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State legislative battleground chambers, 2014

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2014 State Legislative Elections

Contents
What made our list
ArizonaArkansasColoradoIowaKentuckyMaineMichiganMinnesotaNevadaNew HampshireNew MexicoNew YorkOregonPennsylvaniaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsin

Chambers targeted by
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The majority of state legislative chambers with elections in 2014 are not at risk of flipping majority control. Using data on partisan balance, seats up for election and competitive districts, Ballotpedia staff has identified the top 20 state legislative chambers to watch.

In 15 of the chambers, the difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans amounts to 10 percent or less of the seats up for election in 2014.

If any of the country's state legislative chambers do switch party control as a result of the November 2014 elections, those switches are most likely to occur in these 15 chambers. An additional five chambers have been included for having a small difference in partisan balance even though that difference was greater than 10 percent of the seats up for election. Vacant seats have been attributed to the party that previously held the district.

In the 50 states, there are 99 state legislative chambers altogether, and 87 of the 99 chambers are holding state legislative elections on November 4, 2014. A total of 1,098 (55.6%) of the country's 1,972 state senate seats are up for election in November 2014, and 4,958 (91.6%) of the country's 5,411 state house seats are up for election. Altogether, 6,057 (82.0%) of the country's 7,383 state legislative seats are up for election during the midterm election year.

See also: State legislative elections, 2014

What made our list

A total of 20 chambers in 17 states made Ballotpedia's list of elections to watch. Those states and chambers are:

Although some of the chambers included on the list are at risk of flipping between Democratic and Republican majorities, the list is not meant to predict such changes in partisan control. The list is an indicator of close chambers paired with a look at how many districts in any given chamber held competitive elections in 2012. Special elections were not factored in the creation of the list.

The following table details the 20 chambers on Ballotpedia's list. Competitive districts are defined by a margin of victory of 5 percent or less in 2012. Mildly competitive districts are defined by a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.

2014 State Legislative Battleground Chambers
Chamber Seats up Partisan difference % Partisan difference 2012 Competitive districts 2012 Mildly competitive districts
Arkansas House 100 3 3.0% 7 10
Washington Senate 25 1 4.0% 1 3
New York Senate 63 3 4.8% 8 1
Colorado Senate 18 1 5.6% 3 3
New Mexico House 70 4 5.7% 9 6
Iowa House 100 6 6.0% 18 9
Iowa Senate 25 2 8.0% 4 8
Kentucky House 100 8 8.0% 4 10
West Virginia House 100 6 6.0% 18 9
Michigan House 110 9 8.2% 8 13
New Hampshire Senate 24 2 8.3% 5 3
Pennsylvania House 203 17 9.4% 7 10
Minnesota House 134 12 9.0% 17 21
Nevada Senate 11 1 9.1% 5 0
New Hampshire House 400 40 10.0% 85 33
Maine Senate 35 4 11.4% 7 7
Arizona Senate 30 4 13.3% 1 3
Oregon Senate 15 2 13.3% 0 2
Pennsylvania Senate 25 4 16.0% 3 0
Wisconsin Senate 17 3 17.7% 1 1

States

Editor's note: Each state is updated by Ballotpedia staff on a monthly basis until November 4, 2014. If you are aware of relevant content that Ballotpedia has not included, please email it to Tking@ballotpedia.org.

Arizona

Arizona

The Arizona Senate has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of four seats, which amounts to 13 percent of the chamber. In 2012, four districts were either competitive or mildly competitive. In 2012, District 8 had a margin of victory of 3 percent. Three other districts had a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.[1]

As of September 2014, Arizona is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.

Independent candidate Tom O'Halleran in District 6 is looking to make history by becoming the first person not affiliated with the Democratic or Republican parties to win election to the Arizona State Legislature. O'Halleran, a former member of both the State Senate and State House, switched his registration from Republican to Independent in May 2014, citing Republicans' inability to tackle specific issues even when holding a majority.[2][3]

O'Halleran will face Sylvia Tenney Allen (R) in the general election following incumbent Chester Crandell's (R) death on August 4.[4] Despite his death, Crandell still garnered nearly 15,000 votes in the Republican primary. The Arizona Republic suggested the votes for the former legislator could be a sign that voters would vote Republican regardless of who is actually running.[5]

On average, $83,199 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. General election candidates in Districts 25, 1 and 5 raised the largest amount of contributions while seeing the winning candidate defeating his or her opponent by a wide margin of victory. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[6][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

Arizona State Senate Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
25 $365,627 R+33 439.46% $4.40
1 $242,834 R+42 291.87% $2.62
5 $184,930 R+42 222.27% $2.66
18 $156,578 R+6 188.20% $1.63
10 $138,083 D+9 165.97% $1.56
20 $126,558 R+14 152.11% $1.73
9 $120,812 D+11 145.21% $1.35
26 $104,209 D+13 125.25% $2.16
11 $82,781 R+13 99.50% $0.96
17 $80,002 R+14 96.16% $0.94

Context

Two Senate races had Republican primaries with a more moderate legislator facing a challenge from the right. In total, nine Arizona legislators faced a challenge from a more conservative candidate during the primary elections. Groups targeted the so-called "legis-traitors" over their support for Medicaid expansion. The Alliance of Principled Conservatives (APC) contended that a vote to expand the state's Medicaid system was nothing short of an endorsement of the Affordable Care Act. Former Sen. Frank Antenori, a member of APC, said the act of expansion increased government dependency.[8]

Governor Jan Brewer and a new group known as the Arizona Business Coalition (ABC) backed the Republican incumbents. Matthew Benson, a spokesman for ABC, said "These are conservatives, they're Republicans and they've had to make tough decisions to turn the state around, as Governor Brewer has done . . . These are people who are stepping up and leading instead of tilting at windmills and yelling at black helicopters." Brewer's own independent-expenditure committee, Arizona Legacy, was expected to support the same lawmakers using some of its $571,000 cash on hand reported as of June 30.[8]

Both primaries in the Arizona State Senate featuring APC-backed challengers against more moderate opponents resulted in moderate victories. Rep. Jeff Dial defeated the APC-endorsed Tom Morrissey in District 18. In District 25, incumbent Bob Worsley defeated Ralph Heap.[8] Both districts were on our list of 2012's Arizona State Senate "Money Districts," with District 25 ranking first and District 18 fourth. General election candidates in District 25 raised three times as much money as the average district in the chamber.

Arkansas

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Arkansas

The Arkansas House has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of three seats, which amounts to 3 percent of the chamber. In 2012, a total of 17 districts were competitive or mildly competitive. There were seven districts where the margin of victory was 5 percent or less in the 2012 elections. Another 10 districts had a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.

A total of 28 incumbent representatives are not running for re-election in 2014, while 72 are seeking re-election. Five of those incumbents faced a primary competition on May 20, 2014. Out of those five incumbents, three incumbents were defeated by a primary challenger. Heading into the general election, Arkansas is one of 14 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.

Republicans picked up five seats during the 2012 election to gain control of the chamber for the first time since 1974.[9] Prior to the 2010 election, Republicans held just 28 seats in the chamber; that is 23 less than their standing heading into the 2014 elections.

Arkansas House of Representatives partisan balance
Party Prior to 2010 Prior to 2012 Prior to 2014
Democratic Party 71 54 48
Republican Party 28 46 51

On average, $118,016 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Eight of the top-10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[10][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

Arkansas House of Representatives Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
18 $252,777 R+3 214.19% $1.63
28 $243,532 D+1 206.36% $0.77
10 $216,649 D+2 183.58% $1.56
17 $204,680 R+5 173.43% $0.94
26 $189,324 D+8 160.42% $2.16
6 $176,601 R+3 149.64% $0.84
1 $170,008 -- 144.06% $2.62
24 $166,864 D+15 141.39% $1.36
8 $149,100 R+1 126.34% $1.44
21 $139,931 R+8 118.57% $0.40

Context

The GOP owns the house now largely thanks to the party's surge in the past two elections. Due to the large Republican gains in the state house elections of 2010 and 2012, partisan control of the State House may come down to three seats.

