The margin of victory in districts with retiring incumbents

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. A look at the margin of victory in congressional districts with retiring incumbents
  2. A quarter of the country’s state supreme court seats are up for election this year
  3. Across 11 states, PACs raised $1.2 billion in 2021

The margin of victory in districts with retiring incumbents 

As of April, 54 members of Congress—six Senators and 48 Representatives—have announced they will not seek re-election. 

We looked at the retiring incumbents who narrowly won re-election in 2020. We defined a narrow margin of victory as one in which the winning candidate won by less than 10 percentage points. 

We found that seven U.S House incumbents retiring this year won election in 2020 with a margin of victory of less than 10%, and that all of them are Democrats. No retiring Republican incumbents had narrow victory margins in 2020. 

In 2020, the situation was reversed—the seven incumbents who had a narrow margin of victory in 2018 were all Republicans. No retiring Democratic House members in 2020 had narrow wins in 2018. 

The seven Democratic congressional incumbents who’ve announced their retirement in 2022 are:

To read more of our analysis of retiring incumbents, click the link below. 

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A quarter of the country’s state supreme court seats are up for election this year 

In a midterm election year, you’re most likely to hear about high-profile congressional, gubernatorial, and state legislative races. Some elections, however, tend not to attract as much attention—like state supreme court elections.  

This year, 25% of the country’s 344 state supreme court seats are up for election across 32 states. Nonpartisan justices hold 66 of those seats, while Republicans hold 13. Democratic justices hold eight. 

State supreme courts are the ultimate interpreters of state laws and constitutions. They usually hear appeals of the decisions made in the lower trial or appellate courts within their state. A state supreme court’s decision is final, so long as the decision does not involve the U.S. Constitution or federal law.

State supreme court judicial selection methods vary from state to state. In some cases, governors appoint justices, often with input from state legislators. In 21 states, state supreme court candidates run for election. Of those 21 states, 13 hold partisan elections and eight hold nonpartisan ones. 

Ohio holds partisan elections for its supreme court. This year, all three justices up for re-election are Republicans. Republicans have a 4-3 majority on the court.

Finding data on state supreme court partisanship can be difficult because not all justices run in partisan elections. In our 2020 study on state supreme court partisanship, we gathered data to supply a Partisan Confidence Score for all active state supreme court justices. Based on that research, we placed each justice into one of five categories indicating our confidence in their affiliations with either the Democratic or Republican Parties. To read about our findings, click here

Click below to read more about state supreme court elections this year. 

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Across 11 states, PACs raised $1.2 billion in 2021

Ballotpedia published 2021 fundraising reports for state-level PACs in 11 states in partnership with Transparency USA. Across those 11 states, PACs collectively raised more than $1.2 billion. Florida PACs raised the most, accounting for $394 million.

A PAC is defined as a group that spends money on elections. They may be established and administered by corporations, labor unions, membership organizations, or trade associations.

Click the links below to explore the PAC’s in each state that raised the most money in 2021: 

This year, we plan to publish several hundred articles breaking down campaign finance numbers in the 11 states covered by Transparency USA: Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. 

To learn more about our partnership with Transparency USA, click the link below: 

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