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State Legislative Tracker: A look at special elections on November 6

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October 29, 2012

Edited by Greg Janetka
This week's tracker features a look at the special elections that will be taking place on November 6.

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Weekly highlight

On top of the normally scheduled 6,015 legislative seats up for election on November 6, there are six special legislative elections on the ballot, as well as three special legislative primaries. A seventh special election was scheduled for District 41 of the Texas House of Representatives, but when Democrat Bobby Guerra was the only candidate to file the Texas Secretary of State's office declared him the winner and called off the election.[1]

Here is a preview of the special elections and primaries happening November 6:

Special elections

  • Kentucky Senate District 19: Tim Shaughnessy (D) resigned his seat in the Kentucky State Senate on June 29, 2012. In resigning early he cited a number of reasons including the fact that there were no plans for a special session and no important issues in his committees.[2] Democrat Morgan McGarvey is running unopposed for the seat.
  • Mississippi Senate District 19: Special elections in Mississippi are officially nonpartisan and all candidates run on one ballot. Known party affiliations are designated after candidate names below. If no candidate receives a majority, a runoff will take place on November 27.[3] After eight years in the Mississippi State Senate, Merle Flowers (R) resigned on May 24, 2012 in order to spend more time with his family.[4] Four candidates filed for the seat - Mike Smith (D), David Parker (R), David Blackwell (R), and Pat Nelson (R).
  • New Jersey Assembly District 4: Gabriela Mosquera's (D) 2010 election was ruled invalid by the New Jersey Supreme Court on the grounds that she had not resided long enough in the 4th District. However, by the time this ruling came, Mosquera was eligible for the seat. As such, local Democrats appointed her as interim representative to serve until the November 6 general election. Mosquera will face Republican Shelley Lovett as she attempts to retain her seat.[6]
  • New Jersey Assembly District 16: After a battle with cancer, Peter Biondi (R) passed away on November 10, 2011. Local party officials selected Donna Simon (R) to serve in the interim. Simon will face Democrat Marie Corfield as she seeks to retain her seat.
  • New Jersey Assembly District 26: Alex DeCroce (R) passed away on January 9, 2012 from a heart attack and local party officials selected his wife BettyLou DeCroce (R) to serve in the interim.[7] She will face Republican Joseph Raich in the special election.

Special primaries


This week 4 out of 50 state legislatures - Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania - are meeting in regular session, while Massachusetts is meeting in informal session, which it will continue to do throughout the rest of the year. As of May 16, all states had convened their 2012 sessions.

Forty states have adjourned for the year, while four states - Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Texas - were not scheduled to hold regular sessions in 2012.

Current sessions capture for the week of October 29, 2012

Regular sessions

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2012 session information.

Although most states have concluded 2012 business, some states have already begun 2013 action. Drafting for 2013 has begun in Montana, Nevada and North Dakota, while prefiling of legislation is going on in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, New Hampshire and Virginia.[12]

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Monday, October 29, 2012
There are 7,383 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,301 (44.7%)
Total Republican state legislators 3,946 (53.4%)
There are 99 Total State Legislative Chambers
Total Democratic Party-controlled chambers 37
Total Republican Party-controlled chambers 58
Total tied or nonpartisan chambers 4
2012 Session Information
Total Special Elections 32
Total Special Sessions 20

In 2011, special sessions were a widespread occurrence in state legislatures. This was largely due to states' having to complete the redistricting process for legislative and congressional districts. Overall in 2011, there were 45 special sessions in 28 states.

Since the beginning of 2012, there have been 20 special sessions in 16 states. There are no special sessions currently scheduled.


Louisiana state Rep. Jerome Richard's (I) efforts to get the legislature to call a special session failed on Friday when he could not get enough state senators to agree to the session. Legislators supporting the effort wanted to hold the session to address Governor Bobby Jindal's (R) cuts to health care programs and a state prison. In order to hold a special session in Louisiana, a certain number of representatives and senators are required to agree to the session. Richard had enough representatives on board but fell short by three senators.[13]

In recess

As of today, October 29, 4 state's sessions are currently in recess:

  • California - In recess from September 1, 2012 to November 29, 2012.[14]
  • Illinois - In recess from August 17, 2012 to November 27, 2012.[15]
  • New York - In recess from June 22, 2012 to January 8, 2013.[14]
  • Wisconsin - In recess from March 17 to December 31, 2012.[14]
See also: State legislative elections, 2012 and State legislative elections results, 2012
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A total of 86 of the 99 chambers will hold state legislative elections on November 6, 2012.

1,301 (65.97%) of the country's 1,972 state senate seats are up for election in November 2012, and 4,714 (87.12%) of the country's 5,411 state house seats are up for election. Altogether, 6,015 (81.47%) of the country's 7,383 state legislative seats will be up for election during the presidential election year.

  • 43 of the 50 state senates are holding elections.
  • 43 of the 49 state houses are holding elections.

The 6,015 seats up for election is 110 fewer than the 6,125 that were contested in 2010.

Filing deadlines

See also: Signature requirements and deadlines for 2012 state government elections and 2012 Elections preview: Comparing state legislative filing deadlines

As of July 12, all signature filing deadlines had passed.


See also: 2012 election dates

The 2012 state legislative primary session began on March 6 in Ohio and wrapped up for the year in New York on September 13.

A total of 198 state legislative incumbents were defeated in a primary - 124 Republicans and 74 Democrats.

Primaries took place in 44 states in 2012. For a review of what happened, click on the state below:

Redistricting on the ballot

See also: Redistricting measures on the ballot

This year voters in five states will go to the polls to cast their vote on proposed changes to their state's redistricting process. The measures are as follows:

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See also: State legislative special elections, 2012

So far in 2012 there have been 32 special elections in 13 states.

There are no special elections scheduled to take place this week.

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • November 6: Kentucky Senate District 19
  • November 6: Mississippi State Senate District 19 and House District 52
  • November 6: New Jersey Assembly Districts 16, 26, 68
  • December 4: Wisconsin State Senate District 33
  • December 11: Alabama House of Representatives Districts 30, 34
  • December 11: Iowa State Senate District 22
  • December 18: Virginia House of Delegates District 89
  • January 8, 2013: California State Senate District 4
  • January 8, 2013: Georgia State Senate District 30

See also