Author

Abbey Smith

Abbey Smith is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Four states to hold congressional primaries August 11

Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin are holding congressional primaries on August 11. One U.S. Senate seat and 22 U.S. House seats are up for election across the four states. Primary candidates are competing for a spot in the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020.

In Connecticut, five U.S. House seats are up for election this year. All five seats are currently held by Democrats, and all of them filed to run for re-election. Because no other Democrats are running against them, the Democratic primaries were canceled and all five automatically advanced to the general election. Two Republican primaries were also canceled due to lack of opposition. The Republican primaries for the state’s 1st, 2nd, and 4th Congressional Districts each have two candidates facing off on August 11.

In Minnesota, one U.S. Senate seat and eight U.S. House seats are up for election. The nine seats are currently held by six Democrats and three Republicans. All nine incumbents filed to run for re-election. Democratic and Republican primaries are being held on August 11 in every race except for the state’s 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts. In Minnesota, primaries are canceled if every candidate in each party for a specific seat is unopposed. The Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party of Minnesota and the Legal Marijuana Now Party are also holding primaries.

In Vermont, primaries are being held for the state’s one At-large Congressional District. Incumbent Peter Welch (D) is running for re-election and faces one challenger in the primary. Four candidates are running in the Republican primary, and two candidates are running in the Vermont Progressive Party primary.

In Wisconsin, eight U.S. House seats are up for election. Seven of the eight incumbents—three Democrats and four Republicans—are running for re-election this year. Six of them are unopposed in their respective primaries. 3rd Congressional District incumbent Ron Kind (D) faces one primary challenger.

Entering the 2020 election, the U.S. Senate has 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, and two independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. Thirty-three out of 100 Senate seats are up for regular election this year, and two are up for special election. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats. The U.S. House has 232 Democrats, 198 Republicans, one Libertarian, and four vacancies. All 435 seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.

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Tennessee to hold congressional primaries August 6

Tennessee is holding primaries for one seat in the U.S. Senate and nine seats in the U.S. House on August 6. Candidates are competing for a place on the general election ballot on November 3. The filing deadline for candidates to run in this election was April 2.

The open race for the state’s U.S. Senate seat has 20 primary candidates—five Democrats and 15 Republicans. Incumbent Lamar Alexander (R) announced on December 17, 2018, that he would not seek re-election in 2020. He was first elected to the chamber in 2002.

Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District is also an open race. Incumbent Phil Roe (R) announced on January 3, 2020, that he would not seek re-election in 2020. Three Democrats and 16 Republicans are running in the primary.

The state’s other eight congressional incumbents, which includes six Republicans and two Democrats, are running for re-election. Incumbents Tim Burchett (R), Charles J. Fleischmann (R), John Rose (R), Mark Green (R), and David Kustoff (R) are running unopposed in their respective primaries. At least one challenger is running in the Democratic primaries for each of those seats.

In Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District, incumbent Scott DesJarlais is running against two challengers in the Republican primary, and two candidates are running in the Democratic primary. The 5th Congressional District incumbent Jim Cooper (D) is also facing two challengers in his primary. No Republicans filed to run for that seat. In Tennessee’s 9th Congressional District, incumbent Steve Cohen (D) is running against two primary challengers, and one candidate is running in the Republican primary.

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Recall petition filed against Washington sheriff

An effort to recall Jerry Hatcher from his position as Benton County Sheriff in Washington began in July 2020. The Benton County Sheriff’s Guild is leading the recall effort. They said Hatcher had performed his duties in an improper manner, committed illegal acts, and violated his oath of office. Over 90% of the guild members participated in a vote on the matter in June 2020, and 100% of those who voted were in favor of starting the recall effort.

Hatcher said the guild was refusing to hold deputies accountable. He said the guild would not let him take disciplinary action against employees who committed wrongdoing. “It’s been hard watching what goes on in the nation,” Hatcher said. “And for the first time, I’m seeing it within my own organization.”

