Colorado may be a toss-up state in the presidential race, but it’s nowhere to be found on a list of the top-10 battlegrounds for control of state governments.
In what amounts to more bad news for Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) on Friday listed 10 states where the changeover of just a handful of seats in the state legislature could shift control to either party.
While some Western and Midwestern states such as Montana, Nevada and Oklahoma made the list, Colorado — where Democrats control the Senate by a 20-15 margin and the House by a 40-25 margin — was not one of them. The other seven state legislative battleground states are Delaware, Indiana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
According to the NCSL, voters will decide 80 percent of the 7,382 total state legislative seats and 11 state governors nationwide on Nov. 4. The group says that low number of governor seats makes the legislative races all the more vital, especially in a presidential election year.
“History suggests that success for either Sen. John McCain or Sen. Barack Obama will produce a coattail effect,” said Tim Storey, an NCSL elections expert, “and is especially true in presidential battleground states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.”
Since 1940, according to the NCSL, the party winning the presidency has picked up state legislative seats in 11 of 17 elections, except in 2004 when Republicans had a net loss of 25 seats nationwide despite winning the presidency. The party that wins the White House on average gains more than 125 legislative seats.