Primary competitiveness in 2011 state legislative elections
This fall, with only four states holding elections, we are adding an additional level of analysis to the study -- an increased emphasis on primary competitiveness specifically.
Mississippi has 52 Senate districts and 122 House districts, leaving 348 possible primaries combined in the two chambers. In Mississippi, a primary is "contested" when at least two candidates are competing for their respective party’s nomination.
There are only 26 contested primaries out of the 104 primaries in the Senate. In the House of Representatives, only 51 of the 244 primaries are contested. All told, only 77 out of the 348 primaries on August 2 (22.1%) will require voters to choose between multiple candidates. In the remaining 271 primaries (77.9%), the candidate automatically advances to the general election.
|Comparing Contested Primaries of past two MS Elections|
- Total contested primaries have decreased from 78 in 2007 to 77 in 2011
- The number of incumbents contested has decreased from 46 in 2007 to 39 in 2011, while the number of uncontested incumbents has grown even more. In 2007, 110 incumbents were uncontested but 109 will advance straight to the general election in 2011.
- The total number of uncontested primaries has stayed largely the same -- 164 in 2007 and 166 in 2011.
- One factor in Mississippi that stands out in primaries is the number of primaries where no candidate declares for election at all -- meaning the winner of the opposing primary is virtually guaranteed of winning in November. In other words, the primary ultimately serves as the de facto general election. In 2007, there were 106 primaries where no the major party did not field a candidate. In 2011, that figure has decreased by one to 105.
- When combining all 696 primaries over the past 2 elections, 330 -- or 47.4% -- of all primaries have been uncontested.
- However, when factoring in the the primaries with no candidate at all, only 22.3% of all primaries were contested in 2007 and 2011 combined.
New Jersey has 40 legislative districts, leaving 80 possible primaries in each chamber -- 40 Democratic and 40 Republican. In the Senate, a primary is "contested" when at least two candidates are competing for their respective party’s nomination. In the General Assembly, a contested primary will feature at least 3 candidates since the top-2 vote getters advance to the general election.
There were only 9 contested primaries out of the 80 primaries in the Senate. In the General Assembly, only 15 of the 80 primaries were contested. All told, only 24 out of the 160 primaries on June 7 (15%) required voters to choose between multiple candidates. In the remaining 136 primaries (85%), the candidate (or candidates in the New Jersey General Assembly) automatically advanced to the general election.
|Comparing Contested Primaries of past three NJ Elections|
- Total contested primaries have increased from 18 in 2007 to 24 in 2011
- While the number of incumbents contested has increased from 10 in 2007 to 12 in 2011, the number of uncontested incumbents has grown even more. In 2007, 53 incumbents were uncontested but 63 will advance straight to the general election in 2011 due to a decrease in open seats.
- The total number of uncontested primaries has stayed largely the same -- 135 in 2007 and 132 in 2011.
- When combining all 400 primaries over the past 3 elections, 322 -- or 80.5% -- of all primaries have been uncontested.