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Politics & Government

Majority Of House And Senate Candidates Running Unopposed

The race for president, U.S. Senate, and state row offices have received the bulk of the attention ahead of tomorrow’s election. But voters will be casting ballots in races to fill 203 state House seats and 25 seats in the Senate. 

One political analyst said the Republican majority in both chambers is likely to remain after Election Day. Terry Madonna, a political scientist professor at Franklin and Marshall College, said nearly half of the House’s 203 members are not even facing a challenger.

“Very close to a hundred -- I think the actual number is 96 -- House incumbents are running unopposed, so you’re not talking about a lot of room for change,” Madonna said.

In 2010, when the Tea Party was ascendant, the GOP got back in the majority. Madonna said this time, there is no such zeitgeist motivating voters.

“There won’t be the huge coattails that would help the Democrats win back control of the Legislature.  It looks like, in the House anyway, they may pick up a couple of seats, but I think it’s largely going to be the same composition in the House,” Madonna said.

Nine of the incumbent candidates in 25 state Senate races are running unopposed.  Madonna said the Democratic minority has the opportunity to pick up seats in both chambers, but those wins will not shift the balance of power.

“Everything would have to go right, I mean, literally, right, for the Democrats to win control of the Senate.  They may pick up a seat or two, but I still think at the end of the day, the Senate will remain in Republican hands,” Madonna said.

The Republicans hold a 29-20 margin in the Senate with one vacancy.  Madonna predicts the GOP could lose 1 or two seats but still hold a sizable majority.