Percent of U.S. House races contested by both major parties reaches a century high

More than 95% of elections for U.S. House (415 of 435) in 2020 are contested by candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties, according to Ballotpedia’s Annual Congressional Competitiveness Report. This is an increase over the four preceding election cycles and the highest percentage of contested races for U.S. House since at least 1920.

Twenty races (4.6%) feature no major party competition. Democrats are running in twelve races without Republican competition and Republicans are running in eight without Democratic competition.

The presence of major party competition has increased in each election cycle since 2014 before reaching this century high. In 2014, 16.8% of races (73) had no major party competition, meaning 83.2% (362) were contested by both major parties. The percentage of contested U.S. House races increased to 87.8% (382) in 2016 and 91.3% (397) in 2018.

A Democratic candidate is running in 98.2% of House races (427 of 435), down from 99.5% (433 of 435) in 2018.

A Republican candidate is running in 97.2% of House races (423 of 435), up from 91.7% (399 of 435) in 2018, and the highest rate of Republican competition since at least 2012.

All 33 regular U.S. Senate races in 2020 have major party competition. The most recent U.S. senator to run without major party competition was Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who ran unopposed in the 2014 general election.

To read more about major party competition, open seats, and primary competitiveness in congressional elections, click here: https://ballotpedia.org/Annual_Congressional_Competitiveness_Report,_2020




About the author

Douglas Kronaizl

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

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