Our state legislative forecast here at CNalysis actually precedes this site and business. In September of last year, I approached cinyc9 to ask for directions on how to make a map in mapbox so I could lay out my 2020 state legislative predictions, rather than having them in image format. After several tries of trying to teach me how to use the application, I asked if he’d be interested in just making the map himself, since he was far more experienced. He kindly agreed to help.
This effort of predicting 5,240 state legislative districts this year has been the second biggest project I’ve ever taken on, with the creation of CNalysis itself being the first. I cast 2018 predictions for 4,880 state legislative districts, but did not put nearly as much effort into them as I have put into my 2020 predictions. I’m very excited to share our final forecast for state legislative elections across the country with you all today, with, as always, the odds of supermajorities, majorities, and ties calculated by Jackson Martin, our oddsmaker. Read his methodology here.
We will be providing a synopsis on the battle for state legislatures in every state with a chamber up this year. Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana are the only states this year that do not have a state legislative chamber up for grabs in the 2020 cycle.
In our final state legislative forecast, we have Democrats favored to flip 6 state legislative chambers: the Minnesota Senate, the Arizona House, the Arizona Senate, the Iowa House, the Michigan House, and the Texas House, in that order of likelihood. Republicans, meanwhile, are favored to flip the Alaska House.
The most competitive chambers on Tuesday (in a Tilt column) are in the states of Iowa, Michigan, Texas, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, all critical swing states in the Electoral College.
Nationwide, Democrats are favored to have a net gain of 123 single-member state legislative districts in our forecast: a net gain of 77 seats in the lower chambers and 46 seats in the upper chambers. When including multi member districts, it is likely that this number will be slightly higher due to the amount of multi-member districts in Vermont and New Hampshire where it appears Democrats will make gains. Democrats are also likely to make gains in Arizona’s entirely multi-member-district lower chamber. Republicans may net a few seats in the multi-member district chambers in West Virginia, North Dakota and South Dakota, but not enough to cancel out the seats that Democrats will likely gain in New England and Arizona.
The Alaska House of Representatives is a unique state legislative chamber. It flipped in 2014, a Republican year, and became controlled by a majority coalition of Democrats, Independents and a few Republicans. Republicans did manage to flip the chamber in 2018 after a single vote in the 1st district in Fairbanks decided control, but the majority coalition reformed not long after the legislative session started. Now it looks like the chamber is going to flip control again, thanks to Republicans defeating majority coalition members in primaries and the remaining members indicating that they plan on joining the regular Republican caucus in 2021.
Democrats and Independents may be able to prevent a Republican majority if they can pick up enough seats in the Anchorage suburbs as well as the Fairbanks seat they lost by a single vote in 2018. Right now they’re favored to flip two seats in Anchorage, but that’s not enough to prevent an outright Republican majority. This is assuming that State Rep. Louise Stutes, who may be on the fence, joins the rest of her party. Overall, Republicans are slight favorites to flip the chamber: there’s a 54.1% chance of a Republican majority and a 0.5% chance of a Republican supermajority.
The Alaska State Senate is far less competitive than the lower chamber: there’s a 98.2% chance of a Republican majority and only a 1.8% chance of a tied chamber. Republicans are playing defense in three seats: two in Anchorage and one in Fairbanks. They’re at least slightly favored in each.
Democrats look like they will break the Republican trifecta in Arizona this year, primarily due to their effective strategy of fielding only 1 candidate in critical two-member seats in the lower chamber, and being slight favorites in 3 seats in State Senate seats around Phoenix. The odds of the lower chamber flipping, while we do not present them since we do not give district-by-district analysis of multi member districts, are slightly higher than the odds of a flip in the upper chamber.
In 2018, Democrats picked up a few seats in the lower chamber and came up only 2 seats short of a majority. However, none of the districts flipped in the upper chamber, and Democrats remained 3 seats short of a majority. Democrats seemed to have learned their lesson in the lower chamber in 2018, and look like they’re in a moderately strong position there.
We predict both chambers will flip, either by an outright Democratic majority or a tied chamber (which results in a power-sharing agreement), with both the Senate and House being rated as Lean D in our forecast.
While the Arkansas state legislative chambers both remain Safe Republican in our ratings, Democrats have about a 50/50 shot of breaking the Republican supermajority in the House of Representatives. This is primarily due to their competitiveness in the Little Rock suburban seats, which Republicans narrowly held in 2018. Republicans can offset a loss or two in the area (with the most likely loss being in the 32nd district) since they are the heavy favorite in the 9th district, where incumbent Democrat LeAnne Burch has been lucky enough to never have a Republican run against her. That’s changed this year, and it’s very likely she will lose given the predominantly white, rural, conservative district that she represents.
The State Senate is only bad news for Democrats. In the 26th district, incumbent Democrat Eddie Cheatham is the most endangered incumbent in any state legislative district in the country this year. Cheatham narrowly held on in 2012, a far different year for conservative, rural area Democrats, and faced oddball candidate Elvis Presley (L) in 2016. He’s in a Safe Republican race now that a regular Republican candidate who is out fundraising him is running.
