Geoff Pallay/2011 state legislative elections review

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Geoff Pallay






Geoff Pallay, Special Projects Director
State Legislatures
Ballotpedia






Contact:
geoff.pallay@lucyburns.org
Biography:
Geoff Pallay


  • 434 seats up for election on November 8, 2011 -- Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia
    • 578 seats including Louisiana
  • 50% of incumbents seeking re-election in the 4 states did not face any competition
    • 473 incumbents ran for re-election in 2011.
    • 42.6% of all 578 races had only 1 major party candidate in the general election

5 Questions

  1. Does one party appear to have a better night?
  2. Do any chambers flip parties?
  3. How does total votes cast compare to percentage of seats won?
  4. Does Iowa become a tied chamber?
  5. How do incumbents perform in the general election?

Mississippi

Mississippi State Senate
Party As of November 2011 After the 2011 Election
     Democratic Party 24 21
     Republican Party 27 31
     Vacancy 1 0
Total 52 52
Mississippi House of Representatives
Party As of November 2011 After the 2011 Election
     Democratic Party 68 59
     Republican Party 54 63
Total 122 122

New Jersey

New Jersey State Senate
Party As of November 2011 After the 2011 Election
     Democratic Party 24 24
     Republican Party 16 16
Total 40 40
New Jersey General Assembly
Party As of November 2011 After the 2011 Election
     Democratic Party 47 48
     Republican Party 33 32
Total 80 80

Virginia

Virginia State Senate
Party As of November 2011 After the 2011 Election
     Democratic Party 22 20
     Republican Party 18 20
Total 40 40
Virginia House of Delegates
Party As of November 2011 After the 2011 Election
     Democratic Party 39 32
     Republican Party 58 67
     Independent 2 1
     Vacancy 1 0
Total 100 100

November 8 elections

Partisan breakdown of state legislators in the three states with elections on November 8, 2011
Before November 2011 election After November 2011 election
Party Senators Representatives Total state legislators Senators Representatives Total state legislators Gain/loss legislators
Democratic
70 154 224 64 136 200 -24
Republican
61 146 207 68 164 232 +25
Independent
0 2 2 0 1 1 -1
Vacancy
1 0 1 0 0 0 -1

All 50 states

Partisan breakdown of state legislators in all 50 states
Before November 2011 election After November 2011 election
Party Senators Representatives Total state legislators Senators Representatives Total state legislators Gain/loss legislators
Democratic
879 2,454 3,333 875 2,439 3,310 -23
Republican
1,028 2,912 3,940 1,032 2,926 3,966 +26
Independent or nonpartisan
53 12 65 53 11 64 -1
Third-party and non-voting
2 9 11 2 9 11 0


SLP elec2011 badge.jpg
  1. Does one party appear to have a better night?
    • Yes. Open seats results reveal that the GOP won at least 62 of the 84 open seats. That's more than 70% of the open seat races where no incumbent was running. It shows that when removing the incumbent from the equation, voters favored Republicans.
    • Prior to the election, of the races where incumbents were not running, there were 9 more GOP incumbents who retired than Democrats.
  2. Do any chambers flip parties?
    • Unresolved One race has the GOP candidate Bryce Reeves in the lead by only 86 votes. But a recount is expected. If the recount goes in Democratic favor, the chamber would be 21-19 for Democrats.
  3. How does total votes cast compare to percentage of seats won?
    • No. However, as in previous years, the overall vote counts for each party was closer than the eventual partisan breakdown. In the Senate, Democrats garnered 51.5% of the total votes cast for either party. In the General Assembly Democrats received 52%. However, Democrats maintain control of 62% of the seats in each chamber.
    • Meanwhile, in Virginia, Democrats received 52.8% of the vote. In the Virginia Senate, Democrats garnered 36.4%.
  4. Does Iowa become a tied chamber?
  5. How do incumbents perform in the general election?
    • As in previous years, incumbents prove difficult to defeat. 96.1% of incumbents who ran on Tuesday won re-election. Only 14 incumbents were defeated out of the 361 on the ballot. This compares to 2010, when 89.6% of incumbents in the general election won their race. Additionally 4 incumbents were defeated after being drawn into a completely different district during redistricting. The 10 incumbents who lost in MS would have been 18th among states that held elections in 2010. Last year, the 3 states with the most incumbents to lose were NH, MN and AL -- 90, 34 and 22 respectively.
    • In Mississippi, 18 total incumbents lost (again, could increase). That includes 8 incumbents who fell in the primary. The 8 who lost in a primary would have been second most of any state in 2010. Last year 10 incumbents lost in Rhode Island.

An estimated 26 recalls took place on November 8, 2011. There were two state legislators that faced a recall.

Russell Pearce, Arizona

Current Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce (R) was recalled.

Recall of Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, 2011
Candidate Vote % Votes
Russell Pearce Incumbent 43.5% 10,121
Green check mark transparent.pngJerry Lewis 55.1% 12,812
Olivia Cortes (withdrawn) 1.2% 277
Write-In Candidate 0.2% 57
Total Votes 23,267

Paul Scott, Michigan

Current Michigan State Rep Paul Scott (R) was recalled.

Recall of Michigan State Representative Paul Scott, 2011
Shall Paul Scott be recalled from the office of Michigan State Representative, District 51? Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngYes 50.5% 12,358
No 49.5% 12,126
Total Votes 24,484

There have now been 17 legislators recalled since 1913. There were 4 legislators recalled in 2011.

Incumbents defeated in 2011 legislative elections
Party Senate House Total
Democratic 5 9 14
Republican 0 6 6
TOTALS 5 15 20
New Legislators after the 2011 legislative elections
Party Senate House Total
Democratic 9 32 41
Republican 27 66 93
TOTALS 36 98 134
Open Seat Winners in 2011 legislative elections
Party Senate House Total
Democratic 9 21 30
Republican 23 50 73
TOTALS 32 71 103

Other interesting facts

  • Race in NJ set record for campaign contributions
  • Candidates who distanced themselves from President Obama in Virginia won against Republican opponents
  • House minority leader gets defeated in VA (Ward Armstrong)
  • Former speaker's seat in MS won by a Republican

Updated Partisan Control of State Senates and Houses after 2011 elections


























  • 86 chambers hold state legislative elections
  • About 5,979 seats -- 81% of all state legislators
  • Primaries and signature filing deadlines are changing and affected by the chaotic redistricting, creating confusion and uncertainty for candidates and voters