Primary competitiveness in 2012 state legislative elections

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2012 Competitiveness Overview
Competitiveness study logo 2012.jpg
Primary competition (state comparison)
Incumbents with no challenges at all in 2012
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 2012 Results   Star bookmark.png
Chart Comparing 2012 ResultsComparisons Between Years
Competitiveness IndexAbsolute Index
2012 State Legislative Elections
2012 Competitiveness Tracker
Competitiveness Studies from Other Years
2007200920102011
Once a state releases official primary candidate lists, Ballotpedia staff analyzes the data to determine primary competitiveness. All 44 states holding 2012 state legislative elections have been analyzed by Ballotpedia.

Our main findings:

  • In the 44 states with elections in 2012, there were 6,015 seats up for election in 2012.
  • There were 250 nonpartisan primaries -- California and Washington hold blanket primaries and Nebraska is a nonpartisan legislature.
  • There was a possibility of 11,212 primary elections in 2012.
  • Of those 11,212 possible primaries, 2,185 (19.5%) were contested.


State Senate seats at stake Possible primaries Total contested senate primaries  % contested House seats at stake Possible primaries Total contested house primaries  % contested
Alaska 19 38 10 26.3% 40 80 23 28.8%
Arizona 30 60 9 15.0% 60 120 21 17.5%
Arkansas 35 70 12 17.1% 100 200 22 11.0%
California 20 20 8 40.0% 80 80 50 62.5%
Colorado 20 40 6 15.0% 65 130 14 10.8%
Connecticut 36 72 3 4.2% 151 302 11 3.6%
Delaware 21 42 7 16.7% 41 82 13 15.9%
Florida 40 80 14 17.5% 120 240 65 27.1%
Georgia 56 112 16 14.3% 180 360 62 17.2%
Hawaii 25 50 11 55.0% 51 102 28 27.5%
Idaho 35 70 21 30.0% 70 140 49 35.0%
Illinois 59 118 28 23.7% 118 236 38 16.1%
Indiana 25 50 8 16.0% 100 200 43 21.5%
Iowa 26 52 14 26.9% 100 200 32 16.0%
Kansas 40 80 32 40.0% 125 250 67 26.8%
Kentucky 19 38 8 21.1% 100 200 31 15.5%
Maine 35 70 11 15.7% 151 302 31 10.3%
Massachusetts 40 80 11 13.8% 160 320 28 8.8%
Michigan -- -- -- -- 110 220 87 39.5%
Minnesota 67 134 19 14.2% 134 268 24 9.0%
Missouri 17 34 10 29.4% 163 326 79 24.2%
Montana 26 52 11 21.2% 100 200 34 17%
Nebraska 26 26 10 38.5% -- -- -- --
Nevada 12 24 9 37.5% 42 84 30 35.7%
New Hampshire 24 48 9 18.8% 400 408 78 19.5%
New Mexico 42 84 22 26.2% 70 140 30 21.4%
New York 63 126 21 16.7% 150 300 42 14.0%
North Carolina 50 100 28 28.0% 120 240 63 26.3%
North Dakota 25 50 3 6.0% 50 50 4 8.0%
Ohio 17 34 3 8.8% 99 198 32 16.2%
Oklahoma 24 48 13 27.1% 101 202 35 17.3%
Oregon 16 32 3 9.4% 60 120 13 10.8%
Pennsylvania 25 50 8 16.0% 203 406 59 14.5%
Rhode Island 38 76 15 19.7% 75 150 33 22.0%
South Carolina 46 92 25 27.2% 124 248 42 16.9%
South Dakota 35 70 12 17.1% 70 140 18 12.9%
Tennessee 16 32 14 43.8% 99 198 50 25.3%
Texas 31 62 9 14.5% 150 300 79 26.3%
Utah 16 32 12 37.5% 75 150 54 36.0%
Vermont 30 26 5 19.2% 150 208 7 3.4%
Washington 26 26 6 23.1% 98 98 23 23.4%
West Virginia 17 34 6 17.6% 100 200 42 21.0%
Wisconsin 16 32 8 25.0% 99 198 56 28.3%
Wyoming 15 30 7 23.3% 60 120 26 21.7%
Totals: 1,301 2,496 517 20.7% 4,714 8,716 1,668 19.1%

See also