Upcoming candidate filing deadlines – Arkansas and Mississippi

Welcome to the Tuesday, February 22, Brew.

By: Douglas Kronaizl

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

  1. One week until candidate filing deadlines in Arkansas, Mississippi
  2. One-third of state legislative incumbents seeking re-election in Kentucky will face primary challenges
  3. Previewing the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Ohio

One week until candidate filing deadlines in Arkansas, Mississippi

Candidates seeking office in Arkansas and Mississippi have until March 1, 2022, to submit the necessary materials to appear on a party’s primary ballot. Arkansas’ primaries are scheduled for June 21 and Mississippi’s for June 28. Arkansas and Mississippi were the eighth and ninth statewide filing deadlines to pass in 2022.

Arkansas and Mississippi are the eighth and ninth statewide filing deadlines to pass in 2022. 

Arkansas voters will decide federal, state executive, and state legislative elections this year. Here’s a quick look at where those races stand today, though things could change between now and the filing deadline:

  • U.S. Senate: U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R) is seeking re-election to a third term. Boozman defeated Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) in 2010, becoming the state’s second Republican Senator since 1879. 
  • U.S. House: All four of Arkansas’ U.S. House districts will hold elections under new maps after redistricting. 
  • State executives: Seven state executive offices are up for election, all currently held by Republicans. Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) cannot seek re-election due to term limits. 
  • State legislature: All 35 state Senate will be up for election along with all 100 state House districts. Republicans currently hold majorities in both chambers: 26-7 in the Senate and 78-22 in the House. Democrats most recently held majorities in both chambers in 2012.

Mississippi’s four U.S. House seats are up for election. Democrats currently represent one district and Republicans represent three.

Neither of Mississippi’s U.S. Senate seats are up for election this year, and it holds its state executive and legislative elections in odd-numbered years.  

Arkansas and Mississippi are two of 18 states with filing deadlines slated for March. Twelve state’s deadlines are scheduled for April and May and 10 states’ deadlines don’t come until June and July.

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One-third of state legislative incumbents seeking re-election will face primary challenges in Kentucky

Over the coming months, we’ll crunch the numbers after each statewide filing deadline to show you how competitive elections 2022 elections might be.

Today: state legislative elections in Kentucky, where the filing deadline passed on Jan. 25.

Kentucky has a divided government. Democrats control the governorship. Republicans hold a 30-8 majority in the state Senate and a 75-24 majority in the House. One House district, most recently represented by Rep. Reginald Meeks (D), is vacant and will be filled in a special election tonight.

In 2022, 101 state legislative incumbents—22 Democrats and 79 Republicans—filed for re-election Thirty-four must participate in a contested primary on May 17. This is the highest percentage of incumbents in contested primaries in Kentucky since at least 2014. Five incumbents facing primary challenges are Democrats and 29 are Republicans.

Redistricting played a role in this increase. Six incumbents are facing primary challenges from other incumbents because of redrawn district lines. 

  • Rep. Lynn Belcher (R) currently represents House District 4 but is running for re-election in House District 12. He will face incumbent Rep. Jim Gooch Jr. (R).

Here are some other highlights:

  • A Democrat or Republican candidate is likely to win 61 (51.3%) of state legislative seats up for election because no candidates from the opposing party are running. Democrats likely will win 12 and Republicans likely will win 49. In 2014, 50.4% of districts had no major party competition, the next highest rate in that time frame. The 2018 cycle saw the lowest rate in recent years with 15.1% of districts contested between only one of the two major parties.
  • Twenty-one of the 119 districts holding elections (17.6%) are open, meaning no incumbent is running. This is a larger percentage than 2020 (14.2%), but lower than 2018 (18.5%).
  • Fifty-nine out of a possible 238 (24.8%) primaries are contested. This is the largest number of contested primaries in the state since at least 2014.

Overall, 256 candidates filed to run in the 119 districts: 88 Democrats and 168 Republicans. This equals 2.2 candidates per district, the second-highest figure since at least 2014.

Kentucky’s primaries are the sixth in the nation alongside four other states: Idaho, North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. All five states will hold primary elections on May 17.

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Previewing the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Ohio

Ohio has one of six open Senate seats this year as Sen. Rob Portman (R) is not running for re-election. Three candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination: Morgan Harper, Traci Johnson, and Tim Ryan

Media attention has focused primarily on Harper, an attorney who ran for the U.S. House in 2020, and Ryan, a member of the U.S. House representing Ohio’s 13th Congressional District.

Harper is running on a plan she said would create 600,000 clean energy jobs, as well as establishing a federal $15 minimum wage, Medicare for All, and full student loan debt forgiveness. Harper told The New York Times that her campaign would focus on mobilizing Black, women, and young voters. In 2020, Harper ran unsuccessfully in Ohio’s 3rd District in a Democratic primary against incumbent Rep. Joyce Beatty (D).

Ryan was first elected to the U.S. House in 2002. He has campaigned on a range of economic issues including revitalizing the state’s manufacturing industry, establishing a $15 minimum wage, renegotiating foreign trade deals, and expanding affordable healthcare. Ryan told CNN that his campaign would “focus like a laser beam on workers.” Ryan was most recently re-elected to represent the 13th District in 2020 following an unsuccessful presidential campaign.

Harper and Ryan disagree on healthcare policy. Harper supports Medicare for All, which would expand Medicare to cover all Americans and replace the existing private health insurance and marketplace options. Ryan supports the creation of a public option, an opt-in insurance plan that all Americans could join. In a 2019 presidential debate, Ryan called Medicare for All a potential disaster for the party. In October 2021, Harper said that universal healthcare was “the only way to protect workers.”

Donald Trump (R) won Ohio by eight percentage points in 2016 and 2020. Portman won re-election in 2016 by 19 percentage points. Sherrod Brown (D), Ohio’s other U.S. Senator, last won re-election in 2018 by seven percentage points.

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