Take two! Detailing 377 election rematches this year

Welcome to the Tuesday, October 25, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

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

  1. There are 377 rematches this year between candidates who last faced off in 2018 or 2020
  2. Previewing Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial election
  3. Battleground races for U.S. Senate, state executive offices in Wisconsin this year

There are 377 rematches this year between candidates who last faced off in 2018 or 2020

Two weeks until election day. Today, let’s take a look at some races where voters will be facing the same choices as they did the last time that seat was up for election. 

We are tracking 377 rematches this year between candidates who last faced each other in 2018 or 2020. That’s down from 2020, when there were 402 rematches from 2018 alone.

This year’s rematches include:

  • 340 between candidates running for offices with two-year terms who last faced off in 2020; and,
  • 37 between candidates running for offices with four-year terms who last faced off in 2018.

The offices contested in these rematches include:

  • 51 U.S. House districts;
  • Five state executive offices;
  • 287 state legislative seats; and,
  • 34 local offices.

Of this total, 111 rematches (29%) were decided by 10 percentage points or fewer during their last contests.

Of the 51 U.S. House rematches, Democrats won 36 in 2020, and Republicans won 15. Ten of those elections were decided by 10 percentage points or fewer.

Of the five state executive rematches, the following parties won those offices when they were last up for election:

  • Democrats won one, the governorship of Connecticut; and,
  • Republicans won four, including the governorship of Georgia and the lieutenant governorship of Texas

Of the 287 state legislative rematches, the following parties won those offices when they were last up for election:

  • Democrats won 156;
  • Republicans won 127; and,
  • Minor party and independent candidates won four.

Of the 34 local election rematches, the following parties won those offices when they were last up for election:

  • Democrats won 17;
  • Republicans won two; and,
  • Nonpartisan and independent candidates won 15.

In addition to head-to-head rematches between two candidates running for a single seat, 197 elections this year feature two or more candidates running in a multi-member district who also ran against each other in 2018 or 2020. They include:

  • Two candidates running for at-large seats in a multi-member state executive board
  • 360 candidates running in 139 multi-member state legislative districts; and,
  • 136 candidates running in 57 multi-member municipal districts.

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Previewing Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial election

Next, in our preview of battleground elections this year is Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial election.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D), state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R), and three other candidates are running. Gov. Tom Wolf (D), first elected in 2014, is term-limited.

Shapiro was elected attorney general in 2016 after serving as Montgomery County Commissioner (2011-2017) and in the state House (2005-2011). Shapiro has focused on his experience as attorney general and his ability as governor to veto legislation passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Mastriano was elected to the state Senate in 2018 after serving in the U.S. Army from 1988 to 2017. Mastriano called on the Legislature to pass a bill banning abortions after detecting a fetal heartbeat and said he would rescind any mask and vaccine requirements related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Both campaigns have focused on how the state runs its elections. Pennsylvania is one of eight states where governors appoint secretaries of state. The secretary certifies election results, selects voting machines, and oversees canvasses and recounts.

Shapiro said, “[I will] appoint a pro-democracy Secretary of State to run our elections, expand pre-registration opportunities for young people, and implement same-day voter registration through Election Day.”

Mastriano said he would “Appoint a Secretary of State with experience in securing elections from fraud” and that he would eliminate no-excuse absentee/mail-in voting, enact universal voter identification, and prohibit the use of ballot drop boxes.

Other candidates on the ballot include Christina Digiulio (G), Joseph Soloski (Keystone), and Matt Hackenburg (L). Minor party candidates received 1.6% of the vote in 2018.

Pennsylvania had the fourth-narrowest margin of victory in the 2020 presidential election. President Joe Biden (D) defeated former President Donald Trump (R) 50.0% to 48.8%, a margin of 1.2 percentage points.

Democrats have controlled the governorship since Wolf defeated Gov. Tom Corbett (R) in 2014, 55% to 45%. Wolf won re-election in 2018, 58% to 41%.

