State Legislative Tracker: Primary season continues as four states hold elections and candidates file in four

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June 11, 2012

Edited by Greg Janetka

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This week's tracker features a partisan count update and an overview of the busy upcoming week's candidate filings and primary elections.


As of today, June 11, 2012, the following figures represent the cumulative partisan breakdown of the 50 state senates and 49 state houses. In the 50 states, Republicans currently control 53.7% of all seats while Democrats hold 44.8%. All told, Republicans control 58 chambers while Democrats are the majority in 36 chambers. Four chambers are tied, while one is nonpartisan.

The totals represent a gain of 2 Democratic legislators from the April 30 Tracker.

Representation in 50 State Legislatures
Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state legislators 3,305 44.8%
Republican state legislators 3,968 53.7%
Independent state legislators 71 0.96%
Third party (and non-voting) legislators 11 0.15%
Vacancies 23 0.31%

State Houses

The partisan composition of state houses refers to which party holds the majority of seats in the state house or the lower level of each state legislature. Altogether, in the 49 state houses, there are 5,413 state representatives.

As of June 11, 2012, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:

  • Democratic Party 18 chambers
  • Republican Party 30 chambers
  • Purple.png 1 chamber (Oregon)
See also: Partisan composition of state senates

Cumulative numbers

As of June 11, 2012, 5,365 state representatives are affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties.

Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state representatives 2,431 44.9%
Republican state representatives 2,934 54.2%
Independent state representatives 18 0.33%
Third party (and non-voting) representatives 9 0.17%
Vacancies 14 0.25%


There are 14 state house vacancies in 12 different states as of June 11, 2012. They are as follows:

State Vacancies
Florida 1
Georgia 1
Hawaii 1
Iowa 1
Kentucky 1
Maine 1
New Hampshire 2
Oklahoma 2
Pennsylvania 1
South Carolina 1
Texas 1
Vermont 1


There are 27 state representatives in 13 states identifying as independents or parties other than Democratic and Republican as of June 11, 2012. They are as follows:

State Independents/Third Party
Georgia 1 (Independent)
Louisiana 2 (Independent)
Maine 3 (2 non-voting Native American representatives, 1 Independent)
Missouri 4 (Independent)
New Hampshire 2 (Independent)
New Mexico 1 (Independent)
New York 1 (Independence Party of New York)
North Carolina 1 (Independent)
South Dakota 1 (Independent)
Tennessee 1 (Carter County Republican)
Vermont 8 (5 Vermont Progressive Party, 3 Independent)
Virginia 1 (Independent)
Wisconsin 1 (Independent)

State Senates

The partisan composition of state senates refers to which political party holds the majority of seats in the state senate. Altogether, in the 50 state senates, there are 1,971 state senators.

As of June 11, 2012, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:

See also: Partisan composition of state houses

Cumulative numbers

As of June 11, 2012, 1,908 state senators are affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties.

Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state senators 874 44.3%
Republican state senators 1,034 52.4%
Nonpartisan state senators 49 2.49%
Independent state senators 4 0.2%
Third Party state senators 2 0.10%
Vacancies 9 0.45%


There are 9 state senate vacancies as of June 11, 2012.

State Vacancies
Indiana 1
Massachusetts 1
Minnesota 1
Mississippi 1
Nevada 2
pennsylvania 1
South Carolina 1
Wisconsin 1


There are 6 state senators in 5 states identifying as independents or parties other than Democratic and Representative as of June 11, 2012. They are as follows:

State Independents/Third Party
Alabama 1 (Independent)
Kentucky 1 (Independent)
Maine 1 (Independent)
Rhode Island 1 (Independent)
Vermont 2 (Vermont Progressive Party)

This week 11 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. As of May 16, all states had convened their 2012 sessions. No states are projected to adjourn this week.

Thirty-four states have adjourned for the year, while four states - Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Texas - will not hold regular sessions in 2012.


Regular sessions

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

All states have convened their regular 2012 legislative sessions:

The following states have ended their regular session:

Click here to see a chart of each state's 2012 session information.

