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Dave Beaudoin

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

San Francisco voters recall District Attorney Chesa Boudin

San Francisco voters recalled District Attorney Chesa Boudin on June 7, 2022. Mayor London Breed will appoint a temporary replacement, who will serve until voters elect a permanent district attorney in November.

Boudin was elected district attorney in 2019, defeating Suzy Loftus 50.8% to 49.2% in a ranked-choice voting election. Previously, Boudin served as deputy public defender in the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. He earned a bachelor’s and a law degree from Yale University and a master’s degree from Oxford University in England.

Supporters alleged Boudin’s approach to crime led to increased crime rates. Boudin said his goal had been reforming the criminal justice system and that the recall was politically motivated. In his statement of defense, Boudin said reform was needed because “the old approaches did not make us safer; they ignored root causes of crime and perpetuated mass incarceration.”

A group called San Franciscans for Public Safety started the recall effort on April 28, 2021. According to The San Francisco Examiner, the effort was led by a pair of Democratic activists “seeking to prevent the recall effort against District Attorney Chesa Boudin from being framed as a conservative power grab.” Organizers had until October 25, 2021, to gather a minimum of 51,325 signatures in order to qualify the recall for the ballot. Supporters submitted approximately 83,000 signatures. Director of Elections John Arntz announced on November 9, 2021, that there were enough valid signatures to put the recall election on the ballot.

The Notice of Intent that recall supporters published said, “Boudin is not keeping San Francisco safe. He refuses to adequately prosecute criminals and fails to take the drug dealing crisis seriously. He doesn’t hold serial offenders accountable, getting them released from custody, and his response to victims is that “hopefully” home burglaries will go down…Recalling someone shouldn’t be taken lightly, but San Francisco can’t wait two more years to improve public safety and fix our criminal justice system. Chesa Boudin must go — now.”

Boudin’s statement of defense said, “This is yet another recall relying on FALSE AND DISPROVEN REPUBLICAN talking points attempting to undo progress and take us backwards. Recalls are not political tools for people who lose elections. Voters thoughtfully and carefully elected DA Boudin because they support his work to reform an unjust system that too often criminalized poverty, addiction, and mental illness; failed to hold violent police accountable; and targeted people of color…DA Boudin is COMMITTED TO PUBLIC SAFETY, and to reforming the criminal justice system to provide safety, justice, and fairness for all San Franciscans.”

The San Franciscans for Public Safety’s recall effort was one of two initiated against Boudin in 2021. The first was started by Richie Greenberg, who previously ran for mayor as a Republican. The effort failed because organizers did not succeed in collecting 51,325 valid signatures by the deadline.

The Boudin recall was the second one to take place against a San Francisco elected official in 2022. In February, a majority of voters cast ballots in favor of recalling San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education members Gabriela López, Alison Collins, and Faauuga Moliga.

Before this year’s recall of San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education members, then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein was the last elected official in the city to face a recall election—in 1983. Feinstein survived the recall with 81% of the vote in her favor.

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Incumbent Titus, Vilela running in June 14 Democratic primary for Nevada’s 1st District

Incumbent Dina Titus and Amy Vilela are running in the Democratic primary election for Nevada’s 1st Congressional District on June 14.

Nevada’s 1st District was made more competitive after redistricting. Jannelle Calderon wrote in The Nevada Independent that “Before redistricting, District 1 had more than 147,000 registered Democrats and fewer than 66,000 registered Republicans — a more than 2-to-1 advantage for Titus’ party. The most recent voter registration statistics, published in March, show District 1 has 153,790 Democrats and 108,616 Republicans, or an 11-point Democratic advantage.”

Gary Martin of the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote, “On social issues, there is little difference between the two candidates, who champion civil, voting and LGBTQ+ rights, lower prescription drug costs, environmental causes and expanded health care access and coverage.

Titus was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008 from Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District and lost her re-election bid in 2010 to Joseph Heck (R), 48.1% to 47.5%. She won election to the 1st District in 2012 and has been re-elected four times. Prior to serving in the House, Titus was a member of the Nevada State Senate and was the Democratic caucus leader for 15 years.

