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Two U.S. House members make endorsements in TX-28 Democratic primary

On Jan. 20, 2022, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) endorsed Jessica Cisneros in the Democratic primary for Texas’ 28th Congressional District. On Jan. 19, House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) endorsed incumbent Henry Cuellar.

Cuellar, Tannya Benavides, and Cisneros are running in the primary election on March 1. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the top-two vote-getters will advance to a primary runoff on May 24.

In the 2020 Democratic primary, Cuellar defeated Cisneros 51.8% to 48.2%. In that primary, Cisneros received endorsements from Justice Democrats, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Cuellar received endorsements from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Political commentators expect endorsements in this year’s race to continue to reflect this divide between the wings of the Democratic Party.

The general election will take place on Nov. 8, 2022. As of January 2022, the three race rating outlets considered the general either to be either Solid Democratic or Likely Democratic. The district is one of three in the state announced as targets by the National Republican Congressional Committee in February 2021. In the 2020 general election. Cuellar defeated Sandra Whitten (R) 58.3% to 39.0%.



President Biden nominates eight to Article III courts

President Joe Biden (D) nominated eight individuals to Article III judgeships with lifetime terms on Jan. 19:

To date, Biden has nominated 81 individuals to federal judgeships. Forty-one of the nominees have been confirmed.

As of his inauguration in January 2021, Biden inherited 46 Article III vacancies: two vacancies in the U.S. courts of appeal, 43 vacancies in the U.S. district courts, and one vacancy on the U.S. Court of International Trade. Biden announced his first federal judicial nominees on March 30.

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Redistricting map updates: proposals, advancements, and enactments between Jan. 12 and Jan. 19

Between Jan. 12 and Jan. 19, officials in at least seven states either proposed, advanced, or enacted new redistricting maps.

Proposed

Connecticut: On Jan. 18, Nathaniel Persily, the special master who the state supreme court appointed to handle redistricting, submitted his proposed map and report for the state’s congressional districts. The state supreme court chose Persily, a law professor at Standford University, to manage congressional redistricting after the Connecticut Reapportionment Commission did not meet its court-ordered deadline to finish redrawing the congressional map. The court has until Feb. 15 to approve new congressional district lines.

The Connecticut General Assembly is responsible for redistricting every cycle but has not produced new maps since 1981. In 1991, 2001, 2011, and 2021, the legislature missed its mid-September deadline to enact maps, passing authority to the commission each cycle. The commission itself has missed its deadlines three cycles in a row: 2001, 2011, and 2021. In each cycle, the supreme court granted a three-week extension. The commission adopted maps before the extended deadline in 2001 but missed the extension in 2011 and 2021, at which point authority passes to the supreme court. Persily served as the redistricting special master during the 2010 redistricting cycle, as well.

Florida: On Jan. 16, Ryan Newman, general counsel to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), submitted a proposed congressional map on the governor’s behalf. Politico’s Gary Fineout wrote that this was the first time in recent history that the governor has proposed a map during Florida’s redistricting process. Fineout added that the proposal would halve the number of majority-minority districts from four to two and increase the number of likely Republican districts to 18 from 16.

On Jan. 18, WKMG’s Christie Zizo wrote that the Senate Redistricting Committee had not considered DeSantis’ proposed map. Zizo added, “Once the Florida House and Senate agree on a final new Congressional district map, it will go to DeSantis for his signature. The DeSantis statement indicates he may veto the map if he does not agree with it.”

Advanced

Arizona: On Jan. 18, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission met to finalize the congressional and legislative maps the commission approved on Dec. 22, 2021. This meeting was held to address administrative edits that towns and counties requested on issues like aligning precinct boundaries. The commission voted 3-2 to finalize the congressional map. Members began to discuss the legislative map but had to adjourn the meeting before holding a final vote after Chairwoman Erika Neuberg left the meeting for unknown reasons and did not return. The commission was set to meet again on Jan. 21 to finish the certification. These maps will not go into effect until the commission transmits them to the secretary of state.

Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 110-91 in favor of a proposed congressional map on Jan. 12, sending the plan to the Senate for approval. On Jan. 18, a Senate committee voted to advance the map to the full Senate for a vote. If the Senate approves the map, it will go to Gov. Tom Wolf (D) for final approval. Wolf has indicated that he opposes the map on partisan lines but has not said whether he will veto it if it arrives at his desk. Pennsylvania has a divided government with Republicans controlling both chambers of the legislature and Democrats holding the governorship. 

Rhode Island: The Rhode Island Special Commission on Reapportionment voted 13-4 in favor of new legislative maps and 15-2 in favor of congressional lines on Jan. 12. While the commission may endorse district lines, its decisions are not binding. The maps will now advance to the Democratic-controlled General Assembly, which may “adopt, modify, or ignore the commission’s proposals.”

South Carolina: On Jan. 19, the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-8 along party lines in favor of a congressional map plan. The Post and Courier’s Nick Reynolds wrote that the map would give Republicans a 6-1 advantage in U.S. House seats and that the plan would create no competitive districts. This map originated in the House and passed there with a 74-35 vote on Jan. 13. It will next advance to the full Senate for a vote. If the Senate supports the proposal, it will go to Gov. Henry McMaster (R) for final approval.

Enacted

One state—Arkansas—enacted a congressional map between Jan. 12 and Jan. 19. As of Jan. 19, 24 states have enacted congressional districts maps and 27 have enacted legislative district lines.

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Election rematches

Welcome to the Monday, January 24, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Rematches in the 2021 general elections
  2. Kentucky statewide filing deadline is Jan. 25
  3. President Biden nominates eight to Article III courts

Rematches in the 2021 general elections

When the same candidates run against each other in consecutive election cycles, we call that an election rematch. In the 2021 general elections, we covered 10 rematches—five state legislative races and five local races. The 10 rematches represented about 1.2% of all 830 general election races in Ballotpedia’s 2021 coverage scope.

