Ballotpedia's update on 2012 state legislative elections
By Tyler King
1,301 (65.97%) of the country's 1,972 state senate seats were up for re-election in November 2012, and 4,714 (87.12%) of the country's 5,411 state house seats were up for re-election. Altogether, 6,015 (81.47%) of the country's 7,383 state legislative seats were up for re-election during the presidential election year.
Here is a recap of what happened in those elections.
Heading into the election, Republicans held a commanding advantage in total number of state legislative chambers in which it was the majority party. Republicans controlled 51 chambers with 2012 elections while Democrats controlled 32. Democrats ended up having a better night than Republicans, gaining a total of five chambers in 2012 -- four of which were previously under a Republican majority and the Oregon House, which was split heading into the election. On the flip side, Republicans lost four seats to Democrats but they did pick up the Alaska Senate, also split heading into the election.
|Partisan Balance of Chambers with 2012 Elections|
|Partisan Balance of All 99 Chambers Before and After 2012 Elections|
A total of 12 chambers changed partisan control in the 2012 state legislative elections. Eight of those chambers were flipped to Democratic control while four are now in a Republican majority. Those chambers are:
- Alaska State Senate
- Arkansas State Senate
- Arkansas House of Representatives
- Colorado House of Representatives
- Maine State Senate
- Maine House of Representatives
- Minnesota State Senate
- Minnesota House of Representatives
- New Hampshire House of Representatives
- New York State Senate
- Oregon House of Representatives
- Wisconsin State Senate
A trifecta is when one political party holds the governorship and a majority in both chambers of the state legislatures. It's particularly important in the state lawmaking process because the Governor, Senate Majority Leader and House Majority Leader all play decisive roles in the legislative process. The nation appears to be shifting towards state politics being controlled by one party in any given state. Prior to the 2010 election there were 25 political trifectas. That figure rose after the 2010 elections and even further in this year's elections. There are now a total of 37 trifectas throughout the country.
|Trifectas Before and After the 2012 Election|
Tifectas that were lost