State Legislative Tracker: Projections show twelve legislative chambers are toss-ups
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On August 1, Ballotpedia released a new report on projected outcomes of the 123 State Executive, State Senate and State House elections. This set of projections, the first of four, seeks to indicate which races to watch, and which parties might have more to lose or gain from the election. Expected outcome is displayed in 1 of 7 classifications.
Going into the elections, Democrats hold 36 state legislative chambers up for election, while Republicans hold 59.
According to Ballotpedia's projections:
- 12 are Toss-up
- 8 Lean or Likely Democrat
- 19 Lean or Likely Republican
- 17 Safe Democrat
- 29 Safe Republican
See Ballotpedia:Statewide projections for the November 6, 2012 elections for full projections. In addition to more detailed information on the races above, the projections include an analysis of State executive races and Trifectas (when one political party holds the governorship and both chambers in a state) as well as an aggregation of various projections about Congressional races made by other organizations.
Ballotpedia's next set of projections will be released September 1, 2012, with updates on October 1 and November 1.
This week 2 out of 50 state legislatures - Ohio and California - 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. No states are projected to adjourn this week.
- 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:
- February 16: New Mexico
- March 6: Oregon
- March 8: Utah, Washington
- March 9: Arkansas, Florida, Wyoming
- March 10: Indiana, Virginia, West Virginia
- March 16: Wisconsin
- March 19: South Dakota
- March 29: Georgia, Idaho
- April 9: Maryland
- April 12: Kentucky
- April 16: Alaska
- April 18: Nebraska
- May 1: Tennessee
- May 3: Arizona, Mississippi, Hawaii
- May 5: Vermont
- May 9: Colorado, Iowa, Connecticut
- May 10: Minnesota
- May 16: Alabama
- May 20: Kansas
- May 25: Oklahoma
- May 30: Missouri
- May 31: Maine
- June 4: Louisiana
- June 7: South Carolina
- June 13: Rhode Island
- June 21: New York
- June 27: New Hampshire
- June 30: Delaware
- July 3: North Carolina
- Click here to see a chart of each state's 2012 session information.
| Snapshot of State Legislatures: |
Monday, August 6, 2012
|There are 7,383 Total State Legislators|
|Total Democratic state legislators||3,298 (44.7%)|
|Total Republican state legislators||3,957 (53.6%)|
|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||29|
|Total Special Sessions||16|
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 16 special sessions in 13 states. There are no special sessions currently ongoing.
Gov. Pat Quinn (D) announced on July 30 that he was calling a special legislative session on August 17 in order to address pension reform. Currently, Quinn said, the state has an $83 billion unfunded pension liability, which continues to grow every day.
On July 27, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) announced a special session on gambling for August 9. Maryland was tentatively scheduled to hold a special session to address the issue on July 9 but an 11-member work group appointed by the governor could not reach consensus on a plan to expand gambling in the state. Joined by Democratic legislative leaders at a news conference, O'Malley said immediate action was required on gambling in order to positively influence job creation and increase revenue.
In July, Governor Mark Dayton (D) announced that there will be a special session to address flood relief. Now set to begin the third week of August, the session, which has not officially been called yet, remained without a date for some time as state and local officials were waiting to hear how much the federal government would cover.
While the Federal Emergency Management Agency earlier granted federal money for damage to public infrastructure, Dayton received a shock in late July when FEMA said they would not provide any assistance to individuals whose homes were damaged in the flooding. The governor appealed the decision and has considered a personal appeal to President Barack Obama.
As of today, August 6, 6 state's sessions are currently in recess:
- Illinois - In recess until January 7, 2013.
- New Jersey - In recess from July 3, 2012 to August 19, 2012.
- New York - In recess from June 22, 2012 to January 7, 2013.
- Michigan - In recess from July 20 to August 14, 2012.
- Pennsylvania - In recess from July 3, 2012 to September 23, 2012.
- Wisconsin - In recess from March 17 to December 31, 2012.
