State Senate Race RatingsSwitch to State House


With little time left until the 2010 elections, the forecast for Democrats is worsening. Since we last reported on the races, we've shifted 8 more chambers in the Republicans' direction. This is terrible news for the Democratic Party, which is also in danger of losing several attorney general offices. But there is a modest silver lining for the Democrats: no chambers are newly in play. The overall landscape remains 25 Democratic chambers in play, compared to just one GOP-held chamber and two tied chambers. Democrats are on the verge of losing a net of four to 12 Senate chambers and seven to 15 House chambers. In none of the previous five cycles was there ever this wide a difference in projected risk between the two parties. Click on a state below to get more details on any of the 50 state legislatures, including current control of the state Senate and state House, race predictions, if applicable, and an assessment of each state race. Today's map and ratings will be the final update before election day.

See the elections results here

State House Race RatingsSwitch to State Senate

With little time left until the 2010 elections, the forecast for Democrats is worsening. Since we last reported on the races, we've shifted 8 more chambers in the Republicans' direction. This is terrible news for the Democratic Party, which is also in danger of losing several attorney general offices. But there is a modest silver lining for the Democrats: no chambers are newly in play. The overall landscape remains 25 Democratic chambers in play, compared to just one GOP-held chamber and two tied chambers. Democrats are on the verge of losing a net of four to 12 Senate chambers and seven to 15 House chambers. In none of the previous five cycles was there ever this wide a difference in projected risk between the two parties. Click on a state below to get more details on any of the 50 state legislatures, including current control of the state Senate and state House, race predictions, if applicable, and an assessment of each state race. Today's map and ratings will be the final update before election day.

See the elections results here

  • ALABAMA

    • Lean R
    • Dems20
    • Reps15
    • Lean R
    • Dems60
    • Reps45

    Here as elsewhere, the Republican trend has only intensified in recent months. Both chambers have been in Democratic hands for more than a century but are vulnerable to a party switch this year. Even if the GOP doesn't get enough seats on Election Day, the party might have enough momentum to convince a few conservative Democrats to switch teams, allowing a shift in control.

  • ALASKA

    • Tossup
    • Dems10
    • Reps10
    • Lean R
    • Dems18
    • Reps22

    In recent years, legislative races in Alaska have been driven by local issues and personal factors, with party label not always paramount. With narrow margins in both chambers and malleable party ties, both the House and Senate are in play -- tossup for the Senate and lean Republican for the House. The state's wild Senate race scrambles matters even further.

  • ARIZONA

    • Safe R
    • Dems12
    • Reps18
    • Safe R
    • Dems25
    • Reps35

    Arizona is one of the epicenters of political anger, and Republican momentum. One would think that the state's polarizing immigration law might have energized Latino voters, but there's little sign that an organized backlash at the ballot box is emerging. The longer-term impact is harder to predict.

  • ARKANSAS

    • Safe D
    • Dems27
    • Reps8
    • Safe D
    • Dems72
    • Reps28

    Not much has changed in Arkansas since our last ranking. Though the state has moved aggressively in the GOP's direction in national races, its legislative chambers are both solidly Democratic, and there's an overwhelmingly strong Democrat at the top of the ticket -- Gov. Mike Beebe, who's seeking a second term with token opposition. The GOP is likely to pick up some seats in both chambers due in part to national trends, but not enough to seriously threaten the Democrats' hold in either body.

  • CALIFORNIA

    • Safe D
    • Dems25
    • Reps14
    • Safe D
    • Dems49
    • Reps29

    Deep-pocketed Republican candidates for governor, Meg Whitman, and senator, Carly Fiorina, initially looked strong, but they have faded in recent weeks. Even if this ends up being a stronger-than-usual year for the California GOP, the current numbers, combined with California's Democratic lean in recent history, make a partisan flip in either chamber unlikely.

