Author

Daniel Anderson

Daniel Anderson is a managing editor at Ballotpedia and can be reached at daniel.anderson@ballotpedia.org

No party control flips in Florida state legislative special elections

Two seats in the Florida House of Representatives, District 7 and District 38, were up for special general election on Tuesday. The primary was held on April 9, and the filing deadline was on February 14. A third seat, District 97, was originally scheduled to be on the ballot as well, but the election was canceled after only one candidate filed to run. All three seats were won by members of the same political party as their predecessors.
  • Jason Shoaf (R) defeated Ryan Terrell (D) with 71.3% of the unofficial election night vote for the District 7 seat. Shoaf had previously defeated three other Republican candidates in the primary. Terrell ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. The seat was vacated by Halsey Beshears (R), who resigned in January 2019 to become the Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
  • Randy Maggard (R) defeated Kelly Smith (D) with 55.6% of the unofficial election night vote for the District 38 seat. Maggard had previously defeated one other candidate, David McCallister, for the Republican nomination in the primary. Smith ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. The seat was vacated by Daniel Burgess (R), who resigned in January 2019 to become the Executive Director of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
  • Dan Daley (D) ran unopposed for the District 97 seat and won it automatically. The seat was vacated by Jared Moskowitz (D), who resigned in January 2019 to become the Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
As of June, 60 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 23 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 
Entering the special election, the Florida House of Representatives had 46 Democrats, 71 Republicans, and three vacancies. Florida has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.
 
Additional reading:


Democrats and Republicans split pair of California State Senate special elections

The partisan control of two seats in the California State Senate did not change following special elections on June 4.
 
District 1 and District 33 were on the ballot for a special general election.
 
  • Brian Dahle (R) defeated Kevin Kiley (R) for the District 1 seat in a race where no Democratic candidates advanced out of the primary. Dahle received 53.1% of the unofficial election night vote. The seat was vacated by Ted Gaines (R), who was elected to represent District 1 of the California State Board of Equalization in 2018.
  • Lena Gonzalez (D) defeated Jack Guerrero (R) for the District 33 seat with 69.0% of the election night vote count. Gonzalez and Guerrero were the only candidates who received a double-digit percentage of the primary vote. The seat was vacated by Ricardo Lara (D), who was elected to serve as the California Commissioner of Insurance in 2018.
 
The filing deadline to run for the seats was on January 31, and the primaries were held on March 26.
 
Entering the special election, the California State Senate had 28 Democrats, 10 Republicans, and the two vacancies. A majority in the chamber requires 21 seats. California has a Democratic trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
 
As of June, 58 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 23 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 


City council seats on Tuesday’s ballot in Los Angeles and Riverside

More than 200,000 Los Angeles residents will have more than 15 candidates to choose from in a city council special election on Tuesday.
 
In California, the District 12 seat on the Los Angeles City Council and the Ward 1, 3, 5, and 7 seats on the Riverside City Council are up for election on June 4. The Los Angeles race is a special primary for a vacant seat, while the Riverside contests are their regularly scheduled general elections. In both cities, the council seats can be won outright on Tuesday if one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote. If none do, then Los Angeles is holding its special general election on August 13, and Riverside is holding its general runoff on November 5.
 
The District 12 seat in Los Angeles was vacated by Mitchell Englander, who resigned on December 31, 2018, in order to work in government affairs for the Oak View Group. Englander, the only Republican on the council, was first elected in 2011 and left office during his second term. Fifteen candidates are running for the remainder of his term in the special nonpartisan primary. The Los Angeles City Council has 15 members.
 
Riverside is holding an all-mail nonpartisan general election for the four city council seats. Only the Ward 1 incumbent, Mike Gardner, is running for re-election, and he faces two challengers. The other three elections are for open seats and feature between three and seven candidates each. The Riverside City Council has seven members, which means that a majority of the council could be new members following the election. The winners this year will receive an extended five-year term in office instead of four-year terms. This is due to the city’s transition to holding elections in even-numbered years beginning in 2022. Consequently, the Ward 1, 3, 5, and 7 seats will be on the ballot next in 2024 instead of 2023.
 
