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Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

U.S. Reps. Bourdeaux, McBath among three Democrats running in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District May 24 primary

Carolyn Bourdeaux, Lucy McBath, and Donna McLeod are running in the Democratic primary in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District near Atlanta on May 24, 2022. Bourdeaux and McBath are current members of the U.S. House of Representatives facing each other due to redistricting. The primary is one of five U.S. House races with two incumbents running for the same congressional district this year.

Emily Wilkins wrote in Bloomberg Government that “The area’s influx of mostly non-White voters over the past decade helped Rep. Lucy McBath flip a Republican-held district in the northern suburbs in 2018 and Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux do the same with a neighboring district to the east two years later…The Republican-controlled legislature redrew the two swing congressional districts, creating instead districts that are solidly red and blue, and ensuring Democrats will have one fewer seat in the delegation after the 2022 midterms.” Bloomberg Government reported that Bourdeaux represents 57% of the residents in the new 7th District and McBath represents 12%.

Bourdeaux defeated Rich McCormick (R), 51% to 49%, to win an open-seat race in the 7th District in 2020 after she lost to then-incumbent Rob Woodall (R) in 2018 by 433 votes. That margin was the closest U.S. House election in 2018 by the number of votes. Bourdeaux has highlighted her work for the constituents of the district, saying on her website, “Since being sworn in January of 2021, Congresswoman Bourdeaux has been a leading advocate in Congress for health care, voting rights, racial and social justice, small business, infrastructure, and critical issues of broad importance to Gwinnett County and the 7th district community.”

McBath defeated incumbent Karen Handel (R) in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in 2018, 50.5% to 49.5%. She won a rematch against Handel in 2020, 55% to 45%. As Rachel Garbus wrote in Atlanta magazine, “Gun safety and reform has always been McBath’s key platform; her son was a victim of gun violence in 2012, and his death inspired her political career.” At a recent debate, McBath said, “I’m running in this race because I simply believe that we should not allow Gov. Kemp, the Republican Party or the NRA gun lobby to dictate who represents our communities in Washington.”

Wilkins wrote that “The congresswomen have near-identical voting records. In the 117th Congress, both have largely kept to the party line—96% for Bourdeaux and 97% for McBath, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis.” Garbus wrote in Atlanta magazine that “While both candidates are thoroughgoing Democrats, McBath is further to the left than Bourdeaux, whose centrist stance has alienated some progressives.”

Bourdeaux has received endorsements from former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young (D), former U.S. Sen Sam Nunn (D-Geo.), and four incumbent Georgia state representatives. McBath was endorsed by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), U.S. Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), and the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund.

If no candidate receives a majority of the vote in the primary, the top two finishers will meet in a runoff election on June 21. As of May 17, three race ratings outlets classify the general election as Solid or Safe Democratic.

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Kansas enacts legislative district boundaries after state supreme court approves them

Kansas enacted new legislative district boundaries on May 18 when the Kansas Supreme Court unanimously upheld the maps that Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signed into law on April 15. As specified in the state constitution, the state supreme court had to approve or reject the new boundaries within 10 days of Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R) filing them with the court. The maps will take effect for Kansas’ 2022 state legislative elections.

Both chambers of the legislature passed the redistricting legislation on March 30 after a joint House-Senate conference committee had developed it. The Kansas House of Representatives approved the legislative boundaries 83-40 and the state Senate approved them 29-11.

After Kelly signed the maps, Andrew Bahl and Rafael Garcia of the Topeka Capital-Journal wrote, “The state Senate and House maps were mildly contested in the Legislature, particularly in the Senate where the map will create a fourth, Democrat-leaning district in Topeka and Lawrence.”

As of May 19, 46 states have adopted legislative district maps for both chambers. The Ohio Supreme Court has overturned that state’s previously enacted maps, courts in two states have overturned a map for one chamber, and Montana has not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census. As of May 19, 2012, 46 states had enacted legislative redistricting plans after the 2010 census.

Nationwide, legislative redistricting has been completed for 1,807 of 1,973 state Senate seats (91.6%) and 5,214 of 5,413 state House seats (96.3%).

