19 state legislative incumbents have lost to primary challengers so far, fewer than in 2022

Welcome to the Tuesday, March 26, Brew. 

By: Andrew Kronaizl

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

  1. 19 state legislative incumbents have lost to primary challengers so far, fewer than in 2022
  2. Six primary runoff races in Texas have a 100% Candidate Connection Survey rate
  3. Democratic party committees cumulatively raise more than their Republican counterparts for 14th consecutive month

19 state legislative incumbents have lost to primary challengers so far, fewer than in 2022

So far this year, 19 state legislative incumbents—three Democrats and 16 Republicans—have lost to primary challengers.

Across the six states that have held primaries, 2.8% of incumbents running for re-election have lost, which is less than at this point in 2022 in the same six states (3.7%).

The totals below include data from elections in both legislative chambers in Illinois and Ohio, the most recent states which held primaries on March 19.

  1. In Illinois, two Democrats lost.
  2. In Ohio, five Republicans lost.

These figures are as of March 20 and include two uncalled Democratic primaries in which incumbents are running. For primaries held before March 19, eight races with incumbents remained uncalled: seven Democratic and one Republican.

Republican incumbents have lost at a higher rate than Democrats. Of the 380 Republican incumbents who ran for re-election, 16 (4.2%) lost to primary challengers. For Democrats, three of the 305 who sought re-election (1.0%) lost.

Nine of the Republican incumbents who lost in primaries were from the Texas House of Representatives, where more than half of the House Republicans seeking re-election faced primary challengers. This year’s elections took place against the backdrop of two votes in 2023 that divided the Texas House GOP caucus, including the impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) and a vote to remove a provision for school vouchers from an education bill.

Five of the Republican incumbents who were defeated in primaries were from the Ohio House of Representatives, where elections took place following a conflict within the House Republican caucus over the election of house speaker.

Of the six states that have held primaries so far, two have Democratic trifectas, three have Republican trifectas, and one has a divided government.

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Six primary runoff races in Texas have a 100% Candidate Connection Survey rate 

If you’re a regular reader of The Daily Brew, then you’ve seen previous stories about our Candidate Connection survey. We created it to help voters better understand what motivates their candidates and what their priorities are. We believe this information helps voters make informed decisions.

In races where all candidates complete the survey, voters get a unique opportunity to compare and contrast the candidates’ backgrounds, positions, and objectives. Today, we’re featuring Texas and the six primary runoff races where all candidates have completed the survey. Three of those races are in the U.S. House, two in the Texas House, and one in the Texas Senate. The runoff is May 28.

Below are the runoffs where all remaining candidates have completed Balloptedia’s Candidate Connection survey:

  1. Texas’ 7th Congressional District (Republican primary runoff): Caroline Kane and Kenneth Omoruyi
  2. Texas’ 29th Congressional District (Republican primary runoff): Christian Garcia and Alan Garza
  3. Texas’ 32nd Congressional District (Republican primary runoff): David Blewett and Darrell Day
  4. Texas House of Representatives District 76 (Republican primary runoff): Summara Kanwal and Lea Simmons
  5. Texas House of Representatives District 139 (Democratic primary runoff): Angeanette Thibodeaux and Charlene Ward Johnson
  6. Texas State Senate District 15 (Democratic primary runoff): Molly Cook and Jarvis Johnson  

Below are excerpts from some of these races.

We asked Kane and Omoruyi: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?


“I am a constitutionalist who is passionate about reducing government spending, advocating for the physical and mental health of our veterans, securing our Southern border, protecting our second amendment rights, ensuring brighter futures for our next generation, fighting inflation and promoting economic prosperity for every day Americans.”


“A fundamental reform of the US tax system aimed at reducing taxes would reduce the harm caused by the faulty and broken US tax system and contribute significantly to economic growth. A good tax policy should stimulate and incentivize economic growth and prosperity for individuals and businesses.”

We asked Garcia and Garza: What are your thoughts on term limits?


“We should limit terms for Congressman and Congresswoman. The Supreme Court Judges should not suffer a limit on their terms.”


“I’m against term limits because it discourages voters from participating in the democratic process. The U.S. Constitution already provides a mechanism for us to remove leaders: elections and voting. If we’re unhappy with our leaders, we have a duty to vote them out in the next election. The problem is that we are not utilizing the processes.”

We asked Blewett and Day: Do you believe that it’s beneficial for representatives to have previous experience in government or politics?


“The learning curve to be a Representative is steep. 2 years is not enough time to learn the job…and do it. Previous experience is critical. I have that experience from previous elected representation.”


“It’s more important to have firmly held beliefs, grounded in the U.S. Constitution.”

We asked Cook and Johnson: What do you believe are the core responsibilities for someone elected to this office?


“The most important characteristic for an elected public servant is honesty. If you cannot trust someone, you cannot work with them. The most important principle is bottom-up planning. Centering the most affected communities and seeking diversity in decision-making bodies yields the best possible outcomes.”


“State Senator is charged with proposing laws and constitutional amendments. We not only propose our own bills and work to get them passed into law, we work on specific committees that have jurisdiction over policy areas and state agencies.

But most importantly, a core responsibility of this office is to serve the people of the district. This means, bringing back information for them on how their State Government is working FOR them, or maybe how it’s harming their community. It’s having an open door to your constituents and working every day to improve their lives.”

In 2022, we covered 527 elections in which all of the candidates participated in our survey. That was up from 2020, when 356 elections had all candidates participating, and 2018, when 39 elections saw full candidate participation.

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Democratic party committees cumulatively raise more than their Republican counterparts for 14th consecutive month

As of Feb. 29, the end of the most recent party committee campaign finance filing period, the three Democratic campaign committees have raised a cumulative $393 million and spent $331 million for the 2024 election cycle. The three Republican campaign committees have raised $320 million and spent $278 million. 

The three Democratic committees are the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). The three Republican committees are the Republican National Committee (RNC), National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), and National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

The DNC and DCCC each maintain a lead over their Republican counterparts in cumulative receipts, disbursements, and cash on hand as of Feb. 29. The NRSC leads the DSCC in receipts and disbursements, while the DSCC leads in cash on hand. See the table below for exact figures.

Compared to previous cycles, the Democratic committees’ cumulative receipts as of February ($393 million) outpace their fundraising at this point in the 2020 election cycle ($348 million), but are less than the $446 million they raised at this point in the 2022 cycle. On the Republican side, the three committees have raised $320 million as of last month, which is less than the $496 million they raised by February 2020 and the $484 million they raised by February 2022.

Click the following links to learn more about the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee. To learn more about party committee fundraising during the 2021-2022 election cycle, click here.

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