How Legislative Leaders Fared on Election Night
As the nation assesses the outcomes of the 2022 midterm elections, the NCSL Leaders’ Center is drilling down into the results affecting legislative leaders.
Before Election Day even arrived, NCSL already knew that at least 32 of the top leadership positions in the country would be held by someone new in 2023. This was due to a variety of factors, including retirements, term limits and leaders choosing to run for a different office.
Out of the top 108 legislative leaders across the states and territories, 32 were not returning, 24 were not up for reelection in this cycle, 20 ran unopposed and 32 faced a challenger for reelection.
Among the leaders seeking to earn another term in the legislature, and another term in leadership, there were some notable results last night:
A Comfortable Night for Most Leaders
Thus far, no top leaders (house speakers and senate leaders) have been defeated in their general election.
In general, it was a great night for incumbent leaders, many of whom coasted to reelection. While leaders often enjoy an incumbency advantage, this year appears to be especially stable for leaders.
At this time, there have been only two confirmed losses for incumbent leaders:
- Iowa Senate President Jake Chapman (R) lost to a fellow incumbent—a Democrat who ended up in the same district after redistricting.
- West Virginia Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin (D) lost to a Republican challenger, 59% to 38%.
Chambers on the Edge
Three chambers have flipped party control and a few others might still flip:
- The Minnesota Senate flipped from Republican to Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party control.
- The Michigan House and Senate flipped from Republican to Democratic control.
- The New Hampshire House and Senate appear to have remained in Republican hands, though recounts in individual races might still alter the balance of power in the House. As it stands, this will be the most evenly divided House in memory.
- The Pennsylvania House is still up in the air, with control hinging on the final two as-yet-uncalled races.
Other Notable Leadership Developments
Shortly before the election, long-serving Georgia House Speaker David Ralston announced he would not seek another term as leader, after serving the last 12 years as speaker. Sadly, Speaker Ralston passed away on November 16 at the age of 68. Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones will serve as Speaker until the start of the 2023 session, when Jon Burns is expected to be elected as Speaker.
Also just days before the election, Colorado House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, who was running unopposed in his district, died from a heart attack. A Republican Party vacancy committee will select his replacement.