Tagstate houses

Special election primary to be held in New Hampshire House district

A special election primary is being held on Oct. 19 for the Rockingham 6 District of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Thomas Cardon, Jodi Nelson, and Neil Wetherbee are running for the Republican nomination. Mary Eisner is unopposed in the Democratic primary. The general election is taking place on Dec. 7, and the winner of the special election will serve until December 2022.

The seat became vacant on Aug. 5 after Anne Copp (R) moved out of the district. Copp had represented the district since Jan. 2021.

Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 207-187 majority in the New Hampshire House with six vacancies. New Hampshire 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 October, 64 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 21 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. New Hampshire held 29 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

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Democrats outraise Republicans by 154% in Virginia state legislative races

New campaign finance filings for Virginia state legislative races show Democrats leading Republicans in fundraising. Between January 1, 2020, and August 31, 2021, Democratic candidates outraised Republican candidates by 154 percent.

Heading into the general elections, 103 Democratic candidates raised $28.74 million compared to $11.31 million raised by 103 Republicans.

In the Democratic party, the top fundraisers in the most recent reporting period were:

In the Republican party, the top fundraisers in the most recent reporting period were:

The candidates who raised the most money were incumbent Jerrauld Jones (D) in House District 89 ($2,330,659), incumbent S. Rasoul (D) in House District 11 ($2,069,106), and incumbent Eileen Filler-Corn (D) in House District 41 ($1,353,025).

State legislative general elections are held on November 2, 2021. In some cases, party nominees may have been chosen earlier.

Democrats have a 21-19 majority in the Virginia State Senate and a 55-45 majority in the Virginia State House.

Campaign finance requirements govern how much money candidates may receive from individuals and organizations, how much and how often they must report those contributions, and how much individuals, organizations, and political parties may contribute to campaigns. All campaign financial transactions must be made through the candidate’s committee. Campaign committees are required to file regular campaign finance disclosure reports with the Virginia Department of Elections.

This article was published in partnership with Transparency USA. Click here to learn more about that partnership.



Special elections to be held in Texas House districts

Special elections are being held on Sept. 28 for District 10 and District 118 of the Texas House of Representatives. The winner of these special elections will serve until January 2023.

  • In District 10, Republicans Brian Harrison and John Wray are running in a general election runoff. Harrison and Wray advanced from the general election on Aug. 31, earning 40.5% and 35.8% of the vote, respectively. The seat became vacant after Jake Ellzey (R) won a special election to Texas’ 6th Congressional District on July 27. Ellzey had represented the district since January 2021.
  • In District 118, Katie Farias (D), Desi Martinez (D), Frank Ramirez (D), John Lujan (R), and Adam Salyer (R) are running in the general election. A runoff will be called if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote. The seat became vacant on Aug. 19 after Leo Pacheco (D) resigned to teach public administration at San Antonio College. Pacheco had represented the district since 2019.

Heading into the special elections, Republicans have an 82-66 majority in the Texas House with two vacancies. 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 September, 60 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 20 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Texas held 28 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

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Special election to be held in Iowa state House district on Sept. 14

A special election is being held on Sept. 14 to fill a vacant seat in District 37 in the Iowa House of Representatives. Andrea Phillips (D) and Mike Bousselot (R) are running in the special election. Both candidates were selected to run in the special election by their respective political parties in conventions. The winner of the special election will serve until January 2023.

This Polk County-based House seat became vacant on July 29 after John Landon (R) died. He had served in the state House since 2013. He won re-election in 2020 by defeating Phillips with 53.1% of the vote.

Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 58-41 majority in the Iowa state House with one vacancy. Iowa 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 September 2021, 59 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 20 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Iowa held 22 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

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Christine Goodwin assumes office as Oregon state Representative

Christine Goodwin (R) assumed office as the representative for District 2 in the Oregon State House on Aug. 25. Commissioners from Douglas, Josephine, and Jackson counties appointed Goodwin to the seat on Aug. 12. The seat became vacant in July when former state Rep. Gary Leif (R) died of cancer. Goodwin will serve the remainder of Leif’s term, which was set to expire in January 2023.

