Major party candidates with major party competition in the November 2010 state legislative elections
|2010 Competitiveness Overview|
| Primary competition (state comparison) |
| Incumbents with no primary challenge in 2010 |
Incumbents with no challenges at all in 2010
Incumbents defeated • Victorious challengers
|Major party challengers (state comparison)|
|List of candidates with no competition|
|Open seats (state comparisons)|
| Impact of term limits on # of open seats |
Long-serving senators • Long-serving reps
|Chart Comparing 2011 Results • Comparisons Between Years |
• Party differences
|2010 State Legislative Elections|
|Competitiveness Studies from Other Years|
|2007 • 2009 • 2011 • 2012|
By Geoff Pallay and Leslie Graves
There are 6,125 state legislative districts, in 46 states, with a seat up for election on November 2, 2010. We took a look at each of the 46 states to see how many state legislative districts have only one major party candidate running in the general election.
Our main findings:
- There are 1,971 state senators and 5,413 state representatives. There are only 24 total third party legislators out of 7,384 total state legislators. Thus, a major party candidate is virtually guaranteed election when facing third parties.
- There is only one major party candidate in 2,000 (32.7%) of the 6,125 districts holding state legislative elections in 2010. Nearly 1 in 3 districts holding elections this November fielded only one major party candidate.
- Given that major party candidates win nearly 100% of the time, a candidate running without any major party opposition is essentially assured election -- even if there are third party candidates.
- South Carolina, Wyoming, Arkansas, Georgia and Texas have the most major party candidates without major party opposition -- in other words, these five states had the least amount of competitiveness at the primary level.
- The five states with the most competitive general elections in terms of major party candidates are New Hampshire, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, and Oregon.
The score that states received based on their ratio of major party competition is one of 3 factors used in evaluating which states have the highest, and which the lowest, overall competitiveness in the 2010 state legislative elections.
States compared by major party competition
The state that is least competitive as defined by the percentage of its seats where there is only one major party candidate in 2010 is defined as #46, while the state that is most competitive as defined by the percentage of its seats where there are Democratic and Republican candidates is defined as #1; that is, 1 = "most competitive", 46 = "least competitive".
Note: Nebraska is officially a non-partisan legislature. Thus, in order to include that election in the index, we counted any district where a candidate faced no general election competition as qualifying under the "no major competition" category. In the 24 districts with elections, there are 7 candidates that face no general election competition.
|State||Senate at stake||No Major Party Opposition||House at stake||No Major Party Opposition||% without Major Party Opposition||Major party competitive rank||Overall competitive rank|
- State legislative elections, 2010
- Impact of term limits on state legislative elections in 2010
- Ballotpedia:Competitiveness analysis and partisan impact
- Unchallenged incumbents in the 2010 state legislative elections
- Open seats in the 2010 state legislative elections
- On September 24, Richard Winger's Ballot Access News listed 36.1% of all elections as having no Republican nominee or no Democratic nominee. The reason for the discrepancy relates to multi-member districts. At Ballot Access News, if a district elected 5 members and one major party nominated 3 candidates while the other nominated 5, then there would be 2 seats counted as "no major party competition."At Ballotpedia, we only counted districts where there was no major party presence at all. Even though that one party would be guaranteed to have some candidates win because it outnumbered the opposition, it is impossible to predict exactly which candidates. Thus, we considered those competitive.