Difference between revisions of "Open seats in the 2010 state legislative elections"

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{{CA201toc}}'''By Geoff Pallay and Leslie Graves'''
 
{{CA201toc}}'''By Geoff Pallay and Leslie Graves'''
  
There are [[state legislative elections, 2010|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 chose to run for re-election in 2010.   
+
There were [[state legislative elections, 2010|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 incumbents chose to run for re-election in 2010.   
  
Our overall finding is that after adjusting for term limited state legislators, '''86.6% of the incumbents who were legally able to run again in 2010 chose to run again.'''
+
Our main findings:
  
In 4,985 (81.4%) of the 6,125 seats up for election on November 2, the incumbent is running for re-election.
+
* In 1,140 (18.6%) of the 6,125 seats up for election on November 2, the incumbent did not run for re-election, either because he or she voluntarily chose not to run again, or because of [[state legislatures with term limits|term limits]].
 +
* In 4,985 (81.4%) of the 6,125 seats up for election on November 2, the incumbent ran for re-election.
 +
* Adjusting for term limits, '''86.6% of state legislative incumbents who were legally able to run again in 2010 chose to run again.'''
  
In 1,140 (18.6%) of the 6,125 seats up for election on November 2, the incumbent is not running for re-election.
+
Comparing states:
  
* 375 incumbents, in 14 states, are not running because they are not allowed to, due to [[State legislatures with term limits|state legislative term limits in their state]].   
+
* '''New Mexico, Texas, Kentucky, Illinois and Kansas''' had the lowest ratio of open seats; that is, they had the highest ratio of incumbents running for re-election. 
 +
* The five states with the highest ratio of open seats were '''Michigan, Nevada, Arkansas, Arizona and Missouri.'''  Not surprisingly, all 5 have term limits.  In fact, the 10 most competitive states in 2010 as defined by the ratio of open seats all have term limits.
 +
* The most competitive states '''without''' terms limits were '''New Hampshire, North Dakota, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Washington.''' These non-term-limited states had quadruple the ratio of seats with no incumbent running as did the five least competitive states.
  
* Alternatively, of the 6,125 legislative seats up for election in 2010, 5,750 incumbents could, legally, have run again in 2010.
+
The score that states received based on their ratio of open seats was [[2010 state legislative elections analyzed using a Competitiveness Index|one of 3 factors used in evaluating]] which states had the highest, and which had the lowest, [[A "Competitiveness Index" for capturing competitiveness in state legislative elections|overall competitiveness]] in the [[state legislative elections, 2010|2010 state legislative elections]].
* Of those 5,750 seats, 770 incumbents, or 13.4%, who could have run again in 2010 chose not to.
+
[[File:2010 Open seats map.png|center|450px]]
  
 
==States compared by open seats==
 
==States compared by open seats==
  
<div style="float:{{{float|right}}}; border:{{{border-width|{{{border-s|2}}}}}}px solid {{{border-color|{{{1|#FFB81F}}}}}}; margin:1px;">
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<div style="float:left; margin-top: 0.0em; margin-bottom:3px; background-color: padding: .2em .6em; font-size: 100%; border:1px solid #A3B1BF;">'''Legend:''' {{legend|#FFBF00|[[Impact of term limits on state legislative elections in 2010|States with state legislative term limits]]}}
{| cellspacing="0" style="width:160px; background:{{{info-background|{{{2|#fff}}}}}};"
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<span style="font-size: larger;font-weight: bold;"></span></div><br><br><br>
| style="font-size:{{{info-size|{{{info-s|8}}}}}}pt; padding:4pt; line-height:1.25em; color:{{{info-color|{{{info-fc|black}}}}}};" |
+
<font face="verdana" size=3>'''Legend'''</font>
+
<hr />
+
{{legend|#FFBF00|'''[[State legislatures with term limits|Indicates a state with <br>state legislative term limits]]'''}}
+
|}</div>
+
  
The state that is least competitive as defined by the % of its seats where the incumbent is not running for re-election in 2010 is defined as #46, while the state that is most competitive as defined by the % of its seats where the incumbent is not running for re-election is defined as #; that is, 1 = "most competitive", 46 = "least competitive".   
+
The state that was least competitive as defined by the percentage of its seats where the incumbent did not run for re-election in 2010 is defined as #46, while the state that was 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"''', '''46 = "least competitive"'''.   
  
