694 candidates completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey in 2021

Welcome to the Monday, February 7, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 694 candidates completed the Ballotpedia Candidate Connection survey in 2021
  2. Race spotlight: Texas’ 15th Congressional District Republican primary 
  3. A look at tomorrow’s elections

694 candidates completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey in 2021

Since 2018, we’ve surveyed candidates at the federal, state, and local levels to find out why they’re involved in politics. The survey includes more than simple issue questions. We ask questions that encourage candidates to tell voters what they care about, what they stand for, and what they hope to achieve.

In 2021, 694 candidates responded to the survey. That’s 48.3% of the 1,436 candidates Ballotpedia contacted—a 9.5 percentage point increase over 2020, when 38.8% of contacted candidates responded to the survey.

Let’s take a look at some of the findings from our 2021 Candidate Connection report.

  • Candidates from 36 states responded to the survey. Colorado had the most respondents with 62, followed by Texas at 61 and New York at 60.
  • Out of the 694 candidates who completed the survey, 43% ran for a municipal office. Twenty-one percent were school board candidates, and 19% were state legislative candidates. 
  • Of those 694 candidates, 21% won their respective races. 

Notable respondents

Michelle Wu: Mayor of Boston Michelle Wu (D) completed Ballotpedia’s candidate survey during her run in the Boston mayoral election. Wu defeated Annissa Essaibi George in the Nov. 2, 2021, general election with 61.1% of the vote. 

When asked what areas of public policy she was personally passionate about, Wu answered:

“Keeping families in Boston. Our city has seen a population boom, but the number of kids in Boston has actually fallen because families are being displaced. Making Boston the most family-friendly city in the country requires bold action to break down silos and deliver more on affordable housing, world-class education and childcare for all, and accessible transportation.

Closing the racial wealth gap. Boston is one of the most unequal cities in the country, but we have the resources to tackle disparities in home ownership, business ownership, and educational access as the foundation for creating generational wealth in BIPOC communities. Delivering on a Boston Green New Deal. Boston should set the tone for all cities on securing our future through climate justice as racial and economic justice. Our plan centers environmental justice communities in democratizing decision-making, transforming our infrastructure, delivering public health, and creating good jobs in the green economy.”

Glenn Youngkin: Governor of Virginia Glenn Youngkin (R) completed Ballotpedia’s candidate survey during his campaign. Youngkin defeated six other candidates in the Republican convention. He won the general election with 50.6% of the vote against a former governor, Terry McAuliffe (D).

When asked what areas of public policy he was personally passionate about, Youngkin said:

“I’m running for governor because I believe we must rebuild Virginia’s future and make it the best place in America to live, work, and raise a family. Rebuilding Virginia begins by building a rip-roaring economy that lowers the cost of living for all Virginians. I am a conservative who believes that the best government is one that stays out of people’s everyday lives as much as possible. I’m committed to not raising taxes, removing regulatory burdens for small businesses, making sure that our children have the best, most affordable education possible, and that our Constitutional rights are protected.”

Click below to read more from our 2021 report!

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Race spotlight: Texas’ 15th Congressional District Republican primary 

Texas will kick off the 2022 primary season on March 1. Here’s a look at one race, the Republican Party primary in Texas’ 15th Congressional District, where nine candidates are seeking the Republican nomination for an open seat.

What’s the district? Vicente Gonzalez Jr. (D) represents Texas’ 15th Congressional District, which includes much of Guadalupe County, just east of San Antonio, and extends south to McAllen, on the U.S.-Mexico border. According to The Texas Tribune, Texas’ 15th Congressional District became more favorable to Republicans as a result of redistricting. President Joe Biden (D) won the district by two percentage points in the 2020 presidential election.

What’s the story? The district is open for the first time since 2016, when Ruben Hinojosa did not run for re-election. Gonzalez, who has represented the district since 2017, announced Oct. 26, 2021, that he would run for re-election in Texas’ 34th District. Gonzalez made the announcement one day after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) enacted Texas’ new congressional map, which placed Gonzalez’s home in the 34th District. U.S. Representatives do not have to live in the district they represent, though most do.

Three candidates in the Republican primary have received the most media attention or endorsements—Monica De La Cruz Hernandez, Mauro Garza, and Ryan Krause.

  • De La Cruz Hernandez is an insurance agent from Edinburg. She was the 2020 Republican nominee in the district and lost to Gonzalez 50.5% to 47.6%. De La Cruz Hernandez’s key campaign issues include immigration policy, investments in oil and natural gas, and school choice. As of January 2022, 18 Republican members of Congress—including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)—had endorsed De La Cruz Hernandez. 
  • Garza is a businessman from San Antonio who has focused on fiscal policy, border security, and funding for police and the military. Garza is primarily a self-funded candidate who loaned his campaign $195,000 as of January 2022, according to the Federal Elections Commission. In 2020, Garza lost to Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) in Texas’ 20th Congressional District 64.7% to 33.1%.
  • Krause is a leadership and coaching development consultant from San Antonio who has run on firearms, border security and immigration law enforcement, and the government’s role in providing welfare benefits. As of January 2022, two members of the Guadalupe County Commission and five local business executives endorsed Krause. In 2020, Krause lost to De La Cruz Hernandez in the Republican primary runoff 76.0% to 24.0%.

Jose Aizar Cavazos, Sara Canady, Vangela Churchill, Angela Juarez, John Lerma, and Steve Schmuker Jr. are also running in the primary. 

If no candidate receives a majority of the vote in the primary election, the top two vote-getters will compete in a runoff election on May 24.

Click here to read about the Democratic primary. 

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A look at tomorrow’s elections

On Feb. 8, elections for a variety of positions will happen in three states. Here’s the lowdown: 


  • Voters will decide a special election for District 7 of the Arkansas state Senate. Lance Eads (R) resigned to accept a position with Capitol Consulting Firm. Lisa Parks (D) and Colby Fulfer (R) won their respective primary elections and will face off in the special general election. 


 To learn more about school board elections, subscribe to Hall Pass, our new education newsletter written to keep you plugged into the conversations driving school board politics and education policy.


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