Overall, Republicans won one of those races, while Democrats won four. At the local level, all races were nonpartisan. In all but one of those 10 elections, the candidate who won in 2019 also won in 2021.

All five state legislative rematch elections happened in Virginia, which held regularly scheduled elections in the Virginia House of Delegates. In all five races, the incumbent won re-election. Democrats won four of those races, while a Republican won one. 

Five local races in Ballotpedia’s coverage scope were rematches in the 2021 general election. In both 2019 and 2021, all winning candidates were nonpartisan. One race was decided by less than 10 percentage points in 2019, and two races were decided by less than 10 percentage points in 2021. In one case, the candidate who won in 2019 was defeated in 2021. In 2019, Kathleen Kelley Arnold defeated Sean Parr in the general election for Manchester Board of School Committee Ward 2, in New Hampshire. Arnold won 54.9% of the vote to Parr’s 44.7%. However, in 2021, Parr defeated Arnold, winning 50.7% to Arnold’s 49.3%. 

In 2020, 402 elections in Ballotpedia’s coverage scope were rematches between the same candidates who ran for office in 2018. In 92% of those rematches, the candidate who won in 2018 also won in 2020.  

Here’s a breakdown of those 402 rematches:

  • 56 races for the U.S. House.
  • One state executive race.
  • 342 state legislative races.
  • Three local races in our coverage scope.

What will 2022 look like? Here’s an early example of a 2022 rematch. In 2020, Jerry Bollig, a member of the Dane County Board of Supervisors in Wisconsin, defeated challenger Todd Kluever in the District 31 general election. In 2022, Kluever is once again challenging Bollig for the seat. The election is scheduled for April 5.

Find out more about election rematches at the link below!

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Kentucky statewide filing deadline is Jan. 25

Kentucky’s statewide filing deadline for primary candidates is tomorrow, Jan. 25! The deadline applies to candidates running in U.S. Senate and House races, as well as state Senate and state House races. Primaries are scheduled for May 17.

Kentucky’s deadline was originally scheduled for Jan. 7, but Gov. Andy Beshear (D) and the Kentucky General Assembly pushed back the date to give themselves more time to enact new state legislative and congressional maps

The only state whose filing deadline has passed is Texas, where candidates had until Dec. 13 to file. Texas will be holding the earliest primaries of the 2022 election season, scheduled for March 1. Kentucky, Alabama, and West Virginia are among the 12 states holding primaries in May.

After Kentucky, the next deadline for candidates running in state and federal offices will be in Alabama, on Jan. 28, followed by Jan. 29 for candidates in West Virginia. 

The next five filing deadlines for statewide and federal office will be:

  • February 1 (New Mexico)
  • February 2 (Ohio, state-level candidates only)
  • February 4 (Indiana)
  • February 15 (Nebraska)
  • February 22 (Maryland)

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President Biden nominates eight to Article III courts

On Jan. 19, President Joe Biden (D) nominated eight individuals to Article III judgeships with lifetime terms:

  1. Arianna Freeman, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  2. Tiffany Cartwright, to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
  3. Ana de Alba, to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  4. Nusrat Choudhury, to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  5. Robert Huie, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
  6. Natasha Merle, to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  7. Jennifer Rearden, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  8. Nina Y. Wang, to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

There are 77 current Article III vacancies in the federal judiciary of 870 total Article III judgeships. Article III judges serve on courts authorized by Article III of the Constitution, which created and enumerated the powers of the judiciary. They are appointed for life terms. A vacancy occurs when a judge resigns, retires, takes senior status, or passes away. In the event of a scheduled upcoming vacancy, the president may submit a nomination to the U.S. Senate prior to the vacancy taking effect.

To date, Biden has nominated 81 individuals to federal judgeships. Forty-one of the nominees have been confirmed.
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New Hampshire Secretary of State retirement triggers triplex status change

Ballot Measures Update

Sixty-four statewide measures have been certified for the 2022 ballot in 30 states so far. No new measures were certified for the ballot last week.

Signatures have been submitted and are pending verification for six additional initiatives in Alaska, Florida, Massachusetts, and Ohio:

States in session

Thirty-eight state legislatures—Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin—are in regular session.

Special Elections

Thirty state legislative special elections have been scheduled in 15 states so far this year. Seven specials have taken place already. Heading into those races, Democrats had previously controlled six of the seats, and Republicans previously controlled one.

  • In special elections between 2011 and 2021, one party (either Republicans or Democrats) saw an average net gain of four seats nationally each year.
  • An average of 57 seats were filled through special elections in each of the past six even years (2010: 30, 2012: 46, 2014: 40, 2016: 65, 2018: 99, 2020: 59).
  • An average of 85 seats were filled through special elections in each of the past six odd years (2011: 95, 2013: 84, 2015: 89, 2017:98, 2019: 77, 2021: 66).

Upcoming special elections include:

Jan. 25

Feb. 8

Feb. 15

New Hampshire Secretary of State retirement triggers triplex status change

On Jan. 10, 2022, New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner (D), the longest-serving secretary of state in U.S. history, retired. The New Hampshire legislature first elected Gardner to the position in 1976. 

Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan (R) was sworn in after Gardner resigned. According to the New Hampshire Constitution, the deputy secretary of state replaces the secretary until a new secretary is appointed. Scanlan will serve the remainder of Gardner’s term, which ends in December 2022. 

Scanlan’s swearing-in created a Republican triplex in New Hampshire, meaning that Republicans control the executive offices of governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. In New Hampshire, a joint session of the state legislature chooses the secretary of state.

