Republicans maintain, and strengthen, control of Midwest's state legislatures in 2014 elections

With the notable exceptions of Illinois and Minnesota, this November’s elections did little to change the partisan balance of power in Midwestern states.

When legislatures meet next year, the Republican Party will continue to have control of them and the governors’ offices in Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Democrats, meanwhile, lost single-party control in the only two states where they had it. The GOP now holds a  majority of seats in the Minnesota House, and Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn lost his re-election bid.


Ever since the turning-point election of 2010 — when Democrats lost nearly 200 seats in the Midwest’s 20 partisan legislative chambers — Republicans have had firm control of power in most of the region’s states. In fact, in the year ahead, the GOP will hold more legislative seats in the Midwest than it did even after the “wave” elections of 1994 and 2010 (see line graph).

Regardless of party, a large majority of legislative incumbents won their races for re-election. However, legislative turnover will still be quite high, in part because of term-limits laws in states such as Michigan, Nebraska and South Dakota (see table). Below is the expected partisan breakdown for each Midwestern state and legislative chamber in 2015. (Exact numbers are based on unofficial election results and subject to change.)

  • ·         Illinois —House, 71-47, and Senate, 39-20, Democratic majorities in both chambers;

    ·         Indiana — House, 71-29, and Senate, 40-10, Republican majorities in both chambers;

    ·         Iowa — House, 57-43, Republican majority; and Senate, 26-24, Democratic majority;

    ·         Kansas — House, 98-27; and Senate, 32-8, Republican majorities in both chambers;

    ·         Michigan — House, 64-46, and Senate, 27-11, Republican majorities in both chambers;

    ·         Minnesota — House, 72-62, Republican majority; and Senate, 39-28, Democratic majority;

    ·         North Dakota — House, 71-23, and Senate, 32-15, Republican majorities in both chambers;

    ·         Ohio — House, 65-34, and Senate, 23-10, Republican majorities in both chambers;

    ·         South Dakota — House, 58-12, and Senate, 27-8, Republican majorities in both chambers; and

    ·         Wisconsin — House, 63-36, and Senate, 19-14, Republican majorities in both chambers.



Stateline Midwest ~ November 20141.13 MB