Ballotpedia’s mid-year recall report shows sustained interest in school board recall

Welcome to the Thursday, June 23, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

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

  1. Ballotpedia’s mid-year recall report shows sustained interest in school board recall
  2. An update on this week’s battleground primary results
  3. New York court overturns state Assembly map for 2024; rules existing boundaries be used for this year’s elections

Ballotpedia’s mid-year recall report shows sustained interest in school board recall

In the first half of 2022, Ballotpedia tracked 152 recall efforts against 240 officials. These figures represent an 8% drop in recall efforts from 2021, when we tallied 165 recall efforts against 263 officials by midyear. In comparison, the highest number of recall efforts we have tracked by midyear was 189 in 2016. The lowest was 72 in 2019.

For the second year in a row, school board members drew more recall petitions than any other group. One-third of officials who faced recall campaigns in the first half of 2022 were school board members. City council members—the officials who drew the most efforts from 2016 to 2020—accounted for 32% of officials targeted for recall in 2022. 

For the first time since Ballotpedia started tracking this statistic in 2015, Michigan was the state with the most officials facing recall efforts in the first half of the year. Michigan saw 70 officials subject to a recall campaign, surpassing California, which had the most officials targeted for recall midway through the year from 2015 through 2021. 

In 2020, Ballotpedia began following recalls related to coronavirus and government responses to it. We have tallied 245 such efforts since 2020, including 27 efforts against 66 officials in the first half of 2022.

In this report, Ballotpedia also highlighted five noteworthy recall campaigns: the effort against Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D), the effort against San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, the effort against County Commissioner William Bunek (R) in Leelanau County, Michigan, and the efforts against members of the San Francisco school board in California and the Newberg school board in Oregon.

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An update on this week’s battleground primary results

We covered elections in four states and the District of Columbia on Tuesday, including statewide primaries in Virginia and statewide primary runoffs in Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia.

Here’s a look at election results in the four races we identified as battlegrounds:

  • Katie Britt wins Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Alabama: Katie Britt defeated Mo Brooks in the Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate in Alabama, winning 63% of the vote to Brooks’ 37%. Britt, a former chief of staff to outgoing incumbent Richard Shelby (R), had endorsements from Shelby and former President Donald Trump (R). Brooks, a member of the U.S. House, had endorsements from U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
  • Dale Strong wins Republican nomination in AL-05: Dale Strong defeated Casey Wardynski in the Republican primary runoff in Alabama’s 5th Congressional District. Strong had 63% of the vote to Wardynski’s 37%. Neither President Trump (R) nor incumbent Mo Brooks (R) endorsed in this race.
  • Wes Allen wins Republican nomination for Alabama Secretary of State: Wes Allen defeated Jim Zeigler in the Republican primary runoff for Alabama Secretary of State. Allen had 65% of the vote to Zeigler’s 35%.
  • Yesli Vega wins Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger: Yesli Vega defeated four other candidates to win the Republican nomination in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. Vega had 29% of the vote to runner-up Derrick Anderson’s 24%. She will face incumbent Abigail Spanberger (D) in a general election that forecasters expect will be close.

As of writing, three incumbent state legislators had lost renomination in Arkansas’ primary runoffs and a fourth lost renomination in a primary runoff in Georgia. All four legislators were Republicans.

This year, Republican incumbents have lost at a higher rate than Democrats. Of the 1,265 Republican incumbents who filed for re-election, 93 (7.3%) have lost to primary challengers. For Democrats, 18 of the 786 who filed for re-election (2.3%) have lost.

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New York court overturns state Assembly map for 2024; rules existing boundaries be used for this year’s elections

An appellate division of the New York Supreme Court ruled on June 10 that the state’s Assembly district boundaries adopted in February 2022 were invalid but should still be used for the 2022 legislative elections. The appellate division ruling determined that the Assembly district map was enacted in violation of the state’s constitutional redistricting process and that a New York City-based state trial court should oversee new boundaries for the 2024 elections.

New York enacted new state Senate districts on May 20 when Steuben County Surrogate Court Justice Patrick McAllister ordered the adoption of maps drawn by a court-appointed redistricting special master. McAllister had overturned the Senate district boundaries on March 31 for violating the state’s process for redistricting. The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, upheld McAllister’s decision on April 27. On April 29, McAllister postponed New York’s primary elections for U.S. House and state Senate districts to August 23.

In 2014, New York voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing new redistricting procedures beginning in 2020. This amendment created a 10-member commission to adopt redistricting plans, with state legislative leaders appointing eight members of the commission and the commission itself selecting the other two members. The amendment required that the legislature reject two separate sets of redistricting plans before amending the commission’s proposals and that districts not be drawn to favor or disfavor candidates or parties. In prior redistricting cycles, the legislature was responsible for its own redistricting.

The commission voted 5-5 on January 3, 2022, on two sets of proposals for legislative redistricting, so it submitted both sets of proposals to the legislature. Both the state Assembly and state Senate voted down the map proposals on January 10, and the commission did not submit a new set of maps to the legislature. On February 3, 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed new state legislative district boundaries that the legislature had developed after the state Senate approved them 43-20 and the state Assembly approved them 120-27. 

In other recent redistricting-related developments, the Louisiana state legislature finished its special redistricting session on Friday without approving a new congressional map. A federal judge had given the state until June 20 to draw a new congressional map after finding the original draft unconstitutional because only one of the state’s six congressional districts was majority Black. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R) and Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States Friday requesting the court overturn the order and allow the original maps to stand.

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