State Legislative Tracker: Candidates file in Illinois and Ohio

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December 12, 2011

Edited by Greg Janetka

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This week's tracker features a spotlight on the 2012 state legislative candidate filings in Illinois and Ohio.


So far this year, 46 out of 50 state legislatures have officially adjourned their regular session. Michigan is projected to adjourn on Thursday.

Current sessions capture for the week of December 12, 2011

Regular sessions

The following 4 states remain in regular legislative sessions:

Click here to see a chart of each state's 2011 session information.

While most state legislatures are not currently in session, a number of legislators remain active this fall with redistricting hearings and meetings. Meanwhile, although most states have concluded 2011 business, a number of states have already begun 2012 action. Drafting for 2012 has begun in two states: Kentucky and Montana, while prefiling of legislation is going on in 12 states: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.[1]

Special sessions

Special sessions have been a widespread occurrence in the state legislatures in 2011, in particular due to the necessity of states to conduct the redistricting of state legislative and congressional districts.

  • Washington continues a special session that began November 28 to cut $2 billion from the budget. Some analysts predicted the session could last at least three weeks.[2] The first details of the budget negotiations were made public today.[3]
  • West Virginia began a special session yesterday to address a bill to regulate Marcellus Shale gas drilling.[4]
  • Illinois began a special session today to consider legislation that would give a tax break to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which has threatened to leave the state.[5]
  • New York held a special session on December 7-8, passing the Middle Class Tax Cut and Job Creation Plan.[6] The plan, which passed 55-0 in the Senate and 130-8 in the Assembly, overhauls the state income-tax brackets.[7]

So far this year, there have been 45 special sessions in 28 states.

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Sunday, May 3, 2015
There are 7,384 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,332 (45.1%)
Total Republican state legislators 3,936 (53.3%)
There are 99 Total State Legislative Chambers
Total Democratic Party-controlled chambers 35
Total Republican Party-controlled chambers 60
2011 Session Information
Special Elections 92
Total Special Sessions 45

No states have future special sessions scheduled.

In recess

As of today, December 12, 21 states' sessions are currently in mid-term recess:

  • Alaska - Mid-term recess April 18 through January 16, 2012[8]
  • California - Mid-term recess September 9 through January 4, 2012.[9]
  • Delaware - July 1, 2011 through January 10, 2012[8]
  • Georgia - Mid-term recess April 15 through January 8, 2012[8]
  • Hawaii - Mid-term recess May 6 through January 7, 2012[8]

  • Illinois - Mid-term recess through January 10, 2012[8]
  • Iowa - Mid-term recess June 30 through January 8, 2012[8]
  • Kansas - Mid-term recess June 1 through January 8, 2012[8]
  • Maine - Mid-term recess June 30 through January 3, 2012[8]
  • Massachusetts - Mid-term recess November 17 through January 3, 2012[8]
  • Minnesota - Mid-term recess May 24 through January 23, 2012[8]

  • Oklahoma - Mid-term recess May 28 through January 31, 2012[8]
  • South Carolina - Mid-term recess July 27 through January 9, 2012[8]
  • Tennessee - Mid-term recess May 22 through January 9, 2012[8]
  • Vermont - Mid-term recess May 7 through January 3, 2012[8]
  • Washington - Mid-term recess April 23 through January 8, 2012[8]


See also: State legislative elections, 2012 and State legislative elections results, 2012
2012 badge.jpg

A total of 86 of the 99 chambers will hold state legislative elections on November 6, 2012.

1,267 (64.3%) of the country's 1,971 state senate seats are up for re-election in November 2012, and 4,712 (87.05%) of the country's 5,413 state house seats are up for re-election. Altogether, 5,984 (81.0%) of the country's 7,384 state legislative seats will be up for re-election during the presidential election year.

  • 43 of the 50 state senates are holding elections.
  • 43 of the 49 state houses are holding elections.

The 5,984 seats up for election is 146 fewer than the 6,125 that were contested in 2010.

Filing deadlines

See also: Signature requirements and deadlines for 2012 state legislative elections

The next candidate filing deadline is in Texas on Thursday. It was originally December 12, but was pushed back due to redistricting troubles in the courts. Attorney General of Texas Greg Abbott asked for a stay of the candidate filing period today. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the federal court-drawn maps, throwing the Texas redistricting and candidate filing into chaos.[10]

There are no other states with deadlines in 2011.

States with early 2012 deadlines:

2012 Primaries

The first primary election of 2012 is scheduled to take place in Texas on March 6. However, with newly drawn state legislative maps being fought in the courts, it is possible that that date could change. The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case on January 9, 2012. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has suggested that the primary be split, with the primary for state house, state senate, and congressional seats being moved to May 22 and the primary for everything else being kept on March 6. Abbott argues this would be minimally disruptive since primary runoffs already will be on May 22.[11]

Elections spotlight

See also: State legislative elections, 2012

The 2012 legislative election season officially got under way last week as deadlines to file to run passed in Illinois and Ohio.


See also: Illinois State Senate elections, 2012 and Illinois House of Representatives elections, 2012

The filing deadline for major party state legislative candidates in Illinois was December 5. The state board of elections received 375 filings for the 177 state legislative seats.[12] So far one candidate who filed has withdrawn - Tom Lezon, who was running as a Republican in the 44th House district.[13] Due to retirements, there will be at least 10 open seats in each chamber.[14]

Today was the last day to file objections against a candidate. As of early this afternoon, objections had been filed against four candidates - 1 Republican and 1 Democrat running for Senate, and 1 Republican and 1 Democrat running for the House.[15]

The primary takes place on March 20, 2012.