  • COLORADO

    • Lean D
    • Dems21
    • Reps14
    • Tossup
    • Dems37
    • Reps27

    By all rights, the Democratic legislative majorities in Colorado should be highly endangered, but the party has been granted a stay of execution thanks to the mess the GOP has made for itself in the gubernatorial race. Democrat John Hickenlooper, currently the mayor of Denver, is bucking voter fatigue with the majority party and has become the favorite to succeed Gov. Bill Ritter. That's been made possible by the imploding candidacy of political neophyte Dan Maes, a Tea Party activist who won the GOP nomination, and the third-party candidacy of anti-immigration former Rep. Tom Tancredo.

  • CONNECTICUT

    • Safe D
    • Dems24
    • Reps12
    • Safe D
    • Dems114
    • Reps36

    Even before Republican candidate Linda McMahon lost ground in the U.S. Senate race, the margins in the Legislature were too big for the GOP to do much more than nibble away at Democratic majorities.

  • DELAWARE

    • Safe D
    • Dems15
    • Reps6
    • Lean D
    • Dems24
    • Reps17

    The unexpected primary victory by Tea Party-backed Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell has given Delaware Democrats a gift, up and down the ballot. The Delaware Senate was going to remain Democratic anyway, but the House -- a Democratic pickup two years ago, ending a long GOP reign -- now looks safer than it did in our last analysis.

  • FLORIDA

    • Safe R
    • Dems14
    • Reps26
    • Safe R
    • Dems43
    • Reps76

    During the Aug. 25 Florida primary, GOP turnout exceeded Democratic turnout by 40 to 50 percent. While the Republicans' scandal-tinged leadership in the Legislature is not exactly popular among voters, national and statewide trends give the Democrats little hope of gains this year in the Sunshine State.

  • GEORGIA

    • Safe R
    • Dems21
    • Reps35
    • Safe R
    • Dems74
    • Reps105

    The shift from ancestral Democratic control to a new Republican majority in Georgia is now complete. Expect the GOP to hold on to both chambers of the Legislature with ease.

  • HAWAII

    • Safe D
    • Dems23
    • Reps2
    • Safe D
    • Dems45
    • Reps6

    In Hawaii, Democrats have some of the largest legislative majorities of any state. All sides agree that there is zero chance that the GOP will take over either chamber, even in this Republican-trending year.

  • IDAHO

    • Safe R
    • Dems7
    • Reps28
    • Safe R
    • Dems18
    • Reps52

    While the GOP in Idaho (and elsewhere) faces internal pressures between the establishment and Tea Partiers, the Democrats are in no position to take advantage. The GOP is certain to maintain its large majorities here.

  • ILLINOIS

    • Likely D
    • Dems37
    • Reps22
    • Lean D
    • Dems70
    • Reps48

    In Illinois, the state budget is in a $13 billion hole, and the unfunded liability for public pensions is among the worst of any state in the country. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who moved up when former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was impeached, is in such bad straits that he trails Bill Brady, a Republican candidate whose staunchly conservative views on social and fiscal issues would make him a longshot in Illinois in almost any other circumstance. Such GOP advantages won't help much in the Senate, where the party would have to win virtually all of the seats that are up this year to take control, but they're enough for us to shift the House from likely Democratic to lean Democratic. It's unwise to bet against long-serving Speaker Michael Madigan, but it would be even more unwise to reject the possibility that the GOP could ride voter irritation with Democratic control to a flip in the House.

  • INDIANA

    • Safe R
    • Dems17
    • Reps33
    • Lean R
    • Dems52
    • Reps48

    The GOP was already favored to flip the closely divided -- and for years, hotly contested -- Indiana House, but thanks to both national and state-based momentum, the races remain safe Republican and lean Republican.

  • IOWA

    • Lean D
    • Dems32
    • Reps18
    • Tossup
    • Dems56
    • Reps44

    Iowa's disaffection with Democrats appears strong, with Democratic Gov. Chet Culver deeply vulnerable against GOP gubernatorial nominee Terry Branstad, a former governor.

  • KANSAS

    • NR
    • Dems9
    • Reps31
    • Safe R
    • Dems49
    • Reps76

    Only the state House is up this year. On paper, the GOP has a large margin in the House and should keep or increase it, but the state Republican Party's long-running split between moderates and conservatives means that what's on paper is not always reflective of the real power dynamic.

