State Legislative Tracker: Projections show twelve legislative chambers are toss-ups

Aug 6 2012

Edited by Greg Janetka
This week’s tracker features a look at Ballotpedia‘s recently released projections for the November 6, 2012 elections.SLP badge.jpg

Note: This is an abbreviated version of the Tracker. For the full version, click here.


Weekly highlight

On August 1, Ballotpedia released a new report on projected outcomes of the 123 State Executive, State Senate and State House elections. This set of projections, the first of four, seeks to indicate which races to watch, and which parties might have more to lose or gain from the election. Expected outcome is displayed in 1 of 7 classifications.

Going into the elections, Democrats hold 36 state legislative chambers up for election, while Republicans hold 59.

According to Ballotpedia’s projections:

  • 12 are Toss-up
  • 8 Lean or Likely Democrat
  • 19 Lean or Likely Republican
  • 17 Safe Democrat
  • 29 Safe Republican

See Ballotpedia:Statewide projections for the November 6, 2012 elections for full projections. In addition to more detailed information on the races above, the projections include an analysis of State executive races and Trifectas (when one political party holds the governorship and both chambers in a state) as well as an aggregation of various projections about Congressional races made by other organizations.

Ballotpedia’s next set of projections will be released September 1, 2012, with updates on October 1 and November 1.


This week 2 out of 50 state legislaturesOhio and California – are meeting in regular session, while Massachusetts is meeting in informal session, which it will continue to do throughout the rest of the year. As of May 16, all states had convened their 2012 sessions. No states are projected to adjourn this week.

Thirty-eight states have adjourned for the year, while four states – Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Texas – will not hold regular sessions in 2012.

Special sessions

In 2011, special sessions were a widespread occurrence in state legislatures. This was largely due to states’ having to complete the redistricting process for legislative and congressional districts. Overall in 2011, there were 45 special sessions in 28 states.

Since the beginning of 2012, there have been 16 special sessions in 13 states. There are no special sessions currently ongoing.

In recess

As of today, August 6, 6 state’s sessions are currently in recess.

2012 Legislative Elections

A total of 86 of the 99 chambers will hold state legislative elections on November 6, 2012.

1,301 (65.97%) of the country’s 1,972 state senate seats are up for election in November 2012, and 4,714 (87.12%) of the country’s 5,411 state house seats are up for election. Altogether, 6,015 (81.47%) of the country’s 7,383 state legislative seats will be up for election during the presidential election year.

  • 43 of the 50 state senates are holding elections.
  • 43 of the 49 state houses are holding elections.

The 6,015 seats up for election is 110 fewer than the 6,125 that were contested in 2010.

Filing deadlines

See also: Signature requirements and deadlines for 2012 state government elections and 2012 Elections preview: Comparing state legislative filing deadlines

As of July 12, all signature filing deadlines have passed.


See also: 2012 election dates

There are state legislative primaries taking place this week in Kansas, Missouri, Michigan, Washington, and Hawaii.

A total of 103 state legislative incumbents have been defeated in a primary – 71 Republicans and 32 Democrats.

So far, primaries have taken place in 26 states.

Special elections

See also: State legislative special elections, 2012

So far in 2012 there have been 29 special elections in 12 states.

There is one special election scheduled to take place this week in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Senate District 40

Jane Orie (R) was convicted of 14 criminal counts on March 26, including five felony counts, relating to the use of state resources for campaign purposes. She officially resigned on May 21. Two and a half years remain in her four-year Senate term. A special election to replace her has been scheduled for August 7, 2012.