Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 7

Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Republican Edition

January 27, 2022

In this issue: Colorado’s O’Dea takes petition route to Senate primary ballot and Dunleavy gets another GOP challenger in Alaska’s top-four primary

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.

Colorado Senate candidate O’Dea will submit petitions to make primary ballot

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea announced on Jan. 19 that he plans to submit petitions to make the primary ballot instead of going through the party’s nominating assembly. Colorado provides major party candidates those two paths to the primary election ballot.

At the party assembly, a candidate must receive 30% of delegates’ votes to be listed on the ballot. If no candidate receives 30%, a second vote is taken. If no candidate receives 30% in that vote, the top two vote-getters appear on the ballot.

U.S. Senate primary candidates taking the petition path must collect 1,500 signatures from registered primary voters in each of the state’s eight congressional districts. A candidate who takes the assembly path and does not win at least 10% of the vote cannot use the petition route to get on the same party’s primary ballot.

O’Dea is one of eight Republicans seeking the GOP nomination. Incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D) is running for re-election. O’Dea is so far the only GOP candidate seeking to make the ballot via petition, which must be filed with the secretary of state’s office by March 15. The Republican Party’s nominating assembly is April 9.

Fellow Republican Senate candidate Gino Campana wrote, “Joe Odea is petitioning onto the ballot because it’s painfully obvious he is way too liberal to win at the convention. … I have built a grassroots campaign supported by President Trump’s advisors, and I will use this energy to win at the convention.”

O’Dea’s campaign representative said, “Gino can stick his dishonest insults in his very own tax-and-spend-liberal ear. … Joe’s going to compete for every vote in every corner of the state — Republican insiders, Republican outsiders, and all the many Coloradans who are tired of Joe Biden and Michael Bennet’s failed leadership.”

The primary is set for June 28.

Ted Cruz campaigns with David McCormick in Pennsylvania

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) joined Republican Senate primary candidate David McCormick, the former CEO of Bridgewater Associates, at a campaign rally on Jan. 25. As we wrote last week, McCormick also has former Republican primary candidate Sean Parnell’s support. 

Currently, Cruz is the only GOP senator to make an endorsement in the primary. City & State Pennsylvania has tracked endorsements from several U.S. representatives, state legislators, local officials, and more for candidates Kathy Barnette, Jeff Bartos, McCormick, Mehmet Oz, and Carla Sands. Check the list out here.

Last week, we also wrote about ad spending from candidates and satellite groups. Politico wrote this week, “Republican candidates and groups supporting them spent and reserved a combined $15.3 million on TV ads, according to our pals at AdImpact. Of that total, about $3.5 million was reserved by outside GOP groups.”

Incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey (R) is retiring. The primary is scheduled for May 17.

Primary field in Florida’s 13th Congressional District grows

On Jan. 19, attorney Kevin Hayslett entered the Republican primary in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Incumbent Rep. Charlie Crist (D) is running for governor, a position he held from 2007 to 2011 as a Republican.

Hayslett has endorsements from Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri (R) and Gualtieri’s predecessor, Jim Coats (R). Five other candidates are running for the Republican nomination, including Anna Paulina Luna, the Republican Party’s 2020 nominee in the district, and Amanda Makki, another returning candidate. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Luna last September and Makki has promoted her endorsements from 12 area mayors.

Luna defeated Makki and three others in the 2020 Republican primary, winning 36% of the vote to Makki’s 28%. Crist defeated Luna in the general election 53-47%.

Florida is in the process of redistricting. Currently, the 13th District has a slight Republican lean of R+1. Most plans would give the Tampa-area district a more Republican tilt ranging from R+2 in the state House’s plan to R+14 in a plan Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) proposed.

The primary will take place on Aug. 23.

Kenai Mayor Charlie Pierce (R) joins top-four Alaska gubernatorial primary

Last week, Kenai Mayor Charlie Pierce (R) announced he is running in Alaska’s gubernatorial primary. Pierce is the second Republican officeholder to challenge incumbent Mike Dunleavy (R). Pierce’s announcement comes as Alaska prepares to hold its first gubernatorial election using a new election system voters approved in 2020 involving top-four all-party primary elections and ranked-choice voting general elections.

