Ballotpedia presents 2022’s top 15 elections to watch

Welcome to the Wednesday, September 28, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

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

  1. Ballotpedia presents 2022’s top 15 elections to watch
  2. Oklahoma marijuana initiative will not be on 2022 ballot but will be decided at a later election
  3. Wyoming Republicans are likely to win more than 60% of all state legislative seats, maintaining majority control

Ballotpedia presents 2022’s top 15 elections to watch

Ballotpedia’s editorial staff will cover roughly 15,000 races on Election Night—the most in the organization’s 15-year history. Our team has selected 15 elections from that coverage to make up our list of the most important, compelling, and competitive elections in the country.

Members of Ballotpedia’s editorial department selected these elections based on past election results, unique election-specific circumstances, and elections forecasters’ race ratings. The final selections were made with the goal of including a mix of federal, state, and local races in mind. There’s a lot to monitor this Nov. 8 – and this list is by no means comprehensive – but here’s our take on 15 races to pay attention to.

Ballotpedia’s top 15 elections to watch for 2022 are:

  1. U.S. Senate election in Arizona: Incumbent Mark Kelly (D) is running against Blake Masters (R) and Marc Victor (L) for a seat Democrats won control of from Republicans in 2020.
  2. U.S. Senate election in Georgia: Incumbent Raphael Warnock (D) is running against Herschel Walker (R) and Chase Oliver (L) for a seat Democrats won control of from Republicans in 2020.
  3. U.S. Senate election in Pennsylvania: Eight candidates, including John Fetterman (D) and Mehmet Oz (R), are running to replace retiring incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey (R).
  4. U.S. Senate election in Wisconsin: Incumbent Ron Johnson (R) is running against Mandela Barnes (D), and Scott Aubart (American Independent Party) as he seeks a third term.
  5. Arizona gubernatorial election: Katie Hobbs (D), Kari Lake (R), Barry J. Hess (L), and Williams Pounds (Independent/Green) are running to succeed term-limited incumbent Gov. Doug Ducey (R).
  6. Kansas gubernatorial election: Incumbent Laura Kelly (D) is running against Derek Schmidt (R), Seth Cordell (L), and Dennis Pyle (I).
  7. Nevada gubernatorial election: Incumbent Steve Sisolak (D) is running against Joe Lombardo (R), Brandon Davis (L), and Edward Bridges II (I).
  8. Oregon gubernatorial election: Tina Kotek (D), Christine Drazan (R), Betsy Johnson (I), and two other candidates are running to succeed term-limited Gov. Kate Brown (D).
  9. Colorado’s 8th Congressional District: Yadira Caraveo (D), Barbara Kirkmeyer (R), and three other candidates are running to represent a newly-created congressional district.
  10. New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District: Incumbent Chris Pappas (D) faces Karolina Leavitt (R) as he seeks a third term.
  11. Arizona House of Representatives: All 60 seats are up, with Democrats needing to win two more to gain control of the chamber.
  12. Colorado Senate: Seventeen of the 35 seats are up, with Republicans needing to win four more to win control of the chamber.
  13. Los Angeles Mayor: Karen Bass and Rick Caruso are running in the nonpartisan general election to succeed term-limited incumbent Eric Garcetti.
  14. Ohio Supreme Court: Three Republican-held seats on the seven-member court are up for election, meaning Democrats could win a majority.
  15. Arizona Secretary of State: Adrian Fontes (D) and Mark Finchem (R) are running to become Arizona’s chief elections officer.

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Oklahoma marijuana initiative will not be on 2022 ballot but will be decided at a later election

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Sept. 21 that State Question 820, an initiative to legalize marijuana, could not be placed on the 2022 general election ballot because legal challenges were still pending and the question could not be printed in time for the state to meet its deadline to mail absentee ballots.

The court said the measure will be decided at a later election date, either Nov. 5, 2024, or at a special election. The governor can call special elections for ballot questions.

The Oklahoma secretary of state announced in August the campaign submitted enough signatures to place the measure on the ballot, opening a period for legal challenges from Sept. 1-15. Opponents filed four challenges. As of this writing, all four had been rejected, but two were still within the period where plaintiffs could request a re-hearing.

State law requires that ballot measures be certified for the ballot only after all challenges have been resolved and that the certification take place no later than 70 days before the election. This means a ballot measure would have needed to be certified by Aug. 29 to make the Nov. 8 ballot. Oklahoma law also requires that absentee ballots be printed and mailed 45 days before the election, or Sept. 24.

Proponents filed a lawsuit in the state supreme court to expedite the ballot title verification process and include the measure on the November 2022 ballot, arguing that “The new [signature verification] process took about 48 days from the time we turned in our signatures until the time they were verified. In the past, that was usually about two weeks or a little longer. It’s been a new process for them, which has caused a lot of missteps along the way. They have dropped the ball, which is why we have asked the Supreme Court to intervene.”