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Kansas Supreme Court overturns district court ruling, upholds state’s congressional district map

On May 18, the Kansas Supreme Court overturned a district court’s ruling that found that the state’s enacted congressional district boundaries were unconstitutional. In a two-page order, Justice Caleb Stegall wrote for the court, “A majority of the court holds that, on the record before us, plaintiffs have not prevailed on their claims that Substitute for Senate Bill 355 violates the Kansas Constitution.”

Wyandotte County District Court Judge Bill Klapper had struck down Kansas’ enacted congressional map on April 25. Klapper’s ruling stated, “The Court has no difficulty finding, as a factual matter, that Ad Astra 2 is an intentional, effective pro-Republican gerrymander that systemically dilutes the votes of Democratic Kansans.” His opinion also said that the state’s new district boundaries “intentionally and effectively dilutes minority votes in violation of the Kansas Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.”

Kansas was apportioned four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, the same number it received after the 2010 census.

Kansas enacted congressional district boundaries on Feb. 9 when both the state House and Senate overrode Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) veto of a redistricting plan that the legislature passed. The House of Representatives overrode Kelly’s veto 85-37, with all votes in favor by Republicans, and 36 Democrats and one Republican voting to sustain the veto. The Senate overrode Kelly’s veto 27-11 strictly along party lines on Feb. 8 with all votes in favor by Republicans and all votes opposed by Democrats.

Andrew Bahl of the Topeka Capital-Journal wrote in February 2022 that the “maps were hotly contested, largely for the decision to split Wyandotte County and put part of the Kansas City, Kan., area in the 2nd Congressional District, a move that endangers the state’s lone Democrat in Congress, U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, and, Democrats argue, unfairly divides minority communities.”

Stegall was first appointed to the Kansas Supreme Court by Gov. Sam Brownback (R) in 2014. He won a full six-year term in a retention election in 2016, receiving 71% support.

Klapper was first appointed to the Wyandotte County District Court by Gov. Sam Brownback (R) in 2013. He ran unopposed in both the Democratic primary and general elections in both 2014 and 2018.

The filing deadline for ballot-qualified parties in Kansas is June 1 and primaries are scheduled for Aug. 2.

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Fetterman wins Democratic U.S. Senate primary in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman defeated three other candidates in the May 17, 2022, Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, including U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, and Alexandria Khalil. Incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey (R)—who was first elected to the Senate in 2010—did not run for re-election.

Based on unofficial returns, Fetterman received 59% of the vote. Lamb was second with 26%, Kenyatta third with 10%, and Khalil was fourth with 4%.

Fetterman served as the mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, from 2005 to 2019 and was elected lieutenant governor in 2018. He finished third in the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania for the U.S. Senate in 2016. Fetterman’s top campaign priorities were adopting a single-payer healthcare system, legalizing marijuana, and supporting LGBTQIA+ rights. His campaign website describes him as “a different kind of Democrat,” saying, “John doesn’t look like a typical politician, and more importantly, he doesn’t act like one.” Marc Levy of the Associated Press described Fetterman as “irreverent, blunt and, well, something to see. At 6 feet 8, he is tattooed and goateed, his head is clean shaven, and he is most often seen wearing shorts — even in winter — and casual work shirts.”

Lamb worked as an assistant U.S. attorney and was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives after defeating Rick Saccone (R), 49.9% to 49.5%, in a March 2018 special election. He was re-elected to the U.S. House later in 2018 and in 2020.

Fetterman had endorsements from affiliates of the United Steelworkers and the United Food and Commercial Workers unions, the Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association, and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws PAC. Lamb received endorsements from The Philadelphia Democratic Party, local chapters of the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D).

According to campaign finance reports through April 27, Fetterman raised $16.0 million and spent $14.2 million on the race. Lamb raised $6.1 million and spent $4.8 million.

Fetterman will face the winner of the Republican primary in the Nov. 8 general election. Pennsylvania is one of two states holding a U.S. Senate election in 2022 with a Republican incumbent that President Joe Biden (D) carried in the 2020 presidential election. Biden defeated former President Donald Trump (R) in the state, 50% to 49%. In the 2016 presidential election, Trump carried Pennsylvania with 48.2% of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s (D) 47.5%. 

