Author

Amee LaTour

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

Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 23 (May 19, 2022)

In this issue: Takeaways from five states’ primaries and former V.P. Pence to campaign for Kemp

Primary results roundup

Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Oregon held primaries on May 17.

The big stories of the night: Expected Pennsylvania recount, Cawthorn defeated, and more

Pennsylvania Senate: As of Thursday morning, the race remained too close to call. Mehmet Oz led with 31.2% of the vote, while David McCormick received 31.1% and Kathy Barnette received 24.7%. Seven candidates ran in the primary. Senator Pat Toomey (R) did not run for re-election.

Under state law, any election with a vote margin within 0.5% is subject to an automatic recount. If applicable, the secretary of state must order the recount by May 26. It must start by June 1 and be completed by June 7.

Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Oz in April. Former candidate Sean Parnell, whom Trump initially endorsed before Parnell withdrew, endorsed McCormick. On May 12, Trump issued a statement opposing Barnette, who rose in recent polls. 

Three independent race forecasters rate the general election either Toss-up or Tilt Republican

North Carolina’s 11th: State Sen. Chuck Edwards defeated incumbent Madison Cawthorn and six others in the Republican primary for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District. Eight candidates were on the ballot. Edwards received 33.4% of the vote to Cawthorn’s 31.9%.

Cawthorn is the second U.S. representative to seek re-election and lose a primary this year. Rep. David McKinley (R) lost to Rep. Alexander Mooney (R) in West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. The two ran in the same district following redistricting. In addition, Rep. Bob Gibbs (R) remained on the ballot in Ohio’s 7th District after he unofficially withdrew. Max Miller won that primary. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D) of Oregon’s 5th is trailing challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner as of Thursday morning and may become the third House member to lose a re-election bid.

Trump endorsed Cawthorn on March 31. Following Cawthorn’s claims in late March 2022 that Washington lawmakers hold orgies and use cocaine, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) endorsed Edwards. 

Three independent forecasters rate the general election either Safe or Solid Republican

Pennsylvania Governor: State Sen. Doug Mastriano won against eight candidates. Mastriano received 44% of the vote. Former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta was second with 20%.

Mastriano campaigned on his opposition to COVID-19 measures and said he would defend election integrity. Mastriano said voting fraud was prevalent in the 2020 election. On Feb. 15, the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach subpoenaed Mastriano, citing a November 2020 tweet and his presence outside the Capitol on the day of the breach. Trump endorsed Mastriano on May 14.

The 2022 primary featured the largest number of candidates in a Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial primary since at least 1978. Incumbent Tom Wolf (D) is term-limited. Forecasters view the general election as a Toss-up or Tilt or Lean Democratic.

Idaho Governor: Incumbent Gov. Brad Little defeated seven other candidates. Little received 53% of the vote to Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin’s 32%.

According to the Idaho Press‘s Betsy Russell, a lieutenant governor hadn’t challenged an incumbent governor in a primary in Idaho since 1938. Idaho is one of 17 states where the lieutenant governor is elected separately from the governor instead of on the same ticket.

Trump endorsed McGeachin in the primary. The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund and the Idaho Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Little.

Twice in 2021, McGeachin issued executive orders related to COVID-19 measures while Little was out of state. The first banned mask mandates. The second expanded a prohibition against state entities requiring vaccination or testing. Little rescinded both orders when he returned to Idaho.

Independent forecasters rate the general election as Solid or Safe Republican.

We’ve been tracking Trump’s 2022 endorsements. The May 17 primary results (so far) bring Trump’s primary endorsement record to 73 wins (96%) and 3 losses. Aside from McGeachin and Cawthorn, Nebraska gubernatorial endorsee Charles Herbster lost last week.

Other marquee primary results

U.S. Senate

  • North Carolina Senate: Ted Budd defeated 13 other candidates with 59% of the vote. Pat McCrory was second with 25%. Trump endorsed Budd, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) endorsed McCrory. Incumbent Richard Burr (R) did not run for re-election. Three forecasters rate the general election as Lean Republican.

U.S. House

  • North Carolina’s 13th: Bo Hines defeated seven other candidates with 32% of the vote. DeVan Barbour IV finished second with 23%. The current incumbent, Rep. Ted Budd, ran for the GOP Senate nomination. Three forecasters rate the general election a Toss-up.

State legislative incumbents defeated

At least 30 state legislators—eight Democrats and 22 Republicans—lost in primaries on May 17. Including those defeats, 44 state legislative incumbents have lost to primary challengers this year. This number will likely increase: there are 42 primaries or primary runoffs featuring incumbents that remain uncalled or undecided.

Across the nine states that have held primaries, 4.7% of incumbents running for re-election have lost.

That 4.7% loss rate is the highest compared to previous cycles in these nine states. In 2020, 3.3% of incumbents running for re-election lost primaries. In 2018, 4.3% lost in primaries.

Of the nine states that have held primaries so far, one had a Democratic trifecta, five had Republican trifectas, and three had divided governments with Democrats controlling the governorship and Republicans controlling both legislative chambers. Across these nine states, 1,114 seats are up for election, 18% of the nationwide total.

Media analysis

The Washington Examiner‘s Kate Scanlon wrote about Mastriano’s perceived gubernatorial general election prospects: 

Trump offered his endorsement to Mastriano on Saturday after it became clear he was the front-runner in the race. The move was seen as a hedge, as Trump’s selection for the Senate, television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, was in a tight three-way race with businessman David McCormick and conservative commentator Kathy Barnette, who surged in polling in the final days of the race. Barnette and Mastriano ran campaigns in tandem, endorsing one another.

Some state Republicans were concerned Mastriano would hurt Republicans’ chances of winning not just the governor’s mansion but the Senate race and some congressional contests. They attempted to coalesce the field around former Rep. Lou Barletta, arguing he was better positioned to defeat Shapiro in November.

Politico‘s David Siders said Mastriano’s prospects may be better than some observers think, referencing Trump’s performance in the state:

Everything about Pennsylvania’s swing state electorate suggests Mastriano is a dead man walking.

Except for this: Lots of Republicans and Democrats alike felt exactly the same way about Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential primary, back when establishment Republicans were praying for anyone other than Trump to win the nomination and some of Hillary Clinton’s advisers were salivating over the prospect of running against Trump. The climate for Democrats in this midterm election year is no better than it was then. In fact, it’s worse. And Pennsylvania is a swing state for a reason. Trump only lost Pennsylvania by about 80,000 votes in 2020. He won the state four years earlier.

Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser described what he saw as both the strength and limitation of Trump’s influence in Tuesday’s primaries:  

The [Senate primary in Pennsylvania] is proving another test of Trump’s immense sway over the GOP. Sixteen months removed from the White House, the former president remains the most popular and influential politician in the Republican Party as he plays a kingmaker’s role in this year’s primaries and repeatedly flirts with another presidential run in 2024.

Trump was a winner in Pennsylvania’s GOP gubernatorial primary, as state Sen. Doug Mastriano bested a crowded field of contenders. Mastriano was already the polling front-runner when the former president endorsed him on Saturday.

Trump was also a big winner in North Carolina’s Republican Senate primary – in another crucial race in a general election battleground where the GOP’s defending an open seat.  

Trump’s clout couldn’t pull controversial Rep. Madison Cawthorne over the top in the Republican primary in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District, however. Even with Trump’s backing in the final days heading into the primary, Cawthorne – who’s made plenty of enemies in the GOP in his short year and a half on Capitol Hill – came up short to state Sen. Chuck Edwards, who enjoyed the backing of many of the party’s establishment.

In Idaho, far-right Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin handily lost her bid to oust incumbent Republican Gov. Brad Little. Trump endorsed McGeachin last autumn, but did little to actively support her.

First poll released for special U.S. House top-four primary in Alaska

Alaska Survey Research published the first poll we’ve seen of Alaska’s top-four U.S. House special primary. The poll included 12 of the 48 candidates by name. 

We’ve colored in the names below based on party affiliation (blue for Democrats, red for Republicans, and gray for independents). Affiliation was not included in the poll.

  • Palin 19%
  • Begich 16%
  • Gross 13%
  • Claus 6%
  • Peltola 5%
  • Constant 5%
  • Sweeney 4%
  • Revak 4%
  • Lowenfels 3%
  • Wool 2%
  • Halcro 2%
  • Coghill 2%
  • Other 4%
  • Undecided 16%

The poll’s margin of error was +/- 4 percentage points.

Former Governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin (R), Nick Begich III (R), and 2020 U.S. Senate candidate Al Gross (I) top the results. A cluster of candidates are within the margin of error for fourth place, including North Pole City Councilmember Santa Claus (I), former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D), Anchorage Assemblymember Christopher Constant (D), former Assistant Secretary of the Interior Tara Sweeney (R), and state Sen. Josh Revak (R).

Sweeney and Revak co-chaired former Rep. Don Young’s (R) statewide re-election campaign. Young died in March. 

The special primary is June 11, and the special general election is Aug. 16. The regularly scheduled primary will also be held Aug. 16.

In addition to top-four primaries, Alaska will use ranked-choice voting for both general elections.

Alaska Survey Research tested four general election scenarios. Each included Begich, Gross, and Palin, with someone different in the fourth spot. In each RCV simulation, Begich and Gross were left standing in the 3rd round, with Begich taking a majority.

Minnesota GOP endorses Scott Jensen for governor

On Saturday, the Minnesota Republican Party endorsed Scott Jensen for governor. According to the Star Tribune, it was “a heated endorsement fight that started with a crowded field of contenders and featured multiple rounds of balloting.” Kendall Qualls, who finished second in the voting, announced after the GOP convention that he was dropping out of the race.

Jensen, a physician who served in the state Senate from 2017 to 2021, has campaigned on his opposition to vaccine and mask requirements. 

Gov. Tim Walz (D) is seeking re-election. The primaries are Aug. 9.

