Tagstate senate

Burgess defeats Lewis in special election for Florida State Senate District 20

Daniel Burgess (R) defeated Kathy Lewis (D) in the special general election for Florida State Senate District 20 on November 3. Burgess secured 54.9% of the vote to Lewis’s 45.1%. 

The special election was called after Tom Lee (R) announced his retirement, effective Nov. 3. Lee served from 2016 to 2020. 

Ballotpedia identified the Florida State Senate as a battleground chamber in the 2020 election. Democrats needed to gain four seats to overcome the 23-17 Republican majority. As of November 6, Democrats had not gained any seats, with one race remaining to be called in the chamber.

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. 

As of November, 59 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2020 in 27 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year. Florida held 24 state legislative special elections from 2010 to 2019.

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Republicans flip legislature and gain trifecta control in New Hampshire

Republicans are projected to flip control of New Hampshire’s state Senate and House to gain trifecta control of the state. A state government trifecta occurs when one political party holds the governorship, a majority in the state senate, and a majority in the state house in a state’s government.

Heading into the election, New Hampshire had been under a divided government since 2019, when Democrats flipped the state Senate and House. Before 2019, New Hampshire had been governed by a Republican trifecta since 2017, when Gov. Chris Sununu (R) was elected.

New Hampshire is the second state Republicans flipped from divided power to trifecta control. They gained trifecta control in Montana after Greg Gianforte (R) defeated Mike Cooney (D) in the governor’s race. If Republicans pick up a net of two trifectas, the country would have 23 Republican-held trifectas, 15 Democratic-held trifectas, and 12 divided governments.

Eighty-six state legislative chambers held elections in 2020. Ballotpedia identified seven states as potential trifecta pickups.

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State legislative special election runoffs to be held in Mississippi October 13

Special election runoffs are being held on October 13 for two seats in the Mississippi State Senate and two seats in the Mississippi House of Representatives. General elections took place in each district on September 22, with the top two candidates advancing to the runoff. Candidates in Mississippi state legislative special elections run without party labels on the ballot.

* In Senate District 15, Joyce Meek Yates and Bart Williams are running in the general election runoff. The seat became vacant after Gary Jackson (R) resigned on June 30. Johnson cited health concerns in his announcement that he would be retiring. He had represented District 15 since 2004.

* In Senate District 39, Jason Barrett and Bill Sones are running in the general election runoff. The seat became vacant on July 15 after Sally Doty (R) was appointed as the executive director of the Mississippi Public Utilities Staff. Doty had represented District 39 since 2012.

* In House District 37, David Chism and Lynn Wright are running in the general election runoff. The seat became vacant after the resignation of Gary Chism (R) on June 30. Chism suffered a stroke in 2017 and said that serving in the state House had become more difficult since then. He also cited his wife’s health concerns as a reason for his resignation. Chism had represented District 37 since 2000.

* In House District 66, Bob Lee Jr. and De’Keither Stamps are running in the general election runoff. The seat became vacant on July 2 after Jarvis Dortch (D) resigned to accept a position as executive director of the Mississippi chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. He had represented District 66 since 2016.

Mississippi legislators are elected to four-year terms, and elections are held in odd-numbered years. All seats in the state Senate and state House are up for election again on November 7, 2023.

Mississippi 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. Republicans control the state Senate by a 34-16 margin with two vacancies and the state House by a 73-45 margin with one independent member and three vacancies.

As of October, 59 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2020 in 27 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

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