Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 13

March 10, 2022

In this issue: Jeanne Ives endorses Darren Bailey for Illinois governor and Ducey not running for Senate in Arizona

Jeanne Ives endorses Darren Bailey for Illinois governor

Former state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R) endorsed Darren Bailey in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Politico wrote that Ives’ backing gives Bailey “an edge that could only be upped if Donald Trump were to endorse” and “a boost in conservative credibility.” Ives challenged then-Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) in the 2018 GOP primary, losing 49%-52%. 

In her endorsement, Ives mentioned candidate Richard Irvin and his running mate, Avery Bourne: “Republican voters need to be warned. The same people who ran Rauner’s campaign backed by a billion-dollar checkbook are now running the Irvin-Bourne race backed by the same billion-dollar checkbook.”

Hedge fund founder Ken Griffin gave $20 million to Irvin’s campaign in February. According to the State Journal-Register, Griffin donated $36 million to Rauner’s campaigns.

Bailey, a state senator, is emphasizing economic policy, saying he’ll lower taxes and spending. Bailey calls Irvin a Democrat, saying Irvin won’t say what his position is on abortion and accusing him of “imposing Draconian mandates in Aurora” amid the pandemic. Bailey filed a lawsuit challenging Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s (D) stay-at-home order.

Irvin, the mayor of Aurora and a former prosecutor, is emphasizing crime policy, saying he “defeated the local ‘Defund the Police’ movement” as Aurora mayor. He also says he prevented tax increases in the city and balanced its budgets.

The primary is scheduled for June 28. 

Gov. Brian Kemp places $4.2 million ad buy in Georgia

Gov. Brian Kemp placed a $4.2 million initial TV ad buy as he faces former Sen. David Perdue and at least two others in the GOP primary

The Hill‘s Max Greenwood reported, “The ad buy is enormous. Put in context, Kemp’s campaign is spending more than four times the amount that Perdue’s campaign had on hand at the end of January.”

The first spots will run statewide on March 30.

Ads have been a big storyline in the primary so far. As we wrote last month, the Republican Governors Association released a pro-Kemp ad—the group’s first-ever TV ad supporting an incumbent who’s facing a primary challenger. Perdue’s first ad featured former President Donald Trump (R). Trump endorsed Perdue in the race after clashing with Kemp on the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia. 

The primary is scheduled for May 24.

Gov. Kristi Noem calls for Steve Haugaard censure, S.D. GOP condemns his comments about woman with drug addiction

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem called for state Rep. Steve Haugaard’s censure over comments Haugaard made during a March 3 floor debate on a marijuana bill. Haugaard, who is challenging Noem in the gubernatorial primary, said he knew a woman who used marijuana and went on to use meth. Haugaard referred to the woman as “kind of a wrung-out wh*re, because she has prostituted herself for drugs over and over again.” 

Haugaard said after, “I really do apologize to those that I offended by using that word, but anybody here in the Capitol that knows me knows I do not use foul language.”

Noem said, “I am disappointed and appalled by the inappropriate and offensive language used today on the House floor by Rep. Haugaard. … I’m calling on the Speaker and the House to take a stand against this irresponsible and abusive behavior by formally reprimanding and censuring Mr. Haugaard.”

On March 4, the South Dakota GOP’s executive board condemned Haugaard’s comments, saying, “The language used by Rep. Haugaard to depict a Native American woman and the results of her drug addiction do not reflect the values of the Republican Party.” State Rep. Tamara St. John (R) said Haugaard told her the remark was about a Native American woman.

Noem and Haugaard recently clashed over policy on medication sometimes used to perform abortions. On Feb. 28, Haugaard’s proposed ban on medication used for the purposes of abortion stalled in the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The committee passed Noem’s legislation stating that the second drug used in medication abortions may only be dispensed in person. The state legislature passed Noem’s bill.

The primary is scheduled for June 7.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey won’t run for U.S. Senate

On March 3, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) told donors he won’t run for Senate this year. So far, there are nine candidates in the Aug. 2 Republican primary. The filing deadline is April 4. 

In the letter, Ducey wrote, “Right now I have the job I want, and my intention is to close my years of service to Arizona with a very productive final legislative session AND to help elect Republican governors across the country in my role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.”

Ducey also said, “We have a strong field of candidates in Arizona and I will be actively supporting our nominee — and perhaps weighing in before the primary.”

According to CNN, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “spent months working aggressively to persuade Ducey to mount a Senate campaign, under the belief that he would be the strongest candidate to try and win back the seat of Sen. Mark Kelly, a Democrat.” 

The primary field includes venture capitalist Blake Masters, who Club for Growth PAC and investor Peter Thiel endorsed; former solar energy executive Jim Lamon, whose endorsers include the National Border Patrol Council and Conservative Political Action Coalition; and Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who Fox anchor Mark Levin endorsed.

Trump criticized Ducey in a Save America PAC statement last month: “MAGA will never accept RINO Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona running for the U.S. Senate.” Trump and Ducey clashed over Ducey’s certification of the state’s 2020 presidential election results.

Defeated incumbents tracker

We’ll be tracking how many state legislative incumbents are defeated throughout 2022. Here’s some very preliminary data after Texas’ March 1 primaries. Note that the following includes incumbents filed and in contested primaries from six states (Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Nebraska, Texas, and West Virginia). The “defeated” column only includes data from Texas, which holds primary runoffs for some seats in May.

Proposed health education standards an issue in Nebraska BOE race

Proposed health education standards are an issue in the May 10 primary for Nebraska State Board of Education. Seat 7 incumbent Robin Stevens faces two challengers: Pat Moore and Elizabeth Tegtmeier. 

The Scottsbluff Star-Herald wrote that “the board halted a set of proposed health standards in September due to parent backlash. The standards would have taught about sexual orientations, identities and activities to children who were in elementary school.”

Stevens assumed office in 2019. He said, “My number one goal throughout (my first term) … was to increase early childhood education opportunities.” Stevens said, “I want people to know that there has never been a vote by the state board to either approve or disapprove the proposed health standards … I felt like the language that was used in parts of the health standards was too raw and therefore inappropriate.”

Moore is a pastor and emphasizes local control of education decisions. He said in response to a question on Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, “Comprehensive sex education and Critical Race Theory concepts need to be removed from education in Nebraska.” 

Tegtmeier, a former public school teacher, said, “The board became so wrapped up in activist causes that attempted to indoctrinate our children that they neglected their duty to our local school districts.” Tegtmeier said she “promises to protect Nebraska’s children from harmful ideologies that promote racially divisive ideas and inappropriate sexual content.” 

Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), Lt. Gov. Mike Foley (R), several Republican state senators, and several county Republican parties endorsed Tegtmeier. 

The primary is nonpartisan. All three Seat 7 candidates are Republicans.

The Nebraska State Board of Education’s responsibilities include appointing and removing the state commissioner of education, the organization of the Nebraska Department of Education, and oversight and supervision of the state’s K-12 public schools. 

Members are elected to four-year terms in nonpartisan elections. Four of eight seats are up for election this year. Three incumbents are running in 2022. One other incumbent, Democrat Deborah Neary, faces a primary with two challengers. The other two seats up for election saw two candidates file a piece, meaning both candidates for each will head to the November election.

Competitiveness data: Indiana’s primaries

Indiana’s filing deadline for federal and state elections was Feb. 4. We’ve crunched some numbers to see 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.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.