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Monday, June 11, 2012
There are 7,384 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,305 (44.8%)
Total Republican state legislators 3,968 (53.7%)
There are 99 Total State Legislative Chambers
Total Democratic Party-controlled chambers 36
Total Republican Party-controlled chambers 58
Total tied or nonpartisan chambers 5
2012 Session Information
Total Special Elections 25
Total Special Sessions 11

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 11 special sessions in 9 states. None are currently ongoing. The next is slated to begin in Connecticut on June 12.


A special session will take place on June 12 in order to approve the language of the new budget which goes into effect on July 1. It is also possible that several bills which died during the session could be revisited, including a proposal to increase the minimum wage as well as a job promotion bill.[1]

On June 1, Speaker of the House Chris Donovan's (D) campaign manager announced Donovan would temporarily step down from his leadership role during the special session. Donovan's campaign has recently been the target of an FBI investigation and saw his campaign's finance director arrested on May 31 on charges of concealing campaign contributions.[2]


A special session looks likely in Illinois as the legislature finished their spring session without passing a plan to address pension reform. Gov. Pat Quinn (D) said he would be meeting with legislative leaders soon in order to determine the date.[3]


Maryland, which already held a special session in May, may have another one the week of July 9. An 11-member work group is trying to reach consensus on a plan to expand gambling in the state. If successful, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said he will call the legislature into session to address the issue. The workgroup is chaired by John Morton III, a business and financial services executive. Other members include four of the governor's staff, three senators appointed by Senate President Thomas Mike Miller, Jr. (Maryland) (D) and three representatives appointed by Speaker of the House Michael Busch (D).[4]


State Sen. Mike Stack (D) is currently circulating petitions that would call a special session this summer to deal with transportation issues. In order to be called, half the members of each chamber must sign, along with Gov. Tom Corbett (R).[5]

South Carolina

The South Carolina State Legislature adjourned their regular session on June 7, but will begin a special session on June 19. The special session will address the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 and could also include any measures that reached a panel of House and Senate members prior to adjournment.[6]


Following his victory in a recall election on June 5, Gov. Scott Walker (R) said lawmakers should meet over burgers and brats to discuss healing the sharp partisan divide in the state.[7] During the picnic, which takes place today, Democrats say they hope Walker will call a special session to pass job bills.[8]

In recess

As of today, June 11, 2 state's sessions are currently in recess:

State news


On Thursday, June 7, a three-judge federal panel completed redistricting maps for Kansas' congressional, legislative, and Board of Education districts. The task of redistricting fell to the court after the Kansas State Legislature failed to complete redistricting by the end of the legislative session. This is the first time a court has drawn the state's maps without an approved legislative plan from which to work.[10]

Legislators and state officials reacted strongly to the new boundaries. Described by the judges as "pushing a reset button," Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) called the plan the "most disruptive change in legislative districts that the state has ever seen." House Speaker Mike O'Neal argued that, "You couldn't be more disruptive if you tried."[11]

Redistricting Facts
Maps submitted for vote: 138 out of 142 (97.2%)** No votes on initial maps in the following: ME (2), MT (2)
States that have completed Congressional Maps 43/43
States that have completed State Legislative Maps 45/50 (Maps unfinished: AK, AL, ME, MS, MT)
**With 50 states, there are 142 possible maps. 50 State Senate, 49 State House (No House in Nebraska), and 43 Congressional (7 states have 1 seat)

Although the effects of the new maps are still being evaluated, it appears that 48 representatives and six senators now reside in a district with at least one other incumbent. In the state House, at least 26 Republican and four Democratic incumbents will face a member of their own party in November (unless they move or retire). While the Senate changes were less dramatic, three GOP candidates who intended to challenge moderate Republican senators no longer reside in the same district.[12]

Notably, the congressional map moves Manhattan (and, thus, KSU) into the 1st District and reunites Lawrence in District 2. Districts 1 and 4 are expected to see little partisan change. However, District 2 will likely become more Democratic and District 3 more Republican.[12]

Following the ruling, candidates had until noon on Monday, June 10 to file for candidacy.[13]

  • The approved redistricting plans can be found here.


