What's At Stake: Overview | Governor | Senate | House | Ballot Measures | State Legislatures
What's At Stake: State Legislatures
Every state but two -- Virginia and Louisiana -- has state legislative elections in 1998. Mississippi and New Jersey only have special elections. More than 6,000 state legislative seats of the nation's 7,424 will be decided on November 3. All of the state House seats are up in 46 states, but only 17 states have all of their state Senate seats up for re-election.
Going into the 1998 election, Democrats control both chambers in 20 states and Republicans in 19 states. Ten states have split control. Nebraska is a unicameral legislature. The number of legislatures where control is split between the parties has grown since 1984.
Republicans have made gains in the state legislatures during the 1990s. Prior to the 1990s, the Democrats had a built-in advantage in partisan control of state legislatures because of their dominance in the South. The Republican sweep in 1994 gave the GOP control of both chambers in 19 states, the highest number since 1968. Democrats controlled their largest number of state legislatures after the post-Watergate election of 1974.
A switch of four seats in at least one chamber in 30 states could change party control on November 3, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since redistricting is right around the corner after the 2000 census and the state legislatures and governor control redrawing the district lines, the battle for party control in these states is particularly important in 1998.
Projections suggest that states in the Midwest and Northeast will lose congressional districts in the next reapportionment and the West and South will gain seats.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the 36 chambers in play are: