Massachusetts senate incumbents dominate ballot

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August 11, 2010

By Caleb Palmer

In the Massachusetts State Senate, 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 40 seats up for election. Incumbents ran for re-election in 80 percent of those seats. Of the 32 seats where an incumbent is running, 13 of them face no primary or general election challenge (9 Democrats and 4 Republicans). Incumbents Joan Menard, Robert O'Leary, Susan Tucker, Stephen Buoniconti. Steven Panagiotakos, Richard Tisei, Michael Morrissey, and Marian Walsh are not seeking re-election.

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


Party As of July 2014
     Democratic Party 36
     Republican Party 4
Total 40


According to Louis Jacobson, a political analyst with Governing magazine, the Massachusetts State Senate is safely Democratic, based on the nearly 6 to 1 current party banance.[1]

Additionally, only three, or 7.5%, 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, 32.5% 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 7 1 TBD TBD
Incumbents facing primary 3 0 TBD TBD
Incumbents running unopposed in primary and general 9 4 TBD TBD

See also

References