Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 11

February 24, 2022

In this issue: Ohio, NY Democratic parties weigh in on statewide races, Schumer backs Bowman in NY-16

Chuck Schumer endorses Jamaal Bowman in NY-16

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) endorsed 16th Congressional District Rep. Jamaal Bowman. Schumer said he has worked with Bowman on upgrading Mount Vernon’s sewer system and building a new rail line between New Rochelle and Penn Station.

Bowman defeated 16-term incumbent Eliot Engel in the district’s 2020 Democratic primary. Schumer had endorsed Engel in that race. 

Bronx outlet News 12 reported that Yonkers Democratic Chair and Department of Public Works Commissioner Tom Meier may run in the primary. According to the Yonkers Times, Meier “embraces the label of moderate democrat.” 

The Yonkers Times also said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano is considering a bid, but only if Meier doesn’t run, according to their source. After Boman was arrested during a protest, Spano, who called himself a “hardcore moderate in the middle,” said, “They should have arrested him for his ‘no’ vote on infrastructure.” 

Bowman was one of six Democrats to vote against the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021. The other five were Reps. Cori Bush (Mo.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.). Bowman said he voted against it because House leadership decided to vote on the Build Back Better Act separately. Bowman said, “It was important for us to pass both bills at the same time because the [Build Back Better] bill had already been gutted so much from when it came to us from the Senate. It came to us at [$]3.5 trillion … all of a sudden some of my colleagues wanted to cut it down, and it ended up at [$]1.75 [trillion].”

Manuel Casanova, a Democratic district leader from New Rochelle, is also running in the primary. Casanova’s campaign website says, “Democrats must demonstrate that we can govern and lead responsibly and not just talk, complain, and bicker with each other on Twitter. This must stop. We must pass legislation that demonstrates that Democrats can unite as one team, and then aim to work with Republicans in a bipartisan way when possible.”

Westchester County Legislator Vedat Gashi also filed for the primary, which is scheduled for June 28. The state’s new congressional district map moves the 16th further north into Westchester County and part of the Bronx into a different district. The map is being challenged in court. According to FiveThirtyEight, the district’s Democratic lean changed from D+49 under the old map to D+36 under the new map.

Rep. Chuy Garcia endorses in three-way IL-03 primary

On Feb. 15, U.S. Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-Ill.) endorsed state Rep. Delia Ramirez in the Democratic primary for Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District. Ramirez has endorsements from more than 20 state legislators and nine Chicago City Council members. The Chicago Tribune said these endorsements were “from more progressive members of the Illinois legislature and City Council.”

Two other candidates are running in the June 28 primary.

Chicago Ald. Gilbert Villegas, the council’s Latino Caucus chair, has endorsements from U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), a state senator, three state representatives, and five members of the Chicago City Council. 

Iymen Chehade, a history professor at Columbia College, does not have any published endorsements. Chehade was a foreign policy advisor for U.S. Rep. Marie Newman’s (D-Ill.) 2020 campaign.

The newly drawn 3rd District has a population that is 47% Hispanic and includes Chicago’s Northwest Side, Bensenville, Addison, and West Chicago. The Chicago Sun-Times wrote, “A Democratic primary with multiple Hispanics will divide the Hispanic vote, leaving the door wide open for a non-Hispanic candidate to claim the seat.”

Ohio Democratic Party endorses in Senate primary, stays neutral in gubernatorial primary

The Ohio Democratic Party endorsed U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan for U.S. Senate over Morgan Harper and Traci Johnson on Feb. 17. The party also announced it would not endorse in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Ryan, whose other endorsers include U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the state AFL-CIO, and the United Auto Workers, has been a member of the U.S. House since 2003 and ran for president in 2020. Harper has endorsements from Brand New Congress and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. Harper challenged U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty in the 2020 Democratic primary for Ohio’s 3rd Congressional District, losing 68% to 32%.

