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2010 By the Numbers

A Commentary by Larry J. Sabato

Thursday, November 11, 2010

SENATE

37
The number of Senate races on the November ballot, the most since 1962.

2
The number of appointed U.S. senators to survive the election, Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The four others didn’t run: Ted Kaufman (D-DE), Roland Burris (D-IL), George LeMieux (R-FL), Carte Goodwin (D-WV).

1
The number of senators ever elected as write-in candidates. If Republican Lisa Murkowski’s apparent lead in November 2nd balloting can survive the slew of legal and procedural challenges, she would become the second ever, joining Republican Strom Thurmond of South Carolina who accomplished the feat in 1954.

$608,964,299
The total amount spent by candidates for U.S. Senate this year. Republican candidates barely outspent their Democratic rivals, $304 million to $289 million, while the remainder of the $609 million spending spree was racked up by Independent and third-party candidates.

HOUSE

97
The likely number—pending a handful of recounts—of first-term members of the U.S. House, the most since 1992 and the second greatest number of House freshmen since 1948.

5
The number of new House members who have served in the chamber previously. Three were Republicans who lost in 2008 but reclaimed their old seats in this election: Mark Walberg in MI-7, Steve Chabot in OH-1, and Steve Pearce in NM-2. Two, Republicans Charlie Bass (NH-2) and Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8), lost in the 2006 elections, sat out the race in 2008, and this year won back their old seats.

53.8%
The Republican share of the two-party vote (unofficially, pending final tallies) in all 435 House races nationwide in the November general election. Overall, Republican House candidates so far appear to have won 42,672,135 votes to Democratic candidates’ 36,581,023.

57
The number of House races that were rematches of a past election, with the same Republican and Democratic nominee on the ballot as a previous year. Of these 57, 44 were rematches of the 2008 general election, while the rest were districts where a more distant past election was replayed (such as WA-2, where Democrats and Republicans each nominated the same candidates they had back in 2000).

8
The number of rematches of 2008 House races that ended up with a different result in the 2010 election. All featured Democrats who won in 2008 losing to the same Republican opponent this November. In addition, Republicans won two House races (PA-8 and CO-3) where they ran the same candidate as in 2006, and after that candidate sat out 2008, they came back to win in 2010.

430
The number of House seats where the GOP fielded a candidate in 2010, the most congressional districts the Republican Party has ever contested.

410
The number of House seats where Democrats fielded a candidate in 2010, leading to a total of 405 House races with both a Democrat and Republican on the ballot.

GOVERNOR

2
The number of gubernatorial match-ups across the country where the Republican and Democratic candidate had previously run against each other for some office. Only one was a rerun of a gubernatorial contest, as in Maryland, Martin O’Malley (D) and Bob Ehrlich (R) re-ran their 2006 race, with O’Malley again victorious. In Vermont, Democrat Pete Shumlin defeated Republican Brian Dubie, taking vengeance for his 2002 loss when the two had run for Lieutenant Governor.

24
The number of years between Hawaii Democrats Neil Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann’s primary showdowns. In 1986, there was a special election to fulfill an unexpired House term and on the same day a primary to pick the Democratic nominee for that seat in the next general election. Abercrombie and Hannemann were both on both ballots, with the result a split decision. Abercrombie won the special election and Hannemann won the Democratic primary. The tie was finally broken this year, with Abercrombie winning the 2010 Democratic primary for governor and then the Hawaii governorship this November.

37
The number of gubernatorial elections held in November 2010, the most ever on the ballot in the same year.

3
The number of former Governors who clawed their way back into office in 2010. Democrat Jerry Brown won with 53.1% of the vote in California, Republican Terry Branstad captured 53.0% of the vote in Iowa, and Democrat John Kitzhaber prevailed in Oregon with 49.2%. Two more ex-GOVs tried and failed: Roy Barnes (D-GA) and Bob Ehrlich (R-MD).

STATE LEGISLATURES

3,374
The number of Democratic state legislators nationwide, the lowest total since 1946. As a result of the November 2nd elections, Republicans hold 53.7% of the nation’s partisan state legislative seats to just 46.3% for Democrats, excluding Nebraska’s nonpartisan state senators and third party legislators in other states.

19
The number of state legislative chambers picked up by Republicans on the eve of redistricting, still pending the results in New York’s state senate which could potentially add another GOP pick-up to the total.

VOTER TURNOUT

40.3%
National voter turnout among the voting eligible population for the 2010 midterm election. In 2006, this measure of turnout was 40.4%.

55.4%
Turnout among the voting eligible population (VEP) in Minnesota in the 2010 election, making the Land of 10,000 Lakes the state with the highest voter turnout in the nation, repeating its 2008 victory when 77.7% of Minnesota’s voting eligible population cast a ballot.

3
States with no statewide race on the ballot in 2010: New Jersey, Virginia, and Mississippi. In those states the average voting eligible population turnout was just 36.6% and none of the three states reached 40% VEP turnout.

32.1%
Voting eligible population turnout in New York, the worst showing of any of the 50 states. Most shockingly, the Empire State managed this feat despite having both Senate seats and the governorship up for election!

Larry J. Sabato is the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

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