The Legislative Reapportionment Commission voted 4-1 on June 8 to approve a final plan for state legislative districts. The plan, which was drawn up by Republican members, was the second the LRC has sent to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court--the first of which was rejected for splitting too many towns, wards and counties. Citizens have 30 days to file a complaint against the new map.[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.

1,272 (64.5%) of the country's 1,971 state senate seats are up for election in November 2012, and 4,712 (87.05%) of the country's 5,413 state house seats are up for election. Altogether, 5,984 (81.04%) of the country's 7,384 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 5,984 seats up for election is 141 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

Four states - Connecticut, Kansas, Vermont and New Hampshire - have their signature filing deadlines this week.

So far, deadlines have passed in 37 states:

States with upcoming deadlines:


See also: 2012 election dates

State legislative primaries taking place this week: Maine, North Dakota, Nevada, South Carolina

So far, primaries have taken place in 17 states:

A total of 51 state legislative incumbents have been defeated in a primary.

States with upcoming primaries:

Currently, 18 states permit the recall of state officials. Between 1913 and 2008, there were just 20 state legislative recall elections in five states. Of the 20 state legislative recall elections, 13 out of 20 resulted in the state legislator being recalled. In 2011, there were 11 state legislative recalls in three states, four of which resulted in the legislator being recalled. In 2012, there have been four state legislative recalls - three have failed while one remains disputed.


2011 saw a wave of recall attempts in Michigan. While most of those efforts dried up, at least two campaigns continued on (the recall of Paul Scott was successful on November 8, 2011). Organizers of the campaigns to recall Bruce Caswell (R) and Phil Pavlov (R) set their sights on the August 2012 ballot, but in April organizers of the Pavlov recall announced they did not have enough signatures and were abandoning their efforts.[15] The Caswell campaign remains active.


See also: Timeline of events of the recall of Wisconsin State Senators in 2012

Recalls against four Republican state senators took place on June 5.[16] Going into the recalls the Senate was tied 16-16, with one vacancy. Thus, the recalls would determine who controls the chamber.[17]

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 14
     Republican Party 19
Total 33

Incumbents Scott Fitzgerald (R) and Terry Moulton (R) won easy victories. Republican Jerry Petrowski easily won Pam Galloway's (R) former seat. Unofficial results show John Lehman (D) defeated Van Wanggaard (R) by 779 votes. However, Wanggaard is considering a recount. If Lehman's lead holds up, Democrats will take control of the chamber.[18]

Results were as follows:

District 13

See also: Scott Fitzgerald recall, Wisconsin State Senate (2012)

Incumbent Scott Fitzgerald (R) easily defeated recall organizer Lori Compas (D) and Terry Virgil (L) to retain his seat.[19]

Recall of Wisconsin State Senator Scott Fitzgerald, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngScott Fitzgerald Incumbent 58.3% 47,146
     Democratic Lori Compas 40.7% 32,909
     Libertarian Terry Virgil 0.9% 763
     - Scattering 0% 33
Total Votes 80,851
Source: Wisconsin Government Accountability Board

District 21

See also: Van Wanggaard recall, Wisconsin State Senate (2012)

While races in all of the other districts were called fairly early, the fight for District 21 continued into the early morning, results narrowing as they came in. In the end, former Sen. John Lehman (D) declared victory over incumbent Van Wanggaard (R). With 100 percent of precincts reporting unofficial results show Lehman leading by 779 votes.

Challenges to the results are possible and the Wanggaard campaign released a statement saying, “We owe it to all of Senator Wanggaard’s supporters and the voters of Wisconsin to thoroughly examine the election and its results and act accordingly once we have all of the information.”[20] The county's board of canvassars has until June 15 to submit final vote totals. Following that action, Wanggaard will have three business days to ask for a recount.[18]

The two previously faced off in 2010 where Wanggaard defeated then incumbent Lehman.

