|← 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 → |
|Election day||November 3|
|Congressional special elections|
|Net seat change||Democrat +1|
|Net seat change||0|
|1981 Gubernatorial election results map|
| Republican gain Democratic gain|
The 1981 United States elections were off-year elections were held on Tuesday, November 3, 1981, comprising 2 gubernatorial races, 5 congressional special elections, and a plethora of other local elections across the United States. No Senate special elections were held.
In 1981, five special elections were held to fill vacancies to the 97th United States Congress. They were for Michigan's 4th congressional district, Maryland's 5th congressional district, Ohio's 4th congressional district, Mississippi's 4th congressional district, and Pennsylvania's 3rd congressional district.
|District||Date||Predecessor||Winner||Cause of vacancy|
|Michigan 4||April 21, 1981||David Stockman||Mark D. Siljander||Resigned January 27, 1981, to become Director of the Office of Management and Budget.|
|Maryland 5||May 19, 1981||Gladys Spellman||Steny Hoyer||Incapacitated since last Congress and seat declared vacant February 24, 1981.|
|Ohio 4||June 25, 1981||Tennyson Guyer||Mike Oxley||Died April 12, 1981.|
|Mississippi 4||July 7, 1981||Jon Hinson||Wayne Dowdy||Resigned April 13, 1981.|
|Pennsylvania 3||July 21, 1981||Raymond F. Lederer||Joseph F. Smith||Convicted of bribery in the Abscam sting operation, resigned.|
Several statewide elections were held this year, most notably the gubernatorial elections in two U.S. States.
Main article: 1981 United States gubernatorial elections
Two gubernatorial elections were held in 1981 in New Jersey and the Commonwealth of Virginia and both states flipped parties.
|New Jersey||Brendan Byrne||Democratic||Term-limited, Republican victory||Thomas Kean (Republican) 49.5%|
James Florio (Democratic) 49.4%
|Virginia||John N. Dalton||Republican||Term-limited, Democratic victory||Chuck Robb (Democratic) 53.6%|
Marshall Coleman (Republican) 46.4%
Note: Candidates' vote percentages are rounded to the nearest tenth of one percent. Candidates earning 0.05% or more of the vote are included.
Elections took place in the New Jersey Senate and Virginia House of Delegates. The Democrats maintained control of the New Jersey Senate but lost 2 seats. In Virginia, Democrats maintained control of the House of Delegates but lost 8 seats.