Author

Amee LaTour

Amee LaTour is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 5

In this issue: Taylor drops Senate bid in Alabama, endorses Durant and several Tennessee counties opt for partisan school board elections

Taylor drops Senate bid, endorses Durant in Alabama

Jessica Taylor, a business owner who lost the 2020 Republican primary for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, ended her campaign for U.S. Senate last week and endorsed aerospace company founder and former Black Hawk pilot Mike Durant.

The Hill’s Tal Axelrod wrote, “The nominating contest is largely a race between Rep. Mo Brooks (R) and Katie Boyd Britt, the former chief of staff to retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R).” Between Brooks, Britt, and Durant, Axelrod said, “The primary represents a clash of résumés that appeal to various flanks of a fractured GOP … And with none of the three establishing themselves as an early front-runner, Alabamians are gearing up for a slog.” 

Brooks has represented Alabama’s 5th Congressional District since 2011. He ran in the special U.S. Senate election in 2017, losing in the primary. A campaign spokesman said, “Mo Brooks has consistently been rated as the most conservative member of Alabama’s Congressional delegation. … The comparison of records couldn’t be clearer. Mo Brooks is a proven conservative, with a proven record. Katie Britt is a moderate.” Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Brooks in April 2021.

Britt was most recently president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama. A campaign spokesman said, “Alabamians are ready for fresh blood and are tired of do-nothing career politicians who make running for office a business model.”

Durant’s Black Hawk helicopter was shot down in Somalia in 1993, an event depicted in the film Black Hawk Down. Durant said, “For too long, career politicians who have never held a real job in their life have made poor decisions that have left Alabama families behind and put America last. I’m running to change that.” 

The filing deadline is Jan. 28 and the primary is May 24. If no candidate receives over 50% of the vote, a runoff will be held on June 21. 

Thune, Johnson running for re-election

In other recent Senate news: Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) were the last senators up for re-election in 2022 to announce their plans, both deciding to run for re-election. Six senators—five Republicans and one Democrat—aren’t seeking re-election. Three of the open Senate races—in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio—have at least one competitive rating (Toss-up, Tilt Republican, or Lean Republican) from three election forecasters.

State Sen. Coram challenges U.S. Rep. Boebert in Colorado

State Sen. Don Coram announced last week he is challenging Rep. Lauren Boebert in the Republican primary for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. Coram said, “I’m looking at our state and our nation and I’m very concerned that the 10% on the right and the 10% on the left are making all the noise and getting all the attention, and the 80% in the middle are totally ignored.”

Boebert was first elected in 2020 after defeating five-term incumbent Scott Tipton (R), who had Donald Trump’s backing, in the Republican primary 55% to 45%. Trump endorsed Boebert for re-election last month. Boebert called Coram a “self-serving, super-woke social liberal who would have a far better chance of winning the Democrat nomination.”

The primary is scheduled for June 28. Marina Zimmerman, who has worked as a crane operator and businesswoman, is also running. 

Coram was appointed in 2017 to fill a vacancy in the state Senate and was elected in 2018. Due to redistricting, Coram cannot run for re-election in the 6th Senate District because he was drawn into a district with a state senator whose term doesn’t end until 2025. 

E-PAC, group supporting GOP women, makes first Senate endorsement

House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik’s E-PAC endorsed its first U.S. Senate candidate since the group launched in 2019: former state GOP Chair Jane Timken in Ohio. The group has so far endorsed 10 U.S. House candidates in 2022 elections. 

E-PAC’s website says, “In the 116th Congress, only 13 Republican women served in the House of Representatives, making up only 2.9% of Congress. E-PAC was launched after the 2018 midterm elections to increase that number by supporting top Republican female candidates in primaries across the country.” The group says it is responsible for increasing the number of Republican women in Congress to 35 in the last election cycle. 

Sixteen percent of Senate Republicans and 14% of House Republicans are women compared to 40% of House Democrats and 32% of Senate Democrats.

Stefanik was first elected to represent New York’s 21st Congressional District in 2014. She previously served as the National Republican Congressional Committee’s recruitment chair, a role she left before launching E-PAC. The NRCC does not endorse in primary elections.

Other GOP primary candidates for Senate in Ohio include Matt Dolan, Mike Gibbons, Josh Mandel, Bernie Moreno, and J.D. Vance.

Multiple Tennessee counties switch to partisan school board elections 

At least eight of the 10 largest counties in Tennessee will hold partisan primary elections for school board in 2022. Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed a bill in November giving county parties the ability to hold partisan primary elections. Before now, school board elections were nonpartisan with candidates prohibited from identifying or campaigning with any political party. 

Davidson, Knox, Hamilton, Rutherford, Williamson, Sumner, Sullivan, and Wilson counties will hold partisan primary elections for school boards this year. 

In Williamson County, the GOP made the switch first. County GOP Chairwoman Cheryl Brown said, “If you’re running for something, if you’re running for a particular position … you should state your political stance.” The county Democratic Party opposed the switch but followed suit.  The party said in a statement, “While the WCDP firmly believes partisanship has no place in school board elections, we can’t sit idly by while Republicans choose political power and polarization over the quality of education and safety of our children.”

Shelby County, the state’s largest county and home to Memphis, will continue holding nonpartisan school board elections in 2022. County Democratic Party Chairwoman Gabby Salinas said, “All of us, regardless of political affiliation, have a vested interest in the education of our children.” County GOP Chairman Cary Vaughn said the party “see[s] no advantage or benefit in changing our protocol.”

County Democratic and Republican parties had until Dec. 10 to alert county election officials as to whether they would hold a partisan or nonpartisan primary or caucus. In counties where candidates advance from a partisan primary to the general election, party labels will appear beside candidates’ names on the general election ballot.

Click here to learn about prominent conflicts in school board elections across the country.

Mastriano enters Penn. governor’s race, Kellyanne Conway joins Corman’s staff

On Jan. 8, state Sen. Doug Mastriano announced his Republican primary bid for governor of Pennsylvania. A supporter of Trump’s challenges to the 2020 election results, Mastriano has sparred with fellow Senate Republicans over how to run the investigation he launched in July 2021 into Pennsylvania’s election results. Mastriano wanted to subpoena three counties to provide access to their voting machines as part of the investigation and said that Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman undermined his efforts.

Corman is also running in the GOP gubernatorial primary. Pennsylvania State Capital Bureau’s Candy Woodall wrote, “Corman, who is typically regarded as the most powerful Republican in Harrisburg, in August replaced Mastriano on the committee leading the election review and also removed his staff — actions that are rare from chamber leadership.” Corman said Mastriano “was only ever interested in politics and showmanship and not actually getting things done.” 

After the committee voted to subpoena personal information on all Pennsylvania voters in September, Mastriano said that “the subpoenas do not go nearly far enough to begin a full forensic audit of the 2020 election.”

On Jan. 7, Corman announced former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway would join his campaign as a pollster and special advisor. Last month, Corman’s campaign announced it would employ Poolhouse, the agency that oversaw ad production for Glenn Youngkin’s (R) successful campaign for governor of Virginia.

In addition to Mastriano and Corman, at least 13 other Republicans are running in the primary, including former U.S. Reps. Lou Barletta and Melissa Hart, state Sen. Scott Martin, and former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania William McSwain. The primary is scheduled for May 17. 

