Open seats in the 2009 state legislative elections

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By Geoff Pallay with Kevin Diana, Tyler King and Justin Haas

There were 180 state legislative districts, in 2 states, with a seat up for election on November 3, 2009. We took a look at each of the states to see how many state legislative incumbents chose to run for re-election in 2009. Our main findings:

  • In 19 (10.5%) of the seats, the incumbent did not run for re-election.
  • In 161 (89.5%) of the seats, the incumbent did run for re-election.
3Competitive 2009.jpg

The score that states received based on their ratio of open seats is one of 3 factors used in evaluating which states have the highest, and which the lowest, overall competitiveness in the 2009 state legislative elections.

States compared by open seats

The state that is least competitive as defined by the percentage of its seats where the incumbent did not run for re-election in 2009 is defined as #2, while the state that is most competitive as defined by the percentage of its seats where the incumbent did not run for re-election is defined as #1; that is, 1 = "most competitive", 2 = "least competitive".

State House at stake Open house  % open Open seats rank Overall competitive rank
New Jersey 80 9 11.25% 1 1
Virginia 100 10 10.0% 2 2

Impact of term limits

Neither of the two states who held elections in 2009 have terms limits, so term limits had no effect on open seats.

See also