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Primary change: After three primaries yesterday, total incumbents defeated in 2012 has doubled from 2010

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September 12, 2012

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By Geoff Pallay

MADISON, Wisconsin: Twice as many incumbents have been defeated in 2012 legislative primaries as in 2010, after at least 30 incumbents fell in Delaware, New Hampshire and Rhode Island yesterday. With only one legislative primary remaining, the total number of incumbents defeated in 2012 has now doubled the totals from 2010.

On July 26, 2012, Ballotpedia released an analysis of the rate at which incumbents are being defeated by challengers in state legislative primaries. That study was conducted roughly halfway through the primary season, and found that 76 incumbents had been defeated through the first 48 percent of primaries. After each primary, we will update those figures. This update focuses on Delaware, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Of the 192 incumbents that have lost a primary in 2012, 71 are Democratic incumbents and 121 are Republican incumbents. Thus far, 17.08 percent of incumbents facing a primary opponent have been defeated. In 2010, a total of 96 incumbents were defeated in legislative primaries -- 52 Democrats and 44 Republicans.

Delaware

See also: Delaware State Senate elections, 2012 and Delaware House of Representatives elections, 2012

A total of 53 Delaware legislative incumbents filed for re-election. Ten incumbents faced a primary, and opponents were victorious in three of those races. Thus, 30 percent of opposed incumbents were defeated by their primary challenger.

The three total incumbents who lost last night is higher than the 1 incumbent who lost a 2010 primary in Delaware.

New Hampshire

See also: New Hampshire State Senate elections, 2012 and New Hampshire House of Representatives elections, 2012

A total of 310 New Hampshire legislative incumbents filed for re-election. One-hundred forty-four incumbents faced a primary, and opponents were victorious in at least 20 of those races.

In 2010, 83 incumbents faced a primary but none were defeated in the primary. There are still a number of races that are too close to call involving incumbents.

Rhode Island

See also: Rhode Island State Senate elections, 2012 and Rhode Island House of Representatives elections, 2012

A total of 101 Rhode Island legislative incumbents filed for re-election. Thirty-four incumbents faced a primary, and opponents were victorious in seven of those races.

The seven total incumbents who lost last night is less than the 10 that were defeated in 2010. In 2010, Rhode Island had the most legislative incumbents defeated of any state. This year, seven states saw more incumbents defeated than in Rhode Island.

What's next

The final state legislative primaries takes place Thursday, September 13 in New York.

Cumulative table of results

Individual State Results Nationwide Cumulative Results
State Primary date Total Incumbents Running Total Incumbents Facing Primary Total Incumbents Defeated % Incumbents Defeated*** Total Incumbents Defeated Total Incumbents Facing primary % Incumbents Defeated***
Delaware 9/11/2012 53 10 3 30% 192 1,124 17.08%
New Hampshire 9/11/2012 310 144 20^^^ 13.89% 192 1,124 17.08%
Rhode Island 9/11/2012 101 34 7 20.59% 192 1,124 17.08%
Massachusetts 9/6/2012 189 21 3&&& 14.29% 162 936 17.31%
Alaska 8/28/2012 53 17 2 11.76% 159 915 17.38%
Arizona 8/28/2012 59 27 2 7.41% 159 915 17.38%
Vermont 8/28/2012 155 13 0 0% 159 915 17.38%
Wyoming 8/21/2012 60 21 3 14.29% 155 858 18.07%
Connecticut 8/14/2012 161 9 4 44.44% 152 837 18.16%
Florida 8/14/2012 111 36 3 8.33% 152 837 18.16%
Minnesota 8/14/2012 158 11 1 9.09% 152 837 18.16%
Wisconsin 8/14/2012 94 16 2 12.50% 152 837 18.16%
Hawaii 8/11/2012 71 27 5 18.5% 142 765 18.56%
Kansas 8/7/2012 129 53 20 37.74% 137 738 18.56%
Michigan 8/7/2012 91 36 5 13.89% 137 738 18.56%
Missouri 8/7/2012 126 35 8 22.86% 137 738 18.56%
Washington 8/7/2012 93 14 0 0% 137 738 18.56%
Tennessee 8/2/2012 104 37 12 32.43% 104 600 17.33%
Georgia 7/31/2012 210 50 12+++ 24.00% 92 563 16.34%
Utah 6/26/2012 78 29 8 27.59% 80 513 15.59%
Colorado 6/26/2012 54 5 2 40.00% 72 484 14.88%
Oklahoma 6/26/2012 105 12 1 8.33% 70 479 14.61%
Maine 6/12/2012 121 5 0 0.00% 69 467 14.78%
Nevada 6/12/2012 36 12 2 16.67% 69 462 14.94%
South Carolina 6/12/2012 146 37 6 16.22% 67 450 14.89%
North Dakota 6/12/2012 61 7 4 57.14% 61 413 14.77%
California 6/5/2012 56 20 0 0.00% 57 406 14.04%
Montana 6/5/2012 82 17 4 23.53% 57 386 14.77%
Iowa 6/5/2012 97 16 3 18.75% 53 369 14.36%
New Mexico 6/5/2012 92 29 5 17.24% 50 353 14.16%
South Dakota 6/5/2012 74 23 5 21.74% 45 324 13.89%
Texas 5/29/2012 147 45 11 24.44% 40 301 13.29%
Kentucky 5/22/2012 106 21 1 4.76% 29 256 11.33%
Arkansas 5/22/2012 88 14 2 14.29% 28 235 11.91%
Nebraska 5/15/2012 17 5 0 0.00% 26 221 11.76%
Oregon 5/15/2012 66 4 2 50.00% 26 216 12.04%
Idaho 5/15/2012 70 34 3 8.82% 24 212 11.32%
West Virginia 5/8/2012 98 37 2 5.41% 21 178 11.80%
Indiana 5/8/2012 105 17 0 0.00% 19 141 13.48%
North Carolina 5/8/2012 128 39 7 17.95% 19 124 15.32%
Pennsylvania 4/24/2012 210 37 5 13.51% 12 85 14.12%
Illinois 3/20/2012 149 33 6 18.18% 7 48 14.58%
Ohio 3/6/2012 101 15 1 6.67% 1 15 6.67%
***Note: The percent is calculated by dividing the total number of incumbents who lost by the number of incumbents who actually faced a primary. It is not using the total number of incumbents who ran for re-election.

+++A 12th incumbent lost in the Georgia August 21, 2012 runoff. Eleven incumbents lost in the July 31 primary.

&&&A 4th incumbent is currently losing by 24 votes, as of September 12. A recount has begun.

^^^A number of races in New Hampshire are still too close to call, as of September 12.

Full study

See also