Welcome to the Tuesday, September 21, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Eight state legislative incumbents lost in primaries in 2021
- Six weeks until the general election—here’s what we are covering
- Join us tomorrow for a briefing on our 2021 State Legislative Competitiveness Report
Eight state legislative incumbents lost in primaries in 2021
Eight state legislative incumbents—five Democrats and three Republicans—lost in primaries in 2021, representing 3.9% of all incumbents who filed for re-election and 20% of all incumbents who faced contested primaries.
An average of 8.4 candidates have been defeated in the five previous odd-year state legislative primary elections. Sixteen incumbents lost in primaries in 2019, which saw legislators from Louisiana and Mississippi also on the ballot. No incumbents lost primaries in 2017.
At the chamber level, though, these defeats marked decade highs. Two of the three chambers holding elections this year saw decade-high numbers of incumbent defeats: the New Jersey General Assembly (3) and the Virginia House of Delegates (5). Incumbents have won every contested primary in the New Jersey State Senate since 2003.
When taken all together, ahead of the general elections, the 2021 cycle is already tied for the second-most incumbents defeated among these three chambers over the preceding decade.
Looking at the parties of these defeated incumbents, both Democratic and Republican incumbents have lost in contested primaries at higher numbers than at any point in the preceding decade among these three chambers.
This was primarily driven by defeats of Democratic incumbents in Virginia, where the party holds a 55-45 majority and is defending a majority of seats for the first time since 1999. Four of the five defeated Democratic incumbents held office in the Virginia House of Delegates.
Two hundred and twenty state legislative seats are up for election on Nov. 2, 2021, in three state legislative chambers: the New Jersey State Senate and General Assembly and the Virginia House of Delegates.
The five Democratic incumbents who lost in primaries represent 4.0% of all Democratic incumbents who filed for re-election and 21.7% of all Democratic incumbents who faced contested primaries.
The three Republican incumbents who lost represent 3.8% of all Republicans who filed for re-election and 17.6% of those who faced contested primaries.
Here’s a list of those incumbents who lost:
Six weeks until the general election—here’s what we are covering
We are six weeks away from the 2021 general election. Odd years tend to have a reputation for being quieter than other election cycles, but here at Ballotpedia, we will be plenty busy bringing you coverage of 999 positions across the country up for election on Nov. 2. Here’s a quick breakdown of those numbers:
U.S. House – 3
While federal elections take place on even years, we have three special congressional elections coming up on Nov. 2. In Ohio, voters will be filling vacancies in the state’s 11th and 15th Congressional Districts. Florida’s 20th Congressional District will also be holding a primary election.
State executive – 5
There are five state executive offices on the ballot. Voters in New Jersey and Virginia will be casting ballots for governor. In New Jersey, the lieutenant governor runs on a ticket with the governor. In Virginia, voters will be electing a new lieutenant governor separate from the gubernatorial race. The attorney general’s office is also up for election in Virginia this year.
State legislative – 235
New Jersey and Virginia are the only states holding regularly scheduled state legislative elections: 180 districts are holding elections, representing 220 seats. We are also covering the 15 state legislative special elections scheduled for Nov. 2.
Voters in six states will see a total of 24 statewide ballot measures on their general election ballots, Texans with the most at eight. We will also be covering all of the local ballot measures in the top 100 largest cities in the U.S., all state capitals, and California.
Courts – 118
Two states—Pennsylvania and Washington—are holding elections for state courts with six judicial positions on the ballot. At the county and local level, Ballotpedia is tracking elections or retention elections to 112 judicial positions.
Twenty-eight cities will cast votes in mayoral elections across the country. Ballotpedia is also covering elections for the 282 county or city council seats up for election and 102 other local positions like city attorney or treasurer. Additionally, we are covering 202 school board positions up for election on Nov. 2
Join us tomorrow for a briefing on our 2021 State Legislative Competitiveness Report
Ballotpedia’s 11th Annual State Legislative Competitiveness report is here with facts and figures on 2021’s races in New Jersey and Virginia. We’re already seeing the highest level of major party competition in any election since at least 2010 and a decade-high level of competitiveness, overall. Attendees will learn more about these contests as well as the number of incumbents seeking re-election and those who faced (and lost) primary elections.