A look at today’s races in Florida, New York, and Oklahoma

Welcome to the Tuesday, August 23, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

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

  1. A look at the Aug. 23 primaries and runoffs
  2. Minnesota Senate President Pro Tempore David Tomassoni dies
  3. Previewing Massachusetts’ Democratic primary for secretary of the commonwealth

A look at the Aug. 23 primaries and runoffs

Voters in three states—Florida, New York, and Oklahoma—cast ballots today, Aug. 23, in the last primary until September. Here’s an overview:

  • Florida: all levels of government are holding primaries from the Legislature to the U.S. Senate.
  • New York: voters will make their picks for state Senate and the U.S. House. The state held primaries for other offices in June but delayed today’s races due to redistricting litigation.
  • Oklahoma: it’s primary runoff day, covering any races where no candidate received more than 50% of the vote in the state’s June primaries.

And now a look at some of the key races:

U.S. Senate

In Florida, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R) advanced to the general election without any primary challenges. Democrats will make their pick to decide who will face Rubio in November. 

In Oklahoma, Democrats will select their nominee to face U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R), in the state’s regularly-scheduled U.S. Senate election. Republicans will decide their nominee for the special U.S. Senate election being held at the same time to fill the rest of retiring U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R) term.

U.S. House

All three states are holding U.S. House primaries or runoffs. Florida gained a district during redistricting, increasing to 28, and New York lost a district, dropping to 26. Oklahoma remained the same at five, though only the Republican contest in the state’s 2nd District advanced to a runoff.

New York has the country’s final incumbent v. incumbent U.S. House primary in the state’s 12th District between U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D) and Jerry Nadler (D).

There have been five incumbent v. incumbent primaries so far: three between Democrats and two between Republicans.

New York will also be sending two new members to Congress through special elections in the 19th and 23rd Congressional Districts. The winners of those races will serve until January.

State executives

Florida is holding elections for governor, attorney general, and agriculture commissioner. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Atty. Gen. Ashley Moody (R) are running for re-election but face no primary challengers. Democrats are holding primaries to pick their general election nominees.

The race for agriculture commissioner, Democrats’ only statewide office held in Florida, is open. Incumbent Nikki Fried (D) is running for governor. Both Democrats and Republicans are holding a primary for this office.

The state’s chief financial officer is also up for election, with the incumbent Jimmy Patronis (R) on the ballot, but neither major party is holding a primary.

In Oklahoma, Republicans are holding runoffs for treasurer, superintendent of public instruction, corporation commissioner, and labor commissioner. Incumbent Leslie Osborn (R) faces a challenge in the labor commissioner contest, while the other three races are for open offices currently held by Republicans. 

State legislatures

All 160 state legislative districts in Florida are holding elections. Republicans have a 23-16 majority in the Senate and a 76-42 majority in the House, with three vacancies across both chambers. Of the 114 incumbents running for re-election, 32 (28%) face contested primaries, the most in four election cycles.

New York’s 63 Senate districts are up. Democrats currently hold a 42-20 majority in the chamber, with one vacancy. Of the 55 incumbents on the ballot, 15 (27%) face primary challengers, making this the first cycle since 2014 where more than half of incumbents will advance directly to the general elections.

In Oklahoma, 11 Republican primaries advanced to runoffs. Only one incumbent—Sen. Darcy Jech (R)—is on the ballot. Three Republican incumbents lost in the June primaries. Republicans hold a 39-8 majority in the Senate and an 82-18 majority in the House, with one vacancy.


Use the links below to view Ballotpedia’s coverage of the battleground primaries and special elections we will be keeping an eye on today:

If you have elections coming up, use Ballotpedia’s Sample Ballot Lookup to see what’s on your ballot and bring your choices to the polls with our My Vote app!

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Minnesota Sen. President Pro Tempore David Tomassoni dies

Minnesota state Sen. David Tomassoni (I) died on Aug. 11. Tomassoni represented District 6 from 2001 to 2022 and served in the state House from 1993 to 2001.

Following his most recent re-election in 2020, Tomassoni, who had been a Democrat since his first election, announced he would leave the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and become an independent. Tomassoni began caucusing with Republicans but continued to identify as a Democrat according to The Associated Press’ Steve Karnowski.

As a Democrat, Tomassoni previously served as president of the senate in 2020, winning the post with bipartisan support in a rare instance where the leader of the chamber is from the chamber’s minority party.

At the time of his death, Tomassoni was serving as senate president pro tempore.

Tomassoni was not seeking re-election this year. There will not be a special election to fill the vacancy since the district is holding a regularly-scheduled general election in November and the Legislature is not in session.

Minnesota is one of three states—along with Alaska and Virginia—where different parties control the upper and lower chambers of the state legislature. 

Following Tomassoni’s death, Republicans have a 34-31-1 majority in the Senate. Democrats have a 69-64-1 majority in the House. All 201 districts are up for election this year.

This year, 112 state legislators have left office early, creating vacancies. As things stand, this is a smaller number than in recent years, though several months remain.

Keep reading 

Previewing Massachusetts’ Democratic primary for secretary of the commonwealth

There are still four statewide primaries coming up in September. Today, let’s explore another upcoming battleground primary: Massachusetts’ Democratic primary for secretary of state on Sept. 6.

In Massachusetts, the secretary of the commonwealth is equivalent to secretaries of state elsewhere. The office oversees elections, manages public records, and handles business registrations, among other responsibilities.

First elected in 1994, incumbent Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin is running for re-election to an eighth term and faces Boston NAACP President Tanisha Sullivan in the Democratic primary.

The Boston Globe’s Matt Stout wrote that Galvin is “the only incumbent Democratic secretary of state being targeted within his own party” this year.

Galvin said his experience in office was important given the increased focus on elections, saying, “This is a critical time for democracy. That’s why I think I can provide a unique service [and] continue to do it effectively.”

Sullivan said she would do more to promote voting among minority communities, saying, “Despite record voter turnout in 2020 … voters from some of our most vulnerable communities still saw the lowest voter turnout across Massachusetts, leaving behind far too many voices.”

Sullivan received the state Democratic Party’s official endorsement with the support of 62% of delegates at the state convention last June. 

Galvin has won three statewide Democratic primaries without the party’s official endorsement: in 1990, during his failed run for state treasurer, in 1994, during his first campaign for secretary of the commonwealth, and in 2018, when Galvin defeated Josh Zakim, receiving 67% of the vote to Zakim’s 33%. 

If re-elected, Galvin would become the longest-serving secretary of the commonwealth in Massachusetts’ history.

And if Sullivan wins, she will become the first person of color and the first woman to hold the office.

Keep reading