No doubt there was a lot at stake in the 2008 presidential election that concluded this week with a resounding win for Barack Obama over John McCain.

Not only did the Democrats recapture the White House but depending on official results have picked up at least 6 seats in the Senate and 19 plus seats in the House.

For the GOP this was certainly depressing news as they have now seen all of their gains since they took control of the House in 1994 erased and then some.

While the Republicans lick their wounds from Tuesday’s results they should waste no time in preparing for the mid-term elections in 2010 and even more important planning their strategy for redistricting in 2011 which will affect congressional races in 2012.

As it stands now the GOP may have a slight edge as they control both the state legislature and governor’s mansion in states that are likely to gain about 7 seats while Democrats control everything in states that are expected to add about 4 seats.  On th flip side most of the states that are expected to lose seats are either in total Democratic control or have a Democratic governor with a split state house.  Think rust belt here.

This means that Republicans have a shot at making sure the districts they draw favor the GOP and won’t face much opposition giving the a chance to make a small gain on the Democrats.

Yet this is not a sure bet yet.  For example Virginia which currently has a divided statehouse will hold elections next year.  They could elect a Republican governor and  re-take the Senate which would give them complete control but that isn’t likely to occur if recent trends hold.  There will be some other state wide races across the country in the next two years but they aren’t expected to bring a change of control that will affect redisticting.

For the GOP to make anything but incremental gains in redistricting will be hard.  After all in the 14 states that they control the legislature , 6 of them have Democratic governors.  In the 7 states that have a divided legislature there are 6 Democratic governors in place.  That leaves just 11 Republican governors in the remaining 28 states with Democratically controlled legislatures.

With gerrymandering a longstanding tradition I expect that the Democrats will draw favorable districts in states that they control the legislature or the governors mansion and the GOP while they will do likewise will face more opposition from Democratic governors in their states than vice-versa in an effort to blunt any GOP gains.

The Republicans can and should gain a few seats in the House in two years but if they can somehow find a good message and squeeze out some favorably drawn districts they could come closer to parity in 2012.

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