Less than one week until Mississippi’s Aug. 8 primaries

Welcome to the Wednesday, August 2, Brew. 

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

  1. Mississippi holding statewide primaries on Aug. 8
  2. On this date in 1921: Missouri voters approved Proposition 2, allowing women to hold elected office
  3. 120 candidates filed for congressional and statewide offices last week

Mississippi holding statewide primaries on Aug. 8

Next Tuesday, August 8, Mississippi voters will cast ballots in primaries for state executive and legislative offices. Mississippi’s primaries are effectively open, meaning voters don’t have to formally affiliate with a party in order to vote in that party’s primary.

But voters might find that they have fewer decisions to make this cycle: there are 73 contested primaries—23 for Democrats and 50 for Republicans—representing 19% of all possible primaries, a decade-low number and percentage. 

Over the past 12 years, candidates have contested around 22 or 23% of all primaries in previous elections.

Fourteen state executive offices—including the governorship—and 174 legislative districts are holding elections this year, creating 376 possible Democratic and Republican primaries. 

For both office types, the total number of contested primaries is at a decade-low. The only group that has more primaries this year than in the last election year in 2019 is Republicans in the state legislature, up from 41 to 45.

Still, there are several battleground primaries we are watching closely this year:

One is the Republican primary in the Public Service Commission’s Northern District between state Rep. Chris Brown and Tupelo Director of Development Services Tanner Newman. Incumbent Brandon Presley (D) is running for governor, leaving the office open. Since no Democrats are running in the district, it is also guaranteed that whoever wins the Republican primary will be the next commissioner, switching its party control.

We’ve also identified six battleground primaries in the state House and eight in the state Senate.

But next week’s primaries might not be the final say in some races ahead of the general election.

Mississippi is one of 10 states—and the only with elections this year—that use primary runoffs. In Mississippi, if a candidate receives a majority vote in the primary, they advance to the general election outright. Otherwise, the top-two vote-getters advance to a runoff on August 29.

Mississippi is one of 22 states with a Republican trifecta. The party has controlled the governorship and both legislative chambers since 2012. 

While the governorship will be contested in November, Republicans are—for the first time in more than a century—guaranteed to keep majorities in the House and Senate due to the number of races with no Democrats on the ballot.

Mississippi is one of five states holding state executive and/or state legislative elections this year, along with Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Virginia.

If you want to read more about Mississippi’s primaries, we included some stories in recent editions of the Brew, covering the public service commission, House, and Senate races.

And 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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On this date in 1921: Missouri voters approved Proposition 2, allowing women to hold elected office

Today, August 2, marks the 102nd anniversary of the passage of Proposition 2 in Missouri, which changed the law in Missouri, allowing women to hold elected offices in the state. Voters approved the 1921 amendment, 52% to 48%.

Now, you might be wondering: why was Missouri voting to grant women the right to hold elected office after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women suffrage, the right to vote, nationwide?

It has to do with the patchwork nature of how states defined voters versus how they defined qualifications for holding office

Washington University Professor Elizabeth Katz wrote, “[W]hile officeholding tracked suffrage to some extent, it did not proceed in the same unidirectional march.”

Olive Rose became the first woman elected to public office in the U.S. in 1853 when voters in Lincoln County, Maine, elected her their register of deeds in a race she herself was unable to vote in. Maine didn’t adopt women’s suffrage until it ratified the 19th Amendment 67 years later, in 1920.

And—like with suffrage more broadly—some states specified the offices for which women could vote and hold. In Missouri, for example, legislators permitted women the right to serve as county recorder of deeds in 1872.

In terms of full, explicit officeholding rights, in 1869, Wyoming—then a territory—became the first to grant women both the right to vote and the right to hold elected office, doing so in a single legislative act. By the end of the 19th century, Colorado, Idaho, and Utah also granted women full voting and officeholding rights.

Such amendments were never necessary at the national level since the U.S. Constitution does not mention gender as a qualification for serving in the U.S. House, Senate, or the Presidency. Still, the first federal Equal Rights Amendment was also introduced in 1921, which explicitly included the right to hold office for women.

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120 candidates filed for congressional and statewide offices last week

Last week, 120 candidates filed to run for congressional and state offices—including for elections in 2023, 2024, 2025, and 2026.

That’s down from a recent burst earlier in July but still up from figures earlier in the summer and our weekly average of 82 candidate filings per week since the start of the year.

This year, we’ve tracked 2,557 declared candidates for these offices. At this time in 2021, we had identified 3,283 candidates for 2022, 2023, and 2024 races.

Of the partisan nature of last week’s declared candidates:

  • 53 are Democrats;
  • 63 are Republicans; and,
  • Four or minor party candidates.

Of the offices tracked, 98 are running for Congress and 22 for state legislatures.

We cover elections for tens of thousands of offices across the country, and part of that work includes keeping tabs on the candidates who file to run for those offices. We’ll periodically update you on how many candidates are filing to run for congressional and state offices. We process both official and declared candidates.

For more information on how we determine candidacy and a full list of candidates running for Congress in 2024, click the link below.

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