Three candidates for Alabama governor have more than $1 million on hand

Three of the seven Republicans running for Alabama governor—incumbent Kay Ivey, Lynda Blanchard, and Tim James—had at least $1 million on hand as of Dec. 31, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Alabama Secretary of State.

Blanchard reported ending 2021 with $3.5 million in her campaign account after loaning her campaign $5 million in December. Ivey ended 2021 with $2.6 million. James had $1 million, including a $500,000 loan. 

In December, Blanchard spent $1.5 million, Ivey spent $466,000, and James spent $10,000.

All three candidates have since filed supplementary reports, required for individual contributions of $20,000 or more. Blanchard increased her cash-on-hand lead with a further $2.8 million loan, while Ivey reported raising an additional $170,000 and James, an additional $600,000.

None of the other four primary candidates had more than $50,000 cash on hand as of Dec. 31. 

Ivey became governor following Robert Bentley’s (R) resignation in 2017 and was elected to a full term in 2018. Ivey says her record includes boosting the state’s economy, signing legislation that increases restrictions on abortion and the teaching of critical race theory, and resisting the Biden administration. Blanchard, who served as U.S. ambassador to Slovenia from 2019 to 2021 during the Trump administration, says she is running to bring conservative leadership to state government and that she is a political outsider. James, a real estate developer who ran for governor in 2010, has criticized Ivey for supporting an increase in the state gas tax in 2019 and says he would work to outlaw same-sex marriage.

Seven Republicans have filed to run in the May 24 gubernatorial primary. The filing deadline is Jan. 28. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the primary vote, a runoff will take place June 21.

Results from Arkansas’ state Senate special GOP primary runoff 

Colby Fulfer won the special primary runoff election for state Senate District 7 in Arkansas on Jan. 11. Fulfer and Steven Unger advanced from the Dec. 14 primary as the top two vote-getters of four candidates. Fulfer had 52% of the runoff vote to Unger’s 48%.

Fulfer faces Democrat Lisa Parks in the Feb. 8 special election.

Former incumbent Lance Eads (R) resigned in October to accept a position with the group Capitol Consulting Firm. Eads was first elected in 2016 and did not face Democratic opposition in either 2016 or 2020.



Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats – Issue 5

In this issue: FL-20 rematches on the horizon and several Tennessee counties opt for partisan school board elections

Rematches on horizon in FL-20 Democratic primary

On Jan. 11, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D) won a special election to succeed former Rep. Alcee Hastings (D), who died in April of last year. Cherfilus-McCormick received 79% of the vote. If Cherfilus-McCormick runs for a full term later this year, she’ll once again face several opponents from last November’s special Democratic primary, including second-place finisher Dale Holness and third-place finisher Barbara Sharief.

Cherfilus-McCormick defeated Holness by 5 votes in the special primary. Both candidates had 23.8% of the vote. Sharief received 17.7%. Holness and Sharief were Broward County commissioners. Cherfilus-McCormick is CEO of Trinity Health Care Services. 

Cherfilus-McCormick campaigned on $1,000-per-month payments to people over 18 making less than $75,000 a year, Medicare for All, and a $20 minimum wage. Holness’ campaign website said he would fight to make the district “a beacon of economic growth throughout America.” Sharief’s platform included a $15 minimum wage and expanding Medicare and Medicaid coverage.

The Democratic primary for the November 2022 general election is set for Aug. 23.

In addition, three special primary elections were held Tuesday for legislative districts where incumbents resigned to run in the special Democratic primary for Congress. 

  • Florida Senate District 33: Rosalind Osgood defeated Terry Edden 74% to 26%.
  • Florida House District 88: Jervonte Edmonds defeated Clarence Williams 65% to 35%.
  • Florida House District 94: Daryl Campbell defeated three other candidates with 40% of the vote. Josephus Eggelletion III was second with 29%.

Osgood and Edmonds face Republican challengers in special general elections on March 8. The general election for House District 94 was canceled due to lack of opposition.

Chicago Ald. Dowell drops SoS bid to run in 1st District primary

On Jan. 5, Chicago Ald. Pat Dowell (D) announced she would end her bid for Illinois secretary of state and instead run in the Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District. Dowell made the announcement following 1st District Rep. Bobby Rush’s (D) announcement that he would not seek re-election. The Chicago Sun-Times‘ Lynn Sweet said Dowell’s political and fundraising campaign operation would give her a strong position in the primary

Sweet also reported that Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership CEO Karin Norington-Reaves launched a primary campaign for the 1st District. Rush told the Chicago Sun-Times he plans to endorse a successor in the coming weeks. Sweet said that “there are signs pointing to Norington-Reaves getting his nod. She worked with Rush in bringing to his district the Chatham Education and Workforce Center.”

The 1st Congressional District contains portions of Chicago’s South Side and southern suburbs. According to The Cook Political Report, the district is solidly Democratic.

Rush was first elected in 1992 and is the only politician to defeat former President Barack Obama (D) in an election. Rush defeated then-state Sen. Obama 61%-30% in the 2000 U.S. House Democratic primary.

Clay Aiken launches second U.S. House bid in N.C.

Clay Aiken, an entertainer and former American Idol contestant, announced his bid for North Carolina’s 6th Congressional District on Jan. 10. In 2014, Aiken won the Democratic primary in North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District. Incumbent Renee Ellmers (R) defeated him in the general 59% to 41%. 

In 2003, Aiken lost Season 2 of American Idol to Ruben Studdard by a 134,000-vote margin out of 24 million votes cast.

Other Democratic primary candidates so far include Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam, state Sen. Valerie Foushee, and state Sen. Wiley Nickel.

The redrawn 6th District includes much of the current 4th District, which retiring Rep. David Price (D) represents. Three independent outlets have rated North Carolina’s 6th as Safe or Solid Democratic

In December, the North Carolina Supreme Court postponed the state’s 2022 primary election from March 8 to May 17 to allow time for redistricting map challenges to move through the courts. On Jan. 11, the Wake County Superior Court ruled in favor of the congressional district maps. Appeals are possible.

Multiple Tennessee counties switch to partisan school board elections 

At least eight of the 10 largest counties in Tennessee will hold partisan primary elections for school board in 2022. Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed a bill in November giving county parties the ability to hold partisan primary elections. Before now, school board elections were nonpartisan with candidates prohibited from identifying or campaigning with any political party. 

Davidson, Knox, Hamilton, Rutherford, Williamson, Sumner, Sullivan, and Wilson counties will hold partisan primary elections for school boards this year. 

In Williamson County, the GOP made the switch first. County GOP Chairwoman Cheryl Brown said, “If you’re running for something, if you’re running for a particular position … you should state your political stance.” The county Democratic Party opposed the switch but followed suit.  The party said in a statement, “While the WCDP firmly believes partisanship has no place in school board elections, we can’t sit idly by while Republicans choose political power and polarization over the quality of education and safety of our children.”

Shelby County, the state’s largest county and home to Memphis, will continue holding nonpartisan school board elections in 2022. County Democratic Party Chairwoman Gabby Salinas said, “All of us, regardless of political affiliation, have a vested interest in the education of our children.” County GOP Chairman Cary Vaughn said the party “see[s] no advantage or benefit in changing our protocol.”