Republicans are also slightly favored to pick up another Southern Arkansas seat in the chamber in the 12th district, where incumbent Democrat Bruce Maloch, who has never faced any opposition, is running for re-election in a very conservative district he’s represented since 2012. Republicans would be heavier favorites in this district if their candidate didn’t apparently dress up as a Klan member in high school. We still see the Republican candidate, Charles Beckham, as a favorite despite this given how Republican-friendly the district is.
Democrats have an opportunity in the Little Rock suburbs in the 34th district, but it’s an uphill battle in a district that will only flip if there’s a massive suburban slide for Republicans nationwide. We are confident that this chamber will continue to have a Republican supermajority.
Democrats dropped the ball earlier this year in a California Assembly district in Santa Clarita when two Republicans advanced in the top-two primary. This district, which CA-25 Democratic nominee Christy Smith flipped in 2018, gives Republicans a free pickup. However, we have Democrats as a slight favorite in the open 72nd Assembly district in Orange County, so it’s well within the realm of possibility that they could offset the Republicans’ free seat.
The State Senate looks a bit less grim for Democrats, with the expansion of their supermajority being quite likely. Republicans are playing defense in 4 seats in Southern California, and Democrats are favored to flip 2 of them. Democrat Josh Newman is the heavy favorite in the 29th district, and Democrat Dave Min is the slight favorite in the race for the 37th State Senate district.
Democrats will continue to hold their supermajorities in both chambers handily.
Democrats look like they will continue to grow their majorities in both the lower and upper chambers in Colorado.
They’re moderate favorites in an open Republican-held seat in the 27th State Senate district in the Denver suburbs of Centennial. They also look like slight favorites to flip the 25th State Senate district, also in the Denver suburbs, which flipped to Republicans in 2016. They’re certain to hold their majority in the upper chamber, which they flipped in 2018. They could also pull off an upset in the 8th district in Eastern Colorado, which is predominantly rural but winnable for Democrats: Jared Polis (D) carried the seat in his 2018 gubernatorial bid.
In the lower chamber, they’re heavy favorites to flip a basically open seat in the Denver suburbs in Littleton/Columbine Valley, where an appointed Republican is struggling to keep the seat that Democrats narrowly lost in 2018. If there’s a large enough suburban slide, Democrats could also flip one or two seats around the Denver suburbs. If they flip those two seats and the one they’re already favored in, they’ll have a supermajority in the chamber.
Earlier in the year, Republicans had a slim chance at winning each of the chambers in Connecticut thanks to their down ballot strength, but as the environment worsened for Republicans nationally, their chances of flipping either chamber diminished and both of them were pushed into the Safe Democratic category.
Now Democrats look like they’ll have a single-digit net gain in the lower chamber and an augmentation to their majority, as well as an expansion of their numbers in the State Senate by 2 or even 3 seats, entering supermajority territory. If Republicans can hold off Democrats in a district they’re slightly favored to lose in our forecast, the 17th State Senate district, they can prevent a supermajority for Democrats in the chamber. This is assuming that they also hold the highly competitive seats in the 20th and 35th State Senate districts, which we see them as slight favorites in.
It was close to the beginning of the Trump presidency that Republicans had a decent shot at flipping the Delaware Senate. After a special election and the 2017 midterms, that possibility evaporated. Now, Democrats are strongly positioned to create a supermajority in the chamber, as they’re favored to flip two seats in the Wilmington suburbs.
In our forecast, Democrats are also slightly favored to flip two more seats in the Wilmington suburbs in the lower chamber, which would expand the supermajority they already have.
Democrats have a small chance of flipping the Florida House and an even smaller chance of getting to tie in the Florida Senate. We predict that Democrats will hold all of their current seats that are up this year, and will pick up 5 seats in the House: one in Daytona Beach, another in the Orlando suburbs, one in Tampa, and two in southern Florida. We also predict that Democrats will flip two seats in the upper chamber, one north of Orlando and another in southern Florida. This puts them a few seats short of a House majority, and one seat short of a tie in the Senate.
Democrats at the top of the ticket, particularly Joe Biden, are running campaigns that will help Democrats pick up quite a few seats in the state legislative chambers. Will it be enough to get a majority in either of them? Likely not.
In the House, we have Democrats favored to pick up 9 seats, just 7 seats shy of a majority. Most of these seats are in the Atlanta suburbs. The majority-maker seats are situated in the northern Atlanta suburbs in seats that handily voted for Brian Kemp in 2018, which are rated as Likely R. It’s because of this that the chamber is Safe Republican in our ratings and the odds of a Democratic tie or majority are quite low: just a 4.3% chance of a tie and a 3.5% chance of a Democratic majority.
The State Senate still shows a 100% chance of a GOP majority, although Democrats are slightly favored to increase their numbers in the chamber as they are slightly favored to flip some seats.