Former Vice President Mike Pence to campaign for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp

Former Vice President Mike Pence (R) announced he’ll be campaigning for Gov. Brian Kemp (R) at a rally on May 23. Pence said Kemp is “one of the most successful conservative governors in America.”

Kemp faces former U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R) and three others in the May 24 primary. Trump endorsed Perdue in December, saying, “Kemp has been a very weak Governor—the liberals and RINOs have run all over him on Election Integrity, and more.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Greg Bluestein said Pence’s upcoming rally appearance “illustrates a growing proxy fight in Georgia between establishment forces backing Kemp and the Trump loyalists who want to remake the state Republican Party in the former president’s mold.” Bluestein said Pence’s endorsement “deepen[ed] a split with Donald Trump as each maneuvers for a possible 2024 White House run.”

Pence’s announcement followed news that Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R), Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), and former President George W. Bush (R) would campaign for Kemp. Ricketts and Ducey are co-chairmen of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), and Christie is a former RGA chairman.

Competitiveness data: Alabama

Alabama holds primaries on May 24. We’ve crunched some numbers to see how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles.

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.


Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 23 (May 19, 2022)

In this issue: Takeaways from five states’ primaries and another possible incumbent-vs.-incumbent primary in NY

Primary results roundup

Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Oregon held primaries on May 17.

The big stories of the night: Fetterman wins, and too-close-to-call House races in Oregon

Pennsylvania Senate: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman defeated U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, and Alexandria Khalil. As of Thursday morning, Fetterman received 59% of the vote and Lamb was second with 26%.

Fetterman’s top campaign priorities were adopting a single-payer healthcare system, legalizing marijuana, and supporting LGBTQIA+ rights. The Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association and The Philadelphia Tribune were among his backers. Lamb said his priorities included expanding Medicare, reducing prescription drug prices, a $15 minimum wage, and strengthening unions. Lamb’s endorsers included the Philadelphia Democratic Party and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Pennsylvania is one of two states Joe Biden won in 2020 that has a U.S. Senate election this year in which the current incumbent is a Republican. Pennsylvania is also one of six states with one senator who caucuses with Democrats and another who caucuses with Republicans. 

Oregon’s 5th: As of Thursday morning, Jamie McLeod-Skinner led incumbent Kurt Schrader 60%-39%. Schrader has represented the 5th District since 2009. According to Daily Kos, 47% of the population in the new 5th District after redistricting comes from the old 5th District that Schrader has represented. 

Schrader campaigned on what he called a record of bipartisanship, saying it represented his constituents. McLeod-Skinner criticized Schrader’s record and said she’d do more on the issues of housing, healthcare, childcare, and the environment. 

President Joe Biden (D) and Planned Parenthood Action Fund were among Schrader’s endorsers. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and the Democratic parties in Deschutes, Linn, Clackamas, and Marion counties—containing more than 90% of the new district’s voters—endorsed McLeod-Skinner.

Schrader may become the third House member to lose a re-election bid this year. Reps. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) and David McKinley (R-W.V.) lost their primaries. 

Oregon’s 6th: As of Thursday morning, Andrea Salinas led eight other candidates with 37% of the vote. Carrick Flynn was second with 19%. 

Satellite group spending was a big issue in the race. The House Majority PAC spent $1 million and Protect Our Future PAC spent more than $10 million backing Flynn, while the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Bold PAC spent $1 million supporting Salinas. Salinas and five other candidates criticized House Majority PAC’s spending, saying in a joint statement, “This effort by the political arm of the Democratic establishment to buy this race for one candidate is a slap in the face to every Democratic voter and volunteer in Oregon.” The PAC’s communications director said it was “doing whatever it takes to secure a Democratic House majority in 2022.”

Other marquee primary results

U.S. House

  • Kentucky’s 3rd: Morgan McGarvey defeated Attica Scott 63% to 37%. Incumbent John Yarmuth (D) did not seek re-election. Yarmuth endorsed McGarvey. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee endorsed Scott. Three forecasters rate the general election Safe or Solid Democratic.
  • North Carolina’s 1st: Donald Davis defeated three other candidates with 63% of the vote. Erica Smith finished second with 31%. Incumbent G.K. Butterfield (D) didn’t seek re-election this year. Butterfield endorsed Davis. Three forecasters rate the general Lean Democratic.
  • North Carolina’s 4th: Valerie Foushee defeated seven other candidates with 46% of the vote. Nida Allam finished second with 37%. Incumbent David Price (D) did not seek re-election. U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) backed Foushee. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed Allam. Three forecasters rate the general Safe or Solid Democratic.
  • Pennsylvania’s 12th: This race was too close to call as of Thursday morning. Summer Lee had 41.7% to Steve Irwin’s 41.3%. Forecasters rate the general Safe or Solid Democratic.

State executive

  • Oregon Governor: Tina Kotek defeated 14 other candidates with 58% of the vote. Tobias Read finished second with 33%. Incumbent Kate Brown (D) was term-limited. Three forecasters rate the general election Lean or Likely Democratic.

State legislative incumbents defeated

At least 30 state legislators—eight Democrats and 22 Republicans—lost in primaries on May 17. Including those defeats, 44 state legislative incumbents have lost to primary challengers this year. This number will likely increase: there are 42 primaries or primary runoffs featuring incumbents that remain uncalled or undecided.

Across the nine states that have held primaries, 4.7% of incumbents running for re-election have lost.

That 4.7% loss rate is the highest compared to previous cycles in these nine states. In 2020, 3.3% of incumbents running for re-election lost primaries. In 2018, 4.3% lost in primaries.

Of the nine states that have held primaries so far, one had a Democratic trifecta, five had Republican trifectas, and three had divided governments with Democrats controlling the governorship and Republicans controlling both legislative chambers. Across these nine states, 1,114 seats are up for election, 18% of the nationwide total.

Media analysis

Politico‘s David Siders said Tuesday was a good night for progressives:

In North Carolina, two progressives, Nida Allam and Erica Smith, went down in open seat House primaries. But even with those losses — and even if the results in Oregon [5th and 6th District] and Pennsylvania [12th District] turn — it will go down as a good night for the left.

At a minimum, they have Fetterman and Salinas. And in the Senate, the rest of the map was pretty promising for progressives as well. A night that produced Fetterman — and Charles Booker and Cheri Beasley in Kentucky and North Carolina, respectively — as Democratic Senate nominees is a night progressives can learn to love.

CNN said that Fetterman’s win in Pennsylvania and Cheri Beasley’s win in North Carolina’s U.S. Senate primary speak to a shift in the Democratic Party: 

What it means to be a top Democratic recruit is changing.

On Tuesday night, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a 6-foot, 8-inch, bald, tattooed former mayor known for wearing shorts and hoodies, ran away with the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary. In North Carolina, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley largely cleared the primary field and coasted to a nomination that could make her the state’s first Black senator.

Their wins are part of a change within the Democratic Party, where what constituted a good recruit in cycles past meant someone who looked a lot more like the people Fetterman and Beasley beat.

Jewish Telegraphic Agency‘s Ron Kampeas wrote that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s super PAC contributed to Davis’ and Foushee’s wins in North Carolina:

Moderate Democrats backed by political action committees affiliated with the AIPAC pro-Israel lobby won hotly contested Democratic primaries Tuesday, which the group said was a vindication of its controversial decision to dive into direct campaign funding.

Both races were to replace longtime Democrats who are retiring and were two of three closely watched in the pro-Israel community because of massive injections of cash by United Democracy Project, a so-called “super PAC” launched last year by AIPAC. The PAC targeted the races because [Erica] Smith and [Nida] Allam would have added to the contingent of congressional lawmakers who seek stricter oversight and limitations on defense aid for Israel.

The third race, in Pennsylvania’s newly drawn 12th District, was too close to call, with the United Democracy-backed candidate, Pittsburgh lawyer Steve Irwin, less than a percentage point behind State Rep. Summer Lee with 98% of the vote counted.

It’s not clear how much AIPAC’s support drove the outcomes, as both Davis and Foushee had support from the local Democratic establishment and the cryptocurrency sector, which is seeking to deter congressional oversight, also poured money into the races.

But it’s clear that the pro-Israel funding, which also flowed to a lesser degree from a PAC associated with the group Democratic Majority for Israel, did register in the races. In the Pittsburgh-area district Lee was seen as the clear front-runner until she was hit by a barrage of negative ads paid for by United Democracy. And in North Carolina’s 4th District, the pro-Israel donations caused the state’s progressive caucus to rescind its endorsement of Foushee.

The Washington Post‘s Aaron Blake said Oregon’s big House races were heading in a negative direction for what he called the Democratic establishment:

There’s a reason we focus on Trump’s endorsements: Because he makes a lot of them, and he’s obviously trying to maintain control of the party during an uncertain time. But President Biden has made a couple of endorsements, too, including for Rep. Shontel M. Brown (D-Ohio) in her landslide over Turner.

It’s worth noting that one of those endorsed — Schrader — is losing pretty badly. … Schrader is a moderate who sometimes alienated fellow House Democrats on spending bills — and who, because of redistricting, was campaigning in a very different district than in years past.

Backing an incumbent facing a primary challenge is kind of a no-brainer for a president, but it’s looking as if Oregon voters had little regard for Biden’s advice.

Speaking of the Democratic establishment getting one wrong: Biden aside, the party more broadly didn’t fight too hard for Schrader. But a PAC affiliated with House Democratic leaders did spend $1 million on a candidate in the neighboring 6th District, Carrick Flynn. …

That investment in an apparently losing candidate, though, pales to Flynn’s biggest benefactor: cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried. His Protect Our Future PAC spent more than $11 million on Flynn — a stunning sum for one out of 435 House seats — and it appears to have failed badly.

Flynn ultimately benefited from $13 million in outside spending … for 19 percent of the vote.

Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Jerry Nadler may both run in NY-12 

On Monday, Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler both said they would run in New York’s 12th Congressional District under a new draft district map. Maloney chairs the House Oversight Committee. Nadler chairs the Judiciary Committee. Both representatives were first elected to the House in 1992.

A special master released the draft after the New York State Court of Appeals overturned the legislature’s previously enacted map. The court ruled the legislature did not get enough input from the state’s redistricting commission.

According to Daily Kos, Nadler “represents 39% of the redrawn (and safely blue) district while Maloney represents the remaining 61%.”

If the state Court of Appeals approves the draft map, the Maloney-Nadler primary would be the sixth U.S. House primary this year featuring two incumbents and the fourth with two Democratic incumbents.

We wrote about the 12th District primary under the overturned congressional map. That race included candidates Suraj Patel and Rana Abdelhamid. Both said they are holding off on decisions about their bids as the draft map is not final.

The primary is scheduled for Aug. 23.

Satellite ads zero in on abortion stances in TX-28 runoff

Recent satellite group ads supporting either incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar or Jessica Cisneros highlight their positions on abortion.

Last week, the group Mainstream Democrats PAC released an ad supporting Cuellar. The narrator said, “With women’s rights under attack from extremists, Democrat Henry Cuellar has made it clear that he opposes a ban on abortion.” The ad also says Cuellar “is standing up for South Texas families by working every day to hold down our cost of living,” including supporting lower drug prices, affordable health care, child care assistance, and a $15 minimum wage. 

On May 13, Women Vote!, a super PAC affiliated with EMILY’s List, booked $526,000 in TV ads supporting Cisneros. One ad, with versions in both English and Spanish, criticizes Cuellar for being the only Democrat to vote against the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would have legalized abortion nationally. The narrator says “[Cuellar is] voting with MAGA Republicans against women’s healthcare.” The ad also says Cuellar “voted to make it harder to join a union and opposed expanding overtime pay.” 

As we wrote earlier this month, abortion policy has been in the spotlight in the runoff, especially after Politico published a leaked initial draft opinion from the Supreme Court that would overturn rulings in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, allowing states to decide the legality of abortion. To learn more about the issue of abortion in this race, click here

In the March 1 primary,  Cuellar received 48% to Cisneros’ 47%. Tannya Benavides received 5%. The primary runoff is May 24. 

Competitiveness data: Alabama

Alabama holds primaries on May 24. We’ve crunched some numbers to see how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles.

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.


Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 22 (May 12, 2022)

Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Republican Edition

May 12, 2022

In this issue: Takeaways from Tuesday’s big primaries and the Connecticut GOP endorses Klarides

Primary results roundup

The big stories of the night: Mooney defeats McKinley, Pillen defeats Herbster

West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District: Rep. Alex Mooney defeated Rep. David McKinley and three others. Based on unofficial returns, Mooney received 54% of the vote and McKinley received 36%.

The incumbents ran against one another because the state lost a congressional district following the 2020 census. McKinley currently represents 66% of the new 2nd District and Mooney represents 34%.

Mooney’s backers included former President Donald Trump (R) and the House Freedom Fund. Gov. Jim Justice (R) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) were among McKinley’s supporters. Throughout the primary, Mooney criticized McKinley’s vote for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. McKinley criticized Mooney for previously holding office in Maryland and running unsuccessful campaigns in both Maryland and New Hampshire.

Three independent race forecasters consider the general as Solid or Safe Republican

Nebraska Governor: University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen defeated Charles Herbster, state Sen. Brett Lindstrom, and six others. Pillen received 34% of the vote to Herbster’s 30% and Lindstrom’s 26%.

Incumbent Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) endorsed Pillen, while Lt. Gov. Mike Foley (R) backed Herbster. Herbster also had an endorsement from Trump. The Nebraska Farm Bureau endorsed Pillen. 

Herbster chaired Trump’s Agriculture and Rural Advisory Committee. As we wrote previously, the Nebraska Examiner‘s Aaron Sanderford reported last month that eight women, including state Sen. Julie Slama (R), had accused Herbster of sexual misconduct occurring between 2017 and 2022. Herbster denied the allegations and said they were “part of a greater scheme calculated to try and defeat [his] candidacy.” At a May 1 rally, Trump said Herbster was “innocent of these despicable charges.”

Pillen said he had a record of resisting critical race theory, while Herbster said Pillen didn’t do enough to oppose it. The Nebraska Examiner wrote that “Herbster pointed to Pillen’s 2018 vote, as a University of Nebraska regent, in support of hiring a leader to create a new Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. … Pillen’s campaign said that he was the first elected university regent in the U.S. to stand up against critical race theory and that he is a recognized leader in higher ed on the issue.”  

Ricketts is term-limited. Major independent observers rate the general election as Solid or Safe Republican. Republicans have had trifecta control of Nebraska state government since 1999.

Nebraska State Board of Education District 7: Elizabeth Tegtmeier and incumbent Robin Stevens advanced from the top-two primary. Tegtmeier received 62% of the vote to Stevens’ 20%. The third candidate, Pat Moore, received 17%. The race has featured conflict around proposed health education standards the board considered and then voted to pause in 2021. The election is nonpartisan, though the candidates are affiliated with the Republican Party.

Defeated incumbents

U.S. House:

McKinley is the first U.S. House incumbent to lose a primary this cycle. In Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District, former U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R) resigned on March 31 after being found guilty in a federal campaign finance investigation, but his name remained on the ballot. State Sen. Mike Flood (R) won that race.

State executives:

Nebraska held several primaries for state executive offices. District 4 Public Service Commissioner Rod Johnson (R) lost to Eric Kamler (R).

There are three races featuring incumbents that remain too close to call. In one of those races, the Republican incumbent is trailing a challenger as of Thursday morning: Challenger Kevin Stocker (R) has a 3-percentage-point lead over Public Service Commissioner Mary Ridder (R) in District 5.

State legislature:

All eight Republican incumbents seeking re-election to the Nebraska Senate (the state’s only legislative chamber) will advance to the general election. 

Since 2010, only one incumbent Nebraska state senator has lost in a contested primary: Sen. Nicole Fox (R) in 2016. Ricketts appointed Fox to the seat in 2015 after the Democratic incumbent resigned.

In West Virginia, one incumbent is confirmed to have lost: Incumbent George Miller (R) defeated incumbent Ken Reed (R) in the state House. There are 17 Republican primaries featuring incumbents—16 in the House and one in the Senate—that remain too close to call.

In 2020, 10 GOP state legislators in West Virginia lost primaries. Four lost in 2018.

The following table shows data from 15 states for which we have post-filing deadline information and from four states—Indiana, Nebraska, Texas, and West Virginia—where state legislative primaries have taken place.

Media analysis

The Wall Street Journal‘s Joshua Jamerson said the incumbent-vs.-incumbent primary in West Virginia’s 2nd tested Republicans’ sentiment on compromise:

The West Virginia race offers a glimpse at GOP sentiment toward the infrastructure law and the broader idea of compromising with Democrats. An aide to McKinley, before the results came in, said Mr. Mooney’s criticisms have made traction with voters, causing Mr. McKinley to explain his vote and tout the money being steered toward West Virginia.

FiveThirtyEight‘s Nathaniel Rakich said that Herbster’s loss doesn’t indicate a decrease in Trump’s influence:

[Nebraska’s Republican gubernatorial primary] had been seen as a proxy war between Trump and the establishment and moderate wings of the GOP. And thanks to Pillen’s win, the next governor of Nebraska will likely1 be someone with deep ties to the state’s political and economic establishment who has accepted President Biden’s election, rather than someone who believes that China orchestrated the coronavirus pandemic and spent Jan. 6, 2021, in the Trump war room. …

But at the same time, this loss isn’t evidence that Trump’s influence with the Republican base is slipping. Herbster was far from a perfect candidate … Ultimately, Trump’s endorsement wasn’t powerful enough to drag Herbster to victory, but his endorsement remains an asset in any Republican primary. Just ask Rep. Alex Mooney, who decisively won his primary last night in West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. 

Connecticut GOP endorses Themis Klarides for U.S. Senate

The Republican Party of Connecticut voted to endorse Themis Klarides for U.S. Senate at its convention Saturday and guaranteed two other candidates spots on the ballot.

Klarides received 57% of the delegate vote, followed by 23% for Leora Levy and 20% for Peter Lumaj. Candidates who received 15% or more of the delegate vote qualified automatically for the primary without needing to collect petitions.

The CT Mirror wrote that “Levy and Lumaj embrace Trump and oppose abortion and gun control, positions separating them from Klarides.” Klarides served as state House minority leader from 2015 to 2021. Klarides voted in favor of a bill that introduced a new set of regulations on firearms following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Klarides also supports a legal framework for access to abortion. Klarides said she voted for write-in candidate Lawrence Cafero rather than Donald Trump (R) for president in 2020. 

The three convention-qualified candidates, as well as any who qualify via petition ahead of the June 7 filing deadline, will compete in an Aug. 9 primary. Incumbent Richard Blumenthal (D) is seeking re-election. 

Klarides said, “Listen, we agree on way more than we disagree on, and it’s healthy to disagree on some things. If we agree on 70%, you need to focus on the candidate that has the best chance to win in November. I’m the only [Republican] candidate in the race that’s ever won an election. I’ve won 11 elections in a Democrat-leaning district.”

Levy said, “I put a lot of my own money in, much more than my opponent has. … No matter what, I will let the Republican voters of the state of Connecticut decide who their candidate will be to go up against Dick Blumenthal.”

Lumaj said, “I want to make sure that if I get to the U.S. Senate we get someone who has the backbone and the character and fortitude to defend the Constitution.”

A Republican has not been elected to the U.S. Senate in Connecticut since 1982 or to the House since 2004. Independent forecasters currently rate the Senate general election Safe or Solid Democratic.