The outcome of this election will affect Pennsylvania’s trifecta status. Republicans hold legislative majorities, making it one of 13 states with a divided government.

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Battleground races for U.S. Senate, statewide offices in Wisconsin this year

Today is the 41st day of our 50 States in 50 Days series, and we’re featuring Wisconsin, the Badger State!

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota
Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana
Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho
Week Four: Kentucky, Michigan, Arkansas, Minnesota, West Virginia
Week Five: Vermont, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, Ohio
Week Six: South Carolina, Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, Tennessee
Week Seven: Colorado, New Jersey, Washington, Alabama, Utah
Week Eight: Mississippi, Maryland, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Maine
Week Nine: Massachusetts

On the ballot in Wisconsin

Wisconsin voters will elect one U.S. Senator and eight U.S. Representatives.

Four state executive offices are also up for election: governor/lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and treasurer.

All 99 seats in the state Assembly and 17 of the 33 state Senate seats are on the ballot.

We are also covering two special city council elections in Milwaukee and regularly-scheduled elections in Dane and Milwaukee Counties.

Redistricting highlights

The number of U.S. House districts in Wisconsin remained the same at eight following the 2020 census.

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to compare each district. Here’s an example of what Wisconsin’s congressional map looked like before and after the 2020 census:

You can interact with our map comparison tools by visiting our Wisconsin redistricting page here.

Partisan balance

  • Wisconsin’s U.S. Senators are Tammy Baldwin (D) and Ron Johnson (R), making it one of five states with senators from different major parties.
  • Democrats represent three U.S. House districts, and Republicans represent five.
  • Wisconsin has had a Democratic governor since Tony Evers’ election in 2018.
  • Republicans hold a 21-12 majority in the Senate and a 57-38 majority in the Assembly.
  • With a Democratic governor and Republican legislative majorities, Wisconsin is one of 13 states with a divided government, a status it has held since 2019. This is one of three states where both major parties have a toss-up chance of forming a new trifecta.
  • Along with the governor, Maine has a Democratic attorney general and secretary of state, making it one of 18 states with a Democratic triplex.

Seats contested by only one major party

This year, 31 state legislative seats in Wisconsin, or 27% of those up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either major party runs for a state legislative seat, the seat is all but guaranteed to be won by that party.

Democrats are running for 95 seats (82%). Twenty-one seats (18%) do not feature a Democratic candidate, meaning Republicans will likely win.

Republicans are running for 106 seats (91%). Ten seats (9%) do not feature a Republican candidate, meaning Democrats will likely win.

Key races

  • U.S. Senate: Incumbent Ron Johnson (R) faces Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) on the ballot. This is one of two Senate seats Republicans are defending in states President Joe Biden (D) won in 2020, defeating former President Donald Trump (R) 49.5% to 48.8%. Two election forecasters rate the race as Tilt or Lean Republican, and one rates it as Toss-up.
  • Governor: Incumbent Tony Evers (D) faces Tim Michels (R). Evers was first elected in 2018, defeating incumbent Gov. Scott Walker (R) 49.5% to 48.4%. Three election forecasters rate this race as Toss-up.
  • Attorney General: incumbent Josh Kaul (D) faces Eric Toney (R). Kaul was first elected in 2018, defeating incumbent Brad Schimel (R) 49.4% to 48.8%.

Ballot measures

There are no statewide ballot measures in Wisconsin this year.

Between 1985 and 2020, 17 measures appeared on statewide ballots: voters approved 13 (76%) and defeated four (24%).


  • Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
  • Wisconsin requires photo identification when voting. For more information, click here.
  • Early voting is available from Oct. 25 to Nov. 6.
  • The in-person voter registration deadline is Nov. 4. The deadline to register online or by mail passed on Oct. 19.
  • All voters are eligible to vote by absentee/mail-in ballot. Requests must be placed by Nov. 3, and voters must return completed ballots by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool! 

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