In 2022, 27 states are holding an election for secretary of state. Click here to read more about those elections. There are 21 Democratic secretaries of state and 26 Republican secretaries of state. The position does not exist in Alaska, Hawaii, or Utah. 

Marijuana policy could be on numerous statewide ballots this year

Ballotpedia is tracking 20 citizen-initiated measures in nine states related to marijuana that could appear before voters in 2022. As of 2022, recreational marijuana is legal in 18 states and Washington, D.C., and medical marijuana is legal in 36 states and D.C.

In Ohio, sponsors of an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana submitted an additional 29,918 signatures on January 13, after the secretary of state verified their initial petition contained 119,825 valid signatures–13,062 less than the number required. If enough of the additional signatures are found to be valid, the initiative will go before the state legislature. If the state legislature does not enact it outright, sponsors will have to collect a second round of 132,887 signatures to place it on the 2022 ballot. In 2015, Ohio voters defeated Issue 3 with a margin of 63.65% to 36.35%.

In Arkansas, voters could decide on two marijuana initiatives. One initiative would decriminalize marijuana, give limited immunity to cannabis businesses, and create regulations on the cannabis industry. The other would legalize marijuana use for individuals 21 years of age and older regardless of residency. Both campaigns have until July 8, 2022, to collect 89,151 valid signatures.

Florida voters could decide changes to the state’s medical marijuana amendment approved by voters in 2016 with two separate initiatives. Initiative #18-02 would add nine mental health disorders to the list of qualifying conditions to purchase and use medical marijuana. Initiative #18-05 would redefine medical use under the measure to include growing up to nine marijuana plants.

Nebraska has four initiatives cleared for circulation related to marijuana. Three of the initiatives would establish a state medical marijuana program and are sponsored by State Senators Anna Wishart (D) and Adam Morfeld (D). One initiative is a constitutional amendment, and the other two are state statutes. ​​The Nebraska Hemp Company filed a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana. The Nebraska signature deadline is July 7, 2022.

In North Dakota, an initiative was cleared for signature gathering that would legalize marijuana use for residents 21 years of age and older and allow a person to possess, grow, process, or transport up to 12 cannabis plants for personal use. In 2018, North Dakota voters defeated Measure 3, an initiative that would have legalized marijuana, in a vote of 59.45% to 40.55%.

Kind Idaho filed an initiative to establish a state medical marijuana program. Sponsors attempted to qualify an identical initiative for the 2020 Idaho ballot but suspended their signature-gathering campaign in April 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Voters could also decide on an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana. The initiative is sponsored by The Idaho Way. The campaigns need to submit 64,945 valid signatures by May 1, 2022.

In Missouri, there are three initiatives cleared for circulation that would legalize and regulate recreational marijuana. The initiatives were filed by three different sponsors. A constitutional amendment to change the state’s medical marijuana program approved by voters in 2018 was also cleared for circulation. It would allow medical marijuana patients to grow marijuana for personal use, decrease the cost of a patient identification card from $100 to $25, and allow up to three primary caregivers for a medical marijuana patient. The signature requirement for constitutional amendments is 160,199 signatures by May 8, 2022.

Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action filed three initiatives. Two initiatives would (1) amend the state constitution to legalize marijuana for persons 21 years old and older and (2) impose a 15% excise tax on marijuana sales for purchases by an individual without a medical marijuana license. The third initiative would make changes to the state’s medical marijuana program to create the State Cannabis Commission to replace the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority.

In South Dakota, an initiative to legalize marijuana was cleared for signature gathering. In 2020, 54.18% of voters approved Amendment A, which would have legalized marijuana, but it was later overturned by a supreme court ruling that found the initiative violated the state’s single-subject rule and constituted a revision of the constitution rather than an amendment. The 2022 initiative was filed by New Approach South Dakota, which also sponsored the 2020 amendment.

Click here to keep up-to-date on marijuana-related statewide ballot measures in 2022.

Ohio Redistricting Commission meets to develop new legislative maps

The Ohio Redistricting Commission met Jan. 18 and 20 ahead of a court-established Jan. 22 deadline to create new legislative maps. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled on Jan. 12 that state legislative district maps approved by the commission were partisan gerrymanders in violation of the state constitution. The Republican-controlled commission voted 5-2 along party lines to approve the maps on Sept. 16, 2021.

In its ruling, the court cited a constitutional amendment approved by Ohio voters in 2015 that revamped the state’s redistricting process by creating the bipartisan commission responsible for drawing state legislative maps without partisan bias. Voters approved the amendment with 71% of the vote.

The amendment also included a proportionality requirement, which directed the commission to try to match districts with statewide vote totals over the past decade. During the redistricting process, it was determined that Republicans had won 54% of the statewide vote since 2010 and Democrats had won 46%. The court said the commission’s maps favored Republicans in 68% of the House districts and 70% of the Senate districts, in violation of the amendment.

Kentucky adopts new legislative district boundaries

Kentucky adopted new legislative district boundaries this week after the General Assembly overrode Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) veto of legislation establishing new state House districts on Jan. 20. The vote to override the governor’s veto was 24-10 in the state Senate with all votes in favor by Republicans and eight Democrats and two Republicans voting against. The override vote was 69-23 in the state House, with all votes cast in favor by Republicans and 22 Democrats and one Republican voting to sustain Beshear’s veto.

In his veto statement, Gov. Beshear said he felt the redistricting plan split counties for partisan reasons. He also said, “Moreover, according to the demographic data the House released after it passed this bill, this plan appears to dilute the voices of certain minority communities.”

After the House voted to override the governor’s veto, state Representative Jerry Miller (R) said, “This is constitutional, it fully meets the voting [rights act]. And I think he was foolish to veto it.”

