National Democrats have doubled their spending for state legislative elections in an attempt to chip away at the Republican dominance in state capitols.
Republicans also are spending more on state House and Senate races than they did during the election cycle two years ago. The state legislative races are a focal point this year because the parties want to better position themselves for 2020, the final election before the next round of redistricting. In many states, lawmakers play a role in drawing new districts for Congress and themselves after each census. Parties that control both legislative chambers and the governor's office can draw maps giving their candidates an advantage for the decade to come. Republicans controlled more legislatures after the 2010 Census and generally have fared better under the current maps.