Benton County Sergeant Jason Erickson filed the recall petition with the Benton County Auditor on July 20, 2020. The next step is for a judge to rule whether or not there is sufficient evidence to support the claims in the recall petition. If the judge rules in favor of the petition, Hatcher will be able to file an appeal. If he does not, or if his appeal is rejected, recall supporters will be able to circulate petitions.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

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Filing period for congressional candidates ends in Delaware

On July 14, the major-party congressional filing deadline passed to run for elected office in Delaware. Candidates filed for the state’s Class II U.S. Senate seat and at-large U.S. House seat.

The Class II Senate seat is currently held by Chris Coons (D), who filed to run for re-election. The state’s at-large seat in the U.S. House is currently held by Lisa Blunt Rochester (D), who also filed to run for re-election.

The primary is scheduled for September 15, and the general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Delaware’s statewide filing deadline was the 49th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on July 24 in Louisiana.

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Washington Supreme Court schedules sheriff recall appeal for September 10

Two efforts to recall Adam Fortney from his position as sheriff of Snohomish County, Washington, have been approved to circulate petitions. The efforts began after Fortney announced on Facebook in April 2020 that his office would not enforce restrictions Gov. Jay Inslee (D) set in place in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The first recall petition said that Fortney “used his position as an elected official to encourage citizens to defy the law and violate the Governor’s Emergency Proclamations.” The second recall petition said that Fortney had violated his oath of office.

The first recall petition was approved for circulation on May 15, 2020, and the second was approved for circulation on June 2, 2020. The two recall efforts had acted independently of each other as of June 22, 2020. Recall supporters must collect 44,494 signatures in six months to get the recall on the ballot.

In response to the recall efforts, Fortney said he stood by his statement that the sheriff’s department “will not be enforcing an order preventing religious freedoms or constitutional rights.” He filed a motion for the court to reconsider the decision approving the second recall petition for circulation, but the motion was rejected on June 12, 2020. Fortney appealed to the Washington Supreme Court on June 22, 2020. The court scheduled September 10, 2020, as the date to decide the appeal. If the court rejects the appeal, recall supporters of the second effort will be able to begin collecting signatures.

Fortney was elected sheriff on November 5, 2019, with 55% of the vote.

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Voters approve Colorado sheriff recall

A recall election seeking to remove Lance FitzGerald from his position as Ouray County Sheriff in Colorado was approved by voters with 92.8% of the vote on June 30, 2020, according to unofficial election night results. Justin Perry (unaffiliated) defeated Ted Wolfe (R) in the election to replace FitzGerald. The election was conducted by mail-in ballot.

The recall effort began in January 2020. FitzGerald was targeted for recall after he was arrested on DUI allegations on November 27, 2019. The Ouray County Republican and Democratic parties created a recall committee together to lead the effort. The recall petition stated that county citizens did not have confidence that the sheriff could “uphold the duties and responsibilities of his elected position.” FitzGerald did not respond to the recall effort.

Recall supporters had 60 days to collect 768 signatures from eligible Ouray County voters. They submitted 1,082 petition signatures in March 2020. The county verified 914 of the signatures in April 2020, allowing the recall to move forward. FitzGerald had 15 days to file a protest against the recall petition. If he had, a hearing over the recall petition would have been held. Because he did not, the recall election was scheduled.

FitzGerald was sworn into office in January 2019. He ran as an unaffiliated candidate and defeated Republican Joel “BB” Burk by 11 votes.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

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Voters decide congressional primaries in three states, runoffs in MS, NC

Three states held congressional primaries on June 23, 2020, and two states held primary runoffs. Forty-four congressional seats were on the ballot, including two U.S. Senate seats and 42 U.S. House seats. The general election for all five states is November 3, 2020.

Kentucky held primaries for one U.S. Senate seat and six U.S. House seats.

  • U.S. Senate incumbent Mitch McConnell (R) advanced from his primary. The results of the Democratic primary were still pending as of June 25, 2020.
  • All six incumbents in the U.S. House—one Democrat and five Republicans—ran for re-election in the primaries. All six advanced to the general election.

Mississippi held a Republican primary runoff for the state’s 2nd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House. Brian Flowers defeated Thomas Carey and advanced to the general election.

New York held primaries for 27 U.S. House seats. Twenty-three incumbents—19 Democrats and four Republicans—ran for re-election. Eighteen incumbents advanced from their primaries, and one was defeated. The other four primaries had results still pending as of June 25, 2020.

