56 percent of 2019 state legislative elections lack a Democratic or Republican candidate

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Thursday, August 15, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 56 percent of 2019’s state legislative races lack either a Democratic or Republican candidate
  2. Ballotpedia highlights 88 congressional battlegrounds in 2020
  3. Two weeks until our next quarterly presidential briefing webinar

56 percent of 2019’s state legislative races lack either a Democratic or Republican candidate

Four states—Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia—are holding regularly scheduled state legislative elections this year for 538 seats. The filing deadline has now passed in all four states, allowing us to compare the percentage of seats having major party competition to prior years. 

Of the 538 state legislative seats up for election, 299 of them—55.6%—lack either a Democratic or Republican candidate. 158—29.4%—do not have a Democratic candidate on the ballot, and another 141—26.2%—do not have a Republican candidate.

Only one state legislative race has no major-party candidates on the ballot. Louisiana State Rep. Joseph Marino is nonpartisan and is unopposed for re-election.

Here’s the breakdown by state: 

Seats without major party competition And here’s how the numbers compare to previous odd-numbered election years, from 2011 through 2019: 

Historical races without major party opposition


Early analysis: 88 congressional battleground elections in 2020 

In 2020, all 435 seats in the U.S. House and 34 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate are up for election. Our initial list of battleground races includes 88 of them—15 in the Senate and 73 in the House.

Battlegrounds are elections that we expect to have a meaningful effect on the balance of power in government or to be particularly competitive or compelling. We selected this initial list of 2020 races based on past election results or whether the incumbent is seeking re-election or was recently elected for the first time. We also considered race ratings from outlets like the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections.

In the Senate, Republicans currently hold a 53-seat majority. Of the 34 seats up for election, Republicans are defending 22 seats while Democrats are defending 12. Ten battleground races are for seats held by Republicans and five are for seats held by Democrats. In 2018, Ballotpedia identified 16 battleground races—11 held by Democrats and five held by Republicans. 

Senate Battlegrounds

In the House, Democrats hold a 235-197 majority with one independent and two vacancies. Of our 73 battleground elections, Democrats hold 43 and Republicans hold 30. In 2018, Ballotpedia identified 82 battleground districts—73 held by Republicans and nine held by Democrats. Fifty-seven of the House races currently designated as battleground races for 2020 were also considered battleground races in 2018. 

House battlegrounds

We expect both battleground lists to change as the 2020 election approaches.

Click here to learn more about U.S. Senate battlegrounds

Click here to learn more about U.S. House battlegrounds

Two weeks until our next quarterly presidential briefing webinar

There have been two sets of Democratic debates since our last quarterly webinar on the 2020 presidential race. We’ve also seen the release of second-quarter fundraising reports and campaigns are actively hiring staff, issuing policies, and advertising in the early primary states.

Do you want to catch up on all the news from the summer and preview the months ahead? Join me in two weeks—on August 29 at 11 a.m. Central Time—for our free quarterly presidential briefing webinar. I’ll be joined by Emily Aubert, one of the primary authors of our daily and weekly Presidential News Briefing newsletters, to discuss who has qualified for the next primary debate, what the campaigns are doing, how the early state contests are shaping up, and more.

Twenty-six notable elected officials and public figures—24 Democrats and two Republicans—are running for their party’s nomination. With so much happening you’ll definitely want to join us as we examine the current state of the 2020 presidential race and what’s likely to happen next. Click the link below to reserve your spot.