County Democratic and Republican parties had until Dec. 10 to alert county election officials as to whether they would hold a partisan or nonpartisan primary or caucus. In counties where candidates advance from a partisan primary to the general election, party labels will appear beside candidates’ names on the general election ballot.

Click here to learn about prominent conflicts in school board elections across the country.

Oregon governor’s race: Kristof disqualified, Kotek resigns from state House to focus on campaign

On Jan. 6, Nick Kristof was disqualified from Oregon’s gubernatorial primary ballot, and House Speaker Tina Kotek announced she’d resign to focus on her gubernatorial campaign.

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan (D) said former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof did not meet residency requirements to be on the ballot. Kristof asked the Oregon Supreme Court to overturn her decision. The court will consider the matter.

This year’s gubernatorial candidates must have been Oregon residents since at least November 2019. Kristof voted as a New York resident in 2020. Kristof disputed Fagan’s interpretation of the word resident and said that he meets the requirement partly because he considers his family farm in the state, which he leased in 2018, to be his home. 

Meanwhile, Kotek announced her resignation from the state House effective Jan. 21. Kotek became speaker in 2013 and was the longest-serving speaker in the state’s history. OPB’s Dirk VanderHart wrote that “allies had expected her to lead a tightly scripted one-month ‘short’ session [in February] that will tackle continued police reforms, the state’s ongoing housing crisis, worker protections and more.”

Kotek cited a realization from a one-day special session in December for her resignation: “I always do everything 110% … I want to make sure session has my full attention and I just felt like I couldn’t do it.”

At the end of 2021, Kristoff led in fundraising with $2.5 million. Kotek was second with $838,000 and state Treasurer Tobias Read third with $726,000. 

The filing deadline is March 8 and the primary is May 17. Current Gov. Kate Brown (D) is term-limited.

Bailey switches from AG to Lt. governor’s race in Georgia

Charlie Bailey, the 2018 Democratic nominee for attorney general, ended his 2022 bid for the same office to seek the lieutenant gubernatorial nomination instead. Bailey said, “Leaders in the party asked me to consider the switch, and the more I looked at it, the more I saw I could help the ticket by talking about public safety, criminal justice reform and expanding health care.”

Bailey lost in 2018 to incumbent Chris Carr (R) 48.7% to 51.3%. In the 2022 attorney general Democratic primary, he was set to face state Sen. Jen Jordan, whom several state legislators and national groups endorsed.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Greg Bluestein said Bailey “hopes to take advantage of a muddled field with no clear favorite” in the lieutenant gubernatorial primary. The field includes state Reps. Erick Allen, Derrick Jackson, and Renitta Shannon. U.S. Reps. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.) and Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and former Gov. Roy Barnes (D) endorsed Bailey.

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) is not seeking re-election. The primary is May 24.



36 states hold two or more top-ballot statewide elections in 2022

Image of a red sign with the words "Polling Place" a pointing arrow.

In 2022, 36 states are holding elections for two or more top-ballot statewide offices—U.S. Senate, governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. Twenty-six states are holding elections for both U.S. Senate and governor—the top state executive position. 

Overall:

  1. 16 states are holding elections for all five top-level statewide offices.
  2. 11 states are holding elections for four of the offices.
  3. 5 states are holding elections for three of the offices.
  4. 4 states are holding elections for two of the offices.

In 11 states with more than two top-level statewide elections, the current incumbents of offices up for election belong to different parties. A blue dot before an officeholder’s name below means they are a Democrat and a red dot means they are a Republican.

Additional reading:



Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 4

Hogan seeks to counter Trump influence in GOP primaries

We wrote last month that Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed different candidates in Maryland’s gubernatorial GOP primary, which Hogan can’t run in due to term limits. The endorsement conflict doesn’t stop in Hogan’s current office. Hogan is campaigning for Republican incumbents around the country who have been critical of Trump and, in some cases, who face primary challengers Trump endorsed. 

Hogan has so far fundraised for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.). Politico reported that Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Idaho Gov. Brad Little may also receive Hogan’s support.

Hogan said, “It’s crazy. We’ve got the former president going after all these really good elected Republicans, and so I’m trying to support people who I think deserve to be in office. … We’re trying to help people wherever we can, and I’m sure we’re going to be doing a lot more of it.”

Hogan held a fundraiser with Herrera Beutler in December. She was one of 10 House Republicans to vote for impeaching Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. Hogan has also hosted fundraisers for Kemp. Kemp and Trump clashed on the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia. Trump backed challengers to both Herrera Beutler and Kemp.

Media outlets have discussed Hogan as a potential 2024 presidential contender, and Hogan hasn’t confirmed or denied that he’ll run. Politico‘s Alex Isenstadt wrote, “A Hogan 2024 bid would be decidedly uphill given Trump’s ongoing, vise-like hold over the GOP. But the governor has argued there is an opening in the party for a Trump critic.”  

Incumbents Miller, Davis face each other in redistricted IL-15

U.S. Rep. Mary Miller announced she’ll run for re-election in Illinois’ redrawn 15th Congressional District. Miller faces Rep. Rodney Davis, who represents the current 13th District, in the Republican primary. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Miller. Thirty-two of 35 county GOP chairs in the new 15th endorsed Davis.

Davis was first elected in 2012. Miller won her first term in 2020. Part of the current 15th District, which Miller represents, lies within the new 15th District. Miller’s home is in the new 12th District. Davis lives within the new 15th District. Illinois lost one congressional district following the 2020 census.

According to CNN, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) encouraged Trump to endorse Miller, while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) asked Trump not to get involved.

The Hill‘s Tal Axelrod wrote that Davis “has supported Trump in recent years but broke from him at times, including crossing the former president and House GOP leadership in voting to create a panel to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.” Davis criticized Trump in 2016 before the presidential election and went on to co-chair Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign in Illinois. 

Davis campaign spokesman Aaron DeGroot called Miller a carpetbagger and said Davis has “been hard at work highlighting his conservative accomplishments and work with President Trump during his time in office. … Rodney is an effective conservative member of Congress and Mary is not.” 

Miller said, “My life is spent in the real world, on my small family farm with my husband Chris, where we were blessed to raise our seven children and welcome our seventeen grandchildren. I bring those values to Washington, not the other way around.” Miller is a member of the House Freedom Caucus.

The primary is scheduled for June 28.

House GOP leadership backs Chris Smith for re-election after Trump calls for primary challenger

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) is running for a 22nd term in New Jersey’s 4th Congressional District with endorsements from the highest-ranking Republicans in the House—Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), and Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.). 

Smith was one of 13 House Republicans who voted for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, which President Joe Biden (D) signed into law in November. Trump encouraged people to launch primary challenges against Smith and several other Republicans who backed the infrastructure bill. 

So far, the primary field includes Mike Blasi, an Army veteran and retired law enforcement officer, and Mike Crispi, a talk show host. Save Jersey’s Matt Rooney reported that former Trump advisor Roger Stone would direct Crispi’s campaign. 

