Incumbents with no primary challenger in the 2007 state legislative elections

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2007 Competitiveness Overview
3Competitive 2007.jpg
Primary competition (state comparison)
Major party challengers (state comparison)
Open seats (state comparisons)
Competitiveness IndexAbsolute Index
Comparisons Between Years
2007 State Legislative Elections
Competitiveness Studies from Other Years
By Geoff Pallay with Kevin Diana, Tyler King and Justin Haas

There were 578 state legislative districts, in 3 states, with a seat up for election on November 6, 2007 that were studied. We took a look at each of the 3 states to see how many state legislative incumbents who chose to run for re-election in 2007 faced a primary challenger.

Our main findings:

  • The incumbent chose to run for re-election in 441 (76.3%) of the 578 districts holding state legislative elections in 2007.
  • In 337 (58.3%) of those 578 districts, the incumbent faced no challenger in the primary.
  • Thus, only 104 (23.6%) of incumbents faced a primary opponent.
  • Of those 104 incumbents who faced a primary, only 8 were defeated.

Comparing states:

  • Virginia had the fewest incumbents facing primary opposition -- in other words, it had the least amount of competitiveness at the primary level.
  • The state with the most competitive primaries in terms of incumbents facing primary challengers was Louisiana.

The score that states received based on their ratio of incumbents facing a primary challenger is one of 3 factors used in evaluating which states have the highest, and which states have the lowest, overall competitiveness in the 2007 state legislative elections.

Additionally, we have tracked incumbents that face no primary or general election opposition in the 2007 election. This data was not a primary component of the competitiveness index but is still compelling information regarding the elections.

There are 187 total incumbents (32.4%) who were guaranteed to win the race from the moment they registered for re-election -- because no major party opponent filed to run in the primary or general election.

States compared by primary competition

The state that is least competitive as defined by the percentage of its seats where the incumbent did not have a primary challenger in 2007 is defined as #4, while the state that is most competitive as defined by the percentage of its seats where the incumbent did have a primary challenger is defined as #1; that is, 1 = "most competitive", 3 = "least competitive".

State Senate at stake Incumbents w/o primary House at stake Incumbents w/o primary  % w/o primary Primary challenger rank Overall competitive rank
Louisiana 39 13 105 26 56.5% 1 4
Mississippi 52 33 122 77 70.51% 2 2
New Jersey 40 23 80 47 81.40% 3 1
Virginia 40 32 100 90 93.85% 4 3

See also