Super PAC switches gears from Ohio to Pennsylvania, Barnette rises in polls

The USA Freedom Fund spent on ads supporting Josh Mandel and opposing J.D. Vance, the winner in Ohio’s U.S. Senate primary. The PAC is now spending in Pennsylvania opposing Mehmet Oz’s Senate bid. Meanwhile, candidate Kathy Barnette has risen in polls in recent weeks, showing numbers on par with Oz and David McCormick.

The day after Vance’s Ohio win, USA Freedom Fund released an ad saying Oz “glorif[ied] transgender kids” on his TV show. 

Axios reported that “Mandel and David McCormick, Oz’s top primary opponent, share a general consultant: the powerhouse Republican firm Axiom Strategies.” Axiom worked on Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign and Glenn Youngkin’s 2021 Virginia gubernatorial campaign.

Former President Trump endorsed Vance in Ohio and Oz in Pennsylvania. Axios wrote, “During the Ohio race, the USA Freedom Fund was largely funded by the Club for Growth, which feuded with Donald Trump and his allies over its attacks on Vance.” The Club endorsed Mandel in Ohio and has not endorsed in Pennsylvania’s Senate race. A Club representative said the group was not involved with USA Freedom Fund’s Pennsylvania effort.

In several recent polls, Barnette was effectively tied with Oz and McCormick. A Trafalgar poll from early May showed Oz with 25%, Barnette with 23%, and McCormick with 22%. The margin of error was +/- 3.0 percentage points.

The primary is May 17.

Percentage of each congressional caucus not seeking re-election

Fifty-five members of Congress are not running for re-election in 2022, including 33 Democrats and 22 Republicans. For Democrats, this is a larger percentage of the party’s House and Senate caucuses to retire in one cycle—12.2%—than in any cycle dating back to 2014. For Republicans, this represents 8.4% of the party’s caucuses.

The highest recent percentage of Republicans retiring was in 2018, when 12.6% of the party’s caucus—37 members—didn’t run for re-election. That year, Republicans gained two Senate seats and lost 35 House districts.

The lowest recent percentage of Democrats retiring was in 2020, when 10 members—3.6% of the caucus—didn’t run. Democrats gained three Senate seats and lost 10 House districts. 

The lowest recent percentage of Republican congressional retirements was in 2016. Twenty-six Republicans announced their retirement—8.6% of the caucus. Republicans lost two Senate seats and five House districts.

Competitiveness data: Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s filing deadline for congressional and statewide candidates was March 15. The filing deadline for state legislative candidates was March 28.

We’ve crunched some numbers to see how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles.

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.


Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 22 (May 12, 2022)

Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Democratic Edition

May 12, 2022

In this issue: Fetterman has big lead in Pennsylvania Senate primary and an update on the 2024 presidential primary calendar

Primary recap

Nebraska and West Virginia held primaries on Tuesday. Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District was our only battleground Democratic primary of the night. 

State Sen. Tony Vargas defeated therapist and 2020 U.S. Senate primary candidate Alisha Shelton. Vargas said he has been a bipartisan leader in the state Senate. Vargas faces incumbent Rep. Don Bacon (R) in November. Independent forecasters view the general election as Lean or Likely Republican.

Defeated incumbents

U.S. House:

There were no incumbent Democratic members of Congress from Nebraska or West Virginia with elections on Tuesday.

State executives:

Nebraska held several partisan and top-two primaries for various state executive offices. No Democratic incumbents were defeated.

State legislature:

All three incumbent Democrats seeking re-election to the Nebraska Senate will advance to the general election. Since 2010, only one incumbent state senator has lost in a contested primary in Nebraska: Sen. Nicole Fox (R) in 2016. Ricketts appointed Fox to the seat in 2015 after the Democratic incumbent resigned.

In West Virginia, two Democratic incumbents lost primaries so far: Incumbent Owens Brown (D) lost to Randy Swartzmiller (D) in the state Senate primary. In the state House, incumbent Chad Lovejoy (D) lost to incumbent Ric Griffith (D).

In 2020, no Democratic incumbents lost state legislative primaries in West Virginia. One did in 2018.

The following table shows data from 15 states for which we have post-filing deadline information and from four states—Indiana, Nebraska, Texas, and West Virginia—where state legislative primaries have taken place.

Dueling newspaper endorsements in Pennsylvania as Fetterman widens lead in poll

The Philadelphia Tribune endorsed John Fetterman in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race, while The Philadelphia Inquirer endorsed Conor Lamb. A recent poll showed Fetterman leading Lamb 53%-14%.

In its endorsement of Fetterman, The Philadelphia Tribune wrote:

On the issues, the Democratic candidates aren’t that far apart, but Fetterman has demonstrated through his campaign that he is the candidate with the broadest appeal across the state and is the best candidate to represent the Democratic Party’s agenda.

His background as the former mayor of Braddock, a small industrial town in Allegheny County with a large percentage of African Americans in Allegheny County, helps bring a diversity of experience that allows him to connect with residents from small rural communities to Philadelphia, the state’s largest city.

The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board wrote of Lamb: 

Pennsylvanians deserve a senator who is more than just a plus-one vote for the Democratic caucus in the Senate; it’s crucial that voters elect a candidate who would add value by representing the commonwealth. Based on his history of winning extremely competitive general elections, his familiarity with Congress from his time in the House of Representatives, and his thoughtfulness on tough policy questions, we endorse Conor Lamb.

The latest Franklin & Marshall College poll from April 20 to May 1 showed Fetterman with 53% support, Lamb with 14%, and Malcolm Kenyatta with 4%. Twenty-two percent were undecided. The margin of error was +/- 6.6 percentage points. The college’s last poll, from March 30 to April 10, showed Fetterman ahead of Lamb 41%-17%.

The only other independent pollster in the race is Emerson College. A poll from the end of March showed Fetterman ahead of Lamb 33%-10%.

The primary is May 17.

Policy differences emerge in Iowa’s U.S. Senate primary

Differences between Iowa’s Democratic Senate candidates on Ukraine and healthcare were on display both in a May 7 debate and in a new ad from candidate Michael Franken.

All three candidates in the race—Abby Finkenauer, Franken, and Glenn Hurst—participated in the debate. According to KCRG’s Mollie Swayne, “One topic where there was a significant difference of opinion was on sending American troops to aid Ukraine. Finkenauer and Hurst said there was no point at which to do so. Franken said yes, if Vladimir Putin used a nuclear weapon.” 

You can watch the debate here

Franken, a retired U.S. Navy vice admiral, released his second ad on May 3. Franken said, “I’m running for the Senate to take on the big fights, from challenging drug and insurance companies with ‘Medicare for All’ to standing up for the environment, women’s rights, and democracy at home and abroad.”

The Washington Post’s David Weigel wrote, “National Democrats have already gotten behind former representative Abby Finkenauer, but Franken is still running for U.S. Senate, endorsing Medicare-for-all on the knowledge that Finkenauer won’t go there.” 

Finkenauer’s campaign website didn’t include a section on healthcare policy as of May 11. The website emphasizes her support for 12-year congressional term limits and says, “In Congress she built a reputation as someone who would work with anyone in either party to get things done, including funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program, strengthening Iowa’s flood prevention infrastructure and securing needed resources for our rural communities.” Finkenauer represented Iowa’s 1st Congressional District from 2019 to 2021 and was a member of the state House from 2015 to 2019. 

Hurst is a physician, a member of the Minden City Council, and chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Rural Caucus. Hurst calls himself “the only progressive in this race” and said, “I’m a Green New Deal Democrat. I’m Medicare for all Democrat. I align more closely with an Elizabeth Warren than a Pete Buttigieg.”

The primary is on June 7. Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley is running for re-election. 

An update on the 2024 presidential primary calendar: 18 states apply for early spot

We wrote in March that the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) Rules and Bylaws Committee discussed changing the election calendar ahead of the 2024 presidential primaries. In April, the committee approved a plan to choose up to five states to hold their nominating contests before the first Tuesday in March 2024. The deadline for states to submit letters of intent to apply for an early spot was May 6. 

Eighteen states plus Puerto Rico and Democrats Abroad submitted letters of intent. The states are: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington.

According to CBS News:

The committee will consider three main criteria for selecting the early states in 2024: diversity, competitiveness and feasibility. Diversity, according to the resolution, includes weighing racial, ethnic, geographic and economic diversity, as well as union representation. 

National Democrats will also consider how competitive states are in the general election. Among the feasibility requirements that the committee will examine are whether states can move their contest into the early window, if they can run a “fair, transparent and inclusive nominating process” and the logistical requirements and cost of campaigning in that state. 

Iowa has held the nation’s first presidential nominating contest since 1972. See our story from March for more on the debate around Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status. The DNC’s decision on early-contest states is expected in July.  

Percentage of each congressional caucus not seeking re-election

Fifty-five members of Congress are not running for re-election in 2022, including 33 Democrats and 22 Republicans. For Democrats, this is a larger percentage of the party’s House and Senate caucuses to retire in one cycle—12.2%—than in any cycle dating back to 2014. For Republicans, this represents 8.4% of the party’s caucuses.

The highest recent percentage of Republicans retiring was in 2018, when 12.6% of the party’s caucus—37 members—didn’t run for re-election. That year, Republicans gained two Senate seats and lost 35 House districts.

The lowest recent percentage of Democrats retiring was in 2020, when 10 members—3.6% of the caucus—didn’t run. Democrats gained three Senate seats and lost 10 House districts. 

The lowest recent percentage of Republican congressional retirements was in 2016. Twenty-six Republicans announced their retirement—8.6% of the caucus. Republicans lost two Senate seats and five House districts.

Competitiveness data: Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s filing deadline for congressional and statewide candidates was March 15. The filing deadline for state legislative candidates was March 28.

We’ve crunched some numbers to see how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles.

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.


Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 21 (May 5, 2022)

Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Democratic Edition

May 5, 2022

In this issue: Takeaways from Ohio’s primaries and the intensifying abortion debate in TX-28 runoff

May 3 primary results roundup

Ohio and Indiana held primary elections on Tuesday. Indiana’s ballot included state legislative elections, while Ohio’s did not, as redistricting is still underway. Key Democratic primaries took place in Ohio. Below, you’ll find results from marquee Democratic primaries and takeaways.

The big story of the night: Brown wins rematch with Turner in OH-11 

Ohio’s 11th Congressional District: Incumbent Rep. Shontel Brown defeated Nina Turner in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District for the second time in less than a year. Brown defeated Turner 66%-34% in this year’s primary and 50%-45% in the August 2021 special primary.

Brown assumed office in November 2021, succeeding Rep. Marcia Fudge (D), who resigned that year to become U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Brown said she kept her promise to work with President Joe Biden (D) by voting for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and campaigned on her record. Turner said Brown hadn’t done enough to change the material conditions of the district’s poor and low-income residents.

Biden endorsed Brown, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed Turner. The Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC endorsed Brown, a change from 2021 when it endorsed Turner. Brown became a member of the caucus after she took office. 

This is a Safe or Solid Democratic district, according to three election forecasters.

Other marquee primary results

U.S. Senate

  • Ohio Senate: Tim Ryan received 70% of the vote, defeating Morgan Harper and Traci Johnson. Incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R) is retiring. Race forecasters disagree on this race’s outlook, calling it Lean, Likely, or Solid Republican.

Local

  • Nashville District Attorney: Incumbent Glenn Funk won with 43%. Sarah Beth Myers was second with 40%. Myers and P. Danielle Nellis criticized Funk’s record, including his handling of a case involving an officer charged with criminal homicide. Funk defended his record.

Defeated incumbents

No Democratic incumbents lost in Tuesday’s primaries.

As with 2022, no incumbent Democratic state legislators in Indiana lost primary bids in 2020 or 2018.

The following shows data from 14 states for which we have post-filing deadline information and from two states—Texas and Indiana—where state legislative elections have taken place.

Media analysis

The Associated Press‘ Nicholas Riccardi said Ohio’s 11th District results are a reminder that the establishment has an advantage in Democratic primaries:

Brown’s easy victory is a reminder that the left has a very uneven track record in Democratic primaries, notching a few high-profile wins like that of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York City, but mostly a long string of losses. Trump may have changed Republican primaries, but Democratic ones still tilt toward the same establishment that has run the party for decades. 

Vox‘s Christian Paz said that while progressive candidates lost, progressive ideas won on May 3:

Though establishment-aligned candidates won in races around Ohio, they didn’t get there without embracing a slight leftward shift in their priorities.

Ryan and Brown, in their respective races, … pulled together ideas from the center and left in their pitches to voters, specifically on job creation, labor-organizing protections, a $15 minimum wage, and lowering health care costs. Though they beat left-leaning challengers, their wins also show that challenges from the left can push more moderate candidates to consider the substance of progressive demands.

Cisneros’ first TV ad on abortion, candidates respond to leaked SCOTUS opinion draft 

Between Jessica Cisneros’ first runoff TV ad and the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion on Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, abortion has remained in the spotlight in Texas’ 28th Congressional District primary runoff. 

Last week, Cisneros released her first runoff TV ad, which contrasts her position on abortion with that of incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar (D). The ad’s narrator said, “We showed up and spoke out when Texas Republicans passed the most extreme abortion ban in the country. But Henry Cuellar sided with them, the Lone Democrat, against a woman’s right to make her own decisions, even opposing life-saving care.” 

Cuellar was the only House Democrat to vote against the Women’s Health Protection Act, introduced in the U.S. House after Senate Bill 8 became law in Texas. The act would have legalized abortion nationally.

On May 2, Politico published a leaked initial draft opinion from the Supreme Court in which Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.”

Cuellar said, “I do not support abortion, however, we cannot have an outright ban. There must be exceptions in the case of rape, incest, and danger to the life of the mother. … My faith will not allow me to support a ruling that would criminalize teenage victims of rape and incest. That same faith will not allow me to support a ruling that would make a mother choose between her life and her child’s.”

Cisneros said, “As the Supreme Court prepares to overturn Roe v. Wade, I am calling on Democratic Party leadership to withdraw their support of Henry Cuellar who is the last anti-choice Democrat in the House” and that “with the House majority on the line, he could very much be the deciding vote on the future of our reproductive rights and we cannot afford to take that risk.”

House Minority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) campaigned for Cuellar at a get-out-the-vote rally in San Antonio Wednesday night. Cuellar previously received endorsements from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), meaning he has support from all three House Democratic leaders.

The race is a rematch. Cuellar won the 2020 primary 52%-48%. In this year’s primary, Cuellar received 48% to Cisneros’ 47%. Tannya Benavides received 5%. The primary runoff is May 24.

Our Revolution chapter endorses Tom Nelson for Senate in Wisconsin

Our Wisconsin Revolution, a state affiliate of Our Revolution, endorsed Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson in Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate primary. Our Revolution’s website says it is “America’s leading grassroots-funded progressive political organizing group.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) founded the group.

Nelson said, “I am the proven progressive in this race. I have consistently championed economic, social and racial justice issues, so voters know exactly where I stand, unlike others in the race. … I’m the one who consistently champions these progressive issues like Medicare for All and Green New Deal. I’m the only one who opposes Title 42.” 

The health order invoking Title 42 is a pandemic-related restriction on immigration at U.S. land borders.

Politico‘s Holly Otterbein wrote about the endorsement in connection with Lt. Gov. and Senate candidate Mandela Barnes’ ideological positioning: “[W]hile Barnes backs Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, he has not made them the central focus of his campaign.” Otterbein also noted Barnes’ opposition to Biden’s plan to end the health order invoking Title 42. 

Our Wisconsin Revolution executive director Andre Walton said Barnes didn’t fill out a questionnaire, which meant he couldn’t be considered for the endorsement.

A campaign representative told Politico that Barnes has endorsements from “more than 130 local elected officials in Wisconsin, influential local and national groups, and members of Congress from all corners of the Democratic Party, from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Cory Booker to [House] Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.”

Nelson’s other endorsers include Sunrise Movement Wisconsin and several local officials.

We’ve tracked 11 candidates running in the Aug. 9 primary so far. Nelson, Alex Lasry, and Kou Lee have filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Click their names to read their responses. 

The four candidates who reported raising more than $1 million as of March 31 were Lasry ($9.1 million), Sarah Godlewski ($5.1 million), Barnes ($4.1 million), and Nelson ($1.2 million). Lasry’s total includes $5.8 million he loaned his campaign, and Godlewski’s includes $2.9 million she loaned her campaign. 

Hoyer endorses Moore in Maryland gubernatorial primary, breaking with Pelosi

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) endorsed Wes Moore in the Maryland Democratic primary for governor. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is from Baltimore, Maryland, previously endorsed former Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez.

Hoyer said, “Wes stands out as a candidate whose experience, vision, and talent can lead Maryland toward a brighter future by inspiring our people — particularly our young people — to work together to face our toughest challenges.”

Pelosi credited Perez’s DNC leadership with giving Democrats control of the House and Senate and getting President Joe Biden elected. Pelosi said Perez has “the best opportunity to flip the state of Maryland.”

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is term-limited. Hogan won the open 2014 race against then-Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) 51%-47%. Hogan was re-elected in 2018, defeating Ben Jealous (D) 55%-44%.

Ten candidates are running in the Democratic primary, including Prince George’s County Executive and 2018 gubernatorial primary candidate Rushern Baker III, state Comptroller Peter Franchot, former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, and former U.S. Education Secretary John King Jr.

The primary is July 19.

Competitiveness data: South Dakota  

South Dakota’s filing deadline for congressional and state candidates was March 29.

We’ve crunched some numbers to see how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles.

South Dakota

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.


Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 21 (May 5, 2022)

Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Republican Edition

May 5, 2022

In this issue: Takeaways from Ohio’s and Indiana’s primary elections and Manchin’s pro-McKinley ad in WV-02

May 3 primary results roundup

Ohio and Indiana held primary elections on Tuesday. Indiana’s ballot included state legislative elections, while Ohio’s did not, as redistricting is still underway. Below, you’ll find results from marquee GOP primaries, takeaways, and info on incumbents who lost primaries.

The big story of the night: Vance wins U.S. Senate primary in Ohio 

Ohio U.S. Senate: J.D. Vance won Ohio’s U.S. Senate primary with 32% of the vote. Josh Mandel was second with 24%, and Matt Dolan finished third with 23%. Four other candidates ran. 

Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Vance in mid-April. Independent polling available before that, from late February and early March, showed Mandel and Mike Gibbons leading. Four of the five candidates with the most votes—except Dolan—campaigned on connections to and support for Trump. 

Incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R) is retiring.

Other marquee primary results

U.S. House

  • Indiana’s 9th: In the state’s only open House district, Erin Houchin defeated eight other candidates with 37% of the vote. Mike Sodrel was second with 26%. Incumbent Trey Hollingsworth (R) didn’t seek re-election. Three forecasters rate the district Safe or Solid Republican.
  • Ohio’s 9th: J.R. Majewski won with 36% of the vote. Craig Riedel was second with 31%. Incumbent Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D) was first elected in 1982 and is seeking re-election. This is a Toss-up district in race ratings.
  • Ohio’s 13th: Madison Gesiotto Gilbert defeated six other candidates with 29% of the vote. Gregory Wheeler was second with 23%. Gilbert worked on Trump’s 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. Incumbent Tim Ryan (D) is running for U.S. Senate. This is a Toss-up or Tilt Republican district in ratings.

State executive

  • Ohio Governor: Incumbent Mike DeWine won with 48%. Jim Renacci was second with 28%. DeWine’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was an issue in the race. Renacci said DeWine overreacted with restrictions, while DeWine said he acted in the best interest of Ohioans.
  • Ohio Secretary of State: Incumbent Frank LaRose defeated John Adams 65% to 35%.