The state of Hawai’i is slowly becoming a one-party state. Democrats are heavily favored to flip a seat in the lower chamber in Kailua due to the retirement of a popular Republican incumbent, and they are slightly favored to take away the only seat Republicans have in the upper chamber in Ewa Beach, which Republicans narrowly won in a 2018 special election most likely due to the Democratic candidate getting caught stealing his opponents’ campaign lit. Now, a comparably non-controversial Democratic state representative, Rita Cabanilla, is running to flip this seat, and we believe she’s the slight favorite to do so.
The Republican supermajorities in both of Idaho’s state legislatures are certainly going to remain intact after Tuesday. We do think, however, that the supermajority in the House will slightly decrease, as we have Democrats favored to flip a House seat in Northeast Idaho. There’s not much competition in the state legislatures in this overwhelmingly red state, but there will be competitive races there as well as in Boise and Pocatello.
Mike Madigan, the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, has his sights set on expanding his supermajority in the lower chamber by getting to at least 80 seats out of the 118 in the chamber. Our forecast believes he will be successful, as we have Democrats favored to flip 7 seats in the Chicago suburbs and a seat next to Rockford, while losing a seat in downstate Illinois near St. Louis.
The most likely pickup is HD-42, where Republican incumbent Amy Grant was recorded saying racist and homophobic remarks about her opponent. The second most likely pickup is HD-66, where incumbent Republican Allen Skillicorn didn’t truly begin campaigning until recently and is failing to play catch-up. The rest of the Democratic pickups are in the “Tilt” category, and can be organized in any order of likelihood of flipping.
In the upper chamber, Democrats are moderate favorites to flip an open seat in the Chicago suburbs, and they’re defending two seats in which they’re heavily favored.
Indiana looks like one of the few states where Republicans will have a net gain in total state legislative seats. Republicans are very slightly favored to pick up two districts in the lower chamber, though Democrats are moderately favored to pick up a seat north of Indianapolis in the upper chamber. Democrats can offset the projected Republican gains by either retaining the seats they’re slight underdogs in or pick up seats around Indianapolis. Both chambers are Safe Republican.
The Iowa House has been one of the most competitive chambers throughout the 2020 election cycle, primarily thanks to the equitable map drawn by a gold-standard independent redistricting commission. We have Democrats as slight favorites to flip the chamber.
Democrats are heavily favored to flip the only Hillary Clinton-carried district held by a Republican, HD-67 in Cedar Rapids. This seat was left open when Ashley Hinson (R), the incumbent, decided to run for IA-01 this year instead.
They are slight favorites to flip 4 districts: HD-55 in the northeast, HD-82 in the southeast, HD-37 in the Des Moines suburbs, and HD-16 in Council Bluffs.
If Republicans keep the majority, it will run through keeping 2 of these seats in which they’re slight underdogs and flipping the open seat in HD-64, near Waterloo. This is a seat that is trending in their direction and was left open by incumbent Democrat Bruce Bearinger earlier this year.
The State Senate will almost certainly have a net gain for Democrats, but not enough for a tied chamber or a Democratic majority. Democrats are heavily favored to flip an open seat in the Des Moines area and slight favorites to win another seat in the area in the northern suburbs. In the Southeast, Democrats are also slight favorites to flip an open seat where former State Senator Tom Courtney (D) is making a comeback bid. However, Republicans are slightly favored to flip the adjacent district, SD-42, where incumbent Democrat Rich Taylor (who held on by the skin of his teeth in 2016) is running for re-election in a district becoming increasingly hostile to Democrats.
The remaining competitive races are in Republican territory, with the most competitive being in Council Bluffs, rated as Tilt Republican in our ratings.
It’s a given that Republicans will keep control of both chambers in Kansas. What is less certain this cycle is whether or not Republicans can keep their supermajorities, which they haven’t been shy about expressing their intent to gerrymander the state with. In our forecast, however, Democrats are slightly favored to break both supermajorities: there’s a 63.3% chance of breaking the House supermajority and a 60.5% chance of breaking the Senate supermajority.
The Kansas City metro area bolsters these odds, as Democrats are favored to flip four State Senate seats in the area as well as 3 State House seats. In the Wichita area, Democrats are slightly favored to flip a State Senate seat, but they are also slight underdogs in one of their own State House seats.
The best chamber this year for Republicans will be the Kentucky House of Representatives. Because of a lot of retirements from conservative Democrats in the predominantly rural districts that all voted for Matt Bevin (R) in the 2019 gubernatorial election, Republicans will expand their numbers in the chamber. Democrats may be able to whittle down the Republican net gain in the lower chamber by flipping seats in the Lexington and Louisville suburbs, as well as carrying a seat in Richmond, but there will be a Republican supermajority regardless.
