Republicans ahead in early 2019 state legislative special elections

Special elections have been held for 14 state legislative seats so far in 2019. Ten of those seats were in districts vacated by Democrats, and the other four seats were previously held by Republicans. As of the start of March, three seats had flipped from Democratic control to Republican control.
 
On February 5, Jason Rarick (R) defeated Stu Lourey (DFL) and Legal Marijuana Now candidate John Birrenbach in the special election for Minnesota State Senate District 11. The seat was previously held by Tony Lourey (D), who resigned to take a position as state human services commissioner. Rarick’s win gave Republicans a three-seat majority in the state Senate.
 
On February 26, Gennaro Bizzarro (R) defeated Rick Lopes (D) in the special election for Connecticut State Senate District 6. On the same day, Joseph Zullo (R) defeated Josh Balter (D) in the special election for Connecticut House of Representatives District 99. Both seats were vacated by Democrats who joined Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) administration.
 
Another 30 state legislative special elections are currently scheduled to be held in 2019. Seventeen of those seats were vacated by Democrats, and 13 seats were vacated by Republicans. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year; the average in odd-numbered years is 91. Democrats and Republicans each netted more seats than the other party in four of the eight years. Democrats gained eight seats in 2018 and 11 seats in 2017.



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Tyler King

Tyler King is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at tyler.king@ballotpedia.org

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