We wrote in a previous issue about Stone’s endorsement of Martin Hyde in Florida’s 16th Congressional District primary, where Hyde is challenging eight-term incumbent Vern Buchanan. 

New Jersey’s new congressional district map places Smith’s hometown in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District. Smith said he’ll move to a new house in the 4th Congressional District.  

The filing deadline is scheduled for April 4 and the primary, for June 7.

Gun policy becomes early issue in Georgia gubernatorial primary

Gun policy is in the spotlight in Georgia’s Republican gubernatorial primary, with incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp and former Sen. David Perdue both issuing statements in recent weeks.

Perdue said in a statement last month, “As governor, I’ll work with the state Legislature to finally enact constitutional carry. Georgia needs a bold leader who will make waves to get things done – not a career politician who hasn’t delivered.” 

Constitutional carry is one term (along with permitless carry) for a policy allowing people to carry a firearm without a permit. 

On Jan. 5, Kemp joined state lawmakers and the National Rifle Association to announce support for related legislation in the next legislative session. Kemp wrote in a press release, “As I said on the campaign trail in 2018, I believe the U.S. Constitution grants our citizens the right to carry a firearm without the approval of government. For law-abiding Georgians, the 2nd Amendment is their carry permit, and I look forward to working with members of the General Assembly to get Constitutional Carry across the finish line this legislative session.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote, “Georgians are currently required to have a Weapons Carry License to carry a concealed weapon. The process requires a valid Georgia ID, fingerprinting, a background check, and that the owner be at least 21 (with some exceptions).” The AJC also wrote that Kemp “endorsed constitutional carry during his first run for governor, but it’s stalled in the Legislature.”

The primary is set for May 24.

Trump endorses Dunleavy in Alaska—with a condition

Former President Trump offered a conditional endorsement of Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) in the 2022 gubernatorial election

Trump wrote that his endorsement “is subject to [Dunleavy’s] non-endorsement of Senator Lisa Murkowski who has been very bad for Alaska, including losing ANWAR, perhaps the most important drilling site in the world, and much else. In other words, if Mike endorses her, which is his prerogative, my endorsement of him is null and void, and of no further force or effect!”

After the House voted to impeach Trump in 2021, Murkowski was one of seven Senate Republicans to vote that Trump was guilty of inciting an insurrection.

A spokesman for Dunleavy confirmed Dunleavy accepted Trump’s endorsement. Dunleavy wrote to a Trump assistant, “Please tell the President thank you for the endorsement. With regard to the other issue, please tell the President he has nothing to worry about.”

In other endorsement news, on Jan. 3, Trump endorsed Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R) in the state’s gubernatorial election.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick endorses candidates in five GOP state Senate primaries

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (R)—who serves as president of the state Senate—has endorsed candidates in five contested GOP primaries. 

Patrick endorsed GOP primary candidates in four districts where Republican incumbents aren’t seeking re-election: Mayes Middleton (SD-11), Tan Parker (SD-12), former state Sen. Pete Flores (SD-24), and Kevin Sparks (SD-31). 

Patrick also endorsed State Rep. Phil King in SD-10, which was substantially modified when Texas enacted new state legislative districts on Oct. 25. State Sen. Beverly Powell (D) currently represents SD-10. The Dallas Morning News‘ Sami Sparber wrote that SD-10 “previously favored President Joe Biden by eight points, according to election returns. But the redrawn district would have gone for Republican Donald Trump by 16 points, a 24-point swing that likely dooms Powell’s hopes for re-election.” Powell was among a group of plaintiffs that filed a lawsuit in federal court on Nov. 3 challenging Texas’ legislative redistricting plan.

Nine of 31 Texas state Senate districts have contested Republican primaries this year, including five open races and two districts Democrats currently represent.

Patrick is himself running for re-election in 2022 and faces five challengers in the Republican primary.

Texas’ primary elections are scheduled for March 1. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in federal district court on Dec. 6 challenging Texas’ congressional and state House redistricting plans, arguing that the state’s new districts violate the Voting Rights Act and discriminate based on race and ethnicity. The lawsuit asks the court to block the state from conducting elections using those maps, which, if granted, would likely delay Texas’ primaries.

District leaders walk out of N.D. Republican State Committee meeting

Republican National Committeewoman Lori Hinz and seven district party chairs walked out of a Republican State Committee meeting in North Dakota last month in opposition to state Party Chairman Perrie Schafer’s appointment of eight temporary district chairs. The appointments followed a new state law allowing parties to appoint temporary district chairs to fill vacancies created during redistricting.

The Dec. 18 committee meeting was held to vote on bylaws and plan 2022’s convention. District 38 Chairman Jared Hendrix—one of the seven district chairs who walked out—said the meeting’s proceedings were illegitimate: “It was not proper to conduct very important business where the members of our party in those districts did not have elected representation at that meeting.”

The Minot Daily News wrote that Schafer “later explained that a short timeframe existed to replace the 25% of chairs who were removed from their districts due to redistricting. Some districts found their own replacements, but about eight were appointed by the state party after working with the district’s elected representatives.” Schafer said, “The only districts that were not represented were the ones that walked out.”
The state committee consists of 47 district chairs and the party executive committee.



Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 4

Rep. Sires retires, endorses predecessor’s son

On Dec. 21, U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D) announced he would not seek re-election, setting up an open-seat race for New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District. Sires endorsed Robert Menendez Jr., son of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D), for the district. Sen. Menendez was Sires’ predecessor in the House. 

Sires said of Robert, “I think he’s got the right temperament. He’s got the intelligence. I think he’s very well liked and he comes from good stock.” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D) also endorsed Menendez. 

Belleville Mayor Michael Melham said he is considering running for the district. Other local officials are reportedly considering bids as well. Hector Oseguera (D), who lost to Sires 27% to 70% in the 2020 Democratic primary, said, “I can guarantee that the progressives will not sit out the race. Who that candidate will be, I ultimately can’t say.” 

The Cook Political Report rated the 8th District Solid Democratic for the 2022 general election. Sires has represented the 8th District since 2013 and previously represented the 13th Congressional District from 2007 until 2012, when it was eliminated after the 2010 census. 

Since Sires’ announcement, two additional House Democrats, Bobby Rush (D) and Brenda Lawrence (D), have announced their retirements. Rush represents Illinois’ 1st Congressional District, a solidly Democratic district according to The Cook Political Report. Lawrence represents Michigan’s 14th Congressional District, which was eliminated after Michigan lost a congressional seat as a result of the 2020 census. Lawrence would have been in the new 12th District, which is solidly Democratic.   

Incumbent Reps. Levin, Stevens announce plans to run in redrawn MI-11

Democratic Reps. Andy Levin and Haley Stevens announced they will run in Michigan’s redrawn 11th Congressional District. Stevens represents the current 11th District and Levin represents the current 9th District. Both assumed office in January 2019.

Roll Call‘s Stephanie Akin wrote, “Levin, the more progressive of the two, has the advantage of a well-known family name. His father Sander Levin represented the region in the House for more than three decades and his uncle Carl Levin served as a senator for even longer. Stevens, though, brings more experience running competitive campaigns after two cycles as a top GOP target.”

FiveThirtyEight says the new 11th District has a partisan lean of D+15. Under the old map, the 11th District leaned R+2 and the 9th District, D+8.