Democrats are also on the defensive in the State Senate as well, defending two highly competitive districts: one in Eastern Kentucky and another in Frankfort. We think they’re pretty decent favorites to hold the Frankfort seat, but they are at high risk of losing the seat in Eastern Kentucky, SD-29. Johnny Ray Turner (D) is facing off against Johnnie L. Turner (R) in a seat that voted for Bevin in 2019 with a comfortable margin.
Democrats in Maine are confident that they will have a net gain in both chambers, possibly even larger than the one we’re giving them. In our final forecast, we have Democrats favored to have a net gain of 1 seat in the upper chamber, flipping two downstate districts which voted for Hillary Clinton while losing one in the north that is trending rapidly toward Republicans.
In the lower chamber, we have Democrats favored to have a net gain of 2 seats, losing one near Biddeford while gaining 3 around Augusta. Republicans are also favored to flip an Independent-held district adjacent to the Democrat-held one they’re favorites in as well.
Earlier this year, Democrats picked up a few seats in the Massachusetts legislature in special elections. These districts that they picked up were all, of course, carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016. Democrats appear to vacillate between being slight favorites to certain winners in these seats, depending on the district.
Democrats are slight favorites to flip two seats in our Massachusetts House forecast: an open seat, 14th Bristol, and a seat trending in their direction pretty rapidly, 2nd Essex. However, they aren’t favored to flip any seats in the upper chamber.
Republicans may be able to pull off an upset in an open House seat trending in their direction, 4th Hampden. This can help minimize or even negate the net gain in the lower chamber.
Both Democratic supermajorities in the legislature are certain to remain intact.
The Michigan Senate is only up in midterm election years, but the Michigan House, which is a highly competitive chamber, is up for grabs this year. Our forecast puts Democrats as the slight favorite to flip the chamber, as they are slight to moderate favorites to flip 3 seats in Oakland County and moderate favorites in a seat in Kalamazoo, which would be a large enough net gain for a majority.
The Kalamazoo seat is a bit of a “gimme” for the Democrats: it’s an open seat they narrowly lost in 2018 that voted for Hillary Clinton and Gretchen Whitmer. Despite heavy Republican investment, we think their efforts to keep the seat here are likely futile given the topline polling in the state and the loss of incumbency in the district.
The three seats in Oakland County voted for both Trump and Whitmer. Democrats are moderate favorites in HD-38, an open seat that Republicans held very narrowly in 2018. They’re slight favorites in two redder seats, and one of them is open. Democrats fumbled in HD-39 in 2018 when they ran a weak candidate, but we think they’re slight favorites there. We also believe that they are slight favorites in HD-45 as well.
Keep an eye on two sleeper races we have in our forecast, rated as Tilt Republican: HD-104 in Traverse City and HD-79 in Benton Harbor. Democrats have two very strong candidates in these seats and are unusually competitive in them as a result.
With our ratings, we put the odds of a Democratic majority in the Michigan House at 51.9%, a Republican majority at 38.1%, and a tie at 10%.
Democrats are in a strong position to create a trifecta in the Minnesota state government. They are slightly favored to expand their majority in the lower chamber, which they flipped in 2016, thanks to three Republican-held Twin Cities suburbs districts leaning in their direction. The lower chamber is technically competitive, but only barely.
Democrats are favored to flip the State Senate, which hasn’t been up since 2016. They have a free seat in SD-44, situated in the Minneapolis suburbs, and are slightly favored to pick up two more seats in the area. They’re also favored to flip the Republican-held seat in St. Cloud. Republicans may be able to make the Democratic net gain smaller though by flipping SD-58, a very Republican-leaning district that flipped in 2016. This district is represented by TikTok star Matt Little.
Republicans are overwhelmingly favored to keep their supermajority in the Missouri House of Representatives. Democrats will pick up a few seats, concentrated in the metropolitan areas of Kansas City and St. Louis, with two seats in the Kansas City suburbs favored to flip Democratic, and one in the St. Louis suburbs favored to flip Democratic. The most likely district to flip in the chamber is HD-34, where the Republican nominee is accused child abuser Rick Roeber in this open Kansas City suburban seat.
In the State Senate, there’s about a 1 in 4 chance that Democrats can break the supermajority in the chamber. They’re favored to flip a seat in Columbia that they narrowly lost despite Hillary Clinton carrying it. If Democrats flip this seat as well as a seat they have a great shot in in the St. Louis suburbs, SD-15 (Tilt Republican), while holding the two vulnerable seats of SD-01 and SD-17, they will break the supermajority.
While Montana Democrats have a pretty high share in seats in both state legislative chambers despite being in a pretty Republican-leaning state, their path to a majority this year would require a much more favorable national environment.
This only applies to the lower chamber though, where there’s a 0.6% chance of a tie and a 0.1% chance of a Democratic majority. It would require winning every competitive seat, which is a near-impossible task. We have Democrats favored to have a net gain of one seat in the chamber, picking up one seat in Billings and another in Great Falls, while losing a rural district in the northwest, near Whitefish.