Defeated incumbents

U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs (OH-07) was the only Republican congressional incumbent to (technically) lose in Tuesday’s primaries. Gibbs announced on April 6 that he wasn’t running for re-election. But because Gibbs already qualified, he remained on the primary ballot.

In Indiana, six GOP state legislators—five representatives and one senator—lost primaries. 

  • Three Republican incumbents—one in the Indiana Senate and two in the Indiana House—were defeated in incumbent-on-incumbent primaries resulting from redistricting. 
  • Three Republican incumbents in the state House lost to non-incumbent challengers.

In 2020, one Indiana GOP legislator—a state representative—lost in a primary. In 2018, two GOP incumbents—a state senator and a representative—lost primaries.

The following shows data from 14 states for which we have post-filing deadline information and from two states—Texas and Indiana—where state legislative elections have taken place.

Media analysis

Media analysis following the May 3 GOP primaries has largely focused on Trump’s influence in Ohio. We present a few perspectives on that below, in addition to a takeaway from Indiana’s state legislative races.

Politico‘s David Siders and Adam Wren said Vance’s victory was a victory for Trump and that Dolan’s performance did not suggest good prospects for non-Trump-aligned candidates in 2024: 

People in Trump’s orbit are preparing for his dominion over the GOP to take a hit in primaries scheduled for later this month. The candidates he’s supporting for governor in Georgia and Idaho are both running far behind more establishment-minded incumbents, and several other Trump-endorsed candidates are in toss-up races. Trump isn’t likely to win them all.

But J.D. Vance’s victory in the Ohio Senate primary on Tuesday was an unmistakable victory for Trump. Unlike in the Texas primaries, where the former president backed a raft of successful Republicans — but mostly made safe choices — Trump took a risk on Vance.

With Vance, Mandel, Timken and Gibbons clobbering each other over who was the Trumpiest, Dolan, who distanced himself from Trump, appeared to have space open to him with a non-MAGA hardliner crowd.

But he didn’t win. Or even come close. …

Dolan isn’t a pure test of the anti-Trump Republican. He was a supporter of Trump, after all, voting twice for the former president. But it’s the closest thing we’ve seen this election cycle to a different prototype for 2024 — and it ended poorly for the candidate tied least tightly to Trump.

CNN said that Ohio’s Senate primary result attests to Trump’s endorsement power in open primaries:

Vance’s victory underscored the former President’s role as the kingmaker in the Republican Party. Though it’s not clear whether Trump will succeed in his effort to oust incumbent Republicans he believes have wronged him, Ohio’s results demonstrated that in open-seat races, his endorsement might be the most important factor.

ABC News’ Brittany Shepherd said DeWine’s win was slightly unfavorable for Trump:

Incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine, who rose in popularity after imposing more aggressive coronavirus restrictions in his state, won the Republican bid for reelection and defeated Trump-affiliated candidate Jim Renacci (who was endorsed by Trump in 2018, when Renacci ran and lost a Senate bid.) DeWine’s win means a slight loss for the former president, who suggested DeWine needed to be primaried for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Even though Trump steered clear of a formal endorsement, his apparent disdain for the incumbent governor is no secret and his opponents differed little from Trump in campaign talking points, which calls into question the lasting power of Trump’s influence.

The Associated Press‘ Tom Davies and Casey Smith said Indiana state legislative candidates frustrated over COVID-19 restrictions and other issues performed poorly on Tuesday:

Frustrated Indiana conservatives fell short in most primary races Tuesday in their drive to push the Republican-controlled state Legislature further to the right, and two of the movement’s leaders lost their reelection bids.

The roughly two dozen so-called liberty candidates saw only a few victories in Republican legislative races across the state, with one defeating a 10-term incumbent in northern Indiana and two others winning nominations for GOP-leaning open seats.

A few races remained uncalled late Tuesday, but more than 10 incumbent lawmakers overcame challenges from candidates who argued that the Legislature hasn’t been aggressive enough in attempting to ban abortion, enhancing gun rights and overturning COVID-19 restrictions that were ordered by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.

McKinley ad features Manchin support in WV-02

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) appeared in an ad defending Rep. David McKinley (R) against criticisms from Rep. Alex Mooney (R). McKinley and Mooney are running in the GOP primary for the state’s redrawn 2nd Congressional District.

Manchin said, “For Alex Mooney and his out-of-state supporters to suggest David McKinley supported Build Back Better is an outright lie. David McKinley has always opposed reckless spending because it doesn’t make sense for West Virginia.”

Mooney said Republicans who voted for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act “paved the way for Democrats to pass President Biden’s socialist Build Back Better plan.” McKinley was one of 13 Republican House members who voted for the infrastructure bill.

Manchin said in December that he would not support the Build Back Better Act.

West Virginia lost a congressional district after the 2020 census. According to Daily Kos data, McKinley currently represents 66% of the new 2nd District’s population and Mooney currently represents 34%.

Along with Manchin, McKinley’s supporters include Gov. Jim Justice (R), former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R), and the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Mooney’s endorsers include former President Trump, the House Freedom Fund, and Club for Growth PAC.

(In Ohio’s U.S. Senate primary, Trump and the Club for Growth backed different candidates—the Club endorsed Mandel, whereas Trump backed Vance.)

West Virginia’s primaries are on May 10.

Michigan GOP committee member resigns over state party endorsements

Tony Daunt resigned as a state GOP committee member days after the party’s endorsement convention. 

Daunt said in his resignation letter that the “feckless, cowardly party ‘leaders’ have made the election here in Michigan a test of who is the most cravenly loyal to Donald Trump and relitigating the results of the 2020 cycle.”

The party endorsed Kristina Karamo for secretary of state and Matt DePerno for attorney general. Both candidates have questioned the results of the 2020 election and have endorsements from Trump. In the second round of voting at the convention, DePerno got 54% to former state House Speaker Tom Leonard’s 46%. Karamo got 67% in the first round, followed by state Rep. Beau LaFave’s 19% and Chesterfield Township Clerk Cindy Berry’s 13%.

Daunt serves on the Michigan Board of State Canvassers. He previously served as logistics director for the state party and as executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund, a nonprofit with funding from the DeVos family.

After the convention, state party chairman Ron Weiser said, “We’re coming out united and ready to move forward and win in the fall.”

Michigan is a Democratic triplex, meaning its governor, secretary of state, and attorney general are all Democrats.

The primaries are Aug. 2.

Trump defends Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster against accusations of sexual assault 

We wrote a couple of weeks ago that Nebraska state Sen. Julie Slama (R) and seven other women accused gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster of sexual assault. The Nebraska Examiner first published the allegations on April 14. 

Former President Trump, who endorsed Herbster in October 2021, spoke at a rally for Herbster in Greenwood, Nebraska, on May 1. Trump said, “Charles is a fine man and he is innocent of these despicable charges, by the way Charles welcome to politics. … These are malicious charges to derail him long enough that the election can go by before the proper defense can be put forward.” 

Herbster filed a defamation lawsuit against Slama on April 22. Herbster said, “As set forth in my lawsuit, the false accusations and attacks on my character are part of a greater scheme calculated to try and defeat my candidacy.” 

Slama countersued Herbster for sexual battery on April 25. Slama’s attorney said, “We will not permit Charles Herbster to file a frivolous, bad faith lawsuit that purports to cast doubt on Senator Slama’s account of her sexual assault, use his national media megaphone to herald the existence of that lawsuit for his own gain, but then take no steps to actually serve it and subject himself to the legal accountability such service would trigger.” 

On April 26, the Herbster campaign released an ad that said, “Clarence Thomas. Then Brett Kavanaugh. Lies stacked up to ruin them. Now [gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen] and [incumbent Gov. Pete Ricketts] are doing it to Charles W. Herbster. The facts? Herbster’s accuser was employed by Ricketts. Her husband and sister? Ricketts gave them jobs too. And even after the supposed incident, she kept contacting Herbster. Texts, calls, meetings, even invited Herbster to her destination wedding. Jim Pillen’s attack on Herbster: built on lies.” 

Slama’s attorney said the ad “promotes a far-ranging conspiracy theory that other people are behind well-corroborated reports of sexual assault and harassment of 8 women and at least 3 on-the-record witness accounts.” 

Days before Herbster released the ad, Ricketts said, “It is ridiculous to suggest that I or anyone else conspired to talk eight women and even more witnesses to make up stories about Charles Herbster. … It’s just not plausible.” In January, Ricketts endorsed Pillen in the May 10 gubernatorial primary. 

Competitiveness data: South Dakota  

South Dakota’s filing deadline for congressional and state candidates was March 29.

We’ve crunched some numbers to see how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles.

South Dakota

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.


Shontel Brown defeats Nina Turner in OH-11 Democratic primary rematch

Incumbent Rep. Shontel Brown defeated Nina Turner in the Democratic primary for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District on May 3. As of Wednesday morning, Brown had received 66% of the vote to Turner’s 34%. This was a rematch. Brown defeated Turner 50% to 45% in the Aug. 3, 2021, special primary election.

Brown assumed office in November 2021, succeeding Rep. Marcia Fudge (D), who resigned that year to become U.S. secretary of housing and urban development. Brown said she had progressive bona fides and a commitment to bipartisanship. She said she kept her promise to voters to work with President Joe Biden (D) by voting for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which she said would “repair the bridge on Martin Luther King, replace every lead pipe, create thousands of jobs, and finally, every home in Cleveland will have access to high-speed internet.”

Turner said Brown had not done enough to change the material conditions for poor and low-income residents. Turner said when announcing her second bid for the district, “Voting the right way is one thing, but using the full force and weight of the office to fight for things is another. … And that is a primary difference between me and the person that holds that office.” Turner referred to her work on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) Democratic presidential campaigns and said she would fight for Medicare for All, a living wage, and good union jobs.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC endorsed Brown, a change from 2021 when it endorsed Turner. Brown became a member of the caucus after she took office. Brown’s other endorsers included President Joe Biden (D), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D), Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb (D), and the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC. Turner’s endorsers included Sanders, former Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (D), and the cleveland.com editorial board.



Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 20 (April 28, 2022)

Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Republican Edition

April 28, 2022

In this issue: Trump and Club for Growth at odds in Ohio and Rep. Wilson backs Mace challenger in SC-01

Ohio U.S. Senate updates: Former President Trump appears at Vance rally, Club for Growth releases anti-Vance ad

As former President Donald Trump (R) increases his presence in support of Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance, the Club for Growth has continued its anti-Vance campaign with a new ad.

Trump appeared at a rally for Vance in Delaware, Ohio, on April 23, saying, “J.D. is really an America First warrior. He believes so much in making our country great again, and he’s going to do a job on these horrible people that are running against him.” 

Vance is one of seven Republicans seeking the GOP nomination. The current incumbent, Sen. Rob Portman (R), is retiring. Trump endorsed Vance on April 15. The former president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., appeared with Vance at another rally in Toledo, Ohio, on April 25.

After Trump endorsed Vance, the Club for Growth super PAC bought airtime for a new ad that includes Vance’s past criticism of Trump. Politico reported on April 22 that Club for Growth president David McIntosh “had warned Trump that the Club for Growth would continue to take out television ads attacking Vance for his past anti-Trump comments” before Trump’s endorsement. Club for Growth supports Josh Mandel in the primary.

Columbiana County Republican Party chairman Dave Johnson said of Trump’s endorsement, “Will it be enough to put [Vance] over the victory line? I don’t know the answer to that question.” Johnson supports Jane Timken in the primary.

A Fox News poll conducted April 20-24 showed Vance at 23%, Mandel at 18%, and Gibbons at 13%. The poll’s margin of error was +/- 3 percentage points.

Two independent race observers view the general election as Solid or Likely Republican. The Cook Political Report sees the general election as Lean Republican.

Rep. Joe Wilson endorses Katie Arrington in SC-01 Republican primary

On April 21, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) endorsed Katie Arrington in South Carolina’s 1st  Congressional District Republican primary. Arrington and Lynz Piper-Loomis are challenging incumbent Nancy Mace for the Republican nomination.

Wilson said, “As murderers and enemies of freedom grow emboldened by the feeble leadership of the Biden Administration, Washington needs more people who understand the significant implications of a weak America on the world stage.” 

Mace’s campaign said, “Joe Wilson is the reason we need term limits in Congress. Conservative groups rate him the most liberal Republican Congressman from South Carolina. Of course he endorses the most liberal Republican in the primary, who voted for the largest tax increase in SC history.” 

According to The Hill, the campaign was referring to “a bill the state House passed in 2017, when Arrington was a state lawmaker, that proposed a motor fuel user fee.”

Arrington defeated incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford 50.6%-46.5% in the 1st District’s 2018 Republican primary. Arrington lost the general election to Joe Cunningham (D) 50.6%-49.2%. Mace defeated Cunningham in 2020 50.6%-49.3%.

Arrington has criticized Mace for critical comments she made about former President Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach and for her position on marijuana (Mace has sponsored legislation to federally decriminalize marijuana). Mace said of Arrington’s 2018 election loss: “If you want to lose this seat once again in the midterm election cycle to Democrats, then my opponent is more than qualified to do just that.” 

Trump endorsed Arrington in February. Mace received endorsements from former Trump administration officials Nikki Haley (R), a former South Carolina governor, and Mick Mulvaney (R), a former U.S. representative from the state.

The primary is on June 14. If no candidate wins a majority of the vote, a runoff will be held June 28.

No candidates receive GOP endorsement in MN-01 primary

After seven rounds of voting on April 23 and 24th, none of the candidates running in the Republican primary in Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District received enough delegate votes to win the 1st District GOP’s endorsement.

The Post Bulletin’s Matthew Stolle wrote that winning the endorsement for the regular election “would have given the winner bragging rights and prominence as the special election approaches.”

A candidate needed to receive support from at least 60% of the delegates in order to receive the endorsement. State Rep. Jeremy Munson came the closest with 55% after leading the field in all seven rounds. Brad Finstad, a former state representative and U.S. Department of Agriculture official in the Trump Administration, came in second with 35%.

During the convention, Munson also announced an endorsement from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Paul joins other members of Congress, including Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and House Freedom Caucus chairman Scott Perry (R-Pa.), in supporting Munson.

Finstad has endorsements from members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation, including Reps. Michelle Fischbach (R) and Pete Stauber (R). Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.), the Republican leader of the House Committee on Agriculture, also endorsed Finstad.

Other candidates running in the primary with past or present experience in politics include former Rep. Jim Hagedorn’s (R) wife and former state GOP chairwoman, Jennifer Carnahan, and state Rep. Nels Pierson.

The 1st District also has an upcoming special Republican primary using the old district lines to fill the remainder of Rep. Jim Hagedorn’s (R) term. Hagedorn died on Feb. 17. Ten candidates are running in the special Republican primary on May 24. The special general election is on Aug. 9. 

The regular primary election is also on Aug. 9. The filing deadline for the regular election is May 31.

2020 election conflict in spotlight at first Georgia gubernatorial debate 

Gubernatorial candidate David Perdue opened the first GOP primary debate on April 24 with, “First off folks, let me be very clear tonight. The election of 2020 was rigged and stolen.”

In the exchanges that followed, Perdue detailed his criticisms of incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp’s handling of the state’s 2020 election results. Kemp defended his actions, saying Perdue was blaming others for his own election loss in the January 2021 U.S. Senate runoff.

Kemp affirmed Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s (R) certification of the 2020 election results after two statewide recounts.

Perdue said Kemp didn’t investigate claims of voter fraud, didn’t call a special session of the legislature to investigate the election, and didn’t stop a consent decree. Perdue said the consent decree “invalidated all voter ID law … and allowed fraudulent ballots to be accepted into the race.”

The consent decree referred to a settlement that Raffensperger, the Georgia Democratic Party, and others not including Kemp signed in March 2020. The decree details a procedure for reviewing absentee ballot envelope signatures and states that election officials must give voters notice of and opportunity to cure rejected ballots either within three business days or by the next business day if the ballot is “rejected on or after the second Friday prior to Election Day.”

Kemp said that he “followed the law and the constitution,” that his office referred fraud allegations it thought had merit to authorities that have subpoena powers, and that he didn’t have anything to do with the consent decree. Kemp also said, “I didn’t say there wasn’t problems in this election. Look, I was as frustrated as anybody else. … But the point is a special session would have done nothing to solve this problem.” 

Perdue and Kemp are among five candidates in the May 24 GOP primary. They were the only two to meet WSB-TV’s debate inclusion threshold of receiving at least 10% support in the average of seven independent polls.

Donations, opposition ads increase in Illinois gubernatorial primary

State Sen. Darren Bailey’s Illinois gubernatorial campaign got a big donation last week, and recent opposition ads against him and challenger Richard Irvin highlight past statements from each candidate.

Republican donor Richard Uihlein gave Bailey’s campaign $2.5 million on April 20. Uihlein also gave $1 million to Bailey’s campaign in February and $1 million to the People Who Play by the Rules PAC in March. The PAC recently aired an ad opposing Irvin, mayor of Aurora.

The Chicago Tribune’s Rick Pearson reported that Uihlein’s first donation to Bailey’s campaign came shortly after Citadel founder Ken Griffin donated $20 million to Irvin. 

According to The Hill’s Reid Wilson, the 2018 Illinois gubernatorial election was the “most expensive gubernatorial campaign in American history,” with current incumbent J.B. Pritzker (D) spending $175 million and then-incumbent Bruce Rauner (R) spending $79 million.    

On April 18, the People Who Play by the Rules PAC released an ad quoting Irvin saying in March 2021, “I support Black Lives Matter strongly and passionately.” The ad’s narrator says, “Black Lives Matter promotes looting our cities, defunding the police, and deconstructing the nuclear family.” 

Irvin’s campaign website says he “defeated the local ‘Defund the Police’ movement” while mayor of Aurora and “opposed the criminals and looters who damaged property and harmed cities during the riots in 2020. … And he made sure the law-breakers were arrested.” In his January campaign launch video, Irvin said, “I believe that all lives matter. Every family should be safe.”

On April 20, Irvin’s campaign began airing an ad that shows Bailey saying in March 2022 that he “might have voted for Biden.” The ad’s narrator says, “True conservatives don’t vote for Biden. Darren Bailey did.” 

In an April 7 video, Bailey said, “In 2008, conservative Rush Limbaugh, myself, and thousands of other Republicans helped bring chaos to the Democratic primary to help Republicans in November. … I’m a lifelong Republican who has never supported a Democrat.” Bailey has also said he voted in the Democratic presidential primary in 2008 “to make sure that Obama and Hillary didn’t get elected.”

The primary is on June 28. 

Competitiveness data: Mississippi and Montana  

Montana’s filing deadline for congressional and state candidates was March 14. Congressional candidates in Mississippi had until March 1 to file. Mississippi is not holding state legislative elections in 2022. 

We’ve crunched some numbers to see how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles.

Montana

Mississippi

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.


Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 20 (April 28, 2022)

Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Democratic Edition

April 28, 2022

In this issue: President Biden makes first 2022 congressional endorsement and Utah Democrats back independent McMullin

President Biden’s first congressional endorsement of 2022: Kurt Schrader in OR-05

On April 23, President Joe Biden (D) endorsed incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader in the May 17 Democratic primary for Oregon’s 5th Congressional District. It’s Biden’s first congressional endorsement of 2022. 

Biden said, “We don’t always agree, but when it has mattered most, Kurt has been there for me. … And in doing so, he has helped to pass much of my agenda into law—making a huge difference in the lives of the Oregonians he represents and all of America.”

