Election aftermath: Democrats hold Iowa Senate, Independent wins in Missouri special elections

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November 9, 2011

By Tyler Millhouse

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On Tuesday, seven states--Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin--held special elections to fill 13 state legislative vacancies. While neither Democrats nor Republicans managed to capture additional seats, Independent (and former Democrat) Tracy McCreery defeated both of her major party opponents to capture a formerly Democratic seat. Democrats nearly captured a Republican seat in Missouri, but fell short by 38 votes.

The most heavily watched special election was in Iowa, where Iowa State Senate partisan control was at stake. Liz Mathis (D) defeated Cindy Golding (R) in a special election for District 18. Mathis' victory keeps the seat and the Senate in Democratic hands by averting a tie.

Counting Tuesday's races, 90 special elections have been held in 2011. In total, 11 seats have changed partisan hands. Republicans captured six, Democrats captured four, and an Independent (McCreery) captured one. Political appointments and election to higher office were the primary causes of special elections in 2011, causing 34 and 27 vacancies, respectively. Excluding runoffs, one special election remains to be held in 2011.

The following is a breakdown of the November 8 special elections:

Republicans won seven special election seats, Democrats won five, and an Independent won one on Tuesday.

  • Texas House District 14: Bob Yancy (R) and John Raney (R) were the top two vote-getters on Tuesday, receiving 36.4% and 22.6% of the vote, respectively. A runoff election will now be scheduled. Three other candidates ran for the seat.[13]

Partisan impact

Only one seat changed partisan hands--a Democratic House seat in Missouri was captured by an Independent.

Missouri State House Partisan Balance

Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 44
     Republican Party 116
     Independent 1
     Vacancy 2
Total 163

See also

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