In the State Senate, we have Democrats favored to flip a majority-Indigenous seat with the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Reservations that Democrats lost in 2018 due to a weak candidate who didn’t live in the district. With a strong candidate in State Representative Rae Peppers, Democrats should flip this seat.
Democrats are also playing defense in two seats in Western Montana, but they’re decently favored in one and heavily favored in another. Republicans are also defending another two seats in the region but are moderately favored to keep each.
The Nebraska Unicameral may be nonpartisan on the surface but it is effectively controlled by Republicans. Democrats are mostly trying to hold onto their seats this year and look like slight underdogs in an open seat they control just west of Omaha, SD-31. Their only opportunity flips in Republican-held districts are two seats near Lincoln, where Republicans are a moderate favorite to hold one seat and heavy favorites to hold the other.
Three seats, meanwhile, are rated as “Tilt Democratic” in our ratings. Given the amount of defense Democrats are playing this year between these three seats and the seat in which they’re a slight underdog, a Republican net gain in the unicameral looks like the likeliest scenario, with the second likeliest scenario being no change at all in the chamber. If Republicans have a strong enough night here, they can create a supermajority in the chamber.
Nevada Democrats will hold their supermajority in the State Assembly, and possibly even expand it if they have a better night than we’re expecting of them by gaining seats in the Las Vegas suburbs. We don’t really expect a change in seats in our final forecast in the lower chamber.
In the State Senate, there’s a slight chance that the Democrats could create a supermajority, but that would require flipping a seat we rate as Tilt Republican near Reno and a Likely Republican seat in the Las Vegas suburbs. The Tilt Republican seat seems pretty doable, given that Hillary Clinton carried the district in 2016.
Democrats are favored to net a few single-member district seats in the New Hampshire House in our forecast, and we expect that the same will be true in the multi-member districts as well, possibly entering supermajority territory, though it’s hard for us to determine either way given the sheer amount of multi-member districts.
We expect Democrats to hold all of the seats they flipped in the upper chamber in 2018 while being slight favorites to flip a seat they narrowly lost two years ago in Western New Hampshire, SD-08. They could also possibly flip 3 more seats if they have a better night than we expect, with two being rated as Tilt Republican and another rated as Lean Republican.
It looks likely that a Democratic supermajority in the New Mexico House of Representatives will be formed after the results are in. Democrats need to pick up just one seat in the chamber to form a supermajority and are slightly favored to flip two seats in the Albuquerque suburbs/exurbs. This is, of course, assuming that Democrats hold all of their current seats, none of which are in any serious danger of changing parties in our forecast. We have the odds of a Democratic supermajority at 61.3% and the odds of a regular Democratic majority at 38.7%.
In the upper chamber, Democrats look like they’ll create a supermajority as well, but they’re only slight favorites: our final forecast puts the odds of a Democratic supermajority at 54.8% and the odds of a regular majority at 45.2%. Democrats are slightly favored to net two seats in the chamber, one more than they need for a supermajority.
Democrats look like strong favorites to create a supermajority in the New York State Senate, just two years after they flipped the chamber in 2018. We have them picking up 5 seats in the upper chamber, with district ratings varying from Tilt D to Likely D. There’s a 75.6% chance in our forecast that Democrats will create a supermajority in the chamber, and a 24.4% chance that Republicans will prevent a supermajority from happening.
The State Assembly Democratic supermajority was never in question, and right now we have Democrats expanding that supermajority by a single seat. It could be slightly larger if there’s a bigger rebuke to President Trump in his former home state: we have three seats in the chamber as Tilt Republican and six as Lean Republican.
Our forecast shows that Republicans are slight favorites to hold both of their majorities in the North Carolina legislature, with the most likely scenario being two-seat majorities in each chamber.
Court-mandated redistricting about a year ago helped Democrats in their quest this year to overcome the North Carolina Republican gerrymanders: we have Democrats picking up 3 seats in the upper chamber, two of which Democrats can credit to redistricting. In the lower chamber, we have Democrats favored to have a net gain of 4 seats, for which they can entirely credit the new maps.
If Democrats are overperforming and flip both chambers of the state legislature, it’s almost impossible to see how Joe Biden and Cal Cunningham could lose. Their momentum would play a key part in flipping the chambers.
Democrats are favored to net a single seat in the North Dakota State Senate in our forecast, picking up a seat in Grand Forks and another in Fargo, while losing a rural seat, SD-24. The chamber will continue to remain a Republican supermajority. There’s a lot of competitive races on both sides in the “Tilt” category, so the net gain could go either which way, but we believe a very small net gain for the Democrats here is the most likely outcome.
Ohio is one of the few states that term-limits its incumbents, and because of this, Democrats are losing the incumbency advantage they need in areas swinging hard to the right. They’re already certain to lose a State House district along the Ohio River that Republicans haven’t contested in 6 years, and are slight underdogs in seats they hold in Northeast Ohio.