At the time she was appointed, Goodwin worked as an administrator of the private optometry practice owned by her and her husband. Goodwin served as interim Douglas County Commissioner in 2018 and is a former member of the South Umpqua School Board.

Oregon is one of seven states that fill state legislative vacancies through board of county commissioners appointments. 

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Special election to be held in Texas House district

A special election is being held on Aug. 31 for District 10 of the Texas House of Representatives. The candidate filing deadline was Aug. 12. Pierina Otiniano (D), Kevin Griffin (R), Brian Harrison (R), Susan Hayslip (R), Clark Wickliffe (R), John Wray (R), Matt Savino (L), and Scott Goodwin (I) are running in the general election. A general election runoff will be scheduled if no candidate earns at least 50% of the vote. The winner will serve until January 2023.

The District 10 seat became vacant after Jake Ellzey (R) won a special election to Texas’ 6th Congressional District on July 27. Ellzey had represented District 10 since January 2021.

Heading into the special election, Republicans have an 82-67 majority in the Texas House with one vacancy. 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 August, 51 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 18 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Texas held 28 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

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Texas House lacks quorum as second special session begins

On August 7, 2021, the Texas House of Representatives began a new 30-day special session without a quorum. The chamber has been without a quorum since July 12 when enough Democrats left the state during consideration of House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 1 to break quorum. At least 50 members of the Democratic caucus went to Washington, D.C., where they held meetings with members of Congress about federal voting legislation.

This is the second special session to convene following the closure of the regular session on May 30. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced this new special session on August 5, one day before the first special session ended. He called the first special session in June after Democratic legislators walked out in opposition to similar legislation on May 30. Abbott vetoed funding for legislative salaries on June 21.

According to CBS News, at least 26 Democrats of the initial 50 that left in June were expected to stay in Washington, D.C. through the end of the special session. State Rep. Eddie Lucio (D), who returned to Texas, said he expected enough of the caucus to return to Austin to have a quorum within a week.

The chamber is unable to conduct official business without a quorum, which requires two-thirds of the chamber’s 150 members to be present. Republicans hold 82 seats in the chamber, meaning they would need at least 18 Democrats to achieve a quorum.



Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton resigns from New Mexico House of Representatives

Representative Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D) resigned on July 30 following allegations of racketeering and money laundering. In July 2021, a federal grand jury subpoena was served on the Albuquerque Public Schools district where Stapleton was working as the district’s director of career and technical education.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the investigation was triggered by a mislabeled invoice and persistent inquiries from the Albuquerque Public Schools business office questioning Stapleton’s relationship with contractor Robotics Management Learning System LLC. Documents say the contractor was paid more than $5 million since 2006 and that more than $950,000 of that was funneled to the two businesses and two nonprofits with ties to Stapleton.

In her resignation letter, Stapleton denied the allegations. She said, “In short, because I must devote a significant amount of time and energy to fully defend against these allegations, I believe it is in the best interest of this state and the House of Representatives that my position as both a member of the House of Representatives and Majority Floor Leader be replaced with a representative who can fully and competently resume the tasks and duties that are necessary to continue serving this great state.”

Stapleton was first elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives to represent District 19 in 1994. 

As of August 2021, there have been 78 vacancies in 35 state legislatures. Fifty of those vacancies have been filled. Stapleton’s resignation is New Mexico’s second state legislative vacancy this year; the first was Melanie Ann Stansbury (D), who left the state House when she won the special election to represent New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District.

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Douglas Peters resigns from Maryland Senate on July 30

Maryland Sen. Douglas Peters (D) resigned from his position in the Maryland Senate on July 30. Peters, who represented District 23, first assumed office in 2007, and was subsequently re-elected three times. 

Peters had announced his resignation at the beginning of July, following his appointment to the University of Maryland’s Board of Regents by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R). In a statement, Peters called it “an honor of a lifetime to serve my neighbors at the city, county, and state level,” and that he looked forward “to serving on the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.”

Peters’ departure from the state Senate leaves a vacancy in his district that will be filled by appointment. The appointee will serve until the district is up for election at next year’s midterms. The state Senate’s partisan composition is 31 Democrats, 15 Republicans, and one vacancy. While both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly are under Democratic control, the governor of Maryland is Republican, preventing a Democratic trifecta.

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