See also: Ohio State Senate elections, 2012 and Ohio House of Representatives elections, 2012

The filing deadline for state legislative candidates in Ohio was December 7. Due to term limits, two Republicans are ineligible for re-election to the Senate, while four Republicans and three Democrats are ineligible for re-election to the House.

In a rare move, Democrats filed to run in every House District. The party said it shows that Ohio Democrats are fired up after their successful repeal of Senate Bill 5 on November 8, 2011.[16] Republicans took control of the House during the November 2010 election and currently hold a 19-seat majority.

Ohio House of Representatives
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 40 39
     Republican Party 59 60
Total 99 99

The primary takes place on March 6, 2012.

Special elections

See also: State legislative special elections, 2011 and State legislative special elections, 2012

There is one state holding a special election tomorrow. Texas voters go to the polls to determine a runoff election in House District 14. Fred Brown (R) retired on June 29 after more than 12 years in the legislature. A special election was held on November 8, 2011 to replace him. Since no candidate received a majority of the vote, a runoff was scheduled.[17][18][19]

Democratic Party Democratic Candidate:
Republican Party Republican Candidates:[20]
Libertarian Party Libertarian Candidates:

General election candidates:

Republican Party Bob Yancy
Republican Party John Raney

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • December 20: Kentucky House of Representatives District 82
  • January 3, 2012: Georgia House District 68 Runoff
  • January 10, 2012: Massachusetts Senate 2nd Suffolk and Middlesex
  • February 14, 2012: Oklahoma House District 1
  • February 28, 2012: Michigan House of Representatives District 29
  • February 28, 2012: Michigan House of Representatives District 51


See also: State legislative recalls

Currently, 18 states permit the recall of state officials. This year has seen a flurry of recall activity take place, most notably in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Arizona. In Wisconsin, nine state senators faced recall elections this past summer, resulting in the removal of two Republicans from office. Dozens of state legislators in Michigan were targeted for recall, but only one campaign successfully made the ballot. Two recalls - Russell Pearce in Arizona (R) and Paul Scott in Michigan (R) - took place on November 8, 2011, both of which succeeded.

To put the use of recall into perspective, between 1913 and 2008, there were just 20 state legislative recall elections in five states. Of the 20 state legislative recall elections, 13 out of 20 resulted in the state legislator being recalled. In 2011 there have been 11 state legislative recalls in three states, 4 of which resulted in the legislator being recalled.

On the heels of this success, Democrats in Wisconsin filed recall petitions on November 15 against four Republican state senators - Pam Galloway, Scott Fitzgerald, Terry Moulton and Van Wanggaard.[21] Supporters of the recall have 60 days to collect the necessary signatures in order to force recall elections in 2012.

Last Friday, Bob Jauch became the first Democratic state senator in Wisconsin to be targeted by a possible recall in 2012. Northern CRG, an affiliate of the Citizens for Responsible Government Network, filed paperwork to create the Exploratory Committee to Recall Bob Jauch. An official with the group said that it is targeting Jauch because the group believes he is responsible for a stalled mining project south of Ashland. An actual recall petition drive has not yet begun against him, but the group says it will if there is enough support for one.[22] Jauch, first elected to the Wisconsin State Senate in 1987, said he is puzzled by the recall.[23]


  1. StateNet, "Daily Session Summary," December 12, 2011
  2. Public News Service, "Predictions for WA's Special Legislative Session," November 28, 2011
  3. The News Tribune, "Morning update: special session Day 15," December 12, 2011
  4. Charleston Gazette, "Legislature starts special session on Marcellus rules," December 11, 2011
  5. Farm Futures, "Illinois General Assembly Special Session Could Determine if CME Stays or Goes," December 12, 2011
  6. NY1, "The Call Blog: Albany Holds Special Session To Vote On New Tax Plan," December 7, 2011
  7. Newsday, "Lawmakers approve NYS tax legislation," December 8, 2011
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 8.15 8.16 8.17 8.18 StateScape, Session schedules, accessed December 5, 2011
  9. The Sacramento Bee, California Democrats, backed by business, roll out last-minute proposal on regulations, Sept. 2, 2011 (dead link)
  10. Star-Telegram, "Texas Attorney General plans to seek stay on filing period," December 10, 2011
  11. Burnt Orange Report, "Court to Take Up Election Deadlines on Tuesday," December 11, 2011
  12. WBEZ, "Election 2012 candidates guide: Who filed to run?," December 5, 2011
  13. Illinois Board of Elections, "Candidate Detail - Tom Lezon," December 12, 2011
  14. State Journal Register, "State legislature headed for unusual turnover," November 20, 2011
  15. Illinois Board of Elections, "Latest Objections," accessed December 12, 2011
  16. The Republic, "Ohio Dems field legislative slate of teachers, other public workers after fall union fight," December 7, 2011
  17. ABC 13, "Nov. 8 special election to replace lawmaker Brown," July 21, 2011
  18. Satellite Spotlight, "District 14 hopeful Paula Hand out of race over bounced check," October 01, 2011
  19. Bryan-College Station Eagle, "Runoff next in District 14 election gauntlet," November 12, 2011
  20. Texas Secretary of State, Special Election State Representative, District 14, November 8, 2011 (timed out)
  21. FOX 6 Now, "Recall paperwork filed Tuesday for four senators, including Van Wanggaard," November 15, 2011
  22. Wisconsin State Journal, "Paperwork filed to oust Sen. Jauch, 1st Dem targeted in new recall round," December 9, 2011
  23. WTAQ, "Democratic state senator Jauch targeted for recall," December 11, 2011