One issue of contentious debate during the primary season has been the federal healthcare law (the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare") and the state of Arkansas's alternative to the Medicaid expansion called "the private option."[11] The private option in Arkansas devotes federal dollars for private health insurance to be purchased by low-income state residents.[12] In particular, Republican state representatives were challenged in their primary races depending on their support or opposition to the private option plan, and whether one party or the other controls the state house in 2015 may determine the fate of the private option plan. On the other hand, the private option plan has not proved to be a contentious issue in Democratic primary races. At least four Republican incumbent representatives faced primary challenges based on the private option: State Rep. Sue Scott supported the private option plan, while representatives Randy Alexander, Jim Dotson, and John Hutchison opposed the private option plan. While Scott and Dotson were victorious in their primary races, Alexander and Hutchison were defeated by primary challengers Lance Eads and Dwight Tosh, respectively.[12]

Colorado

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Colorado

The Colorado Senate has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of one seat, which amounts to 5.6 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. In 2012, when 16 districts were up for election, six districts were either competitive or mildly competitive. Two of those districts, District 19 and District 22, are up for election again in 2014. Both of those districts had a margin of victory of 5 percent or less in 2012. Heading into the general election, Colorado is one of 13 Democratic state government trifectas.

On average, $132,846 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Six of the top-10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. Three featured general elections with a margin of victory greater than 20 percent. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[13][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

Colorado State Senate Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
19 $358,484 D+0.8 269.85% $4.73
22 $333,750 D+5 251.23% $4.52
26 $312,265 D+8 235.06% $4.36
35 $223,904 R+2 168.54% $3.54
14 $184,636 D+22 138.98% $2.29
25 $173,904 D+15 130.91% $3.43
27 $150,380 R+10 113.20% $1.94
8 $144,969 R+7 109.13% $2.17
32 $87,491 D+40 65.86% $1.28
17 $87,159 D+29 65.61% $1.19

Context

The Democrats control the Senate by the smallest possible margin of one seat. The 2013 recalls of Senate President John Morse (D) and Angela Giron (D) were followed by the attempted recall and resignation of Evie Hudak (D). All three petitions were fueled by gun control legislation passed by the chamber during the 2013 session. Morse and Giron were replaced by Republicans Bernie Herpin and George Rivera, respectively, while Hudak's resignation allowed a Democratic vacancy committee to fill her seat with Rachel Zenzinger (D) and prevent a Republican majority. All three seats are up for election in 2014.

Races to Watch

Analysts believe that the two seats up for election in Jefferson County will determine who holds a majority in 2015. Political analyst Eric Sondermann called Jefferson County "the epicenter of Colorado politics." State Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call called the county a microcosm of the state, with an even split between Democratic, Republican and unaffiliated registered voters. Call believes that District 19 holds more promise for Republicans than District 22.[14]

In the primary campaigns, the gun-rights group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) endorsed one candidate in each primary and attacked the other for not being conservative enough. RMGO endorsed Woods and Sanchez before stating in an email that since the other candidates did not fill out their anti-gun survey, RMGO assumed they would "vote anti-gun if elected." Nicolais defended himself from the criticism, referencing his concealed carry permit. Sias pointed to his high marks from the National Rifle Association to deflect the accusation. Sias and Nicolais both lost their primaries.[14]

Iowa

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Iowa

The Iowa Senate has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of two seats, which amounts to 8 percent of the chamber. In 2012, when 26 seats were up for election, a total of 12 districts were competitive or mildly competitive. One of those districts, District 49, is up for election again in 2014. That district had a margin of victory of 9 percent in 2012.

Five incumbent state senators are not running for re-election in 2014. Twenty will seek re-election. Four incumbents faced primary competition on June 3.

On average, $371,096 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Nine of the top-10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. The other district had a general election with a margin of victory of 11 percent. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[15][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

Iowa State Senate Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
8 $1,573,549 D+11 424.03% $68.92
26 $934,120 D+0.4 251.72% $30.20
36 $810,197 D+8 218.33% $27.85
30 $794,973 D+2 214.22% $23.94
48 $763,420 R+2 205.72% $23.66
49 $655,163 D+9 176.55% $20.67
42 $572,180 D+6 154.19% $19.24
46 $543,424 D+7 146.44% $18.17
28 $522,874 R+0.1 140.90% $17.61
24 $410,127 R+10 110.52% $13.19

The Iowa House has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of six seats, which amounts to 6 percent of the chamber. In 2012, a total of 27 districts were competitive or mildly competitive. There were 18 districts where the margin of victory was 5 percent or less in the 2012 elections. Another nine districts had a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.

Ten incumbent state representatives are not running for re-election in 2014. Of the 90 seeking re-election, six faced primary competition.

On average, $129,260 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Six of the top-10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. District 54, with the third-most funds raised, was an unopposed seat. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[16][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

Iowa House of Representatives Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
67 $908,882 R+6 703.14% $53.96
66 $641,994 D+10 496.67% $38.08
54 $640,064 -- 495.18% $51.83
13 $575,016 D+7 444.85% $47.82
33 $445,745 D+45 344.84% $36.91
93 $436,764 D+13 337.90% $25.53
43 $373,088 R+0.1 288.63% $21.37
76 $355,798 R+5 275.26% $22.29
40 $351,256 D+6 271.74% $20.47
73 $335,660 R+13 259.68% $20.87

Heading into the general election, Iowa is one of 14 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.

Context

A Ballotpedia analysis of partisan balance between 1992 and 2013 shows that the state Senate was largely controlled by the Democrats, whereas the state House was mostly controlled by the Republicans. The last period that both houses came under the control of the same party was 2007 to 2010, when the Democrats held a state government trifecta. Since then, the Senate has been under Democratic control, while the House is under Republican control.

Uncontested seats are plentiful in both houses; eight Democratic seats and six Republican seats out of 25 up for election are not due to be challenged in the Senate, and 32 Democratic seats along with 26 Republican seats are unchallenged in the House. The 39 percent rate of conceded House races marks a record high for Iowa Republicans since 1903, when election data started to be recorded in full. Both parties may opt to call special conventions to nominate candidates where races are currently uncontested.[17][18]

Mike Gronstal (D), the Senate Majority Leader, stated that despite the thin margin of control, Democrats' chances of holding on to the Senate are better than those in 2012 in that the races "have a little less defense and a little more offense."[19]

In 2013, Republican legislative candidates or campaign committees outraised Democratic ones $2.36 million to $1.17 million, holding 15 out of the top 20 spots in a report issued by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.[20]

Races to Watch

In order for Republicans to take control of the Senate, they will need to win two Democratic seats and maintain five contested seats.

In Senate Districts 5 and 27, Democratic incumbents Daryl Beall and Amanda Ragan respectively run in districts that have seen the addition of more Republicans by redistricting. District 15 is open due to the retirement of Dennis Black (D), as is District 39 due to the retirement of Sandra Greiner (R).[21]

Kentucky

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Kentucky

The Kentucky House has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of eight seats, which amounts to 8 percent of the chamber. In 2012, 12 districts were either competitive or mildly competitive. There were four districts where the margin of victory was 5 percent or less in the 2012 elections. Another 10 districts had a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.

Seven incumbent state representatives are not running for re-election, while 93 are running. Three of the seven open seats are currently held by Democrats. A total of 11 incumbents faced primary competition on May 20, with W. Keith Hall (D) of District 93 being the lone defeated incumbent. Heading into the general election, Kentucky is one of 14 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.

On average, $93,285 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Six of the top 10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. Three districts had general elections with a margin of victory greater than 20 percent. The following table details the top 10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[22][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

Kentucky House of Representatives Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
27 $297,805 D+2 319.24% $20.12
13 $280,994 D+2 301.22% $17.86
79 $269,380 D+10 288.77% $16.55
46 $264,276 D+28 283.30% $12.83
50 $259,828 R+7 278.53% $12.20
67 $255,958 D+20 274.38% $19.74
39 $242,065 D+13 259.49% $16.64
20 $238,118 D+22 255.26% $13.46
2 $233,890 R+10 250.73% $13.24
7 $229,573 D+0.03 246.10% $14.55

Context

A Ballotpedia analysis of partisan balance between 1992 and 2013 shows that Democrats held the House for the entire period. Furthermore, Republicans have not controlled the House since 1921;[23] Kentucky and West Virginia are the last two "Solid South" states to still have Democratic control of the state House.[24] Kentucky is one of three states with split control of the state legislature; Iowa and New Hampshire are the other two.[25]

With redistricting having been completed in 2013 to the benefit of Democrats,[26] five Republican incumbents have been forced to run in new districts, though only two, Bart Rowland and Russell Webber, will face opposition in the general election. Their moves set the stage for two-challenger general election contests in Districts 49 and 53.[27]

House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover (R), who has expressed interest in the role of Speaker should his party gain control, noted that Republicans are targeting western districts, naming Democratic incumbents Jim Glenn, Gerald Watkins and Jim Gooch explicitly.[28]