Los Angeles is the largest city in California and the second-largest city in the U.S. by population, while Riverside is the 12th-largest city in the state and the 58th-largest city nationwide.
 


Contested special elections for two Missouri House seats

On May 13, the filing deadline passed to run for the vacant District 99 and District 158 seats in the Missouri House of Representatives. Trish Gunby (D) and Lee Ann Pitman (R) are running for the District 99 seat, and Lisa Kalp (D) and Scott Cupps (R) are campaigning in District 158. The special general election is scheduled for November 5, 2019, and there is no primary.
 
Both seats were previously held by Republicans. Jean Evans resigned from District 99 on February 5 in order to become the executive director of the state GOP, while Scott Fitzpatrick left the District 158 office on January 3 following his appointment as the new Missouri Treasurer by Gov. Mike Parson (R). In the 2018 election, Evans won re-election to a second term with 53% of the vote while Fitzpatrick ran unopposed to win his fourth term.
 
Entering the special election, the Missouri House of Representatives has 46 Democrats, 114 Republicans, and three vacancies. The third opening is for the District 36 seat, which DaRon McGee (D) vacated on April 29. No special election has been scheduled for that seat yet. A majority in the chamber requires 82 seats.
 
Missouri is one of 22 Republican trifectas. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
 


Since 1920, how many U.S. House races have taken place with only one major party on the general election ballot?

Every two-year election cycle, some Democrats or Republicans win U.S. House elections without major-party opposition. Over the past 100 years, 14.4% of regularly scheduled U.S. House general elections had only one major party candidate.
 
From 1920 to 2018, there were 2,434 U.S. House races without a Republican candidate in the general election compared to 707 races without a Democratic candidate. In 2018, 41 of the 435 U.S. House races lacked either a Democratic or Republican candidate in the general election. Three of the 41 races did not have a Democratic candidate on the ballot, and the remaining 38 did not have a Republican candidate running.
 
The election years that had the most races without major-party opposition were 1930 (99), 1998 (95), 1942 (89), 1958 (89), and 1934 (83). Conversely, the election years with the fewest races of that nature were 1996 (21), 2010 (29), 1992 (31), 1932 (35), and 2018 (41).
 
On average across the 50 election cycles from 1920 to 2018, about 62.8 U.S. House races had only one major party represented on the general election ballot. During that timeframe, Democrats averaged 14.1 U.S. House races per cycle compared to 48.7 races for Republicans. In the 10 election cycles spanning 2000 to 2018, the average dropped to 57.4 races. In the 40 election cycles spanning 1920 to 1998, the average rose to 64.2 races. Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, and Wyoming were the only states that had a Democratic and Republican candidate on every U.S. House ballot from 1920 to 2018.
 


Connecticut holds sixth state legislative special election in 2019

On Tuesday, Tammy Exum (D) defeated Robert Margolis (R) to win the vacant District 19 seat in the Connecticut House of Representatives. She won with 64.6% of the vote, according to the unofficial election night tally. No primary was held in the race – both Exum and Margolis were both nominated by their respective political party committees in early March.
 
This was Connecticut’s sixth special state legislative election held so far in 2019; three state Senate and two state House seats were up for special election on February 26. All five of those races were caused by Democratic officeholders resigning to take positions in Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) administration. The state House’s District 19 seat was vacated by Derek Slap (D) after he won the Connecticut State Senate’s District 5 special election earlier this year.
 
All six of the state legislative seats up for special election so far previously had Democratic officeholders; Republicans won control of two of those seats on February 26. A seventh position, District 130 in the state House, is up for special election on May 7. It was vacated by Ezequiel Santiago (D), who died on March 15, 2019.
 
