Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 7

January 27, 2022

In this issue: Vincent Fort challenging Rep. David Scott (GA-13) and Massachusetts triplex office primaries take shape

Key dates for Texas primary voters

Texas holds the first primaries of the 2022 elections in just over a month. Here are key dates to be aware of:

  • Voter registration deadline: Jan. 31
  • Early in-person voting: Feb. 14-Feb. 25
  • Mail-in ballot application deadline: Feb. 18
  • Election day: March 1 (Polls open 7 a.m.-7 p.m.)

See the Texas Secretary of State’s website for details on who qualifies to vote by mail, ID requirements, and more.

Former state Sen. Vincent Fort challenging U.S. Rep. David Scott in GA-13

Vincent Fort announced on Jan. 20 he’s challenging U.S. Rep. David Scott in the Democratic primary for Georgia’s 13th Congressional District. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Greg Bluestein said this is “one of several ideological battles in Georgia that will help shape the direction of the Democratic Party in 2022.”

Fort said the district “needs someone who believes in Democratic ideals and someone who doesn’t vote like a South Georgia Republican. It needs someone who believes in Medicare for All and doesn’t side with the big banks and predatory lenders.” Bluestein said that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed Fort’s bid for Atlanta mayor in 2017 due to Fort calling for “the decriminalization of marijuana, free tuition at Atlanta city colleges and other left-leaning initiatives.”

Bluestein described Scott as a moderate, pointing to his membership in the Blue Dog Coalition and saying Scott endorsed Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (R) 2016 re-election bid and had “broken party lines to support then-President George W. Bush’s tax cuts and back Republican-led foreign policy efforts.”

Scott campaign spokesman Ralph Jones said in November, “From climate change and crippling student debt, to skyrocketing prescription costs and an economy struggling to build back from COVID-19, Congressman Scott looks forward to continuing his work in the People’s House to lead on solutions to the unprecedented challenges our communities face.” 

Scott was first elected in 2002. Fort served in the state Senate for 20 years before his mayoral bid, in which he placed 5th of 12 candidates.

South Fulton City Councilman Mark Baker and Antonio Gray are also running. The primary is set for May 24. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, a runoff will be held on June 21.

House members make dueling endorsements in TX-28 primary, newspaper switches its endorsement from 2020

On Jan. 20, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) endorsed Jessica Cisneros in the Democratic primary for Texas’ 28th Congressional District. On Jan. 19, House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) endorsed incumbent Henry Cuellar. 

Cuellar and Cisneros also ran against one another in the 2020 Democratic primary, which Cuellar won 51.8% to 48.2%.

The San Antonio Express-News, which endorsed Cuellar in the 2020 primary, endorsed Cisneros on Monday, saying Cisneros: “offers a fresh and compelling vision for the district, although she needs to study up on military issues. We appreciate her expertise in immigration law and the potential for her to give voice to border and immigration issues. We are also troubled by Cuellar’s measured support of the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, which he said could continue with the presence of the United Nations. We also wonder how well Cuellar works with other border lawmakers.”

In 2020, Cisneros’ endorsers included Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and Ocasio-Cortez. Cuellar’s endorsers included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairwoman Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.). 

Tannya Benavides is also running in the March 1 primary. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the top two vote-getters will advance to a May 24 primary runoff.

Cuellar was first elected to the House in 2004. The 28th District is one of five districts in Texas that the National Republican Congressional Committee is targeting. Three independent election forecasters currently rate the general election either Solid Democratic or Likely Democratic.

Democratic fundraising up after Johnson (R) announces re-election bid, Lasry launches seven-figure ad buy

Several Democrats running for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin said they saw boosts in fundraising after incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R) announced he would seek re-election on Jan. 9. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes’ campaign said it raised almost $150,000 in the 72 hours following Johnson’s announcement. According to the Wisconsin State Journal’s Alexander Shur, the campaigns of state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, and Milwaukee Bucks Executive Alex Lasry reported fundraising increases.

The deadline for candidates to file their fourth-quarter fundraising report is Jan. 31. The Hill’s Julia Manchester said the Senate race is “on track to be one of the most expensive of the cycle. Barnes raised $1.1 million between July 1 and Sept. 30. Godlewski and Lasry also raised more than $1 million during the time period, but each donated large sums of money to their campaigns.” 

After Lasry’s campaign announced a seven-figure media buy, NBC’s Natasha Korecki said, “This is the largest primary spending by a candidate in the Wisconsin Senate primary race of 2022 so far. … The rotation of ads, first provided to NBC News, offer a glimpse into the issues that could shape the race, such as inflation and the supply chain crunch. They are all issues where the president is faltering nationally but Lasry promises to address back home — and argues he already has.” 

Other issues in the race have manifested in candidates’ early policy plans. According to the Associated Press’ Scott Bauer, while Barnes and Lasry have “focused their first policy initiatives on voting rights and other issues related to protecting the democracy. … Godlewski’s [first major policy plan] takes a different approach, trying to appeal to rural Democrats who could be an important voting bloc in the Aug. 9 primary. [Nelson] has also pitched himself to rural voters as a folksy populist.” 

The primary is scheduled for Aug. 9. 

