The Daily Brew: Results from Tuesday’s statewide primaries

Welcome to the Wednesday, June 9, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Gubernatorial primary results: McAuliffe wins Democratic nomination in Virginia, Ciattarelli wins GOP nod in New Jersey
  2. Maine Senate confirms Valerie Stanfill as state supreme court chief justice
  3. May’s partisan composition of state legislative seats—54.3% Republicans, 44.9% Democrats

Gubernatorial primary results: McAuliffe wins Democratic nomination in Virginia, Ciattarelli wins GOP nod in New Jersey

Here are some results from yesterday’s state executive primaries from New Jersey and Virginia:

Virginia

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe defeated four other candidates to win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. With 94% of precincts reporting, McAuliffe had received 62% of the vote, followed by former state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy with 20% and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan at 11%. McAuliffe served as Virginia’s governor from 2014 to 2018, chaired the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005, and was the national chairman of Hillary Clinton’s (D) 2008 presidential campaign. 

This was the fourth contested Democratic gubernatorial primary in Virginia since 1977. It was also the largest Democratic primary field for a governor’s race in the state’s history. McAuliffe will face Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin—who won his party’s nod at a May 8 convention—in the general election. 

Hala Ayala won the six-candidate Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. With 97% of precincts reporting. Ayala had 38.6% of the vote, followed by Sam Rasoul with 25.5% and Mark Levine with 12%. The lieutenant governor serves as the president of the Virginia State Senate and may cast tie-breaking votes. Two of the state’s last four lieutenant governors, Sen. Tim Kaine (D) and Gov. Ralph Northam (D), went on to become governor.

Democrats have won every statewide election in Virginia since 2012.

New Jersey

Former state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli defeated three other candidates to win the Republican nomination for New Jersey’s gubernatorial election. With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Ciattarelli received 49.5% of the vote, followed by Philip Rizzo with 26% and Hirsh Singh with 22%. Ciattarelli will face Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in the general election on Nov. 2.

Between 1992 and 2021, Republicans held New Jersey’s governorship for 16 years, and Democrats held it for 14. The last Democratic governor to win re-election in New Jersey was Brendan Byrne in 1977. Since then, two incumbent Democratic governors—Jim Florio in 1993 and Jon Corzine in 2009—lost re-election to Republican challengers.  

Maine Senate confirms Valerie Stanfill as state supreme court chief justice 

The Maine Senate confirmed Valerie Stanfill as the chief justice of the state’s highest court on June 3. Gov. Janet Mills (D) appointed Stanfill on May 10 to fill a vacancy created when former Chief Justice Leigh Saufley retired in April 2020. Stanfill is Mills’ third appointment to the court. Democratic governors have appointed six of Maine’s seven state supreme court justices.

Maine is one of 14 states that select the chief justice of their highest court by gubernatorial appointment. State supreme courts in 23 states select their chief justice by chamber vote, seven by popular vote, and six by seniority.

Ballotpedia’s study of partisanship on state supreme courts identified one of Maine’s current state supreme court justices as a strong Democrat, three as mild Democrats, and two whose partisan affiliation could not be conclusively determined. To explore our analysis of partisanship of state supreme courts in Maine and across the country, click here for the full study.

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May’s partisan composition of state legislative seats—54.3% Republicans, 44.9% Democrats

Each month, we crunch the numbers on the partisan affiliation of the country’s 7,383 state legislators. Ballotpedia’s partisan count of state legislative seats at the end of May determined that 54.3% of state legislators are Republicans and 44.9% are Democrats. During May, Democrats had a net loss of one seat, while Republicans had a net gain of one. Compared to May a year ago, Democrats have lost 142 state legislative seats, while Republicans have gained 153 seats. 

Republicans currently control 61 state legislative chambers, while Democrats control 37. One chamber, the Alaska House of Representatives, has a power-sharing agreement between the two parties. At the end of May, Republicans held 1,091 state Senate seats and 2,918 state House seats. Democrats held 867 state Senate seats and 2,450 state House seats. Third-party or independent officeholders held 38 seats, and there were 19 vacancies.

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About the author

Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a project director at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.