January 14’s state legislative special elections are the first of 27 scheduled this year

Thirteen state legislative special elections are taking place this January, including races for six seats in five states on Tuesday, January 14. This is the most state legislative special elections in January since Ballotpedia began comprehensively covering them in 2011. In 2019, by comparison, seven special elections were held in January.

Twenty-seven special elections have been called for the calendar year. Twelve will be for seats previously held by a Democrat and 15 for seats previously held by a Republican. Nine were triggered by the incumbent being appointed, elected to, or seeking election to another position. Seven were triggered by the retirement of an incumbent, and another seven were triggered by the death of an incumbent. Four were triggered by the resignation of an incumbent related to criminal charges.

Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 state legislative special elections was held each year. The most special elections held in a single year was 99 in 2018, while the fewest was 40 in 2014. In four of those years, Democrats saw a neat gain in seats while Republicans saw a decrease. In the other five years, the opposite was true: Republicans gained seats and Democrats lost seats.

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