An update on this week’s battleground primary results

Welcome to the Thursday, May 26, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

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

  1. An update on this week’s battleground primary results
  2. Checking in on ballot measure certifications
  3. Prosecutors, public defender running in primary for Office 67 of the Superior Court of Los Angeles county

An update on this week’s battleground primary results

We covered elections in seven states Tuesday, including statewide primaries in Arkansas, Alabama, and Georgia and statewide primary runoffs in Texas. 

Ballotpedia tracked 27 primaries and primary runoffs Tuesday where one candidate had an endorsement from former President Donald Trump (R). Trump-endorsed candidates won 20 of those primaries (74%). Four Trump-endorsed candidates (15%) lost and two (7%) advanced to runoffs. The final primary with a Trump-endorsed candidate was too close to call as of writing.

Here’s a look at some noteworthy results from battleground races:

U.S. Senate

  • Britt, Brooks advance to runoff in Alabama Republican primary: Katie Britt and Mo Brooks were the top two finishers in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Alabama. Britt had 45% of the vote to Brooks’ 29%. The two advanced to a June 21 runoff since neither received more than 50% of the vote. Britt, a former chief of staff to retiring incumbent Richard Shelby (R), had Shelby’s endorsement. Brooks, a member of the U.S. House, was endorsed by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

U.S. House

  • McBath defeats Bourdeaux in incumbent-vs.-incumbent primary: Incumbent Lucy McBath defeated fellow incumbent Carolyn Bourdeaux in the Democratic primary for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District. McBath had 63% of the vote to Bourdeaux’s 31%. The two were running against one another as a result of new district lines following the 2020 census. Bourdeaux is the fourth member of the U.S. House to lose a primary so far in 2022.
  • Cuellar, Cisneros runoff too close to call: As of Brew publication, the Democratic primary runoff between incumbent Henry Cuellar and Jessica Cisneros remained too close to call. Cuellar had 50.2% of the vote to Cisneros’ 49.8%, with the two separated by a margin of 175 votes out of more than 45,000 cast. Cuellar and Cisneros disagreed on abortion policy, with Cisneros supporting legal access to abortion and Cuellar voting against a bill that would codify access to abortion at the federal level. Cisneros and Cuellar also ran against one another in 2020. That year, Cuellar defeated Cisneros 52% to 48%.

State executives

  • Incumbent Brian Kemp wins re-nomination as governor of Georgia: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp won the Republican nomination for a second term with 74% of the vote, followed by former U.S. Sen. David Perdue with 22%. Kemp was endorsed by former Vice President Mike Pence (R), while Perdue was endorsed by former President Donald Trump (R).
  • Incumbent Brad Raffensperger wins re-nomination as Georgia Secretary of State: Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger won the Republican nomination for a second term with 52% of the vote, followed by U.S. Rep. Jody Hice with 34%.
  • Incumbent Ken Paxton wins re-nomination as Texas Attorney General: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton won the Republican nomination for a third term, defeating state Land Commissioner George P. Bush in the primary runoff. Paxton had 68% of the vote to Bush’s 32%. In the March 1 primary, Paxton finished first with 43% of the vote to Bush’s 22%.

State legislators

  • Four incumbents lose renomination: At least four incumbent state legislators lost primaries or primary runoffs on Tuesday, with another 64 primaries or primary runoffs too close to call as of writing. All four defeated incumbents were Republican state House members, with one incumbent defeat each in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, and Texas. The longest-serving incumbents defeated were David Hillman (R-Ark.) and Phil Stephenson (R-Texas), both of whom took office in 2013.
  • This brings the total number of state legislative incumbents defeated in 2022 to 61 (48 Republicans and 13 Democrats). Across the 12 states that have held primaries, 4.5% of state legislative incumbents running for re-election have lost. This is both the largest number and highest percentage of incumbent defeats in these 12 states since 2014.

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Checking in on ballot measure certifications

Ninety-four statewide measures have been certified for the ballot in 33 states so far this year, 15 less than the average number certified at this point in other even-numbered years from 2010 to 2020. 

Here’s an update on the latest ballot measure activity:

From 2010 to 2020, the average number of statewide ballot measures certified in an even-numbered year was 164. By this time during even-numbered years from 2010 through 2020, an average of 109 statewide measures had been certified for the ballot. 

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Prosecutors, public defender running in primary for Office 67 of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County

Among the local battlegrounds Ballotpedia is covering this year is the nonpartisan primary for Office 67 on the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. This is the county’s trial court, with jurisdiction over original trials in any case except those where the appellate courts have original jurisdiction. The winner will serve a six-year term as a judge on the court. The three candidates in the running for the Office 67 post emphasize their past legal backgrounds; two as a prosecutor and one as a public defender.

Fernanda Maria Barreto, Ryan Dibble, and Elizabeth Lashley-Haynes are the three candidates running in the primary. The top two vote-getters will advance to the November general election. While the race is officially nonpartisan, meaning candidates will appear on the ballot without party labels, all three candidates have been endorsed by at least one organization affiliated with the Democratic Party.

The Los Angeles Times‘ editorial board wrote, “For many years, the most successful judicial candidates were prosecutors, presumably because voters believed that they would … deal more harshly with criminal defendants,” but added that “[t]his year there are several deputy public defenders running, an interesting development that’s part of the broader movement for criminal justice reform.”

In the primary for Office 67, Barreto and Dibble both have prosecutorial experience, working as deputy district attorneys in Los Angeles County. Lashley-Haynes is a deputy public defender in the county’s public defender office. All three candidates have highlighted their respective backgrounds.

Barreto said she “has worked tirelessly … to protect particularly vulnerable populations by handling complex felony cases including murder, rape, and domestic violence,” adding that she “has taken great pride in helping victims of crimes … while also building a reputation as being a fair prosecutor.”

Dibble highlighted his experience with roles in the Major Narcotics and Hardcore Gang Divisions, saying he “worked on cases to help some of the most vulnerable members of our community for whom violence and its consequences are so devastating.”

Lashley-Haynes said, “LA County courts have been dominated by those whose principal legal experiences have involved prosecuting offenders,” saying that her experience as a public defender “provides the kind of … perspective to begin to make Los Angeles the leader in criminal justice reform.”

The Los Angeles Times, the Burbank Police Officers’ Association, and 21 superior court judges in the county endorsed Barretto. The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the Long Beach Police Officers Association, and 38 superior court judges in the county endorsed Dibble. The Los Angeles County Democratic Party, the Los Angeles County Public Defenders Union, and four superior court judges in the county endorsed Lashley-Haynes.

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