2007 state legislative elections analyzed using a Competitiveness Index

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2009
By Geoff Pallay with Kevin Diana, Tyler King and Justin Haas

578 of the country's 7,384 state legislative seats were up for election in the November 6, 2007 elections.

The following states held elections.

3Competitive 2007.jpg

This article is an overview of our analysis of the degree of competitiveness in 2007's state legislative elections. The analysis utilized this 3-factor "Competitiveness Index".

Using our 3-factor "Competitiveness Index", we've contrasted three states that held elections.

Status Senate House Total
Seats up 132 302 434
Incumbents running 112 260 372
 % with no incumbent 15.15% 13.91% 14.29%
Incumbents with no primary 88 214 302
 % with no primary 78.57% 82.31% 81.18%
Candidates with no major party opposition 58 149 207
 % with no major party opposition 43.94% 49.34% 47.70%

Note: Louisiana was excluded from this study due to stark differences from the other states in regards to how legislators are elected.

The Pelican State uses a "jungle primary" system in which a candidate can win election during the primary, if he/she receives more than 50 percent of the vote. Additionally, candidates of the same party can both advance to the general election, as the top-2 vote getters regardless of party advance if a runoff is needed. As such, Louisiana does not fit into the parameters of the competitiveness index.

Overall comparisons

State legislature Primary contests Major party competition Open seats Overall rank
Mississippi 1 1 3 2
New Jersey 2 2 1 1
Virginia 3 3 2 3

Open seats

Main article: Open seats in the 2007 state legislative elections

The states as ranked based on have the fewest open seats are: New Jersey, Mississippi, and Virginia.

  1. New Jersey: 28.3%. In New Jersey, 34 out of 120 seats were open where an incumbent did not run for re-election, which means that 72.7% of the 120 incumbents chose to run for re-election.
  2. Mississippi: 10.3%. In Mississippi, 18 out of 174 seats were open where an incumbent did not run for re-election, which means that 89.7% of the 174 incumbents chose to run for re-election.
  3. Virginia: 7.1%. In Virginia, 10 out of 140 seats were open where an incumbent did not run for re-election, which means that 92.9% of the 140 incumbents chose to run for re-election.

Primary challenges

Main article: Incumbents with no primary challenger in the 2007 state legislative elections

The states as ranked based on having the most primary challengers are: Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia.

  1. Mississippi: 29.49%. In Mississippi, 46 out of 156 incumbents running for election in 2007 faced a primary, which means that 70.51% of the 156 incumbents running automatically advanced to the general election.
  2. New Jersey: 18.60%. In New Jersey, 16 out of 86 incumbents running for election in 2007 faced a primary, which means that 81.40% of the 86 incumbents running automatically advanced to the general election.
  3. Virginia: 6.15%. In Virginia, 122 out of 130 incumbents running for election in 2007 faced a primary, which means that 93.85% of the 122 incumbents running automatically advanced to the general election.

No opposition

Main article: Major party candidates with no major party challengers in the November 2007 state legislative elections

The states as ranked based on fewest no opposition general elections are: New Jersey, Mississippi, and Virginia.

  1. New Jersey: 8.33%. In New Jersey, 10 of 120 seats up for election contain only one major party candidate, meaning in 91.77% of the races there are Democratic and Republican candidates.
  2. Mississippi: 60.34%. In Mississippi, 105 of 174 seats up for election contain only one major party candidate, meaning in 39.66% of the races there are Democratic and Republican candidates.
  3. Virginia: 65.71%. In Virginia, 92 of 140 seats up for election contain only one major party candidate, meaning in 34.29% of the races there are Democratic and Republican candidates.

See also