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State legislative competitiveness analysis following recent primaries and New York's completed candidate list
|Impact on incumbent turnover|
|Updates to Ballotpedia's Competitiveness Analysis|
By Tyler King
With only five state primaries to go, the rate of incumbents winning against primary challengers remains steady at 86.4 percent. In the last two weeks, five states held legislative primaries. Additionally, data from New York's July 10, 2014, filing deadline has been added to our analysis.
About ten percent of seats up for election in New York are open, where there is no incumbent seeking re-election. Of the incumbents who are running, 15 percent will face a primary opponent. Additionally, 58 percent of districts will feature a general election between major party candidates. The statistics from New York can be compared to the overall data, below.
Thus far, 41 states have held primary elections. Of those states, 841 incumbents retired and another 113 were defeated in primaries.
- 20 Democrats faced primary opposition in the second half of August. Two were defeated (10.0%).
- 64 Republicans faced a primary challenger, with nine (14.1%) failing to advance past the primary.
As the primaries continue Ballotpedia will continue to update the competitiveness analysis and incumbent turnover figures, giving you the play-by-play of this year's state legislative elections. Below we detail the exact events that occurred in the most recent primaries.
Impact on incumbent turnover
A total of 41 states have held primary elections in 2014, with another five to come. In the states that have held primaries, 748 incumbents retired and another 102 were defeated in primaries. 850 total incumbents will not be running in the general election, meaning that 18.8 percent of the seats up for election are open.
In total, 833 partisan incumbents have faced primary opposition so far.
- 40 Democrats have been defeated, with 87.7 percent advancing past the primary.
- 73 Republicans have been defeated, while the remaining 85.6 percent have advanced.
- Overall, 86.4 percent of incumbents have advanced past the primary.
- Republicans account for 55.2 percent of overall partisan incumbent turnover, while Democrats make up 44.8 percent. Of the seats up for election in 2014, 51.6 percent are held by Republicans and 47.5 percent are held by Democrats.
|Incumbent turnover compared by year|
|2010||2010 percent||2012||2012 percent||2014||2014 percent|
|Total D turnover||631||52.24%||590||45.21%||504||44.84%|
|Total R turnover||577||47.76%||715||54.79%||620||55.16%|
For the full set of data, please visit our Google spreadsheet here.
August 19, 2014 election
Four incumbent state representatives, one Democrat and three Republicans, faced primary opposition. Two of the Republican incumbents to face a primary challenger were defeated. In House District 3, two incumbent legislators were facing off for the same seat. There were no incumbent state senators challenged in the August 19 primary elections.
- House District 3: District 2 incumbent Tammie Wilson (R) defeated District 1 incumbent Doug Isaacson (R) in the Republican primary.
- District 9: Incumbent Eric A. Feige (R) was defeated by Jim Colver in the Republican primary.
- District 40: Incumbent Benjamin P. "Bennie" Nageak (D) defeated Dean Westlake in the Democratic primary.
August 5, 2014 election
Twenty-seven incumbents faced primary opposition. Twenty-six of those incumbents were Republicans, while there was just one Democrat to face a primary challenger. Four incumbents, all Republican state representatives, were defeated.
- House District 5: Incumbent Matt Teeters (R) was defeated by Cheri Steinmetz.
- House District 25: Incumbent Republican Dave Blevins was defeated by Dan Laursen.
- House District 30: Incumbent Kathy Coleman (R) was defeated by Mark Jennings.
- House District 52: Incumbent Republican Troy Mader was defeated by William Pownall.
August 26, 2014 election
Twenty-four incumbents faced off against primary challengers. Of those 24 legislators to face opposition, 19 were Republicans and 5 were Democrats. Three were defeated, one Democrat and two Republican state representatives.
- House District 1: Incumbent Karen Fann was defeated by Noel Campbell and Linda Gray in the Republican primary.
- House District 20: Incumbent Carl Seel was defeated by incumbent Paul Boyer and Anthony Kern in the Republican primary.
- House District 27: Incumbent Norma A. Munoz was defeated by Reginald Bolding and Rebecca Rios in the Democratic primary.
August 26, 2014 election
Twenty-two incumbents, eight Democrats and fourteen Republicans, faced primary opposition. One incumbent, Ricardo Rangel (R), from House District 43, failed to advance past the primary. Rangel, first elected to the chamber in 2012, was defeated by John Cortes. Representative Rangel was set to face Cortes in 2012, but ultimately ran unopposed in the primary on August 14, 2012.
August 26, 2014 election
Seven incumbents, five Democrats and two Republicans, faced primary opposition, with one being defeated. Incumbent Leigh Larocque (R), representing Caledonia-1 of the State House, was defeated by Marcia Robinson Martel. Larocque was first elected to the chamber in 1998. He had previously served from 1993 to 1997.
Incumbents in primaries
A total of 1,009 incumbents have faced or will face a primary challenger in 2014.
Since 5,026 incumbents are running for re-election in 2014, that means that only 20.1% of them faced or will face a primary challenger. In 2012, 1,175 (24.6%) of incumbents faced a primary opponent.
The remaining 4,017 incumbents (79.9%) that ran for re-election in 2014 had or will have no primary challenger.
General election competition
There are 1,972 state senators and 5,411 state representatives. Heading into the election, there are only 72 total third party legislators out of 7,383 total state legislators. Of those 72, 49 are Nebraska State Senators, where all candidates must run as a nonpartisan. Thus, a major party candidate is virtually guaranteed election when facing third parties.
- Given that major party candidates win nearly 100% of the time, a candidate running without any major party opposition is essentially assured election -- even if there are third party candidates.
- There is only one major party candidate in 2,622 (43.3%) of the 6,056 seats up for election in 2014.
- There is more than one major party candidate in 3,434 (56.7%) of the 6,056 seats up for election in 2014. In 2012, 3,709 (61.7%) seats had two or more major party candidates.
There is no incumbent running for re-election in 1,030 (17.0%) of the 6,056 seats up for election in 2014, either because he or she voluntarily chose not to run again, impacted by term limits or affected by redistricting. This is a decrease from 21.2 percent in 2012.
In 5,026 (83.0%) of the 6,056 seats up for election in 2014, the incumbent ran for re-election.
- State legislative elections, 2014
- 2014 state legislative elections analyzed using a Competitiveness Index