However, Democrats are also favored to flip 3 seats in the lower chamber, if only slightly: one in the Cleveland suburbs, another in the Dayton suburbs, and one in the Akron suburbs. If they flip all of these seats while losing the seats in which Republicans are favored, they will prevent the Republican supermajority from expanding. Democrats have a shot at breaking the supermajority — 35% to be exact.
In the upper chamber, Democrats look like they’ll pick up a seat in the Columbus suburbs, but will come up short in a seat in the Cleveland suburbs. Both of these districts voted for Hillary Clinton, but the Cleveland area has proved to be difficult for down ballot Democrats to translate the swings they’re seeing into actual flips.
Republicans are favored to have a net gain in the Oklahoma legislature. This is due to two conservative Democrats representing rural seats retiring in the lower chamber, as well as a “gimme” for Republicans in a State Senate seat that Democrats won in an upset in a low turnout special election in the Tulsa suburbs in 2017.
Democrats didn’t bother to file a candidate for HD-07, where one of their members of the legislature retired, so that district has already flipped to the Republicans. Republicans are moderate favorites to win a predominantly rural district in southwest Oklahoma, just north of Lawton.
There are three tight races in the lower chamber: HD-04, where Democratic incumbent Matt Meredith is the last rural Democrat standing in Little Dixie, as he is surrounded by districts that Republicans have flipped in 2016 and 2018. He was left uncontested in 2018 and barely held on in 2016. We think he’s slightly likely to lose, but we wouldn’t be surprised if he pulled off an upset win. The other two tight races are in Lawton, two seats that Republicans narrowly held in 2018.
Expect Republicans to hold on to and probably expand their supermajorities in the Oklahoma legislature.
Democrats will continue to hold both state legislative chambers in Oregon, but their thin supermajorities in both chambers may be at risk. Our forecast have Democrats as favorites to keep their supermajorities in the chambers, with the House looking like the slightly better target for Republicans in their pursuit to break a supermajority. This opportunity for supermajority breaks came this year when two Democratic incumbents retired in a coastal House district and a coastal Senate district that overlaps with it.
The House district in which Democrats are underdogs is the most likely district to flip in either chamber: we have it as Tilt Republican. If Republicans flip this seat, they would just need one more to break the supermajority in the lower chamber, and there are two seats that Democrats hold which we rate as Tilt Democratic.
Another interesting seat in the lower chamber is the 47th district, where a third party candidate may flip a Democratic-held seat due to the incumbent being accused of sexual harassment. The third party candidate, Ashton Simpson, would caucus with the Democrats.
Democrats may be able to cancel out the seat Republicans are favored to pick up if they can pull off a slight upset in a House district in Bend, where Democrats nominated a poor candidate in 2018 and saw a major Republican overperformance as a result, despite the district voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
If Republicans can pull off a slight upset in the coastal State Senate district and hold their ground elsewhere, they will break the supermajority in the upper chamber. However, we have Democrats slightly favored to pick up a seat near Salem, so Republicans are fighting an uphill battle.
If it weren’t for Senator John Yudichak, a Democrat who last year switched parties and became an Independent who caucuses with Republicans, Democrats would have a shot at an outright majority in the Pennsylvania Senate; but because of him, the best outcome they can hope for is a tied chamber.
In the upper chamber, we have Democrats as moderate favorites to flip a seat in the Philadelphia suburbs and a slight favorite in Erie. Both of these seats were narrow losses in districts that voted for Hillary Clinton.
There are two more competitive State Senate seats that Republicans hold: SD-13 and SD-15, with the former located in Lancaster and the latter in Harrisburg. Both of these seats voted for Trump in 2016, and while they could absolutely vote for Biden this year, we believe Republicans will narrowly hold them. If Democrats prove our forecast wrong and flip both, they will have a tied chamber and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (D) will become the tiebreaker, effectively giving Democrats control. Democrats also have two seats they’re defending near Pittsburgh, but they should fare well in them.
The lower chamber is far more competitive than the upper chamber, as Democrats have an actual path to a majority. Still, it’s an uphill battle. The odds of a Democratic majority sit at 43.6%, while the odds of a Republican majority sit at 56.4%.
Democrats will have a net gain in the chamber thanks to their position in the Philadelphia suburbs and two Republican retirements in seats that were tight races in 2018, and Democrats will gain a few more afterwards given the President’s standing in similar seats. Democrats are also likely to win 1 or even 2 of the 3 seats in the Pittsburgh suburbs.
One caveat to a Democratic majority is that they will need to defend seats that are rapidly shifting rightward: HD-55 and HD-72 are likely required in a Democratic majority, both seats that President Trump won last time and will win again (although likely by a smaller margin). The Democratic incumbents in these seats though are relatively popular, so we have each of them as Tilt Democratic.
