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2005 United States elections
2003          2004          2005          2006          2007
Off-year elections
Election dayNovember 8
Congressional special elections
Seats contested3
Net seat change0
Gubernatorial elections
Seats contested3 (2 states, 1 territory)
Net seat change0
2005 Northern Mariana Islands gubernatorial election2005 New Jersey gubernatorial election2005 Virginia gubernatorial election2005 United States gubernatorial elections results map.svg
About this image
2005 Gubernatorial election results map
  Democratic hold   Covenant gain
  No election

The 2005 United States elections were held on Tuesday, November 8. During this off-year election, the only seats up for election in the United States Congress were special elections held throughout the year. None of these congressional seats changed party hands. There were also two gubernatorial races, state legislative elections in two states, numerous citizen initiatives, mayoral races in several major cities, and a variety of local offices on the ballot.

United States Congress

Main article: List of special elections to the United States House of Representatives

There were three total special elections to the United States House of Representatives during 2005: California's 5th congressional district, California's 48th, and Ohio's 2nd. In each of these special elections, the incumbent party won.

Gubernatorial races

Main article: 2005 United States gubernatorial elections

Only New Jersey, Virginia, and the Northern Mariana Islands featured off-year gubernatorial races in 2005.

New Jersey

Main article: 2005 New Jersey gubernatorial election

Democratic U.S. Senator Jon Corzine defeated Republican businessman Doug Forrester, taking the open seat held by an acting governor since Democrat Jim McGreevey resigned.

Candidate Party Pct
Jon Corzine Dem. 53%
Doug Forrester Rep. 43%


Main article: 2005 Virginia gubernatorial election

Democratic Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine defeated former Republican Attorney General Jerry Kilgore in the race to succeed term-limited Governor (and Democrat) Mark Warner.

Candidate Party Pct
Tim Kaine Dem. 52%
Jerry Kilgore Rep. 46%

Northern Mariana Islands

Main article: 2005 Northern Mariana Islands gubernatorial election

Benigno Fitial, who belonged to the local Covenant Party, narrowly defeated independent Heinz Hofschneider and incumbent Republican Governor Juan N. Babauta to win the governorship in that U.S. territory.

Mayoral races

Many additional cities across the United States held mayoral elections; this list is representative, not inclusive. Nationally, the vast majority of mayors were reelected, often by wide margins, and there were few partisan upsets.

Some of the major races included:

Citizen initiatives

As with mayoral races, every referendum item nationwide is not included


Main article: 2005 California special election

California had eight questions on the ballot for the voters to consider. The election was seen as a referendum on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (who was up for reelection in 2006), as he sponsored and actively campaigned for four propositions on the ballot, Propositions 74 - 77. All eight propositions failed by varying margins.


In Maine, voters decided a number of issues. Question 1 considered whether to repeal a law passed by the state legislature banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (see gay rights). The initiative to make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation legal failed, and the legislature's law was upheld for the first time by Mainers. The state was also considering whether to pass a constitutional amendment designed to lower property taxes for fishermen by taxing property based on current use, rather than potential resale value. The measure passed overwhelmingly.

New Jersey

As the last two elected governors (Christine Todd Whitman and Jim McGreevey) had resigned, forcing a series of acting governors, New Jersey considered whether to create the post of Lieutenant Governor; the measure passed.


Ohio was considering whether to move the electoral redistricting process from the authority of the legislature to a non-partisan panel. Ohio also considered (in separate measures) whether to reduce individual financial contributions to political candidates, move election oversight to a bipartisan panel and away from the Secretary of State, and whether to allow all voters to vote early by mail. All four measures failed. These measures were placed on the ballot as a response to the controversies of the 2004 Presidential election in Ohio.


In Texas, 76% of voters supported a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, making it the 19th state to enact such a ban. This result was largely expected.

Washington (state)

An initiative to shorten the planned expansion of the Seattle Monorail was denied, meaning no expansion will be built at all. Four previous initiatives to cancel the project had been unsuccessful. However, a state Fuel Tax, which is earmarked for transportation improvements including the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, was not repealed.

Pennsylvania judicial election

Perceiving the Supreme Court's decisions as supporting corruption and secrecy in Harrisburg, voters refused to grant State Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro a retention vote. Nigro lost very narrowly, becoming the first justice in Pennsylvania history to lose a retention vote. Fellow Justice Sandra Schultz Newman was retained. The vote was closely connected with backlash against the Harrisburg establishment and the 2005 legislative pay raise which increased judges' and legislators' salaries.