. State chairman Ron Nehring urged conservatives to cool off and concentrate on growing the party instead. In 2010, when Arnold is termed out, expect eBay exec Meg Whitman and Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner -- both suburban, business-oriented, moderate millionaires -- to fight for the Republican gubernatorial nod.

Memorable quote: "We have to get out of the doldrums from the November election. We need to rally people." -- State GOP vice chairman Tom Del Beccaro


PRESIDENTIAL VOTE 2000: Gore 60-33 2008: Obama 62-36
U.S. SENATE 2005: 2D 2009: 2D
U.S. HOUSE 2005: 10D 2009: 10D
STATE HOUSE 2005: 139D-20-1 2009: 143D-16-1
STATE SENATE 2005: 34D-6 2009: 35D-5

 If Massachusetts has a Republican Party, it isn't visible to the naked eye. Sure, the state sometimes elects moderate GOP governors, but that's only to offset its Legislature; currently, Democratic state representatives outnumber Republicans by nine-fold. Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, is coasting along for now with high approval ratings (though here too, impending budget cuts could take a toll). A 2010 challenge against a popular incumbent Democrat in the heartland of northern liberal Democratic politics looks pretty grim for the GOP. Nor are there any obvious candidates, either for Patrick's job or, should Sen. Ted Kennedy's health force him from the Senate, for his seat. Democrats, after all, hold every congressional seat and statewide elected office.

Notable fact: In late February, new state party chairwoman Jennifer Nassour organized a protest on the Statehouse steps against a four-cent hike in the state gas tax. Twenty-five people showed. Polls indicate voters would support a tax hike five times as big.

Research by Lillian Bixler, Christopher M. Matthews, Vincent Rossmeier, Mark Schone, Benjamin Travers and Gabriel Winant


By Salon Staff

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