State legislative elections, 2015

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2015 State Legislative Elections

States
LouisianaMississippi
New JerseyVirginia

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In the 50 states, there are 99 state legislative chambers altogether, and seven of the 99 chambers will hold state legislative elections November 3, 2015.

A total of 131 (6.6%) of the country's 1,972 state senate seats and 407 (7.5%) of the country's 5,411 state house seats will be up for a vote. Altogether, 538 (7.3%) of the country's 7,383 state legislative seats are up for election. Four states, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia hold elections in odd-numbered years. The New Jersey State Senate is the only chamber in those four states without scheduled elections in 2015.

What's at stake

State government trifectas

See also: Gubernatorial and legislative party control of state government

A trifecta is when one political party holds these three positions in a state's government:

The concept of the trifecta is important in state lawmaking because in many states, the governor, senate majority leader and house majority leader play decisive roles in the legislative process.

Heading into the 2015 elections, 30 states are controlled by a trifecta. The following states have split-party control of their governments: Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. Nebraska is a unique case in that the Governor of Nebraska is a Republican and the legislature, although technically nonpartisan, is controlled by a Republican majority.[1]

States with a trifecta include:

  • Democratic Party 7 Democratic trifectas
  • Republican Party 23 Republican trifectas

Of the four states with elections:

Majority control

See also: Partisan composition of state legislatures

The following table details partisan balance in all 99 chambers.

Partisan Balance of All 99 Chambers Before and After 2015 Elections
Pre-election Post-election
Legislative Chamber Democratic Party Republican Party Split balance Independent Democratic Party Republican Party Split balance Independent
State senates 14 35 0 1 -- -- -- 1
State houses 16 33 0 0 -- -- -- 0
Total: 30 68 0 1 -- -- -- 1

Of the states holding elections:

The Virginia State Senate features the smallest gap in partisan balance between parties, with 19 seats held by Democrats and 21 held by Republicans.

Louisiana

Senate Partisan Breakdown: Democratic Party (13) Republican Party (26)
House Partisan Breakdown: Democratic Party (44) Republican Party (59) Independent (2)

All 39 seats in the Louisiana State Senate and 105 seats in the Louisiana House of Representatives are up for election in 2015.[2] Republicans control both chambers heading into the election.

Louisiana's state senators and state representatives serve four-year terms that begin at noon on the second Monday in January after their election. Both chambers have term limits which prevent a state legislator from serving for more than three terms, or twelve years, in a particular chamber.

Mississippi

Senate Partisan Breakdown: Democratic Party (20) Republican Party (31) Independent (1)
House Partisan Breakdown: Democratic Party (56) Republican Party (66)

All 52 seats in the Mississippi State Senate and 122 seats in the Mississippi House of Representatives are up for election in 2015.[3] Republicans control both chambers heading into the election.

Mississippi's state legislators server four-year terms that begin on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January after their election.

New Jersey

New Jersey will not hold any state senate elections in 2015. New Jersey's state senators are elected to four-year terms. All 40 seats were elected in 2013.

General Assembly Partisan Breakdown: Democratic Party (48) Republican Party (32)

All 80 seats in the Republican-controlled New Jersey General Assembly are up for election in 2015. New Jersey's state representatives are elected to a two-year term that begins at noon of the second Tuesday in January.

Virginia

Senate Partisan Breakdown: Democratic Party (19) Republican Party (21)
House Partisan Breakdown: Democratic Party (32) Republican Party (67) Independent (1)

All 40 seats in the Virginia State Senate and 100 seats in the Virginia House of Representatives are up for election in 2015.[4] Republicans control both chambers heading into the election.

Virginia's state senators are elected to a four-year term that begins on the second Wednesday in January after the election. Virginia's state representatives are elected to a two-year term that begins on the second Wednesday in January after the election.

See also

References