Welcome to the Friday, August 20, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Twenty percent of state legislative incumbents faced primary opposition this year
- Republican win in Connecticut Senate district is first to change party control in a state legislative special election this year
- 17 candidates file to run for mayor of Minneapolis
Twenty percent of state legislative incumbents faced primary opposition this year
Most states hold legislative elections in even-numbered years, and New Jersey and Virginia are the only states holding such contests this year. On Monday, we looked at the percentage of open seats in this year’s state legislative elections in New Jersey and Virginia and how that compared to past years. Today, let’s take a look at the number of incumbents that faced primary opponents.
Of the 203 incumbents that filed for re-election, 40—19.7%—faced opposition in the primary. That’s down from 30.1% in 2019 but is the third-highest percentage in an odd-numbered year since 2011.
Here’s the breakdown of incumbents that faced primary opposition by chamber:
- New Jersey Senate: 4 of 36 incumbents (11.1%)
- New Jersey Assembly: 19 of 72 incumbents (26.4%)
- Virginia House of Delegates: 17 of 95 incumbents (17.9%)
The Virginia Senate is not up for election this year.
Republican incumbents faced more contested primaries this year than Democratic incumbents. Of the 78 Republican incumbents that sought re-election, 17—21.8%—had a primary opponent. Of the 125 Democratic incumbents seeking re-election, 23, or 18.4%, faced a contested primary.
Overall, eight incumbents out of 40 lost their primaries, meaning that 80% of incumbents with contested primaries won. That’s less than in the previous two odd-year election cycles. In 2019, 93% of incumbents in contested primaries won, and, in 2017, every incumbent won their contested primary. In 2020, 85% of state legislative incumbents that faced primary opposition won. Since 2010, approximately 88% of state legislative incumbents have won contested primaries.
Republican win in Connecticut Senate district is first to change party control in a state legislative special election this year
Ryan Fazio (R) defeated Alexis Gevanter (D), 50% to 48%, in Tuesday’s special election in a Connecticut state Senate district. The seat was vacant after Alex Kasser (D) resigned on June 22. This is the first district to change party control in a state legislative special election this year.
Kasser was first elected in 2018, defeating Scott Frantz (R), 50% to 49%. Kasser was re-elected in 2020, defeating Fazio, 51% to 49%. In the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton (D) defeated Donald Trump (R) in this district, 57% to 39%. Last year, President Joe Biden (D) defeated Trump, 62% to 37%.
In The Hill, Reid Wilson wrote that “Fazio is likely to be held up as an example of the GOP’s momentum as the midterm election season begins, and as voters in states like Virginia and New Jersey prepare to hit the polls this year.” He also stated, “Democrats dismissed the results as a low-turnout affair that would bear little resemblance to the political realities of the forthcoming year.”
Voters have decided 35 state legislative special elections so far this year. In 2020, eight seats changed partisan control in 59 state legislative special elections. The chart below shows the number of state legislative seats that switched partisan control in special elections since 2010.
17 candidates file to run for mayor of Minneapolis
The filing period for candidates wishing to run for municipal office—including mayor—in Minneapolis ended on Aug. 10. Mayor Jacob Frey (D), who was first elected in 2017, faces 16 challengers on Nov. 2.
There are no municipal primaries in Minneapolis, which uses ranked choice voting to elect city officials. Then-City Councilman Frey defeated 15 other candidates, including incumbent Betsy Hodges (D), in 2017 after the fifth round of vote tabulations.
Fifty-eight candidates filed to run for 13 seats on the Minneapolis City Council. In 2017, 43 candidates ran for one of the 13 council seats. Minneapolis voters will also elect two members of the city’s Board of Estimate and Taxation and all nine members of the Park and Recreation Commission.
Elections in Minneapolis are officially nonpartisan, but candidates can select a party label to appear on the ballot. Every mayor since 1978 has been a member of the state’s affiliate of the national Democratic Party—the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). The DFL also currently holds 12 of 13 seats on the city council.