This was the first redistricting cycle in which the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission was responsible for district maps. Voters approved a 2018 constitutional amendment that transferred redistricting authority from the state legislature to an independent commission. Michigan lost one congressional district following the 2020 census.

The filing deadline is April 19, and the primary is scheduled for Aug. 2.

Former county executive may run for Maryland governor as Democrat

On Dec. 20, former Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman established a campaign finance committee to run for governor as a Democrat. Neuman said, “I’m exploring a run for governor because I believe every Marylander should have access to opportunity, regardless of where their story starts.”

In 2013, Anne Arundel County officials appointed Neuman, then a Republican, to the county executive position. She ran for a full term in 2014 and lost in the Republican primary. Since leaving office, Neuman changed her party registration to Democratic.

Candidates currently seeking the Democratic nomination include former Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, and former U.S. Education Secretary John King, among others. Neuman would be the first woman to join the Democratic field.

Maryland has a divided government, with a Republican governor and Democrats holding supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature. Incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is term-limited.

Candidates have until Feb. 22 to file to run. The primary is set for June 28.

Downing drops bid for Massachusetts governor

Former state Sen. Benjamin Downing (D) suspended his gubernatorial campaign over the holiday. Downing, who represented a district in the western portion of the state for 10 years before resigning in 2017, was the first Democrat to enter the race.

In an interview with WAMC, Downing cited challenges raising funds and incumbent Charlie Baker’s (R) announcement that he would not seek re-election as reasons for suspending his campaign. Downing said that “candidates who otherwise may have chosen not to jump in will likely get in at the start of the next year.” As of Nov. 30, Downing had raised $442,000 during 2021, the third-highest fundraising total out of four declared Democrats.

Downing’s withdrawal leaves three Democrats in the running so far: nonprofit executive Danielle Allen, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, and business owner Orlando Silva. Local political observers expect Attorney General Maura Healey (D), who had $3.3 million in cash on hand as of Nov. 30, to enter the race. 

Although Democrats represent 82.5% of the state’s legislative districts—more than any other state besides Hawaii and Rhode Island—Republicans have won six of the 10 gubernatorial elections since 1982. The last Democrat to win election as governor was Deval Patrick in 2010.

The primary is set for Sept. 20.

Ocasio-Cortez staffer challenges incumbent in N.Y. Assembly primary

Jonathan Soto, a campaign staffer for U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D), announced he will challenge state Rep. Michael Benedetto (D) in Assembly District 82. In a Jan. 3 tweet, Soto said, “Bad news: It’s the first day of school & I can’t protect my kid through a remote option bc [Benedetto] authorized mayoral control [of New York City public schools] & the DOE now ignores us. Good news: The law expires in June. I’m running to end it & bring control back to my community.”

Before his campaign, Soto had worked for Ocasio-Cortez since 2020. He also challenged Benedetto in 2020 but withdrew before election day. Soto was a community liaison and director of the Center for Faith and Community Partnerships in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s (D) administration from 2015 to 2018. 

Benedetto, in addition to serving as state representative, is an adjunct instructor at Mercy College. He was a public school teacher and coordinated a special education unit. Benedetto told The City, “I welcome Mr. Soto back into the race for the 82nd District, again. Our democracy is vibrant when all challengers who feel they can do a better job decide to put their credentials forward and run.”

Benedetto was first elected in 2004 and since at least 2010 has either run unopposed in the Democratic primary or defeated challengers with at least 80% of the vote.

In 2020, six Democratic incumbents in the New York Legislature lost in primaries. That year saw the highest number of contested Democratic legislative primaries (53) in the state since at least 2014.

Parra drops U.S. House campaign to run for state Senate, Sens. Hurtado and Caballero face off

 

Former California Assemblywoman Nicole Parra (D) announced she was ending her U.S. House campaign to run for California State Senate after redistricting left the district open. Parra initially launched her campaign for California’s 21st Congressional District, which Rep. David Valadao (R) currently represents, in December 2020.

Parra said, “I was 100 percent ready to run for Congress, but when that Senate seat opened up … I know I could make an immediate impact. … I already have a lot of good bill ideas in my head, things that we can work on with different state agencies.” According to The San Joaquin Valley Sun, current Fresno Planning Commissioner and civil rights attorney Rob Fuentes (D) is also running for the district.

The Bakersfield Californian’s Sam Morgen wrote, “Most of the area is currently represented by Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger, but redistricting has altered political boundaries, splitting Hurtado’s district in two. Hurtado now plans to run in the district in which she lives, the 14th District, leaving the 16th District with no incumbent.” Sen. Anna Caballero (D), who currently represents the 12th District, will also run in the 14th District in a race that Vida en el valle’s Juan Esparza Loera wrote “will pit friends against each other.” 

California completed its redistricting process on Dec. 27. Currently, Democrats hold supermajorities in the state Assembly and the state Senate. CalMatters‘ Sameea Kamal wrote, “Republicans need to flip at least five seats in the Senate, or seven in the Assembly, to end the [Democratic] supermajority … While the Democratic majority in the state Senate might shrink under the new map, Democrats’ grip of the Assembly could tighten.” 

The filing deadline for the primary is March 11. The primary is scheduled for June 7. 



Third-party candidates who received more votes than the margin of victory in 2021 elections

We covered more than 800 elections around the country on Nov. 2, 2021, and we found five third-party candidates who received more votes in their elections than the margin of victory between the winning candidate and the runner-up. Our analysis included local races within our coverage scope.

In single-seat elections, that’s the difference in votes between the first- and second-place finishers. In multi-seat elections, that’s the difference between the votes for the person who won with the fewest votes and for the person who lost with the most votes.

Here’s the partisan affiliation of the five third-party candidates with more votes than the margin of victory: 

  • 2 Conservative Party candidates
  • 1 Green Party candidate
  • 1 Libertarian Party candidate
  • 1 Public Service Party candidate

The tables below show the five third-party candidates, the winners and runners-up in each election, the margin of victory between them, and the number of votes the third-party candidate received. Two of the candidates were in the same race—for Erie County sheriff in New York. Two candidates ran in state legislative elections and three in local elections. In both state legislative elections, incumbents were defeated.

All were single-seat elections except New Jersey’s General Assembly District 11 race. Two candidates, both Republicans, won that election. Two Democrats and the Green Party candidate, Dominique Faison, lost.

The race for Virginia House of Delegates District 91 was the only state legislative election in 2021 decided by fewer than 100 votes.



Kshama Sawant defeats recall effort

District 3 City Councilmember Kshama Sawant defeated a recall effort in Seattle, Washington. The election was held Dec. 7. As of Dec. 16, there were 306 more votes opposed to the recall than supporting it. Results will be certified Dec. 17. 

The Seattle Times reported, “Any challenged ballots resolved between the time votes were counted on Thursday afternoon and the 4:30 p.m. deadline — about a two-hour window — were to be added to the count before certification, according to King County Elections Chief of Staff Kendall Hodson. That number is unlikely to change the results.”

Recall organizers alleged that Sawant misused city funds in support of a ballot initiative, disregarded regulations related to COVID-19 by admitting people into City Hall for a rally, and misused her official position by disclosing Mayor Jenny Durkan’s residents to protesters. Sawant referred to the effort as a “right-wing recall” and called the charges dishonest. See our coverage below to read the full sample ballot and court filings from both parties.

