Open seats in the 2012 state legislative elections

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2012 Competitiveness Overview
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Primary competition (state comparison)
Incumbents with no challenges at all in 2012
Incumbents defeatedVictorious challengers
Primary competitiveness
Major party challengers (state comparison)
List of candidates with no competition
Open seats (state comparisons)
Impact of term limits on # of open seats
Long-serving senatorsLong-serving reps
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2012 State Legislative Elections
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2007200920102011

There were 6,015 seats in 44 states with a general election in 2012. We took a look at each of the states to see how many state legislative districts have only challengers seeking election in 2012.

Our main findings:

  • In 1,227 (20.4%) of the 6,015 seats up for election in 2012, the incumbent did not run for re-election, either because he or she voluntarily chose not to run again, or because of term limits.
  • In 4,783 (79.5%) of the 6,015 seats up for election in 2012, the incumbent ran for re-election.
  • There were 1,277 (21.2%) seats up for election in 2012 where an incumbent did not run for that seat.
  • In 2012, redistricting often times creates open districts that would have otherwise not been in a non-redistricting year.

States compared by open seats

Legend:      States with state legislative term limits



State Senate at stake Open senate House at stake Open house Total open  % open Open seats rank Overall competitive rank
Alaska 19 1 40 10 11 18.6% 25 16
Arizona 30 9 60 13 22 24.4% 19 12
Arkansas 35 11 100 36 47 34.8% 5 29
California 20 9 80 35 44 44.0% 1 1
Colorado 20 10 65 24 33 38.8% 2 11
Connecticut 36 3 151 22 25 13.4% 34 26
Delaware 21 2 41 8 10 16.1% 31 40
Florida 40 14 120 38 52 32.5% 10 21
Georgia 56 1 180 26 27 11.4% 37 43
Hawaii 25 1 51 7 8 10.5% 40 24
Idaho 35 10 70 25 35 33.3% 7 4
Illinois 59 10 118 21 31 17.5% 28 39
Indiana 25 1 100 20 21 16.8% 30 31
Iowa 26 10 100 23 33 26.2% 14 23
Kansas 40 6 125 44 50 30.3% 11 7
Kentucky 19 4 100 9 13 10.9% 38 38
Maine 35 13 151 52 65 35.0% 3 9
Massachusetts 40 3 160 6 9 4.5% 44 44
Michigan - - 110 23 23 20.9% 21 2
Minnesota 67 18 134 33 51 25.4% 16 13
Missouri 17 10 163 49 59 32.8% 9 37
Montana 26 12 100 32 44 34.9% 4 10
Nebraska 26 9 - - 9 34.6% 6 5
Nevada 12 7 42 11 18 33.3% 8 6
New Hampshire 24 9 400 118 127 30.0% 12 3
New Mexico 42 8 70 13 21 18.8% 24 27
New York 63 5 150 18 23 10.8% 39 28
North Carolina 50 10 120 34 45 26.5% 13 17
North Dakota 25 6 50 13 19 25.3% 17 15
Ohio 17 2 99 14 16 13.8% 33 18
Oklahoma 24 8 101 15 23 18.4% 26 36
Oregon 16 3 60 7 10 13.2% 35 30
Pennsylvania 25 4 203 13 17 7.5% 42 41
Rhode Island 38 3 75 7 10 8.9% 41 34
South Carolina 46 7 124 17 24 14.1% 32 42
South Dakota 35 11 70 16 27 25.7% 15 14
Tennessee 16 6 99 14 20 17.4% 29 25
Texas 31 4 150 30 34 18.8% 23 33
Utah 16 3 75 13 16 17.6% 27 8
Vermont 30 4 150 19 23 12.8% 36 32
Washington 26 7 98 24 31 25.0% 18 22
West Virginia 17 3 100 5 8 6.8% 43 20
Wisconsin 16 2 99 26 28 24.4% 20 19
Wyoming 15 1 60 14 15 20.0% 22 35

See also