 
{|class="wikitable sortable" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="5" border="1" style="background:none" style="width:70%;"
 
{|class="wikitable sortable" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="5" border="1" style="background:none" style="width:70%;"
Line 35: Line 34:
 
! style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | Total open  
 
! style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | Total open  
 
! style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | % open  
 
! style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | % open  
! style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | Rank
+
! style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | Open seats rank
 +
! style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | Overall competitive rank
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 46: Line 46:
 
| align="center" | 14.3%
 
| align="center" | 14.3%
 
| align="center" | 21
 
| align="center" | 21
 +
| align="center" | 22
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 56: Line 57:
 
| align="center" | 10.0%
 
| align="center" | 10.0%
 
| align="center" | 34
 
| align="center" | 34
 +
| align="center" | 31
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 66: Line 68:
 
| align="center" | 44.4%
 
| align="center" | 44.4%
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 4
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 4
 +
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 3
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 76: Line 79:
 
| align="center" | 45.3%
 
| align="center" | 45.3%
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 3
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 3
 +
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 33
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 86: Line 90:
 
| align="center" | 38
 
| align="center" | 38
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 7
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 7
 +
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 11
  
 
|-
 
|-
| style="background-color:#FFBF00" | [[Colorado State Legislature|Colorado]]
+
| style="background-color:#FFBF00" | [[Colorado General Assembly|Colorado]]
 
| align="center" | [[Colorado State Senate elections, 2010|19]]  
 
| align="center" | [[Colorado State Senate elections, 2010|19]]  
 
| align="center" | [[Colorado State Senate elections, 2010#List of candidates|6]]
 
| align="center" | [[Colorado State Senate elections, 2010#List of candidates|6]]
Line 96: Line 101:
 
| align="center" | 23.8
 
| align="center" | 23.8
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 12
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 12
 +
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 21
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 106: Line 112:
 
| align="center" | 10.2%
 
| align="center" | 10.2%
 
| align="center" | 33
 
| align="center" | 33
 +
| align="center" | 36
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 116: Line 123:
 
| align="center" | 9.6%
 
| align="center" | 9.6%
 
| align="center" | 35
 
| align="center" | 35
 +
| align="center" | 44
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 126: Line 134:
 
| align="center" | 32.2%
 
| align="center" | 32.2%
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 9
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 9
 +
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 17
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 136: Line 145:
 
| align="center" | 16.1%
 
| align="center" | 16.1%
 
| align="center" | 19
 
| align="center" | 19
 +
| align="center" | 28
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 146: Line 156:
 
| align="center" | 10.9%
 
| align="center" | 10.9%
 
| align="center" | 31
 
| align="center" | 31
 +
| align="center" | 6
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 156: Line 167:
 
| align="center" | 8.6%
 
| align="center" | 8.6%
 
| align="center" | 40
 
| align="center" | 40
 +
| align="center" | 30
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 166: Line 178:
 
| align="center" | 7.9%
 
| align="center" | 7.9%
 
| align="center" | 43
 
| align="center" | 43
 +
| align="center" | 39
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 176: Line 189:
 
| align="center" | 8.0%
 
| align="center" | 8.0%
 
| align="center" | 42
 
| align="center" | 42
 +
| align="center" | 37
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 186: Line 200:
 
| align="center" | 13.6%
 
| align="center" | 13.6%
 
| align="center" | 22
 
| align="center" | 22
 +
| align="center" | 29
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 196: Line 211:
 
| align="center" | 8.0%
 
| align="center" | 8.0%
 
| align="center" | 42
 
| align="center" | 42
 +
| align="center" | 34
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 206: Line 222:
 
| align="center" | 5.9%
 
| align="center" | 5.9%
 
| align="center" | 44
 
| align="center" | 44
 +
| align="center" | 43
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 216: Line 233:
 
| align="center" | 23.7%
 
| align="center" | 23.7%
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 13
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 13
 +
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 14
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 226: Line 244:
 
| align="center" | 13.3%
 
| align="center" | 13.3%
 
| align="center" | 23
 
| align="center" | 23
 +
| align="center" | 5
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 236: Line 255:
 
