Open seats in the 2011 state legislative elections

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2011 Competitiveness Overview
3Competitive 2011.jpg
Primary competition (state comparison)
Incumbents with no challenges at all in 2011
Incumbents defeatedVictorious challengers
Primary competitiveness
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   Chart Comparing 2011 Results   Star bookmark.png
Chart Comparing 2011 ResultsComparisons Between Years
Competitiveness IndexAbsolute Index
2011 State Legislative Elections
Competitiveness Studies from Other Years

There are 578 seats in 4 states with a general election in 2011. We took a look at each of the states to see how many state legislative incumbents chose to run for re-election in 2011.

Our main findings:

  • In 105 (18.2%) of the 578 seats up for election in 2011, 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 473 (81.8%) of the 578 seats up for election in 2011, the incumbent ran for re-election.
  • Adjusting for the 13 term-limited legislators from Louisiana, 92 legislators chose not to run for re-election to their current position in 2011. Therefore, 83.7% of state legislative incumbents who were legally able to run again in 2011 chose to run again.

The ranking of the four states based on percentage of open seats is as follows:

  1. Louisiana
  2. New Jersey
  3. Mississippi
  4. Virginia

Because only four states held elections in 2011, the sample size is small when conducting analysis. It is therefore helpful to compare the states that held elections in 2011 to the 46 states that held elections in 2010. Here is how the four states would have ranked in 2010, based on the percentage of open seats.

  • Louisiana: 11th
  • Mississippi: 21st
  • New Jersey: 17th
  • Virginia: 22nd

States compared by open seats

State Senate at stake Open senate House at stake Open house Total open  % open Open seats rank Overall competitive rank
Louisiana 39 9 105 28 37 26.0% 1 1
Mississippi 52 9 122 18 27 15.5% 3 3
New Jersey 40 4 80 18 22 18.3% 2 2
Virginia 40 5 100 14 19 13.6% 4 4

Comparison to 2007

See also: Open seats in the 2007 state legislative elections

Ballotpedia staff went back to the 2007 data to compare with this year's election. Louisiana was omitted from the 2007 study because of the blanket primary system. Accounting for the three other states that held elections in 2007 and are again in 2011, the number of open seats can be compared.

  • In Mississippi, there were 18 open seats in 2007 and 27 open seats in 2011.
  • In New Jersey, there were 34 open seats in 2007 and 22 open seats in 2011.
  • In Virginia, there were 10 open seats in 2007 and 19 open seats in 2011.

Thus, there are 8 more open seats in 2011 in the three states that can be compared.

See also