Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 32

July 21, 2022

In this issue: Maryland’s gubernatorial primary TBD and Sanders endorses Barnes for Senate in Wisconsin

Note: We’re taking a break from The Heart of the Primaries next week—we’ll see you again on Aug. 4 with takeaways from that week’s primaries and more!

Maryland gubernatorial primary too close to call

Wes Moore and Tom Perez led the 10-candidate Maryland gubernatorial primary as of Wednesday afternoon. Moore had 37% of the vote to Perez’s 27%, with 61% of the expected vote in.

According to The Washington Post, it could be several days until a winner can be declared. Voters requested a record number of mail ballots—around 500,000. According to state law, these ballots can’t be counted until July 21 at 10 a.m. The Post wrote, “Election officials estimate that some counties will finish counting their mail-in ballots by July 29, but others won’t until the first week of August.”

Moore, the former CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, had endorsements from the Maryland Education Association and three members of Maryland’s congressional delegation. Perez, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, had endorsements from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun editorial boards.

Dan Cox won the Republican primary. The Cook Political Report shifted its general election race rating from Lean Democratic to Solid Democratic on Wednesday. 

State legislative incumbents defeated

The figures below were current as of Wednesday morning. Click here for more information on defeated incumbents.

No state legislative incumbents in Maryland have lost in primaries so far. But this will likely change. With vote totals remaining incomplete, 55 House and Senate primaries featuring incumbents—38 Democratic and 17 Republican—remain uncalled. 

Across the 27 states that have held state legislative primaries so far this year, 135 incumbents, 4.8% of those running for re-election, have lost, continuing an elevated rate of incumbent primary defeats compared to recent election cycles.

Of the 27 states that have held primaries so far, eight have Democratic trifectas, 15 have Republican trifectas, and four have divided governments. Across these 27 states, there are 3,525 seats up for election, 57% of the nationwide total.

De Blasio drops out of NY-10 as poll shows a plurality of voters still undecided

Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped out of New York’s 10th Congressional District primary on Wednesday, saying, “It’s clear the people of #NY10 are looking for another option and I respect that. Time for me to leave electoral politics and focus on other ways to serve.”

A recent independent Data for Progress poll of likely primary voters showed a plurality of voters—27%—undecided. New York City Council member Carlina Rivera had 17% in the poll, state Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou had 14%, and prosecutor Daniel Goldman had 12%. Next were former U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (9%), state Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon (8%), and current 17th District U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones (7%).

The poll’s margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points. 

10th District incumbent Rep. Jerry Nadler is running in New York’s 12th this year, where he’ll face Rep. Carolyn Maloney in the Democratic primary.

The primary is Aug. 23.

Former Rep. Nita Lowey backs Sean Patrick Maloney in NY-17

Over in New York’s redrawn 17th District, former U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D) endorsed Sean Patrick Maloney. Lowey retired in 2021 after serving in the House since 1989. Maloney chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Lowey served as the committee’s first female chair from 2001 to 2003.

Daily Kos wrote, “Almost three-quarters of the new 17th’s denizens live within the boundaries of the seat Lowey held until last year.” Incumbent Mondaire Jones chose to run in the redrawn 10th after Maloney announced he was running in the 17th. Maloney currently represents 25% of the new 17th. 

State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi is running in the primary. Her endorsers include Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and The Working Families Party (which had endorsed Maloney when he was running in a different district, as we wrote last month). Maloney has endorsements from several local officials and the New York AFL-CIO.

U.S. Senate candidates debate in Wisconsin, Sanders endorses Barnes

Five U.S. Senate candidates—Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry, Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, and political organizer Steven Olikara—participated in a televised debate hosted by TMJ4 News in Milwaukee on July 17.

The Associated Press’ Scott Bauer wrote, “Polls show [Barnes and Lasry] are leading the crowded field. Both Barnes and Lasry focused on Johnson, and not one another, in the debate as they advocated for getting rid of the Senate filibuster to pass a bill protecting abortion rights, passing gun safety laws, protecting the environment and tax changes to benefit the middle class.”

Bauer also wrote that Godlewski “took aim at her male opponents on abortion.” Godlewski said, “Where were you guys talking about reproductive rights at a UW forum when they asked you what your priorities were in the U.S. Senate? I was the only one talking about reproductive rights because for me this is not an afterthought.” During the debate, all candidates criticized the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Barnes, Godlewski, Lasry, and Nelson said they supported getting rid of the filibuster in the U.S. Senate to codify legalized abortion protections, and Nelson said the Supreme Court should be expanded.

On July 18, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed Barnes, saying Barnes “knows the struggles of the working class” and is “the best positioned progressive candidate who will win both the primary and defeat Ron Johnson in November.” 

The same day, a press release from Nelson’s campaign highlighted an April endorsement from  Our Wisconsin Revolution, a state affiliate of the group Our Revolution, which Sanders founded in 2016. The statement quoted Nelson: “No one has done more to advance the cause of workers against the billionaire class than Bernie Sanders and push for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal and opposing dirty fossil fuel pipelines like Line 5. I’m proud to be the only Wisconsin campaign that’s been leading the way on these issues and will continue to.” 

Eight candidates are running in the Aug. 9 primary

Competitiveness data: Michigan and Ohio

On Aug. 2, Michigan holds statewide primaries and Ohio holds state legislative primaries. We’ve crunched some numbers to see how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles.



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.