While most of the political world has spent their time watching how the balance of power in the House and Senate could change, along with seeing which party comes out on top in many gubernatorial elections, state legislative races have been largely ignored. This article is here for all of the state legislative election enjoyers to use for Tuesday night. Not many chambers have the possibility of flipping, but every single one that is somewhat competitive will be outlined here in this article along with each individual district that could decide which party controls each chamber. Let’s begin.
The Minnesota House is arguably the biggest tossup chamber in any state legislature in the country this year. 68 seats are needed for a majority out of the 134 seats that are up. Since Republicans currently control 63 seats, only five flips are needed for them to flip the chamber. Take into account the competitive seats that they must hold and the GOP must win at least 11 of the 22 districts outlined below.
The competitive districts to watch in the Minnesota House are:
One last note on Minnesota’s lower chamber is that almost all of these seats (besides 3A, 7B, and 11A) are districts that Joe Biden carried, some he carried by double-digits. This shows how far the GOP believes they can reach in what should be a red leaning environment. Democrats will also be snubbed in some races as they also must contend with third party Legal Marijuana Now Party candidates who have proven to be nuisances for Minnesota Democrats before.
The Maine House is interesting as it actually has some elected Independent house members who will be running again in competitive districts. While the governor’s race has not proved to be as competitive as some expected earlier in the cycle, this chamber will determine whether Gov. Janet Mills has to work with a divided government or not. The Maine House is also one of the largest chambers in the country consisting of 151 seats. Democrats currently have 77 seats to 63 for the Republicans. There are also eight vacancies and three third party candidates.
The competitive districts to watch in the Maine House are:
Republicans must win 16 of these 30 competitive races in order to flip the chamber. These districts also show how open Mainers are to splitting the ticket. We have districts in this competitive column that range from a Biden+18 seat to a Trump+18 seat. For those interested in how an independent will do in a competitive election, district 44 is the one you should be watching.
Now let’s talk about Michigan. Michigan has always been one of the most hotly contested swing states in the last several election cycles and this cycle is no different. Along with the closely watched governor’s race, both chambers in the Michigan legislature are competitive this cycle. Republicans currently control the state house just barely with 56 seats out of 110. This means that Democrats only have to flip three seats in order to win control of the chamber.
The competitive districts to watch in the Michigan House are:
Out of these 19 seats, Democrats would need to win 16 to win control of the chamber or 15 to have an even 55-55 split. Many of these districts are districts that Joe Biden won by double digits in 2020 but MI Democrats would also have to target districts that were evenly split between Trump and Biden along with a handful of single digit Trump seats. Not an impossible task but it will likely be a heavier lift in this supposed red leaning environment.
The Michigan Senate, on the other hand, is a true tossup. It takes 20 seats to hold a majority and 19 to get an even split. While there aren’t as many competitive races here as the house, these races have attracted a lot more attention and a lot more money.
The competitive districts to watch in the Michigan Senate are:
Democrats must win at least four of these seats in order to win the majority and three to tie the chamber. What complicates this for Michigan Democrats is that only one of these districts (SD-14) is a district that Biden won by double digits. All other seats are low single digit Biden seats, evenly split, or low single digit Trump seats.
Finally we have the Oregon Senate. Oregon surprised everyone this cycle as the gubernatorial race ended up being much more competitive than initially expected. What makes this even more wild is that Oregon, a state Biden won by 16 points, could not only have a Republican governor, but also a Republican controlled state senate.
The competitive districts to watch in the Oregon Senate are:
Republicans need to win at least three of these seats in order to get the 16 seats needed for a majority. It seems very doable on paper but what complicates this path is that almost all of these districts are Biden double-digit seats. The only that’s not is SD-11, which Biden won by 9 points. Republicans are praying that the top of the ticket can do well enough to help these down ballot Rs in their pursuit at flipping the upper chamber.
All of the chambers I have outlined above are the most competitive chambers in the country that have the highest likelihood of flipping. There are a few chambers I’d like to give “honorable mentions” to. These chambers could flip but are either heavier lifts or are just too sporadic to be able to reasonably predict the outcome.
These chambers are:
- Nevada’s House
- Colorado’s House
- Oregon’s House
- Washington’s House
- New Hampshire’s House
- Minnesota’s Senate
So there you have it. A comprehensive list of the legislative chambers to watch and each individual district that could change control of the chamber. I know that most attention will be on the federal races and gubernatorial contests but these local races are extremely important. They likely impact your life more than most federal representatives can, too. Now all that’s left to do is just wait and see what happens.