Following the special election, the Connecticut House of Representatives has 90 Democrats, 60 Republicans, and one vacancy. A majority in the chamber requires 76 seats. Connecticut has a Democratic trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
 
As of April, 52 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 20 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 


Second electoral do-over for Georgia House seat results in conclusive victor

In Georgia and Florida, state legislative special elections were held on Tuesday.
 
A special election was held for District 28 in the Georgia House of Representatives. This was the third election for the seat in the past year. The regularly scheduled primary on May 22, 2018, and a new primary on December 4, 2018, were both deemed inconclusive due to ballot errors so a judge ruled that a new election should be held. Since no Democratic candidate filed in the original election, both the December 2018 do-over and the April 9 race consisted of only Republican primaries to determine the seat’s winner. Chris Erwin defeated the former incumbent, Dan Gasaway, with 75.5 percent of the unofficial election night vote to win the seat.
 
Special primaries were also held for the District 7 and District 38 seats in the Florida House of Representatives. The general election is on June 18, 2019. Ryan Terrell (D) and Jason Shoaf (R) advanced to the general election in District 7; Terrell ran uncontested and Shoaf defeated three challengers with 48.9 percent of the unofficial election night vote. Kelly Smith (D) and Randy Maggard (R) advanced to the general election in District 38; Smith also ran unopposed, and Maggard defeated David McCallister to win the Republican nomination. A special primary was also originally scheduled for the District 97 seat, but it was canceled after Dan Daley (D) was the only candidate to file and won the seat by default.
 
The District 7 seat was vacated by Halsey Beshears (R), who resigned on January 11, 2019, to become the Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The District 38 seat was vacated after Daniel Burgess (R) was appointed as the Executive Director of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs on January 24, 2019. The District 97 seat became vacant when Jared Moskowitz (D) resigned in January 2019 to become the Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
 
Entering the election, the Georgia House of Representatives had 75 Democrats, 104 Republicans, and one vacancy. A majority in the chamber requires 91 seats. The Florida House of Representatives had 46 Democrats, 71 Republicans, and three vacancies. A majority in the chamber requires 61 seats.
 
Georgia and Florida both have Republican trifectas, which exist when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
 


Majority of Anchorage Assembly serving first term after April 2 election

In Alaska, five of 11 seats on the Anchorage Assembly and two of seven Anchorage School District school board seats were up for nonpartisan general election on April 2, 2019. Seats on these two governing bodies have three-year terms, and the filing deadline to run in the election was February 1.
 
The five seats up for election on the Anchorage Assembly were District 2 Seat A, District 3 Seat D, District 4 Seat F, District 5 Seat H, and District 6 Seat J. Incumbents Forrest Dunbar and John Weddleton ran unopposed for re-election to the District 5 and 6 seats, respectively. The other three Anchorage Assembly elections were open-seat races without incumbents; two did not file for re-election, and Dick Traini could not run due to term limits. Crystal Kennedy, Kameron Perez Verdia, and Meg Zaletel won the District 2, 3, and 4 seats, respectively.
 
The last regular election for the Anchorage Assembly in 2017 saw only two of six incumbents run for re-election, due in part to term limits. Consequently, seven of the chamber’s 11 members will be serving their first term after the April 2 winners are sworn into office.
 
The two Anchorage School District school board seats on the ballot were Seat A and Seat B. Margo Bellamy won the Seat A position; the incumbent, Mark Foster, did not file for the race after being appointed to the board in October 2018. The Seat B position was won by incumbent Starr Marsett, who was first elected to the board in 2016. Marsett currently serves as president of the board.
 
Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska and the 62nd-largest city in the U.S. by population. The Anchorage School District served 48,238 students during the 2016-2017 school year.
 


