10,813 major party candidates filed for 2020 state legislative elections

On November 3, 2020, 5,875 state legislative seats are up for regular election across 86 chambers in 44 states. This includes 1,164 state senate seats and 4,711 state house seats.

As of June 25, 2020, we’ve collected post-filing deadline data in 35 states. In 2020, 5,100 state legislative seats are up for regular election in those states, compared to 4,833 in 2018.

10,813 major party candidates—5,414 Democrats and 5,399 Republicans—have filed to run for state legislature in 35 of those states. This compares to 11,004—5,737 Democrats and 5,267 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, 764 major party incumbents (15% of seats up for election) are not running for re-election, compared to 929 major party incumbents (19%) in 2018.

More incumbents face primary challenges in 2020 than in 2018. So far in 2020, 869 major party incumbents face primary challengers. In 2018, 803 major party incumbents faced primary challenges. In 2018, 86% of incumbents in these states won their primaries.

Overall, there are fewer contested state legislative primaries in 2020 than in 2018, with 1,755 and 1,857, respectively. These totals include all competitive partisan, top-two, and nonpartisan primaries.

Currently, there is a Republican majority in 52 chambers, a Democratic majority in 33, and a power-sharing agreement in the Alaska House.


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About the author

Douglas Kronaizl

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

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