Nearly half of 2019’s state legislative elections lack either a Democrat or Republican candidate

Nearly half of all state legislative seats up for election in 2019 have only one Democratic or Republican Party candidate.
 
Overall, 192 (48.7%) of the state legislative elections this year lack either a Democratic or Republican candidate. So far, every state legislative regular election does have at least one major-party candidate on the ballot.
 
By comparison, 2,017 (33.2%) of the state legislative elections in 2018 had no major-party competition. This consisted of 746 (12.3%) seats without a Democratic candidate and 1,271 (20.9%) seats without a Republican in the race.
 
Four states—Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia—are holding regularly scheduled state legislative elections this year for 538 seats. The filing deadline has passed for 394 of those seats; Louisiana’s filing deadline is set for August 8. Of those 394 seats, 91 (23.1%) do not have a Democratic candidate on the ballot, and another 101 (25.6%) do not have a Republican candidate.
 
Here is a breakdown of the stats for each state:
  • Mississippi has 174 state legislative seats on the ballot. Of those, 78 (44.8%) do not have a Democratic candidate and 55 (31.6%) do not have a Republican candidate. Overall, 133 (76.4%) of Mississippi’s state legislative elections lack a candidate from one major party. In Mississippi’s previous state legislative election in 2015, there were 116 (66.7%) seats on the ballot without major-party opposition.
  • New Jersey has 80 state legislative seats on the ballot. Of those, all of them have a Democratic candidate but three (3.8%) do not have a Republican candidate. Overall, three (3.8%) of New Jersey’s state legislative elections lack a candidate from one major party. In 2017, two (1.7%) of the state’s 120 state legislative elections lacked either a Democratic or a Republican candidate. The 2019 and 2017 percentages are both lower than the 2015 figure; in 2015, eight (10.0%) of the 80 state legislative seats on the ballot had no major-party opposition.
  • Virginia has 140 state legislative seats on the ballot. Of those, 13 (9.3%) do not have a Democratic candidate and 43 (30.7%) do not have a Republican candidate. Overall, 56 (40.0%) of Virginia’s state legislative elections lack a candidate from one major party. In 2017, only the 100 seats of the state House were up for election. Since 40 of those seats had no major-party opposition, that meant that the percentage of Virginia state legislative elections lacking either a Democratic or Republican candidate remained static at 40.0% for both cycles. In 2015, however, the figure was higher since 91 (65.0%) of the 140 state legislative seats on the ballot had no major-party opposition.
Mississippi and New Jersey have Republican and Democratic state government trifectas, respectively. Virginia has a divided government with a Democratic governor but a Republican-held state House and state Senate. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
 



About the author

Daniel Anderson

Daniel Anderson is a managing editor at Ballotpedia and can be reached at daniel.anderson@ballotpedia.org

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