Democrats fared well in many state elections last week, with the party gaining full control of state governments (winning majorities in both chambers of state legislatures where Democrats hold the governor’s office) in three places where Republicans had led at least one part of those branches. The three states are Delaware, New York, and Wisconsin, according to stateline.org.
That brings to 17 the number of states where the governor is a Democrat and both houses of the legislature have Democratic majorities. Republicans control all three branches in eight states, says stateline.org.
The change in control of the Wisconsin Assembly and the New York Senate from Republican to Democrat means that two prominent leaders of higher-education committees will no longer hold their posts as chairmen.
In Wisconsin, Rep. Stephen L. Nass will no longer lead the Assembly’s Committee on Colleges and Universities. The Republican has been an outspoken critic of the University of Wisconsin, criticizing its decision to adopt a freshman-admissions policy directing campuses to consider the race and ethnicity of applicants. He also called for the system to fire an instructor who had argued that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were orchestrated by the U.S. government.
In New York, Kenneth P. LaValle will be forced to relinquish his post as chairman of the State Senate’s Higher Education Committee. In 2006 he called a high-profile hearing on the standardized-testing industry and sharply questioned the College Board about scoring glitches that had skewed the SAT results of some 5,000 students nationwide. —Sara Hebel