U.S. House incumbent primary defeats reached highest point in two decades

Welcome to the Tuesday, September 20, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

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

  1. U.S. House incumbent primary losses exceed last two redistricting cycles
  2. Candidates from both major parties are contesting all but two seats in Michigan’s state legislative elections
  3. Seven-state analysis shows attorney general candidates have raised $35.7 million, spent $32.2 million

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

Fifteen U.S. House incumbents—nine Republicans and six Democrats—lost in the 2022 primaries, more than in the post-redistricting election cycles in 2012 (13) and 2002 (8).

Six of these defeats were inevitable due to two incumbents being drawn into the same district and vying for the same nomination. Four of those defeated in incumbent v. incumbent primaries were Democrats, and two were Republicans:

Another trend involved Republican primaries in districts where the incumbents voted to impeach former President Donald Trump (R) in 2021 following the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach, six ran for re-election, and four of them lost. The remaining two advanced in top-two primaries.

In addition to the six incumbents defeated in incumbent v. incumbent primaries and the four defeated Republicans listed above, the remaining five incumbents defeated in primaries are listed below:

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Candidates from both major parties are contesting all but two seats in Michigan’s state legislative elections

Today is the 16th day of our 50 States in 50 Days series, and we are featuring Michigan, the Great Lakes State!

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota

Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana

Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho

Week Four: Kentucky

On the ballot in Michigan

At the federal level, Michigan voters will elect 13 U.S. Representatives. Two seats are open.

Twelve state executive offices are on the ballot, including the governor, attorney general, and eight seats on the state’s various higher education boards.

Two seats on the state supreme court and 10 intermediate appellate court positions are also up for election.

All 148 seats in the state Legislature are up for election: 38 in the state Senate and 110 in the state House. Sixty-six seats are open.

We are also covering municipal elections in Wayne County and Lansing, the state capital.

Click here for more information on Michigan’s races this year.

Redistricting highlights

Michigan lost one congressional district after the 2020 census, dropping to 13.

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map tool allows you to compare each district. Here’s an example of what Michigan’s congressional map looked like before and after the 2020 census:

Visit our Michigan redistricting page to interact with our congressional and state legislative map comparison tools.

Partisan balance

  • Both of Michigan’s U.S. Senators—Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow—are Democrats.
  • Democrats and Republicans each represent seven of the state’s U.S. House districts.
  • Michigan has had a Democratic governor since Gretchen Whitmer (D) assumed office in 2019.
  • Republicans hold a 22-16 majority in the state Senate and a 56-53 majority in the state House.
  • With Democrats controlling the governorship and Republicans holding majorities in both legislative chambers, Michigan is one of 13 states with a divided government, a status it has held since 2019.
  • Michigan’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all Democrats, making the state one of the nation’s 18 with a Democratic triplex among those offices.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, two state legislative seats in Michigan, or 1% of those up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either major party runs for a state legislative seat, the seat is all but guaranteed to be won by that party.

Democrats are contesting every state legislative race. The party has fielded candidates for every seat in each election cycle since 2014.

Republicans are running for 146 of the seats up for election. Two seats (1%) do not feature a Republican candidate and will likely be won by Democrats.

Key races

  • Governor: Incumbent Gretchen Whitmer (D) faces Tudor Dixon (R) and five other candidates. If Whitmer wins, she will be the state’s first governor elected from the same party as the incumbent president since 1990. If Whitmer loses, it will be the first time an incumbent governor has lost re-election to a second term since 1962.
  • Attorney General: Incumbent Dana Nessel (D) faces Matthew DePerno (R) and two other candidates. Nessel was first elected in an open 2018 race, defeating Tom Leonard (R) 49% to 46%.
  • Secretary of State: Incumbent Jocelyn Benson (D) faces Kristina Karamo (R) and three other candidates. Benson was first elected in an open 2018 race, defeating Mary Treder Lang (R) 53% to 44%.
  • 7th Congressional District: Incumbent Elissa Slotkin (D), first elected in 2018, faces Tom Barrett (R) and one other candidate. If the 2020 presidential election had been held under the new district lines, President Joe Biden (D) would have received 49.4% of the vote in the 7th District to former President Donald Trump’s (R) 48.9%.
  • 8th Congressional District: Incumbent Dan Kildee (D), first elected in 2012, faces Paul Junge (R) and two other candidates. If the 2020 presidential election had been held under the new district lines, Biden would have received 50.3% of the vote in the 8th District to Trump’s 48.2%.

Ballot measures

Michigan voters will decide three statewide ballot measures on Nov. 8:

  • Proposal 1 would require state legislative and executive officials to file annual financial disclosure reports. The measure would also change the state’s legislative term limits from three 2-year terms in the House and two 4-year terms in the Senate to 12 combined years in the Legislature.
  • Proposal 2 would make a number of changes to the state’s voting laws such as allowing a signed affidavit as an alternative to a photo ID and authorizing voters to deposit absentee ballots at drop boxes.
  • Proposal 3 would create a constitutional right to reproductive freedom defined as “the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy,” including prenatal care, contraception, abortion, and miscarriage management, among other items.

Sixty-two ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2020. Thirty-one were approved and 31 were defeated.


  • Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.
  • Michigan requires voters to present photo identification at the polls. For more information about voter ID requirements in Michigan, click here.
  • Available to all voters, early voting starts on Sept. 29 and ends on Nov. 7.
  • The deadline to register to vote online or by mail is Oct. 24. Michigan allows same-day voter registration in person.
  • Any voter can cast an absentee/by-mail ballot. The deadline to request a ballot is Nov. 4, which can be returned in person or by mail. Election officials must receive returned ballots by Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. To check the status of your ballot, click here.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool! 

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Seven-state analysis shows attorney general candidates have raised $35.7 million, spent $32.2 million 

Major party attorney general candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot have raised a collective $35.7 million and spent $32.2 million across the seven states holding elections this year covered by our partnership with Transparency USA.

Those states are Arizona, California, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin. 

Democrats currently hold the office in four states and Republicans hold the office in three. Incumbents are running for re-election in each contest except for Arizona where Mark Brnovich (R) is term-limited.

Among the general election major party candidates, Democrats have outraised Republicans, while Republicans have outspent Democrats.

California contest had the most fundraising at $12.2 million, while Michigan had the least at $1.4 million.

California, again, had the most spending at $15.7 million, while Ohio had the least at $272,261.

Each states’ active candidates’ figures are shown below. Highlighted cells indicate which party outraised or outspent the other between Jan. 1, 2021, and the “As of” date in 2022.

You can take a deeper dive into these figures using the links below:

Thirty states are holding elections for attorney general this year. Democrats currently hold 16 of the offices up for election and Republicans hold 14.

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