Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 39

September 15, 2022

In this issue: A recap of major themes throughout the 2022 primary season, plus our reader survey.

Welcome to our 39th and final issue of 2022’s The Heart of the Primaries, and thanks for joining us throughout the primary season! 

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Highlights from the final GOP primary night

Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island rounded out the 2022 party primary season Tuesday. Here are updates on the races we’ve covered: 

U.S. Senate in New Hampshire: Don Bolduc won the primary. He had 37% to Chuck Morse’s 36%. Nine other candidates ran.

New Hampshire’s 1st District: Karoline Leavitt defeated nine other candidates with 35% of the vote. Matt Mowers was second with 25%.

New Hampshire’s 2nd District: Bob Burns won with 33%. George Hansel had 30%, and Lily Tang Williams had 25%.

State legislative incumbents defeated

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

Ten state legislative incumbents—four Democrats and six Republicans—lost in primaries on Sept. 13, but that may change. There are 15 Democratic primaries and 24 Republican primaries that remain uncalled.

Across the 46 states that held state legislative primaries this year, 216 incumbents, 4.5% of those running for re-election, have lost, an elevated rate of incumbent primary defeats compared to recent election cycles.

Forty-seven of the defeated incumbents (22%) this year lost in incumbent vs. incumbent primaries.

Breaking down Trump’s primary endorsements and outcomes

Perhaps the most persistent storyline throughout the 2022 GOP primaries was former President Donald Trump’s (R) involvement, mainly via endorsements. We tallied 244 primaries and conventions in which Trump endorsed, 241 of which have taken place (the other three are in Louisiana). See our endorsements page for a full list.


Of the primaries completed so far, 60 candidates (25%) Trump endorsed ran unopposed. (We counted candidates who only had write-in opposition as unopposed.) 


Of the 176 contested primaries that have taken place in which Trump endorsed (excluding five races in which candidates didn’t make the ballot), 159 Trump endorsees won and 17 lost. That’s a success rate of 90%.

Endorsed GOP incumbent challengers

Some of the most noteworthy GOP primaries of the year were those where Trump endorsed a challenger to a Republican incumbent. There were 17 such primaries, and six endorsed challengers defeated incumbents. All are listed in the table below.

Note that we didn’t include the two primaries in which GOP incumbents ran against each other due to redistricting. In West Virginia’s 2nd, Trump backed Rep. Alex Mooney against Rep. David McKinley, and Mooney won. And in Illinois’ 15th, Trump-endorsed Rep. Mary Miller defeated Rep. Rodney Davis. (More on these races below!)

Over the year, we’ve featured a number of stories on battleground races in which Trump’s influence was a major theme. Here are just a few stories capturing key moments:

Potential 2024 presidential contenders emerge as counter-force

We’ve also seen a thread of counter-forces throughout the primaries. Sometimes it’s contrasting endorsements, and other times, overt criticism of Trump’s involvement. 

Former Vice President Mike Pence (R) made five gubernatorial primary endorsements this year, three of which contrasted with Trump’s endorsements. Pence backed Karrin Taylor Robson in Arizona, incumbent Brian Kemp in Georgia, and Rebecca Kleefisch in Wisconsin.

In one of our first Heart of the Primaries issues of the 2022 cycle, we wrote that Maryland’s term-limited Gov. Larry Hogan (R) endorsed Kelly Schultz in the gubernatorial primary the day after Trump endorsed Dan Cox. Cox won the primary in July, and Hogan said he wouldn’t support Cox in the general election. 

Hogan said Trump’s endorsements against incumbent Republicans hurt the party. Hogan branched out from his home state, fundraising for incumbents Trump opposed including Kemp and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03). 

Arizona’s term-limited Gov. Doug Ducey, chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), endorsed Taylor Robson in Arizona’s gubernatorial primary along with Beau Lane for secretary of state, countering Trump’s endorsement of Mark Finchem in the latter primary.

We also wrote about the RGA spending $850,000 on pro-Kemp ads during Georgia’s primary. The Hill‘s Max Greenwood said that “the spot for Kemp marks the first time that the group is financing a TV ad in a primary to support an incumbent facing a Republican challenger.”

Trump, Pence, Hogan, and Ducey are all on our list of potential 2024 presidential candidates.

