Explaining Increased Contestation in the 2018 State Legislative Elections

Explaining Increased Contestation in the 2018 State Legislative Elections

By Adam S. Myers, Providence College

State legislative elections in the United States have long exhibited relatively low contestation rates. Between 2002 and 2016, for example, the percentage of state legislative seats fully contested by the two major parties in even-year elections never reached more than 63.6% and was as low as 54.6%.1 Indeed, some states always see fewer than one third of their legislative seats contested. It is not surprising that local media around the country routinely lament the low level of competition in statehouse races.

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