In addition to maintaining four seats left by outgoing incumbents, Republicans require five new seats in order to take over the chamber. The implications of the state house race have not been lost on outside groups, as a Republican PAC, AmeriGOP, has hired a former aide to Mitt Romney to direct its fundraising efforts, and the Democratic group Kentucky Family Values has set forth to counter an expected influx of money from out-of state donors.[24][29] Rand Paul (R), one of the state's two U.S. Senators, has been active in fundraising for candidates and groups including AmeriGOP, which hopes to see the passage of right-to-work legislation and the repeal of prevailing wage.[30] Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2012 presidential candidate, was also booked to appear at an October 25 fundraiser for the Kentucky Rise PAC.[31]

Republicans may not need to win all nine seats to gain control before the Kentucky General Assembly meets again. Scott Lasley, a political science professor who chairs the Warren County Republican Party, has suggested that conservative Democrats may switch party affiliation to the GOP after the election if Republicans reduce their deficit by enough members.[32] An example of party defection can be found in Louisiana, where a number of conservative Democrats responded to their party's midterm defeat in 2010 by leaving for the GOP, giving it the majority in the state House for the first time since Reconstruction despite legislative elections not being held there that year.[33]

Races to Watch

  • District 7: Republican incumbent Suzanne Miles is running for her first full term in the House, having narrowly won a special election to replace John Arnold (D), who resigned in September 2013 after ethics complaints of sexually harassing members of House staff. Arnold's 2012 margin of victory was a mere five votes (0.03 percent), and although Republicans cast Miles' special election victory as a harbinger of a partisan shift in 2014, her margin of victory over Kim Humphrey (D) was slim at 112 votes (1.6 percent).[35][23] Miles will face John Warren (D) in the general election.
  • District 13: Incumbent Jim Glenn (D) is running for his fifth term, but his past two victories have come at slim margins of 251 and 206 votes, respectively. (The 2010 campaign was a rematch of the 2008 election, in which Glenn defeated Ben Boarman (R) by a much greater margin of nearly 4,100 votes, and the 2012 campaign saw a strong challenge from an independent, Bill Barron.) After handily defeating Jeremy Warfield in the May 20 primary, Glenn faces Alan Braden (R) in the general election.[27]
  • District 32: Ashley Miller, a nurse practitioner and former Ms. Kentucky United States, has support from Emerge America, a progressive group that trains women to run for office; she faces 2011 gubernatorial candidate Phil Moffett (R) for the open seat, which has been held by a Republican for over a decade.[37][38] In July, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R) threw his support behind Moffett, who did not have the financial benefit of running unopposed in the primary.[39]
  • District 49: Two former state representatives face off for an open seat deemed crucial to Republican efforts to take control of the chamber. While the district is considered conservative, Linda Belcher (D) outraised Mike Nemes (R) by nearly two times by early July.[34]
  • District 50: As of late May, Audrey Haydon, an Emerge candidate, had outraised incumbent David Floyd (R) almost five times over.[37] However, Floyd lent $35,000 to his campaign after the primary, and he has defeated well-funded opponents in previous years.[34]
  • District 55: As of late May, Emerge candidate Jacqueline Coleman (D) had doubled the funds of incumbent Kim King (R);[36] by early July, the gap had closed slightly to $36,000 over King's $22,000. Coleman, a teacher, is the daughter of former state Rep. Jack Coleman.[34] This race is only one of two House contests featuring two women; the General Assembly is 16 percent female.[40]
  • District 74: While incumbent Richard Henderson (D) won re-election entirely unopposed in 2012, a video from a pro-cockfighting rally showing him admitting to attending and betting on cockfights, which are illegal in Kentucky, may prove a contentious issue in his race against David Hale (R). The video has been seen as contributing to the primary defeat of U.S. Senate challenger Matt Bevin (R), who also spoke at the rally.[41][27]

While Richard Henderson (D) won re-election entirely unopposed in 2012, a video from a pro-cockfighting rally showing him admitting to attending and betting on cockfights, which are illegal in Kentucky, may prove a contentious issue in his District 74' race against David Hale (R). The video has been seen as contributing to the primary defeat of U.S. Senate challenger Matt Bevin (R), who also spoke at the rally.[42][27]

Maine

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Maine

The Maine Senate has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of four seats, which amounts to 11.4 percent of the chamber. In 2012, a total of 14 districts were competitive or mildly competitive. There were seven districts where the margin of victory was 5 percent or less in the 2012 elections. Another seven districts had a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.

Governor Paul LePage signed Maine's redistricting plans on June 14, 2013, making the 2014 elections the first cycle to be affected by the 2010 redistricting process in Maine.

The majority control of the Maine State Senate has changed hands several times after recent elections. Democrats flipped the chamber in 2012 after picking up six seats. Prior to that, Republicans took the chamber after the 2010 elections when they gained five seats. As of October 2014, Maine is one of 14 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.

Maine State Senate partisan balance
Party Prior to 2010 Prior to 2012 Prior to 2014
Democratic Party 20 15 19
Republican Party 15 19 15

On average, $43,777 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Six of the top-10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. Two other districts had general elections with a margin of victory greater than 20 percent. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[43][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

Maine State Senate Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
17 $104,092 R+0.1 237.78% $5.31
11 $97,801 NP+6 223.41% $3.94
6 $82,052 D+11 187.43% $3.83
33 $61,494 R+22 140.47% $3.12
14 $61,376 D+27 140.20% $3.31
15 $55,809 D+7 127.48% $2.89
20 $51,364 D+0.8 117.33% $2.37
25 $47,870 D+6 109.35% $2.90
29 $47,737 R+5 109.05% $2.88
31 $47,530 R+11 108.57% $2.40

Context

Republicans are running candidates in all districts for the first time in nearly a decade, with state chairman Rick Bennett calling their effort the "strongest, fullest field of Republicans in more than two decades."[44] However, the Senate is a far greater likelihood for Republican control, as the four-member margin is far less than the 31-member deficit in the House. Strategist Lance Dutson characterized the full slate as a display of party coordination which "ties [the Democrats'] hands somewhat," even in safe districts. No Republican incumbents are unopposed.

Although Ballotpedia analysis concludes that only the Senate appears to be among the most competitive races, the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee and the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee have classified both chambers as part of their "Sweet 16 Targets."[45]

The 2014 elections are the first under new district maps, which were deemed a compromise in a relatively smooth redistricting process. Maine requires a two-thirds vote by the legislature to approve district maps.[46] Incumbents will not face each other in any Senate district this year; two House districts feature a major party incumbent against an unenrolled incumbent.

In addition to the legislature, the governor's office is also up for election. Gov. Paul LePage (R) faces U.S. Sen. Mike Michaud (D) and Eliot Cutler (I). Democrats hope that Michaud's election combined with maintaining control of the legislature will lead to the quick enactment of legislation that did not succeed in 2013. Cutler, a centrist, has suggested that he might serve as "political shelter" for like-minded legislators, although the Portland Press Herald notes that his positions line up more closely with Democrats.[47]

An issue seen as a centerpiece of the legislative elections is the proposed expansion of the state's Medicaid program, MaineCare. Republicans look to tie the fiscal troubles of the state program to the federal Affordable Care Act, whereas Democrats are looking to sell benefits of expansion to voters.[48]

Another issue of import to Democrats is the proposed increase in the state minimum wage.[47] According to a September survey carried out by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, 60 percent of 589 likely voters said they would strongly support such an increase. However, Andrew Smith, the center's director, said that the issue may factor into votes but is unlikely to become a major issue in the campaign, as most Mainers earn more than the current minimum wage of $7.50 per hour.[49]

Maine has operated a public campaign fund since the 1996 passage of the Clean Elections law, under which candidates may opt to pull from the fund in return for rejecting all other money. By the end of September 2014, 51 percent of legislative candidates had chosen Clean Elections money, the lowest rate since the start of the program. In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a section of the law that allowed for additional funds in the event of considerable outspending on the part of other candidates.[50] As of late September, outside groups have spent about $400,000 on legislative races, with a record-breaking $4.2 million spent on the gubernatorial race.[51]

Races to Watch

  • District 7: Incumbent Brian Langley (R) won election by only two points in 2012; he is facing a challenge from former state Rep. Ted Koffman (D) in a race considered to be a tossup. Langley voted no on Medicaid expansion, which could give fuel to Koffman's campaign.
  • District 9: MaineCare looks to figure into the race between between incumbent Geoffrey Gratwick (D), a doctor in strong favor of Medicaid expansion, and Cary Weston (R), the former mayor of Bangor. In 2012, Gratwick mounted a successful challenge in no small part due to the efforts of outside political groups, which spent over $450,000 on the race. Even greater expenditures are expected this year.[52][53]
  • District 13: Chris Johnson (D) is running for his second full term after winning a 2012 special election and a slim general election victory of 50.3 percent over Leslie Fossel (R) in a race that saw over $75,000 spent by outside groups against Fossel. The two will have a rematch this year.[52][53]
  • District 20: John Cleveland is challenged by Eric Brakey, a 25-year-old actor and libertarian PAC chairman who made national headlines last year when a video showing him dancing in nothing but a swimsuit went viral, causing some conservatives to question his claims of family values and even his fitness for office. While Cleveland won by seven points two years ago, Brakey set a record for most money raised by a candidate by the end of January by pulling in $21,000.[52][53] In June, Brakey received an endorsement from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). While the endorsement was seen as unusual, Brakey served as state director for Paul's father, Ron, in the 2012 presidential campaign. The endorsement could also be a preliminary move by Paul to enter the 2016 presidential race. Following the endorsement, Brakey claimed he had still earned the most money this year to date.[54]
  • District 22: Garrett Mason (R) won the slimmest legislative victory in 2012, a 28-vote margin. Mason's opponent this year, Guy Desjardins (D), has a greater profile as the outgoing sheriff of Androscoggin County, but redistricting worked to the advantage of the GOP in the district.
  • District 25: A Republican caucus was tasked with selecting a new nominee to face Catherine Breen (D) for the open seat following the withdrawal of William Gardiner. The first potential replacement to come forward was Cathy Manchester, a real estate broker and former race car driver who was the first woman to serve as chief of police in the state. Gardiner, who was unopposed in the primary, was said to have run merely as a placeholder. Democratic primary candidate Steve Woods speculated that Michael Cianchette, the former chief legal counsel to Gov. Paul LePage (R), would join the race, which Gardiner and Cianchette himself firmly denied. Breen, who opted for public funding under the Maine Clean Election Act, defeated the self-funded Woods in the primary despite being outspent nearly 6.6 to 1.[55][56][57] Manchester was ultimately selected as the nominee. The Republican State Leadership Committee named Manchester one of the "14 in '14 Races to Watch," a selection of female state-level Republican candidates from a total of 558 as part of its "Right Women, Right Now" program.[58] Manchester, whom the RSLC characterized as "a top targeted pick-up opportunity for Senate Republicans to gain the three seats necessary to recapture the Majority held in 2011-2012," was the only Mainer to be named to the top 14.[59]
  • District 30: James Boyle (D) is facing opposition from Amy Volk (R), a state representative with a considerable profile from her advocacy of issues such as aid for victims of sex trafficking. Redistricting benefited Republicans in the district.[53]

Michigan

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Michigan

The Michigan House has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of nine seats, which amounts to 8.2 percent of the chamber. In 2012, 21 districts were either competitive or mildly competitive. There were eight districts where the margin of victory was 5 percent or less in the 2012 elections. Another 13 districts had a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent. Heading into the general election, Michigan is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.

On average, $140,815 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Nine of the top-10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[60][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

Michigan House of Representatives Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
63 $1,091,245 R+2 774.95% $25.01
52 $942,802 D+6 669.53% $18.76
103 $708,683 R+6 503.27% $16.06
71 $586,843 D+7 416.75% $12.63
91 $514,883 D+0.8 365.64% $12.86
67 $414,768 D+13 294.55% $9.39
70 $387,765 R+9 275.37% $11.92
101 $379,507 R+2 269.51% $7.69
57 $328,916 R+5 233.58% $8.16
39 $311,858 R+7 221.47% $6.81

Context

A Ballotpedia analysis of partisan balance between 1992 and 2013 shows that the House was the most volatile of the group comprising the House, Senate and Governor. While the Senate was held by Republicans for the entire period, Republicans controlled the House on-and-off for 13 years and the Democrats held it on-and-off for seven; the 1993-1994 session was conducted at an even balance. Michigan has been a Republican trifecta since 2011, when Gov. Rick Snyder took office and the House returned to Republican control.

The 2014 election is the second held following redistricting, which worked to GOP advantage in the House despite the presidential vote going for Barack Obama (D) by about eight percent. Ten incumbents, some term-limited, are retiring from the House after this year in the hopes of winning election to the Senate. Twenty-three incumbents in all have been term-limited.[61][52]

The 2014 election is also the first since the passage of right-to-work legislation, which has contributed to decreased approval for Snyder.[61][52] Some Republicans faced difficult primaries due to their support of Medicaid expansion.[62]

Races to Watch

For Democrats to pick up the House, they must maintain their 51 seats and add nine.

Although their districts are not considered at all competitive per Ballotpedia's criteria, primary challenges against Republican incumbents Ken Yonker (District 72) and Lisa Posthumus Lyons (District 86) centered around support of Medicaid expansion and common core threatened their seats.[62]

Pat Somerville (R-District 23), who represents a part of the Downriver area south of Detroit, won the tightest Republican victory in 2012 with a margin of just 1 percent; he faces Kristy Pagan, who defeated Cornell Mathis and Natalie Mosher in the Democratic primary.[63]

In 2012, Collene Lamonte (D-District 91) defeated first-term incumbent Holly Hughes (R) by the slimmest margin of any Michigan House race that year, 0.83 percent. Hughes is back for a rematch in the western swing district after fending off primary competition from Kevin Erb and Max Riekse.[63]

Minnesota

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Minnesota

The Minnesota House has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of 12 seats, which amounts to 9 percent of the chamber. In 2012, 38 districts were either competitive or mildly competitive. There were 17 districts where the margin of victory was 5 percent or less in the 2012 elections. Another 21 districts had a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent. Heading into the general election, Minnesota is one of 13 Democratic state government trifectas.

On average, $46,650 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Five of the top-10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[64][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

Minnesota House of Representatives Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
34B $126,204 R+9 270.53% $5.38
52B $121,684 D+32 260.84% $5.55
49A $115,841 D+12 248.32% $4.59
39B $97,629 R+6 209.28% $4.28
28B $95,398 R+17 204.50% $4.64
49B $86,345 D+7 185.09% $3.40
17B $85,871 D+4 184.08% $4.43
48A $85,474 D+0.8 183.22% $3.46
14B $82,565 D+13 176.99% $4.65
50B $80,043 D+31 171.58% $3.54

Context

A Ballotpedia analysis of partisan balance between 1992 and 2013 shows that the House has switched control four times in that period; Republicans were in control from 1999 to 2006 and 2011 to 2012, with Democrats controlling the remainder. By comparison, the state Senate was entirely the realm of Democrats, save for the 2011-2012 session. Starting in 2013, Minnesota has been a state government trifecta for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.

As all Senate seats are up for election every four years and were last up in 2012, the House elections will be the only state legislative elections held in Minnesota in 2014. Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL) is also running for re-election. Seven incumbents, six Democratic and one Republican, will coast to re-election, facing no opposition whatsoever.[65]

The overall mood for the midterm elections appears to be pessimistic for Democrats despite capitalizing on progressive issues such as gay marriage, medical marijuana and setting up a state health insurance exchange since regaining control in the 2012 election. Conversely, Republicans are expected to use those hot-button issues against the DFL, particularly social issues and the troubled rollout of the MNsure exchange. Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL) told MinnPost that most people are unaware of the legislature's activities, hence a trend of low turnout of Democratic-Farmer-Labor voters will continue in 2014.[66]

Races to Watch

As part of their efforts to pick up seats in the vicinity of the Twin Cities, Republicans are putting forward a former House member, Jim Knoblach, to face incumbent Zach Dorholt (DFL) in District 14B. Knoblach was praised by House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt as "a very strong candidate" with "a lot of experience."[67]

District 48A, covering Eden Prairie and Minnetonka, will see a rematch between incumbent Yvonne Selcer (DFL) and the former legislator she defeated in 2012, Kirk Stensrud (R). Selcer's last victory was the second-tightest in the House elections at 0.82 percent. The tightest race in 2012 saw Will Morgan (DFL) defeat Roz Peterson (R) by 0.80 percent to take the open seat in District 56B, where the two will face off again this year. District 56B includes the suburbs of Burnsville and Lakeville, where Interstate 35 splits into western and eastern forks that lead into Minneapolis and St. Paul, respectively.[68][69]

Nevada

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Nevada

The Nevada Senate has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of one seat, which amounts to 9 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. In 2012, five districts were competitive, with a margin of victory was 5 percent or less.

One incumbent state senator is not seeking re-election in 2014. Of the 10 incumbents running for re-election, two faced primary competition. Heading into the general election, Nevada is one of 14 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.

