A look at 2022’s decade-high rate of congressional retirements

Welcome to the Monday, June 13, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

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

  1. A look at 2022’s decade-high rate of congressional retirements
  2. A look at South Carolina’s June 14 primaries
  3. SCOTUS to issue opinions this week

A look at 2022’s decade-high rate of congressional retirements

Fifty-five members of Congress are not running for re-election this year, including six of the 34 senators whose seats are up and 49 of the 435 representatives. With four states’ filing deadlines yet to pass (Florida, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Louisiana), this number could increase as the cycle continues.

Here are five things you need to know about congressional retirements in 2022:

  • The 55 retiring members include 32 Democrats and 23 Republicans, accounting for 11.9% of the Democratic caucus and 8.8% of the Republican caucus.
  • The 11.9% retirement rate among Democrats is the largest since 2014 when 8.5% of Democrats did not run for re-election.
  • The 8.8% retirement rate among Republicans is the second-lowest since 2014. The only year with a lower retirement rate was 2016 when 8.6% of Republicans retired.
  • Democrats had their lowest retirement rates out of the past five cycles in 2018 and 2020, when 7.4% and 3.4%, respectively, of the caucus did not seek re-election.
  • Republicans had their highest retirement rates out of the past five cycles in those years, with 12.6% of the caucus retiring in 2018 and 11.5% in 2020.

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A look at South Carolina’s June 14 primaries

South Carolina is one of four states holding primaries tomorrow, June 14. Let’s take a look at what’s on the ballot this year.

U.S. Congress

South Carolina voters will elect a member to one of the state’s two U.S. Senate seats and all seven of its U.S. House seats. U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R), who was appointed to the chamber in 2013 and won a full term in 2016, is running for a second full term. The Republican primary for the seat was canceled because Scott was the only candidate to file.

These are the first U.S. House elections taking place in South Carolina under new district lines adopted following the 2020 census. Republicans currently hold six of the state’s House seats to Democrats’ one. This year, 28 candidates are running for the seven seats, including 19 Republicans and nine Democrats. The 4.0 candidates per district this year is up from 2.9 per district in 2020 but down from 6.1 per district in 2018.

Ballotpedia identified two of South Carolina’s U.S. House primaries as battlegrounds: the Republican primaries in the 1st and 7th congressional districts. In the 1st district, first-term incumbent Nancy Mace (R) faces challenger Katie Arrington (R), the 2018 nominee. Mace’s endorsers include Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R), while Arrington’s include former President Donald Trump (R). A third candidate, Lynz Piper-Loomis (R), unofficially withdrew and endorsed Arrington but will still appear on the ballot. In the 7th district, incumbent Tom Rice (R) faces six challengers including Trump-endorsed state Rep. Russell Fry (R). Fry and Rice disagree on Rice’s vote in favor of impeaching President Trump in 2021.

This year, there are two contested Democratic primaries for U.S. House in South Carolina, the fewest since 2016. The four contested Republican primaries is the most since at least 2012.

State executives

There are eight statewide executive offices on the ballot in South Carolina this year. All but the race for superintendent of education feature a Republican incumbent running for re-election. Incumbent Comptroller Richard Eckstrom (R) is guaranteed re-election because no other candidates filed, while Treasurer Curtis Loftis (R) is all but guaranteed to be re-elected because no Democrats or other Republicans filed.

State legislators

All 124 seats in the South Carolina House of Representatives are up for election this year. Elections for the South Carolina State Senate take place in presidential election years. This year, 243 candidates filed for the 124 seats, more than in either of the last two midterm election years. These will be the first state legislative elections conducted under new district lines following the 2020 census.

Thirteen incumbents (11 Republicans and two Democrats) did not file to run for re-election this year, leaving their seats open. There are also two districts where a pair of Democratic incumbents are running against one another, meaning there are 15 seats open this year, more than in 2018 or 2014.

Of the 111 incumbents who are seeking re-election, 34 face contested primaries (23 Republicans and 11 Democrats), down from 35 incumbents in 2018 but up from 20 in 2014.

Candidates for office in South Carolina must win at least 50% plus one of the vote to win the nomination outright in a primary. If no candidate reaches that threshold, the top two finishers advance to a June 28 runoff.

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SCOTUS to issue opinions this week

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is scheduled to issue opinions today (Monday) and Wednesday this week. The court does not give the public prior notice of the case names or the number of decisions it will issue on a particular day. June is historically the month when SCOTUS releases the majority of its decisions.

The court accepted 66 cases for argument during its current term. It heard 61 cases after four were dismissed and one was removed from the argument calendar. To date, SCOTUS has issued opinions in 35 cases, three of which were decided without argument. This means the court has 29 opinions to release before its summer recess in late June or early July.

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