Uncontested races will result in 23 state legislative chambers where one party is guaranteed to win a simple majority

Welcome to the Tuesday, September 13, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. There are 23 state legislative chambers where one party is guaranteed to win a simple majority
  2. Virginia voters to elect 11 U.S. House members in November
  3. Three states round out this year’s primary calendar

There are 23 state legislative chambers where one party is guaranteed to win a simple majority

More than one-quarter of all state legislative chambers holding elections this year will have their partisan control decided before voters head to the polls. 

Of the 88 state legislative chambers holding elections this year, there are 23 chambers in which either Democrats or Republicans left enough seats uncontested that they effectively guaranteed majority control to the opposing party.

When only a Democrat or Republican runs for a state legislative seat, the candidate running is all but assured of being elected. When this happens, we call it a lack of major party competition. 

Heading into the 2022 elections, major party legislators control 7,341 of the nation’s 7,383 state legislative seats (99.4%).

In 2022:

  • Democrats are guaranteed simple majorities in three chambers; and,
  • Republicans are guaranteed simple majorities in 20 chambers.

When every seat in a chamber is up for election, the rate of major party competition alone can show us whether a simple majority is guaranteed.

But in states where only a portion of seats are up for election, we need to combine those figures with the partisan make-up of the seats not on the ballot.

For example, in the Ohio Senate, four seats are up for election this year where Republicans are running without Democratic competition. Adding that to the 15 incumbent Republican senators not up for election until 2024 equals 19 Republican seats, two more than the 17 needed for a majority in the chamber.

Of the 6,278 seats up for election this year, 2,656 (42.3%) are uncontested and have no major party competition. Democrats face no Republicans for 1,065 seats (17%), Republicans face no Democrats for 1,587 (25%), and four are guaranteed to independents because no major party candidates are running.

Use the link below to learn more about major party competition in this year’s state legislative elections.

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Virginia voters to elect 11 U.S. House members in November

Today is the 11th day of our 50 States in 50 days series, and we’re featuring Virginia, the Old Dominion.

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota

Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana

Week Three: North Carolina

On the ballot in Virginia

Virginia has 11 U.S. House districts, with incumbents running for re-election in each one.

Virginia is one of four states—along with Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Jersey—that hold state-level elections in odd-numbered years, so no state executive or state legislative offices are on the ballot this year.

At the municipal level, we are covering local elections in Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach.

Redistricting highlights

Virginia was apportioned 11 U.S. House districts following the 2020 census, the same number the state had following the 2010 census.

Congressional elections will take place under these new district lines. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to see what redistricting looks like in your state. Here are the congressional maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle in Virginia:

Visit our Virginia redistricting page to interact with our tool and compare Virginia’s congressional maps.

Partisan balance

  • Both of Virginia’s U.S. Senators—Tim Kaine and Mark Warner—are Democrats.
  • In the U.S. House, seven representatives are Democrats, and four are Republicans.
  • Democrats have a 21-19 majority in the state Senate, and Republicans have a 52-47 majority in the House of Delegates, making Virginia one of three states where no single party controls both legislative chambers. Both chambers are next up for election in 2023.
  • Virginia’s Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) assumed office in 2022 after defeating former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) in 2021.
  • Virginia is one of 13 states with a divided government, where no single party controls both the governorship and legislature. The state had a Democratic trifecta from 2020 to 2022.
  • Along with the governor, Virginia’s secretary of the commonwealth and attorney general are also Republicans, making the state one of 23 with a Republican triplex among those offices.

Key races

Ballot measures

There are no statewide ballot measures in Virginia this year.

A total of 33 ballot measures have appeared on statewide ballots in Virginia between 1996 and 2020. Voters approved 29 and defeated four.


  • On Nov. 8, polls in Virginia will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Voters in Virginia must present identification at the polls, either with or without a photo. A list of accepted documents can be found here.
  • Early voting begins on Sept. 24 and ends on Nov. 5.
  • The voter registration deadline is Oct. 17.
  • The deadline to request an absentee/mail-in ballot is Oct. 28, and a returned ballot must be postmarked on or before Nov. 8 to be counted. The voter and a witness must sign the absentee/mail-in ballot, but state law does not specify any provision allowing for signature verification. To check the status of your ballot, click here.

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Three states round out this year’s primary calendar

Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island are holding this year’s final partisan primaries today, Sept. 13. 

In terms of congressional races, New Hampshire is holding Democratic and Republican primaries for U.S. Senate. Collectively, these three states have four U.S. House districts. Both of New Hampshire’s districts are holding Republican primaries, and one of Rhode Island’s two districts is holding a Democratic primary.

All three states are holding elections for state executive offices. In Rhode Island, this includes a Democratic gubernatorial primary, Gov. Daniel McKee’s (D) first since assuming office in 2021 after former Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) resigned to become the U.S. secretary of commerce. 

At the state legislative level, there are 402 districts holding elections. In each of the three states, less than 20% of all possible primaries are contested. Nationwide, 21% of all possible primaries were contested this year. In these three states, there are 71 Democratic primaries and 75 Republican primaries.

We will have election results available at the link below. If you have elections coming up, use Ballotpedia’s Sample Ballot Lookup to see what’s on your ballot, and bring your choices to the polls with our My Vote app!

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