Candidates interested in running in the special election for the District 82 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives had until January 27, 2021, to file. The primary is scheduled for March 20, and the general election, if needed, is set for April 24.
Louisiana elections use the majority-vote system. All candidates compete in the same primary, and a candidate can win the election outright by receiving more than 50% of the vote. If no candidate wins a majority of the vote, the top two vote recipients from the primary advance to the general election, regardless of their partisan affiliation.
Three candidates—Raymond Delaney Jr. (D), Edwin Connick (R), and Laurie Schlegel (R)—filed to run in the special election.
The special election became necessary after Charles Henry (R) resigned his seat on January 12. Henry was elected to the state House in 2019 with 70.5% of the vote.
Louisiana has a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 27-12 margin and the state House by a 66-35 margin with two independents and two vacancies. Democrat John Bel Edwards was elected governor of Louisiana in 2015.
As of January 2021, 25 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
The candidate filing deadline to run for elected office in Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio, is on February 3, 2021. Prospective candidates in Columbus may file for the following municipal and school district offices:
City council (3 seats)
Columbus City Schools Board of Education (3 seats)
In Cleveland, prospective candidates may file for the following municipal offices:
City council (17 seats)
Municipal court judge
The primary elections are scheduled for May 4, and the general elections are scheduled for November 2.
Columbus and Cleveland are the first- and second-largest cities in Ohio, respectively. Columbus is the 16th-largest city in the United States by population, and Cleveland is the 48th-largest. The Columbus City Schools district is the largest school district in Ohio; it served 50,219 students as of the 2017-2018 school year.
Candidates interested in running in the special election for Louisiana’s 2nd and 5th Congressional Districts and District 4 of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) had until January 22, 2021, to file. The primary is scheduled for March 20, and the general election, if needed, is set for April 24.
The 2nd Congressional District special election was called after it was announced that Cedric Richmond (D) had been chosen as a senior adviser to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement for the then-incoming Joe Biden presidential administration. Richmond served from 2011 until he left office on January 15. Fifteen candidates filed for the seat, including eight Democrats, four Republicans, one Libertarian, and two independents.
The 5th Congressional District special election was called after newly elected officeholder Luke Letlow (R) died on December 29, 2020, from complications related to COVID-19. He was scheduled to assume office on January 3. Thirteen candidates filed for the seat, including two Democrats, nine Republicans, and two independents.
The BESE special election was called after Tony Davis (R) left office to devote more time to his job as a senior director at the National Association of Manufacturers on January 20. Davis served from 2016 to 2021. Six candidates filed for the seat, including two Democrats, two Republicans, and two independents.
Louisiana elections use the majority-vote system. All candidates compete in the same primary, and a candidate can win the election outright by receiving more than 50 percent of the vote. If no candidate wins a majority of the vote, the top two vote recipients from the primary advance to the general election, regardless of their partisan affiliation.
Ballotpedia is also covering two Court of Appeals special elections and one state legislative special election in Louisiana on March 20. The state legislative special filing deadline is January 27.
For the third year in a row, Ballotpedia invited candidates to take part in our Candidate Connection initiative. The survey was open to the 29,002 federal, state, and local candidates that Ballotpedia covered in 2020. Ballotpedia received submissions from 4,745 candidates—or 16.4%—who were running for seats across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The report answers questions such as:
Which state had the highest number of respondents? Texas, with 391 candidates.
Which type of office saw the highest completion rate? Congress, 32.9% of congressional candidates completed the Candidate Connection survey.
What percentage of respondents won their election bids? 15.7% of respondents.
Ballotpedia’s 2020 Candidate Connection report includes comparisons to the 2018 and 2019 response rates, information about the surveys completed in 2020, and responses from notable candidates in 2020. Learn more by clicking the link.
Thirty (0.5%) of the 5,875 state legislative races in 2020 were decided by fewer than 100 votes. Twenty-nine of the 30 races were in state houses, and one was in a state senate.
Partisan control changed in 15 (50%) of the 30 races. Thirteen of the partisan changes (43.3% of the 30 races) were Republican pickups, and two (6.67%) were Democratic pickups. Fifteen seats did not change partisan control.
Of the 86 state legislative chambers that held elections in 2020, 14 (16.3%) had at least one race that was decided by fewer than 100 votes.
The narrowest margin in any state legislative election last November was for a seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Incumbent Timothy Fontneau (D) defeated Harrison deBree (R) by a margin of four votes.
The New Hampshire House of Representatives had 11 races decided by fewer than 100 votes—more than any other chamber. As of 2010, there were, on average, 3,291 people in each New Hampshire House district, making them the smallest state legislative districts in the country.