On average, $272,131 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. The five districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. The other five districts in the top 10 did not feature a general election with a margin of victory under 25 percent. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[70][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

Nevada State Senate Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
15 $1,358,877 R+0.5 499.35% $23.25
6 $873,698 R+2 321.06% $16.15
9 $759,330 D+1 279.03% $17.50
5 $576,876 D+4 211.98% $11.30
18 $513,508 R+3 188.70% $9.64
13 $430,799 D+29 158.31% $10.74
4 $352,201 D+60 129.42% $10.25
3 $235,136 D+29 86.41% $6.96
11 $228,704 D+25 84.04% $6.42
19 $179,579 R+33 65.99% $4.05

Context

A Ballotpedia analysis of partisan balance between 1992 and 2013 shows that Democrats held the Senate for the last six years while the Republicans had the majority for the first 16 years.

Races to Watch

The Senate districts being targeted by Democrats and Republicans are District 8, District 9 and District 20. If the GOP would happen to win all three, Republicans would regain control of the chamber, 11 seats to 10. Democrats would have to win just one seat to maintain the status quo, or 11-10 control of the Senate chamber.[71] The Republican Legislative Campaign Committee (RLCC) announced in July that it would be targeting both the Nevada Senate and Assembly. It put Nevada on its list of "Sweet 16 targets" to flip legislative control to Republican. The RLCC did not specify how much money would be spent in Nevada or elsewhere, but the amount is expected to be substantial.[72]

Democrats have the opportunity to win District 8, where incumbent Barbara Cegavske (R) is termed out and running for Nevada secretary of state. Running in the Democratic-leaning district is Assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop (D). Dondero Loop has the support of her party, while the Senate Republican Caucus has endorsed candidate Patricia Farley (R) for the district. Farley and Dondero Loop both defeated primary challengers on June 10.[71]

Incumbent Justin Jones (D) of District 9 ran unopposed in the Democratic primary, but is expected to face tough competition from attorney Becky Harris (R) in the general election. Jones won election in 2012 by only 301 votes. He is expected to be targeted by in-state and out-of-state Second Amendment groups, and could be in danger of losing his seat. In 2013, Jones angered many gun-rights conservatives during his first year in office, when he pushed for gun control legislation. The Senate Republican caucus endorsed Harris, who defeated Ron Quilang, Vick Gill and David Schoen in the June 10 Republican primary.[71][73]

Incumbent Michael Roberson (R) of District 20 will face Teresa Lowry (D) in the general election. Roberson is favored to win, but Republicans will need to retain District 20 and District 8 and gain the Democratic seat in District 9 to overtake the Senate.[72]

New Hampshire

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New Hampshire

With vacant seats counting towards the party that previously held the seat, the New Hampshire Senate has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of two seats, which amounts to 8.3 percent of the chamber. In 2012,eight districts were either competitive or mildly competitive. There were five districts where the margin of victory was 5 percent or less in those elections. Another three districts had a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.

The New Hampshire House has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of 40 seats, which amounts to 10 percent of the chamber. This measure accounts for vacant seats, as in the Senate. In 2012, 118 districts were either competitive or mildly competitive. There were 85 districts where the margin of victory was 5 percent or less in that year's elections. Another 33 districts had a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.

Heading into the general election, New Hampshire is one of 14 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.

Both chambers in the New Hampshire State Legislature have gone through dramatic twists and turns in partisan balance since the 2010 elections. The following chart illustrates the partisan balance heading into each of the most recent elections.

New Hampshire State Senate partisan balance
Party Prior to 2010 Prior to 2012 Prior to 2014
Democratic Party 14 5 11
Republican Party 10 19 13

On average, $102,029 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Only four of the top-10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. The other six districts had an average margin of victory of 24.7 percent in their general elections. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[74][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

New Hampshire State Senate Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
9 $312,231 R+0.7 306.02% $10.17
3 $194,974 R+22 191.10% $6.54
24 $170,272 R+5 166.89% $5.22
2 $160,391 R+8 157.20% $5.81
20 $150,823 D+26 147.82% $7.18
18 $130,341 D+18 127.75% $5.54
22 $127,134 R+27 124.61% $4.75
12 $125,465 D+4 122.97% $4.28
4 $116,612 D+22 114.29% $3.91
10 $112,058 D+33 109.83% $3.96
New Hampshire House of Representatives partisan balance
Party Prior to 2010 Prior to 2012 Prior to 2014
Democratic Party 216 103 220
Republican Party 174 288 180

On average, $384 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Six of the top-10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[75][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

New Hampshire House of Representatives Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
Cheshire 09 $13,984 D+7 3,641.67% $1.71
Hillsborough 33 $13,050 D+4 3,398.44% $1.35
Rockingham 24 $10,437 D+2 2,717.97% $1.24
Sullivan 03 $3,637 D+22 947.14% $2.42
Carroll 02 $3,428 D+0.3 892.71% $0.24
Rockingham 13 $3,410 R+5 888.02% $0.13
Rockingham 10 $3,285 R+10 885.47% $1.43
Rockingham 31 $3,180 D+13 828.13% $0.41
Carroll 01 $2,675 R+25 696.61% $1.09
Grafton 14 $2,510 R+11 653.65% $0.39

Context

A Ballotpedia analysis of partisan balance shows that from 1992 to 2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the New Hampshire State Senate for six years while the Republicans were the majority for 16 years. The New Hampshire Senate had a Republican majority for the study's final three years.

In the same years, the Democratic Party was the majority in the New Hampshire House of Representatives for five years while the Republicans were the majority for 17 years.[76]

Races to Watch

Republicans who lost the House majority in 2012 are looking to regain it this November. In the race for Sullivan 10, Incumbent John Cloutier (D) will face off against Sullivan 4 incumbent Joe Osgood (R).[77]

Incumbent Virginia Irwin (D) of Sullivan 6, who is instead running for Sullivan 9, will face off against former House member Thomas Howard (R). Howard represented Sullivan 2 from 2008 to 2012.[77]

Incumbent Evelyn Connor (D) of Hillsborough 2 will face off against incumbent John Burt (R) of Hillsborough 6 for one seat in Hillsborough 39 in the general election.

In the state Senate, Republicans currently have a 13 to 11 advantage. For Democrats to take control, they must flip two seats. The Nashua Telegraph has identified the District 6 race as one that could see a Democrat taking over a Republican seat. In this year's general election, incumbent Sam Cataldo (R) will face off against Richard Leonard (D). In 2012, Cataldo defeated Leonard by only 600 votes.[78]

Incumbent Donna Soucy (D) of District 18 will face House incumbent George Lambert in the general election.

The State of the Race column on WMUR.com has listed District 12 and the open seat in District 8 as the two tossups in the Senate. According to the column, Democrats are likely to win 10 seats and the Republicans 12 seats. In Senate District 12, incumbent Peggy Gilmour (D) will face former House member Kevin Avard (R) in the general election.[79] In District 8, House incumbent Linda Tanner (D) will face Jerry Little (R) in the general election.[80]

New Mexico

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New Mexico

The New Mexico House has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of four seats, which amounts to 5.7 percent of the chamber. In 2012, 15 districts were either competitive or mildly competitive. There were nine districts where the margin of victory was 5 percent or less in the 2012 elections. Another six districts had a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.[1][81]

Eleven incumbent state representatives are not running for re-election in 2014. Of the 59 incumbents seeking re-election, seven faced primary competition. In one of the districts with an incumbent facing primary competition, District 29, the incumbent won by 5 percent in 2012.[82] Heading into the general election, New Mexico is one of 14 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.

On average, $64,014 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Nine of the top-10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[81][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

New Mexico House of Representatives Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
30 $248,710 R+8 388.52% $19.16
43 $233,596 D+2 364.91% $16.80
23 $228,048 R+0.6 356.25% $16.57
15 $217,750 D+2 340.16% $16.27
24 $186,555 D+2 291.43% $14.51
37 $177,500 R+0.1 277.28% $14.17
7 $163,846 R+1 255.95% $18.27
53 $154,014 D+6 240.59% $31.28
63 $131,950 D+27 206.13% $17.17
8 $130,001 R+6 203.08% $11.13

Context

A Ballotpedia analysis of partisan balance shows that Democrats have controlled the New Mexico House of Representatives since 1952.[9] In 38 (54.2%) of the 70 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. A total of 23 Democrats and 15 Republicans are guaranteed election in November, barring unforeseen circumstances. Two major party candidates are facing off in the general election in 32 (46%) of the 70 districts up for election. Republicans will need to pick up three additional seats to gain control of the House.

