18 incumbents (so far) are not running for re-election to Congress in 2022

Welcome to the Wednesday, June 23, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Eighteen congressional incumbents are not running for re-election in 2022
  2. Deadline passes for secretary of state to verify remaining signatures in Newsom recall
  3. Maine voters to decide ballot initiative on electric transmission corridor

Eighteen congressional incumbents are not running for re-election in 2022

There are just over 500 days until next year’s congressional elections—503 days, to be exact. (But who’s counting?) This seemed like a good time to review those members of Congress who have announced they’re not running for re-election.

Eighteen members of Congress—five in the U.S. Senate and 13 U.S. Representatives—have announced they will not seek re-election next year. This includes 10 members who are retiring and eight U.S. Representatives who are running for other offices. This is ahead of the pace at this point in the election cycle in 2018 and 2020 (see chart below).

Between January 2011 and December 2020, 245 members of Congress announced they would not run for re-election. The peak of these announcements came in January of each election year when 31 members announced they would not run for election later that year. The fewest announcements took place in June.

Reps. Val Demings (D) and Vicky Hartzler (R) are the most recent members of Congress to announce they would not seek re-election. Demings announced on June 9 that she would run for the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R) rather than seek re-election in Florida’s 10th Congressional District. Hartzler—who represents Missouri’s 4th Congressional District—announced on June 10 that she is running for the Republican nomination to replace retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R).

The five U.S. Senators not running for re-election already exceed the number who didn’t seek re-election in both 2018 (three) and 2020 (four). The chart below shows when U.S. House members have announced they’re not running for re-election compared with the previous two cycles:

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Deadline passes for secretary of state to verify remaining signatures in Newsom recall 

Yesterday—June 22—was the deadline for the California Secretary of State to verify that enough valid signatures remain in the recall campaign targeting Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to move the effort forward. Voters who signed petitions had until June 8 to request that county election offices remove their names from the petition. 

If at least 1,495,709 signatures remain, the recall process will proceed to a budgeting phase where the California Department of Finance will estimate the recall election’s cost. Recall organizers originally submitted 1,719,943 valid signatures. 

Based on the remaining procedural steps required by state law for the recall campaign, an election is likely to take place in October or November 2021. The California Association of Clerks and Election Officials wrote on June 14 to Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D) requesting that a recall election not take place before Sept. 14 due to supply chain issues relating to printing ballots and procuring envelopes.

A recall election of Newsom would present voters with two questions. The first would ask whether he should be recalled as governor. The second would ask who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled. A majority vote is required on the first question for the governor to be recalled. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election.

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Maine voters to decide ballot initiative on electric transmission corridor

Voters in Maine will decide a ballot initiative on Nov. 2 prohibiting the construction of electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region of the state. The measure would also require a two-thirds vote of each state legislative chamber to approve electric transmission line projects defined as high-impact. The ballot initiative would define high-impact electric transmission lines as those that are 50 miles or more in length or are outside of a statutory or petitioned corridor, among other criteria.

The Upper Kennebec Region is an area of about 800,000 acres in the northern part of the state that the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry described as “a largely natural landscape that in large part is also a working landscape, where commercial forestry is the predominant land use.”

The New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) began construction May 13 on a 145-mile long high-voltage transmission line project from hydroelectric plants in Quebec to electric utilities in Massachusetts and Maine. Construction began after the U.S. Department of Energy provided a presidential permit for the NECEC project on Jan. 15. The ballot initiative would prohibit the construction of these lines retroactive to Sept. 16, 2020. 

Proponents of the ballot initiative submitted 95,622 signatures on Jan. 21, of which 80,506 signatures were valid. Proponents needed to submit 63,067 valid signatures—or 10 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election—to qualify the measure for the ballot. This is the only statewide ballot measure that has been approved for Maine voters to decide this year. Nationwide, voters have or will decide 28 statewide ballot measures this year in seven states. Fifty-four statewide ballot measures are certified for the 2022 ballot in 26 states.

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