92% of state legislative incumbents in NJ, VA running for re-election this year

Welcome to the Monday, August 16, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 92% of state legislative incumbents in NJ, VA ran for re-election this year
  2. Candidate filing deadline is today in seven Texas school districts, including Houston
  3. U.S. House to consider 2022 budget resolution starting the week of Aug. 23

92% of state legislative incumbents in NJ, VA ran for re-election this year

Two states—New Jersey and Virginia—are holding state legislative elections in 2021. Most states hold legislative elections in even-numbered years, but four states—Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia—typically hold such elections in odd years. 

The percentage of open seats in this year’s state legislative elections is 7.7%, which is the second-lowest rate since 2010. Of the 220 seats up for election in Virginia and New Jersey, 17 incumbents did not file to run for re-election. In elections held nationwide in odd-numbered years from 2011 to 2021, only the 2013 state legislative elections had a lower percentage of open seats at 6.8%. The open-seat rate in even-numbered years since 2010 ranged from 15.0% to 20.4% 

This low rate of open seats is driven by Virginia. Ninety-five incumbents ran for re-election this year to their seats in the House of Delegates, which is the highest number this decade. Of the five open seats, one was most recently held by a Democrat and four by Republicans.

In New Jersey, 120 seats are up for election—40 in the Senate and 80 in the Assembly. Incumbents filed to run for re-election in all but 12 of them, or 10.0%. Compared to previous elections, New Jersey’s rate of open seats in 2021 is tied with 2017 for the state’s second-highest percentage in the past decade. Of those 12 open seats, six were most recently held by Democrats and six by Republicans.

In both states, the 2011 state legislative elections were the first ones conducted after redistricting that occurred after the 2010 census. Due to delays in releasing data after the 2020 census, state legislative elections in both New Jersey and Virginia will continue to use maps that were enacted after the 2010 census.

Neither New Jersey nor Virginia has term limits for state legislators, meaning all open seats this year were left by incumbents voluntarily choosing not to file for re-election.

The chart below shows the annual percentage of open seats in state legislative elections since 2010: 

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Candidate filing deadline is today in seven Texas school districts, including Houston

The filing deadline is today—Aug. 16— for candidates seeking to run for certain school board seats in Texas. Ballotpedia is covering races for 21 board seats across the following seven districts that are holding general elections on Nov. 2:

The largest of these is in Houston, where five seats on the nine-member board are up for election. As of the 2018-2019 school year, the Houston Independent School District (HISD) was the largest school district in Texas and the seventh-largest school district in the United States, serving 209,772 students in 280 schools with a budget of $2.04 billion.

In November 2019, the Texas Commissioner of Education decided to appoint a board of managers to replace the HISD’s elected board members after a state investigation into the board’s governance and repeatedly poor academic performance ratings at a high school in the district. The district sued to prevent the state’s action. In March 2021, the Texas Supreme Court upheld a lower court injunction that blocked the takeover. Click here to read more about these events.

Ballotpedia also covered school board races in 58 other Texas school districts that held elections on May 1. We provide in-depth coverage of school board elections in the 200 largest school districts by enrollment in the nation, as well as those school districts that overlap with the 100 largest cities by population. 

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U.S. House to consider 2022 budget resolution starting the week of Aug. 23 

The House of Representatives will consider the $3.5 trillion Congressional Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2022 beginning the week of August 23. The Senate had agreed to the budget resolution on August 11 by a 50-49 vote along party lines.

Congress is considering the budget resolution at the same time as the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 that the Senate passed on August 10 by a vote of 69-30. That bill would allocate $550 billion to transportation, water and power infrastructure, and pollution cleanup.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she would not take up the infrastructure bill until the budget resolution had passed. Nine House Democrats sent Pelosi a letter on Aug. 12 that they would not consider supporting the budget plan until the infrastructure bill was adopted. With three vacancies in the House, Democrats have a 220-212 majority in the chamber.

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