The Vermont House of Representatives had five races decided by fewer than 100 votes—the second-highest number after the New Hampshire House. As of 2010, there were, on average, 4,172 people in each Vermont House district, making them the second-smallest state legislative districts in the country.
Most of the races took place in districts with small population sizes compared to the rest of the country. Twenty-four races (80%) were in districts with a population of less than 25,000. Districts that size made up 26.3 percent of all state legislative districts as of 2010.
The average margin of victory in the 2020 elections for U.S. House was lower than at any point since at least 2012.
A margin of victory refers to the difference between the share of the vote received by the winning candidate and the share of the vote received by the runner-up. For example, suppose Candidate A wins an election with 55% of the vote, and Candidate B is the runner-up with 45%. In that scenario, the margin of victory would be 10 percentage points. Margins of victory can be used to measure electoral competitiveness, political party or candidate strength, and, indirectly, the popularity of a particular policy or set of policies.
In the 35 U.S. Senate elections that took place in 2020, the average margin of victory was 18.1%. This is a larger margin than the 16.8% average in the 2018 U.S. Senate elections but smaller than in any other year since 2012. Republicans had a larger average MOV in U.S. Senate elections; the average Republican election winner had a lead of 22.0 percentage points over the runner-up, compared to 12.8 percentage points for the average Democrat.
Democrats won four of the five closest U.S. Senate elections in 2020, with the closest being Jon Ossoff’s (D) 0.83 percentage point margin over incumbent David Perdue (R) in the regularly-scheduled Georgia Senate election. The closest U.S. Senate election won by a Republican was incumbent Thom Tillis’ (R) 1.75 percentage point win over Cal Cunningham (D) in North Carolina.
Republicans won four of the five elections with the widest margins of victory, with the widest margin being Cynthia Lummis’ (R) 46.09 percentage point win over Merav Ben-David (D) in Wyoming. The largest margin for a Democratic senator was incumbent Jack Reed’s (D) 33.12 percentage point win over Allen Waters (R) in Rhode Island.
In the 435 U.S. House elections that took place in 2020, the average margin of victory was 28.8%. This is down from 31.8 percentage points in 2018 and is the narrowest average margin in U.S. House elections since at least 2012. Reversing the pattern in the Senate, Democrats had a larger average margin in House elections. The average Democratic election winner had a margin of 31.5 percentage points, compared to 26.0 percentage points for the average Republican.
There were three U.S. House elections decided by margins of 500 votes or fewer. The narrowest was Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ (R) six-vote win over Rita Hart (D) in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, the closest U.S. House election since 1984. As of Jan. 15, a winner had not been declared in New York’s 22nd Congressional District, but Claudia Tenney (R) led incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D) by 29 votes. Finally, incumbent Mike Garcia (R) defeated Christy Smith (D) by 333 votes in California’s 25th Congressional District. In 2018, the closest U.S. House election was incumbent Rob Woodall’s (R) 433-vote win over Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District.
Leaving out the results of New York’s 22nd Congressional District (which is all but certain to be among the top 10 closest U.S. House elections regardless of which candidate wins), the nine other closest U.S. House races include seven Republican wins and two Democratic wins. The narrowest win by a Democrat was incumbent Tom Malinowski’s (D) 1.22 percentage point margin over Thomas Kean, Jr. (R) in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District.
Not counting elections where a candidate ran unopposed or faced only write-ins, Democrats won each of the 10 least close U.S. House elections. The widest margin in such a race was incumbent Adriano Espaillat’s (D) 83.02 percentage point margin over Lovelynn Gwinn (R) in New York’s 13th Congressional District. The widest margin of victory for a Republican member of the House was incumbent Hal Rogers’ (R) 68.42 percentage point margin over Matthew Ryan Best (D) in Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District.
In the November 2020 general election, 227 state legislative incumbents were defeated, the lowest number in any even-numbered year in the past decade. By party, those defeated incumbents include 165 Democrats, 52 Republicans, and 10 independents and members of a third party.
The 227 incumbents defeated marked a 29.5% decrease from the 322 defeated in 2018 and was 54.8% lower than the decade-high 502 incumbents defeated in the 2010 general election.
By party, a larger number of Democrats were defeated in the 2020 general election compared to Republicans. This was the fourth cycle since 2010 where the number of incumbent Democrats defeated exceeded that of Republicans. The number of incumbent Republicans defeated in general elections exceeded Democrats’ in the 2012 and 2018 state legislative elections.
The chart below shows the number of incumbents defeated in general elections since 2010 broken down by party affiliation.
Incumbents defeated in the general election represent one part of Ballotpedia’s calculation of total incumbent turnover, which measures the number of seats that will be held by newcomers in 2021. The other components of the calculation are incumbents defeated in primaries and incumbents who retired.