Gov. Beshear allowed the redistricting proposal for new state Senate districts to become law without his signature on Jan. 21. That legislation passed the state Senate on Jan. 6, 28-4, and the state House on Jan. 8, 67-23.

Kentucky statewide filing deadline is Jan. 25

Kentucky’s filing deadline for candidates seeking to run for office this year is Jan. 25. The deadline was originally Jan. 7, but Gov. Andy Beshear (D) and the Kentucky General Assembly pushed back the date to give themselves more time to enact new state legislative and congressional maps

The deadline applies to candidates running in U.S. Senate and House races, as well as state Senate and state House races. 

The only state whose filing deadline has passed is Texas, where candidates had until Dec. 13 to file. Texas will be holding the earliest primaries of the 2022 election season, scheduled for March 1. Kentucky, Alabama, and West Virginia are among the 12 states holding primaries in May.

After Kentucky, the next deadline for candidates running in state and federal offices will be in Alabama, on Jan. 28, followed by Jan. 29 for candidates in West Virginia. 

The next five filing deadlines for statewide and federal office will be:

  • February 1 (New Mexico)
  • February 2 (Ohio, state-level candidates only)
  • February 4 (Indiana)
  • February 15 (Nebraska)
  • February 22 (Maryland)


Arizona redistricting commission approves new congressional districts

Congress is in session

Both the House and Senate are in session next week. Click here to see the full calendar for the second session of the 117th Congress.

Forty-seven members of Congress—six members of the U.S. Senate and 41 members of the U.S. House—have announced they will not seek re-election. Thirty-two members—six senators and 26 representatives—have announced their retirement. Five retiring Senate members are Republicans and one is a Democrat, and of the retiring House members, 20 are Democrats and six are Republicans.

SCOTUS is out of session

The Supreme Court will not hear oral arguments next week. To learn about the 2021-2022 term, click here.

Where was the president last week?

On Monday, Biden traveled from New Castle, Delaware, to the White House.

On Tuesday, Biden received the Weekly Economic Briefing.

On Wednesday, Biden held a press conference.

On Thursday, Biden met with members of the Infrastructure Implementation Task Force to discuss delivering results from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

On Friday, Biden did not have any events scheduled.

Federal Judiciary

  • 79 federal judicial vacancies
  • 32 pending nominations
  • 33 future federal judicial vacancies

Upcoming Article III Judicial Vacancies

According to the latest vacancy data from the U.S. Courts, there were 33 total announced upcoming vacancies for Article III judgeships. The earliest vacancy announcement was on Jan. 22, 2021, when U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland Judge Ellen Hollander announced she would assume senior status upon the confirmation of her successor. The most recent was on Jan. 12, 2022, when U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit Judge Gregg Costa announced that he would retire on Aug. 5, 2022. Twenty-two vacancy effective dates have not been determined because the judge has not announced the date they will leave the bench. The next upcoming vacancy will occur on Feb. 14, 2022, when U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Judge Virginia Phillips assumes senior status. 

For historical comparison, on Jan. 23, 2021, there were 49 federal judicial vacancies and five upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary reported by the U.S. Courts.

Arizona redistricting commission approves new congressional districts

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission voted 3-2 in favor of the state’s new congressional district boundaries. The commission’s nonpartisan chairwoman joined the group’s two Republican members in voting in favor of the map, and the commission’s two Democratic members were opposed. The commission previously voted in favor of the congressional map by a 5-0 vote on Dec. 22, 2021, which was followed by a period for counties to request administrative changes before the final vote on Jan. 18.

The commission is responsible for drawing both congressional and state legislative district lines and is composed of five members. Of these, four are selected by the majority and minority leaders of each chamber of the state legislature from a list of 25 candidates nominated by the state commission on appellate court appointments. The fifth member of the commission must belong to a different political party than the other commissioners.

At the time of the map’s enactment, Democrats held five U.S. House seats in Arizona, and Republicans held four. The Arizona Republic‘s Ray Stern wrote, “The new map, should it withstand legal challenges, favors Republicans in five — and possibly six — of the state’s nine districts.”

Kentucky adopts new congressional map after legislature overrides gubernatorial veto

Kentucky adopted new congressional district boundaries on Jan. 20 after the general assembly overrode Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) veto of legislation establishing the state’s new congressional map. Beshear vetoed Senate Bill 3 —the congressional redistricting legislation —on Jan. 19. The vote to override the governor’s veto was 26-8 in the state Senate, with 23 Republicans and three Democrats voting in favor and five Democrats and three Republicans opposing it. The override vote was 64-24 in the state House, with all votes in favor cast by Republicans. Twenty-one Democrats and three Republicans voted to sustain Beshear’s veto.

In his veto statement, Gov. Beshear wrote, “I am vetoing Senate Bill 3 because it was drafted without public input and reflects unconstitutional political gerrymandering…Plainly, this map is not designed to provide fair representation to the people of Kentucky and was not necessary because of population changes.”

After Beshear’s veto, Kentucky House Speaker David Osborne (R) issued a statement that said, in part, “We are disappointed that the Governor has chosen to again veto lawfully enacted legislation. He is wrong on the facts, wrong on the law, and he knows it. This proposal meets all legal considerations. We will use our legislative authority to override this veto.”

Senate Bill 3 was introduced on Jan. 4 with the Senate voting in favor, 28-4, on Jan. 6 and the House approving, 65-25, on Jan. 8.

Twenty-eight U.S. senators running for re-election, six retiring

With Sens. Ron Johnson’s (R-Wis.) and John Thune’s (R-S.D.) recent announcements that they will seek re-election, all incumbent senators up for re-election in 2022 have made their decisions. Twenty-eight senators are seeking re-election—15 Republicans and 13 Democrats. Six senators are retiring—five Republicans and one Democrat. This is the highest number of Republicans not seeking re-election since at least 2012. 

