Only New Hampshire, Alabama, and Michigan gained a larger percentage of House seats in 2010 than Minnesota Republicans (+18.7 percent)

In addition to notching the third largest increase in State Senate seats across the country in the 2010 election, Minnesota Republicans can also lay claim to a Top 5 finish for the largest increase in State House seats nationwide.

A Smart Politics study of 2010 election returns finds that Republican gains in the Minnesota House of Representatives were the fourth largest across the U.S. in November’s elections, with the GOP increasing their seat tally by +18.7 percent (25 districts).

New Hampshire saw the largest Republican increase in the percentage of lower (as well as upper) chamber legislative seats – transforming their 173-216 deficit on Election Day to a gaudy 298-102 advantage thereafter.

The 31.3 percent increase in Republican seats in New Hampshire (125 districts) was by far the largest in the nation, with Alabama second (+20.0 percent, 21 seats), Michigan third (+19.1 percent, 21 seats), and Minnesota fourth (+18.7 percent, 25 seats).

Montana (+18.0 percent, 18 seats) rounds out the Top 5.

Minnesota Republicans took back the House after ceding control to the DFL for two cycles. The 25 seat gain gives the GOP a 72-62 seat advantage.

This marks the GOP’s second largest margin to start a session in the Gopher State since partisan elections were reintroduced in 1974.

Only the 2002 election saw a bigger advantage for House Republicans in Minnesota – entering January 2003 with a 81-52 seat margin.

Aside from 2002, the last election from which the political right in Minnesota emerged with at least 72 seats was 1968, when ‘conservatives’ won 85 seats.

In the Upper Midwest, Republicans in Iowa had the sixth largest gain in the nation at 16.0 percent (16 seats), reaching 60 seats for the first time since the Republican Revolution of 1994. The GOP turned a 44-56 deficit into a 60-40 advantage, reclaiming the House after two cycles under Democratic control.

The GOP in Wisconsin had the 11th largest increase in seats in the nation at 14.1 percent (14 seats), returning to power after just one cycle with Democrats in control. Republicans, winning 60 of the chamber’s 99 seats, had previously held the Assembly from 1995 through 2008.

In North Dakota, Republicans gained 11 seats (+11.7 percent) – good for 16th best in the country. The GOP increased their hold on the state’s lower chamber from 58-36 to 69-25.

South Dakota Republicans gained four seats (+5.7 percent), or the 32nd biggest increase in the country. The GOP now holds 50 of 70 House seats in a chamber in which they have held a majority of seats since the Election of 1974.

Overall, 46 states held general elections for lower chamber seats in November, with Republicans gaining ground in 44 states in total.

Only in Delaware did Democrats strengthen their position (by two seats).

The Republican Parties of Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Alabama each recorded increases in both their respective state senates and houses that were among the Top 4 largest in the country.

Interestingly, Democrats still won the governorships in both New Hampshire and Minnesota.

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