Tagstate senate

Special election preview: Kentucky State Senate District 19

The special general election for Kentucky State Senate District 19 is on Feb. 21, 2023. Cassie Chambers Armstrong (D) and Misty Glin (R) are competing in the special election. The filing deadline to run passed on Jan. 3.

The special election was called after Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey (D) left office to represent Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District on Jan. 3, 2023. McGarvey served in the state Senate from 2012 to 2023. 

As of February 2023, 23 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2023 in 11 states. Between 2011 and 2021, an average of 74 special elections took place each year. Kentucky has held 27 state legislative special elections from 2010 to 2022. 

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Special primary preview: Wisconsin State Senate District 8

The special primary for Wisconsin State Senate District 8 is on Feb. 21, 2023. Jodi Habush Sinykin (D), Janel Brandtjen (R), Daniel Knodl (R), and Van Mobley (R) are competing to advance to the special general election scheduled for April 4. The filing deadline to run passed on Jan. 3.

The special election was called after Sen. Alberta Darling (R) left office to retire on Dec. 1, 2022. Darling served from 1993 to 2022. 

As of February 2023, 23 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2023 in 11 states. Between 2011 and 2021, an average of 74 special elections took place each year. Wisconsin has held 22 state legislative special elections from 2010 to 2022.  

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Rouse, Adams running in Jan. 10 special election for Virginia State Senate District 7

Aaron Rouse (D) and Kevin Adams (R) are running in the January 10, 2023, special general election for Virginia State Senate District 7. The special election was called after the previous incumbent, Sen. Jennifer Kiggans (R), resigned on November 15, 2022, after being elected to represent Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.

Rouse, a former NFL player, has been an at-large member of the Virginia Beach City Council since 2018. Rouse said, “so much is at stake in this upcoming election, from a woman’s fundamental right to choose, which I will fiercely defend, to the efforts that will set us back on voting rights, to addressing climate change, protecting the Chesapeake Bay and waterways, to criminal justice reform.” Rouse listed education as his top priority, including raising teacher salaries and expanding access to preschool. Rouse also listed the economy, healthcare, and public safety as priorities.

Adams is a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander who founded and operated a handyman business. Adams said he will “continue working to pass Governor Glenn Youngkin’s pro-veteran agenda, cut taxes, ease regulations, keep our communities safe, and make it easier for small business owners like me to get started and stay in business.” Adams’ platform includes working to improve education and workforce training, supporting veterans, lowering gas, grocery, and sales taxes, and growing “school funding while shrinking the power of left-wing idealogues.”

New state legislative maps will take effect on January 11, 2023, at the start of the new legislative session. However, this special election will take place under previous district lines. Click here to compare Virginia State Senate Districts before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle.

Democrats currently have a 21-18 majority in the state Senate (with the District 7 vacancy). According to Daily Kos’ David Nir, District 7 “has been very swingy: In 2019, Kiggans won it by less than one point, while Joe Biden carried it by 10 points the following year, only to see Youngkin prevail by 4 points in 2021.”

54.10% of state legislatures are Republican, 44.32% Democratic

At the end of September 2022, 54.10% of all state legislatures in the United States were Republicans, while 44.32% were Democrats. There are 7,383 state legislative seats in the country.

Republicans controlled 62 chambers, while Democrats held 36. The Alaska House of Representatives is the only chamber organized under a multipartisan, power-sharing coalition.

Democrats held 863 state Senate seats and 2,409 state House seats, losing one Senate seat since last month. Republicans held 1,092 state Senate seats and 2,902 state House seats, gaining two House seats since last month.

Independent or third-party legislators held 40 seats, including 33 state House seats and seven state Senate seats. There were 67 vacant state House seats and 10 vacant state Senate seats.

Compared to September 2021, Democrats have gained two state Senate seats (861 v. 863) and lost 29 state House seats (2,438 v. 2,409). Republicans have gained one state Senate seat (1,091 v. 1,092) and lost 10 state House seats (2,912 v. 2,902). 