Pennsylvania is also one of six states with one Democratic and one Republican U.S Senator as of the 2022 U.S. Senate elections. Christopher Wilson of Yahoo News wrote that the race for Toomey’s seat “might be the Democratic Party’s best chance to gain a Senate seat in the fall.”

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McGarvey defeats Scott for Democratic nomination in Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District

Morgan McGarvey defeated Attica Scott in the Democratic primary for Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District on May 17, 2022. As of 11:45 a.m. ET on May 18, McGarvey had received 63% of the vote and Scott had 37%. Incumbent Rep. John Yarmuth (D)—first elected to represent the district in 2006—did not run for re-election. This is the first open-seat race in the Louisville-area district since 1994. 

McGarvey is a member of the Kentucky State Senate, having first been elected to the legislature in 2012, and has served as the Democrats’ minority leader since 2019. McGarvey described himself as a champion of progressive values and said on his website, “As the Democratic Minority Leader in the Kentucky State Senate, I’ve spent my career standing up to the Trump-Bevin Republicans in Frankfort. I’ve stood firm on our progressive values to protect health care and teachers’ pensions, promote clean energy and defend choice so that Kentucky doesn’t look like Texas.” McGarvey announced he was running for this seat on the same day that Yarmuth said he would not run for re-election.

Scott served on the Louisville City Council from 2011 to 2014 and as a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives since 2016. At the time of her election to the legislature, she was the first Black woman to win such an office in 20 years.

According to campaign finance reports through April 27, McGarvey raised $1.5 million and spent $1.1 million. Scott raised $236,000 and spent $196,000.

University of Kentucky political science professor Steve Voss told the Louisville Courier-Journal in February 2022 that “Democrats have close to a 2-1 advantage over the GOP in terms of voters’ party registration in this congressional district.” As of May 2022, three independent outlets rated the general election as Solid Democratic. In the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden (D) defeated Donald Trump (R) in Kentucky’s 3rd, 60% to 38%.

McGarvey will face the winner of the district’s Republican primary in the Nov. 8 general election.

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Four candidates compete in Democratic U.S. Senate primary in Pennsylvania

Four candidates are running in the Democratic primary for the open-seat U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania on May 17. Sen. Pat Toomey (R)—who was first elected to the Senate in 2010—announced on Oct. 5, 2020, that he would not run for re-election. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb have received the most campaign contributions and media attention. State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and Alexandria Khalil are also running.

Toomey’s seat is one of two U.S. Senate seats up for election held by a Republican in a state that President Joe Biden (D) carried in the 2020 presidential election. Pennsylvania is also one of six states represented by one Democratic and one Republican U.S. Senator. Christopher Wilson of Yahoo News wrote that the race for Toomey’s seat “might be the Democratic Party’s best chance to gain a Senate seat in the fall.”

Fetterman served as the mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, from 2005 to 2019 and was elected lieutenant governor in 2018. He finished third in the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania for the U.S. Senate in 2016. Fetterman’s top campaign priorities are adopting a single-payer healthcare system, legalizing marijuana, and supporting LGBTQIA+ rights. His campaign website describes him as “a different kind of Democrat,” saying, “John doesn’t look like a typical politician, and more importantly, he doesn’t act like one.” Marc Levy of the Associated Press described Fetterman as “irreverent, blunt and, well, something to see. At 6 feet 8, he is tattooed and goateed, his head is clean shaven, and he is most often seen wearing shorts — even in winter — and casual work shirts.”

Lamb worked as an assistant U.S. attorney and was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives by defeating Rick Saccone (R), 49.9% to 49.5%, in a March 2018 special election. He was re-elected in 2018 and 2020. Lamb identified his top legislative priorities on his campaign website as “protecting and expanding Medicare and Social Security, raising the minimum wage to $15, cutting prescription drug prices, creating and protecting jobs and strengthening unions.” Lamb described himself as practical and says h will work with both parties to get things done. He told City & State Pennsylvania, “I’m someone that has worked with Republicans when it’s necessary to, say, get an infrastructure bill passed and work with extremely progressive Democrats to try to get Build Back Better passed and include priorities that I really care about, like improving the Medicare program.”