| align="center" | 16.0%
 
| align="center" | 16.0%
 
| align="center" | 20
 
| align="center" | 20
 +
| align="center" | 40
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 246: Line 266:
 
| align="center" | 54.1%
 
| align="center" | 54.1%
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 1
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 1
 +
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 2
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 256: Line 277:
 
| align="center" | 11.9%
 
| align="center" | 11.9%
 
| align="center" | 27
 
| align="center" | 27
 +
| align="center" | 24
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 266: Line 288:
 
| align="center" | 40.6%
 
| align="center" | 40.6%
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 5
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 5
 +
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 20
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 276: Line 299:
 
| align="center" | 39.7%
 
| align="center" | 39.7%
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 6
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 6
 +
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00"| 12
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 286: Line 310:
 
| align="center" | 12.5%
 
| align="center" | 12.5%
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 24
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 24
 +
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 7
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 296: Line 321:
 
| align="center" | 50.9%
 
| align="center" | 50.9%
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 2
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 2
 +
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 4
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 306: Line 332:
 
| align="center" | 24.1%
 
| align="center" | 24.1%
 
| align="center" | 11
 
| align="center" | 11
 +
| align="center" | 1
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 316: Line 343:
 
| align="center" | 4.3%
 
| align="center" | 4.3%
 
| align="center" | 46
 
| align="center" | 46
 +
| align="center" | 42
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 326: Line 354:
 
| align="center" | 11.8%
 
| align="center" | 11.8%
 
| align="center" | 28
 
| align="center" | 28
 +
| align="center" | 13
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 336: Line 365:
 
| align="center" | 10.6%
 
| align="center" | 10.6%
 
| align="center" | 32
 
| align="center" | 32
 +
| align="center" | 19
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 346: Line 376:
 
| align="center" | 22.2%
 
| align="center" | 22.2%
 
| align="center" | 14
 
| align="center" | 14
 +
| align="center" | 25
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 356: Line 387:
 
| align="center" | 26.7%
 
| align="center" | 26.7%
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 10
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 10
 +
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 8
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 366: Line 398:
 
| align="center" | 17.6%
 
| align="center" | 17.6%
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 18
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 18
 +
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 32
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 376: Line 409:
 
| align="center" | 9.2%
 
| align="center" | 9.2%
 
| align="center" | 37
 
| align="center" | 37
 +
| align="center" | 27
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 386: Line 420:
 
| align="center" | 9.2%
 
| align="center" | 9.2%
 
| align="center" | 37
 
| align="center" | 37
 +
| align="center" | 38
  
 
|-
 
|-
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| align="center" | 11.5%
 
| align="center" | 11.5%
 
| align="center" | 29
 
| align="center" | 29
 +
| align="center" | 15
  
 
|-
 
|-
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| align="center" | 8.9%
 
| align="center" | 8.9%
 
| align="center" | 38
 
| align="center" | 38
 +
| align="center" | 41
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 416: Line 453:
 
| align="center" | 32.4%
 
| align="center" | 32.4%
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 8
 
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 8
 +
| align="center" style="background-color:#FFBF00" | 18
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 426: Line 464:
 
| align="center" | 8.6%
 
| align="center" | 8.6%
 
| align="center" | 40
 
| align="center" | 40
 +
| align="center" | 45
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 436: Line 475:
 
| align="center" | 4.8%
 
| align="center" | 4.8%
 
| align="center" | 45
 
| align="center" | 45
 +
| align="center" | 46
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 446: Line 486:
 
| align="center" | 11.1%
 
| align="center" | 11.1%
 
| align="center" | 30
 
| align="center" | 30
 +
| align="center" | 10
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 456: Line 497:
 
| align="center" | 12.2%
 
| align="center" | 12.2%
 
| align="center" | 25
 
| align="center" | 25
 +
| align="center" | 35
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 466: Line 508:
 
| align="center" | 17.9%
 
| align="center" | 17.9%
 
| align="center" | 17
 
| align="center" | 17
 +
| align="center" | 26
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 476: Line 519:
 