Sawant is a member of the Socialist Alternative Party. The city council office is officially nonpartisan.

Additional reading:



Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 3 (December 16, 2021)

Welcome to our last biweekly edition of The Heart of the Primaries. Catch us weekly on Thursdays in the new year, starting Jan. 6!

Early messaging in Ohio’s GOP Senate primary

Fourteen candidates are running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Ohio so far. The current incumbent, Sen. Rob Portman (R), is retiring. Candidates and satellite groups have been running ads since the first few months of 2021. Here are some highlights.  

This month, candidate Bernie Moreno released an ad comparing inflation under President Joe Biden (D) to inflation during Jimmy Carter’s (D) presidency. In another ad, Moreno refers to himself as a “pro-Trump legal immigrant.” Moreno immigrated to the U.S. from Columbia as a child. 

Also this month, investment banker Mike Gibbons released an ad opposing candidate J.D. Vance, highlighting Vance’s past criticisms of former President Donald Trump (R). Gibbons discussed his stances on immigration and election security in another ad. Gibbons ran for Senate in 2018, placing second in the GOP primary behind Jim Renacci 32% to 47%.

The Club for Growth and the USA Freedom Fund have also released ads criticizing Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy, over his previous statements on Trump. Both groups have endorsed former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, who was the Republican nominee for Senate in 2012. He lost to Sherrod Brown (D) 45% to 51%. A USA Freedom Fund ad also criticizes Jane Timken and Gibbons.

Vance said in July, “I ask folks not to judge me based on what I said in 2016, because I’ve been very open that I did say those critical things and I regret them, and I regret being wrong about the guy [Trump]. I think he was a good president.”

Mandel says in an ad titled “Faith” that his grandmother was “saved from the Nazis by a network of courageous Christians, who risked their lives to save hers. Without their faith, I’m not here today.” 

Timken, a former state Republican Party chair, has released ads about her opposition to critical race theory, mask and vaccine mandates, and Biden’s immigration policy.

The primary is scheduled for May 3. Four Republican primary candidates have filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Click their names below to read their responses.

North Carolina Supreme Court postpones statewide primary to May 17

On Dec. 8, the North Carolina Supreme Court issued an order postponing the state’s primary election from March 8 to May 17. The change comes as a result of two lawsuits that originated in Wake County Superior Court challenging the newly enacted congressional and state legislative district maps that the state legislature passed. Both lawsuits allege partisan and racial gerrymandering.

The court also suspended the Dec. 17 candidate filing deadline for those elections and ordered the trial court to make whatever changes to the election schedule necessary. The trial court has until Jan. 11 to make a final ruling.

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R), a named defendant in both lawsuits, said the order moving the election date “leaves North Carolinians with uncertainty,” adding, “Despite this delay, we are confident that we will prevail at trial.” Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said the court’s order “restores faith in the rule of law and it is necessary for the Court to rule on the constitutionality of these unfair districts before the next election.”

All states have been engaged in redistricting after the 2020 census. This is the only primary date changed during the 2022 election cycle (so far). We’ll follow up with North Carolina’s filing deadline and any news on changes to the primary timeline in other states.

Rep. Miller might challenge either Rep. Davis or Rep. Bost after Illinois redistricting

U.S. Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.) told Politico that she is planning to run for re-election but hasn’t decided which House district she’ll run in. According to Politico, “Illinois’ new congressional map splits her downstate district in two, leaving her in the undesirable spot of choosing between challenging GOP Reps. Mike Bost or Rodney Davis, two well-funded and popular incumbents who have both declared 2022 bids.” Miller, first elected in 2020, represents Illinois’ 15th Congressional District.

First elected in 2014, Bost represents Illinois’ 12th Congressional District and is running for re-election. Bost said of his chances after redistricting, “If you look at the largest cities…the first five largest cities are in my old district.”

Davis, who was first elected to the House in 2012, currently represents Illinois’ 13th Congressional District and will run in the new 15th District. Davis said, “We didn’t ask for the gerrymandered mess that is the Illinois map. … But I’m going to run in the district that I live in, which is always where I will run. And my job is to make sure that we hold that seat for Republicans.”

CNN’s Melanie Zanona and Manu Raju reported that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has encouraged Trump to endorse Miller and that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has asked Trump not to get involved. Zanona and Raju wrote, “A Trump endorsement would turbocharge the intraparty battle and potentially make things even stickier, something GOP leaders are eager to avoid.”

Illinois lost one U.S. House district following the 2020 census—down to 17 from 18. The state enacted its new congressional map on Nov. 24. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “The new map drawn by state Democrats includes three very safe GOP districts, down from five.” The filing deadline is scheduled for March, and primaries are scheduled for June 28.

Former Sen. David Perdue challenging Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp

Former Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) announced on Dec. 6 he is running for governor of Georgia, setting up a primary challenge to incumbent Brian Kemp. The primary is scheduled for May 24.


In a video announcing his candidacy, Perdue said, “Unfortunately, today, we are divided, and Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger are to blame. Look, I like Brian. This isn’t personal. It’s simple. He has failed all of us and cannot win in November.” Kemp and Raffensperger—Georgia’s Republican secretary of state—clashed with Trump over the legitimacy of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results. Trump and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) endorsed Perdue, each saying Kemp’s conflict with Trump meant he could not win the general election.

On Dec. 10, Perdue filed a lawsuit in state court asking for an inspection of the 2020 election’s absentee ballots in Fulton County.

 

Kemp spokesman Cody Hall said, “Perdue is best known for ducking debates, padding his stock portfolio during a pandemic, and losing winnable races.” The political action committee Georgians First Leadership Committee released six ads between Dec. 6 and Dec. 14 criticizing Perdue for stock trades at the start of the pandemic, losing his Senate re-election bid, and his business record. The group also launched an opposition website. 

Perdue was first elected to the Senate in 2014 and lost to Jon Ossoff (D) 49.4% to 50.6% in the January 2021 Senate runoff. Kemp defeated Stacey Abrams (D) 50.2% to 48.8% in the 2018 gubernatorial election. Abrams is running again in 2022. Before serving as governor, Kemp was secretary of state from 2010 to 2018.  

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey draws several primary challengers

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) is seeking re-election. Since Ivey announced her bid in June,  several other Republicans have launched primary campaigns. 

Ivey assumed office in 2017 after serving as the state’s lieutenant governor. Ivey is running on what she says is a record of job creation, signing pro-life and anti-critical race theory legislation, and pushing back against the Biden administration.

Among Ivey’s challengers is Lynda Blanchard, who served as Trump’s ambassador to Slovenia from 2019 to 2021. Blanchard originally declared her candidacy for the Alabama U.S. Senate race before entering the gubernatorial race. Blanchard said she is running because “people made it unmistakably clear to me that they wanted a conservative outsider, not just in (Washington) D.C. but … here in Montgomery, a leader who will run our state boldly.”

Another challenger is correctional officer Stacy George. George has criticized Ivey’s COVID-19 emergency orders and supports a state lottery to fund mental health services.

