The political world is entering the home stretch where final execution on campaign plans will demonstrate whether two years of planning, spending and campaigning will pay off. Voters will decide if we move forward to a new, open, growing future or remain mired in the closed ways of the past. Two things will happen in the next four weeks related to legislative races: the majority of down-ballot spending will occur in the last four weeks of the campaign and the full impact of the 2010 Republican gains and subsequent redistricting will be realized.
As we get closer to election day, trends and polls indicate Republicans will expand our reach beyond the current control of 60 of 99 legislative chambers, approach a new modern-day high water mark and have a path to a supermajority of legislative majorities.
Voters have gone from increasingly disapproving of President Obama’s old, top-down model to downright disillusioned. History has shown that both the generic congressional vote and a President’s approval rating are reliable indicators for down-ballot races going into midterm elections. In 2010, when Obama’s approval was at 45 percent, Republicans picked up 675 seats. Today he’s around 40 percent. Voters see no solutions from the administration, which stands in stark contrast to the new, open, forward thinking management of Republican state leaders.
In traditionally blue states, Republican reformers have turned multibillion-dollar deficits into surpluses, grown jobs and challenged entrenched special interests to enact key reforms. In Wisconsin, the Walker-Kleefisch reforms created more than 100,000 new jobs, lowered taxes by more than $2 billion, froze college tuition and invested more than $100 million in worker trainings. These feats would not have been possible without the Republican legislature and other state and local offices.
Finally, and most importantly, we will win because we have the right candidates. Our Future Majority Project and “Right Women, Right Now” initiatives have recruited 244 new diverse Republicans and identified 558 new women running across the nation. This year, states once eyed as vulnerable are now solid locks and others once thought to be Democratic or blue are now likely to flip to GOP control because we have the best candidates that fit the district. These women and diverse candidates make the critical difference.
Republicans have a chance to secure majorities across the south, with possible pickups in the Kentucky House and West Virginia House, and regain majorities held in 2011-2012 in the New Hampshire and Minnesota House. The party also is looking to build new majorities in the southwest with the Nevada Senate, Colorado Senate and New Mexico House. A number of opportunities are lurking in what are perceived to be blue states, all strongly carried by President Obama in 2012. Top targets include both chambers in Maine and Oregon, the Iowa Senate the Nevada Assembly, the Colorado House and the Washington House.
The 2014 elections, once again, demonstrate how voters are fed up with the tired and outdated Democratic policies of increased spending and higher taxes. While Obama’s Washington is not wildly popular with voters these days, the positive vision of state level Republicans is. GOP elected officials benefit from a record of innovation that is adding jobs and creating new opportunities. New candidates have the energy, drive and commitment to expand our party to reflect the full diversity of America. Incumbents are benefitting from a record of adding jobs and implementing pro-growth policies.
We’ve got four weeks to go. Now the decision to create new opportunities for Americans begins in earnest.
Walter is the president of the Republican State Leadership Committee