Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) is sixth U.S. Senator to decline to run

Welcome to the Tuesday, September 19, Brew. 

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

  1. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) becomes 6th Senator not to seek re-election in 2024 
  2. Three vacancies announced in state supreme courts in third quarter of 2023
  3. 70 candidates filed for federal and statewide offices last week

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) becomes 6th Senator not to seek re-election in 2024  

On Sept. 13, Utah U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R) announced he would not run for re-election in 2024, becoming the second Senate Republican and sixth U.S. Senator overall not to seek re-election. 

There are 33 U.S. Senate seats up for election in 2024—10 Republicans, 20 Democrats, and three independents who caucus with Democrats.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor from 2003 to 2007, was the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in 2012, when he lost to incumbent President Barack Obama (D). In 2018, Romney was elected to represent Utah in the U.S. Senate, succeeding longtime Sen. Orrin Hatch (R). During former President Donald Trump’s (R) first impeachment trial, in 2020, Romney was the only Republican Senator to vote guilty on the abuse of power charge, making him the first Senator in U.S. history to vote to convict a president from his own party in an impeachment trial.

Including Romney, 19 members of Congress—six Senators and 13 Representatives—have announced they will not seek re-election in 2024. This includes 13 Democrats—four in the Senate and nine in the House—as well as six Republicans—two Senators and four House members.

Let’s take a look at the U.S. Senate numbers today. 

The six U.S. Senators who have announced they are not running for re-election are one more than the five who had announced at this point in the 2022 election cycle and two more than the four who had announced at this point in the 2020 cycle. 

No U.S. Senators had announced they would not run for re-election at this point in the 2018 cycle. The first incumbent to do so in that cycle was Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on Sept. 26, 2017.

Romney and Democratic Sens. Diane Feinstein (Calif.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Ben Cardin (Md.), and Tom Carper (Del.) are retiring from public office. The sixth retiring Senator, Mike Braun (R-Ind.), is running for governor of Indiana.

Click below to learn more about incumbents in Congress who’ve declined to run for re-election. 

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Three vacancies announced in state supreme courts in third quarter of 2023 

With 344 state supreme court justices in this country, it’s no surprise that each year, some will decide to leave the court. The process for filling vacancies on state supreme courts varies among the states. In most cases that responsibility falls on the governor, sometimes with help from a nominating commission. 

We keep a close tab on state supreme court vacancies each year, recording each one in our database. Let’s check in on how the numbers are looking so far and see how that compares to previous years. 

In the third quarter of 2023, state supreme courts offices announced three vacancies in Missouri, Tennessee, and North Carolina, bringing the total number of announced vacancies to 16 this year. There were 13 vacancies announced in the first half of the year. 

Of the 16 announced vacancies:

  • Two justices have yet to vacate their seats
  • Two have vacated without a successor named
  • Three have been vacated with a nominee pending confirmation
  • Nine have been vacated and replaced

Eight of these vacancies occurred in a state where a Democratic governor appoints a replacement. The other eight occurred in a state where a Republican governor appoints a replacement. 

In the third quarter of 2023. Governors in Missouri, Connecticut, Arkansas, and North Carolina have announced replacements for outgoing justices on their respective state supreme courts. As of publication, only Justice Cody Hiland of Arkansas has been confirmed.

Supreme courts do not hear trials of cases. Instead, they hear appeals of decisions made in lower courts. The number of justices on each state supreme court ranges between five and nine.

In 2020, we conducted a study identifying the partisan balance on every state supreme court. You can find that research here. We also identified which justices ruled together most often in our Determiners and Dissenters report found here

In April, Wisconsin held the country’s most expensive state supreme court election. You can read our coverage here. The only other state supreme court election this year is happening in Pennsylvania on Nov. 7.  

Click below to learn more about state supreme court vacancies. 

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70 candidates filed for congressional and statewide offices last week

Last week, 70 candidates filed to run for congressional and state offices—including for elections in 2023, 2024, 2025, and 2026.

That’s down from 131 during the preceding week. Since the start of the year, we’ve found an average of 47 candidate filings per week. 

This year, we’ve identified 1,741 declared candidates for these offices. At this time in 2021, we had identified 1,958 candidates for 2022, 2023, and 2024 races.

Of last week’s declared candidates:

  • 31 are Democrats;
  • 34 are Republicans; and,
  • five are minor party candidates.

Twenty of last week’s candidates are running for state legislatures, four for governorships, and two for other state executive offices. Most of last week’s candidates—44—are running for Congress.

Here’s a look at where those House candidates filed:

We cover elections for tens of thousands of offices across the country. Part of that work includes keeping tabs on the candidates—both declared and official—running for those offices.

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