Sixteen states are holding primaries in August

Welcome to the Tuesday, July 19, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

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

  1. Looking ahead to the August primaries
  2. Eight candidates running in Wisconsin’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary
  3. You’re invited: Election Timing and Voter Turnout book discussion

Looking ahead to the August primaries

Maryland is holding statewide primaries today, July 19, the only state to do so in July this cycle. But one of the busiest months on this year’s election calendar is rapidly approaching.

Sixteen states will hold statewide primaries in August, second only to June when 17 states held primaries. August primaries will take place on six different dates, up from four in June.

August’s six statewide primary dates are:

And here’s a closer look at a few of the battleground primaries we will be covering throughout the month:

  • Michigan’s Republican gubernatorial primary: six candidates are running in the primary. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is running for re-election. The fundraising and polling leaders are Tudor Dixon, Ryan Kelley, Kevin Rinke, and Garrett Soldano. Five candidates failed to make the ballot after state officials found petition circulators those campaigns hired had forged signatures on their nominating petitions. One of those candidates—James Craig—is running as a write-in.
  • Alaska’s At-large Congressional District top-four primary: twenty-two candidates are running in a top-four primary for Alaska’s at-large U.S. House district. All candidates will appear on the same ballot. The top four finishers will advance to a general election using ranked-choice voting. This primary coincides with a special ranked-choice general election to pick a successor to U.S. Rep. Don Young (R), who died in March. One Democrat—Mary Peltola—and two Republicans—Nick Begich and Sarah Palin—are running in that race after Al Gross (I) dropped out after the primary.
  • New York’s 12th Congressional District Democratic primary: in what is likely to be the cycle’s sixth and final incumbent v. incumbent primary, six candidates are seeking the nomination, including U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler. Both are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and describe themselves as progressives. 

Four incumbents—two Democrats and two Republicans—have lost in incumbent v. incumbent primaries so far this cycle. In addition to New York’s 12th District Democratic primary, there is another Democratic primary in Michigan’s 11th District featuring U.S. Reps. Andy Levin and Haley Stevens.

To stay on top of the latest primary conflicts, subscribe to Ballotpedia’s free weekly newsletter, The Heart of the Primaries. The Heart of the Primaries details policy differences between candidates, which donor groups are behind which candidates (and why!), moves by political operatives, polling, and more. Two versions are published weekly: one for Democratic primaries and one for Republican primaries.

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Eight candidates running in Wisconsin’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary

Speaking of August primaries, today, we’re highlighting the Democratic U.S. Senate primary in Wisconsin, scheduled for Aug. 9.

Eight candidates are running in the primary. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry, and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson have received the most media attention. Kou Lee, Steven Olikara, Peter Peckarsky, and Darrell Williams are also running.

CNN’s Simone Pathe described the Democratic primary as “the last truly unsettled Democratic contest in a competitive general election state.”

Barnes was elected lieutenant governor in 2018 and served in the state Assembly from 2013 to 2017. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Isaac Yu, Barnes “is running on issues that range from rebuilding the middle class to bringing manufacturing back to Wisconsin to supporting family farms.” The Congressional Black Caucus, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed Barnes.

Godlewski was elected state treasurer in 2018 and has highlighted that experience, saying she “ensured the state invested in renewable energy projects, broadband expansion, … supported Wisconsin small businesses,” and secured “record funding for technology and books in public schools.” EMILY’s List, the National Organization for Women, and former U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wisc.) endorsed Godlewski.

Lasry is a vice president of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks who previously worked in former President Barack Obama’s (D) administration. In a Candidate Connection survey submitted to Ballotpedia, Lasry listed raising wages and creating union jobs, rebuilding infrastructure, and protecting democracy as his three key messages. Seven Wisconsin labor union chapters and Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson (D) endorsed Lasry.

Nelson was elected executive of Outagamie County in 2011 after serving in the state Assembly since 2005, including a period as the chamber’s majority leader from 2008 to 2011. In a Candidate Connection survey submitted to Ballotpedia, Nelson said he supports labor, family farms, and universal healthcare. Nelson also said he had a history of winning in Republican-leaning areas. Six Wisconsin labor union chapters, Our Wisconsin Revolution, and New Deal America endorsed Nelson.

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R), first elected in 2010, is seeking re-election, making him one of two incumbent Republicans up for election this year in a state Joe Biden (D) won in the 2020 presidential election. The other such incumbent, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), is retiring.

Two election forecasters rate the general election as Tilt or Lean Republican, and one rates it as a Toss-up.

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You’re invited: Election Timing and Voter Turnout book discussion

Elections take place at various—and sometimes unpredictable—times throughout the year. Why isn’t the election calendar more uniform? Who decides when elections are held? What are the effects of a spread-out electoral schedule?

You are invited to listen in as Ballotpedia staff, led by assistant staff writer Paul Rader, dive into these questions and more while discussing Sarah F. Anzia’s 2013 book Timing and Turnout: How Off-Cycle Elections Favor Organized Groups.

Discussions will be held every Friday at 4:00 PM ET from July 29 to Sept. 16, 2022, as we cover Anzia’s findings as well as Ballotpedia’s role in informing and educating voters about the ins and outs of the U.S. electoral calendar.

You can use the link below to sign up for notifications and learn more about the book.

We hope you will join us!

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