Races to Watch

The following table details the nine key races in the November 4 general election for the New Mexico House of Representatives and the 2012 margin of victory for the district.

2014 Races to Watch, New Mexico State House
District Candidate 1 Candidate 2 Margin of Victory (2012)
District 7 Teresa K.E. Smith De Cherif (D) Kelly K. Fajardo (R) R+1%
District 15 Emily A. Kane (D) Sarah Maestas Barnes (R) D+2%
District 23 Catherine Begaye (D) Paul Pacheco (R) R+0.57%
District 24 Elizabeth L. Thomson (D) Conrad James (R) D+2%
District 36 Phillip M. Archuleta (D) Andrew Nunez (R) D+5%
District 37 Joanne J. Ferrary (D) Terry McMillan (R) R+0.1%
District 43 Stephanie Richard (D) Geoff Rodgers (R) D+2%
District 50 Matthew McQueen (D) Vickie Perea (R) D+11
District 53 Mariaelena Johnson (D) Ricky Little (R) D+6%
Bold=Incumbent

There are eleven open seats, vacated by retiring incumbents, in the November election. Six Democrats and five Republicans are not running for re-election.

The Republican Legislative Campaign Committee (RLCC) announced in July that Districts 15 and 24 are a part of the organization's "14 in ‘14 Races to Watch." The organization is expected to spend a large amount of money to influence the elections in both districts.[83] The Future Majority Project, part of the Republican State Leadership Committee, announced in August, that District 36 is one of the project's races to watch.[84]

  • District 15: Incumbent Emily A. Kane (D) will face Sarah Maestas Barnes (R) in the general election. In 2012, Kane won the general election by a margin of victory of only 2 percent.[86] This district is a part of the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee's "14 in ‘14 Races to Watch."[83]
  • District 23: Republicans will be looking to keep District 23, where first-term incumbent Paul Pacheco (R) will face Catherine Begaye (D) in the general election. In the last election, Pacheco beat a Democratic newcomer by only 78 votes.[86]
  • District 24: Incumbent Elizabeth L. Thomson (D) will have a rematch against former House member Conrad James (R) in the general election. Thomson defeated James in the 2012 election by less than 300 votes.[86] This district is a part of the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee's "14 in ‘14 Races to Watch."[83]
  • District 36: Democrats hope to hang on to District 36, where first-term lawmaker Phillip M. Archuleta (D), missed all of this year's session due to health reasons. Archuleta will face Andrew Nunez (R), a former House member, whom he defeated two years ago in the general election. This district is a part of the Republican State Leadership Committee's Future Majority Project as one of the project's races to watch.[84]
  • District 43: In a traditionally Republican district, District 43 is represented by first-term Democrat Stephanie Garcia Richard. Republicans will attempt to regain the seat when Garcia Richard faces Los Alamos County Council Chair Geoff Rodgers (R) in the general election.[87][86]
  • District 50: Democrats are eager to regain District 50, where incumbent Vickie Perea (R) was appointed to the seat in November 2013 after the death of Stephen Easley (D). Out of the three people nominated by four county commissions, one Democrat and two Republicans, Gov. Susana Martinez (R) appointed Perea to the seat.[88] Perea will face Matthew McQueen (D) in the general election. In 2012, Easley won the general election by a margin of victory of 11 percent.[86]

New York

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New York

The New York Senate has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of three seats, which amounts to 4.8 percent of the chamber. In 2012, nine districts were either competitive or mildly competitive. There were eight districts where the margin of victory was 5 percent or less in the 2012 elections. Additionally, District 37 had a margin of victory of 8 percent. Heading into the general election, New York is one of 14 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.

On average, $625,472 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Only three of the top-10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. One top-10 district, District 34, had a general election with a margin of victory of 89 percent. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[89][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

New York State Senate Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
37 $2,076,739 D+8 332.03% $17.48
15 $1,868,066 D+15 298.67% $25.51
60 $1,834,952 R+15 293.37% $14.46
40 $1,833,633 R+2 293.16% $14.40
22 $1,685,156 R+15 269.42% $25.22
43 $1,633,018 R+11 261.09% $12.68
55 $1,614,433 D+4 258.11% $12.00
9 $1,603,976 R+21 256.44% $14.14
52 $1,382,380 R+30 221.01% $12.28
34 $1,297,364 D+89 207.42% $15.14

Context

A Ballotpedia analysis of partisan balance between 1992 and 2013 shows that the Democratic Party was the majority in the New York State Senate for two years, while the Republicans were the majority for 20 years. The Democratic Party was the majority in the House of Representatives for 22 years, while the Republicans were never the majority.

With the margin in the state Senate coming down to three seats, New York's upper chamber is hotly contested, especially by the state's Democratic Party. Currently, the state Senate is held by the Republicans with the aid of breakaway Senate Democrats known as the Independent Democratic Conference, although the conference has said it will form a coalition with the Democrats in January. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (running for re-election) expressed interest in campaigning against Senate Republicans during the fall election season in an attempt to win the upper chamber back for the Democrats and to clear a pathway for his public policy initiatives, which includes public campaign finance, among other issues.[90][91] Among legislators running for re-election, several unresolved issues from the state Senate's previous sessions are expected to return as crucial election issues in the campaign. Such issues include a minimum wage increase, medical marijuana, heroin regulation, education tax credits, and women's rights legislation.[92]

Much attention has been drawn to the group of breakaway Democrats, the Independent Democratic Conference, which has allowed the Senate Republicans to take control of the chamber in an unusual coalition, even though New York Democrats won a majority of seats in the 2012 election.[93] In the primaries, there were plenty of challenges against members of the Independent Democratic Conference in a fight to retake the state Senate. The IDC largely prevailed.[94] The head of the New York Senate Democrats' campaign arm, State Senator Michael Gianaris, said in an interview, "There is a big list of issues New Yorkers voted to see enacted two years ago, and this strange arrangement in the state Senate has held up priorities such as the minimum wage, women's issues, fixing state government and a long list of others."[93]

On June 25, 2014, the Independent Democratic Conference announced that it planned to ally with the Democratic Party and potentially tip control of the chamber to the Democrats after November 2014. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was implicated as a crucial player in the deal to reunite the breakaway faction with the mainstream Democrats in the State Senate. The move was also endorsed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who said that there were "progressive goals that we have yet to achieve and that we must accomplish next January." The alliance between the two factions will also depend on preventing the Republican Party from capturing enough seats to retake control of the chamber.[95]

Races to Watch

  • District 46: In this district, incumbent Cecilia Tkaczyk (D) and former state senator George Amedore (R) face off in a 2012 rematch. In 2012, the official results deemed Amedore the winner, but county election officials opened 91 new ballots in January 2013 which eventually gave Tkaczyk an 18-vote lead. Amedore, who had been officially sworn into the Senate just days before, became the shortest-tenured senator in modern history.[96]
  • District 60: This race has been heating up since the Republican primary where incumbent Mark Grisanti was defeated by Kevin T. Stocker. Stocker (R), Grisanti (I), Marc C. Panepinto (D) and Timothy D. Gallagher (C) will face off in the general election. Political analyst Bob Davis explains that the race "could put the balance of power for the New York State Senate up for grabs come November." The district is considered a tossup, since it is made up of about 86,000 Democrats, 51,000 Republicans and 9,700 Independents.[97]

Oregon

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Oregon

The Oregon Senate has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of two seats, which amounts to 13.3 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. In 2012, when 14 districts were up for election, two districts were mildly competitive, with a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.

One incumbent state senator is not seeking re-election in 2014. None of the 14 incumbents who are seeking re-election in 2014 faced primary competition. Heading into the general election, Oregon is one of 13 Democratic state government trifectas.

