State Legislative Tracker: Republicans predicted to gain control of two chambers
Edited by Greg Janetka
As of October 31, the following figures represent the cumulative partisan breakdown of the 50 state senates and state houses. In the 50 states, Republicans currently control 53.3% of all seats while Democrats hold 45.2%. All told, Republicans control 57 chambers while Democrats are the majority in 36 chambers.
The totals represent a loss of one Democratic and a loss of twelve Republican legislators from the October 3 tracker.
|Representation in 50 State Legislatures|
|Democratic state legislators||3,333||45.1%|
|Republican state legislators||3,940||53.4%|
|Independent state legislators||65||0.88%|
|Third party (and non-voting) legislators||11||0.15%|
The partisan composition of state houses refers to which party holds the majority of seats in the state house or the lower level of each state legislature. Altogether, in the 49 state houses, there are 5,413 state representatives.
As of October 31, 2011, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:
- 18 chambers
- 30 chambers
- 1 chamber (Oregon)
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
As of October 31, 2011 5,366 state representatives are affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties.
|Democratic state representatives||2,454||45.3%|
|Republican state representatives||2,912||53.8%|
|Independent state representatives||12||0.22%|
|Third party (and non-voting) representatives||9||0.17%|
There are 20 state house vacancies in 12 different states as of October 31, 2011. They are as follows:
There are 21 state representatives in 11 states identifying as independents or parties other than Democratic and Representative as of October 31, 2011. They are as follows:
|Maine||3 (2 non-voting Native American representatives, 1 Independent)|
|New Mexico||1 (Independent)|
|New York||1 (Independence Party of New York)|
|North Carolina||1 (Independent)|
|South Dakota||1 (Independent)|
|Tennessee||1 (Carter County Republican)|
|Vermont||8 (5 Vermont Progressive Party, 3 Independent)|
As of October 31, 2011, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:
- See also: Partisan composition of state houses
As of October 3, 2011, 1,907 state senators are affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties.
|Democratic state senators||879||44.6%|
|Republican state senators||1,028||52.2%|
|Nonpartisan state senators||49||2.49%|
|Independent state senators||4||0.2%|
|Third Party state senators||2||0.10%|
There are 8 state senate vacancies as of October 31, 2011.
There are 6 state senators in 5 states identifying as independents or parties other than Democratic and Representative as of October 31, 2011. They are as follows:
|Rhode Island||1 (Independent)|
|Vermont||2 (Vermont Progressive Party)|
So far this year, 45 out of 50 state legislatures have officially adjourned their regular session. However, several special sessions remain on tap for the rest of the year. This week, no states are scheduled to adjourn their 2011 regular session.
The following 5 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 good number of legislators remain active this fall with redistricting hearings and meetings. Meanwhile, although most states have concluded 2011 business, some states are already seeing 2012 action beginning. Drafting for 2012 has begun in Kentucky and Maine, while prefiling of legislation is going on in Alabama, Florida, Kansas, and Tennessee.
Special sessions have been and are expected to be 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.
- Wisconsin remains in special session to focus on job creation.
- Illinois continues a two-week long special veto session to address a major gambling bill, pensions and mental health and development centers.
So far this year, there have been 37 special sessions in 25 states.
|State Legislative Tracker: A glance at state legislatures|
|Number of special elections this year||90|
|Number of special sessions this year||37|
|Number of states that held special sessions this year||25|
|Number of seats up for general election this year||578|
The following states also have special sessions scheduled:
- Nebraska: To begin on November 1 to consider challenging a planned transnational oil pipeline.
- North Dakota: To begin on November 7 to conduct redistricting
- North Carolina: To begin on November 7, but what issues they will address remains unclear
- West Virginia: To begin November 13 to certify October 4 election results and swear in Gov.-elect Earl Ray Tomblin
- Minnesota: To begin November 22 regarding Vikings Stadium.
- Washington: To begin November 28 to cut $2 billion from the budget
As of October 31, 19 states' sessions are currently in mid-term recess:
- See also: State legislative elections, 2011
A total of 578 seats will be up for general election in state legislatures in 2011.
In this year's 2011 election cycle, all legislative primaries have been held. New Jersey held statewide primaries on June 7, 2011, Mississippi held statewide primaries on August 2, Virginia held statewide primaries on August 23, and Louisiana held statewide primaries on October 22, 2011.
Since Louisiana uses the blanket primary system, the majority of races have been determined - a candidate winning over 50 percent in the primary wins the seat with no need for a general election. Currently, 4 Louisiana State Senate and 21 Louisiana House of Representatives races remain undecided - the top two vote getters in these races will meet in the general election on November 19, 2011.
An analysis of the 2011 state legislative races by Ballotpedia staff predicts Republicans will swing control of two chambers in their favor - the Virginia State Senate and the Mississippi House of Representatives. Going into the elections, Democrats hold a slight 22-18 lead in the Virginia Senate and a 68-54 lead in the Mississippi House. Both chambers have been rated as "Leans GOP."
Currently, Republicans hold a majority in 29 state senates and 30 state houses. Democrats control 19 state senate and 18 state houses. The Alaska State Senate and Oregon House of Representatives are evenly split.
|Partisan Balance of All 99 Chambers Before 2011 Elections|
The full list of projected outcomes for 2011 are as follows:
- Leans Democratic:
- Leans GOP:
- Virginia State Senate Possible Republican pickup
- Mississippi State Senate
- Mississippi House of Representatives Possible Republican pickup
- Likely GOP:
- Safe Republican:
General election poll times
Local poll times for the three states holding general elections on November 8 are as follows:
- Mississippi: 7 AM to 7 PM (CT)
- New Jersey: 6 AM to 8 PM (ET)
- Virginia: 6 AM to 7 PM (ET)
Ballotpedia will have election results that night in real-time.
There are no states holding legislative special elections this week. The next special elections will take place on November 8. On that day a total of 8 senate and 5 house seats will be up in 7 states. Seven of those seats were last held by Republicans, while six belonged to Democrats.
Upcoming special elections include:
- November 8: Georgia House Districts 10, 25 & Senate Districts 28, 50
- November 8: Iowa Senate District 18
- November 8: Mississippi Senate District 8
- November 8: Missouri House District 15, 39, 41, 83
- November 8: Tennessee Senate District 6
- November 8: Texas House District 14
- November 8: Wisconsin Assembly District 95
- November 29: Alabama House District 45
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.
On November 8, 2011, there will be two state legislative recall elections.
- Arizona: State Senate President Russell Pearce (R) faces recall over his efforts against illegal immigration, especially controversial legislation SB 1070.
- Michigan: Representative Paul Scott (R) faces recall over his support for cuts to education.
- StateScape, Session updates, accessed Oct. 25, 2011
- StateNet, "Daily Session Summary," October 31, 2011
- Superior Telegram, "State legislature begins special session focused on job creation," October 19, 2011
- My Stateline, "Preview of Legislative Special Session in Springfield," October 23, 2011
- Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Nebraska lawmakers to consider pipeline challenge," October 24, 2011
- news and Observer, "Legislature reconvenes Nov. 7; why is unclear," October 27, 2011
- WOWK, "Tomblin Calls Legislature in to Special Session," October 26, 2011
- BusinessWeek, "Gov: I'll call stadium special session by Nov.," October 18, 2011
- Businessweek, "Washington’s Gregoire Calls Special Session to Cut Budget," September 22, 2011
- StateScape, Session schedules, accessed October 31, 2011
- The Sacramento Bee, California Democrats, backed by business, roll out last-minute proposal on regulations, Sept. 2, 2011 (dead link)