Incumbents with no primary or general election challengers in the 2010 state legislative elections

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2010 Competitiveness Overview
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By Geoff Pallay and Leslie Graves

There are 6,125 state legislative districts with a seat up for election on November 2, 2010, in 46 states. We took a look at each of the 46 states to see how many state legislative incumbents who chose to run for re-election in 2010 faced no primary or general election challenger.

Our main findings:

  • The incumbent chose to run for re-election in 4,985 (81.4%) of the 6,125 districts holding state legislative elections in 2010.
  • In 1,295 (25.98%) of those 4,985 districts, the incumbent faced no challenger in the primary or general election.

Comparing states:

  • Arkansas, Wyoming, Georgia, Massachusetts and Oklahoma have the fewest incumbents facing general election opposition -- in other words, these five states had the least amount of competitiveness at the general election level.
  • The five states with the most competitive general elections in terms of incumbents facing challengers are Nevada, New Hampshire, Maine, Oregon and California.

The score that states received based on their ratio of incumbents facing a primary challenger is not one of 3 factors used in evaluating which states have the highest, and which the lowest, overall competitiveness in the 2010 state legislative elections. However, this data is complementary to the results found in the index.

States compared by primary competition

Legend:      States with state legislative term limits



The state that is least competitive as defined by the % of its seats where the incumbent did not have a general election challenger in 2010 is defined as #46, while the state that is most competitive as defined by the % of its seats where the incumbent did have a general election challenger is defined as #1; that is, 1 = "most competitive", 46 = "least competitive".

State Senate at stake Incumbents w/o general House at stake Incumbents w/o general  % w/o general Rank
Alabama 35 8 105 35 35.83% 32
Alaska 10 5 40 11 35.56% 31
Arizona 30 1 60 1 4.00% 8
Arkansas 17 3 100 44 73.44% 46
California 20 0 80 2 3.23% 5
Colorado 19 0 65 4 6.25% 12
Connecticut 36 6 151 34 23.81% 22
Delaware 11 3 41 16 40.43% 38
Florida 23 5 120 26 31.96% 26
Georgia 56 25 180 85 55.56% 44
Hawaii 13 0 51 3 5.26% 10
Idaho 35 10 70 22 33.33% 29
Illinois 21 8 118 30 29.69% 24
Indiana 25 7 100 30 32.17% 27
Iowa 25 8 100 36 40.74% 39
Kansas NA NA 125 37 32.17% 28
Kentucky 19 2 100 40 37.50% 33
Maine 35 0 151 2 1.41% 3
Maryland 47 10 141 0 6.13% 11
Massachusetts 40 13 160 76 52.98% 43
Michigan 38 0 110 3 4.41% 9
Minnesota 67 3 134 4 3.95% 7
Missouri 17 1 163 40 38.32% 36
Montana 26 2 100 14 21.05% 19
Nebraska 24 8 NA NA 38.10% 35
Nevada 11 0 42 0 0% 1
New Hampshire 24 0 400 4 1.24% 2
New Mexico NA NA 70 28 41.79% 40
New York 62 4 150 30 18.18% 17
North Carolina 50 8 120 28 23.68% 21
North Dakota 24 8 48 7 26.79% 23
Ohio 17 1 99 8 10.59% 14
Oklahoma 24 6 101 46 50.49% 42
Oregon 16 0 60 2 2.90% 4
Pennsylvania 25 9 203 70 38.16% 37
Rhode Island 38 6 75 3 9.00% 13
South Carolina NA NA 124 50 44.25% 41
South Dakota 35 7 70 7 19.72% 18
Tennessee 17 6 99 34 37.74% 34
Texas 16 7 150 46 33.54% 30
Utah 15 0 75 3 3.75% 6
Vermont 30 3 150 44 29.75% 25
Washington 25 3 98 20 22.77% 20
West Virginia 17 5 100 10 14.56% 15
Wisconsin 17 1 99 14 16.13% 16
Wyoming 15 8 60 36 73.33% 45
Totals: 1,167 210 4,958 1,085 26.12% NA

See also