Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 8

February 3, 2022

In this issue: A likely Brown-Turner rematch in Ohio and Patriotic Millionaires makes first-ever primary endorsements

Brown-Turner rematch likely in OH-11

On Jan. 26, Nina Turner announced she’ll challenge 11th Congressional District incumbent Rep. Shontel Brown (D). Brown defeated Turner in a special primary 50.1% to 44.6% last August. The Hill‘s Julia Manchester described the special primary as “a proxy battle for the Democratic Party establishment and national progressives.”

Turner said that “not much has changed in the material conditions of the poor, the working poor, and the barely middle class. So the reasons are still the same. To lift the people. … Cleveland is the largest poor city in the country. … This region really deserves a leader that is going to fight, not just vote the right way, but fight for what is needed.”

In a Jan. 20 interview with Jewish Insider, Brown said, “I think that the [special primary] local race was really about results. It didn’t get into this progressive-moderate issue. … I know the national narrative was different. But it definitely, on the ground, was about who has been doing the work and who has been delivering for the people.”

Brown served on the Cuyahoga County Council from 2015 until she joined the House in November. Brown has also been chairwoman of the county Democratic Party since 2017. Turner, a former state senator, was a 2016 national surrogate and 2020 co-chair for Bernie Sanders’ Democratic presidential primary campaigns.

Last year’s special election was held after former incumbent Marcia Fudge (D) became secretary of Housing and Urban Development in President Joe Biden’s administration.

Ohio’s congressional district map is unsettled. Last month, the state supreme court ordered state legislators to redraw district lines. The filing deadline is scheduled for March 4 and the primary for May 3. 

Patriotic Millionaires endorses in two U.S. House primaries

The organization Patriotic Millionaires endorsed Jessica Cisneros (TX-28) and Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-6) on Jan. 27. Cisneros faces Rep. Henry Cuellar in a March 1 primary rematch of 2020, while McBath faces fellow incumbent Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux in a May 24 primary due to redistricting. According to The Hill, this was the first time Patriotic Millionaires endorsed in party primaries.

Eric Payne, the group’s founder, said: “These radical moderates have done more damage to President Biden’s agenda than Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz combined. … Their outright sabotage of President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda, likely done on behalf of their donors, left us with no choice – it’s time to draw a line in the sand.”

Nine Democratic House members, including Bourdeaux and Cuellar, signed a letter last August saying they wouldn’t vote for a budget resolution needed to pass the Build Back Better Act unless the House first voted on an infrastructure bill the Senate passed. Later that month, the House passed a resolution to advance both bills, with Bourdeaux’s and Cuellar’s support. The resolution contained a nonbinding commitment to vote on the infrastructure bill in September (which did not happen). The House passed the infrastructure bill and then the Build Back Better Act in November. Bourdeaux and Cuellar supported both.

Patriotic Millionaires’ website says it focuses on “promoting public policy solutions that encourage political equality, guarantee a sustaining wage for working Americans, and ensure that millionaires, billionaires, and corporations pay their fair share of taxes.” Among the group’s members are Abigail Disney and Morris Pearl, a former managing director of investment management company BlackRock.

The group has endorsed seven other 2022 U.S. House candidates.

Two Kentucky state legislators face off in open KY-03

Kentucky’s candidate filing deadline passed last week, finalizing primary candidate fields. State Sen. Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey and state Rep. Attica Scott are running in the Democratic primary for the Louisville-area 3rd Congressional District—the only Democratic-leaning district in the state. 

Rep. John Yarmuth (D) is retiring, leaving the district open for the first time since 1994. The Lexington Herald-Leader‘s David Catanese said the primary was shaping up to “showcase some of the same ideological and demographic fissures that are currently splitting Democrats in Washington.”

McGarvey announced his candidacy after Yarmuth’s October retirement announcement. McGarvey said, “Congressman Yarmuth has been an incredible advocate for Kentucky families. … [W]e need to ensure Kentucky continues to send an effective Democratic voice to Congress.”

Scott entered the race last July, expecting to face Yarmuth in the primary. Scott says she’s running “a people-powered campaign where we all win with new and different leadership in Congress. … [F]ar too many of us have been left behind and left out in DC … [Y]oung people, women, and people of color can’t wait.”

Kentucky’s primary is scheduled for May 17, though the state’s recently enacted congressional and state House maps are being challenged in court. 

Pennsylvania Democratic Party does not endorse in Senate primary

No U.S. Senate primary candidate reached the two-thirds vote threshold required for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s endorsement at a meeting on Jan. 29. Conor Lamb received 61% support on the second and final ballot. John Fetterman received 23%.

Politico‘s Holly Otterbein said: “The non-endorsement is a disappointment for Conor Lamb, who has been trailing behind primary frontrunner John Fetterman … The lack of an endorsement is also a small victory for the other candidates in the primary, who were not expected to win the party’s backing.” 

Fetterman raised $12 million through Dec. 31. Lamb was second with $4 million, followed by Valerie Arkoosh with $2.7 million.

Otterbein reported the following messaging from candidates to state party committee members:

In several mailers sent to state committee members, Lamb’s team argued that he “is the Only Senate Candidate to Beat the Trump Machine — Three Times.” They also championed him as a proponent of ending the filibuster.

Literature passed out by Fetterman’s campaign touted him as an “UNAPOLOGETIC POPULIST” with a “NO-BS STYLE” who is the “ONLY CANDIDATE, DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN, WHO HAS WON STATEWIDE.”

Fetterman is the state’s lieutenant governor, and Lamb represents the 17th Congressional District. 

At least 13 candidates are running in the May 17 primary. Incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey (R) is retiring.

Jonathan Jackson, son of Rev. Jesse Jackson, files for IL-01

On Jan. 26, Chicago businessman Jonathan Jackson filed with the Federal Election Commission for the Democratic primary in Illinois’ 1st Congressional District. Current incumbent Rep. Bobby Rush (D) is retiring. 

Jackson is the son of Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., who sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served a single term as the District of Columbia’s shadow U.S. senator in the 1990s. Jonathan’s brother, Jesse Jackson Jr., served nine terms representing a neighboring Illinois district in the U.S. House before resigning in 2012.

Fourteen candidates are running in the Democratic primary so far. The candidate filing deadline is March 14. Among the other candidates are Chicago Alderman Pat Dowell, who former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D) endorsed, and Karin Norington-Reaves (D), who Rush endorsed.

The primary is set for June 28. Three election forecasters rated Illinois’ 1st Congressional District Safe or Solid Democratic.

Cooper vetoes primary date change in North Carolina

Gov. Roy Cooper (D) vetoed a bill to postpone the state’s primaries from May 17 to June 7. We wrote about the bill the General Assembly passed two weeks ago

The state supreme court postponed the primaries from March 8 to May 17 due to lawsuits challenging the new congressional and state legislative maps. The court heard arguments on Feb. 2. 

Cooper said, “This bill is an additional attempt by Republican legislators to control the election timeline and undermine the voting process. … The constitutionality of congressional and legislative districts is now in the hands of the North Carolina Supreme Court and the Court should have the opportunity to decide how much time is needed to ensure that our elections are constitutional.”

WRAL’s Bryan Anderson wrote, “Cooper’s veto likely improves Democrats’ chances of seeing an independent expert appointed to handle a potential redraw process because Republicans may not be able to meet a narrow Feb. 18 deadline if the Supreme Court strikes down the new voting maps, takes a while to issue its ruling and doesn’t delay the primaries.”North Carolina is one of 13 states with a divided government. Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature, and the governor is a Democrat.