While most political analysts have focused mainly on the GOP's takeover of the House and big pickups in the Senate, the most important gains took place closer to home.
Gubernatorial gains in eight states—including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin— gave the GOP control of the governor's office and both legislative chambers. Republicans will be in charge there when drawing new congressional maps, something every legislature must do following each 10-year federal census. Minnesota could join the list depending on the outcome of a governor's race that was still too close to call as of today. It will likely head to a recount.
These massive gains at the local level will allow Republicans to solidify some of their gains from Tuesday and create boundaries more favorable to their party. One analyst estimates Republicans will pick up an additional two dozen seats as a result of redistricting. This severely damages Democratic hopes for retaking the House for the foreseeable future.
The Republican victories at the state and local level also may harm President Obama's chances in 2012. The best news is often buried beneath the surface. Republicans need to recognize this and build on this local and state success. It will have an impact on state and congressional politics for several years.