Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 6

January 20, 2022

In this issue: U.S. Rep. Larson has first primary challenge since 1998 and Democratic candidates air ads criticizing Sen. Joe Manchin

Shanelle Jackson launches primary challenge to Rep. Rashida Tlaib

On Jan. 14, former state Rep. Shanelle Jackson (D) announced she would challenge U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D) in the Democratic primary for Michigan’s newly redrawn 12th Congressional District. Jackson ran against Tlaib in the 2018 Democratic primary for the 13th District, which Tlaib won with 31% of the vote. Jackson received 5%.

Jackson said in a recent interview with Jewish Insider, “I think we’ll be very different, obviously, in our approaches. I don’t hate banks. I don’t hate subprime lenders. I know, as an African American that has been poor and has been better, that we need all options on the table and that our situation is nuanced.” 

In a press release supporting the 2020 Public Banking Act, Tlaib said large financial institutions “held the country hostage for their reckless behavior” and, “It is time for this relationship to be reciprocated and have the banks work for the people and not solely privatized profits wreaking havoc on communities of color.”

Jackson also said Tlaib, who supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, “obviously is carrying the water of Palestine in all that she does.” Jackson said she would work to strengthen ties with Israel and believes “the United States and Israel are sisters, and I can’t imagine living in a world where our nation didn’t have Israel’s back. It’s heartbreaking, to be honest with you, to have Rep. Tlaib not even wanting to explore that path.”

Tlaib voted against funding for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system in September 2021, saying, “I will not support an effort to enable and support war crimes, human rights abuses and violence. The Israeli government is an apartheid regime.” 

Tlaib announced on Jan. 5 she would run in the open 12th District, which she said includes about two-thirds of the people she currently represents. As of Jan. 19, Jackson and Tlaib were the only declared candidates for the Democratic primary, scheduled for Aug. 2.

U.S. Rep. John Larson announces re-election amid first primary challenge since 1998

U.S. Rep. John Larson (D) announced on Jan. 14 that he’s running for re-election to Connecticut’s 1st Congressional District. But for the first time since his initial win in 1998, Larson will face a primary challenge.

Primary candidate Muad Hrezi, a 27-year-old former staffer to U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, writing that he is most passionate about “unrigging our economy, making sure everyone has access to medical care at an affordable price, stopping catastrophic climate change, and making sure all communities are safe and free from discrimination.” Click here to read his full responses.

On his campaign website, Larson said he “has delivered real results and real solutions on big issues — like Covid-relief, infrastructure, and health care reform — and on local issues — helping over 17,500 constituents with problems involving veteran’s affairs, social security, immigration, and more.”

CTMirror.org’s Mark Pazniokas wrote, “Hrezi is hoping to catch a wave, testing whether there might be an undetected vein of dissatisfaction with Larson — and if anything in the playbook used by U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley might work here.”

The primary is scheduled for Aug. 9. The winner is likely to go on to win the general election; Larson has won re-election 11 times by an average margin of 36 percentage points.

Democratic candidates air ads criticizing Sen. Joe Manchin

Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate in at least four states have run ads criticizing Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), who is next up for re-election in 2024. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (Wis.), Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (Penn.), retired Adm. Michael Franken (Iowa), and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio) are among the 15 Democratic congressional candidates who have run a combined 700 negative ads against Manchin so far this cycle, according to Newsweek’s Shane Croucher.

The bulk of the negative ads have criticized what they describe as Manchin’s unwillingness to work with fellow Democrats, particularly on the negotiations surrounding the Build Back Better bill. With the Senate split 50-50, Democrats would need the support of every Democratic senator—as well as Vice President Kamala Harris’ (D) tie-breaking vote—to pass the $1.75 trillion budget framework.

On Dec. 19, Manchin cited concerns about debt, inflation, threats from COVID and other nations, and the reliability of the electric grid, saying, “I have always said, ‘If I can’t go back home and explain it, I can’t vote for it.’ Despite my best efforts, I cannot explain the sweeping Build Back Better Act in West Virginia and I cannot vote to move forward on this mammoth piece of legislation.”

The ads are “another reminder of the depth of the disappointment and hostility toward Manchin that’s taken hold of the Democratic base,” according to the Pennsylvania Capital-Star’s John Micek.

Nate Lerner, founder of the digital consulting group Build the Wave, said in an interview with Newsweek that “It is extremely uncommon to name a party colleague in a negative ad outside of a primary…I think we will see more of it moving forward as progressives split further from right-leaning Democrats like Manchin and [Arizona Sen. Krysten] Sinema.”

Manchin was governor of West Virginia from 2004 to 2010, when he was first elected to the Senate. In 2012, Manchin defeated Republican opponent John Raese 61% to 37%. In 2018, Manchin defeated Patrick Morrisey (R) 49.6% to 46.3%. Former President Donald Trump (R) defeated President Joe Biden (D) 69% to 30% in West Virginia.

NY governor updates: De Blasio not running, eviction moratorium becomes issue

Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he will not run for governor. The Democratic primary so far includes incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

Hochul was elected lieutenant governor in 2018 and became governor last year when Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned. Hochul defeated Williams in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor 53% to 47%.

At a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event on Jan. 17, Williams said, “Dr. King’s birthday was on Saturday. On Saturday, we allowed the eviction moratorium to lapse without even putting some ‘Good Cause Eviction’ in place to protect someone and no money to protect small homeowners who are going to foreclose.” The New York Daily News said Williams was “referring to a tenants’ rights bill that Hochul has withheld support for.” Williams said, “We did that in the middle of winter and a COVID surge. …That wasn’t the Republicans — I want to be clear about that.” 

Hochul extended New York’s eviction moratorium in September after the federal moratorium ended. She said recently, “We talked about giving people a little more breathing room, giving them a little more relief on a short term basis and that went all the way until Jan. 15.” Hochul signed a letter with other governors requesting more federal rental assistance funds.

Responding to a landlord at a tele-town hall event on Jan. 6, Suozzi said, “There are people who are abusing the system … It’s common sense that if somebody is working and they got the money and they are living in your house and they are not paying rent then you should be able to kick them out. If I’m the governor, I’ll give you that kind of protection.”

A recent Siena College poll showed Hochul with 46% support among registered Democrats. De Blasio had 12%, Williams 11%, and Suozzi 6%. The margin of error was +/- 4 percentage points. 

The primary is scheduled for June 28.

Noteworthy campaign support in Illinois’ secretary of state primary

Two Democratic candidates running in the Democratic primary for Illinois secretary of state recently received noteworthy campaign support. 

Alexi Giannoulias, a former state treasurer, received endorsements from the Cook County Democratic Party and former candidate Pat Dowell, who dropped out of the secretary of state race to run for U.S. House.

Anna Valencia, who serves as Chicago city clerk, chose Laura Ricketts to co-chair her campaign’s finance committee. Ricketts is a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs baseball team and raised money for both Barack Obama’s (D) and Hillary Clinton’s (D) presidential campaigns. 

At least one other Democrat, Chicago Alderman David Moore, is running in the primary. As of Jan. 5, Giannoulias led the Democratic field in cash on hand with $4 million. Valencia had about $820,000, and Moore had about $105,000. 

Incumbent Secretary of State Jesse White (D) is retiring. He was first elected in 1998. In the 2018 general election, White defeated Jason Helland (R) 68% to 29%.

The primary is set for June 28.

N.C. Legislature passes bill further delaying primaries

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

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.