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State senators

State representatives 

All candidates for Missouri State Senate District 26 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Missouri State Senate District 26 — John Kiehne (D) and Ben Brown (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Republican Party controls both chambers of Missouri’s state legislature. Missouri is one of 23 states with a Republican trifecta.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?            


“Education from childcare to post-secondary, General and Reproductive Healthcare, ensuring that there is Justice for ALL Missourians including women, minorities, and LGBTQ individuals, supporting and expanding Missouri’s small businesses, repairing, maintaining, and improving our state’s infrastructure, Worker’s Right including the right to organize and collectively bargain…”


“END ABUSIVE GOVERNMENT OVERREACH As a small business owner, Ben Brown saw first-hand how out of control government overreach destroyed our local economies during the COVID-19 shut downs. Ben Brown led the local fight to reopen our businesses and is now ready to fight for you in Jefferson City to make sure the unchecked power of government bureaucracies is finally reigned in.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

  1. John Kiehne
  2. Ben Brown

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

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Missouri State Senate election, 2022

Sen. Kevin Priola joins Democratic Party

Colorado Sen. Kevin Priola announced that he was leaving the Republican Party and would register as a Democrat on Aug. 22. Priola belonged to the Republican Party since 1990.

Priola was elected to District 25 on Nov. 8, 2016, as a Republican. He previously represented District 56 in the Colorado House of Representatives from 2009 to 2017. From 2009 to 2013, Priola represented House District 30, but later represented District 56 because of redistricting changes.

Priola announced his party change on Aug. 22 via statement. Of his decision to change his party affiliation, he said, “I cannot continue to be a part of a political party that is okay with a violent attempt to overturn a free and fair election and continues to peddle claims that the 2020 election was stolen…To be clear, I will not be changing the way I vote on legislation. I just simply will now cast my votes with a D next to my name instead of an R.” 

As of August 2022, Ballotpedia staff have counted 157 state legislators who have switched parties since 1994. Of the 157, 42 state senators and 115 state representatives have switched parties. Twenty-two state senators have switched from Democratic to Republican, while seven have switched from Republican to Democratic. Of the 115 state representatives, 54 have switched from Democratic to Republican, while 15 have switched from Republican to Democratic.

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Minnesota State Senator David Tomassoni dies

Minnesota State Senator David Tomassoni (I) died on Aug. 11, 2022, at Solvay Hospice. Tomassoni represented District 6 from 2001 to 2022. Prior to joining the state Senate, Tomassoni served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1991 to 2001.

Tomassoni was elected to the state Senate in 2000. At the time of his death, he was serving as senate president pro tempore. He had previously served as president of the senate in 2020. On Nov. 18, 2020, Tomassoni and Sen. Thomas Bakk announced that they were leaving the Democratic-Farmer-Labor caucus to form a new independent caucus.

Since the legislature’s session has already concluded, no special election will be called to replace Tomassoni since he had already announced he would not run for re-election. A new state senator for the district will be elected in the November election.

As of Aug. 18, Ballotpedia has identified 156 state legislators who have switched parties since 1994. Of those 156, 41 were state senators and 115 were state representatives. Tomassoni was one of eight state legislators to switch parties in 2020. Of the eight, two switched from Democratic to independent, one from Democratic to Republican, one from Republican to Libertarian, one from independent to Republican, and three from Democratic to independent. 

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Newcomers will represent at least 32% of Vermont’s state legislative seats next year

Fifty-seven state legislative seats up for election in Vermont this year are open, meaning no incumbents filed to run. This represents 32% of the state’s legislature, a marked increase compared to recent election cycles.

Since no incumbents are present, newcomers are guaranteed to win all open seats.

Vermont restructured its House and Senate during the state’s redistricting process. Previously, the state had 117 state legislative districts containing 180 seats. After redistricting, there are 125 districts, still containing 180 seats.

While the number of open seats increased this year, other competitiveness metrics—like the number of contested primaries—decreased compared to the 2020 election cycle.

Across all districts, there are 24 contested primaries, representing 10% of all possible primaries.

A contested primary is one where there are more candidates running than nominations available, meaning at least one candidate must lose.