Pierce, who was elected mayor in 2017, said he was running due to frustration with Dunleavy and former Gov. Bill Walker (I). Walker is also running this year. The Anchorage Daily News described Pierce’s differences with Dunleavy as “more based on style than substance or policy.”

Dunleavy’s other elected Republican challenger, state Rep. Chris Kurka (R), has criticized the governor’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying that Alaska was “awash in Big Pharma-manipulated federal blood money” spent to promote vaccination. 

Also last week, the Alaska GOP announced it was endorsing Dunleavy for re-election. Former President Trump endorsed Dunleavy late last year (on the condition that Dunleavy not endorse U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) for re-election). 

In other related news, the Alaska Supreme Court upheld the election system voters approved in 2020. The court’s ruling means that the system will go into effect for this year’s elections, including the Aug. 16 gubernatorial primary. Under the system, every candidate will appear on the same primary ballot, regardless of their partisan affiliation. The top four candidates will advance to the general election, in which voters can rank their preferences rather than voting for a single candidate. Click here for details on how ranked-choice voting works.

Alaska is the first state to adopt top-four primaries and the second to adopt ranked-choice voting for statewide elections, after Maine.

Maryland gubernatorial candidate fundraising data

Former Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz has raised $1.5 million toward her gubernatorial campaign. Former state Del. Robin Ficker loaned his campaign $1.1 million. Del. Daniel Cox raised $344,000. 

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is term-limited and endorsed Schulz. Former President Trump endorsed Cox. We wrote about the dueling endorsements in our second issue.

Democratic primary candidates have raised more than GOP candidates. Wes Moore led Democrats with $4.8 million. Former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez raised $2.7 million and former U.S. Secretary of Education John King Jr., $2.5 million. Several other candidates have announced Democratic primary bids.

Former Lt. Gov. and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele recently announced he would not enter the GOP primary. 

The primaries are scheduled for June 28.  

Ricketts endorses Pillen for governor

On Jan. 18, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) endorsed Jim Pillen in the Republican gubernatorial primary. In October, former President Trump endorsed Charles Herbster in the primary. Ricketts is term-limited. 

Pillen has served on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents since 2013. Ricketts said, “Whether creating Nebraska jobs, fighting Critical Race Theory at the University system, or supporting his fellow ag producers, Jim has consistently shown he’s a leader of principle and integrity.” 

Herbster owns a manufacturing company and the cattle ranch Herbster Angus Farms. Trump said Herbster “has been a tremendous supporter of America First and Make America Great Again, right from the beginning.” 

Ricketts said, “While I agree with President Trump on many things, I strongly disagree that Charles Herbster is qualified to be our next governor — from his choice to headquarter his business in Missouri to his support of tax policy that would tax medical services, prescriptions, and food, as well as more than doubling our sale tax.” 

Herbster said, “It is disappointing to me that Governor Ricketts is supporting a candidate who has a weak record on illegal immigration, who failed to stop Critical Race Theory from seeping into public universities and then voted to fund it with taxpayer dollars, and who has admitted to polluting our most precious resource, water.” 

Several other candidates have filed for the primary so far.

Ricketts also endorsed state Sen. Mike Flood in his Republican primary bid against incumbent Rep. Jeff Fortenberry in Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District. Ricketts said, “Mike will be able to focus his entire energy on representing the first district here in Nebraska and stopping this radical agenda coming out of DC.” Fortenberry said Ricketts’ and former Gov. Dave Heineman’s endorsements of Flood were “particularly disappointing.” 

In October, a federal grand jury indicted Fortenberry on one count of scheming to falsify and conceal material facts and two counts of making false statements to federal investigators. Fortenberry pleaded not guilty. 

Nebraska’s primary is scheduled for May 10.

South Carolina Senate District 31 special primary results

On Tuesday, Mike Reichenbach defeated Jay Jordan in the special Republican primary election for Senate District 31 53% to 47%. Former incumbent Sen. Hugh Leatherman (R) died on Nov. 12. Reichenbach will face Suzanne La Rochelle (D) in the special election on March 29.