Jamie McLeod-Skinner, an attorney and board member of the Jefferson County Education Service District, is challenging Schrader in the primary. McLeod-Skinner tweeted, “I respect Biden’s work to tackle Covid-19 & rebuild our economy but I have to disagree with the President here. Schrader took over $1 million from Big Pharma & other corporate donors—and then voted against Oregonians. We need a leader in Congress who will finally fight for us.”

McLeod-Skinner has criticized Schrader’s voting record more broadly: “When he does vote with Democrats, it is often after working to water-down the original ideas.” 

In December 2020, Schrader was one of two House Democrats to vote against a plan to send every American a $2,000 stimulus check. Schrader also voted against an initial version of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that Congress passed in March 2021, saying members “were not allowed or encouraged to offer amendments.” Schrader voted for the final bill. 

Schrader said his voting record reflects the partisan composition of his district. “This is not an easy district to run in — 40% of the folks have told both parties ‘I’m not interested.’ They’re non-affiliated. So I have to bridge that gap between the far right and the far left (to) represent this district. … We forget that’s our job — representation, not being a party ideologue. I am representing this district and proud to have done so for the last 10 years.”

Redistricting after the 2020 census changed the 5th District’s boundaries. According to data from Daily Kos, 47% of the population in the new 5th District comes from the old 5th District. Earlier this year, Democratic party leaders in Deschutes, Linn, Marion, and Clackamas counties—where about 90% of voters in the new district liveendorsed McLeod-Skinner (D).

According to FiveThirtyEight, the district has a Democratic lean of D+3, compared to the old district’s D+4 lean. 

Utah Democrats endorse independent Evan McMullin for U.S. Senate

The Democratic Party of Utah voted 57%-43% not to nominate a candidate for U.S. Senate at its convention Saturday, instead backing Evan McMullin, an independent running for the seat. 

This means there will be no Democrat on the ballot. Candidates in Utah qualify for the ballot through a convention vote or petitions, and no Democrats qualified via petition. Democrat Kael Weston sought the convention nomination. 

Supporters of the party’s decision included former U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams (D), who served in the House from 2019 to 2021.

The party’s endorsement came one week after the United Utah Party endorsed McMullin at its state convention. This was the first time since the party’s establishment in 2017 it voted to endorse a non-member. 

McMullin, a former operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency and policy advisor to House Republicans, ran for president in 2016 as an independent. He secured ballot access in 11 states and received more than 700,000 votes, including 21.5% of the vote in Utah. McMullin said Monday that if elected, he would not caucus with either party.

Incumbent Sen. Mike Lee (R) faces three Republican primary challengers. Lee has said he voted for McMullin for president in 2016.

In the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump (R) defeated Joe Biden (D) 58% to 38% in Utah. Democrats haven’t won a Utah Senate race since 1970. An independent has never held the office in the state.

John Fetterman rejects progressive label in Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a candidate for U.S. Senate, rejected the term progressive to describe his views in recent interviews with CNN and Jewish Insider.

CNN reported:

A staunch backer of labor unions, Fetterman supports at least a $15 minimum wage, legal marijuana, universal health care and Black Lives Matter while calling climate change “an existential threat.” But he rejects the notion that he is some kind of liberal.

“I don’t mean to nitpick, but I wouldn’t categorize myself as progressive,” Fetterman told CNN. “I consider myself a Democrat that’s running on the same platform of ideas that every other Democrat in this race is running on.”

In an interview with the Jewish Insider, Fetterman said he hadn’t encountered concerns that he’s critical of Israel throughout his campaign, “I’m not really a progressive in that sense. … Our campaign is based on core Democratic values and principles, and always has been, and there is no daylight between myself and these kinds of unwavering commitments to Israel’s security.” Fetterman said he opposed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and votes from some House members against funding for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system last year.

Fetterman and candidates state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb expressed similar views on Israel during an April 14 forum, each saying they supported security funding for Israel. 

Writing about policy disagreements between those three candidates, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Julia Terruso said that only Kenyatta supports a moratorium on new fracking sites and abolishing the Electoral College. Lamb is the only candidate who opposes federal recreational marijuana legalization, instead supporting state and local decriminalization along with legalized medical marijuana. Fetterman has made recreational marijuana legalization a key issue.

Earlier this month, Lamb said of moderate/progressive comparisons between himself and Fetterman, “I think those labels don’t really mean a whole lot at the end of the day. …  I’m a Democrat that represents an area where there’s more Republicans than Democrats, and I’ve been successful at that because people felt I was working hard for them and … not so much ideological.”

In related news, the super PAC Penn Progress recently released a revised version of an ad that initially called Fetterman a “self-described socialist.” The new ad says Fetterman “sought the Democratic Socialists’ endorsement,” which he did in 2017. Fetterman said in a Pittsburgh DSA questionnaire, “I don’t consider myself a socialist.” He did not receive the endorsement.

The primary is May 17.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield endorses Davis in N.C.-01 primary

On April 25, retiring incumbent Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D) endorsed Don Davis in the Democratic primary for North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District. Butterfield has represented the 1st District since 2004. 

Davis, a U.S. Air Force veteran and former mayor, has served in the state Senate since 2013, in addition to one previous term from 2009 to 2011. Davis is running against former state Sen. Erica Smith, Jullian Bishop Sr., and Jason Spriggs in the primary.  

Butterfield said, “Don has the legislative experience and is prepared to fight for the Democratic agenda of empowering America’s families and communities. I’m confident Don Davis will fight to protect voting rights, provide a safety net for those who have been left behind due to the pandemic and advocate for public-private partnerships to build much-needed infrastructure in the 1st District.” Butterfield also said, “I’m completely satisfied Don Davis can be the strongest Democrat to beat the strongest Republican in the general election.”

Spectrum News 1’s Reuben Jones said, “Butterfield’s endorsement may speak to the debate happening nationally in the Democratic Party. … The question is whether [the district’s voters] will be more moderate or more progressive Democrats.” 

Smith said, “Voters don’t care about labels. … I’m running on a survivor’s agenda that delivers an increase in living [sic] wage for workers. … I’m center left, and I’m excited about the progressive values and the progressives [sic] voices we are running on, because we know it will produce true structural change.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is among Smith’s endorsers. Smith served in the state Senate from 2015 to 2020 and ran for U.S. Senate in 2020, losing the primary to Cal Cunningham (D) 57%-35%.

The primary is May 17.

Ohio gubernatorial candidates sharpen criticisms of one another

On April 20, former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley criticized former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley at a gubernatorial primary forum. The same day, Cranley released an ad comparing what he called Cincinnati’s comeback and Dayton’s decline during each candidate’s mayoral tenures.

Cleveland.com’s Jeremy Pelzer reported that Whaley “accused Cranley of overstating the financial benefits of his marijuana legalization plan, again criticized his past opposition to abortion, and said it was time for Democrats to nominate someone besides a ‘moderate white man’ for governor” at the Columbus Metropolitan Club forum.

Cranley said his marijuana legalization plan would bring 30,000 jobs and that he’d use resulting tax revenue for initiatives such as expanding high-speed wifi access. Cranley also said he now supports abortion access. Cranley said he was more likely to win the general election and “whether either of us are men or women is out of our control. But what is in our control is how we govern our state.” 

Cranley’s most recent campaign ad said he was better equipped to lead the state’s recovery. A narrator said, “Under John Cranley, Cincinnati has made a real comeback. More jobs, higher wages, a city moving forward. While under Nan Whaley, Dayton has continued to decline even more than Mike Dewine’s Ohio.” The ad cited a WCPO-TV headline, “Cincinnati is growing more quickly than Akron, Cleveland and Dayton.”

Whaley’s campaign representative said, “Attacking a major Ohio city and its residents is one ‘strategy’ for attempting to gain relevance in a primary you’re clearly losing. … Voters know better than to fall for these self-serving attacks from a desperate millionaire who is focused on himself, not Ohio families.” 

The primary is May 3.

Competitiveness data: Mississippi and Montana  

Montana’s filing deadline for congressional and state candidates was March 14. Congressional candidates in Mississippi had until March 1 to file. Mississippi is not holding state legislative elections in 2022. 

We’ve crunched some numbers to see how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles.

Montana

Mississippi

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.


Previewing the Brown-Turner rematch in OH-11’s Democratic primary

Incumbent Rep. Shontel Brown and Nina Turner are running in the Democratic primary for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District on May 3. This is a rematch. Brown defeated Turner 50% to 45% in the Aug. 3, 2021, special primary election.

Brown assumed office in November 2021, succeeding Rep. Marcia Fudge (D), who resigned that year to become U.S. secretary of housing and urban development. Brown says she has progressive bona fides and a commitment to bipartisanship. She says she kept her promise to voters to work with President Joe Biden (D) by voting for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, which she said would “repair the bridge on Martin Luther King, replace every lead pipe, create thousands of jobs, and finally, every home in Cleveland will have access to high-speed internet.” Brown has also campaigned on legislation she introduced to reduce class sizes and that she cosponsored to raise the minimum wage. Before joining the House, Brown was on the Cuyahoga County Council. As of April 2022, she was chair of the county Democratic Party.

Turner says Brown is not doing enough to change the material conditions for poor and low-income residents. Turner said when announcing her second bid for the district, “Voting the right way is one thing, but using the full force and weight of the office to fight for things is another. … And that is a primary difference between me and the person that holds that office.” Turner has referred to her work on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) Democratic presidential campaigns and said she would fight for Medicare for All, a living wage, and good union jobs. Turner served in the state Senate from 2008 to 2015 and is a former chair of party engagement for the Ohio Democratic Party.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC endorsed Brown, a change from 2021 when it endorsed Turner. Brown became a member of the caucus after she took office. Brown’s other endorsers include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D), Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb (D), and the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC. Turner’s endorsers include Sanders, former Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (D), and the cleveland.com editorial board.

Two election forecasters rate the general election Safe or Solid Democratic.