In every election cycle within that time until the current one, either two or three Republican senators did not seek re-election. The number of retiring Democrats has ranged from zero to six.

The six open races in 2022 are in Alabama, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. Republicans hold the Senate seat in all states except Vermont. Three of the open Senate races—in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio—have at least one competitive rating (Toss-up, Tilt Republican, or Lean Republican) from three election forecasters.

Our battleground Senate races list currently consists of eight states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Democrats and Republicans each hold four of the battleground seats going into the elections.

Democrats have an effective majority in the Senate, with each party holding 50 seats and Vice President Kamala Harris (D) serving as the tie-breaking vote.

Looking back at Joe Biden’s first year in office

One year ago, Joe Biden (D) assumed office as the 46th president of the United States. Here’s a closer look at the first year of his administration:

  • Biden issued 77 executive orders, 46 presidential memoranda, 195 proclamations, and 26 notices. Biden’s 77 executive orders issued in his first year is higher than the average number of executive orders issued each year by other recent presidents. Donald Trump (R) issued 55 on average each year, Barack Obama (D) issued 35, and George W. Bush (R) issued 36.
  • We tracked five pieces of key legislation proposed before Congress during Biden’s first year, two of which he has signed into law. Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law on March 11, 2021. The bill aimed to provide economic relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The second key bill that became law was the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, which provided funds to build new infrastructure, invest in Amtrak, and repair and replace bridges, among other things. Biden signed the bill into law on November 15, 2021.
  • Since taking office, Biden has nominated 81 individuals to federal judgeships on Article III courts. As of January 20, 2022, 42 of the nominees have been confirmed. The monthly federal vacancy count report from January 1 said 11 of Biden’s confirmed judges were for the U.S. Court of Appeals, while 29 were for the U.S. District Courts. At the same point during previous presidential administrations, Trump had appointed 19 federal judges, Obama had appointed 13, and W. Bush had appointed 28.
  • During Biden’s first year, he issued no presidential pardons or commutations. During fiscal year 2017, Trump issued one pardon and no commutations. Obama and W. Bush issued no pardons or commutations during the first fiscal year of their presidencies.


ICYMI: Top stories of the week

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Subscribe to The Heart of the Primaries to stay abreast of the latest key congressional and state-level primaries in 2022

Our Heart of the Primaries newsletter is the key to keeping up with what promises to be a frenetic primary season. Heart of the Primaries takes you to the front lines of primary battles, where readers witness intraparty conflict as Democrats and Republicans compete to make it to the general election.

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Looking back at one year of the Biden Administration

One year ago Thursday, Joe Biden (D) assumed office as the 46th President of the United States. Our Thursday Brew featured stats you might not have seen elsewhere, like that Biden has issued 77 executive orders so far. Get more facts at the link below.

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U.S. Supreme Court accepts five more cases for its 2021-2022 term before concluding its January sitting

The week of Jan. 18 was the second and final week of the U.S. Supreme Court’s January argument sitting for its 2021-2022 term. During that time, the court heard oral arguments in four cases. To date, the court has heard arguments in 36 of the 64 cases it accepted during its current term.

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Redistricting update: Arkansas and Ohio

As of Jan. 18, 24 states have adopted congressional district maps and 27 states have adopted legislative district maps. Arkansas’ new congressional map went into effect on Jan. 14, 90 days after the state legislature approved the map. Also on that day, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the state’s enacted congressional map in a 4-3 decision.

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CUNY professors challenge exclusive representation under New York’s Taylor Law

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Six City University of New York (CUNY) professors filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Jan. 12 challenging the constitutionality of a state law allowing a union to become the exclusive representative for all public-sector employees within a mandatory bargaining unit. The professors, five of whom are Jewish, accuse the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) of anti-Semitism and allege that the union cannot represent them fairly.  

About the lawsuit

The plaintiffs are CUNY professors Avraham Goldstein, Michael Goldstein, Frimette Kass-Shraibman, Mitchell Langbert, Jeffrey Lax, and Maria Pagano. The Fairness Center and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation represent the plaintiffs.  

The defendants are the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), the City University of New York (CUNY), the chairman and members of the New York Public Employee Relations Board in their official capacities, the city of New York, and the New York State Comptroller.

According to their complaint, the plaintiffs “strongly object to being exclusively represented by PSC … [and] object to being forced to associate with PSC in any manner, to having PSC speak for them in any manner, and to providing support to PSC in any form.” The plaintiffs allege that being required to be included in a bargaining unit represented by PSC violates their first Amendment rights. 

In June 2021, PSC adopted a “Resolution in Support of the Palestinian People,” which the plaintiffs consider to be “anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish, and anti-Israel.” According to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, “In the months since the Resolution, PSC members have held chapter-level discussions … [that] encourage support for the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] movement among rank-and-file members of PSC … The Jewish Plaintiffs believe the Resolution, and related conduct by PSC, sets them and their co-religionists apart and singles them out for disparate treatment, opprobrium, and hostility, based solely upon their religious, ethnic, and moral beliefs and identity, including their support for Israel, the nation-state of the Jewish people.”

The plaintiffs ask the court to declare that “the certification and recognition of PSC as Plaintiffs’ exclusive representative … violate Plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights of free speech and free association and are unconstitutional,” and to declare that “Section 204 of the Taylor Law is unconstitutional under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to the extent that it requires or authorizes PSC to be Plaintiffs’ exclusive representative and compels Plaintiffs to associate with other employees in the bargaining unit for purposes of speech and expressive activities.”

