Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

... and the Statehouses

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

... and the Statehouses

Article excerpt

Contests for state legislatures usually dwell in a media twilight - some local attention, but little national interest. This year, presumably, they'll get even less column space and air time with the presidential klieg lights on. But that may not be the case.

True, these races are often dulled by a plethora of unopposed incumbents. In Massachusetts, for example, 21 of the 40 state Senate contests have only one contestant. In the lower chamber, 93 incumbents have a free ride, out of 160 seats. But the number of uncontested races was considerably higher two years ago.

In fact, state legislative elections generally are showing new vigor in 2000. There's a one-word explanation: redistricting. State lawmakers elected this fall will use new census data to redraw state and congressional district lines.

In essence, they'll have a large hand in setting the course of American politics for the next 10 years. That prospect gets the partisan juices flowing, and it should spark voter interest in these races. …

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