North Carolina held a Republican primary runoff for the state’s 11th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House. Madison Cawthorn defeated Lynda Bennett and advanced to the general election.

Virginia held primaries for one U.S. Senate seat and seven U.S. House seats. Four of Virginia’s 11 U.S. House seats—Districts 7, 8, 9, and 10—were not on the ballot because they either held conventions instead of primaries or because their primaries were canceled due to lack of opposition.

  • U.S. Senate incumbent Mark Warner (D) was the only candidate to file in the Democratic primary and advanced to the general election by default. In the Republican primary, Daniel Gade defeated two opponents and advanced to the general election.
  • Ten U.S. House incumbents—seven Democrats and three Republicans—ran for re-election in either primaries or conventions. All 10 advanced to the general election.

Entering the November 2020 general election, the U.S. Senate has 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, and two independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. Thirty-five of the 100 U.S. Senate seats are up for election, including two seats up for special election. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats. The U.S. House of Representatives has 233 Democrats, 197 Republicans, one Libertarian, and four vacancies. All 435 U.S. House seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.

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Colorado sheriff recall on June 30 ballot

A recall election seeking to remove Lance FitzGerald from his position as the Ouray County Sheriff in Colorado is being held on June 30, 2020. Justin Perry (unaffiliated) and Ted Wolfe (R) are running to replace FitzGerald. The election is being conducted by mail-in ballot. Voters received their ballots by June 11 and must return them by 7 p.m. on June 30.

The recall effort began in January 2020. FitzGerald was targeted for recall after he was arrested on DUI allegations on November 27, 2019. The Ouray County Republican and Democratic parties created a recall committee together to lead the effort. The recall petition stated that citizens did not have confidence that the sheriff could “uphold the duties and responsibilities of his elected position.” FitzGerald did not respond to the recall effort.

FitzGerald was sworn into office in January 2019. He ran as an unaffiliated candidate and defeated a Republican, Joel “BB” Burk, by 11 votes.

Recall supporters had 60 days to collect 768 signatures from eligible Ouray County voters. They submitted 1,082 petition signatures in March 2020. The county verified 914 of the signatures in April 2020, allowing the recall to move forward. FitzGerald had 15 days to file a protest against the recall petition. If he had, a hearing over the recall petition would have been held. Because he did not, the recall election was scheduled.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

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3 states holding primaries for 42 congressional seats on June 23

Three states are holding primaries on June 23, 2020. Forty-two congressional seats will be on the ballot, including two U.S. Senate seats and 40 U.S. House seats.

The following seats will be on the ballot in Kentucky:
• 1 U.S. Senate seat
• 6 U.S. House seats

The following seats will be on the ballot in New York:
• 27 U.S. House seats

The following seats will be on the ballot in Virginia:
• 1 U.S. Senate seat
• 7 U.S. House seats

Four of Virginia’s 11 U.S. House seats—Districts 7, 8, 9, and 10—are not on the ballot because they are either holding conventions instead of primaries or their primaries were canceled due to lack of opposition.

Entering the November 2020 general election, the U.S. Senate has 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, and two independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. Thirty-five of the 100 U.S. Senate seats are up for election, including two seats up for special election. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats. The U.S. House of Representatives has 233 Democrats, 197 Republicans, one Libertarian, and four vacancies. All 435 U.S. House seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.

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South Carolina to hold 11 primary runoffs for state legislative seats on June 23

South Carolina is holding primary runoffs on June 23, 2020, for races in which a candidate did not receive a majority of votes in the primary on June 9. Eleven races will be on the primary runoff ballot, including nine state House seats and two state Senate seats.

The two state Senate primary runoffs include one for the Republican Party and one for the Democratic Party. Five of the state House primary runoffs are Republican, and four are Democratic.

Three incumbents are running in primary runoffs: Republican Luke Rankin in Senate District 33, Republican Neal Collins in House District 5, and Republican Bill Chumley in House District 35.

North Carolina also had a primary runoff election scheduled for June 23, 2020, but it was not needed for any state-level races.

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