Fifty-six percent of the 538 state legislative elections taking place in November 2019 do not feature major party competition, according to our 9th Annual State Legislative Competitiveness Report. These 299 races feature a candidate from either the Democratic or Republican Parties, but not both.
On the other hand, 44 percent of the November 2019 state legislative elections in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia feature candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties.
By this metric, 2019’s state legislative elections are more competitive than in 2015 (the last time the same seats were up for election) when 61 percent of races did not feature major party competition. This year’s races are less competitive than in 2011 when 43 percent of races did not feature major party competition.
More incumbents faced primary challengers in 2019 than in the past two odd-year election cycles. This year, 129 of 435 incumbents seeking re-election (30.1 percent) faced primary challenges. In 2017, 16 percent of incumbents faced primary challengers, and in 2015, 21.8 percent of incumbents faced primary challengers.
Only four states hold elections during odd-numbered years: Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia. This year, both chambers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia are up for election, along with the New Jersey General Assembly.