Recall of Wisconsin State Senator Van Wanggaard, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Van Wanggaard Incumbent 49.4% 35,517
     Democratic John Lehman 50.5% 36,351
     - Scattering 0.1% 56
Total Votes 71,924
Source: Wisconsin Government Accountability Board

District 23

See also: Terry Moulton recall, Wisconsin State Senate (2012)

Incumbent Terry Moulton (R) easily defeated former state legislator Kristen Dexter (D) to retain his seat. The election was a rematch of 2008 when Dexter defeated Moulton to win his seat in the Assembly. With 98 percent reporting, Dexter hadn’t yet conceded but Moulton said, "I’m humbled that the voters are going to allow me to stay in office and complete my term." Moulton went on to say he thought a lot of the animosity between the two parties was due to a lack of personal connection and that he would try to get to know Democrats better as people.[21]

Recall of Wisconsin State Senator Terry Moulton, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngTerry Moulton Incumbent 56.6% 39,864
     Democratic Kristen Dexter 43.3% 30,504
     - Scattering 0.1% 100
Total Votes 70,468
Source: Wisconsin Government Accountability Board

District 29

See also: Pam Galloway recall, Wisconsin State Senate (2012)

State Rep. Jerry Petrowski (R) easily defeated fellow Rep. Donna Seidel (D) to win the seat vacated by former Sen. Pam Galloway (R). Seidel said she was proud of the campaign she ran and “while we did not get the result we wanted, I hope those who have been elected this evening will live up to their claims to bring Wisconsin together."[22]

Petrowski will not take office until the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board certifies the election results, which must be done within 18 days of the election.[23]

Recall of Wisconsin State Senator Pam Galloway, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJerry Petrowski 61.3% 44,107
     Democratic Donna Seidel 38.6% 27,744
     - Scattering 0.1% 58
Total Votes 71,909
Source: Wisconsin Government Accountability Board

See also: State legislative special elections, 2012

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

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • July 17: South Carolina Senate District 41
  • July 24: South Carolina House District 68
  • August 7: Pennsylvania Senate District 40
  • November 6: New Jersey Assembly District 16
  • November 6: New Jersey Assembly District 26
  • November 6: New Jersey Assembly District 68

See also


  1. Connecticut Post, "Special legislative session set for June 2," May 25, 2012
  2. The Day, "Donovan to sit out special session as FBI probe continues," June 1, 2012
  3. Herald Review, "Lawmakers postpone pension reform vote, plan special session," June 1, 2012
  4. Washington Post, "2nd Md. special session could be week of July 9," May 21, 2012
  5. Essential Public Radio, "Idea of Special Legislative Session on Transportation Floated in Harrisburg," May 29, 2012
  6. Go Upstate, "SC Legislature's regular session ends with budget, pension not done," June 8, 2012
  7. Seattle Times, “Barrett concedes to Walker in recall,” June 5, 2012
  8. WTAQ, "Dems hope 'brat summit' leads to special session on jobs," June 11, 2012
  9. 9.0 9.1 StateScape, Session schedules," accessed June11, 2012
  10. Kansas City Star, "Federal judges impose new Kansas political lines," June 9, 2012
  11. The Hutchinson News, "New boundaries stun lawmakers," June 8, 2012
  12. 12.0 12.1 The Hutchinson News, "Summary of judges' order on Kan. Redistricting," June 8, 2012
  13. KAKE, "Candidates Scramble To File By Noon Deadline," June 11, 2012 (dead link)
  14. Politics PA, "Redistricting Commission Passes GOP Maps," June 8, 2012
  15. The Times Herald, "State Sen. Phil Pavlov recall fails," April 13, 2012
  16. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Recall votes set for May 8 and June 5," March 14, 2012
  17. Channel 3000, "Wisconsin Democrats counting on recall elections to win state Senate control," May 26, 2012
  18. 18.0 18.1 WAOW, "Wanggaard still not conceding election," June 6, 2012
  19. ‘’Wisconsin State Journal, “Fitzgerald defeats Compas to retain Senate seat,” June 5, 2012
  20. The Journal Times, "Lehman declares win," June 6, 2012
  21. ‘’WisPolitics, “Moulton hopes “time will heal” division; says he’ll try to get to know colleagues across aisle,” June 5, 2012
  22. ‘’WisPolitics, “Seidel concedes,” June 5, 2012
  23. ‘’Wisconsin State Journal, “Q&A: Election Day Arrives in States First Gubernatorial Recall,” June 5, 2012