7,961 major party candidates have filed for 2020 state legislative elections

Every week, we compile the latest numbers on state legislative candidates across the country. As of June 9, 2020, we’ve collected post-filing deadline data in 30 states. In 2020, 3,697 state legislative seats are up for regular election in those states, compared to 3,670 in 2018.

7,961 major party candidates—3,831 Democrats and 4,130 Republicans—have filed to run for state legislature in these states, compared to 8,511—4,300 Democrats and 4,211 Republicans—in 2018.

Elections in open seats tend to be more competitive than those where an incumbent is seeking re-election. So far, there are fewer open seats in 2020 than in 2018. In 2020, 559 major party incumbents (15% of seats up for election) are not running for re-election, compared to 738 major party incumbents (20%) in 2018.

More incumbents face primary challenges in 2020 than in 2018. So far in 2020, 642 primaries feature an incumbent. Additionally, one independent incumbent faced a top-two primary in California. In 2018, there were 623 such primaries in addition to a Libertarian incumbent facing a nonpartisan primary in Nebraska. In 2018, 87% of incumbents in these states won their primaries.

Overall, there are fewer contested state legislative primaries in 2020 than in 2018, with 1,309 and 1,501, respectively. These totals include all contested top-two and nonpartisan primaries.

On November 3, 2020, 1,164 state senate seats and 4,711 state house seats are up for regular election for a total of 5,875 seats across 86 chambers in 44 states. There is a Republican majority in 52 of those chambers, a Democratic majority in 33, and a power-sharing agreement in the Alaska House.

See the tables below for more information:

Additional reading:
State legislative battleground chambers, 2020