Redistricting and the primaries: By the numbers

This year’s primaries were the first using new district boundaries enacted after the 2020 census. Forty-four states adopted new congressional district maps. Six states only have one congressional district.

Forty-nine states adopted new legislative district boundaries, except for Montana. The state’s Legislature only meets in odd-numbered years and adjourned before the U.S. Census Bureau delivered data to the states on Aug. 12, 2021.

Seven new congressional districts

There are seven new congressional districts as a result of six states gaining U.S. House districts during apportionment: Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, and Texas (which gained two seats). 

Seven states—California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia—lost one district each.

Six member vs. member elections

As a result of redistricting, six U.S. House districts had two incumbents running against each other in their party’s primaries (winner is underlined):

In the 2012 House elections following the last round of redistricting, 11 primaries featured two incumbents: seven Democratic, three Republican, and one all-party primary in Louisiana with two Republican incumbents.

Two House general elections will feature two incumbents in November. Neal Dunn (R) faces Al Lawson (D) in Florida’s 2nd, and Mayra Flores (R) faces Vicente Gonzalez Jr. (D) in Texas’ 34th.

Click here for more on these multi-member matchups.

In 2022, there were 48 incumbent vs. incumbent state legislative primaries: 16 for Democrats and 32 for Republicans.

Two rescheduled primaries

Two states held contests for different types of offices on two different dates because of court decisions regarding redistricting. 

New York held statewide and state Assembly primaries as originally scheduled on June 28 and congressional and state Senate primaries on Aug. 23. The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, overturned the state’s congressional and state Senate maps on April 27, ruling that both violated the state’s constitutional redistricting process.  

Ohio held congressional and statewide primary elections on May 3 and legislative primaries on Aug. 2. The Ohio Supreme Court struck down the state’s adopted legislative district boundaries on April 14, after previously overturning three other sets of legislative maps that the legislature or state redistricting commission had approved. The state ultimately used maps the Ohio Redistricting Commission adopted.

U.S. House incumbent primary losses exceed last two redistricting cycles

Overall, 15 House incumbents lost in 2022 primaries—nine Republicans and six Democrats. (Those figures include Republican Bob Gibbs (OH-07), who unofficially withdrew but whose name still appeared on the ballot.) Six incumbent losses were inevitable this year due to primaries featuring two incumbents. Still, the number exceeds the previous two post-redistricting elections in 2012 and 2002. In 2012, 13 House incumbents lost primaries. And in 2002, eight incumbents lost.

Here’s 2022’s list of defeated U.S. House incumbents:

Four of the nine Republican losses this year were among incumbents who voted to impeach Trump in 2021. Ten Republicans total voted yes on impeachment, and six of them ran for re-election. 

Democrats spent millions in GOP primaries

According to a Washington Post analysis, Democratic groups and individuals spent around $53 million in Republican primaries this year, 65% of which occurred in Illinois’ gubernatorial primary. The rest occurred in 12 primaries across eight states.

The Post‘s Annie Linskey wrote, “Some Democrats explain their actions by saying they are simply getting a jump on attacking Republican candidates for the general election, while others openly acknowledge trying to secure weaker competition in the fall. But there is little dispute about the effect of altering the Republican primaries in ways that could affect the November matchups.”

We wrote about Democratic groups spending in New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate primary and the 2nd Congressional District last week. Previous issues included stories on Democratic spending in Maryland’s gubernatorial election and Illinois’ gubernatorial primary.

After the $35 million Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and the Democratic Governors Association spent on ads the Post said were meant to boost Darren Bailey, who won the GOP primary, the Post found the next-highest spending levels in Colorado’s U.S. Senate primary ($4 million), Nevada’s gubernatorial primary ($3.9 million), and New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate primary ($3.2 million).

The Post described candidates the Democratic groups apparently intended to support as far right. Four of those candidates won primaries and seven lost. 

Linskey’s piece also discussed the debate among Democrats over Democratic spending in GOP primaries. Read more here.

Cross-party primary spending has happened before. For example, in 2012, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) ran ads designed to boost Todd Akin in Missouri’s GOP Senate primary, whom McCaskill went on to defeat in the general election. In 2020, a Republican group spent on ads and activities supporting Erica Smith (D) in North Carolina’s Democratic Senate primary. Cal Cunningham defeated Smith in the primary.

See you next primary cycle, and thanks again for reading!