Impact of term limits on state senate elections in 2010
| Term limits and state legislatures|
| Click on a state below |
for state-specific details:
| Arizona • Arkansas • California |
Colorado • Florida • Maine
Michigan • Missouri • Montana
Nebraska • Nevada • Ohio
Oklahoma • South Dakota
| Impact on state representatives |
| State legislatures with term limits|
Louisiana is the only state with state senate term limits that did not hold a general election for its state senate in 2010.
122 current state senators were ineligible to run for re-election in November because of term limit laws in their state. This included 55 incumbent Democratic state senators, 66 incumbent Republican state senators and 1 non-partisan state senator.
The 122 state senators who were termed-out represented 36% of the 337 total state senate seats up for election in November in the 14 term-limited state senates with elections in 2010.
Differential impact on parties
Going into the November 2010 election, the Democratic Party was the majority party in 5 of the 14 state senates with term limits. The Republican Party was the majority party in 8 of the term-limited state senates. Nebraska's state senate is term-limited and officially non-partisan.
- In 7 states, the term limits axe fell more heavily on incumbent Republicans: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Ohio and South Dakota. In all seven of these states, the current majority party was also the Republican Party.
- In 4 states, the term limits axe fell more heavily on incumbent Democrats: Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada and Oklahoma. In three of these states, the current majority party was also the Democratic Party.
- In 2 states, the axe fell equally on both parties (California and Maine).
- The Oklahoma State Senate elections were in the only state where the minority party (the Democratic Party) lost more senators (4) than the majority party, the Republicans, who lost 2 senators.
Senates with elections
Note: The figures in Column 5 ("Seats impacted by term limits") only reflects current members of state senates who were unable to run for re-election to their state's senate in 2010 because of term limits. In some cases, including cases in Arizona, Colorado and Nevada, state senators who would have been unable to run for re-election in November resigned earlier in the year. Senators who resigned, and are not current members of their state senates, were not counted in these figures.
|Senate with limits||Majority party||Seats in senate||Up for election in 2010||Seats impacted by term limits||Party with most losses|
|Arizona: (Senate), (2010 elections)||30||30||4 + 6 = 10|
|Arkansas: (Senate), (2010 elections)||35||17||12 + 1 = 13|
|California: (Senate), (2010 elections)||40||21||4 + 4 = 8|
|Colorado: (Senate), (2010 elections)||35||19||2 + 1 = 3|
|Florida: (Senate), (2010 elections)||40||23||1 + 6 = 7|
|Maine: (Senate), (2010 elections)||35||35||2 + 2 = 4|
|Michigan: (Senate), (2010 elections)||38||38||12 + 17 = 29|
|Missouri: (Senate), (2010 elections)||34||17||2 + 8 = 10|
|Montana: (Senate), (2010 elections)||50||26||5 + 10 = 15|
|Nebraska: (Senate), (2010 elections)||49||24||1||NA|
|Nevada: (Senate), (2010 elections)||21||11||3 + 1 = 4|
|Ohio: (Senate), (2010 elections)||33||17||2 + 5 = 7|
|Oklahoma: (Senate), (2010 elections)||48||24||4 + 2 = 6|
|South Dakota: (Senate), (2010 elections)||35||35||1 + 3 = 4|
|Totals:||(5) (8) (1)||523||337||55 + 66 + 1 = 122||4 , 7 , 2|
- See also: Arizona State Senate elections, 2010
All of Arizona's 30 state senate seats were up for election on November 2. Arizona senators serve two-year terms with a four-term/eight-year limit that was imposed by Proposition 107 in 1992. Arizona's term limits apply to parts of terms and not just full terms. One state senator in 2010, Albert Hale, was affected by this provision of Arizona's law.
An 11th individual, Jim Waring (R), was also ineligible to run again in 2010. However, he resigned his seat in the state senate on January 28, 2010 to run for the U.S. House seat vacated by Rep. John Shadegg
In addition to the 10 state senators who are leaving office because of Arizona's term limits, 13 state representatives were also termed-out.
- See also: Arkansas State Senate elections, 2010
The California State Senate has been a term-limited state senate since California voters approved Proposition 140 in 1990. Under the terms of Proposition 140, California's senators can serve no more than two 4-year terms in the state senate. This is a lifetime limit, as is the case in five other states with state senatorial term limits.
- See also: Colorado State Senate elections, 2010
The Colorado State Senate has been a term-limited state senate since Colorado voters approved Issue 5 in 1990. The affirmative vote by Colorado's electorate in Issue 5 altered Section 3 of Article V on the Colorado Constitution to say that Colorado State Senators could serve no more than two 4-year terms in office.
There are 35 Colorado State Senators. In 2010, 3 who were current members were ineligible to run for the senate again in November. Paula Sandoval also would have been ineligible to run, but she resigned earlier in the year.
The three current members of the state senate who were ineligible to run in November were:
- See also: Florida State Senate elections, 2010
The Florida State Senate has been a term-limited state senate since Florida voters approved Amendment 9 in 1992. Amendment 9 altered Article VI, section 4 of the Florida Constitution to impose a maximum of two 4-year terms on Florida State Senators.
