April showers bring May primaries

By: Samuel Wonacott

We accidentally sent Friday’s version of The Brew to you this morning. We apologize about that! Today’s edition of The Brew is below.

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

  1. April showers bring May primaries
  2. Election preview—six Republicans running in primary for Alabama’s open U.S. Senate seat 
  3. Number of contested legislative primaries in Nevada most since 2014


April showers bring May primaries

Ohio is holding statewide primaries for congressional and state legislative offices on May 3. Here’s what’s on the ballot and a look at how primaries work in Ohio.

At the federal level, Ohio is holding major party primaries for U.S. Senate and all 15 of the state’s U.S. House districts. The Ohio Senate Republican primary is one of the most watched races this election cycle. Incumbent Rob Portman (R) is not seeking re-election, leaving the seat open. Seven candidates are running in the primary to replace Portman, including Matt Dolan, Mike Gibbons, Josh Mandel, Jane Timken, and J.D. Vance. Three candidates are running in the Democratic primary

In U.S. House primaries, 67 Republican and Democratic candidates—including eight incumbents—filed to run across the 15 districts up for election. There are eight contested Democratic primaries and 10 contested Republican primaries. Going into the primary election, Republicans represent 12 of the state’s U.S. House districts, while Democrats represent four of them. Following the 2020 census, Ohio was apportioned 15 representatives in the U.S. House, one less than it received after the 2010 census. The Ohio Redistricting Commission approved a redrawn congressional map on March 2. 

Speaking of redistricting, state legislative elections are not on the May 3 ballot following the Ohio Supreme Court’s April 14 decision to reject the Ohio Redistricting Commission’s state legislative maps. A new date for state legislative primaries has not yet been set. Voters in Ohio will have two distinct state primary dates in 2022. In 2018, New York had separate dates for state and congressional primaries. In 2016, North Carolina had separate dates for presidential/state and congressional primaries. 

The Ohio Supreme Court ordered the commission to redraw the maps by May 6. Read more about redistricting in Ohio here

Ohio is also holding May 3 primary elections for governor and lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and other state executive offices. Additionally, three seats on the Ohio Supreme Court are up for election. This is the first time that state supreme court elections are fully partisan

In Ohio, the primary candidate with the most votes wins—even if that candidate receives less than 50% of the total votes. Ohio is one of 40 states that does not hold primary election runoffs. Ohio does not cancel uncontested primaries, but primaries with no candidates are canceled so long as a write-in candidate has not filed to enter the race. The state uses an open primary system, meaning that a voter does not have to register with a political party beforehand in order to vote in that party’s primary. 

If you’re an Ohio voter, use Ballotpedia’s Sample Ballot Lookup to see what’s on your ballot and bring your choices to the polls with our My Vote app!

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Election preview—six Republicans running in primary for Alabama’s open U.S. Senate seat 

Twelve states are holding statewide primaries in May. Having looked at Ohio’s May 3 primaries above, let’s skip ahead a few weeks on the calendar—and south a few states on the map—to Alabama, which is holding statewide primaries on May 24.   

Six candidates are running in the Republican Senate primary. Senator Richard Shelby (R), first elected in 1986, is not running for re-election. The candidates who’ve led in recent polling and have the most noteworthy endorsements are Katie Britt, Mo Brooks, and Michael Durant.

Brooks was elected to represent Alabama’s 5th Congressional District since 2010. Brooks’ campaign ads have highlighted the speech he gave at Trump’s rally on Jan. 6, 2021, which preceded the U.S. Capitol breach. Brooks’ endorsements include Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Although former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Brooks in 2021, he withdrew the endorsement in March 2022 after Brooks said the 2020 election results were final. 

Britt was chief of staff to Sen. Shelby was president and CEO of the Alabama Business Council. Britt’s campaign website described her as an “advocate for smaller government, modern job growth, constitutional liberties and greater opportunity.” Sen. Shelby, Maggie’s List, the Value In Electing Women PAC, and Winning for Women, Inc. PAC endorsed Britt.

Durant served in the U.S. Army for 22 years before founding an engineering firm. Durant was the pilot of a helicopter shot down in Somalia in 1993, depicted in the book and movie Black Hawk Down. Durant’s website says he “is 100% Pro-Trump. He voted for President Trump twice, and he supports the America First agenda.” Former candidate Jessica Taylor, who dropped out of the primary in January 2022, and Gen. Michael Flynn endorsed Durant.

Also running in the primary are Lillie Boddie, Karla DuPriest, and Jake Schafer.

Three independent race forecasters view the general election as either Sold or Safe Republican. Before Doug Jones’ (D) tenure from 2018-2021, the last Democrat to represent the state in the U.S. Senate was Howell T. Heflin, who left office in 1997. Trump won the state with 62% of the vote in the 2020 presidential election.

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Number of contested legislative primaries in Nevada most since 2014

There will be more contested state legislative primaries in Nevada this year than at any point since at least 2014. Of the 106 possible primaries, 48 (45%) will be contested by more than one candidate.

Contested Republican primaries, in particular, more than doubled this year compared to 2020 from 15 to 31. Contested Democratic primaries also increased from 14 to 17. These numbers represent the most contested primaries for each party since at least 2014.

Thirteen incumbents face contested primaries, representing 38% of those incumbents seeking re-election, the most since 2016, when 41% of incumbents faced contested primaries.

The filing deadline for candidates running for state or federal office in Nevada this year was March 18. Candidates filed to run for all of the state’s 42 state Assembly districts and 11 of the 21 Senate districts.

Nineteen of those districts were left open, meaning no incumbents filed to run, the most since at least 2014. That represents more than one-third (36%) of the districts holding elections this year, all of which are guaranteed to be won by newcomers.

Overall, 180 major party candidates filed to run this year: 66 Democrats and 114 Republicans. That’s 3.4 candidates per district, an increase from the 2.5 candidates per district in 2020 and 2.7 in 2018.

Nevada has been a Democratic trifecta since 2018 when Steve Sisolak (D) won the governorship. Democrats currently hold an 11-9 majority in the Senate and a 26-16 majority in the Assembly.

Between 1992 and 2020, majority control of the state Assembly changed four times. Democrats have controlled the chamber since 2016.

Between 1992 and 2020, majority control of the state Senate changed three times. As with the Assembly, Democrats have controlled the Senate since 2016.

Nevada’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for June 14, making them the 21st in the nation.

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About the author

Samuel Wonacott

Samuel Wonacott is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.