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.
As of July 12, all signature filing deadlines have passed:
- Illinois – December 5, 2011
- Ohio - December 7, 2011
- West Virginia - January 28
- Kentucky – January 31
- Indiana – February 10
- Nebraska - February 15 (incumbents), March 1 (non-incumbents)
- Pennsylvania - February 16
- North Carolina - February 29
- Arkansas - March 1
- Oregon - March 6
- California, Idaho, Texas - March 9
- Montana - March 12
- Maine - March 15
- Iowa, Nevada, Utah - March 16
- New Mexico - March 20
- Missouri, South Dakota - March 27
- South Carolina - March 30
- Colorado - April 2
- Tennessee - April 5
- North Dakota, Oklahoma - April 13
- Michigan - May 15
- Washington - May 18
- Georgia - May 25
- Arizona - May 30
- Alaska, Wisconsin, Wyoming - June 1
- Hawaii, Minnesota, Massachusetts - June 5
- Florida - June 8
- Kansas - June 11
- Connecticut - June 12
- Vermont - June 14
- New Hampshire - June 15
- Rhode Island - June 27
- Delaware - July 10
- New York - July 12
- See also: 2012 election dates
A total of 103 state legislative incumbents have been defeated in a primary - 71 Republicans and 32 Democrats.
So far, primaries have taken place in 26 states:
- Ohio - March 6
- Illinois – March 20
- Pennsylvania - April 24
- Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia - May 8
- Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon - May 15
- Arkansas, Kentucky - May 22
- Texas – May 29
- California, Iowa, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota - June 5
- Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina - June 12
- Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah - June 26
- Georgia - July 31
- Tennessee - August 2
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 succeeded.
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. The Caswell campaign remains active.
Following several attempts to get recall language approved against Sen. Randy Richardville, organizers succeeded on June 12, 2012. The approved petition language against Richardville states that one reason for the recall is Richardville's support for a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
So far in 2012 there have been 29 special elections in 12 states.
There is one special election scheduled to take place this week in Pennsylvania.
Jane Orie (R) was convicted of 14 criminal counts on March 26, including five felony counts, relating to the use of state resources for campaign purposes. She officially resigned on May 21. Two and a half years remain in her four-year Senate term. A special election to replace her has been scheduled for August 7, 2012. 
Upcoming special elections include:
- August 7: Pennsylvania Senate District 40
- September 4: Virginia Senate District 5, Virginia House of Delegates District 45
- November 6: Kentucky Senate District 19
- November 6: Mississippi State Senate District 19
- November 6: New Jersey Assembly Districts 16, 26, 68
- November 6: Texas House of Representatives District 41
- State legislative elections, 2012
- 2012 state legislative calendar
- Signature requirements and deadlines for 2012 state government elections
- State legislative special elections, 2012
- State legislative recalls
- Reuters, "Illinois Governor calls special session on pension reform," July 30, 2012
- Washington Times, "Maryland special session will address gambling questions," July 29, 2012
- Washington Post, "Md. House will arrive a day later for special session," August 3, 2012
- Duluth News Tribune, "Minnesota officials pledge cooperation to deliver disaster relief," July 12, 2012
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- Northland NewsCenter, "Sen. Reinert: Special Session on Flood Relief Slated for Third Week of August," August 2, 2012
- StateScape, Session schedules, accessed August 6, 2012
- American Press, "Leaders call Kleckley recall push a 'grass-roots effort'," June 15, 2012
- The Times Herald, "State Sen. Phil Pavlov recall fails," April 13, 2012
- My FOX Detroit "Recall language targeting Richardville approved," June 12, 2012
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Verdict triggers 40th District special election," March 27, 2012
- Pittsburgh Post Gazette, "Special election set Aug. 7 to replace Orie in state Senate," May 25, 2012
- PoliticsPA, "GOP Picks Vulakovich Over Hart for Orie Seat Special," accessed June 17, 2012