Posted by: jamesvw | August 29, 2011

State Legislative Elections 2011 – A Review

State Legislative Elections 2011 – A Review

Four states are holding regularly scheduled state legislature elections this year. Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia. Republicans currently control both houses in Louisiana, the State Senate in Mississippi and the State House in Virginia. Therefore Democrats control both chambers in New Jersey as well as the State House in Mississippi and the State Senate in Virginia. The latter two are tenuous and Republicans will be looking to capture the chambers.

Thanks to the incredible site Ballotpedia for information on these races


In the State Senate, Republicans hold a 22-17 majority. In the House, the split is 55R-46D with 4 independents.

Since Louisiana has term limits, six State Senators and eight House members are not allowed to run again. Primaries will be held on October 22nd. Candidate lists will be finalized on September 8.


It has been much discussed that this year may be when Republicans capture the State House of Representatives for the first time since Reconstruction. Currently, Democrats hold a 68-54 majority in the chamber but with the solidifying conservative control of all other aspects of government in the state, it seems to be a distinct possibility. 16 members are retiring and Republicans have targeted 21 Democratic seats in their quest to win a net gain of 8 seats.

In the State Senate, it looks like Republicans can add to their 27-24 seat advantage.


In probably the most watched set of legislative contests, Republicans will be gunning to take over three Senate seats and flip the chamber in this swing state. This would give the party the trifecta (including the governor and the State House) heading into a presidential election year and a heavy-hitting federal Senate race. Currently, the chamber is 22 Democrats and 18 Republicans.

In the House, it is sure to be less exciting as Republicans hold a twenty seat advantage, 59-39, with two independents as well.

New Jersey

This state has a strange system. The state is split into 40 legislative districts, for which each elects one state senator. However, the top two vote-getters for State Representative in the same district go to the State House as well. So local voters get to choose three legislators instead of the traditional two (in this case, a State Senator and two State Reps.)

Democrats hold a 24-16 advantage in the Senate and 47-33 advantage in the State House of Reps. As you can see on the numbers, it is unusual for a legislative district to split its votes. There is only one district currently, the pre-census district 3, that had one Republican incumbent and one Democratic incumbent. Hence, nearly a doubling of the number of Democrats in the State House as they hold in the State Senate.


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