Legislative Lowdown: Identifying competitive Wyoming elections in 2014

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June 24, 2014

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2014 Wyoming 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

In Wyoming's state legislature, fewer incumbents are guaranteed to see the November general election in 2014 than have been in previous elections. Since 2010, there has been a marked increase in incumbents facing primary opposition. In the August 19 primary election, 27 incumbents (42.2 percent) will be challenged.

Wyoming has historically had a high percentage of incumbents face primary opposition. After the elections, Ballotpedia ranks different factors of the elections for all of the states. Wyoming's primary challenger rank was #12 in 2010, with 25 percent of incumbents challenged in the primaries, and #11 in 2012 with 35 percent facing challengers. The August 19, 2014, primary election will have 17 percent more incumbents with primary competition than was seen in 2010.

Although the number of incumbents certain to be in the general election is decreasing, the partisan composition of the state's legislature will not be greatly impacted in 2014. Wyoming is noted as one of the 23 Republican state government trifectas. The Senate and the House have been Republican controlled for more than twenty years; however, the partisanship for the Governor of Wyoming has changed multiple times during that period. With more than half of the seats in both the Senate and the House guaranteed to be won by a Republican candidate in November, the state legislature will remain under Republican control.

May 30 was the signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run for Wyoming State Senate and Wyoming House of Representatives. Elections in 15 Senate districts and 60 House districts will consist of a primary election on August 19, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014.

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

Majority control

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

As of June 2014, Republicans hold 26 seats, 73.3 percent, in the Senate. Of the fifteen districts up for election in 2014, three will have two major party candidates on the general election ballot.[1]

Wyoming State Senate
Party As of September 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 4 Pending
     Republican Party 26 Pending
Total 30 30

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the House is 44 seats, 73.3 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. In 20 of the 60 districts up for election, two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.[2]

Wyoming House of Representatives
Party As of September 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 8 Pending
     Republican Party 52 Pending
Total 60 60
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Margin of victory

Senate

Fifteen seats in the Senate were up for election in 2012. One of those districts, District 7, held a competitive election with a margin of victory ranging from 0 to 5 percent. This district is not up for election in 2014.[1]

House

All 60 seats in the House were up for election in 2012. Five of those districts held competitive elections with a margin of victory ranging from 0 to 5 percent. Another one districtd held mildly a competitive election with a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.[2]

Three of the six districts up for election again in 2014 have opposition in the primary election, the general election or both.

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

  • There are 11 open seats (14.7%) in the two chambers.
  • A total of 27 incumbents (42.2%) face a primary challenger.
  • 23 districts (30.7%) 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 Wyoming 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 20.0% 15 25.0% 12 32.0% 45 25.7 23
2012 20.0% 22 35.0% 11 29.3% 42 28.1 35
2014 14.7% Pending 42.2% Pending 30.7% Pending 31.9 Pending

Senate

The following table details competitiveness in the Wyoming State Senate.

Wyoming Senate Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
13.3% 40.0% 20.0% 24.4

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 12 (80%) of the 15 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. A total of ten Republicans and two Democrats are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in 3 (20%) of the 15 districts up for election.

Primary challenges

Six incumbents will face primary competition on August 19. Two incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another seven incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition. The incumbents facing primary competition are:

Retiring incumbents

Two incumbent senators, both Republicans, are not running for re-election, while 21 (86.7%) are running for re-election. Those retiring incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
Leslie Nutting Ends.png Republican Senate District 7
John Hines Ends.png Republican Senate District 23

House

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

Wyoming House Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
15% 35% 33.3% 27.8

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 40 (66.7%) of the 60 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. A total of 36 Republicans and 4 Democrats are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in 20 (33.3%) of the 60 districts up for election.

Primary challenges

A total of 21 incumbents will face primary competition on August 19. Nine incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another 30 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition.

Retiring incumbents

Nine incumbent representatives are not running for re-election, while 51 (85.0%) of the current 60 incumbents are running for re-election. Those retiring incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
Mark Semlek Ends.png Republican House District 1
Kathy Davison Ends.png Republican House District 18
Keith Gingery Ends.png Republican House District 23
Thomas E. Lubnau, II Ends.png Republican House District 31
W. Patrick Goggles Electiondot.png Democratic House District 33
Lynn Hutchings Ends.png Republican House District 42
Matt Greene Ends.png Republican House District 45
Lloyd Charles Larsen Ends.png Republican House District 53
Carl Loucks Ends.png Republican House District 59

See also

External links

References