State legislative special elections contested across four states on Tuesday

Four states—Maine, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—each have one state legislative seat up for special election on April 2, 2019.
  • In Maine, Sean Paulhus (D) and Kenneth Sener (R) are running in the general election for the state House’s District 52 seat. The seat was vacated when Jennifer DeChant (D) resigned on February 1, 2019, to work for Charter Communications. This is the second state legislative special election in Maine for 2019; Joseph Perry (D) won the state House’s District 124 seat vacated by Aaron Frey (D) on March 12. Prior to the special election, the Maine House of Representatives has 88 Democrats, 56 Republicans, five independents, one Common Sense Independent, and one vacancy.
  • In Mississippi, Kent McCarty and Steven Utroska are running in the general runoff election for the state House’s District 101 seat. Mississippi special elections are nonpartisan, but both candidates identify themselves as Republicans on their campaign websites. The seat was vacated when Brad Touchstone (R) was elected as a Lamar County Court judge. The runoff was called after none of the five candidates in the March 12 general election received a majority of the vote; McCarty and Utroska advanced as the top two vote recipients. This is the third state legislative special election in Mississippi in 2019; Solomon Osborne won the state House’s District 32 seat, and Ronnie Crudup Jr. won the state House’s District 71 seat on March 12. Both Osborne and Crudup Jr. identify as Democrats. Prior to the special election, the Mississippi House of Representatives has 46 Democrats, 73 Republicans, one independent, and two vacancies.
  • In Pennsylvania, Pam Iovino (D) and D. Raja (R) are running in the general election for the state Senate’s District 37 seat. The seat was vacated when Guy Reschenthaler (R) was elected to represent Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District in the U.S. House in 2018. This is the fourth third state legislative special election in Pennsylvania in 2019; Bridget Malloy Kosierowski (D) won the state House’s District 114 seat, and Movita Johnson-Harrell (D) won the state House’s District 190 seat on March 12. Prior to the special election, the Pennsylvania State Senate has 21 Democrats, 26 Republicans, and three vacancies.
  • In Wisconsin, Tip McGuire, Pedro Rodriguez, Gina Walkington, and Spencer Zimmerman are running in the Democratic primary for the state Assembly’s District 64 seat. Mark Stalker is running unopposed for the Republican nomination. The general election is on April 30, 2019. The seat was vacated when Peter Barca (D) stepped down in January 2019 after Gov. Tony Evers (D) nominated him to be secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. This is the first state legislative special election in Wisconsin in 2019. Prior to the special election, the Wisconsin State Assembly has 35 Democrats, 63 Republicans, and one vacancy.
In 2019, there have been 51 state legislative special elections scheduled or held so far in 19 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 
Maine has a Democratic trifecta, and Mississippi has a Republican trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin both have divided governments. In both states, Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature, but a Democrat holds the governor’s office.
 
Additional reading:


Nashville Metro Council special runoff election won by 25 votes

Delishia Porterfield defeated Nicola La Mattina to win the Nashville Metro Council’s District 29 seat in a special runoff election on March 19, 2019, by 25 votes. Porterfield received 561 votes compared to La Mattina’s 536, according to unofficial election night totals.
 
The two candidates had advanced from a four-candidate field in the special general election on February 12. In that race, Porterfield had led the field with 402 votes to La Mattina’s 376. The other two candidates, Constance Smith-Burwell and Vicky Tataryn, received 74 and 58 votes, respectively. The special election was called after Karen Johnson, the former District 29 council member, won election in November 2018 to become the new Davidson County Register of Deeds.
 
The District 29 seat is also up for regular election in 2019, along with all 40 other seats on the Metro Council as well as the mayor’s office. The filing deadline is May 16, the general election is August 1, and a runoff election may be held on a currently unknown date in September if no candidate receives a simple majority of the general election vote. Mayor David Briley was first elected to the office in a May 2018 special election; he announced his plan to run for a full term in September 2018.
 
Nashville is the second-largest city in Tennessee and the 24th-largest city in the U.S. by population.


Bitnami