Fetterman was endorsed by affiliates of the United Steelworkers and the United Food and Commercial Workers unions, the Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association, and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws PAC. Lamb was endorsed by The Philadelphia Democratic Party, local chapters of the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D).

According to campaign finance reports through March 31, Fetterman has raised $15.1 million and spent $10.9 million on the race. Lamb has raised $5.7 million and spent $4.4 million.

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Kansas District Court judge overturns that state’s new congressional district boundaries

Wyandotte County District Court Judge Bill Klapper struck down Kansas’ enacted congressional map on April 25 for violating the state constitution due to political and racial gerrymandering. Klapper’s ruling stated, “The Court has no difficulty finding, as a factual matter, that Ad Astra 2 is an intentional, effective pro-Republican gerrymander that systemically dilutes the votes of Democratic Kansans.” Klapper’s ruling also said that the state’s new district boundaries “intentionally and effectively dilutes minority votes in violation of the Kansas Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.”

Klapper issued his decision in a case resulting from the consolidation of three lawsuits challenging Kansas’ congressional map from 20 Kansas voters and the organization Loud Light, which describes itself on its website as a group that “engages, educates, and empowers individuals from underrepresented populations to build community power that has an impact on decision makers.” Klapper heard oral arguments on the consolidated cases earlier this month.

The court’s ruling blocks Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab (R) and local election officials from using the previously enacted maps for the state’s upcoming elections and directs the legislature to “enact a remedial plan in conformity with this opinion as expeditiously as possible.” Andrew Bahl of the Topeka Capitol Journal wrote that Republican legislative leaders said they would ask Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R) to appeal Klapper’s ruling to the state supreme court.

The state Senate and state House enacted the overturned boundaries Feb. 9 when the chambers overrode Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) veto. In both chambers, all votes to override the governor’s veto were from Republicans and all legislative Democrats that cast votes were to sustain Kelly’s veto. The state Senate originally approved the congressional district map proposal on Jan. 21 and the state House of Representatives approved it on Jan. 26. Kelly vetoed the congressional map on Feb. 3.

After the state legislature overrode Kelly’s veto, Bahl wrote that the “maps were hotly contested, largely for the decision to split Wyandotte County and put part of the Kansas City, Kan., area in the 2nd Congressional District, a move that endangers the state’s lone Democrat in Congress, U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, and, Democrats argue, unfairly divides minority communities.”

Klapper was originally appointed to a judgeship on the 29th Judicial District court in Wyandotte County by Gov. Sam Brownback (R) in 2013. He was elected without opposition in both the Democratic primary and general elections in both 2014 and 2018.

Kansas’ candidate filing deadline is June 1, and statewide, congressional, and local primaries are scheduled for Aug. 2.

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Wyoming is only state so far to change number of state legislators after redistricting

Wyoming enacted new state legislative district boundaries on March 25 when Gov. Mark Gordon (R) allowed the maps to become law without signing them. The bill adds one Senate seat and two House of Representatives seats to the state legislature, meaning that after the 2022 elections, Wyoming will have 31 state Senators and 62 state Representatives. As of April 14, 44 states have completed legislative redistricting after the 2020 census, and Wyoming is the only one thus far to change its number of legislators. 

West Virginia adopted a redistricting plan changing that state’s House of Delegates from 67 to 100 districts but kept the number of legislators at 100. It will go from having 47 single-member and 20 multi-member districts to 100 single-member districts.

Nationwide, there are currently 1,971 state Senators and 5,411 state Representatives. After the 2022 elections, there will be 1,972 state Senators and 5,413 Representatives.

In Wyoming, the state House and Senate passed two separate redistricting proposals and a joint conference committee developed the final boundaries. The state Senate passed the new maps, 17-12, with all votes in favor by Republicans and 10 Republicans and two Democrats voting against. The state House approved the maps by a 44-12 vote. Thirty-seven Republicans, six Democrats, and one Libertarian voted in favor, and 11 Republicans and one independent voted against.

When the proposal to increase the number of legislators was discussed in Wyoming’s Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Interim Committee, Sen. Tara Nethercott (R) said, “Historically, the Legislature has had even more legislators than this amount. This is not a new concept for us to consider, or particularly profound in that way. The purpose is to identify the greatest amount of concern that we heard and provide solutions, really maximizing solutions to concerns.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislators, Wyoming changed the number of members of its state legislature five times between 1964 and 1992. During that period, the state House of Representatives had between 56 and 64 members and the state Senate had between 25 and 30 members.

