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HomeIllinois NewsEight percent fewer candidates are running for state legislative office in 2020...

Eight percent fewer candidates are running for state legislative office in 2020 versus 2018




Ballotpedia's 10th Annual State Legislative Competitiveness Report analyzes all 5,875 state legislative elections that will take place in November 2020.

According to the report, the number of major party candidates running for state legislatures is down 8.2% this year compared to 2018. 12,280 candidates are seeking state legislative office this year, a 1,109-candidate decrease from 13,389 in 2018, returning to levels similar to the 2016 elections.

The decrease in candidates is accompanied by an overall decrease in competitiveness from 2018, with lower rates of open seats, incumbents in contested primaries, and seats with major party competition. 2020 also has lower rates of open seats and incumbents in contested primaries compared to 2016, but the percentage of seats with major party competition increased resulting in a higher level of competitiveness in 2020. Overall, competitiveness in 2020 is slightly above average compared to all even-year elections since 2010.

Key findings of this analysis include:

  • 85.0% of incumbents are seeking re-election, the highest percentage in a decade.
  • 79.6% of incumbents are advancing to the general election without a primary challenge, an increase from 78.1% in 2018.
  • 35.2% of state legislative seats will be contested by only one major party candidate, an increase from 33.2% in 2018.



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