Note: This is an abridged version of the Tracker, for the full report click here.
Candidates for the New York State Legislature had until last Thursday to file to be on the September 13 primary ballot. With the passing of that deadline, major party candidates have now filed in all states and it is worth while looking at requirements and deadlines across the country, which are not created equal. This year 44 states will hold state legislative elections. While each state holds a primary, the amount of time between the signature filing deadline and the primary differs widely from 60 days in North Dakota all the way to 158 days in Connecticut. What this essentially means is that candidates in Connecticut have 98 days more days to campaign than those in North Dakota.
- 10 states have between 60-69 days. These account for 1,468 seats.
- 8 states with 70-79 days. These account for 1,082 seats.
- 15 states with 80-89 days. These account for 1,927 seats.
- 11 states with 90 or more days. These account for 1,502 seats.
Another major factor is what it takes to get on to the ballot. First, there are filing fees. Some states, such as Tennessee and Vermont, do not require filing fees, while in others it shoots way up. In Arkansas, for example, individual parties set the filing fees – Democrats must pay $4,500 (Senate) and $3,000 (House) while Republicans must pay $7,500 (Senate) and $3,000 (House). Another factor is the number of signatures necessary. Again, some states, including Montana and Nebraska, do not require any signatures, only fees. At the other end of the spectrum is Illinois, where major party candidates must obtain 1,000 (Senate) and 500 (House) signatures. New party and independent candidates must obtain 3,000 (Senate) and 1,500 (House) signatures.
The one thing all states have in common is candidates willing to jump through all of the required hoops in the hope of making it through to the general election and then on to the state house.
This week 2 out of 50 state legislatures – Ohio and Massachusetts – are meeting in regular session. As of May 16, all states had convened their 2012 sessions. No states are projected to adjourn this week.
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 15 special sessions in 13 states. There are no special sessions currently ongoing.
After meeting with legislative leaders last Wednesday, Governor Mark Dayton (D) announced there will be a special session to address flood relief. Tentatively scheduled for late August, a date has not yet been scheduled as state and local officials are waiting to hear how much the federal government will cover.
The special session may also address previous disasters, such as the Verso Paper Mill, which was destroyed by a fire in May, and the 2010 tornado that damaged public facilities in Wadena. Dayton has made it clear from the beginning, however, that he only wants the session to address disaster relief, something the legislature has historically come together on. That hasn’t stopped some from trying to interject divisive, partisan issues into the session.
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.
As of July 12, all signature filing deadlines have passed. There are no state legislative primaries taking place this week. So far, primaries have taken place in 24 states.
A total of 75 state legislative incumbents have been defeated in a primary – 53 Republicans and 22 Democrats.
So far in 2012 there have been 27 special elections in 11 states.
There is one special election scheduled to take place this week in South Carolina.
Glenn McConnell (R) succeeded to the office of Lieutenant Governor after Ken Ard resigned the post amid a campaign spending scandal. A special election to fill his state Senate seat will take place tomorrow. A special Republican primary was held on May 29.