Titus says her seniority and work on economic issues would make her the better nominee: “I’ve used my voice to provide resources for those who need it most. Although we’re recovering rapidly, we still have a long way to go. People live paycheck to paycheck, and I’ll like to make sure that our prosperity is permanent.” Titus also contrasts her approach to Vilela’s: “I am a progressive, but I don’t believe in defunding the police. I’m for Medicare for all, but you’ve got to do it in a step-by-step process.” The Las Vegas Sun, Emily’s List, and the National Education Association endorsed Titus.

Vilela served as Nevada co-chairwoman of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I) 2020 presidential campaign, executive vice president of finance at Foresee Consulting, and is the owner of a political consulting firm. She describes herself as a progressive Democrat who supports Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.

Vilela says she would bring new enthusiasm to the district’s representation: “Time and time again, [Titus] has never faced a serious threat to her re-election from either party. With that kind of security, she has the opportunity to be a leading voice for bold, real progress. But she’s declined to do so … She’s embraced that security to make excuses to take her foot off the gas when it comes to organizing our community and mobilizing voters to show up to the polls.” Our Revolution, Brand New Congress, and U.S. Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) endorsed Vilela.

FiveThirtyEight determined that Nevada’s 1st District previously had a partisan lean—or difference between how a state or district votes and how the country votes overall—of D+22. That site rates the current 1st District at D+4. As of June 6, the Cook Political Report rated the general election as a Toss-Up. Inside Elections and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball rated the general election as Leans Democratic.

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Alaska completes state legislative redistricting

Alaska completed its state legislative redistricting on May 24 when the Alaska Redistricting Board adopted a new map of state Senate districts at the direction of the Alaska Supreme Court. The state had initially enacted legislative district boundaries on Nov. 10, 2021, following a 3-2 vote by the redistricting board. The three Republican-appointed board members voted in favor of the map and the two nonpartisan board members voted against it.

The Alaska Supreme Court had ruled on March 25 that one state House and one state Senate district did not comply with the state constitution and required the redistricting board to redraw the districts. The Alaska Redistricting Board adopted new legislative district boundaries to comply with the state supreme court’s ruling on April 13. A group of plaintiffs challenged the mapping of state House to state Senate districts and on May 16, the Third District of Alaska’s Superior Court ruled that the April 13 map was unconstitutional.

The Alaska Supreme Court upheld the superior court’s decision on May 24. In its ruling, the state supreme court wrote, “We AFFIRM the superior court’s determination that the Board again engaged in unconstitutional political gerrymandering to increase the one group’s voting power at the expense of others.” The court’s ruling also affirmed “the superior court’s order that the Board adopt the Option 2 proclamation plan as an interim plan for the 2022 elections.”

As of May 25, 48 states have adopted legislative district maps for both chambers. The Ohio Supreme Court overturned that state’s previously enacted maps and Montana has not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census.

Nationwide, legislative redistricting has been completed for 1,890 of 1,973 state Senate seats (95.8%) and 5,214 of 5,413 state House seats (96.3%).

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Missouri enacts new congressional district boundaries after the 2020 census

Missouri enacted new congressional district boundaries on May 18 when Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed them into law. Missouri was apportioned eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, the same number it received after the 2010 census. This map will take effect for Missouri’s 2022 congressional elections.

The Missouri House of Representatives approved the final version of the new congressional districts—HB 2909—on May 9 by a vote of 101-47. Eighty-six Republicans and 15 Democrats approved the new map and 28 Democrats and 19 Republicans voted against it. The state Senate approved the redistricting legislation on May 11 by a vote of 22-11. Sixteen Republicans and six Democrats voted to approve the new map and seven Republicans and four Democrats voted against.

According to Rudi Keller of the Missouri Independent, “No change in the partisan makeup of the Missouri delegation, currently six Republicans and two Democrats, is expected as a result of the map.”

After Senate passage, State Sen. Mike Bernskoetter (R) said, “I believe the new map does a good job of balancing Missouri’s regions and their different views. It meets all the requirements we are constitutionally obligated to meet.”

As of May 25, 42 states have adopted new congressional maps, six states were apportioned one congressional district (so no congressional redistricting is required), Florida’s map was overturned by a court decision that is under appeal, and New Hampshire has not yet adopted congressional redistricting plans. As of May 25 in 2012, 42 states had enacted congressional redistricting plans.