| align="center" | 12.0%
 
| align="center" | 12.0%
 
| align="center" | 26
 
| align="center" | 26
 +
| align="center" | 9
  
 
|-
 
|-
Line 485: Line 529:
 
| align="center" | 23
 
| align="center" | 23
 
| align="center" | 19.9%
 
| align="center" | 19.9%
 +
| align="center" | 16
 
| align="center" | 16
 
| align="center" | 16
  
Line 496: Line 541:
 
| align="center" | 20.0%
 
| align="center" | 20.0%
 
| align="center" | 15
 
| align="center" | 15
 +
| align="center" | 23
 
|-valign="top"
 
|-valign="top"
| style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | '''Totals:''' || text align="center" | '''1,167''' || align="center" | '''273''' || align="center" | '''4,958''' || align="center" | '''867''' || align="center" | '''1,140''' || align="center" | '''18.6%''' || align="center" | NA
+
|-class="sortbottom"
 +
| style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | '''Totals:''' || text align="center" | '''1,167''' || align="center" | '''273''' || align="center" | '''4,958''' || align="center" | '''867''' || align="center" | '''1,140''' || align="center" | '''18.6%''' || align="center" | NA || align="center" | NA
 
|}
 
|}
  
==Term limits==
+
==Impact of term limits==
 +
 
 +
:: ''See also: [[Impact of term limits on state legislative elections in 2010]]''
  
There are 15 term limited states. Only Louisiana is not holding elections in 2010. Of the 14 term-limited states holding elections, 35.13% of all seats are open. In non-term limited states, that number plummets to 12.90%.  
+
There are 15 term-limited states. Of those, only Louisiana did not hold elections in 2010. Of the 14 term-limited states that held elections, 35.13% of all seats were open. In non-term-limited states, that number fell to 12.90%.  
  
The discrepancy is largest in the Senate. In term limited states, 48.81% of seats are open. However, that number plummets to only 13.24% for states without term limits. That means 721 of the 831 Senators are running for re-election in states without term limits.
+
The discrepancy was largest in the Senate. In term limited states, 48.81% of seats were open. However, that number fell to only 13.24% for states without term limits. That means 721 of the 831 Senators ran for re-election in states without term limits.
  
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
[[File:Competitiveness logo 4.jpg|350px|right|link=Ballotpedia:Dearth of challengers in 2010 state legislative elections|]]
 
 
* [[State legislative elections, 2010]]
 
* [[State legislative elections, 2010]]
 
* [[Impact of term limits on state legislative elections in 2010]]
 
* [[Impact of term limits on state legislative elections in 2010]]
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{{state legislatures}}
 
{{state legislatures}}
 
{{ballotpedia}}
 
{{ballotpedia}}
[[Category:Competitiveness analysis of state legislative elections]]
+
[[Category:Competitiveness analysis of state legislative elections, 2010]]
 +
[[Category:Competitiveness analysis of state legislative elections, 2010, report in detail]]

Latest revision as of 11:05, 27 June 2013

2010 Competitiveness Overview
Competitiveness logo 4.jpg
Primary competition (state comparison)
Incumbents with no primary challenge in 2010
Incumbents with no challenges at all in 2010
Incumbents defeatedVictorious 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 senatorsLong-serving reps
Star bookmark.png   Results Comparisons  Star bookmark.png
Chart Comparing 2011 ResultsComparisons Between Years
Party differences
Competitiveness Index
2010 State Legislative Elections
Competitiveness Studies from Other Years
2007200920112012
By Geoff Pallay and Leslie Graves

There were 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 incumbents chose to run for re-election in 2010.

Our main findings:

  • In 1,140 (18.6%) of the 6,125 seats up for election on November 2, the incumbent did not run for re-election, either because he or she voluntarily chose not to run again, or because of term limits.
  • In 4,985 (81.4%) of the 6,125 seats up for election on November 2, the incumbent ran for re-election.
  • Adjusting for term limits, 86.6% of state legislative incumbents who were legally able to run again in 2010 chose to run again.

