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Massachusetts House incumbents dominate ballot

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August 11, 2010

By Caleb Palmer

In the Massachusetts House of Representatives, a state with no term limits, incumbents factor heavily on the ballot in this fall's election, according to a Ballotpedia analysis.

According to the data, states with term limits have a much higher rate of turnover than non-term limited states. Nationwide, 18 percent of seats are considered open -- where there is no incumbent running for re-election. But in states with term limits, that number jumps to 48.51 percent. In states without term limits, only 13.78 percent of seats are open.

In Massachusetts, there are 160 seats up for election. Incumbents ran for re-election in 85 percent of those seats. Of the 136 seats where an incumbent is running, 75 of them face no primary or general election challenge (67 Democrats and 8 Republicans).

With the current heavily Democratic state senate (see below), this fall's race will almost certainly see the Democrats retaining control.


Party As of April 2014
     Democratic Party 128
     Republican Party 29
     Vacancy 3
Total 160

According to Louis Jacobson, a political analyst with Governing magazine, the Massachusetts House of Representatives will safely remain Democratic, based on the nearly 9 to 1 current party banance.[1]

Additionally, only 11, or 8.1%, of the incumbents in Massachusetts will face a challenge in the primary. Across the country, only 21.44% of all incumbents are facing a challenge in the primary. Furthermore, 55.1% of the incumbents in Massachusetts will face no challenge in the primary or general election. Nationally, 24.86 % of incumbents are not facing any primary or general election challenge.

Partisan incumbents

Across the country, more Democrat incumbents are not running for re-election than Republicans. Additionally, more Democrats are facing primary opposition.

Category Democrats in Massachusetts Republicans in Massachusetts Democrats nationwide Republicans nationwide
Incumbent seats open 19 5 TBD TBD
Incumbents facing primary 11 0 TBD TBD
Incumbents running unopposed in primary and general 67 8 TBD TBD

See also

References