  • KENTUCKY

    • Likely R
    • Dems17
    • Reps20
    • Likely D
    • Dems64
    • Reps35

    The parties each control one chamber in Kentucky -- Republicans the Senate and Democrats the House. While the GOP is likely to add seats in both chambers, it is unlikely to be able to add enough to flip the nearly 2-to-1 Democratic majority in the state House. So we're keeping the Senate at likely Republican and the House at likely Democratic.

  • LOUISIANA

    • NR
    • Dems23
    • Reps16
    • NR
    • Dems52
    • Reps50

    Louisiana does not have legislative elections this year, so no rating is offered.

  • MAINE

    • Tossup
    • Dems20
    • Reps15
    • Likely D
    • Dems95
    • Reps55

    Maine's celebrated independent streak, its public-financing law and a volatile gubernatorial race are melding with anti-incumbent sentiments to produce a fight for control that's hard to gauge, even this close to Election Day.

  • MARYLAND

    • Safe D
    • Dems33
    • Reps14
    • Safe D
    • Dems104
    • Reps36

    The anti-incumbent and anti-Democratic mood elsewhere seems not to have taken hold in solidly Democratic Maryland. The party's strong hold on both chambers should continue uninterrupted, especially with the near-collapse of the gubernatorial candidacy of former GOP Gov. Bob Ehrlich.

  • MASSACHUSETTS

    • Safe D
    • Dems34
    • Reps6
    • Safe D
    • Dems144
    • Reps16

    Despite a difficult reelection bid for first-term Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick -- and the GOP victory in the special election to fill the seat of the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy -- the Democrats' margins in the Legislature are so massive that it's all but mathematically impossible for the GOP to take over in 2010, no matter how favorable the political environment. While the GOP could pick up seats, both chambers are safe Democratic.

  • MICHIGAN

    • Likely R
    • Dems16
    • Reps22
    • Tossup
    • Dems66
    • Reps43

    The environment in Michigan is getting no better for the Democrats than it was last time we checked, with an attractive Republican candidate for governor comfortably ahead in the polls amid vast economic dislocation. The GOP-held Senate should easily remain in Republican hands; now we're shifting the Democratic-held House one notch, from lean Democratic to Tossup.

  • MINNESOTA

    • Likely D
    • Dems46
    • Reps21
    • Lean D
    • Dems87
    • Reps47

    Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party will likely lose a number of seats in both chambers, but the Democrats are in a somewhat better position here than they are in other states. While the Democrats currently control both chambers, the burden of the state's grim fiscal situation is shared with an outgoing Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty. Thanks in part to mediocre approval ratings for Pawlenty, Democrat Mark Dayton -- unlike Democratic nominees elsewhere -- is doing pretty well, leading Republican Tom Emmer by a modest margin. (Independent Tom Horner is also in the race.) The House has more seats in play, in part because the DFL currently occupies a number of seats that, by the numbers, ought to be held by the GOP. A takeover of the House is unlikely, but not out of the question. The Senate, meanwhile, has interesting matchups, but it is considered less likely to flip.

  • MISSISSIPPI

    • NR
    • Dems27
    • Reps25
    • NR
    • Dems72
    • Reps50

    Mississippi does not have legislative elections this year, so no rating is offered.

  • MISSOURI

    • Safe R
    • Dems11
    • Reps23
    • Safe R
    • Dems73
    • Reps89

    Though the Show Me State is often competitive in national races, the GOP is in strong shape in both chambers. The favorable national mood may even enable the party to expand its edge.

  • MONTANA

    • Likely R
    • Dems23
    • Reps27
    • Lean R
    • Dems50
    • Reps50

    Both chambers in Big Sky country have been narrowly divided in recent years, but the growing Republican tide makes matters harder for the Democrats. There's a strong Tea Party following in the state, and the Obama administration's agenda is broadly unpopular. It's not clear that Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, will go to the mat to help vulnerable legislators -- or whether it would help at this point even if he did.

  • NEBRASKA

    • NR
    • Dems-
    • Reps-
    • NR
    • Dems-
    • Reps-

    Nebraska's unicameral legislature is nonpartisan, so it is not rated.

