Prior to the elections, Democrats held 15 trifectas (control of the governor's office and legislative chambers), Republicans held 21 trifectas, and 14 states have a divided government. Nationwide, Republicans controlled approximately 60 percent of the legislative chambers and 52 percent of the legislative seats. These elections had a major impact on the 2020 redistricting cycle, as many states held their final legislative elections prior to the decennial drawing of new congressional and state legislative districts.
Due to the impact the redistricting cycle will have on partisan control of Congress and state legislatures, the Democrats, who had not been in control of a majority of state legislatures across the U.S. since 2010, had hoped to retake control of key chambers in advance. However, despite fundraising efforts and projections of several Republican-held chambers in competitive states flipping, the Democrats failed to flip any state chambers, which they attributed to gerrymandering in the wake of the 2010 elections, as well as state laws restricting voting, President Donald Trump being on the ballot, and the Democrats' campaigning methods. Following the election, Republicans have control of redistricting in 20 state governments, totaling 188 House districts, whereas Democrats have control in states with a total of 73 districts. Overall, these elections saw the fewest partisan changes in state legislatures since 1944.
States holding regularly-scheduled legislative and gubernatorial elections in 2020:
Governor and all legislative chambers
All legislative chambers
A portion of legislative chambers
Seats parties gained in the lower houses 2020 elections:
Democratic majority and Democrats lost seats
Democratic majority and Democrats gained or held seats
Republican majority and Republicans lost seats
Republican majority and Republicans gained or held seats
Coalition majority and lost a seat
Partisan control of state and territorial governments following the 2020 elections:
Democratic trifecta maintained
Republican trifecta maintained
Republican trifecta established
Divided government established
Divided government maintained
Officially non-partisan legislature
Partisan control TBD
Regularly-scheduled elections were held in 86 of the 99 state legislative chambers in the United States. Nationwide, regularly-scheduled elections were held for 5,876 of the 7,383 legislative seats. Many legislative chambers held elections for all seats, but some legislative chambers that use staggered elections held elections for only a portion of the total seats in the chamber. The chambers not up for election either hold regularly-scheduled elections in odd-numbered years, or have four-year terms and hold all regularly-scheduled elections in presidential midterm election years.
Note that this table only covers regularly-scheduled elections; additional special elections took place concurrently with these regularly-scheduled elections.
Louis Jacobson of The Cook Political Report predicted that Republican-held chambers that could potentially flip to Democratic control included both chambers in Arizona, the Florida Senate, both chambers in Georgia, the Iowa House, the Michigan House, the Minnesota Senate, both chambers in North Carolina, both chambers in Pennsylvania, and the Texas House. He predicted that Republicans could potentially gain control of the Maine Senate, the Minnesota House, and both chambers in New Hampshire, all of which were controlled by the Democratic Party. Additionally, Jacobson predicted that Republicans could win control of the Alaska House, which was currently controlled by a coalition of Democrats and Republicans.
Writing for Sabato's Crystal Ball, Chaz Nuttycombe highlighted the Alaska House and the New Hampshire Senate as the top pick-up opportunities for Republicans, and lists the Arizona House, the Arizona Senate, the Iowa House, the Michigan House, the Minnesota Senate, the North Carolina House, the North Carolina Senate, the Pennsylvania House, and the Texas House as the top pick-up opportunities for Democrats.
Half of the seats of the Alaska Senate and all of the seats of the Alaska House of Representatives were up for election in 2020. The Alaska Senate is controlled by Republicans, while the Alaska House of Representatives is controlled by a coalition of Democrats, Republicans, and independents. The Alaska House of Representatives is currently the only state legislative chamber controlled by a cross-partisan coalition.
Half of the seats of the Iowa Senate and all of the seats of the Iowa House of Representatives were up for election in 2020. Republicans held control of both chambers, maintaining a government trifecta.
Half of the seats of the Kentucky Senate and all of the seats of the Kentucky House of Representatives were up for election in 2020. Republicans held control of both chambers. Because the Kentucky legislature can override gubernatorial vetoes with a simple majority vote, Republicans have a veto-proof majority in the state legislature.
Nebraska is the only U.S. state with a unicameral legislature; half of the seats of the Nebraska Legislature were up for election in 2020. Nebraska is also unique in that its legislature is officially non-partisan and holds non-partisan elections, although the Democratic and Republican parties each endorse legislative candidates.
Half of the seats of the Ohio Senate and all of the seats of the Ohio House of Representatives were up for election in 2020. Republicans retained control of both chambers, maintaining a government trifecta.
All of the seats of the American Samoa Senate and the American Samoa House of Representatives are up for election. Members of the senate serve four-year terms, while members of the house of representative serve two-year terms. Gubernatorial and legislative elections are conducted on a nonpartisan basis in American Samoa.
Prior to the 2020 elections, Republicans control approximately 60 percent of the state legislative chambers and 52 percent of the state legislative seats in the United States. Nationwide, approximately 40 percent of the population of the United States (including federal districts and territories) live in states with Republican control of the state government, 37 percent live in states with Democratic control, and 22 percent live in states with divided government.[f]
This table shows the partisan control of governor's offices and state legislative chambers in each state. In situations where one party controls the governor's office and both legislative chambers (known as a "government trifecta"), that party is marked as having "overall" control of the state. Otherwise, overall control of the state is marked as being divided.
^ abcThe Alaska House of Representatives is controlled by a coalition of Democrats, Republicans, and independents. The minority caucus consists of Republicans who are not part of the majority coalition.
^ abcdefghThe upper houses of Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Texas use a 2-4-4 term length system.
^ abcThese figures represent the seats of Nebraska's unicameral legislature.
^Consists of 15 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and 2 Independents.
^Consists of 15 Democrats, 3 Republicans, and 4 Independents.
^The remaining portion of the U.S. population lives in Nebraska or American Samoa (which have non-partisan legislatures), or Puerto Rico, where the PNP has a trifecta.
^Partisan seat figures were compiled in August 2020.
^ abcdNebraska has a unicameral, officially non-partisan legislature. For this reason, Nebraska is not included in the overall tallies of partisan control (except for governor) and the overall control column is labeled as "N/A".
^Republicans controlled the lower house in 29 states, Democrats controlled the lower house in 20 states, and one state, Alaska, had a lower house controlled by a coalition.
^Republicans held a trifecta in 20 states, Democrats held a trifecta in 15 states, and 14 states had a divided government.
^ abWashington, D.C., does not elect a governor or state legislature, but it does elect a mayor and a city council.
^ abAlthough elections for governor of American Samoa are non-partisan, Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has affiliated with the Democratic Party at the national level since re-election in 2016. He is counted as a Democrat for the overall tally.
^Puerto Rican Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced is a member of the Puerto Rican New Progressive Party and affiliates with the Republican Party at the national level. She is counted as a Republican in the overall tally.
^ abThe upper house tally includes the unicameral legislatures of Washington, D.C., Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.