U.S. House incumbents defeated in primaries reaches 20-year high

Welcome to the Thursday, August 25, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

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

  1. The number of U.S. House incumbents defeated in primaries reaches 20-year high
  2. The six federal major party committees raised $64 million in July
  3. Comparing the top state senate fundraisers across 11 states

The number of U.S. House incumbents defeated in primaries reaches 20-year high

U.S. Reps. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) lost in their respective primaries on Aug. 23, bringing the total number of U.S. House incumbents defeated in primaries this cycle to 15, a 20-year high.

Primary defeats tend to increase in election cycles following redistricting as incumbents often run against other incumbents under newly-drawn lines. 

Maloney’s defeat, for example, came in an incumbent v. incumbent primary with U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler winning the nomination. This was the final incumbent v. incumbent primary of the cycle, which accounted for six of the 15 defeats – four for Democrats and two for Republicans.

Here’s a look at some of the other key races we’ve been following:

Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial primary

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist defeated Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and two others with 60% of the vote. Cristi served as Florida’s governor from 2007 to 2011 as a Republican before switching parties. He will face Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in the general election

New York’s 17th Congressional District Democratic primary

U.S. Rep. Sean Maloney won, defeating state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi. Maloney, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, received endorsements from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) while U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) endorsed Biaggi.

New York’s 19th Congressional District special general election

Pat Ryan (D) defeated Marcus Molinaro (R) to serve in Congress until January, filling a vacancy left following Antonio Delgado’s (D) appointment as lieutenant governor. Ryan is running for a full term in the 18th District while Molinaro is the Republican nominee in the 19th District’s general election. 

In both races, two forecasters rate the general election as a toss-up, with one forecaster rating the 18th as Lean Democratic and another rating the 19th as Lean Republican.

New York’s 23rd Congressional District Republican primary

State GOP Chair Nicholas Langworthy defeated real estate developer Carl Paladino 52% to 47%. The district is currently vacant. U.S. Rep. Chris Jacobs initially signaled a run but dropped out amid pressure from party officials over his support of legislation regulating firearm ownership.

State legislative incumbents defeated

Three state legislative incumbents lost in primaries, two Democrats in Florida and one Republican in New York. This brings the total number of incumbents defeated this cycle to 202, representing 4.8% of incumbents running for re-election. 

Republican incumbents have lost at a higher rate than Democrats. Of the 2,337 Republicans who ran for re-election, 145 (6.2%) have lost. For Democrats, 57 of the 1,873 who ran for re-election (3.0%) have lost.

Learn more about state legislative incumbents defeated in primaries here.

You can view full race results using the link below!

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The six federal major party committees raised $64 million in July

The six federal major party committees have raised a combined $1.3 billion so far this cycle. In July, these committees raised $64 million, according to recent filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Overall, the three Republican committees have raised 1.1% more than the three Democratic committees: $666 million to $659 million. The Republican committees’ fundraising advantage is down from 1.8% last month.

Democrats currently hold the fundraising advantage among the House committees, while Republicans hold advantages among the Senate and national committees.

Here are some takeaways from each committee’s campaign finance filings:

  • In July, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the party’s main fundraising arm for U.S. House candidates, raised $13.5 million and spent $16.2 million, the most they’ve spent in this cycle.
  • Its Republican counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $9.8 million and spent $8.6 million.
  • The DCCC has raised a cumulative $259 million this cycle to the NRCC’s $225 million. At this point in the 2020 cycle, the DCCC had raised $226 million to the NRCC’s $174 million.
  • Among the Senate committees, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $10.1 million and spent $9.5 million in July, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $8.1 million and spent $13.3 million.
  • The NRSC has raised $182 million so far compared to the DSCC’s $172 million. The NRSC also held the advantage at this point in 2020.
  • Finally, among the national committees, the Republican National Committee (RNC) outraised and outspent the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in July. So far, the RNC has raised $259 million to the DNC’s $234 million. At this point in 2020, the RNC raised $365 million to the DNC’s $203 million.

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Comparing the top state senate fundraisers across 11 states

We recently took a look at the state senate candidates who raised the most money this cycle across 11 states. Collectively, the top Republican candidates in each of these states raised $25.7 million. The top Democratic candidates raised $7.2 million.

On the Republican side, the top fundraiser in seven of the 11 states raised more than $1 million, with Florida’s Wilton Simpson raising the most ($9.0 million). 

Among Democrats, the top fundraiser in two of the 11 states raised more than $1 million, with California’s Steve Glazer raising the most ($2.8 million). This would have ranked Glazer fourth among Republicans.

Glazer is also the only Democrat across these 11 states to raise more money than the state’s top-fundraising Republican candidate. In the remaining 10 states, Republican candidates outraised the top-fundraising Democrats.

This list includes one state with a Democratic trifecta, five states with Republican trifectas, and five states with divided governments.

This year, we plan to publish several hundred articles breaking down campaign finance numbers in the 12 states covered by Transparency USA. This coverage includes the 11 shown above as well as Virginia, which is not holding state legislative elections this year. Use the link below to learn more about our partnership with Transparency USA.

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About the author

Douglas Kronaizl

Douglas Kronaizl is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.