2011 state legislative elections analyzed using a Competitiveness Index
By Geoff Pallay
578 seats of the country's 7,384 state legislative seats are up for election in the November 8, 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.
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.
- State legislative elections, 2011
- 2010 state legislative elections analyzed using a Competitiveness Index