The most interesting race in the chamber, hands down, is actually in Pennsylvania’s 10th district, northwest of Pittsburgh. This seat was Safe Republican in our ratings a few weeks ago, but has now shifted to Tilt Democratic. Incumbent Republican Aaron Bernstine shared videos of himself on Snapchat teaching his 5-year-old son how to smoke a cigar and teaching another child an explicit adult game. Bernstine has been called to resign from both sides of the aisle, but he will still appear on the ballot. An Independent candidate, Johnathan Peffer, has scored local union endorsements and will likely split the conservative vote between himself and Bernstine, and we believe that Democratic candidate Kolbe Cole will win with a plurality of the vote as a result.
The Democratic supermajorities in Rhode Island aren’t going anywhere. Democrats are moderately favored to pick up a state house seat near Pawtucket, HD-46, where the Republican-turned-Independent incumbent is running in a three-way race, and will likely siphon votes from the Republican nominee, causing the seat to flip.
Democrats may also be able to flip the only competitive State Senate district, SD-17, which overlaps with HD-46. We have Republicans as the slight favorite to keep this highly competitive district, but a big enough Democratic surge could flip the seat.
Despite South Carolina being a ruby red state, Democrats look like they’re going to hold a lot of their vulnerable ground in state legislatures. These are districts that conservative Democrats represent where Hillary Clinton got less than 40% of the vote, but the Democratic incumbents representing the districts are relatively popular. If we’re wrong and Democrats can’t hold the remaining predominantly white and rural territory they hold, they’ll lose seats like SD-10, SD-27, HD-44 and HD-52.
Democrats are slight favorites to only pick up one seat, which is a State Senate seat in the Charleston suburbs. This district voted for James Smith (D) in the 2018 gubernatorial election, and was left uncontested in 2016.
Republicans are likely going to pick up at least one seat in the South Dakota State Senate, which is the only chamber we cast district-by-district predictions for since the lower chamber is almost entirely composed of multi-member districts.
SD-18, located in Yankton, is the seat we have Republicans slightly favored to pick up. It’s trending in their direction and Democrats have lost the incumbency advantage here. Democrats could pull off a slight upset and hold on to it, but we doubt it.
Democrats are also on the defensive in two more seats: SD-26, a rural district that Democrats narrowly held in 2018, and SD-1, which Republicans haven’t contested in quite some time. We see Democrats as slight favorites in each of these seats, but if the rural/suburban realignment is more drastic than we expect, Republicans will flip these seats. Conversely, Democrats would also likely flip a seat near Sioux Falls if this happened.
Two seats between both chambers in the suburbs of Nashville and Knoxville look like slight Democratic pickups in our forecast.
SD-20, which wraps around Nashville, voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 but kept its incumbent Republican Senator. Now, with a much more favorable environment for Democrats compared to 2016 and the rapid decline of Republican performances in suburbs like these, Democrats are slight favorites to win the seat. There’s also a possible second pickup opportunity for Democrats in a gerrymandered Chattanooga district that would otherwise be in their possession under a fair map, but the gerrymandering there should be strong enough to keep it in Republican hands.
In the lower chamber, there’s an open seat just west of Knoxville in HD-18 that Democrats narrowly lost in 2018. Now, local Democrats are confident they can flip the seat. This district is trending leftward, and with the loss of the incumbency and money advantage here, Republicans look like they’re slight underdogs.
There are also a few more Democratic pickup opportunities in the Memphis suburbs and the Nashville suburb of Smyrna, but we think Republicans are slight to moderate favorites in each of these seats. The only seat Democrats are really defending is HD-67 in Clarksville, but they should fare well here as Hillary Clinton carried the district in 2016.
I’ve described the Texas House as the “Holy Grail” for Democrats in this year’s battle for state legislatures. If they flip the chamber, they will be able to prevent a brutal Republican congressional gerrymander in an already large state gaining 3 seats in redistricting. In our forecast, this state legislative chamber is the most competitive in the country. There’s a 50% chance of a Democratic majority, a 44.4% chance of a Republican majority and a 5.6% chance of a tie.
We have Democrats moderately favored to flip three seats, two in Houston and one in Dallas. They’re also slight favorites in another 7 seats, which would give them a net gain of 10, assuming our prediction that they will hold all of their current seats. This would be one more seat than they need for a majority in the chamber, but since 7 of the 10 seats are in the “Tilt Democratic” column, the odds are very tight. These flips are concentrated between the metro areas of Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio.
Democrats are moderately favored to flip a seat along the Rio Grande in the State Senate, which is certain to remain in Republican hands. They lost this seat in a special election in an upset due to very low Hispanic turnout, but in a Presidential year where turnout will be much higher than a special election, Democrats should flip it.
There are no competitive seats in the upper chamber in Utah, but there are quite a few competitive seats in the House of Representatives, with most of them in the Salt Lake City area and a few just north in Ogden. Only one district is projected to flip in our forecast: HD-54, just east of Salt Lake City. There are still quite a few highly competitive races Republicans are favored to hold in the Salt Lake City area, particularly in the districts that Hillary Clinton won with a plurality of the vote in 2016.