Candidate Tim James is a toll road developer and the son of former Alabama Gov. Fob James. James has criticized Ivey for supporting a 2019 increase in the gas tax. His platform includes working to ban same-sex marriage.

Dean Odle, a pastor, said he is running because he thinks Ivey mishandled the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also criticized Ivey’s handling of the state’s prisons and support for the gas tax increase. 

Candidate Jim Zeigler is the current Alabama auditor. Zeigler said, “Governor Ivey is not running the Governor’s office. We have a Joe Biden situation in Montgomery. So Joe Biden is not running the President’s office. In Alabama, our former congressman, Jo Bonner, is the chief of staff, and he is running things. He is the acting governor of Alabama.” 

The primary is scheduled for May 24.

Mike Brown to challenge Kansas SoS Scott Schwab

Former Johnson County Commissioner Mike Brown announced he would run for Kansas secretary of state on Dec. 7, challenging incumbent Scott Schwab in the Republican primary. The primary is scheduled for Aug. 2. 

Brown said, “Kansans’ trust in our elections has been broken. I fix problems and I want to restore their faith in our broken election system. Anything less than 100% confidence in our elections should never be enough for the Kansas Secretary of State.”

A spokeswoman for Schwab, Lydia Meiss, said, “While others would rather play partisan politics with our elections, Scott is working hard to defend your right to vote securely and safely. To Scott, this is not about politics — it’s about protecting your vote and your rights.”

Brown served as county commissioner for one term before Shirley Allenbrand defeated him in 2020. Schwab is a former Republican member of the Kansas House of Representatives. He was elected secretary of state in 2018.

Texas primary update after Dec. 13 filing deadline

The filing period for Texas’ U.S. House and state legislative races ended on Dec. 13. Texas has next year’s first primaries on March 1. We reviewed the list of candidates that filed with the secretary of state’s office to identify the number of contested primaries. The numbers below were current the morning of Dec. 15. Note that the state may not have processed all candidates at that time. 

U.S. House of Representatives

  • 91 Republican candidates have filed.
  • 20 Republican incumbents filed for re-election. Republicans currently represent three U.S. House districts where no incumbent is running.
  • Nine Republican incumbents currently face a contested primary.
  • 21 U.S. House districts have multiple Republican candidates. 

The current partisan composition of Texas’ U.S. House districts is 13 Democrats and 23 Republicans. The state gained two additional districts after the 2020 census.

State Senate

  • 34 Republican candidates have filed.
  • 14 Republican incumbents have filed for re-election. Four Republican incumbents are not running for re-election.
  • 1 Republican incumbent currently faces a contested primary.
  • 6 Senate districts have multiple Republican candidates.

The current partisan composition of the Texas Senate is 18 Republicans and 13 Democrats.

State House of Representatives

  • 201 Republican candidates have filed.
  • 69 Republican incumbents have filed for re-election. Fifteen Republican incumbents are not running for re-election. In addition, State Rep. Trent Ashby (HD-57) is running in Texas’ 9th House District.
  • 24 Republican incumbents currently face a contested primary.
  • 47 House districts have multiple Republican candidates.

The current partisan composition of the Texas House is 85 Republicans and 65 Democrats.

Texas county GOP to conduct its own party primary

The Potter County Republican Party in Texas announced it would conduct its own primary in March rather than contract the primary to the county election board. The county election board is still expected to handle absentee and early voting. State law allows county parties to conduct their own primary elections. According to The New York Times, “the vast majority have contracted with local boards of election for decades.”

Daniel Rogers, the county party chair, said he made the decision because voters in his party had concerns about electronic vote counters and that paper ballots were more secure. Rogers said, “The voters are smarter than our elected officials, than administrators—they don’t trust the voters. I do.” 

Potter County is located in the panhandle of Texas and had a population of 118,525 as of the 2020 census. There are approximately 57,000 registered voters in the county. Its largest city and county seat is Amarillo. Trump received nearly 70% of the vote in Potter County in 2020.



Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 3 (December 16, 2021)

Welcome to our last biweekly edition of The Heart of the Primaries. Catch us weekly on Thursdays in the new year, starting Jan. 6!

Abortion stances become a focal point in TX-28 rematch

Texas’ March 1 primaries will feature a rematch between U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar and Jessica Cisneros in the 28th Congressional District. Cuellar defeated Cisneros 51.8% to 48.2% in 2020.


The issue of abortion is receiving national attention partly due to a Texas law restricting abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. The law went into effect on Sept. 1 and was the subject of two recent U.S. Supreme Court cases. The abortion debate is cropping up in the 28th District Democratic primary.

Among Cisneros’ endorsers are NARAL Pro-Choice America, EMILY’s List, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund. In its November endorsement, Planned Parenthood Action Fund mentioned the Texas law.  

Cisneros’ press release announcing Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s endorsement said Cuellar has been “proudly anti-choice for decades, co-sponsoring anti-choice legislation with Republicans, supported Trump-era restrictions on abortion and reproductive healthcare, was the only Democrat to vote in favor of the discriminatory Hyde amendment this Congress and most recently was the only Democrat to vote against the Women’s Health Protection Act.”


Cuellar said he voted against the bill, which would have limited restrictions on abortion, because “I am a Catholic, and I do believe in rights and right to life. … Sometimes people vote because of political (views), they think this is a Democratic or Republican issue. To me, it’s a matter of conscience.” 

Tannya Benavides is also running in the Democratic primary. In September, she and Cisneros held an event on Instagram to discuss Texas’ abortion law. Benavides said, “Abortion access is health care. It’s so bizarre that this is where we have gotten to.”

In the 2020 Democratic primary, Cuellar said his district “is more moderate, conservative Democrats” and that he understood south Texas politics.

While it doesn’t tell us anything about the ideological leaning of Democrats within the district, recent redistricting will make the 28th District a little more Democratic than in the past. President Joe Biden (D) would have defeated Donald Trump (R) 53% to 46% in the redrawn district. Biden defeated Trump 52% to 47% in the current district.

North Carolina Supreme Court postpones statewide primary to May 17

On Dec. 8, the North Carolina Supreme Court issued an order postponing the state’s primary election from March 8 to May 17. The change comes as a result of two lawsuits that originated in Wake County Superior Court challenging the newly enacted congressional and state legislative district maps that the state legislature passed. Both lawsuits allege partisan and racial gerrymandering.

The court also suspended the Dec. 17 candidate filing deadline for those elections and ordered the trial court to make whatever changes to the election schedule necessary. The trial court has until Jan. 11 to make a final ruling.

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R), a named defendant in both lawsuits, said the order moving the election date “leaves North Carolinians with uncertainty,” adding, “Despite this delay, we are confident that we will prevail at trial.” Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said the court’s order “restores faith in the rule of law and it is necessary for the Court to rule on the constitutionality of these unfair districts before the next election.”

All states have been engaged in redistricting after the 2020 census. This is the only primary date changed during the 2022 election cycle (so far). We’ll follow up with North Carolina’s filing deadline and any news on changes to the primary timeline in other states.