Comparing states:

  • New Mexico, Texas, Kentucky, Illinois and Kansas had the lowest ratio of open seats; that is, they had the highest ratio of incumbents running for re-election.
  • The five states with the highest ratio of open seats were Michigan, Nevada, Arkansas, Arizona and Missouri. Not surprisingly, all 5 have term limits. In fact, the 10 most competitive states in 2010 as defined by the ratio of open seats all have term limits.
  • The most competitive states without terms limits were New Hampshire, North Dakota, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Washington. These non-term-limited states had quadruple the ratio of seats with no incumbent running as did the five least competitive states.

The score that states received based on their ratio of open seats was one of 3 factors used in evaluating which states had the highest, and which had the lowest, overall competitiveness in the 2010 state legislative elections.

2010 Open seats map.png

States compared by open seats

Legend:      States with state legislative term limits



The state that was least competitive as defined by the percentage of its seats where the incumbent did not run for re-election in 2010 is defined as #46, while the state that was 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", 46 = "least competitive".

State Senate at stake Open senate House at stake Open house Total open  % open Open seats rank Overall competitive rank
Alabama 35 7 105 13 20 14.3% 21 22
Alaska 10 1 40 4 5 10.0% 34 31
Arizona 30 15 60 25 40 44.4% 4 3
Arkansas 17 13 100 40 53 45.3% 3 33
California 20 10 80 28 38 38 7 11
Colorado 19 6 65 14 20 23.8 12 21
Connecticut 36 4 151 15 19 10.2% 33 36
Delaware 11 0 41 5 5 9.6% 35 44
Florida 23 13 120 33 46 32.2% 9 17
Georgia 56 11 180 27 38 16.1% 19 28
Hawaii 13 2 51 5 7 10.9% 31 6
Idaho 35 1 70 8 9 8.6% 40 30
Illinois 21 1 118 10 11 7.9% 43 39
Indiana 25 3 100 7 10 8.0% 42 37
Iowa 25 3 100 14 17 13.6% 22 29
Kansas NA NA 125 10 10 8.0% 42 34
Kentucky 19 2 100 5 7 5.9% 44 43
Maine 35 10 151 34 44 23.7% 13 14
Maryland 47 3 141 22 25 13.3% 23 5
Massachusetts 40 8 160 24 32 16.0% 20 40
Michigan 38 29 110 51 80 54.1% 1 2
Minnesota 67 9 134 15 24 11.9% 27 24
Missouri 17 10 163 63 73 40.6% 5 20
Montana 26 17 100 33 50 39.7% 6 12
Nebraska 24 3 NA NA 3 12.5% 24 7
Nevada 11 8 42 19 27 50.9% 2 4
New Hampshire 24 4 400 98 102 24.1% 11 1
New Mexico NA NA 70 3 3 4.3% 46 42
New York 62 6 150 19 25 11.8% 28 13
North Carolina 50 8 120 10 18 10.6% 32 19
North Dakota 24 4 48 12 16 22.2% 14 25
Ohio 17 9 99 22 31 26.7% 10 8
Oklahoma 24 8 101 14 22 17.6% 18 32
Oregon 16 2 60 5 7 9.2% 37 27
Pennsylvania 25 3 203 18 21 9.2% 37 38
Rhode Island 38 3 75 10 13 11.5% 29 15
South Carolina NA NA 124 11 11 8.9% 38 41
South Dakota 35 13 70 21 34 32.4% 8 18
Tennessee 17 2 99 8 10 8.6% 40 45
Texas 16 1 150 7 8 4.8% 45 46
Utah 15 1 75 9 10 11.1% 30 10
Vermont 30 5 150 17 22 12.2% 25 35
Washington 25 5 98 17 22 17.9% 17 26
West Virginia 17 3 l00 11 14 12.0% 26 9
Wisconsin 17 3 99 20 23 19.9% 16 16
Wyoming 15 4 60 11 15 20.0% 15 23
Totals: 1,167 273 4,958 867 1,140 18.6% NA NA

Impact of term limits

See also: Impact of term limits on state legislative elections in 2010

There are 15 term-limited states. Of those, only Louisiana did not hold elections in 2010. Of the 14 term-limited states that held elections, 35.13% of all seats were open. In non-term-limited states, that number fell to 12.90%.

The discrepancy was largest in the Senate. In term limited states, 48.81% of seats were open. However, that number fell to only 13.24% for states without term limits. That means 721 of the 831 Senators ran for re-election in states without term limits.

See also