  • NEVADA

    • Lean D
    • Dems12
    • Reps9
    • Likely D
    • Dems28
    • Reps14

    Given Nevada's severe economic upheaval and the state's sagebrush conservative direction for 2010, it's somewhat surprising that the Democrats have a decent shot at maintaining their majority in both chambers of the Legislature. With a 2-to-1 Democratic margin, the Assembly looks pretty solid for the Democrats, though the GOP could gain enough seats to end the Democrats' veto-override majority. Meanwhile, in the Senate, the Republicans could take over with a net gain of just three seats, but the seat-by-seat math suggests that those GOP gains are hardly a foregone conclusion, even in this political environment. Even Republicans concede that the Senate might only swing by one seat in either direction -- not enough to flip the chamber.

  • NEW HAMPSHIRE

    • Lean R
    • Dems14
    • Reps10
    • Lean R
    • Dems222
    • Reps176

    It's looking like both chambers, currently held by the Democrats, are going to shift to the Republicans. Even though Democratic Gov. John Lynch is a slight favorite to win reelection, a University of New Hampshire poll showed Republicans comfortably ahead in the generic legislative ballot.

  • NEW JERSEY

    • NR
    • Dems23
    • Reps17
    • NR
    • Dems47
    • Reps33

    New Jersey does not have legislative elections this year, so no rating is offered.

  • NEW MEXICO

    • NR
    • Dems27
    • Reps15
    • Likely D
    • Dems45
    • Reps25

    This year's environment in New Mexico isn't great for the Democrats, who have had unified control for the past eight years, and the GOP has a good shot at picking off the governorship and possibly other statewide offices. But margins in the state House -- the only chamber up this year -- are likely too big for the Republicans to do more than make a dent in the Democratic majority, at least for now.

  • NEW YORK

    • Tossup
    • Dems32
    • Reps30
    • Safe D
    • Dems107
    • Reps42

    The Democratic-dominated Assembly will remain safely Democratic, while the closely divided New York Senate remains a tossup, perhaps with an ever-so-slight Republican lean, despite the meltdown by Tea Party-backed Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino.

  • NORTH CAROLINA

    • Tossup
    • Dems30
    • Reps20
    • Tossup
    • Dems68
    • Reps52

    The Republican momentum of 2010 is undermining the Democratic edge in this southern state, one of the last states in the region where Democrats are probably overrepresented in state government. For multiple reasons, including money trends, the GOP is clearly the party with momentum. We already shifted the Senate from lean Democratic to tossup in our last analysis. This time, we're making the same move for the House.

  • NORTH DAKOTA

    • Safe R
    • Dems21
    • Reps26
    • Safe R
    • Dems36
    • Reps58

    North Dakota has weathered the Great Recession better than most states, so the anti-incumbent mood isn't pronounced here, at least on the state level. That's good news for the Republicans, who can feel confident that they'll keep their hold on both chambers -- even the fairly closely divided state Senate, which was on the Democrats' watch list just two years ago.

  • OHIO

    • Safe R
    • Dems12
    • Reps21
    • Lean R
    • Dems53
    • Reps46

    The GOP never needed big gains to flip the state House -- which the Democrats seized just two years ago by a narrow margin -- but even with a modest narrowing of other statewide races recently, those needed gains are looking achievable.

  • OKLAHOMA

    • Safe R
    • Dems22
    • Reps26
    • Safe R
    • Dems40
    • Reps61

    Both chambers in Oklahoma shifted from Democratic to Republican during the past decade, and in this staunchly conservative state, they're not going back anytime soon. Both chambers will remain safely Republican.

  • OREGON

    • Lean D
    • Dems18
    • Reps12
    • Likely D
    • Dems36
    • Reps24

    In both Pacific Northwest states, historical Democratic leanings are softening. In Oregon, Chris Dudley, an ex-Portland Trailblazer with a moderate and outsider profile, gives the GOP its best chance for winning the governorship in almost three decades, though the race is still tight. The GOP would have to essentially run the table to flip the Senate. On the House side, the GOP is likely to gain a number of seats but fall short of a majority.

  • PENNSYLVANIA

    • Safe R
    • Dems20
    • Reps30
    • Lean R
    • Dems103
    • Reps97

    Democrats in the narrowly divided state House aren't out of the game yet, but the recent polling in statewide races -- especially for governor and U.S. Senate -- suggests continuing challenges for Pennsylvania Democrats this fall.

  • RHODE ISLAND

    • Safe D
    • Dems33
    • Reps4
    • Safe D
    • Dems69
    • Reps6

    Rhode Island has a volatile, multiway gubernatorial race, and the poor economy doesn't help the Democratic majority in the Legislature. But the margins are simply too large for the Democrats to lose control this year.

  • SOUTH CAROLINA

    • NR
    • Dems19
    • Reps27
    • Safe R
    • Dems51
    • Reps73

    Only the state House is up this fall, but continued problems in recruiting Democratic candidates has robbed the party of any serious chance it had of vying for control.

  • SOUTH DAKOTA

    • Safe D
    • Dems14
    • Reps21
    • Safe R
    • Dems24
    • Reps46

    The Democrats made a play for the Legislature in 2008, when Barack Obama was also chasing votes in South Dakota, but that's ancient history, with all types of Democrats running scared in the state. The Democrats will likely lose seats in one or both chambers this fall.

  • TENNESSEE

    • Likely R
    • Dems14
    • Reps19
    • Likely R
    • Dems48
    • Reps50

    The Republican wave, the state's conservative leanings and the big lead by GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Haslam all point in the GOP's direction.

  • TEXAS

    • Safe R
    • Dems12
    • Reps19
    • Likely R
    • Dems73
    • Reps77

    Texas Democrats, once a forlorn bunch, are showing some signs of optimism at the moment, thanks to an unusually strong gubernatorial bid by Democratic nominee Bill White. But White's still the underdog, and the dynamics of 2010 suggest that the GOP should be able to hold both chambers, and maybe even improve their position.

  • UTAH

    • Safe R
    • Dems8
    • Reps21
    • Safe R
    • Dems22
    • Reps53

    Few states are as solidly Republican as Utah, and despite fireworks between Tea Party activists and more establishment Republicans at state party nominating conventions, the Utah GOP has no fear of losing ground numerically in 2010.

  • VERMONT

    • Safe D
    • Dems22
    • Reps7
    • Safe D
    • Dems95
    • Reps48

    While the GOP will have a credible shot at holding the governorship -- especially after a tough, closely divided Democratic gubernatorial primary -- there's wide agreement that the Democrats should remain in control of both chambers in Vermont.

  • VIRGINIA

    • NR
    • Dems22
    • Reps18
    • NR
    • Dems39
    • Reps59

    Virginia does not have legislative elections this year, so no rating is offered.

  • WASHINGTON

    • Lean D
    • Dems31
    • Reps18
    • Lean D
    • Dems62
    • Reps36

    As in neighboring Oregon, the GOP is poised to gain ground in Washington state. While the state's traditional Democratic lean and wide margins in both chambers make a flip an uphill challenge, the results in the state's unusual all-party primary on Aug. 17 show signs of strength for key Republican candidates and weakness for their Democratic opponents.

  • WEST VIRGINIA

    • Safe D
    • Dems26
    • Reps8
    • Safe D
    • Dems71
    • Reps29

    West Virginia has moved towards the Republicans in recent national races, and the GOP has an even-money chance of seizing the Senate seat long held by Democrat Robert Byrd this fall. But Democrats in the Legislature know how to frame themselves to win here. The GOP could pick up some seats, but the large Democratic margins should hold.

  • WISCONSIN

    • Lean R
    • Dems18
    • Reps15
    • Lean R
    • Dems52
    • Reps46

    The Democrats control both chambers of the Legislature as well as the governorship -- a bad position to be in for 2010, especially for a state located in the swing industrial Midwest. Continuing problems for Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, U.S. House candidates and gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett suggest that the GOP wave is going to be especially strong here, justifying a shift to lean Republican.

  • WYOMING

    • Safe R
    • Dems7
    • Reps23
    • Safe R
    • Dems19
    • Reps41

    Staunchly Republican Wyoming will remain so in 2010. In fact, Democratic retirements could even allow the GOP to expand its margins.


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