11,715 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 July 9, we’ve collected post-filing deadline data in 41 states. In 2020, 5,524 state legislative seats are up for regular election in those states, compared to 5,391 in 2018.

11,715 major party candidates—5,866 Democrats and 5,849 Republicans—have filed to run for state legislature in these states. This compares to 11,878—6,186 Democrats and 5,692 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, 847 major party incumbents (15% of seats up for election) are not running for re-election, compared to 1,027 major party incumbents (19%) in 2018.

More incumbents face primary challenges in 2020 than in 2018. So far in 2020, 973 major party incumbents face primary challengers. In 2018, 884 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 1,813 and 1,928, 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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