Incumbent turnover in 2020 reached a decade-low 1,247, meaning, overall, state legislatures will see the lowest number of newcomers since before 2010.
By party, incumbent turnover was 621 for Democrats and 626 for Republicans, the smallest gap between the two parties over the preceding decade. A greater number of Republicans were defeated in primaries than Democrats. Both Democrats and Republicans saw their lowest numbers of retirement since at least 2010 at 396 and 480, respectively.
The table below shows turnover figures from 2010 to 2020. The rightmost column shows the decade average for each metric.
For additional analyses and a full list of defeated incumbents, click here.
A special general election is being held on January 23 for District 68 of the Texas House of Representatives. Charles Gregory (D), John Berry (R), Jason Brinkley (R), Craig Carter (R), and David Spiller (R) are running in the general election. A general election runoff will be scheduled if no candidate earns at least 50% of the vote.
The seat became vacant after Drew Springer (R) won a special election for Texas State Senate District 30 on December 19, 2020. Springer was elected to the state House in 2012. He won re-election in 2020 with 85.5% of the vote.
Heading into the special election, Republicans have an 82-67 majority in the Texas House. Texas 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.
As of January, 20 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 14 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.
California voters decided 719 local ballot measures across seven different election dates in 2020.
Here are some highlights from Ballotpedia’s annual report on local ballot measures in California:
• Voters approved 62.4% percent of California’s local measures in 2020, which was 14 and 15 percentage points lower than their approval rates in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
• Bond and tax measures made up 70% of the local measures on the ballot in California.
• There were local ballot measures in every California county in 2020 but one. Los Angeles County had the most measures at 109. The median number of measures per county was nine.
• There were 191 local bond issues on ballots across California in 2020. Of that total, 182 (95.8%) were school bond issues.
• The approval rate for school bond measures in 2020 of 50.5% was the lowest in any even-numbered year since at least 2008. The average approval rate for school bond measures in even-numbered years from 2008 through 2018 was 83%.
• Local school bond measures proposed $30.7 billion in new debt. Voters approved $18.7 billion and rejected $12.0 billion.
• Voters in two cities in California approved measures to enact ranked-choice voting for city elections.
• There were eight local measures concerning law enforcement policies, police oversight, police practices, or law enforcement budgeting, not including tax measures designed to provide funding for law enforcement services. All eight measures were approved.
• Voters approved 46 (44.66%) and rejected 57 (55.34%) of the 103 parcel tax measures on the ballot. In 2018, voters approved 65% of parcel tax measures. In 2016, voters approved 64% of parcel tax measures.
• Voters approved 93 sales tax measures (71.5%) in 2020 and rejected 37 (28.5%). In 2018, voters approved 84% of sales tax measures. In 2016, voters approved 69% of sales tax measures.
California voters also decided 13 statewide ballot measures. Click here to read more about the 2020 statewide measures.
Ballotpedia covers all statewide ballot measures, all local ballot measures in the 100 largest cities in the U.S., all local ballot measures in California, and a selection of other notable measures. In 2021, Ballotpedia will also cover all state capitals outside of the nation’s 100 largest cities.
The voter registration deadline for the Rhode Island bond election to be held on March 2 is January 31. The deadline to apply for a mail ballot is February 9.
The Rhode Island legislature referred seven bond questions totaling $400 million to the ballot as part of the state budget approved in December. The ballot titles, amounts, and purposes are listed below:
• Question 1: Issues $107.3 million in bonds for the University of Rhode Island Fine Arts Center, the Rhode Island College Clarke Science Building, and the Community College of Rhode Island
• Question 2: Issues $74 million in bonds for state beaches, parks, recreational facilities, and water projects
• Question 3: Issues $65 million in bonds for building and renovating public housing projects
• Question 4: Issues $71.7 million in bonds for transportation infrastructure
• Question 5: Issues $15 million in bonds for the Early Childhood Care and Education Capital Fund
• Question 6: Issues $7 million in bonds for the Cultural Arts and the Economy Grant Program and the State Preservation Grants Program
• Question 7: Issues $60 million in bonds to fund improvements to industrial facilities infrastructure
To put a legislatively referred bond question before voters, a simple majority vote is required in both the Rhode Island State Senate and the Rhode Island House of Representatives. Between 2008 and 2020, voters in Rhode Island had decided 22 bond measures, totaling $1.3 billion in principal value. Voters approved 100 percent of the bond measures, with support ranging from 55.23 percent (Question 2 of 2010) to 83.89 percent (Question 3 of 2016). The last odd-year bond election in Rhode Island was in 1985 where nine bond measures were approved.
Voters can register online, by mailing in a voter registration form, or in person at the local board of canvassers, the board of elections, or other state agencies such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Mental Health.