First Look: Election Day 2021

Election Day 2021

The 2021 off-year elections are being held on Tuesday, November 2. New Jersey and Virginia have elections for statewide offices, including governor. There are also legislative elections in both states, although the State Senate in Virginia will not be contested until 2023.

There will also be two special elections in Ohio to fill congressional vacancies, along with primaries in FL-20 as the process begins to fill the only other currently open seat in the U.S. House.

Approximately a dozen state legislative special elections will also be contested that day. Finally, voters in 17 of the nation's 100 largest cities will make their choice for mayor.

We'll have more on these races as Election Day nears, with live results as the polls close on November 2.


The state is the only one where governors can not serve consecutive terms. Terry McAuliffe is looking to reclaim the role he held from 2014-2018. State Senators serve four year terms; only the House of Delegates (state house) is on the ballot this year. 

There is currently a state government trifecta, where one party controls the governor's office and both chambers of the state legislature. With competitive elections for governor and for control of the House of Delegates, the Democratic trifecta is at risk. Polls close at 7:00 PM ET. 

Office Comments
Governor Ralph Northam (D) is term-limited. Polls have Terry McAuliffe (D) slightly ahead of Glenn Youngkin (R)
Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax (D) did not run. Polls have Hala Ayala (D) slightly ahead of Winsome Sears (R)
Attorney General Polls have incumbent Mark Herring (D), who is seeking a 3rd term,  with a modest lead over Jason Miyares (R).
House of Delegates Democrats gained control after the 2019 election. The battle for control this year is a toss-up.

New Jersey

Democrats are expected to maintain their state government trifecta. Unlike Virginia, where each office is contested separately, the nominees for governor and lieutenant governor run jointly on the same ballot line.

The State Senate operates on a 2-4-4 schedule, with elections won in redistricting years (i.e, this year) having a two year term. In 2023 and 2027, elections will be for four year terms.

Polls close at 8:00 PM ET. 

Office Comments
Governor Gov. Phil Murphy (D) is favored to win a 2nd term.
State Senate Democrats are favored to maintain control.
General Assembly Democrats are favored to maintain control.

U.S. House of Representatives

There are currently three vacancies. Special elections will fill the two in Ohio, with party primaries in FL-20. The special general election there will be January 11, 2022. These three seats will next be contested for a full two-year term next November, although the boundaries are likely to be different due to redistricting. 

Polls close at 7:00 PM in Florida and 7:30 PM in Ohio

District Comments
FL-20 (Primary) 11 Democrats, 2 Republicans competing for nominations in this deep blue district.
OH-11 Shontel Brown (D) is expected to win by a large margin, holding seat for Democrats.
OH-15 Mike Carey (R) is favored to win, keeping the seat in Republican control.

Legislative Special Elections

There are nearly 7,400 seats in state legislatures across the 50 states. As such, there are almost always multiple vacancies, with special elections occurring throughout the year.

This set of special elections are taking place on Election Day itself.

State Senate

At first glance, these all look likely to safe for the incumbent party. In Mississippi, if no candidate gets 50%, there will be a runoff on November 27.

District Comments
KY-22 Long-time GOP incumbent passed away in July.
MI-8 GOP incumbent resigned after being elected to another office. 
MI-28 GOP incumbent resigned after being elected to another office.
MS-32 Nonpartisan special election; Democratic incumbent resigned in June.
MS-38 Nonpartisan special election; Democratic incumbent resigned after being elected to another office.
NY-30 Safely Democratic; prior incumbent now Lt. Governor
RI-3 Democratic incumbent resigned to join Biden Administration.

State House

At first glance, these House districts also look likely to safe for the incumbent party. ME-86 has been competitive at times over the past decade, although GOP won by 14 points in 2020. 

District Comments
GA-165 Democratic incumbent passed away in August; 11/30 runoff if no candidate gets a majority.
KY-51 GOP incumbent passed away in July. 
KY-89 GOP incumbent resigned in August.
MA Essex 4 GOP incumbent resigned in September. These primaries precede the November 30 special election.
ME-86 GOP incumbent resigned in July. This district has flipped between parties over the past decade; GOP won by 57%-43% in 2020.
PA-113 Democratic incumbent resigned after being elected to another office.
PA-164 Democratic incumbent resigned in July.
TX-118 Top two runoff in competitive San Antonio area district long held by Democrats.

Mayoral Elections

These are elections in the 100 largest cities by population. They are based on July 1, 2020 Census Bureau population estimates. Rankings are for the city itself, not the associated metropolitan area. 

Many of these are nonpartisan elections. Party affiliations are included where known.

City Comments
New York (1) Eric Adams (D) heavily favored in this deep blue city.
Seattle (18) Incumbent Jenny Durkan (D) did not run; two most recent City Council Presidents advanced from primary.
Boston (24) Acting mayor Kim Janey (D) lost in primary. City will elect its first woman and first person of color as mayor.
Detroit (27) Incumbent mayor Mike Duggan (D) is expected to be reelected.
Albuquerque (32) Mayor Tim Keller (D) seeking 2nd term; December 7 runoff if no candidate gets >50%.
Atlanta (38) Kasim Reed (D) attempting to return to office he held for two terms. Runoff on November 30 if no candidate gets majority.
Miami (44) Francis X. Suarez (R) is expected to win a 2nd term; November 15 runoff if no candidate gets >50%.
Minneapolis (46) Jacob Frey (D) is seeking a 2nd term. Over 15 candidates on the ballot; winner will be determined by Ranked Choice Voting. 
Cleveland (54) Incumbent retiring. Justin Bibb and Kevin Kelley, both (D), advanced from primary.
Saint Paul (63) Melvin Carter III (D) is expected to win a 2nd term.
Cincinnati (65) Incumbent term-limited. Aftab Pureval, David Mann, both (D), advanced from primary.
Pittsburgh (68) Ed Gainey ousted incumbent Bill Peduto in Dem. primary; should easily win.
Jersey City (71) Mayor Steve Fulop (D) is seeking a 3rd term.
Durham (75) Incumbent Steve Schewel (D) not running. 
Buffalo (76) Incumbent Byron Brown (D) lost primary; will try and hold seat via write-in campaign.
Toledo (79) Incumbent Wade Kapszukiewicz (D) is expected to win a 2nd term.
St. Petersburg (85) Incumbent term-limited. This is a runoff; Ken Welch (D) is favored.
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