The NCSL Blog


By Stacy Householder

Going into Election Day, we expected 22 of the 99 chambers to lose their top leader, mostly from term limits and retirements. Though, four top leaders lost their primaries earlier in the year: West Virginia Senate, New Mexico Senate; Delaware Senate and Alaska Senate.

As with every election, there were a few tough races that didn’t go the way of the incumbent leader:

  • Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (D) of Rhode Island lost early in the night. He took office in 2007 and served as Speaker since 2014.
  • Speaker Mitzi Johnson (D) of Vermont was in a nail-biter of a race where the top two proceed to the legislature. She lost by 18 votes, though a recount will take place in the coming days.


We saw a handful of shakes up on the minority leadership side, too:

  • Minority Leader Bob Trammell (D) of the Georgia House lost his race.
  • Minority Leader Anthony Hensley (D) of the Kansas Senate lost.
  • Minority Leader Dana Dow (R) of the Maine Senate appears to have lost.
  • Minority Leader Frank Dermody (D) of Pennsylvania continues to trail, but the race hasn’t been officially called.


While we are still watching some leadership races, it appears:

  • Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D) of Nevada eeked out the votes to put her in the lead.


As NCSL has noted, it’s remarkable how little the map has changed. Chamber flips include:

  • New Hampshire House
  • New Hampshire Senate

Which is a staggering low number of chamber flips, historically.

Stacy Householder is NCSL's director of leadership, training and international programs.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.