Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 2

December 2, 2021

This week: Two incumbent Democrats to face each other in U.S. House primary in Georgia; a House incumbent joins New York gubernatorial primary

Two incumbent Democrats to face each other in U.S. House primary in Georgia

Incumbent Reps. Carolyn Bourdeaux and Lucy McBath each won congressional districts in Georgia previously held by Republicans. McBath (6th District) is running for re-election in the newly drawn 7th District, which pits her against Bourdeaux in the Democratic primary.

Daily Kos wrote that Bourdeaux currently represents about 57% of the new 7th District, while McBath represents 12%. Bourdeaux’s portion is also more Democratic than McBath’s based on 2020’s presidential election results.

McBath said the Republican-led Legislature redrew her district because “they would like nothing more than to stop me from speaking truth to power about the gun lobby and Republican Party in Congress.” McBath worked for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense after her son was fatally shot in 2012. She defeated incumbent Rep. Karen Handel (R) 50.5% to 49.5% in 2018.  

Bourdeaux, a professor of public policy and former director of the state’s Senate Budget and Evaluation Office, won the open 7th District race in 2020. Bourdeaux said, “I’m disappointed, of course. … I have a lot of respect for Lucy McBath.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Patricia Murphy and Greg Bluestein wrote in September that “Bourdeaux drew the wrath of progressive groups — and [Stacey] Abrams allies — for joining other moderates with a stand that threatened to derail a $3.5 trillion social policy plan.” Bourdeaux joined nine other Democrats in saying she wouldn’t vote for a budget resolution needed to pass President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda unless the House first voted on an infrastructure bill the Senate passed. Bordeaux said in August, “I believe in fiscal responsibility and that we need to pay for the things that we need to invest in, and I’m willing to stand up and talk about fiscal responsibility.” 

Ultimately, Bourdeaux withdrew from the effort and voted for the resolution. The House voted on the infrastructure bill and then the Build Back Better Act last month. Bourdeaux voted in favor of both.

In August, before the new district maps were drawn, Abrams endorsed McBath’s re-election bid, saying she “has not wavered on Georgia jobs and infrastructure, and she is a stalwart champion for our kids, for our democracy and more.”

Primaries are set to take place on May 24. 

In other Georgia news, Abrams announced on Dec. 1 that she is running for governor again. Current Gov. Brian Kemp (R) defeated Abrams 50% to 49% in 2018.

Outgoing U.S. Rep. Johnson endorses in TX-30 primary 

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) endorsed state Rep. Jasmine Crockett in the Democratic primary for Texas’ 30th Congressional District, which Johnson has represented since 1993. Johnson announced in 2019 she would retire at the end of her next term and confirmed her retirement in a statement last month. So far, 30 House incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2022—19 Democrats and 11 Republicans. Johnson is one of four representatives from Texas (two Democrats and two Republicans) not running for re-election.

Crockett has served in the Texas House of Representatives since January 2021. She was among the members of the Democratic caucus who left the state during consideration of House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 1—voting policy bills—to break quorum in July 2021. Crockett then helped create the Texas Progressive Caucus.

At least six others have announced their candidacies so far: 

  • Shenita Cleveland, a small business owner who ran against Johnson in the 2020 Democratic primary 
  • Jane Hope Hamilton, a former campaign staffer for Biden’s 2020 campaign in Texas 
  • Vonciel Jones Hill, an attorney who owns a private practice in Dallas 
  • Zachariah Manning, who ran in the 2020 Democratic primary for Dallas County Commissioners Court Precinct 1 
  • Jessica Mason, a Navy veteran who previously worked as a legislative aide in the Virginia General Assembly 
  • Abel Mulugheta, who previously worked as an aide for Johnson and chief of staff and legislative director for Texas Rep. Rafael Anchía

The primary is scheduled for March 1, and a primary runoff is scheduled for May 24. The filing deadline is Dec. 13.

Vermont follow-up: Welch running for Senate with Sanders endorsement

Since our first issue, which discussed Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-Vt.) retirement, U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) announced he is running for the open Senate seat. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed Welch the same day. We noted that several potential candidates said they would not run if Welch entered the race or if he received Sanders’ endorsement. Attention is shifting to the open House race. Welch has represented the district since 2007, when he succeeded Sanders.

Four Democrats have expressed interest so far:

  • State Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint, in office since 2015 
  • Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, in office since 2021
  • State Sen. Kesha Ram-Hinsdale, in office since 2021
  • State Rep. Tanya Vyhovsky, in office since 2021. Vyhovsky is a member of the Vermont Progressive Party and the Democratic Party.

Vermont is the only state that has not had a female member of Congress.

The primary is scheduled for Aug. 9.

Suozzi enters Democratic primary in New York

On Nov. 29, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Long Island Democrat, announced his candidacy for governor of New York, joining a Democratic primary that includes incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Letitia James, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, among others.

The New York Times‘ Katie Glueck and Nicholas Fandos said Suozzi has “positioned himself as a vocal centrist who is quick to lash what he casts as the excesses of his party’s left wing” and his candidacy “could cut into parts of the coalition Ms. Hochul is seeking to assemble on Long Island and in suburbs around the state.”

This is New York’s first gubernatorial election since former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) resignation amid sexual harassment allegations. Hochul, then the lieutenant governor, succeeded Cuomo in August, making her the state’s first female governor.

Suozzi’s gubernatorial candidacy means his current congressional district, New York’s 3rd, will be open in 2022. 

The gubernatorial primary is scheduled for June 28.

Three state executives running in R.I. gubernatorial primary

Incumbent Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, and General Treasurer Seth Magaziner are running in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Former Secretary of State Matt Brown is also running. Brown ran in the 2018 Democratic primary against incumbent Gina Raimondo, losing 57% to 34%. 

McKee assumed the governor’s office in March. Formerly the lieutenant governor, McKee was sworn in after Raimondo resigned to serve as U.S. secretary of commerce in the Biden administration.

Gorbea and Magaziner have served in their current positions since 2015. Brown served as secretary of state from 2003 to 2007. Candidates Helena Foulkes and Luis Daniel Muñoz have not held elected office.

Rhode Island’s primaries are scheduled for Sept. 13.

Competitiveness data ahead of Texas’ filing deadline

The filing period for Texas’ state legislative races began on Nov. 13 and ends at 6:00 p.m. local time on Dec. 13. We reviewed the list of candidates that filed on the secretary of state’s website as of Nov. 30 for a very early look at any potential primaries. Texas has 2022’s first primaries on March 1!

State Senate

  • 10 Democratic candidates have filed for Texas Senate seats
  • 8 Democratic incumbents have so far filed for re-election
  • 0 Democratic incumbents currently face a contested primary
  • There is 1 Senate district where multiple Democratic candidates have filed (SD-27 — incumbent Eddie Lucio (D) announced on Nov. 4 that he would not run for re-election)

The current partisan composition of the Texas Senate is 18 Republicans and 13 Democrats.

State House of Representatives

  • 73 Democratic candidates have filed for Texas House seats
  • 40 Democratic incumbents have so far filed for re-election
  • 2 Democratic incumbents currently face a contested primary
  • There are 9 House districts where multiple Democratic candidates have filed

The current partisan composition of the Texas House is 85 Republicans and 65 Democrats.

Texas enacted new state legislative districts on Oct. 25.