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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Republicans Eye Pickups In State Legislatures; Northwest Impact Unclear

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Republican strategists are eyeing state legislatures this year in hopes of taking more control of the legislative process.

But political analysts don't expect major changes in Northwest statehouses.

In Oregon, Democrats control both the House and the Senate. Republicans are eyeing the state Senate, where Democrats hold a narrow edge. The fate of the chamber lies in the hands of voters in a few key districts.

Pacific University political analyst Jim Moore doesn't think the GOP will have an easy time taking the lead in the Oregon Senate. But he says lower voter turnout in a non-presidential election year could work to the Republicans' advantage.

"And the lower voter turnout, especially on the West Coast, tends to mean that the proportion of Republicans is higher than it is during a presidential election," says Moore.

Meanwhile in Olympia, the Washington House is expected to remain in the hands of Democrats. The state Senate is in the toss-up category. Currently, a mostly Republican coalition holds a two-seat advantage.

Republicans control both the House and the Senate in 26 states, including Idaho.