The busiest month for candidate filings ends with S.C. and S.D.

By: Douglas Kronaizl

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

  1. Candidate filing ends in South Dakota and South Carolina this week
  2. Nebraska’s U.S. House elections see most candidates running per district since 2012
  3. Yamhill County, Ore., recall defeated on March 22

The busiest month for candidate filings ends with S.C. and S.D.

Voters in South Carolina and South Dakota will be one step closer to knowing who is on their ballots this week. The filing deadlines for major party candidates in both states will pass on March 29 (South Dakota) and March 30 (South Carolina).

These cap off the busiest month for filing deadlines in the 2022 election cycle. Nineteen states’ candidate filing deadlines came and went in March. In a 20th state—Ohio—federal candidates had until March 4 to file, while state candidates filed on Feb. 2. 

The deadlines in South Dakota and South Carolina also place us over the halfway mark nationwide, with the 25th and 26th candidate filing deadlines of the election cycle.

In both South Dakota and South Carolina, voters will decide federal, state executive, and state legislative elections this year. 

  • Both states have one U.S. Senate seat up for election. 
    • In South Carolina, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R) faces his third election in eight years. Scott, originally an appointee, assumed office in 2013 and ran in a special election the following year. Scott won a full term in 2016, which expires next year. In South Dakota, U.S. Sen. John Thune (R) is seeking a fourth term. The only South Dakota Senator to serve four terms: Karl Mundt (R), who served from 1948 to 1973. Independent forecasters rate both Senate contests as Solid Republican.
  • None of the U.S. Representatives in either state have announced their retirements. 
  • Multiple state executive offices are up for election in both states, including upcoming gubernatorial races. 
    • In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster (R) intends to seek a second full term. McMaster assumed office in 2017 after then-Gov. Nikki Haley (R) resigned to become ambassador to the United Nations. McMaster won election to a full term in 2018, defeating state Rep. James Smith Jr. (D) 54-46%. In South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem (R) seeks a second term. Noem was first elected in 2018 after defeating state Sen. Billie Sutton (D) 51-48%. In both states, other offices on the ballot include attorney general, secretary of state, and treasurer.
  • State legislative elections will also be on the ballot in both states:
    • All House seats are up for election in South Carolina this year, where Republicans currently hold a 79-43 majority with two additional vacancies. Senators serve four-year terms and will not be up for election until 2024. All 105 seats in the South Dakota Legislature are up for election this year. Republicans currently hold a 32-3 majority in the Senate and a 62-8 majority in the House. 

Fourteen states’ filing deadlines are scheduled in April and May and 10 states’ deadlines occur in June and July. Texas had the earliest filing deadline this cycle in December 2021 and six states’ deadlines passed earlier this year in January and February.

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Nebraska’s U.S. House elections see most candidates running per district since 2012

We will bring you updates about competitive elections throughout the election cycle as states’ filing deadlines pass. Today we are taking a closer look at U.S. House elections in one of those states: Nebraska.

Following the state’s candidate filing deadline on Feb. 15, 16 candidates are running in Nebraska’s three U.S. House districts, including nine Republicans, six Democrats, and one Legal Marijuana Now candidate. That comes out to 5.33 candidates per district, the highest number in the state since 2012.

The number of candidates per district will hold at 5.33 despite changes to the primary landscape in recent days. 

On March 26, incumbent U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R) announced his resignation from Congress effective March 31. Fortenberry was convicted of three felony counts stemming from a 2016 campaign finance investigation. Fortenberry indicated that he would appeal the ruling.

Before his announcement, Fortenberry had been seeking re-election to the 1st District, where he faced competition from four other candidates in the Republican primary, including state Sen. Mike Flood (R). Flood had already received endorsements from noteworthy Republicans, including Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) and former Gov. Dave Heinemann (R).

According to Secretary of State Bob Evnen (R), the deadline to remove Fortenberry’s name from the primary ballot has already passed, meaning he will remain on the ballot alongside Flood and three other challengers.

Besides the primary, Fortenberry’s resignation sets the stage for a special election to serve out the remainder of his current term. Gov. Ricketts will select the date of that election, which must occur within 90 days of the vacancy. Under the U.S. Constitution, any vacancies in the House must be filled through an election. Typically this is a special election, though if the vacancy occurs closer to the end of a term, the district may remain vacant until the next general election depending on the state.

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Yamhill County, Ore., recall defeated on March 22

On March 22, voters in Yamhill County, Ore., voted not to recall County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer. The final vote had 52% opposed to the recall and 48% in favor. Berschauer was first elected to the three-member board in 2020.

Recall supporters accused Berschauer of “extremism, fiscal mismanagement, and bad-faith representation” in one of the recall petitions. Berschauer said, “Disagreement over public policy does not warrant a recall in the minds of voters, as we just witnessed in Newberg,” referring to a Jan. 18 recall against two school board members in the Yamhill County town. Voters similarly defeated that recall with a 52-48% vote.

Voters have begun recall efforts against 33 county commissioners so far this year. Ten are currently underway, 18 did not go to a vote, one resulted in a resignation, one was approved, and two were defeated. Two are on the ballot in May 2022. By comparison, in the first half of 2021, 12 commissioners faced recall efforts.

Berschauer was the 16th official of any office type to have appeared on a recall ballot so far this year. Of those 16, voters recalled six and the recalls against the remaining 10 were defeated.

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