About the Taylor Law

New York’s Public Employees’ Fair Employment Act, known as the Taylor Law, governs public-sector labor relations in the state. The New York State Public Employment Relations Board administers the act, which can be found in Article 14 of the New York Civil Service Law. Regarding exclusive representation, the law says: 

“Where an employee organization has been certified or recognized … it shall be the exclusive representative … of all the employees in the appropriate negotiating unit, and the appropriate public employer shall be, and hereby is, required to negotiate collectively with such employee organization in the determination of, and administration of grievances arising under, the terms and conditions of employment of the public employees … and to negotiate and enter into written agreements with such employee organizations in determining such terms and conditions of employment.” 

Perspectives 

PSC representative Fran Clark said:

“This meritless lawsuit, brought by faculty who are not members of our union and funded by the notoriously right-wing National Right to Work Legal Foundation, is just another attempt to erode the power of organized labor to fight for better pay and working conditions and a more just society. PSC members—and non-member free-riders such as the plaintiffs—have good health insurance, benefits, due-process rights, contractual raises and salary steps because of the union’s contract negotiations. The ‘Right to Work’ agenda is rooted in white supremacy; it will find little purchase at CUNY, the nation’s largest, most diverse urban university system.” 

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, said

“It is no surprise that PSC union officials have immediately resorted to ad hominem attacks and baseless name-calling as opposed to defending their coercive monopoly ‘representation’ powers, which have historically been used to discriminate against or otherwise harm rank-and-file workers. Such baseless accusations are page 1 of Big Labor’s playbook when their coercive forced unionism power is exposed by the very workers they claim to represent. No American worker should be forced under the representation of a union they oppose, and it’s high time that federal courts protect this basic aspect of workers’ freedom of association.”

The case name and number are Goldstein et al. v. Professional Staff Congress/CUNY et al. (1:22-cv-00321).

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has 24 active judges and four vacancies. Of the active judges on the court, Democratic presidents nominated 17—Bill Clinton nominated two, and Barack Obama nominated 15—and Republican presidents nominated seven—George W. Bush nominated three, and Donald Trump nominated four. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has appellate jurisdiction over this court.

Bureau of Labor Statistics releases annual union membership estimates

On Jan. 20, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its annual estimates of union membership in the United States. The full press release and data can be found here.

  • The BLS estimates that 33.9% of public-sector workers nationwide were union members in 2021, roughly five and a half times the membership rate in the private sector (6.1%). In 2020, public-sector union membership was estimated at 34.8%, and in 2019, it was 33.6%.
  • An estimated 40.2% of local government workers were union members in 2021, down from 41.7% in 2020.
  • An estimated 29.6% of state workers were union members in 2021, down from 29.9% in 2020.
  • An estimated 24.9% of federal workers were union members in 2021, down from 26.0% in 2020.

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 75 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s) 

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue.

  • Delaware SB201: This bill would apply the Delaware Public Employment Relations Act to employers with 10 or more full-time employees, rather than 100 or more full-time employees.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Senate Labor Committee hearing held Jan. 19. 
  • Florida S1458: This bill would require certain public employees to sign an authorization form before joining a union acknowledging that union membership is not a condition for employment and that membership and dues are voluntary. It would require unions to allow certain public employees to end their membership by a written request. The bill would also prevent employers from deducting dues from certain employees’ paychecks. It would also amend requirements for bargaining agent recertification and union registration renewal. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Introduced Jan. 18. 
  • Maine LD555: This bill would grant most public-sector employees the right to strike. Select public safety and judicial employees would not be allowed to strike. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Joint Standing Committee on Labor and Housing held a public hearing and work session on Jan. 19. Divided report anticipated. 
  • Maryland SB118: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to certain graduate students within the University System of Maryland, Morgan State University, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Senate Finance Committee hearing scheduled for Jan. 27.
  • New Hampshire HB1041: This bill would extend the public employee labor relations act to cover nonpartisan employees of the New Hampshire Legislature. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Legislative Administration Committee public hearing held Jan. 19.   
  • Oklahoma SB1380: This bill would require school employees to sign an annual authorization form before school districts may deduct union dues or political contributions from employee paychecks. The bill would prescribe the wording of the authorization form. It would also require school districts to confirm authorizations by email before deducting dues. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Introduced Jan. 19, first reading scheduled for Feb. 7. 
  • Oklahoma SB1404: This bill would require that school employee unions submit to secret-ballot elections in order to continue on as collective bargaining agents. A majority of employees must vote in favor in order for the employee union to continue to represent the unit. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Introduced Jan. 19, first reading scheduled for Feb. 7.
  • Virginia SB264: This bill would allow state and local government employees, other than exempted employees, to organize and bargain collectively, and it would create a Public Employee Relations Board. It would require public employers and employee organizations to negotiate in good faith.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Stricken at request of patron in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Jan. 17.
  • Washington HB1771: This bill would allow family child care providers to bargain collectively over defined contribution retirement benefits.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Executive session in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee held Jan. 21.


U.S. Supreme Court wraps up its January sitting

Welcome to the Friday, January 21, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. U.S. Supreme Court accepts five more cases for its 2021-2022 term before concluding its January sitting
  2. Democratic U.S. Reps. Langevin and McNerney announce retirements
  3. Signatures submitted for Alaska initiative to formally recognize Alaska Native Tribes

U.S. Supreme Court accepts five more cases for its 2021-2022 term before concluding its January sitting

The week of Jan. 18 was the second and final week of the U.S. Supreme Court’s January argument sitting for its 2021-2022 term. During that time, the court heard oral arguments in four cases.

To date, the court has heard arguments in 36 of the 64 cases it accepted during its current term. 

Here’s a breakdown of those four most recent cases and look at what’s next for the court this year.

Jan. 18:

Jan. 19:

The court heard these arguments in person, though the building remains closed to the public in accordance with its policies related to the coronavirus pandemic. The next round of oral arguments will take place during the February sitting, which is scheduled to begin on Feb. 22.

Looking ahead, on Jan. 14 the court accepted five more cases for argument during this 2021-2022 term. These cases have not yet been scheduled for argument. Here’s a closer look:

  • George v. McDonough: concerning whether a veteran has the right to appeal after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs denies a disability benefits claim.
  •  Kennedy v. Bremerton School District: concerning religious expression and government speech at a public school as well as the Constitution’s establishment clause.
  • Vega v. Tekoh: concerning Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination, specifically related to the court’s previous ruling in Miranda v. Arizona (1966).
  • Nance v. Ward: concerning the federal legal procedure for a convicted inmate to challenge a state’s method of execution.
  • Shoop v. Twyford: concerning a U.S. district court’s authority to order the transport of a state prisoner involved in a federal habeas corpus proceeding.

Of the 64 cases the court has agreed to hear during its current term, four were dismissed and one was removed from the argument calendar. Sixteen cases have not yet been scheduled for argument. The court has issued decisions in six cases. Between 2007 and 2020, the court released opinions in 1,054 cases, averaging between 70 and 90 cases per year.

Keep reading 

Democratic U.S. Reps. Langevin and McNerney announce retirements

On Jan. 18, two Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives announced they would not seek re-election: U.S. Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.). 

McNerney was first elected to the House in 2006. Langevin was first elected in 2000. During our current cycle, retiring Democratic incumbents have been in the House for an average of 13 years compared to an average of 11 years for retiring Republicans.

This announcement brings the total number of U.S. House incumbents foregoing re-election to 41—28 Democrats and 13 Republicans—a higher number than the 36 retirements during the 2020 election cycle, but lower than the 52 ahead of elections in 2018.

This is the first election cycle since 2012 where the number of outgoing Democratic incumbents in the House was greater than that of outgoing Republicans. Similar to 2012, this election cycle is the first following redistricting, the process whereby most states redraw congressional district lines.

California enacted its new congressional map at the end of last year. Under the new lines, McNerney’s 9th District was redrawn to include the home of Rep. Josh Harder (D), who currently represents the neighboring 10th District. After McNerney announced his retirement, Harder announced that he would seek re-election in the 9th District.

Rhode Island has not yet finished redrawing its two congressional districts though a recent proposal approved by the Special Commission on Reapportionment would essentially keep the district lines identical to their current shapes.

Keep reading

Signatures submitted for Alaska initiative to formally recognize Alaska Native Tribes

On Jan. 13, Alaskans for Better Government submitted about 56,200 signatures for a ballot initiative that would provide for formal state recognition of federally-recognized Alaska Native Tribes.

To qualify for the ballot, 36,140 of the submitted signatures must be valid. If the lieutenant government certifies enough valid signatures, the legislature can approve the initiative or equivalent legislation, in which case the measure would not go to a public vote. If the legislature does not enact the initiative, it appears on the November ballot.

Alaskans for Better Government, the group supporting the initiative, said, “This would create a long overdue permanent government-to-government relationship between the State and our Alaska Native Tribes.”

Attorney General Treg Taylor (R) provided a review of the initiative, saying that “[i]t is not clear whether state recognition … would have any legal effect on the relationship between tribes and the State.” Taylor also said the U.S. and state supreme court have already ruled that federally-recognized tribes are sovereign.

Richard Peterson, president of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, said, “[I]t’s about relationships. And so the fact that the state of Alaska doesn’t recognize us currently is kind of a barrier in the building blocks.”

According to campaign finance reports covering information through Jan. 7, 2022, Alaska for Better Government had raised $622,092 and has spent $485,759. The group’s top donors were the Sixteen Thirty Fund ($500,000) and Tides Advocacy ($100,000).

From 2000 to 2020, 45 statewide measures have been on the ballot in Alaska. Of those 45 measures, voters approved 22 and defeated 23.

Nationwide, 64 ballot measures have been certified to appear on the ballots in 30 states as of Jan. 19. Most of these measures—47—are constitutional amendments placed on the ballot by the legislature. In most states, the deadlines to submit signatures to qualify a measure for the ballot have not yet passed.

Keep reading



Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 6

In this issue: Millions spent on Senate primary ads in PA so far and VA-07 to hold primary instead of convention

McCormick enters Senate primary in PA, candidates and satellite groups spend millions on ads

David McCormick, a former George W. Bush administration treasury official and hedge fund CEO, officially entered Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race on Jan. 13. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Julian Routh, McCormick “has the support of various state party stalwarts and veterans of [former President Donald Trump]’s administration advising his campaign.”  

Sean Parnell, who withdrew from the race in November, endorsed McCormick. Parnell said, “I have been watching and hoping a candidate would emerge—someone who could give me total confidence that they will fight for Pennsylvanians and never back down to the Woke mob, but that just hasn’t happened, until now.” Trump endorsed Parnell in September.

American Leadership Action, a super PAC supporting Mehmet Oz’s campaign, spent around $550,000 on ads against McCormick in the week following his announcement. The super PAC Honor Pennsylvania, which supports McCormick, is spending more than $900,000 on an ad against Oz. The super PAC Jobs For Our Future is spending $2 million on an ad opposing McCormick and Oz and supporting Jeff Bartos.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jonathan Tamari, Oz will spend close to $5 million on ads running through February, McCormick has spent $3 million, and former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands has spent $2 million. 

Tamari wrote, “The blasts of cash — four months before the primary — show the impact of the Republican candidates’ immense personal wealth, and signal an extraordinarily expensive and drawn-out campaign, one that could saturate (and maybe overwhelm) viewers with competing information. It could also potentially squeeze candidates in both parties with less to spend. In a state as large as Pennsylvania, covered by more than a half-dozen media markets, television advertising is crucial for reaching a mass of voters, though it isn’t always decisive.”  

Incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey (R) is not running for re-election. The filing deadline is March 8 and the primary is scheduled for May 17.

VA-07 to hold GOP primary instead of convention

Earlier this month, the 7th District Congressional Republican Committee voted to hold a primary election instead of a convention to select the party’s nominee for the general election. Seventh District Republicans used nominating conventions in recent elections.

FiveThirtyEight says the redrawn 7th leans Democratic (D+2), a change from a Republican lean (R+5) before redistricting. Abigail Spanberger (D) represents the 7th and is running for re-election in the new 7th. Spanberger defeated incumbent David Brat (R) in 2018. Brat upset House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the last Republican primary the district held in 2014.

At least 11 candidates are running in the GOP primary so far, including state Del. John McGuire, state Sen. Bryce Reeves, and Prince William County Supervisor Yesli Vega.

Club for Growth shifts opposition focus in Ohio U.S. Senate primary

Club for Growth, which describes itself as the “leading free-enterprise advocacy group in the nation,” has a new focus in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Ohio—former state Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken. The group said it plans to spend $750,000 on TV and digital ads opposing Timken into the second week of February. Club for Growth endorsed state Treasurer Josh Mandel last March. 

In October, Club for Growth Action spent nearly $500,000 on TV and radio ads criticizing J.D. Vance, one of 14 candidates vying for the Republican nomination. Club for Growth released a poll it commissioned in early January that showed Vance in fourth place with 10% behind Mike Gibbons (14%), Timken (15%), and Josh Mandel (26%). A poll the group commissioned last July had shown Vance in second with 12% behind Mandel (40%). Both polls had margins of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points.

A Trafalgar Group poll from December showed Mandel with 21%, Vance with 15%, Gibbons with 12%, and Timken with 10%. The poll’s margin of error was +/- 3 percentage points.

The primary is scheduled for May 3. Incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R) isn’t seeking re-election.

In other Club for Growth news, their PAC endorsed Rep. Mary Miller’s (R-Ill.) re-election campaign on Jan. 18. Miller will face Rep. Rodney Davis (R) in Illinois’ 15th Congressional District. Miller represents the 15th District under the old congressional map, and part of that district is in the new 15th. Illinois’ new map placed Miller’s Oakland residence in the new 12th District. 

Aurora mayor joins Illinois gubernatorial primary

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin announced he’s running in the June 28 Republican gubernatorial primary. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that a network of consultants with connections to former Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) and former U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R) recruited Irvin to run. Incumbent Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) defeated Rauner 55% to 39% in 2018.

Lynn Sweet wrote, “Irvin’s viability hinges on getting the support of billionaire Ken Griffin, and Irvin’s team has signaled that may be in the works.” Griffin, the CEO of Citadel, gave $54 million to defeat a graduated income tax ballot measure in 2020 that Pritzker supported with $58 million. 

Aurora is the second-largest city in Illinois, with an estimated population of 180,542 as of 2020 according to the Census Bureau.

Also running in the Republican primary so far are state Sen. Darren Bailey, Cheryl Erickson, Gary Rabine, Christopher Roper, former state Sen. Paul Schimpf, Max Solomon, and Jesse Sullivan.

Highlights from PA’s gubernatorial primary debate

Eight candidates running for the Pennsylvania GOP’s gubernatorial nomination met for a debate sponsored by the Lawrence County GOP on Jan. 12, the second to take place so far this year. The candidates’ priorities for their first weeks in office were among the topics of discussion.

Guy Ciarrocchi, the chairman of the Chester County Chamber of Commerce, said he would remove mandates and lockdowns if any were in effect and ask the legislature to “give us a bill to help our kids. There are so many kids trapped in failing schools. … If there’s a school in Pennsylvania where no one on the school board would send their child, that school oughta close.”

Charlie Gerow, the vice-chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference and CEO of Quantum Communications, said he would repeal Act 77, a law Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed in 2019 that changed several election procedures. Gerow said, “I fought for election integrity, I did it immediately after the 2020 election, and I’ve continued to do it.”

Melissa Hart, a former U.S. representative, said she would “place out there an agenda of making sure number one that our students will be in school, no more instability.”

Bill McSwain, a former U.S. attorney, would repeal Act 77 and said, “I support public education, but school choice means we’re going to support students, and families, and teachers. And we are not going to support the teacher’s unions.”

Jason Richey, a partner at K&L Gates LLP, said, “If we bring ourselves down to zero percent income tax, unleash our manufacturing and energy capabilities, we will make Pennsylvania an economic juggernaut, where our kids and grandkids will stay.”

John Ventre, a former UPS executive, said he would focus on economic growth: “We are rated number 42 in business growth, number 48th in population, the way you fix that is with a very large business tax cut.”

David White, the founder of DWD Mechanical Contractors, said he would remove the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and, “We have to get back to a program that if you are on unemployment you need to look for a job, you need to be actively seeking a job. We have to stop subsidizing people not to work.”

Dr. Nche Zama, a surgeon and immigrant from Cameroon, said he would “establish a pandemic management and interceptive medicine council like no other state has” within 24 hours of taking office.

The eight candidates who appeared at the Jan. 12 debate are among at least 13 Republicans who have said they’re running for governor. Among the declared candidates who did not attend the debate were former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, state Senate President pro tem Jake Corman, and state Sen. Scott Martin. 

The primary is scheduled for May 17.

N.C. General Assembly passes bill further delaying primaries

On Wednesday, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a bill moving the primary date from May 17 to June 7 and setting the candidate filing period to run between March 24 and April 1. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said he’d need to see the final version before deciding whether to sign it into law.

The North Carolina Supreme Court initially postponed the primaries from March 8 to May 17 due to lawsuits challenging the new congressional and state legislative maps. The court is set to hear arguments on Feb. 2.