2021 Session Prep Toolkit
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On November 3, 2020, voters went to the polls to elect 5,877  state representatives and 11 governors, and to decide 120 statewide ballot measures. While much of the media attention focuses on the presidential and congressional races, these state-level elections will determine public policy close to home for every American. 

For all our state-level election results, explore our 2020 Elections Data Dashboard by clicking here. Toggle between legislative races, governors, ballot measures, and other state officials using the tabs at the top. 


Governors

There weren't any big surprises in the races for governorships this year. With only 11 gubernatorial elections in 2020, forecasters pinned nine of the races as safe for the incumbent party with only one close race forecasted in Montana to replace term-limited Democrat Steve Bullock. In that race, Republican Greg Gianforte has defeated Democrat Mike Cooney to flip the Montana governor’s mansion for Republicans. Democrat Roy Cooper held on to the governor's mansion in North Carolina and Republicans Mike Parson and Jim Justice did the same in Missouri and West Virginia, respectively. Republicans have gained one gubernatorial seat after the 2020 elections by flipping the open seat in Montana. In 2021, Republicans will have 27 governors and Democrats will have 23 governors. Click here to access more information on the 2020 Gubernatorial Races, including additional research and analysis.

Legislatures

A significant number of state seats — almost 80 percent — were up for election in 2020. Results in close races are still being counted, but Republicans appear to have added three legislative chambers in a year they expected to largely play defense. Click here to access more information on the 2020 State Legislative races, including additional research and analysis.

Legislative Supermajorities 

When a political party holds a supermajority of seats in a state legislature, that supermajority has the power to override gubernatorial vetoes as well as approve special measures that require passage beyond a simple majority. Overall, Republicans are projected to have added to their supermajority total nationwide with supermajorities in 31 state legislative chambers (+1) and Democrats are projected to have lost ground with 19 supermajorities (-1, after one gain and two losses). Once again, Democrats had high hopes for making progress in state legislative races but fell short in the 2020 elections. Republicans successfully played defense with their nationwide supermajority lead and even added to it. Click here for more analysis on the states to watch.

State Government Trifectas

When one party controls both the legislature and governor’s mansion in a state (a "trifecta"), that party has a clear path to pass preferred public policies without any major roadblocks from the opposition party. After the November 3 elections, Republicans are projected to gain three new trifectas — Montana, New Hampshire, and Alaska — for 2021. Democrats were hoping to break up a number of Republican trifectas by capturing control of several Republican state legislative chambers. But those hopes were dashed with a strong showing by Republican candidates in state legislative races. In 2021, Republicans are projected to have 24 (+3) state trifectas and Democrats will hold steady with 15 state trifectas. Click here for more analysis on the states to watch.

State Ballot Measures

Voters decided 120 statewide ballot measures in 32 states on November 3. Unsurprisingly, marijuana legalization ballot measures passed unanimously on election night. Voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota approved measures to legalize recreational marijuana, while measures to legalize medical marijuana also passed in Mississippi and South Dakota. Voters in Colorado and Florida approved ballot measures to expand benefits for workers. In California, a closely-watched and controversial ballot measure addressing worker classification – Proposition 22 – was also approved by voters. Click here for more analysis on the ballot measures to watch.