The court found proponents “have no clear legal right and [elections officials] have no plain legal duty to put SQ 820 on the November 8, 2022, general election ballot” unless it has met all statutory requirements and that “SQ 820 cannot be printed on ballots in time to comply with the deadline for mailing ballots to absentee voters.”

Marijuana legalization measures are certified to appear on the 2022 ballot in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Votes on the Arkansas initiative may not be counted pending a state Supreme Court ruling.

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Wyoming Republicans are likely to win more than 60% of all state legislative seats, maintaining majority control

Today is the 22nd day of our 50 States in 50 Days series, and we’re featuring Wyoming, the Cowboy 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, Michigan, Arkansas, Minnesota, West Virginia
Week Five: Vermont, Nevada

On the ballot in Wyoming

Wyoming voters will elect one at-large representative to the U.S. House of Representatives. Incumbent Rep. Liz Cheney lost to Harriet Hageman in the Republican primary. 

Five state executive offices are on the ballot this year: governor, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, and superintendent of public instruction.  

All 62 seats in the Wyoming House of Representatives and 16 of 31 seats in the Wyoming Senate are up for election. Twenty-one seats are open, including three newly-created seats—one in the state Senate and two in the state House. 

Ballotpedia is also covering three elections to the Cheyenne City Council. 

Redistricting highlights

Wyoming is one of six states that elects a single at-large representative.

At the state level, the Legislature voted to add one new seat to the state senate and two seats to the state house. 

State legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to immediately see what redistricting looks like in your state. Here are the state legislative maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle in Wyoming: 

To interact with this tool and learn more about redistricting in Wyoming, click here.

Partisan balance

  • Both of Wyoming’s U.S. Senators—John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis—are Republicans.
  • Wyoming’s at-large U.S. Representative, Liz Cheney, is a Republican.
  • Republicans hold a 28-2 majority in the state senate and a 51-7 (with one independent and one Libertarian) majority in the state house. Because the governor is a Republican, Wyoming is one of 23 Republican trifectas. It has held this status since 2011.
  • Wyoming has had a Republican governor since 2011.
  • Along with the governor, the secretary of state and the attorney general are also Republicans, making the state one of 23 with a Republican triplex. 

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, 54 state legislative seats in Wyoming, or 69% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either the Democratic or Republican parties runs in a state legislative district, that candidate is all but guaranteed to win.

Democrats are running in 32% of all state legislative races. Fifty-three state legislative districts (68% of districts up) do not have a Democrat running, meaning the Republican is likely to win.

Republicans are running in 99% of all state legislative races. Only one state legislative district (1% of districts up) does not have a Republican running, meaning the Democrat is likely to win.

Key races

  • U.S. House, Wyoming At-Large District: Harriet Hageman defeated incumbent Liz Cheney in the Aug. 16 Republican primary. Hageman faces Lynnette Grey Bull (D), Richard Brubaker (L), and Marissa Selvig (Constitution Party) in the general election.
  • Wyoming House of Representatives District 55: Incumbent Ember Oakley (R) and Bethany Baldes (L) are running. This race is a rematch. In 2020, Oakley defeated Baldes 50.2% to 49.4%, a margin of victory (MOV) of 0.8%. To view our coverage of the 2020 rematch races, click here. To view our margin-of-victory analysis for the 2020 state legislative elections, click here

Ballot measures

There are two statewide measures on the ballot this year:

  • Constitutional Amendment A: Would allow the Legislature to enact laws allowing for local governments to invest funds in stocks and equities. Legislation establishing or increasing the percentage of funds a local government could invest would require a two-thirds supermajority vote of the state legislature. Currently, the state constitution allows the state legislature to authorize certain state funds to be invested in stocks.
  • Judicial Retirement Age Amendment: Would increase the mandatory judicial retirement age from 70 to 75 for state supreme court justices and district court judges. 

Between 2000 and 2020, 20 ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots in Wyoming. Twelve (60%) ballot measures were approved, and eight (40%) ballot measures were defeated.


  • Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.
  • Wyoming requires voters to present identification when voting. For more information about voter ID requirements in Wyoming, click here
  • Early voting is available from Sept. 23 to Nov. 7.
  • Voters can register to vote in person or by mail. The deadline to register in person is Nov. 8. The deadline for registering by mail is Oct. 24, with mailed forms received by the deadline.
  • All voters are eligible to vote absentee in Wyoming. No specific deadline is noted for absentee ballot applications. A completed absentee ballot must be received by election officials by 7 p.m. on Election Day.  

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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