State Legislative Tracker: This week in sessions, elections and partisan counts

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June 6, 2011

By Jackie Arthur

This report marks the first in a weekly series covering state legislatures. In particular, the State Legislative Tracker will feature a weekly update of sessions and elections in the 50 state legislatures.

Sessions

So far this year, 31 out of 50 state legislative sessions have officially adjourned. This week, four more states are scheduled to adjourn their 2011 sessions, beginning with Nevada today.

Special sessions

Special sessions are expected to be a widespread occurrence in the state legislatures in 2011. In particular due to the necessity of states to conduct the redistricting of state legislative and congressional districts.

As of this week, California, Texas and Wisconsin continue their special sessions while the Virginia legislature prepares to convene its special session to cover redistricting on June 9.[1] South Carolina will convene for an "emergency" special session tomorrow, in which Governor Haley hopes to address her government restructuring plans. [2] The Palmetto state is also slated to return for a special session beginning June 14 and ending July 1 to deal with redistricting.

A total of eight special sessions have occurred this year in Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Utah and Washington.

Regular sessions

The following 16 states remain in regular legislative sessions:

Click here to see a chart of each state's 2011 session information.

Elections

A total of 578 seats will be up for general election in state legislatures in 2011. Tomorrow, New Jersey will be the first state to hold its primaries for 2011 state legislative elections. There are 40 Senate seats and 80 Assembly seats up for election in 2011.

New Jersey is the first of four states that will be holding general elections in 2011. The other three states are Louisiana, Mississippi and Virginia. Last week, the signature filing deadline passed in Mississippi. Candidates were required to file before June 1 if they intended to run in the August 2 primary for one of the 52 senate seats or 122 house seats.

The next state with a signature filing deadline is Virginia, where candidates must declare by June 15.

Partisan breakdown

As of June 3, the following figures represent the cumulative partisan breakdown of the 50 state senates and state houses. In the 50 states, Republicans currently control 53.62% of all seats while Democrats hold 45.07%. All told, Republicans control 59 chambers while Democrats are the majority in 37 chambers.

Representation in 50 State Legislatures
Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state representatives 3,328 45.07%
Republican state representatives 3,959 53.62%
Independent state representatives 64 0.87%
Third party (and non-voting) representatives 15 0.20%
Vacancies 18 0.24%
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The partisan composition of state houses refers to which party holds the majority of seats in the state house or the lower level of each state legislature. Altogether, in the 49 state houses, there are 5,413 state representatives.

As of June 3, 2011, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:

  • Democratic Party 18 chambers
  • Republican Party 30 chambers
  • Purple.png 1 chamber (Oregon)
See also: Partisan composition of state senates

Cumulative numbers

As of June 3, 2011 5,372 state representatives are affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties.

Representation in 49 State Houses
Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state representatives 2,448 45.22%
Republican state representatives 2,924 54.02%
Independent state representatives 15 0.28%
Third party (and non-voting) representatives 9 0.17%
Vacancies 17 0.31%

Vacancies

There are 17 state house vacancies in 9 different states as of June 3, 2011. They are as follows:

State Vacancies
Arizona 1
Arkansas 1
Florida 1
Maine 1
Missouri 4
New Hampshire 3
New Mexico 1
New York 4
Wisconsin 1

Independents

There are 25 state representatives in 11 states identifying as independents or parties other than Democratic and Representative as of April 1, 2011. They are as follows:

State Independents/Third Party
Georgia 1 (Independent)
Louisiana 4 (Independent)
Maine 3 (2 non-voting Native American representatives, 1 Independent)
New Mexico 1 (Independent)
New York 1 (Independence Party of New York)
North Carolina 1 (Independent)
South Dakota 1 (Independent)
Tennessee 1 (Carter County Republican)
Vermont 8 (5 Vermont Progressive Party, 3 Independent)
Virginia 2 (Independent)
Wisconsin 1 (Independent)

The partisan composition of state senates refers to which political party holds the majority of seats in the state senate. Altogether, in the 50 state senates, there are 1,971 state senators.

As of June 3, 2011, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:

See also: Partisan composition of state houses

Cumulative numbers

As of June 3, 2011, 1,915 state senators are affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties.

Representation in 50 State Senates
Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state senators 880 44.65%
Republican state senators 1,035 52.51%
Non-partisan state senators 49 2.5%
Independent/Progressive state senators 6 0.30%
Vacancies 1 0.05%

Vacancies

There is 1 state senate vacancy as of May 1, 2011.

Independents

There are 6 state senators in 5 states identifying as independents or parties other than Democratic and Representative as of April 1, 2011. They are as follows:

State Independents/Third Party
Alabama 1 (Independent)
Kentucky 1 (Independent)
Maine 1 (Independent)
Rhode Island 1 (Independent)
Vermont 2 (Vermont Progressive Party)

Special elections

June

There are no special elections scheduled for this week. As of June 3, there are only two special elections scheduled for this month. On June 21, four candidates will compete to fill a vacancy in Georgia House District 113. The vacancy was created when Hank Huckaby (R) resigned to become the new University of Georgia Chancellor. On June 28, Republican Jose Oliva will face write-in candidate Antonio Moreno in a special election to fill a vacancy in Florida House of Representatives District 110. [3] The vacancy was created when former Representative Esteban Bovo, Jr. (R) resigned to take the office of Miami-Dade County Commissioner.

May

In the month of May, nine state legislative special elections took place in six states -- Alabama, California, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin. Below is a list of the winning candidates by state:

Alabama, May 10
Republican Party David Sessions, House District 105

California, May 3
Republican Party Beth Gaines, Assembly District 4 run-off election

Maine, May 10
Democratic Party Cynthia Dill, Senate District 7

Massachusetts, May 10
Democratic Party John Lawn, House District 10th Middlesex
Republican Party Peter Durant, House District 6th Worcester

New Hampshire, May 17
Democratic Party Jennifer Daler House District Hillsborough 4

Wisconsin, May 3
Republican Party Duey Stroebel, Assembly District 60
Republican Party Dave Craig, Assembly District 83
Democratic Party Steve Doyle, Assembly District 94

References