These states may be headed for 'single-party control' and 'intraparty squabbles' after the midterms: report
It remains to be seen how much of a red wave the GOP will or won’t have in the 2022 midterms, but even if Republicans do enjoy a lot of victories on Election Day, November 8, the governments of some blue states may become even bluer if Democrats win gubernatorial races in those states. And some red states with Democratic governors, including Kansas, may become redder if GOP gubernatorial candidates prevail.
The result of a blue state becoming bluer and a red state becoming redder in the midterms, according to Politico reporter Lisa Kashinsky, could be more “intraparty squabbles” to go with “single-party control.”
Kashinsky, in an article published by Politico on November 2, cites Massachusetts and Maryland as two examples. Both of them are deep blue states with popular Republican governors: Charlie Baker in Massachusetts and Larry Hogan in Maryland. But Baker isn’t seeking reelection, and Hogan is term-limited.
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Hogan, a non-MAGA conservative, has had nothing good to say about the Republican gubernatorial nominee in his state, far-right MAGA conspiracy theorist and QAnon ally Dan Cox, and has predicted that Democratic nominee Wes Moore will be Maryland’s next governor. A Washington Post/University of Maryland poll released in October found Cox trailing Moore by 32 percent.
In Massachusetts’ gubernatorial race, polls have found Democrat Maura Healey (the state attorney general) ahead of Republican nominee Geoff Diehl by double digits.
Kashinsky emphasizes that if Massachusetts and Maryland end up with Democratic control of both their state legislatures and governor’s offices, some Democratic infighting will be a strong possibility in 2023 and 2024.
“One-party rule is generally regarded as a good thing for the party in power, while divided government, the argument goes, allows for key checks and balances,” Kashinsky explains. “But there are perils to unilateral power. It can bring dormant intraparty fault lines to the surface, torch relationships among lawmakers and splinter the party in power’s voter base. In some cases, unified control can lead to the sorts of insurmountable impasses and general gridlock it’s expected to avoid.”
Kashinsky points out that when Deval Patrick was governor of Massachusetts — where Democrats have “supermajorities” in the state legislature — “one-party control didn’t always work out for” him.
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“Deval Patrick, the state’s first Black governor, clashed openly with the Democratic-led (Massachusetts State) Legislature over transportation funding, casino gambling and expanding charter schools,” Kashinsky notes. “Sometimes, top Democrats hammered out compromises behind closed doors. In other cases, like with the transportation bill that raised the state gas tax, lawmakers bucked the governor’s wishes through overrides.”
Meanwhile in Wisconsin, Republicans could end up with one-party control if Democratic Gov. Tony Evers isn’t reelected. The GOP controls both houses of the Wisconsin State Legislature.
“In Wisconsin, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has stymied Republican lawmakers’ efforts to expand gun rights and change the battleground state’s election laws,” Kashinsky observes. “He’s vetoed more than 100 bills in the past session — a record for the state — including a package of new voting rules that would have banned mailing absentee ballot applications and prevented private money from being used in election administration, among other aims. Republicans already control both chambers but could gain supermajorities in the Legislature, rendering Evers somewhat powerless even if he wins reelection. Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has vowed to reconsider ‘every single thing’ Evers vetoed.”
In Kansas, where centrist Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly is seeking reelection and Republicans control the state legislature, polls are showing a tight race — and Kashinsky notes the possibility of infighting among Kansas Republicans if Kelly isn’t reelected.
“If Kansas Republicans secure the governorship again, they’re likely to set their sights on similar goals by trying to pass a taxpayer ‘bill of rights’ limiting tax increases,” according to Kashinsky. “Another long-held legislative priority would be providing Kansans with education savings accounts that could go toward subsidizing private school tuition, a big push in the school choice debate. But some Topeka insiders predict that Republicans may become paralyzed by infighting between the moderate and conservative wings of the GOP, tensions that have escalated in recent years.”
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