No incumbents defeated in Nebraska’s state legislative primaries

On May 12, 2020, Nebraska voters cast their ballots in the state’s legislative primaries. Nebraska is the only state with a unicameral legislature, meaning it only has a state Senate. It is also the only state with a nonpartisan legislature. All candidates for a seat—Democrats, Republicans, and others—compete in a single primary. The top two candidates in the primary proceed to the general election.

While candidates are listed as officially nonpartisan, Ballotpedia has collected information from numerous sources to determine their political affiliations.

Twenty-five seats are up for election in 2020. There were six primaries, the lowest number in over two decades. Two incumbents faced contested primaries, Julie Slama (R) and Mike Hilgers (R), and both advanced to the general election.

Six seats (24%) were open, meaning the incumbent did not seek re-election. This is slightly lower than the eight open seats in 2018 (33%) and higher than the decade-low three open seats in 2010 (13%). All six open seats are held by term-limited senators who were ineligible to run for re-election this year.

Republicans are the only candidates in six general election races. All six seats are currently held by Republicans. Democrats are the only candidates in three races. One of those seats—District 11—is currently held by Ernie Chambers, a term-limited independent, and will flip to Democratic control after the general election.

Heading into the general election, Republicans hold a 30-18-1 supermajority in the state senate. Gov. Pete Ricketts is a Republican, making the state one of 21 Republican trifectas.

General election winners will be responsible for redrawing the state’s congressional and state legislative district lines after the 2020 census. In Nebraska, a simple majority is required to approve a redistricting plan, which is subject to veto by the governor. A veto can be overridden with a 3/5 vote equal to 30 senators.



About the author

Douglas Kronaizl

Douglas Kronaizl is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

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