Legislative Lowdown: Identifying competitive Georgia elections in 2014

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March 17, 2014

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2014 Georgia Legislative Lowdown

Table of Contents
Majority control
Margin of victory
Competitiveness

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By Ballotpedia's State legislative team

March 7 was the signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run for Georgia State Senate and Georgia House of Representatives. Elections in 56 Senate districts and 180 House districts will consist of a primary election on May 20, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014.

A majority of Georgia's state legislative elections are determined in the primary elections. A total of 187 of the 236 seats (79.2%) up for election in 2014 will feature just one major party candidate in the general election. Of the remaining 49 seats, just six had a margin of victory within 10 percent in 2012. There will be a total of 62 primaries on May 20. Democrats will hold 10 primaries in the Senate and 12 in the House. Republicans will hold nine primaries in the Senate and 31 in the House.

See also: State legislative elections, 2014, Georgia State Senate elections, 2014 and Georgia House of Representatives elections, 2014

Majority control

Heading into the November 4 election, the Republican Party holds the majority in both state legislative chambers. Georgia's office of Governor is held by Nathan Deal (R), making the state one of 23 with a Republican state government trifecta.

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate is 19 seats, or 33.9 percent of the chamber. There are only 16 districts where two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.

Georgia State Senate
Party As of September 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 18 Pending
     Republican Party 38 Pending
Total 56 56

Republicans hold an advantage of 59 seats in the House, or 32.8 percent of the chamber. There are only 33 districts where two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.

Georgia House of Representatives
Party As of September 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 60 Pending
     Republican Party 118 Pending
     Independent 1 Pending
     Vacancy 1 Pending
Total 180 180
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Margin of victory

Senate

All 56 seats in the Senate were up for election in 2012. District 6 featured the most competitive general election, with the Republican candidate winning by a margin of victory of 6 percent. The next most competitive district in the chamber was District 23, with a margin of victory of 19 percent. There were 44 districts where only one major party candidate appeared on the 2012 general election ballot.[1]

Mildly competitive

House

All 180 seats in the House were up for election in 2012. Four of those districts held competitive elections with a margin of victory ranging from zero to 5 percent. Another four districts held mildly competitive elections with a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent. There were 138 districts where only one major party candidate appeared on the general election ballot.[2]

The districts with elections in 2014 which held competitive or mildly competitive elections in 2012 are:

Competitive

Mildly competitive

Previously Competitive, Now Unopposed
One district that held a competitive election in 2012 has only one major party candidate in 2014.

  • District 12: Incumbent Eddie Lumsden (R) is challenge by M. Kyle Hubbard in the Republican primary. No Democratic candidate filed to run. Lumsden won by a margin of victory of 3 percent in 2012.

Competitiveness

Using the official candidate lists from each state, Ballotpedia staff analyzes each district's election to look at the following circumstances:

  • Is the incumbent running for re-election?
  • If an incumbent is running, do they face a primary challenger?
  • Are both major parties represented on the general election ballot?

In Georgia's 2014 elections, those circumstances break down as follows:[3]

  • There are 17 open seats (7.2%) in the two chambers.
  • A total of 48 incumbents (21.9%) face a primary challenger.
  • Just 49 districts (20.8%) will feature a Democratic and Republican candidate on the general election ballot.

The following table puts the 2014 data into historical context. Overall index is calculated as the average of the three circumstances.

Comparing Georgia Competitiveness over the Years
Year  % Incs retiring  % incs rank  % Incs facing primary  % Incs primary rank  % seats with 2 MPC  % seats with 2 MPC rank Overall Index Overall Index Rank
2010 16.1% 19 20.7% 16 33.9% 43 23.6 28
2012 11.4% 37 23.3% 23 23.7% 43 19.5 43
2014 7.2% Pending 21.9% Pending 20.8% Pending 16.6 Pending

Senate

The following table details competitiveness in the Georgia State Senate.

Georgia Senate Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
12.5% 24.5% 28.6% 21.9

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 40 of the 56 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. A total of 14 Democrats and 26 Republicans are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in 16 of the 56 districts up for election. Just one of these seats, District 6, held mildly competitive elections in 2012.

Primary challenges

A total of 12 incumbents will face primary competition on May 20. Seven incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another 37 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition.

Retiring incumbents

Seven incumbent senators, two Democrats and five Republicans, are not running for re-election, while 49 (87.5%) are running for re-election. Those retiring incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
Earl "Buddy" Carter Ends.png Republican Senate District 1
Tim Golden Ends.png Republican Senate District 8
John Crosby Ends.png Republican Senate District 13
Ronnie Chance Ends.png Republican Senate District 16
Cecil Staton Ends.png Republican Senate District 18
Hardie Davis Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 22
Jason Carter Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 42

House

The following table details competitiveness in the Georgia House of Representatives.

Georgia House Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
5.6% 21.2% 18.3% 15.0

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 147 (81.7%) of the 180 seats up for election, there is only one major party candidate running for election. An unopposed independent incumbent is included in that number. A total of 52 Democrats, 94 Republicans and 1 independent are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in 33 of the 180 districts up for election. Three of those seats held competitive elections in 2012 with a margin of victory ranging from zero to 5 percent. Two other elections were mildly competitive, with a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.

Primary challenges

A total of 36 incumbents will face primary competition on May 20. Ten incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another 134 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition.

Retiring incumbents

Ten incumbent representatives, two Democrats and eight Republicans, are not running for re-election, while 93 (93.0%) are running for re-election. Those retiring incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
Alisha Thomas Morgan Electiondot.png Democratic House District 39
Edward Lindsey Ends.png Republican House District 54
Josh Clark Ends.png Republican House District 98
Doug Holt Ends.png Republican House District 112
Carl Von Epps Electiondot.png Democratic House District 132
Delvis Dutton Ends.png Republican House District 157
Ben Watson Ends.png Republican House District 166
Jeff Chapman Ends.png Republican House District 167
Chuck Sims Ends.png Republican House District 169
Ellis Black Ends.png Republican House District 174

See also

External links

References