Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Democratic Edition
June 16, 2022
In this issue: Working Families Party switches to Biaggi in NY-17 and an update on the 2024 primary early-state contender list
Primary results roundup
Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Carolina held primaries on June 14. Alaska also held its top-four special House primary on June 11. Here’s what went down in this week’s marquee races.
Nevada’s 1st: Incumbent Dina Titus defeated Amy Vilela. As of Wednesday morning, Titus led Vilela 82%-18%. Titus has represented the 1st since 2013 and represented the 3rd from 2009 to 2011. Vilela was Nevada co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign.
Titus said, “I’ve used my voice to provide resources for those who need it most.” Titus contrasted her approach to Vilela’s: “I am a progressive, but I don’t believe in defunding the police. I’m for Medicare for all, but you’ve got to do it in a step-by-step process.”
Vilela described herself as a progressive Democrat and supported Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. Vilela said, “Time and time again, [Titus] has never faced a serious threat to her re-election from either party. With that kind of security, she has the opportunity to be a leading voice for bold, real progress. But she’s declined to do so.”
Election forecasters rate the general election Toss-up or Lean Democratic.
Alaska’s U.S. House special: Saturday’s special primary election for Alaska’s At-Large Congressional District remains uncalled. The four candidates with the most votes will advance to the Aug. 16 special general election, which will use ranked-choice voting. As of election night, Sarah Palin (R) had 29.8% of the vote, Nicholas Begich III (R) had 19.3%, Al Gross (I) had 12.5%, Mary Peltola (D) had 7.5%, and Tara Sweeney (R) had 5.3%. The 43 other candidates each had under 5%. The final ballot count is scheduled for June 21. The primary was conducted mainly through mail-in ballots, which had to be postmarked by June 11. Click here for the most up-to-date results.
State legislative incumbents defeated
The figures below were current as of Wednesday morning. Click here for more information on defeated incumbents.
At least 11 state legislators—10 Republicans and one Democrat—lost in primaries on June 14. Including those results, 104 state legislative incumbents have lost primaries this year. This number will likely increase: 61 primaries featuring incumbents remain uncalled.
Across the 21 states that have held state legislative primaries so far this year, 5.1% of incumbents running for re-election have lost, continuing an elevated rate of incumbent primary defeats compared to recent election cycles.
Of the 21 states that have held primaries so far, five had Democratic trifectas, 13 had Republican trifectas, and three had divided governments with Democrats controlling the governorship and Republicans controlling both legislative chambers. Across these 21 states, there are 2,650 seats up for election, 43% of the nationwide total.
Working Families Party withdraws Maloney endorsement, backs Biaggi in NY-17
The Working Families Party of New York has revoked its endorsement of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Sean Patrick Maloney in New York’s 17th Congressional District. The party is now endorsing state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi.
The party endorsed Maloney in March, before a special master redrew the congressional district map and Maloney switched from the 18th District to the 17th. Rep. Mondaire Jones represents the current 17th District and moved his re-election bid to the new 10th District.
Politico wrote, “The endorsement gives Biaggi access to arguably the state’s largest grassroots mobilization operation. The WFP’s canvassers have repeatedly helped topple well-tenured incumbents — including in the 2018 primaries, when Biaggi ousted former Independent Democratic Conference leader Sen. Jeff Klein in a district that stretches across the Bronx and Westchester County.”
Biaggi said, “We were in an underdog situation — similar to the way we are here — and we won.”
Maloney’s communications director Mia Ehrenberg said, “On the ground in the 17th, local leaders have made it overwhelmingly clear that they trust and support Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.”
Biaggi was running in the 3rd District before the map redraw. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D), who is running for governor, represents the current 3rd.
Over in the gubernatorial primary, The New York Times recently endorsed incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul (D). That primary is June 28.
Annette Taddeo withdraws, endorses Crist in Florida gubernatorial primary
State Sen. Annette Taddeo endorsed U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist for governor following her exit from the Democratic primary. In her endorsement, Taddeo said Crist is “our strongest candidate to defeat Ron DeSantis.”