Before the party’s endorsement meeting, Harper issued a request that it remain neutral in the Senate race. Following the announcement, Harper tweeted, “They will continue to tip the scales for our establishment opponent. It’s official: it’s us against the machine.” 

Johnson tweeted, “ODP decision to endorse is disappointing but not unexpected. The Voters have the final say – Game On!” 

Ryan said, “If the party folks decide to endorse, we want the endorsement. We’re not going to get into whether or not they should or shouldn’t.”

The party’s decision to not endorse a gubernatorial candidate came after both candidates—former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley—separately requested that the party not endorse a candidate.

Both offices will be on the May 3 primary ballot. 

New York Democrats nominate Hochul, others at convention

At its nomination convention on Feb. 17, the New York Democratic Party voted to endorse incumbents in five elections: Gov. Kathy Hochul, Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Attorney General Letitia James, and Sen. Chuck Schumer. 

A candidate receiving more than 50% of the vote at the convention becomes the party’s nominee in the primary. Candidates receiving more than 25% of the vote at the convention are automatically on the ballot. Committee members’ votes are weighted based on the number of votes cast in their assembly district for the Democratic candidate in the last gubernatorial election.

Candidates who did not receive 25% of the vote must collect 15,000 signatures to get on the primary ballot.

Hochul, who served as New York’s lieutenant governor from 2015 to 2021 and became governor upon Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) resignation in August 2021, received 86% of the convention vote. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the keynote speaker and endorsed Hochul.

Two other gubernatorial candidates participated: New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who received 12%, and attorney Paul Nichols, who received less than 2%. U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi did not participate, though he attended the convention.

A Suozzi representative said, “The New York State Democratic convention is the ultimate insider event and any outcome is predestined. … This election will be won in the cities, towns and villages across the state, not in the Sheraton Hotel.” 

Wiliams said, “Impartiality for the Democratic Party in New York state is having the chair of the convention already having endorsed someone.” New York State Democratic Committee Chair Jay Jacobs had endorsed Hochul.

According to Politico’s Bill Mahoney and Anna Gronewold, both Suozzi and Williams are expected to collect signatures. So far, five candidates are running in the Democratic primary. The filing deadline is April 7, and the primary is scheduled for June 28.

Regarding Schumer, The New York Times’ Katie Glueck wrote, “After years of speculation concerning whether the Senate majority leader…would face a credible left-wing challenge, he was renominated for his seat by acclamation on Thursday. A significant opponent could still emerge, though the window is narrowing ahead of the June primary.” 

Allen drops out of Massachusetts gubernatorial primary, citing ballot access requirement

Harvard professor Danielle Allen suspended her gubernatorial primary bid, citing the ballot access requirement of receiving at least 15% of the vote at the state Democratic Party convention in June.

Allen said, “In Massachusetts, where we pride ourselves on being the birthplace of democracy, there is no excuse for ballot access procedures that push out qualified but non-traditional candidates and rob the people of Massachusetts of real choice on their ballot.” 

State party Rules Committee chair Bill Eddy said, “Whether you are the biggest insider or running for the first time, the rules are there for everyone to be fair. … It’s all about do you have a message that resonates and can you get people to show up at a caucus?”

Towns and wards began holding caucuses on Feb. 4 to elect delegates to the state convention. Caucuses will be held until March 12.

Politico wrote, “The primary now refocuses into a battle between [Attorney General Maura] Healey and state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, whose path to getting on the primary ballot against a candidate with a built-in statewide network likely gets a bit easier with Allen’s departure.” Orlando Silva is also running.

Oregon Supreme Court decides Kristof can’t run for governor

We wrote last month that Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan (D) said former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof did not meet residency requirements to be on the gubernatorial primary ballot. Kristof challenged the decision in the state supreme court, which last week upheld Fagan’s decision.

Competitiveness data: Kentucky’s primaries

Kentucky’s filing deadline for federal and state elections was Jan. 25. We’ve crunched some numbers to compare how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles.

U.S. House

State legislature

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries: six in the U.S. House and 238 in the state legislature.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.