There are 17 Democratic primaries, a 23% decrease from 2020. Republicans are holding seven contested primaries, the same number as in 2020.

Overall, 276 major party candidates filed to run for the state’s 150 House and 30 Senate seats this year: 174 Democrats and 102 Republicans.

Vermont has had a divided government since Republicans won the governorship in 2016. Democrats hold a 91-46 majority in the House, with 12 other seats held by minor party or independent officeholders and one vacancy. The party holds a 21-7 majority in the Senate, with two seats held by minor party officeholders.

Vermont’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for Aug. 9, the 12th statewide primary date of the 2022 state legislative election cycle.

Additional reading:

Vermont House of Representatives elections, 2022

Vermont State Senate elections, 2022

Primary watch: number of contested state legislative primaries is up 25% compared to 2020

There are 25% more contested state legislative primaries this year than in 2020, including 55% more Republican primaries and 8% more top-two/four primaries. Democratic primaries are down 9%.

These figures include elections in 37 states that account for 4,672 of 6,166 state legislative seats up for election this year (76%).

A primary is contested when there are more candidates running than available nominations, meaning at least one candidate must lose.

Since our last update on July 25, we have added post-filing deadline data from Minnesota. Overall, 11 states in this analysis have Democratic trifectas, 19 have Republican trifectas, and seven have divided governments.

Of the 37 states in this analysis, 34 are holding partisan primaries. Three states—California, Nebraska, and Washington—use top-two primaries.

The number of Democratic primaries has increased in 11 states, decreased in 19, and remains the same in three. The number of Republican primaries has increased in 30 states and decreased in four. The table below shows partisan statistics for the three states with the largest increases and decreases so far.

In addition to a state’s political makeup and party activity, redistricting is another reason for an increase in primary competitiveness.

After redistricting, some states—like Arkansas—hold elections for every district, while in other years, fewer districts are up each cycle. This creates more opportunities for primaries to occur. Or, like in West Virginia, redistricting creates new districts and, by extension, more primary opportunities. Currently, the total number of possible primaries affected by these changes is up 1.4% compared to 2020.

For states like New Mexico and South Carolina, where only one chamber is up for election every two years, only those chambers holding elections in 2022 that also held elections in 2020 are included.

Ballotpedia will continue to update these figures as information becomes available. In addition to this analysis, Ballotpedia collects competitiveness statistics at all levels of government, available here. This data is calculated following candidate filing deadlines and readjusted at the time of the primary to account for any changes to candidate lists.

33% of Washington state legislative incumbents face contested top-two primaries

Thirty-one of the 95 Washington state legislators who filed for re-election—22 Democrats and nine Republicans—will face contested primaries on Aug. 2. This represents 33% of incumbents who filed for re-election, lower than in 2020 but a higher rate than other recent election cycles.

Washington is one of three states holding top-two state legislative primaries this year. Under this system, all candidates appear on the same primary ballot regardless of their party affiliation and the top-two vote-getters advance to the general election.

Under this system, a primary is contested when more than two candidates file to run in the same district, at which point at least one candidate is guaranteed to lose.

Historically, however, incumbents tend to advance to the general election in Washington.

Between 2014 and 2020, 127 incumbents faced contested primaries in the state, four of whom—two Democrats and two Republicans—lost. This gives incumbents a primary win rate of 98%.

Twenty-seven incumbents are not seeking re-election this year, an increase compared to previous election cycles. This represents 18% of all seats in the Washington State Legislature.

Washington does not have term limits, meaning each of these incumbents either chose to retire or seek some other office.

Overall, 292 candidates filed to run in Washington’s top-two state legislative primaries this year: 126 Democrats, 142 Republicans, and 24 independent or minor party candidates.

All 98 House seats are up for election along with 24 of the state’s 49 Senate seats.

Washington has had a Democratic trifecta since 2017 when the party won control of the Senate in a special election. Democrats currently hold a 57-41 majority in the House and a 29-20 majority in the Senate.

Washington’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for Aug. 2, the 10th statewide primary date of the 2022 state legislative election cycle.

Additional reading:

Washington House of Representatives elections, 2022

Washington State Senate elections, 2022