Legislative Lowdown: Identifying competitive Massachusetts elections in 2014

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July 10, 2014

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2014 Massachusetts Legislative Lowdown

Table of Contents
Majority control
Margin of victory
Competitiveness

Other 2014 Election coverage
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By Ballotpedia's State legislative team

Massachusetts Democrats hold one of eight supermajorities for their party nationwide, with Republicans only holding four seats in the Senate and 29 seats in the House. Democrats will have no general election opposition in 18 Senate districts (45.0%) and 85 House districts (53.1%), making a continued Democratic majority in at least the House a foregone conclusion. However, Democrats have vacated or will vacate 14 House seats, more than the three Republicans departing after this year.

The Democratic lead in the Senate is 32 seats (36-4). The Democratic lead in the House is 97 seats (126-29), with five previously Democratic seats remaining vacant through the election. Per Ballotpedia's analysis of margins of victory in the 2012 election, no Senate seats are competitive and only six House districts are considered at least mildly competitive. In all, 15 incumbents (7.5%) will face primary competition on September 9, 2014, and 39 percent of legislative races in Massachusetts will pair a Democrat and a Republican in the general election on November 4, 2014.

June 3 was the signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run for the Massachusetts State Senate and the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

See also: 2014's state legislative elections, Massachusetts State Senate elections and Massachusetts House of Representatives elections

Majority control

Heading into the November 4 election, the Democratic Party holds a majority in both state legislative chambers. Massachusetts' office of Governor is held by Deval Patrick (D), making the state one of 23 Democratic state government trifectas.

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate is 32 seats, or 80 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. There are 20 districts where two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.[1]

Massachusetts State Senate
Party As of November 3, 2014 After November 4, 2014
     Democratic Party 36 34
     Republican Party 4 6
Total 40 40

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the House is 97 seats, or 60.6 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. In 102 of the 160 districts up for election, two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.[1]

Massachusetts House of Representatives
Party As of November 3, 2014 After November 4, 2014
     Democratic Party 125 126
     Republican Party 29 34
     Vacancy 6 0
Total 160 160

Margin of victory

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Senate

All 40 seats in the Senate were up for election in 2012, but none were competitive.[2]

House

All 160 seats in the House are up for election in 2014. Seven of those seats held competitive elections in 2012, with a margin of victory of 0 to 5 percent, and three held mildly competitive elections, with a margin of victory of 5 to 10 percent. Four of these seats will not see general election opposition in 2014.[3]

Competitive

Previously competitive, now unopposed

Mildly competitive

Previously mildly competitive, now unopposed

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 Massachusetts' 2014 elections, those circumstances break down as follows:[1]

  • There are 21 open seats (10.5%) in the two chambers.
  • A total of 15 incumbents (7.5%) face a primary challenger.
  • Seventy-eight districts (39.0%) 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 Massachusetts 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 16.0% 20 8.3% 38 46.0% 39 23.4 40
2012 4.5% 44 11.1% 38 31.5 40 15.7 44
2014 10.5% Pending 7.5% Pending 39.0% Pending 19.0 Pending

Senate

The following table details competitiveness in the Massachusetts State Senate.

Massachusetts Senate Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
10.0% 7.5% 50.0% 67.5

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 20 of the 40 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. Eighteen Democrats and two Republicans are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Candidates from both major parties will face off in the general election in 20 of the 40 districts up for election.

Primary challenges

A total of three incumbents, all Democrats, face primary competition on September 9. Four incumbents are not seeking re-election and another 33 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition. Incumbents facing opposition include:

Incumbents retiring

Four incumbents are not running for re-election in 2014. Those incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
Barry Finegold Electiondot.png Democratic Senate, Second Essex and Middlesex
Gale Candaras Electiondot.png Democratic Senate, First Hampden and Hampshire
Therese Murray Electiondot.png Democratic Senate, Plymouth and Barnstable
Stephen Brewer Electiondot.png Democratic Senate, Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex

House

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

Massachusetts House Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring/resigned  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
10.6% 6.9% 36.3% 17.9

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 102 of the 160 districts up for election in 2014, one major party candidate will run unopposed in the general election. A total of 85 Democrats and 17 Republicans are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in 58 of the 160 districts up for election.

Primary challenges

A total of 12 incumbents, 11 Democrats and one Republican, face primary competition on September 9. Seventeen incumbents are not seeking re-election or have resigned in 2014 and another 131 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition. Incumbents facing opposition include:

Incumbents retiring

A total of twelve incumbents are not running for re-election in 2014. Those incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
Cleon Turner Electiondot.png Democratic House, First Barnstable
Michael Costello Electiondot.png Democratic House, First Essex
John Keenan Electiondot.png Democratic House, Seventh Essex
Sean Curran Electiondot.png Democratic House, Ninth Hampden
Thomas Conroy Electiondot.png Democratic House, Thirteenth Middlesex
Christopher Fallon Electiondot.png Democratic House, Thirty-Third Middlesex
Vinny deMacedo Ends.png Republican House, First Plymouth
Christine Canavan Electiondot.png Democratic House, Tenth Plymouth
Anne Gobi Electiondot.png Democratic House, Fifth Worcester
George Peterson, Jr. Ends.png Republican House, Ninth Worcester
John Binienda, Sr. Electiondot.png Democratic House, Seventeenth Worcester
Ryan Fattman Ends.png Republican House, Eighteenth Worcester

In addition, five seats were vacated prior to the filing deadline and will not be filled by a special election.

Name Party Office Vacated
Steven Walsh Electiondot.png Democratic House, Eleventh Essex
Cheryl Coakley-Rivera Electiondot.png Democratic House, Tenth Hampden
Kevin Murphy Electiondot.png Democratic House, Eighteenth Middlesex
Jason Lewis Electiondot.png Democratic House, Thirty-first Middlesex
Carl Sciortino Electiondot.png Democratic House, Thirty-fourth Middlesex

See also

External links

References