Welcome to the Friday, July 8, Brew.
By: Samuel Wonacott
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Halfway through the primary calendar, the number of state legislative incumbents defeated in primaries is up 65%
- An update on upcoming Article III judicial vacancies
- #FridayTrivia: What was the last state other than Alaska to have a state legislative chamber organized according to a power-sharing coalition?
Halfway through the primary calendar, the number of state legislative incumbents defeated in primaries is up 65%
State legislative incumbents are losing to primary challengers at an increased rate this year compared to 2020.
Across the 26 states that have held primaries so far, 132 incumbents—27 Democrats and 105 Republicans—have lost. This represents a 65% increase from 2020 among these states at the same juncture in 2020. This increase has been driven by Republican losses, which are up 98% from 53 in 2020. For Democrats, the number defeated this year remains the same.
Here are five facts about state legislative incumbent primary losses:
- In total, 5.0% of incumbents running for re-election this year have lost, up from defeat rates ranging from 2.4% to 3.4% since 2014.
- Of the 26 states that have held primaries, 22 have had at least one state legislative incumbent lose in a primary.
- The defeat rate is highest in Idaho, where 18 incumbents—all Republicans—lost to challengers. That represents 24% of all incumbents who filed for re-election.
- Twenty-nine of the 132 incumbents defeated (22%) were guaranteed to lose because of redistricting (when states redraw legislative lines, incumbents can oftentimes end up in a new district with other incumbents leading to incumbent v. incumbent primaries or general elections). Twenty-three Republican incumbents lost in incumbent v. incumbent primaries, while six Democrats lost in incumbent v. incumbent primaries.
There are currently 11 uncalled primaries featuring incumbents—four Democratic and seven Republican—and 20 primaries featuring New York Senate incumbents scheduled for Aug. 23.
Of the 26 states that have held primaries so far, eight have Democratic trifectas, 15 have Republican trifectas, and three have divided governments with Democrats controlling the governorship and Republicans controlling both legislative chambers. Across these 26 states, there are 3,337 seats up for election, 54% of the nationwide total.
Click below to read more incumbents defeated in state legislative elections this year.
An update on upcoming Article III judicial vacancies
Every month, we bring you an update on Article III judicial vacancies. Article III judgeships refer to federal judges who serve lifetime appointments on the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of International Trade, or one of the 13 U.S. courts of appeal or 94 U.S. district courts.
According to the latest vacancy data from the U.S. Courts, there were 43 total announced upcoming vacancies for Article III judgeships.
These positions are not yet vacant but will be at some point in the future with every judge having announced his or her intent to either leave the bench or assume senior status. The president and Senate do not need to wait for a position to become vacant before they can start the confirmation process for a successor. For example, Bradley Garcia was nominated to replace Judge Judith Rogers after she assumes senior status on September 1. There are 13 nominees pending for upcoming vacancies.
Twenty-five vacancy effective dates have not been determined because the judge has not announced the date he or she will leave the bench. The next upcoming scheduled vacancy will take place on July 9, when U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida Judge Roy Bale Dalton, Jr. assumes senior status.
In addition to these 43 upcoming vacancies, there are 75 current Article III vacancies in the federal judiciary out of the 870 total Article III judgeships. Including non-Article III judges from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, there are 77 vacancies out of 890 active federal judicial positions.
President Biden has nominated 105 individuals to federal judgeships on Article III courts. Sixty-nine of those nominees have been confirmed. Of the 36 nominees going through the confirmation process, 20 are awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate, four are awaiting a committee vote, and 12 are awaiting a committee hearing.
Biden’s 69 Article III judicial appointments is the second-most through this point in all presidencies since 1981. President Bill Clinton (D) appointed the most judges by this point in his presidency with 72. The Senate had confirmed 42 of President Donald Trump’s (R) appointees at this point in his term.
#FridayTrivia: What was the last state other than Alaska to have a state legislative chamber organized according to a power-sharing coalition?
In the Wednesday Brew, we provided a partisan breakdown of state legislators as of the end of June. We noted that Republicans control 62 chambers, while Democrats hold 36. We also mentioned the Alaska House of Representatives is the only chamber in the country organized under a multipartisan, power-sharing coalition.
That got us thinking…What was the last state other than Alaska to have a state legislative chamber organized according to a power-sharing coalition?