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Analysis of the 2009 General Election

13 November 2009
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Follow Up on the Results of the 2009 General Election:

The New Jersey State Assembly will hardly change in composition as a result of the election (see our winner's list). Incumbents ran for re-election in 72 of the 80 seats up for election, winning all of these races. Of the eight open seats, seven were won by a member of the same political party as the incumbent. In District 4, unofficial election results seem to indicate that Republican Dominick DiCicco won an open seat formerly held by a Democrat (freshman Assembly Member Sandra Love). As a result, once the newly-elected officials are sworn in, the party composition of the Assembly will change from 48 Democrats-32 Republicans to 47 Democrats-33 Republicans. While the Democrats will still hold a majority in the Assembly, New Jersey will be losing two key Democratic officials: Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts, who withdrew from the 2009 election, and Governor Jon Corzine, who lost his seat to Republican Chris Christie.

The Virginia House of Delegates had more turnover than the New Jersey State Assembly, but incumbents running for reelection were still victorious 89% of the time (see our winner's list).  Eight of the Democratic incumbents lost their seats to Republican candidate (Districts 3, 21, 23, 32, 34, 51, 67, and 83), while only one of the Republican incumbents lost their seat to a Democrat (District 93). In addition, one Democratic incumbent lost in the primary election, but the seat was ultimately retained by a Democrat. Of the ten open seats, only one switched to a different party than that of the incumbent: District 52 went from Republican (Jeffrey Frederick) to Democrat (Luke Torian). Though some recounts are still pending, as the results stand now, it appears that Republicans will have a net gain of six seats in the House of Delegates, changing the party composition from 53 Republicans-43 Democrats-2 Independents-2 Vacant Democratic Seats to 59 Republicans-39 Democrats-2 Independents.

Virginia statewide elections also went in favor of the Republican party.  The open Gubernatorial seat, currently held by term-limited Democrat Tim Kaine was handily won by Republican Bob McDonnell with nearly 59% of the vote. The seat of Lieutenant Governor was retained by Republican Bill Bolling and the open seat for Attorney General remained Republican, with current State Senator Ken Cuccinelli set to replace Bill Mims.

In total, there were 185 federal and state seats up for regular election on November 3, 82% of which were retained by incumbents (153 total). Of the 164 incumbents running for reelection, 153 (93%) won. Both independent incumbents won reelection, giving them a 100% win percentage. Only 1 of the 78 Republican incumbents did not win reelection (99% win percentage), while 10 of the 84 Democratic incumbents did not win reelection (88% win percentage).

Special Elections

The open seat for Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court swung Republican with the election of Joan Orie Melvin. Previously, Democrats had 4-3 majority on the court; it is now 3-4, in favor of the Republicans.

The Special Election for the U.S. House seat in New York District 23 resulted in Bill Owens (endorsed by the Democratic Party and Working Families Party) winning a seat previously held by Republican John McHugh. U.S. House District 10 in California (previously held by Democrat Ellen Tauscher) will remain Democratic, with the election of current Lieutenant Governor of California, John Garamendi. Before the election, the party composition of the U.S. House was 256 Democrats-177 Republicans-1 Vacant Republican Seat-1 Vacant Democratic Seat; it is now: 258 Democrats-177 Republicans.

Summary of Party-Changing Seats in this Election:

-1 of 1 Republican U.S. House seats went Democratic (special election)
-2 of 2 Democratic Gubernatorial seats went Republican
-the new office of Lieutenant Governor in New Jersey went Republican
-1 of 1 Democratic State Supreme Court Justice went Republican (special election)
-9 of 93 Democratic House/Assembly seats went Republican
-2 of 85 Republican House/Assembly seats went Democratic

-Kristen Vicedomini, Research Director

Related tags: 2009-election, blog, elections, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, special-elections, Virginia

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