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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Michigan Effort Shows G.O.P. Sway in State Contests - Starting next year, Republicans will have one-party control in almost half of the state capitals in the country.

From The New York Times:

As Republican leaders in Washington grappled after the election with their failure to unseat President Obama, Dick DeVos, one of Michigan’s wealthiest men, began dialing up state lawmakers in Lansing.

Although Mr. Obama won Michigan handily, Republicans had kept control of the Legislature. A union-backed ballot measure to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the State Constitution was defeated, thanks to an aggressive campaign against it that was financed in part by $2 million of DeVos family money.

The time had come, Mr. DeVos told Republican lawmakers, for the bold stroke they were considering: a law banning requirements that workers pay union dues or fees, in the state where the modern American labor movement was born. If the lawmakers later found themselves facing recalls or tough re-election fights, Mr. DeVos told them, he would be there to help.

“That was when I started to say, you know what, this thing could happen,” Mr. DeVos said on Friday. “These people really are serious and committed.”

The lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder, who is also a Republican, rapidly approved the legislation and delivered a body blow to the labor movement.

Yet much of the groundwork for the quick victory was laid months and years before by a loose network of donors, strategists and conservative political groups that has sought to win Republican control of legislatures around the country and limit unions’ political power. Their bet: that money invested in local elections would yield concrete policy victories that could not be had in Washington.

Where the big-spending conservative groups active in this year’s presidential race had little to show for their millions of dollars, the state efforts were strikingly successful. While Mr. Obama was winning onetime red states like Virginia and swing states like Michigan and Ohio, Republicans made large gains in state offices in many of the same battlegrounds. Starting next year, Republicans will have one-party control in almost half of the state capitals in the country.

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