Who’s running in Massachusetts’ triplex office primaries

Two candidacy announcements within the past week affect primaries for all three of  Massachusetts’ triplex offices—governor, attorney general, and secretary of the commonwealth (also known as secretary of state in many other states). On Jan. 20, Attorney General Maura Healey announced she’s running in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, leaving the attorney general race open. And on Jan. 23, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin (D) announced he’s running for re-election. 

Politico Massachusetts Playbook‘s Lisa Kashinsky said of the governor’s race, “In a race where other candidates are running more to their party’s flanks — GOP former state Rep. Geoff Diehl is a former President Donald Trump-backed conservative; state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz and Harvard political theorist Danielle Allen are progressives — Healey is striking a more moderate tone. She’s focusing less on her liberal-prosecutor past and more on pocketbook issues like the high cost of living.”

Gov. Charlie Baker (R) is not seeking re-election. The state currently has divided triplex control with a Republican governor and Democrats holding the attorney general and secretary offices. 

Quentin Palfrey and Shannon Liss-Riordan had already announced Democratic primary bids for attorney general before Healey’s announcement. State House News Service’s Katie Lannan named former Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell, who ran for mayor of Boston last year, and Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan as potential candidates. Lannan said, “State election records show the last time more than two AG candidates made it to the ballot for either party primary was in 1974” and that Democrats have held the office since 1969.

Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin was first elected in 1994 and faces a primary challenge from NAACP Boston President Tanisha Sullivan. Galvin referred to his experience as equipping him to serve best. Sullivan said she’d expand voting rights and improve public records transparency. 

Primaries are scheduled for Sept. 20.

Tom Suozzi’s first TV ad in NY governor’s race focuses on crime and public safety

Crime and public safety are emerging as issues in New York’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. 

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi released the first TV ad of his gubernatorial bid, saying that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg “is actually proposing to downgrade armed robbery to a misdemeanor and to stop prosecuting resisting arrest.” Suozzi said that “if any DA refuses to enforce the law, I’ll remove them.” 

Suozzi said earlier this month, “Crime is a big problem in our state and the governor has not been talking about some of the more controversial issues that are out there right now. … You can’t make it so that the district attorney in Manhattan is not going prosecute a resisting arrest but you’ll get prosecuted for resisting arrest in Queens; that just doesn’t make any sense — it’s a green light for chaos.” 

Incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul said that “in respect to public safety, my position is very clear… working with the mayor of New York, we are committed to ensuring that there’s public safety for individuals so they don’t have to have that sense of anxiety. And we’re going to get it done.”

Bragg said there was confusion around his memo about downgrading some crimes to misdemeanors. Braggs said robberies with guns will be prosecuted as felonies and resisting-arrest cases involving violence against officers will be prosecuted.

Lee Zeldin, running in the Republican gubernatorial primary, said he would remove Bragg from office. 

Suozzi has also criticized the state’s law, passed in 2019, ending cash bail for certain crimes and criticized Hochul for not taking action to change it. Hochul said she has been in conversation with state legislative leaders about the bail policy.

Hochul, formerly lieutenant governor, assumed the governorship when Andrew Cuomo resigned last year and is seeking a full term. The primary is scheduled for June 28. Three other candidates are running in the Democratic primary so far, including New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

Bulmaro Vicente challenges California Assemblyman Tom Daly 

Democrat Bulmaro Vicente announced he is challenging state Rep. Tom Daly in the Assembly District 68 top-two all-party primary. 

Vicente is the policy director for Chispa, which describes itself as an “organizing political home for young Latinx identifying peoples.” With Chispa, Vicente campaigned to pass Senate Bill 2 in the California Assembly, a law allowing police officers to be decertified for certain cases of misconduct. The Daily Post‘s Gabriel San Román wrote that Daly was the only Orange County Democratic Assembly member to vote in favor of the law, which passed. Other county Democrats abstained. 

San Román said, “Even though Daly delivered on what Chispa campaigned for, Vicente counts him as a moderate out of step with the changing progressive politics” of the district. Daly said, “The police decertification bill was the result of months of negotiating, haggling and compromise. There were progressive and moderate elements in that bill and many others.”

Daly has emphasized his record on veterans issues and transportation: “In my first term I was able to change state law so that transportation agencies, like OCTA, are able to combine the design and construction process for major projects. … It’s certainly progressive for taxpayers because it saved them a lot of money.”  

Vicente said, “We needed our state leaders to protect tenants from being evicted — and we didn’t see that. We saw politicians, like Daly, side with landlords, who were evicting tenants late in the pandemic.”

Daly has served in the state Assembly since 2012. Daly currently represents Assembly District 69 but is running in District 68 this year due to redistricting. San Román said, “The new 68th District still encompasses Santa Ana, Anaheim and a larger share of Orange while shedding its portion of Garden Grove. Largely intact, the district favors Latinos, who comprise 56% of the eligible voters, and registered Democrats.”

Vicente served on Berkeley’s Police Review Commission from 2015 to 2017. 
In 2020, no Democratic incumbents in the state legislature were defeated during primary or general elections. Thirty-seven incumbents (43%) total had primary challengers. California’s 2022 primary elections are scheduled for June 7.