Minnesota, South Carolina, and Tennessee are all holding special primaries for state senate seats in the coming week. Minnesota and South Carolina are holding their primaries on January 22, and Tennessee is holding its primary on January 24.
The South Carolina State Senate District 6 seat was previously held by William Timmons (R). Timmons announced his resignation on November 9, 2018, after winning election to South Carolina’s 4th Congressional District. He was first elected to the seat in 2014; the previous officeholder was also a Republican. Four people filed for his vacated seat, three Republicans and one Democrat. If necessary, a Republican primary runoff will be held on February 5, with the general election scheduled for March 26.
Entering 2019, the South Carolina State Senate had 19 Democrats, 26 Republicans, and one vacancy. South Carolina has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.
Tennessee will hold a primary for State Senate District 32 on January 24. The seat was vacated by Mark Norris (R) after he was confirmed on October 11, 2018, to serve as a judge on the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. Norris was first elected to the seat in 2000 and was unopposed in his most recent election in 2016. Five people filed for the vacant seat, four Republicans and one Democrat. The general election is on March 12.
Following the 2018 election, the Tennessee State Senate had five Democrats and 28 Republicans. Tennessee has a Republican state government trifecta.
As of January, 26 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 12 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.