The New York Times is running a story on the vastly important but largely un-reported contest for control of State Legislatures. Seats in state houses are almost exactly evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats control 19 state houses, Republicans 20. Ten states have one Democratic controlled chamber and one Republican controlled chamber. Nebraska is just fucking weird.
Just as the 2010 census is coming up, Democrats are poised to possibly make some major gains. Having Democrat controlled bodies in place when districts will be redrawn will certainly be a good thing. (Though we've learned that waiting for the census may not be necessary...)
A 'bottom up' revitalization of the party could happen this election, especially if 'coat tails' of Democratic challengers help down ticket Dems win in typically Red states.
The New York Times piece also had a great story about a state race in Iowa:
Mr. Wiskus is a 42-year-old Iowa farmer and lifelong Republican from the town of Centerville, about 100 miles south of the capital, who is making his first run for public office for a [State] House seat.That must make Karl Rove's head spin.
He became so outraged by his own party's efforts to elect him that he resigned last month in protest.
A mailing sent by the state committee told voters that Mr. Wiskus's Democratic opponent, a lawyer named Kurt Swaim, had defended a man charged with child molesting.
Mr. Wiskus knew that Mr. Swaim had been assigned the case by the court as a public defender, and decided the attack was unconscionable. He is now an independent, and said he would serve as an independent if elected.
"I was offended," Mr. Wiskus said in an interview. "I had promised and pledged to run a clean and ethical and honorable race, and I told the Republican Party I did not want any attack ads."
2006 Election Democrats State Races