On average, $206,667 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Only two of the top-10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. One top-10 district held an unopposed general election race, while four others had a margin of victory of greater than 30 percent. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[98][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

Oregon State Senate Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
25 $1,506,653 D+9 792.02% $35.08
5 $1,488,173 D+10 720.08% $26.90
14 $695,493 D+24 336.53% $12.99
27 $657,258 R+18 318.03% $10.99
30 $287,998 -- 139.35% $7.45
21 $197,329 D+69 95.48% $3.00
29 $196,596 R+37 95.13% $4.42
17 $189,792 D+33 91.83% $3.36
12 $184,580 R+20 89.31% $3.26
18 $163,545 D+39 79.13% $2.62

Context

There is a two-seat gap separating Republican and Democratic control of the State Senate. Both parties have offered a preview of the upcoming general election and how each party can maneuver itself into a Senate majority. For the Oregon Democratic Party, Democratic-friendly issues could potentially boost turnout among registered Democrats. According to Tom Powers, the executive director of the Senate Democratic Leadership Fund, which is the leading funding operation of the Oregon Democratic Party, "Voters in Southern Oregon and the Mid-Valley delivered a strong message yesterday about their excitement to elect Democratic candidates for the Senate."[99] Powers highlighted the larger voter turnout in support of traditionally Democratic positions such as the prohibition on genetically-modified crops, particularly in Southern Oregon's Jackson County. There is also a statewide initiative requiring that genetically-modified food receive a label, which could potentially boost Democratic turnout in the general election.[99]

On the Republican side, the Oregon Republican Party has 11 Senate candidates running in 16 districts.[100] According to Dan Lavey, president of Gallatin Public Affairs and a Republican strategist, "In terms of control of the Legislature, the [Republican] party and the candidates closest to the center of the electorate will be successful." Levey suggested that the Republican Party in Oregon will need to bring together "a rural/suburban coalition," including "a moderate business coalition combined with a populist conservative coalition."[101]

According to The Bulletin, an Oregon-based newspaper, the Democratic and Republican parties are focused on close races as well as the influence that independent voters can wield in those key races.[102] Several of these races identified by The Bulletin are receiving extra attention from the state parties. For the Democrats, this includes District 3, a district which Tom Powers, the executive director of the Senate Democratic Leadership Fund, called "our top contentious seat to hold a majority."[102] According to Powers, other vulnerable incumbent Republicans include senators from District 15, District 20 and District 26. Oregon Democrats hope that the number of vulnerable Republican incumbents exceeds that of vulnerable Democrats, placing their party in a stronger position to maintain control of the State Senate.

For state Republicans, the party is focusing on taking out State Sen. Peter Courtney, also the chamber's president.[102] The Republicans also hope that increased turnout in a non-presidential election year will mimic the turnout of the 2010 midterm election, during which Republican and conservative candidates around the country managed to capture numerous state legislative chambers as well as governorships. During that election, the Oregon Republican Party managed to tie the Democratic Party in the Oregon House of Representatives. Another focus of the state's Republicans include independent voters, many of which who have not yet registered with either the Republican or Democratic parties.[102] According to Michael Gay, an state Senate Republican Party spokesperson, such voters could help shift certain electoral districts toward Republicans.

Races to Watch

  • District 3: Incumbent Alan Bates (D) won the Senate seat in District 3 by only 282 votes in 2010 in a recount against Dave Dotterrer (R). That victory by Bates helped the Democratic Party achieve a slim majority (16-14) in the State Senate (the chamber would have been evenly divided had Dotterrer defeated Bates). In 2014, Dotterrer will again face Bates in a closely-watched race that could tip the control of the State Senate into Republican hands. As of 2013, the Democrats have a registration edge of roughly 5 points over that of Republicans, although that is a point less than Democratic registration in 2010.[103]

Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Senate has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of four seats, which amounts to 16 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. In 2012, when the 25 odd-numbered districts were up for election, three districts were competitive, with a margin of victory of 5 percent or less.

Five incumbent state senators are not running for re-election in 2014. Of the 20 incumbents seeking re-election, four faced primary competition.

On average, $422,074 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Only two of the top-10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. Three of the top-10 districts held unopposed general election races. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[104][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

Pennsylvania State Senate Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
9 $3,438,842 R+11 814.75% $26.10
37 $3,088,802 D+D 731.82% $22.92
25 $2,516,728 -- 596.28% $33.51
15 $1,757,115 D+3 416.30% $14.81
43 $1,376,388 -- 326.10% $14.52
47 $1,335,884 R+14 316.50% $13.23
49 $1,163,851 D+20 275.75% $11.47
29 $895,285 R+12 212.12% $8.85
17 $833,352 D+26 197.44% $6.71
7 $743,859 -- 176.24% $7.07

The Pennsylvania House has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of 20 seats, which amounts to 9.9 percent of the chamber. In 2012, 17 districts were either competitive or mildly competitive. There were seven districts where the margin of victory was 5 percent or less in the 2012 elections. Another 10 districts had a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.

Nineteen incumbent state representatives are not running for re-election in 2014. Of the 184 incumbents seeking re-election, 47 faced primary competition.

On average, $154,089 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Five of the top-10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. The district that raised the most contributions in 2012 held an unopposed general election race. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[105][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

Pennsylvania House of Representatives Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
28 $1,240,179 -- 804.85% $41.02
33 $1,007,470 D+18 653.82% $36.90
25 $873,534 D+9 566.90% $29.35
95 $762,702 D+66 494.97% $37.69
157 $729,865 R+2 473.66% $20.98
161 $714,375 R+5 463.61% $20.94
31 $653,735 D+15 424.26% $18.29
156 $635,984 R+3 412.74% $19.11
39 $629,573 R+0.4 408.58% $21.80
76 $505,721 -- 328.20% $30.03

Context

Although Pennsylvania has long been considered a two-party state, some media outlets believe that 2014 could see the state start down the path towards one-party domination. While the Tea Party wave of support helped Republicans claim the governor's mansion and a majority in the House in 2010, 2012 saw the Democrats win their sixth-straight presidential election dating back to 1988, the three statewide "row offices" (attorney general, auditor general and treasurer) for the first time ever and a decisive victory for U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr. Republicans control the Senate by a meager three votes, making this a chamber with a high probability to flip control to the Democrats. A potential loss of the governorship and the Senate would reduce Republicans to minority status within Pennsylvania politics.[106]

Heading into the general election, Pennsylvania is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.

A Ballotpedia analysis of partisan balance between 1992 and 2013 shows that in the state Senate, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Pennsylvania State Senate for one year while the Republicans were the majority for 21 years. In the House, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives for seven years while the Republicans were the majority for 15 years.

Uncontested seats are plentiful in both chambers; six Republicans and four Democratic seats out of 25 up for election are not due to be challenged in the Senate, and 64 Republicans and 60 Democrats out of the 203 seats are unchallenged in the House.

Races to Watch

In the race for District 81 in the House, two write-in candidates will be facing off in the general election. Write-in candidate Richard Irvin (R) defeated incumbent Michael Fleck (R) in the Republican primary, but Fleck won as a write-in candidate in the Democratic primary. District 81, a mostly conservative district, previously re-elected Fleck three times before he came out as gay in 2012.[107]

The Republican Legislative Campaign Committee (RLCC) announced in July that District 74 is apart of the organizations "14 in ‘14 Races to Watch." In District 74, Harry Lewis, Jr. (R) and Joshua Maxwell (D) will face off in the general election. Thomas Sankey (R), the current incumbent, is running for District 73. The RLCC is expected to spend a large amount of money to influence the election. RLCC Chairman Speaker Samuel Smith (R), and the current Speaker of the House, expects Republicans to retain control of both chambers and pick up even more seats.[108] On the other hand, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa believes that Democrats have a great opportunity to take control of the Senate if Tom Wolf, the Democratic candidate for governor, holds or grows his lead over Gov. Tom Corbett in the polls.[109]

For the Senate to change from Republican control to Democratic, five seats need to change. The Senate districts being targeted by Democrats are District 6, District 12, District 16, District 26 and District 40.[110]

In District 6, Incumbent Robert Tomlinson (R) will face off against Kimberly Yeager-Rose (D) in the general election. Redrawn in 2010, District 6 now favors a generic Democrat by 4 points. Democrats have their best chance picking up a seat in District 26, where the race is open and any Democrat carries a 3-point advantage to win. John Kane Sr. (D) will face off against Thomas McGarrigle (R) in that race. In District 16, incumbent Pat Browne (R) will face off against Walter Felton Jr. (D) in the general election. Browne, a well known figure in the district, has come under criticism for pushing Gov. Tom Corbett's priorities through the Senate, which may hurt his popularity in a district that favors Democrats by 4 points.[110]

Washington

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Washington

The Washington Senate has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of one seat, which amounts to 4 percent of seats up for election in 2014. In 2012, when 24 districts were up for election, four districts were either competitive or mildly competitive. Heading into the general election, Washington is one of 14 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.