After the 2010 census, New York increased its number of state Senators from 62 to 63. 

After the 2000 census, New York increased the number of state Senators by one, to 62. Two states—North Dakota and Rhode Island—reduced the number of state legislators in both chambers.

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All Mississippi’s U.S. House incumbents face primaries for the first time since 2012

The filing deadline for candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Mississippi was March 1, 2022. This year, 24 candidates—an average of six for each of the state’s four U.S. House districts—filed to run, including 16 Republicans, seven Democrats, and one Libertarian. The six candidates per district average is more than it was in both 2020—3.5 candidates per district—and 2018 (4.75).

There are no open-seat congressional races this year in Mississippi, as all four incumbents are running for re-election. Mississippi has had one open-seat U.S. House race since 2012.

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • This is the first election to take place under new district lines following the 2020 census. Mississippi was apportioned four seats in the House of Representatives, the same number it received after the 2010 census. Governor Tate Reeves (R) signed the state’s congressional redistricting plan on Jan. 24, 2022. After the state Senate approved the plan, Lee Sanderlin wrote in the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, “The bill preserves the current balance of congressional power in Mississippi, keeping three seats for Republicans and one for lone Democrat Bennie Thompson.”
  • All four U.S. House incumbents in the state face contested primaries for the first time since 2012.
  • There are seven contested U.S. House primaries—four Republican and three Democratic—this year in Mississippi. The only U.S. House district without a Democratic or Republican primary will be in Mississippi’s 3rd District, where Shuwaski Young (D) is unopposed for his party’s nomination.
  • For the second cycle in a row, Fourth District Rep. Steven Palazzo (R) is running in the state’s largest U.S. House primary, with seven candidates competing for that seat
  • All four U.S. House districts will be contested in the general election, as every district has both Democratic and Republican candidates.

{Chart of open seats – https://app.datawrapper.de/chart/nhUHz/publish]

Mississippi’s primary for U.S. House districts is scheduled for June 7, 2022. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in any race, a primary runoff will take place on June 28, 2022.

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South Dakota House impeaches state attorney general for actions related to 2020 fatal crash

The South Dakota House of Representatives impeached Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R) on April 12 for his actions related to a car accident that killed a pedestrian in September 2020. The state House voted 36-31 to approve House Resolution 7002 (HR 7002) which states, “A RESOLUTION, Providing for the impeachment of Jason Ravnsborg, Attorney General of the State of South Dakota, for certain crimes and for malfeasance in office.”

Twenty-eight Republicans and eight Democrats voted in favor of the resolution and 31 Republicans voted against it.

Ravnsborg fatally struck a pedestrian while driving on Sept. 12, 2020. An investigation led by the South Dakota Highway Patrol found that Ravnsborg was distracted at the time of the crash, and that his car left the road before it struck the victim. Toxicology reports showed that he was not under the influence of alcohol or other drugs at the time of the incident.

Ravnsborg was charged with three misdemeanors, including careless driving, operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device, and driving out of a lane in Feb. 2021. He pleaded no contest to two of the charges while the third charge—careless driving—was dropped on Aug. 26, 2021.

The South Dakota House Committee on Impeachment voted 6-2 against impeaching Ravnsborg on March 28.

Ravnsborg was elected attorney general after defeating Randy Seiler (D), 55% to 45%, in the general election in 2018. Ravnsborg was unopposed in the Republican primary that year. Ravnsborg finished fifth in the GOP primary for one of South Dakota’s U.S. Senate seats in 2014.

According to Joe Sneve of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Ravnsborg is the first official ever impeached in South Dakota and was required to take a leave of absence as attorney general until his trial in the Senate. The Argus Leader also reported that a chief of staff in the attorney general’s office said that Chief Deputy Attorney General Charlie McGuigan would lead the office during Ravnsborg’s absence.

Sneve wrote that the Senate trial can begin no earlier than May 2 and that Senate President Pro Tempore Lee Schoenbeck “has indicated a trial might not commence until early June.”