Impact of term limits on state legislative elections in 2012

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Impact of Term Limits by Year
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State senates
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Thirteen state senate chambers and thirteen state house chambers that held general elections on November 6, 2012 include some state legislators who were unable to run for re-election in 2012 because of their state's legislative term limits.
  • 83 state senators were termed-out in 2012. This represents 15.9% of the 523 total state senate seats up for election in the 13 term-limited state senates with elections in November 2012.
  • 172 state representatives were termed-out. This represents 13.6% of the 1,263 total seats up for election in the 13 term-limited states with elections in November 2012.

Altogether, 255 current state legislators had to leave office after the November elections because of term limits. This was 14.3% of the 1,786 state legislative seats up for election in the 14 term-limited states with 2012 elections, and about 4% of the 6,015 state legislative seats that were up for election altogether in 2012, including the non-term-limited states.

See also: State legislative elections, 2012

State senates

Main article: Impact of term limits on state senate elections in 2012

43 state senates held general elections in November 2012. In 13 of these states, state senators are subject to term limits. Louisiana and Michigan are the only states with state senate term limits that did not have a general election for their state senates in 2012.

A total of 83 current state senators were ineligible to run for re-election in November because of term limit laws in their state. This included:

  • 35 incumbent Democratic state senators
  • 40 incumbent Republican state senators
  • 8 nonpartisan state senators.

In 5 states, the term limits ax fell more heavily on incumbent Republicans: Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Ohio and South Dakota. In 4 states, the term limits axe fell more heavily on incumbent Democrats: Arkansas, California, Colorado, and Montana. In 3 states, the axe fell equally on both parties (Maine, Oklahoma, and Nevada) while Nebraska's senate is officially nonpartisan.

State houses

Main article: Impact of term limits on state representative elections in 2012

43 state houses held general elections in November 2012. In 13 of these states, state house terms are subject to term limits. 15 states have state legislative term limits, but Louisiana did not hold a state house election in 2012 and Nebraska does not have a state house.

172 current state representatives were ineligible to run for re-election in November because of term limit laws in their state. This included:

  • 87 incumbent Democratic state representatives
  • 85 incumbent Republican state representatives

In 7 states, the term limits axe fell more heavily on incumbent Republicans: Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota. In all of these states, the current majority party is also the Republican Party.

In 6 states, the term limits axe fell more heavily on incumbent Democrats: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, and Nevada. In 3 of these states, the current majority party is also the Democratic Party. These states include Arkansas, California and Nevada. In 3 of the 6 states where term limits affect incumbent Democrats more heavily, the current majority party is Republican -- Colorado, Maine and Michigan.

Impact on parties

Although the difference is marginal, the Republican Party took more of a hit from term limits in the 2012 state legislative elections than the Democratic Party, both in terms of how many individual incumbent legislators the Republican Party lost (125, versus 122 for the Democratic Party) and in terms of how many state legislative chambers lost more Republicans (12, versus 10 for the Democratic Party).

Incumbents

Party # of termed senators # of termed representatives Total
Democratic 33 85 118
Republican 38 84 122
Nonpartisan 7 0 7

Chambers

Party Senates with most losses Houses with most losses Total
Democratic 4 6 10
Republican 5 7 12
Equal D/R losses (or nonpartisan chamber) 4 0 4

Comparison to 2010

In 2010, a total of 376 seats were termed out in state senates and state houses combined. Of those, 61 seats, or 16.2%, changed party hands. In state senates, 19 seats, or 15.7% of termed-out seats, changed party hands. In state houses, 42 seats, or 16.5% of termed-out seats, changed party hands.

Term-limited seats that changed party control in the 2010 elections
State Senators Termed Out 2010 Representatives Termed Out 2010 Democratic Seats lost to other Parties - Senate Republican Seats lost to other Parties - Senate Democratic Seats lost to other Parties - House Republican Seats lost to other Parties - House Percent of Termed-Out Senate Seats that Changed Party Percent of Termed-Out House Seats that Changed Party Total Legislative Seats that Changed Party
Arizona 10 13 0 0 0 0 0% 0% 0
Arkansas 13 34 Republican Party 7 0 Republican Party 11 Democratic Party 1 53.8% 35.3% 19
California 8 18 0 0 Independent 1 Democratic Party 1 0% 11.1% 2
Colorado 3 8 0 0 Republican Party 1 0 0% 12.5% 1
Florida 7 23 0 0 0 0 0% 0% 0
Maine 4 20 Republican Party 1 0 Republican Party 5, Independent 1 Democratic Party 2 25% 40% 9
Michigan 29 37 Republican Party 3 0 Republican Party 6 Democratic Party 1 10.3% 18.9% 10
Missouri 10 52 Republican Party 1 0 Republican Party 6 0 10% 11.5% 7
Montana 15 15 Republican Party 2 0 Republican Party 4 0 13.3% 26.7% 6
Nebraska 1 N/A[1] 0 0 - - 0% - 0
Nevada 4 10 0 0 0 0 0% 0% 0
Ohio 7 13 0 0 0 0 0% 0% 0
Oklahoma 6 4 Republican Party 4 0 0 0 66.7% 0% 4
South Dakota 4 8 Republican Party 1 0 Republican Party 1 Democratic Party 1 25% 25% 3
Total: 121 255 Republican Party 19 0 Republican Party 34, Independent 2 Democratic Party 6 15.7% 16.5% 61
Legend:
Democratic Party = Seat picked up by DemocratRepublican Party = Seat picked up by RepublicanIndependent = Seat picked up by Third Party




See also

References

  1. Nebraska has no lower house