Crist was elected governor of Florida as a Republican in 2006. He left the Republican Party in 2010 and lost the U.S. Senate election running as an independent that year. Taddeo was Crist’s running mate on the Democratic ticket in the 2014 gubernatorial election. Rick Scott defeated Crist 48%-47%. Crist then defeated incumbent Rep. David Jolly (R) in the 2016 election for Florida’s 13th Congressional District 52%-48%.
Crist and state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried have garnered the most media attention of the Democratic candidates currently in the race. The filing deadline is June 17.
Fried defeated Matt Caldwell (R) by 6,753 votes in the open agriculture commissioner race in 2018. Fried is the only Democrat to win statewide elected office since 2012, when Barack Obama (D) won the state in the presidential election and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D) was re-elected. (Nelson lost his 2018 re-election bid to Scott.)
Election forecasters rate the November gubernatorial election Likely Republican.
After withdrawing from the gubernatorial race, Taddeo announced she will run in the 27th Congressional District. Taddeo will face Angel Montalvo and Ken Russell in the Democratic primary. Bold PAC, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ political action committee, endorsed Taddeo in the House race.
Election forecasters rate the 27th District general election Likely or Solid Republican.
Baker exits Maryland gubernatorial primary
Former Prince George County Executive Rushern Baker suspended his campaign for Maryland governor, citing “financial challenges facing [his] campaign in the coming weeks.”
Candidates filed updated finance reports on June 14. The Baltimore Sun reported combined cash-on-hand totals from committees of leading gubernatorial candidates and their lieutenant gubernatorial running mates: Former nonprofit CEO Wes Moore’s team had $1.8 million on hand as of June 7. State Comptroller Peter Franchot’s team had $1.6 million. Former DNC chair Tom Perez’s team had $1.2 million. Baker reported around $12,000 on hand.
A recent OpinionWorks of Annapolis poll found a plurality of likely Democratic primary voters—31%—undecided. Franchot had 20%, Moore 15%, Perez 12%, and Baker 7%. Six other candidates each had under 5%. The margin of error was +/- 4.1 percentage points.
Baker’s name will still appear on the ballot as the deadline to officially withdraw passed in April. The primary is July 19.
Incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is term-limited. Three race forecasters view the general election as Lean or Likely Democratic.
Early presidential primary state contender list narrowed
Along with 2022’s primary election news, we’re keeping you up to date on developments in the 2024 presidential primaries, which may involve a reworked Democratic primary calendar.
In April, the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) Rules and Bylaws Committee approved a plan to choose up to five states or territories to hold their nominating contests before the first Tuesday in March 2024. Committee co-chairs Jim Roosevelt and Minyon Moore announced that New York, Nebraska, and Democrats Abroad are out of the running.
The three were eliminated for not meeting one or more of the committee’s criteria of diversity, general election competitiveness, and feasibility (which includes considerations such as whether they will run a “fair, transparent and inclusive nominating process” and can move their contest to an earlier time).
The co-chairs said the cost of campaigning in New York along with its proportion of urban voters and solid blue status were among the reasons the state was eliminated. According to the co-chairs, Nebraska’s plan to have a party-run contest along with the state-run contest could be confusing, and Democrats Abroad’s lack of geographic location would present logistical challenges. Democrats Abroad describes itself as “the official Democratic Party arm for the 9 million Americans living outside the United States.”
States that applied for early-state status will make their cases before the Rules and Bylaws Committee at a meeting from June 22-24. Puerto Rico and the following states are still in the running: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington.
In other 2024 news, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he won’t run for president again if President Joe Biden seeks re-election. Sanders said, “I think Biden will probably run again, and if he runs again, I will support him.”
Competitiveness data: Virginia and Utah
Virginia holds primaries on June 21. Utah and Illinois hold primaries on June 28. We’ve crunched some numbers to see how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles.
Virginia held state legislative elections in 2021. The following shows competitiveness data for this year’s U.S. House primaries.
Notes on how these figures were calculated:
- Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
- Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
- Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries.
- Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.