13 battleground elections for governor

Welcome to the Monday, March 14, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. Thirteen gubernatorial battleground elections to take place this year
  2.  Indiana’s 9th Congressional District Republican primary
  3. Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings begin in one week

Thirteen gubernatorial battleground elections this year

Of the 36 states that will hold elections for governor in 2022, we’ve identified 13 as general election battlegrounds—elections we expect to have a meaningful effect on the balance of power in governments or to be particularly competitive or compelling

Here are the states:

We define a trifecta as one political party holding the governorship, and majorities in the state house and senate.

We used these criteria to identify this year’s battleground races::

  • the results of the 2020 presidential election in each state,
  • whether the incumbent is seeking re-election,
  • whether the governor’s office changed partisan control the last time it was up for election, and
  • how the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections with Nathan Gonzales forecasted the race.

Of the 13 battlegrounds, seven currently have Republican governors and six have Democratic governors. In Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire the governor is from a different party than the presidential candidate who won the state in 2020.

The list of battlegrounds may change over the course of this year.

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Election spotlight: Indiana’s 9th Congressional District Republican primary

Now that Texas’ March 1 primaries have come and gone (though don’t forget about the upcoming runoffs!), let’s look ahead to May, when 12 states will hold statewide primary elections. Today, we’re looking at you, Indiana—specifically, Indiana’s 9th Congressional District Republican primary on May 3.

The Indianapolis Star’s Kaitlen Lange said the Republican primary is “poised to be the most watched and one of the most hotly-contested primaries in Indiana” as the 9th Congressional District is the only open congressional district seat in the state. Incumbent Trey Hollingsworth (R), first elected in 2016, is not running for re-election.

Nine candidates are running in the primary. Media attention has focused on candidates J. Michael Davisson, Erin Houchin, and Mike Sodrel.

Davisson is an Army veteran who has represented Indiana’s House District 73 since Oct. 28, 2021, when he was appointed to complete the term of the former incumbent — his father, Rep. Steve Davisson — who died in office. Davisson said he was running “to combat the liberal one-party rule stranglehold that’s currently allowing Washington to destroy our economy, take away our jobs, and allowing socialism to undermine the future of Southern Indiana.”

Houchin represented District 47 in the Indiana Senate from 2014 to Feb. 4, 2022, when she resigned. Houchin said, “My conservative record demonstrates that the 9th District can count on me to stand up to the radical Left and the Biden agenda that has led to disastrous issues at our southern border, the highest inflation in 40 years, and a liberal laundry list for more spending that the country cannot afford.” Houchin unsuccessfully sought the 9th District nomination in 2016. In that primary, Trey Hollingsworth defeated Houchin and three other candidates.

Sodrel represented Indiana’s 9th Congressional District for one term from 2005 to 2007 and was the Republican nominee in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008. Sodrel said, “I am not running to create a political career. Like our current Representative, Trey Hollingsworth, I believe in term limits. I am not a career politician. I have only run for one office in my life. This is the place I believe I can best serve God and country today.”

Also running in the primary are Jim Baker, Stu Barnes-Israel, Dan Heiwig, D. Eric Schansberg, Bill Thomas, and Brian Tibbs. As of March, the three independent race forecasters considered the general election as Solid or Likely Republican.

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Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings begin March 21

The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin four days of hearings on Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on March 21. After that, the committee will decide whether to refer Jackson to the full Senate for a vote. According to SCOTUSblog’s Katie Barlow, a Senate resolution adopted in February 2021 allows the Senate majority leader—in this case, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)—to put Jackson’s nomination to a full vote in the event the committee deadlocks. 

President Joe Biden (D) nominated Jackson to the court on Feb. 25 to fill the vacancy left by Justice Stephen Breyer, who announced he would retire when the court begins its summer recess. The full Senate can vote on Brown’s nomination before Breyer leaves the court. If confirmed, Brown would be sworn-in after Breyer leaves.

Jackson currently serves as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Biden nominated her to that post in April 2021. The Senate voted 53-44 to confirm Jackson on June 14, 2021. Previously, Jackson was a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia from 2013 to 2021. Jackson has also worked in private practice, as a federal public defender, on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, and as a law clerk for Breyer.

Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation vote will be the first to take place in a Senate with a 50-50 partisan split. In recent years, confirmation votes have grown more partisan. Since Justice Samuel Alito’s confirmation in 2006, nominees have received an average of 4 votes from senators who don’t caucus with the President’s party. Since 1967, when the Senate held its first roll call confirmation vote after Hawaii became the 50th state, an average of 29 opposition party senators have voted to confirm a nominee. These averages do not include votes from independent or third party senators. 

Click the link below to keep up to date with the latest on Jackson’s nomination. 

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