Open seats in the 2010 state legislative elections
|2010 Competitiveness Overview|
| Primary competition (state comparison) |
| Incumbents with no primary challenge in 2010 |
Incumbents with no challenges at all in 2010
Incumbents defeated • Victorious challengers
|Major party challengers (state comparison)|
|List of candidates with no competition|
|Open seats (state comparisons)|
| Impact of term limits on # of open seats |
Long-serving senators • Long-serving reps
|Chart Comparing 2011 Results • Comparisons Between Years |
• Party differences
|2010 State Legislative Elections|
|Competitiveness Studies from Other Years|
|2007 • 2009 • 2011 • 2012|
There are 6,125 state legislative districts, in 46 states, with a seat up for election on November 2, 2010. We took a look at each of the 46 states to see how many state legislative incumbents chose to run for re-election in 2010.
Our main findings:
- In 1,140 (18.6%) of the 6,125 seats up for election on November 2, the incumbent did not run for re-election, either because he or she voluntarily chose not to run again, or because of term limits.
- In 4,985 (81.4%) of the 6,125 seats up for election on November 2, the incumbent ran for re-election.
- Adjusting for term limits, 86.6% of state legislative incumbents who were legally able to run again in 2010 chose to run again.
- New Mexico, Texas, Kentucky, Illinois and Kansas have the lowest ratio of open seats; that is, they have the highest ratio of incumbents running for re-election.
- The five states with the highest ratio of open seats are Michigan, Nevada, Arkansas, Arizona and Missouri. Not surprisingly, all 5 have term limits. In fact, the 10 most competitive states in 2010 as defined by the ratio of open seats all have term limits.
- The most competitive states without terms limits are New Hampshire, North Dakota, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Washington. These non-term-limited states have quadruple the ratio of seats with no incumbent running as do the five least competitive states.
The score that states received based on their ratio of open seats is one of 3 factors used in evaluating which states have the highest, and which the lowest, overall competitiveness in the 2010 state legislative elections.
States compared by open seats
The state that is least competitive as defined by the percentage of its seats where the incumbent did not run for re-election in 2010 is defined as #46, while the state that is most competitive as defined by the percentage of its seats where the incumbent did not run for re-election is defined as #1; that is, 1 = "most competitive", 46 = "least competitive".
|State||Senate at stake||Open senate||House at stake||Open house||Total open||% open||Open seats rank||Overall competitive rank|
Impact of term limits
There are 15 term-limited states. Of those, only Louisiana is not holding elections in 2010. Of the 14 term-limited states holding elections, 35.13% of all seats are open. In non-term-limited states, that number plummets to 12.90%.
The discrepancy is largest in the Senate. In term limited states, 48.81% of seats are open. However, that number plummets to only 13.24% for states without term limits. That means 721 of the 831 Senators ran for re-election in states without term limits.
- State legislative elections, 2010
- Impact of term limits on state legislative elections in 2010
- Ballotpedia:Competitiveness analysis and partisan impact
- 2010 state legislative elections analyzed using a Competitiveness Index
- Seats with unchallenged incumbents in the 2010 state legislative primaries
- Major party candidates with no major party challengers in the November 2010 state legislative elections