Vermont follow-up: Gray, Balint announce bids for open U.S. House seat

Since our last issue, Vermont Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint (D) and Lt. Gov. Molly Gray (D) officially announced their campaigns for the state’s at-large U.S. House seat. Current Rep. Peter Welch (D) is running for U.S. Senate. The current incumbent, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), is retiring. The primary is scheduled for Aug. 9.

Endorsements for Newman, Casten in incumbent-vs.-incumbent primary

U.S. Reps. Sean Casten (D) and Marie Newman (D) will run against one another in the primary for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District after Newman’s current district was eliminated in redistricting. Both candidates have received endorsements from national influencers and organizations in recent weeks.

Casten announced endorsements from 12 U.S. House members, including Illinois Reps. Bill Foster (D) and Brad Schneider (D), on Dec. 1. Among the other members endorsing him were Maxine Waters (D), chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee, and Kathy Castor (D), chairwoman of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Casten’s campaign released a list of more than 40 local endorsers on Dec. 8, including seven state legislators and seven county board members.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus’ political action committee endorsed Newman on Dec. 8. The 95-member caucus’ stated goal is enacting policies that “prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and advance civil liberties.” Newman’s other recent endorsers include 10 mayors and the Amalgamated Transit Union Locals 241 and 308.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund endorsed both Casten and Newman.

Newman was first elected to the House in 2020 after defeating incumbent Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary. Casten defeated incumbent Peter Roskam (R) in the 2018 general election. 

Nancy Pelosi endorses Tom Perez in Maryland gubernatorial primary

On Dec. 13, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) endorsed Tom Perez in the Maryland Democratic gubernatorial primary. Pelosi said on Twitter, “Maryland has an opportunity to flip from red to blue, and the most qualified person to do just that is my friend Tom Perez.”

Perez was U.S. secretary of labor from 2013 to 2017 and chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2017 to 2021.

The Democratic primary so far includes Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, former state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, and former U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. The Washington Post‘s Ovetta Wiggins said Pelosi’s endorsement “could give [Perez] an edge in a race where no candidate has emerged as a clear front-runner for the nomination.”

An email Ballotpedia received on Dec. 16 stated that Bread and Roses Party of Maryland founder Jerome Segal was entering the Democratic gubernatorial primary as well.

Incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is term-limited. In 2018, Hogan defeated Ben Jealous (D) 55% to 44%. In 2020, Biden defeated Trump in Maryland 65% to 32% 

The Democratic primary is scheduled for June 28. 

New York follow-up: Letitia James out of gubernatorial race

New York Attorney General Letitia James dropped out of the Democratic primary for governor and announced she’ll seek re-election. Several Democrats who were running for attorney general dropped out of that race after James’ announcement. We covered the New York gubernatorial primary in our first two issues.

Betsy Johnson, running as independent, receives Knute Buehler’s endorsement for Oregon governor

One of the notable stories in Oregon’s gubernatorial election so far is who’s not running in the Democratic primary. Democratic state Sen. Betsy Johnson is running as an independent. Johnson served in the state House from 2001 to 2005 and has been in the state Senate since 2007. Johnson said her candidacy will give voters an alternative to a “left-wing liberal” or a “right-wing Trump apologist.” 

Oregon Capital Bureau‘s Gary A. Warner wrote, “Johnson has consistently been the most moderate of Democrats in the Senate. While backing most of her party’s social issue stances, including support for abortion rights, she has voted with Republicans on issues such as business restrictions, gun rights and limiting carbon emissions.”

On Dec. 7, Knute Buehler—the Republican gubernatorial nominee in 2018—endorsed Johnson. Buehler wrote in a Facebook post, “It is vital that we break the iron grip monopoly of the radical left on power, politics, and policy in our state” and that “the Republican Party is no longer a viable alternative in Oregon.” Buehler left the Republican Party in early 2021 and registered as nonaffiliated following the Jan. 6 Capitol breach and the Oregon Republican Party’s response to the event. (The party said there was evidence the event was a “‘false flag’ operation designed to discredit President Trump, his supporters, and all conservative Republicans.”)

So far, eight Democrats and 12 Republicans are running in Oregon’s gubernatorial primaries, scheduled for May 17. The Democratic primary field includes state House Speaker Tina Kotek, former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, and state Treasurer Tobias Read. Kotek leads in endorsements, with several from state representatives, unions, and groups including EMILY’s List

Texas primary update after Dec. 13 filing deadline

The filing period for Texas’ U.S. House and state legislative races ended on Dec. 13. Texas has next year’s first primaries on March 1. We reviewed the list of candidates that filed with the secretary of state’s office to identify the number of contested primaries. The numbers below were current the morning of Dec. 15. Note that the state may not have processed all candidates at that time. 

U.S. House of Representatives

  • 78 Democratic candidates have filed.
  • 11 Democratic incumbents filed for re-election. Democrats currently represent three U.S. House districts where no incumbent is running. In addition, Rep. Vincente Gonzalez (D-15) is running in Texas’ 34th District. The current incumbent, Rep. Filemon Vela (D), is not seeking re-election. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-35) is running in the newly created 37th Congressional District.
  • Five Democratic incumbents currently face a contested primary.
  • 17 U.S. House districts have multiple Democratic candidates.

The current partisan composition of Texas’ U.S. House districts is 13 Democrats and 23 Republicans. The state gained two additional districts after the 2020 census.

State Senate

  • 29 Democratic candidates have filed.
  • 10 Democratic incumbents have filed for re-election. SD-27 incumbent Eddie Lucio (D) announced on Nov. 4 that he would not run for re-election.
  • 1 Democratic incumbent currently faces a contested primary.
  • 4 Senate districts have multiple Democratic candidates.

The current partisan composition of the Texas Senate is 18 Republicans and 13 Democrats.

State House of Representatives

  • 153 Democratic candidates have filed.
  • 53 Democratic incumbents have filed for re-election. Twelve Democratic incumbents are not running for re-election.
  • 8 Democratic incumbents currently face a contested primary.
  • 25 House districts have multiple Democratic candidates. 

The current partisan composition of the Texas House is 85 Republicans and 65 Democrats.



Initial results in recall of Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant

Seattle held an election on Dec. 7 asking voters if District 3 City Councilmember Kshama Sawant should be recalled. Initial results published on election night showed 53% supporting the recall and 47% opposing it. Washington uses mail-in voting, and ballots needed to be postmarked by election day. King County Elections will continue counting mail ballots in the coming days and will certify election results on Dec. 17. 

According to The Seattle Times, this was the first city council recall to make the ballot in Seattle’s history.

Recall organizers alleged that Sawant misused city funds in support of a ballot initiative, disregarded regulations related to COVID-19 by admitting people into City Hall for a rally, and misused her official position by disclosing Mayor Jenny Durkan’s home address to protesters. Sawant referred to the effort as a “right-wing recall” and called the charges against her dishonest. See our coverage linked below to read the full sample ballot and court filings from both parties.

Sawant was first elected in 2013. Though the office of city council is officially nonpartisan, Sawant is a member of the Socialist Alternative Party and was the first socialist elected to Seattle city government in 97 years.

Only voters within District 3 could vote in the recall election. If Sawant is recalled, council members will appoint a replacement and a special election will be held in 2022. The next regularly scheduled election for this seat is in 2023. Sawant would be eligible to run in those elections.

Additional reading: