Major party candidates with major party competition in the November 2013 state legislative elections

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2013 Competitiveness Overview
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Primary competition (state comparison)
Incumbents with no challenges at all in 2013
Incumbents defeatedVictorious challengers
Primary competitiveness
Major party challengers (state comparison)
List of candidates with no competition
Open seats (state comparisons)
Long-serving senatorsLong-serving reps
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Comparisons Between Years
Competitiveness IndexAbsolute Index
2013 State Legislative Elections
Competitiveness Studies from Other Years
20072009201020112012

There were 220 seats in two states with a general election in 2013. We took a look at each of the states to see how many state legislative districts have only one major party candidate running in the general election.

At any given time, roughly 98% of all 7,383 state legislators are either Democratic or Republican. In Nebraska, all 49 state senators are elected as non-partisans. Thus, in the remaining 49 states, either a Democratic or Republican candidate is virtually guaranteed victory in a general election. Given that major party candidates win nearly 100% of the time, a candidate running without any major party opposition is essentially assured election -- even if there are third party candidates.

Our main findings:

  • In two (5.0%) of the 40 senate seats up for election, there was only one major party candidate running for election
  • In 56 (31.1%) of the 180 house seats up for election, there was only one major party candidate running for election
  • Given that major party candidates win nearly 100% of the time, a candidate running without any major party opposition is essentially assured election -- even if there are third party candidates.

There was only one major party candidate in 58 (26.4%) of the 220 seats up for election in 2010. About one in four districts holding elections in 2013 fielded only one major party candidate.

Because only two states held elections in 2013, the sample size is small when conducting analysis. It is therefore helpful to compare the states holding elections in 2013 to the 44 states that held elections in 2012. Here is how the four states would have ranked in 2012, based on the percentage of open seats.

  • New Jersey: 1st
  • Virginia: 41st

States compared by major party competition

State Senate at stake Senate No Major Party Opposition House at stake House No Major Party Opposition Total No Major Party Opposition  % without Major Party Opposition
New Jersey 40 2 80 0 2 1.7%
Virginia -- -- 100 56 56 56%

Comparison to 2011

See also: Major party candidates with major party competition in the November 2011 state legislative elections
State Senate at stake Senate No Major Party Opposition House at stake House No Major Party Opposition Total No Major Party Opposition  % without Major Party Opposition
Louisiana 39 20 105 43 63 43.8%
Mississippi 52 28 122 75 103 59.2%
New Jersey 40 1 80 0 1 0.9%
Virginia 40 16 100 63 79 56.4%

Thus, there were 5 less major party candidates without a major party opponent in 2011 in the three chambers that can be compared.

In short, this statistic when isolated would imply a smaller number of candidates for voters to choose from during the general election.

See also