On average, $177,079 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Four of the top-10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. The district that raised the most contributions in 2012 held an unopposed general election race. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[111][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

Washington State Senate Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
27 $1,433,651 -- 809.61% $26.55
10 $876,509 R+6 494.98% $12.24
17 $805,406 R+0.1 454.83% $14.64
5 $672,743 D+9 379.91% $9.96
41 $644,389 R+8 363.90% $9.33
1 $461,842 D+11 260.81% $6.87
2 $412,508 R+14 232.95% $7.34
3 $339,716 D+16 191.84% $6.64
25 $307,080 R+23 173.41% $5.46
20 $266,320 -- 150.40% $4.93

Context

The Washington State Senate is currently Democratic-controlled 25 to 24; however, Republicans gained control of the Senate in late 2012 when two Democratic incumbents shifted loyalties and created the Majority Coalition Caucus after the elections. Crosscut Seattle said that there are up to 10 Senate districts, listed below, that could be considered "swing" districts in the November elections. In 15 of the past 20 years, Democrats have had control of the Senate.[112][113][114]

Races to Watch

Crosscut Seattle's 10 districts to watch as potential swing districts are District 6, District 26, District 28, District 30, District 35, District 42, District 44, District 45, District 47 and District 48. In these districts, two Democratic incumbents are not running. One incumbent Democratic senator will face a Republican opponent in the general election and one incumbent faced off against another Democrat and a Republican in the primary. In the other six districts, Republican incumbents will face Democratic opponents in general election.[114]

West Virginia

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West Virginia

The West Virginia House has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of six seats, which amounts to 6 percent of the chamber. In 2012, 27 districts were either competitive or mildly competitive. There were 18 districts where the margin of victory was 5 percent or less in the 2012 elections. Another nine districts had a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.

Eight incumbent state representatives are not running for re-election in 2014. Of the 92 who are seeking re-election, 32 faced primary competition. Heading into the general election, West Virginia is one of 13 Democratic state government trifectas.

On average, $69,591 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Eight of the top-10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[115][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

West Virginia House of Delegates Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
35 $585,106 R+0.05 840.78% $6.22
51 $369,547 D+1 531.03% $2.93
48 $269,072 R+0.2 386.65% $3.01
36 $220,215 D+2 316.44% $4.64
50 $178,652 D+6 256.72% $3.40
16 $152,536 R+5 219.19% $3.94
3 $136,737 D+15 196.49% $4.81
19 $135,111 D+13 194.15% $7.21
67 $132,304 D+10 190.12% $17.42
17 $103,712 D+9 149.03% $4.74

Context

The West Virginia House of Delegates faces the prospect of Republican control for the first time since the 1930s. Fueled by an 11-seat swing in 2012 and a defection since, many analysts consider the Republican Party to have a serious chance of closing the six-seat gap. The GOP has filed to run candidates in all of the state legislative seats up for election this year, ensuring that no Democratic candidate runs unchallenged. Some have noted that the additional Republican candidates are solid in their own right, rather than just ballot fillers. "We have doctors, pharmacists—there is a good slate this year," said Vera McCormick, the Kanawha County clerk. West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas agreed, saying, "It was so important this year for Republicans to make sure we had folks who were ready to govern. We’re fully prepared to be in leadership positions in both the House and state Senate this year." Danny Jones, Mayor of Charleston, backed Republicans to take control. "I think the Republicans are much more motivated and the Democrats are somewhat downtrodden and feel like they don’t have anywhere to go or anybody to vote for and a bunch of these Republicans are going unchallenged. There could be a few Democrats recapture seats but I think a lot more Republicans will."[116][117]

Larry Puccio, Chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party, believes his party can hold onto their control of the House. The anti-Obama campaign run by many Republicans in 2012, he says, won't work again. "While I think that will be used again and they’ll attempt to use it, I really don’t think that folks believe that a House of Delegate member who will probably never meet the president or know him whatsoever would have any tie at all to him and they will still vote for their local guy," he said.[117]

Races to Watch

For Republicans to gain control of the House, they will first need all of their incumbents to win. Two seats in District 10 with retiring Republicans and the seat of Del. Ryan Ferns (R), who is running for the State Senate, also need to be held by Republicans. The party is also hoping to pick up the four seats (16, 35, 37, 47) where Democrats are not running for re-election. In order to maintain control, Democrats are targeting the two District 10 seats along with eight single-seat districts where Republican incumbents are running for re-election for the first time, such as District 12, District 14 and District 23.[117]

Eyes are also on the District 59 race between Layne Diehl (D) and Saira Blair (R), the 18-year-old daughter of current State Sen. Craig Blair (R). At 17, Saira Blair defeated two-term Del. Larry Krump (R) in the May 13 Republican primary, outspending Krump $4,800 to $1,800. Blair, who ran on a campaign focused on the themes of being "pro-family, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-business, pro-jobs, and pro-West Virginia," is considered a favorite in the heavily Republican district, where nearly two-thirds of the votes went to Mitt Romney in November 2012. She is attending West Virginia University this fall, but will take a semester off if she wins the election for the legislative session that meets from January to March.[118][119][120][121][122]

Wisconsin

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Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Senate has a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republicans of three seats, which amounts to 17.7 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. In 2012, when the 16 even-numbered districts were up for election, two districts were either competitive or mildly competitive. District 18 had a margin of victory of 0.7 percent in the 2012 elections. District 30 had a margin of victory of 9 percent. Heading into the general election, Wisconsin is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.

On average, $106,724 in campaign contributions were raised for 2012 general election campaigns in each district. Only two of the top-10 districts that raised the most in contributions featured general elections with a margin of victory under 10 percent. Six of the top-10 districts held general elections with a margin of victory greater than 15 percent and one held an unopposed general election. The following table details the top-10 districts in terms of contributions raised by general election candidates, a comparison between the district and the average for the chamber, the margin of victory in those districts and the cost per vote.[123][7] Chamber average comparison describes how much more money was raised than the average for the chamber.

Wisconsin State Senate Money Districts, 2012
District Contributions raised Margin of victory Chamber average comparison Cost per vote
18 $811,950 R+0.7 760.79% $9.49
32 $581,342 D+17 544.72% $6.63
30 $375,181 D+9 351.54% $4.74
10 $337,214 R+18 315.97% $3.85
12 $306,183 R+16 286.89% $3.37
22 $181,024 D+39 169.62% $2.46
20 $159,398 R+37 149.36% $1.64
14 $136,419 R+15 127.82% $1.67
24 $121,284 D+13 113.64% $1.41
8 $116,304 -- 108.98% $1.52

Context

In the past 20 years, the partisan control has switched regularly between Republican and Democratic in the Wisconsin State Senate, according to Ballotpedia data. In 14 of the 17 (82.3 percent) districts up for election, there are two major-party candidates, making the elections important to the partisan composition for the Senate. Democrats would need to win only 3 additional seats to gain control of the Senate.

Two Democratic incumbents -- Tim Carpenter and Jon Erpenbach -- are guaranteed their respective seats barring unforeseen circumstances. Republican Leah Vukmir will face a Libertarian candidate in the general election, Wendy Friedrich.

Races to Watch

There are seven open seats, vacated by retiring incumbents, in the November election. Three Democratic and three Republican senators are not running for re-election. Neal Kedzie (R), the seventh senator, had announced in May that he would not be running, and he resigned from the Senate in June.

Districts with no Democratic incumbent running:
District 15: The winner of the Democratic primary will face Brian Fitzgerald (R) in the general election.
District 21: Randy Bryce (D) will face the winner of the Republican primary. Bill Thompkins is also running as a Restoring Power and Responsibility Party candidate.
District 25: The winner of the Democratic primary will face Dane Deutsch (R) in the general election.
Districts with no Republican incumbent running:
District 9: Martha Laning (D) will face Devin Lemahieu (R).
District 11: Dan Kilkenny (D) will face Steve Nass (R).
District 17: The winner of the Democratic primary will face Howard Marklein (R) in the general election.
District 19: Assemblywoman Penny Bernard Schaber (D) will face Roger Roth (R) in the general election.

Chambers targeted by legislative campaign committees

Democratic Party

On July 1, 2014, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) released its chart of chambers it hopes to flip or make up ground in. It is divided into two categories: Emerging Majorities and Chambers to Watch. Emerging Majorities are ones the DLCC feels Democrats will be most likely to reduce Republican majorities, if not flip completely. Chambers to Watch denote ones the DLCC feels enough gains can be made to put the chamber in play for future cycles or where the party can reach constitutionally significant benchmarks.[124]

The Emerging Majority chambers are:

The Chambers to Watch are:

Republican Party

Sweet 16 Targets
In July 2014, the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee (RLCC) held its national meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado. During the event, the RLCC announced its "Sweet 16 Targets," which were identified as opportunities to flip legislative control. Those states include:[125]

2014 Path to Victory
During the national meeting, the RLCC also released its "2014 Path to Victory." Under the Future Majority Project, an outreach initiative intended to proactively grow the Republican Party, 14 candidates were chosen in key districts.[126] Branded "14 in '14 Races to Watch," candidates in the initiative include:[125]

See also

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