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Legislative Lowdown: Identifying competitive North Dakota elections in 2014

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May 12, 2014

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2014 North Dakota 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

State legislative elections in North Dakota will likely be unremarkable in 2014. About 70 percent of seats will feature a Democratic and Republican candidate on the general election ballot. However, most districts are drawn in such a way that protects one party or another, meaning most of the action will happen in the primaries. The North Dakota State Senate will not see a single primary election in 2014. The House is not much more active, with just four primary elections being held.

April 7 was the signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run for North Dakota State Senate and North Dakota House of Representatives. Elections in 24 Senate districts and 24 multi-member House districts will consist of a primary election on August 5, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014.

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

Majority control

Heading into the November 4 election, the Republican Party holds a majority in both state legislative chambers. North Dakota's office of Governor is held by Jack Dalrymple (R), making the state one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate is 19 seats, or 79.2 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. There are 18 districts where two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.[1]

North Dakota State Senate
Party As of October 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 14 Pending
     Republican Party 33 Pending
Total 47 47

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the House is 48 seats, the same number of the seats up for election in 2014. In 18 of the 24 districts up for election, two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.[2]

North Dakota House of Representatives
Party As of October 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 23 Pending
     Republican Party 70 Pending
     Vacancy 1 Pending
Total 94 94
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Margin of victory

Senate

Twenty-five seats in the Senate were up for election in 2012. Four of those districts held competitive elections with a margin of victory ranging from 0 to 5 percent. Another three districts held mildly competitive elections with a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent. None of those districts are up for election in 2014. Only District 7 and District 19, which held elections in 2012, will also have elections in 2014. Those two districts saw the Republican candidate winning by a wide margin.[1]

House

All 94 seats in the House were up for election in 2012. Fifteen of those districts held competitive elections with a margin of victory ranging from 0 to 5 percent. Another five districts held mildly competitive elections with a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.[2]

Just one of those districts will be up for election again in 2014. In District 19, Republican incumbents Wayne Trottier and Gary Paur will face off against H. Steve Burke in the primary election. Carol Gierszewski (D) is unopposed in the Democratic primary. In 2012, Paur defeated the runner-up in that election by a margin of victory of 5 percent. Trottier received just nine more votes than Paur. Gierszewski came in fourth in that election.

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 North Dakota's 2014 elections, those circumstances break down as follows:[3]

  • There are 13 open seats (18.1%) in the two chambers.
  • A total of 4 incumbents (6.8%) face a primary challenger.
  • 51 districts (70.8%) will feature a Democratic and Republican candidate on the general election ballot.
  • Note: In the House, this means there will be at least three candidates who appear 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 North Dakota 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 22.2% 14 0% 46 77.8% 13 33.3 25
2012 25.3% 17 11.5% 37 82.7% 8 39.8 15
2014 18.1% Pending 6.8% Pending 70.8% Pending 31.9 Pending

Senate

The following table details competitiveness in the North Dakota State Senate.

North Dakota Senate Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
12.5% 0% 75% 29.2

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 6 (25%) of the 24 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. A total of four Republicans and two Democrats are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in 18 (75%) of the 24 districts up for election.

Primary challenges

No incumbents will face primary competition on June 10. Three incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another 21 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition.

Retiring incumbents

Three incumbent senators, all Republicans, are not running for re-election, while 21 (87.5%) are running for re-election. Those retiring incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
Stanley W. Lyson Ends.png Republican Senate District 01
Spencer Berry Ends.png Republican Senate District 27
Tony Grindberg Ends.png Republican Senate District 41

House

The following table details competitiveness in the North Dakota House of Representatives.

North Dakota House Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
20.8% 10.5% 68.8% 33.4

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 15 (63%) of the 24 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. A total of 11 Republicans and four Democrats are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in 18 (75%) of the 24 districts (48 seats) up for election.

Primary challenges

A total of four incumbents will face primary competition on June 10. Ten incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another 34 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition. The state representatives facing primary competition include:

Retiring incumbents

Ten incumbent representatives, three Democrats and seven Republicans, are not running for re-election, while 139 (85.3%) are running for re-election. Those retiring incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
Scot Kelsh Electiondot.png Democratic House District 11
Alon Wieland Ends.png Republican House District 13
Steve Zaiser Electiondot.png Democratic House District 21
Clark Williams Electiondot.png Democratic House District 25
John Wall Ends.png Republican House District 25
Brenda Heller Ends.png Republican House District 33
Nancy Johnson Ends.png Republican House District 37
David Drovdal Ends.png Republican House District 39
Curt Kreun Ends.png Republican House District 43
Joe Heilman Ends.png Republican House District 45

See also

External links

References