- See also: Maine State Senate elections, 2010
The Maine State Senate has been a term-limited state senate since Maine voters approved Question 1 in 1993. Under this law, state senators can serve no more than four consecutive 2-year terms. The Maine State Legislature tried, unsuccessfully, in 2007 to get the state's voters to extend the number of years they could consecutively serve in office by putting the Maine Term Limits Extension act on the ballot. Voters overwhelmingly (67-33%) rejected it.
- See also: Michigan State Senate elections, 2010
The Michigan State Senate has been a term-limited state senate since Michigan voters approved Proposal B in 1992. Proposal B created Section 54 of Article IV of the Michigan Constitution, limiting state senators to 2 four-year terms. As with 5 other states, this is a lifetime limit.
There are 38 Michigan State Senators. In 2010, 29 who are current members were ineligible to run for the senate again in November. The turn-over due to term limits applied to more than 75% of the total membership of the state's senate in one election season.
- See also: Missouri State Senate elections, 2010
The Missouri State Senate has been a term-limited state senate since Missouri voters approved Amendment 13 in 1992. Amendment 13 created Section 8 of Article III of the Missouri Constitution, limiting state senators to 2 4-year terms. This is a lifetime limit, as is the case in 5 other states with state legislative term limits. Section 8 was later amended by Amendment 3 in 2002 so that it does not apply to partial terms.
- See also: Montana State Senate elections, 2010
The Montana State Senate has been a term-limited state senate since Montana voters approved C-64 in 1992. C-64 created Section 8 of Article IV of the Montana Constitution, which says that Montana State Senators cannot serve 8 or more years in any 16-year period as a state senator.
- Aubyn Curtiss
- Daniel McGee
- Gary Perry
- Gregory Barkus
- Jerry Black
- John Esp
- Keith Bales
- Kelly Gebhardt
- Rick Laible
- Robert Story
- See also: Nebraska State Senate elections, 2010
The Nebraska State Senate has been a term-limited state senate since Nebraska voters approved Initiative 415 (2000). Under the terms of Initiative 415, Nebraska's senators can serve no more than two consecutive 4-year terms in the state senate.
- See also: Nevada State Senate elections, 2010
2010 is the first year that some Nevada State Senators were ineligible to run for office because of the term limits law first passed in 1994.
Nevada voters approved Question 9A in 1996. Question 9A was a second vote on a term limits amendment first approved in 1994. Alone among the states with ballot initiatives, Nevada voters must approve a proposed constitutional amendment twice before it goes into the Nevada Constitution. The 1994 and 1996 votes cumulatively led to Paragraph 2 of Section 4 of Article 4 of the Nevada Constitution, which says, "No person may be elected or appointed as a Senator who has served in that Office, or at the expiration of his current term if he is so serving will have served, 12 years or more, from any district of this State."
Altogether, there are 21 Nevada State Senators. In 2010, five of them who were current members were ineligible to run for the senate again in November. In addition, two former Republican state senators (Mark Amodei and Randolph Townsend) who resigned earlier in 2010 are or would have been ineligible had they stayed in office.
Ineligible current state senators were:
- See also: Ohio State Senate elections, 2010
The Ohio State Senate has been a term-limited state senate since Ohio voters approved Ballot Issue 4, an initiated constitutional amendment, in 1992. This amendment became part of Section 2 of Article II of the Ohio Constitution and limits the amount of time that an Ohio State Senator can stay in office to two 4-year terms, saying, "No person shall hold the office of State Senator for a period longer than two successive terms of four years." Senators can run for office again after being out-of-office for at least a four-year period.
- See also: Oklahoma State Senate elections, 2010
The Oklahoma State Senate has been a term-limited state senate since Oklahoma voters approved State Question 632 in 1990, as an initiated constitutional amendment. This amendment became part of Section 17A of Article V of the Oklahoma Constitution and limits the amount of time that an Oklahoma State Senator can serve to a cumulative total of 12 years in either or both chambers of the Oklahoma State Legislature.
Altogether, there are 48 Oklahoma State Senators. In 2010, five of them who were current members were ineligible to run for the senate again in November. A sixth current state senator, Mary Easley, technically could have run again but because of the timing of when she first began to serve in the state legislature, she could only hold office for four months. Thus, she is included in a list below of six members who are effected by term limits in this year's senate elections:
The South Dakota State Senate has been a term-limited state senate since South Dakota voters approved Ballot Issue A in 1992, an initiated constitutional amendment. This amendment became part of Section 6 of Article III of the South Dakota Constitution and limits the amount of time that a South Dakota State Senator can stay in office to no more than four consecutive 2-year terms.
The South Dakota State Legislature has tried on more than one occasion, each time unsuccessfully, to persuade the state's voters to repeal term limits. The most recent such failed attempt was when Amendment J lost in 2008 by 75-25%.
- State legislatures with term limits
- Impact of term limits on state representative elections in 2010
- Impact of term limits on state legislative elections in 2010
- KSWT "Waring quits Arizona Senate to run for Congress," January 28, 2010
- Governing, "The Michigan Senate's Term Limits Madness", June 14, 2010
- Stateline, "Term limits will create rookie league in some legislatures", June 11, 2010