However, flipping the seat won’t be enough to break the Republican supermajority in the lower chamber. The odds of that supermajority being broken are paper thin; a massive Democratic overperformance would need to occur in the competitive races.
Democrats will make gains in the Vermont House of Representatives, which is a mixture of multi-member and single-member districts, given the favorable national environment for them. Of the single-member districts, the only types of state legislative districts which we predict, we have Democrats guaranteed to flip one seat held by Republicans, where they failed to file a candidate, in a Trump-won district in the northeast. We also have them slightly favored to flip a Republican district just outside Burlington.
There could be a slight net gain in the State Senate as well for Democrats. It’s hard to tell because the district is almost entirely composed of multi-member districts: only three of the thirteen seats in the chamber are single-member districts.
It looks like Washington Democrats will slightly expand their majorities in both chambers in our forecast, and there’s a small chance that they could create supermajorities in both of them. Still, the most likely scenario is a regular Democratic majority in both chambers.
In the State Senate, we have Democrats slightly favored to pick up SD-28, near Olympia, and SD-10, near Mount Vernon. One tough district for us to pick was Republican-trending district in SD-19, a coastline district where incumbent Democrat Dean Takko is running for re-election after winning by double digits in 2016. Given the direction this area is headed, Takko could absolutely lose. We think it’ll be a close race, but we still predict that he’ll come out on top.
In the State House, we have Democrats favored to pick up one seat, HD-10, which is exactly the same as SD-10. Republicans could offset this gain by flipping HD-19, which is exactly the same as SD-19. Given the favorable environment for Democrats and Governor Jay Inslee (D) overwhelmingly favored in his re-election bid, the Democratic net gain could be slightly higher if he has coattails that can carry a few Democrats in competitive districts in the western part of the state.
The West Virginia State Senate is a surprisingly competitive chamber in our forecast: there is just a 68.9% chance of a Republican majority or supermajority, a 13.1% chance of a tie and a 17.9% chance of a Democratic majority. These are pretty good odds for Democrats in one of the reddest states in the nation, and this is primarily because West Virginia has some of the biggest ticket-splits for down ballot Democrats anywhere in the country. For example, there are districts that Democrats represent that Donald Trump won with over 70% of the vote.
Currently in our forecast, we have Democrats as slight favorites to net 1 seat in the chamber, which means they will likely come up short. Still, it’s quite incredible how competitive Democrats are in this chamber. The most interesting race to watch in the upper chamber will be SD-02, where Republican Mike Maroney is running for re-election after being charged with soliciting prostitutes twice in the past year. We think he is a slight favorite, but Maroney’s latest charges have made the race more winnable for Democrats.
The lower chamber will likely see a Republican net gain; just in the single-member districts alone, we have Republicans favored to flip one seat held by Democrats and another by an Independent. Democrats have also nearly maxed themselves out in districts friendly to them, and with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket, we think a slight Republican net gain in the lower chamber is the most likely outcome.
The 2022 elections in the lower chamber will be far more interesting, as multi-member districts are being eliminated in West Virginia. We will cast predictions for every district there and have a better sense of what the actual odds are there in the midterms.
The Wisconsin gerrymanders in the state legislature are the most masterful gerrymanders in any state legislative chamber, bar none. As a result, both chambers are Safe Republican in our forecast. Democrats look like slight favorites to flip 3 seats in the State Assembly, with two in the Milwaukee suburbs and one in the Driftless Area, AD-51. This seat, which voted for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton but has habitually elected Republicans by small margins, has been in a sort of “Charlie Brown and the football” situation throughout the decade, with Democrats thinking they can flip it every cycle. Given Biden’s polling in Wisconsin and Democrats nominating a pretty strong candidate in Kriss Marion, we think this is the cycle it finally flips into their column.
Wisconsin Democrats faced a serious gerrymander when they found themselves going up against a Republican supermajority in the State Senate due to vulnerable seats on the board and few pickup opportunities. However, Democrats have strengthened their position in the supermajority-maker seat, SD-32 in Western Wisconsin, and have become slight favorites again in a very competitive open seat in Green Bay. Republicans still look like moderate favorites in a Northwest Wisconsin seat along the Minnesota border, SD-10, which Democrats won in a special election in 2018.
Both chambers look like they will remain regular Republican majorities. Some Republicans thought they could create supermajorities in both chambers, and while that is still possible in the State Senate (our forecast puts the odds of a Republican supermajority in the Wisconsin State Senate at 5.4%), it’s highly unlikely.
Republicans look like they are slight favorites to expand their majorities in both the upper and lower chambers in Wyoming, with a historically Democratic seat in the upper chamber, SD-12, slightly favored to go to the Republicans. A nearby open seat in the lower chamber in Green River is also slightly favored to flip into their column.
One very interesting race to watch is the House district in Riverton, where a Libertarian is a slight favorite to flip this open Republican-held seat. However, the Libertarian candidate, Bethany Baldes, who narrowly lost in 2018, has promised to caucus with the Republicans if elected.