States have completed congressional redistricting for 406 of the 435 seats (93.3%) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Christian defeats Stogner to win Republican nomination for Texas Railroad Commission

Incumbent Wayne Christian defeated attorney Sarah Stogner in the May 24 Republican primary runoff for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission. Based on unofficial results, Christian received 65% of the vote to Stogner’s 35%. In the March 1 primary, Christian received 47.1% of the vote and Stogner was second with 15.2%. Both candidates advanced to a runoff because no candidate received more than 50% of the vote.

Christian was originally elected to the commission in 2016, defeating Grady Yarbrough (D) 53% to 38%, for an open seat after David Porter did not seek re-election. He also served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1997 to 2013. His website listed endorsements from U.S. Sen Ted Cruz (R) and three members of Texas’ delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives. Christian’s website described him as a businessman and said, “Throughout his first term, Christian developed a strong record of fighting against frivolous regulations and standing strong for free markets and American Energy Dominance.”

Stogner said on her campaign website that she represented landowners, oil service companies, and oil and gas well operators for more than 15 years. She listed her top three priorities as “1. Putting Texans to work to provide clean, reliable, affordable energy; 2. Preventing federal intervention in Texas energy regulation (we can govern ourselves); 3. Helping establish global ESG (environmental, social, and governance) metrics and standards.” Dawayne Tipton (R), who received 11.5% of the vote in the March 1 primary and finished fifth, endorsed Stogner in the runoff on March 2.

After Christian and Stogner advanced to a runoff, Jeremy Blackman of the Houston Chronicle wrote, “Railroad Commission elections are usually sleepy affairs, but the agency has been gaining renewed attention for its role in last year’s deadly winter storm. Critics have pointed to commissioners’ close industry ties and loose oversight of pipeline operators and natural gas producers, which made billions during the freeze while gas power plants struggled to secure fuel.”

The commission does not regulate the railroad industry but instead oversees the oil and gas business in Texas. The Railroad Commission has three members who are elected to six-year staggered terms such that one commissioner is up for election every two years. Heading into the election, the other two members of the Texas Railroad Commission were Christi Craddick (R) and James Wright (R).

Christian will face Luke Warford (D) in the Nov. 8 general election. Warford was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

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Garza defeats Jaworski for Democratic nomination for Texas attorney general

Rochelle Garza defeated Joe Jaworski in the May 24 Democratic Party primary runoff for Texas attorney general. Based on unofficial results, Garza received 63% of the vote to Jaworski’s 37%. In the March 1 primary, Garza received 43.0% of the vote and Jaworski received 19.7%. Both candidates advanced to a runoff because no candidate received more than 50% of the vote. Garza will face incumbent Ken Paxton (R) in the November 8 general election.

Garza originally announced she would run for Texas’ 34th Congressional District after Rep. Filemon Vela (D) announced he would not run for re-election in March 2021. After Texas enacted new congressional district maps in October 2021, Garza decided to run for attorney general instead. In an interview with The Texas Tribune, Garza said, “I don’t think running for office is an easy thing to do, period. I really feel the urgency to do something and I know that I have the experience, I have the temperament and I have the drive to do this and fight for Texans.”

Jaworski’s campaign website listed several top priorities, including supporting the Affordable Care Act, expanding Medicaid, leading a statewide effort to legalize recreational marijuana, and supporting the decision-making authority of local governments. “Local decision-making authority is under attack in state government these days and I can personally say that local government is the best government. So I think as attorney general, Texans can rest assured whether they live in Republican jurisdiction, Democratic jurisdiction or any independent-type jurisdiction, that local government will be a focus of my attorney general opinion.”

Three other candidates ran in the March 1 Democratic primary: civil rights attorney Lee Merritt finished third with 19.4%, Mike Fields was fourth with 12.3%, and S. T-Bone Raynor finished fifth with 5.5%. Merritt endorsed Garza on March 10, 2022.

Before the runoff, Texas Monthly’s Michael Hardy compared the two Democratic participants, saying, “the two candidates are a study in contrasts. Garza is a 37-year-old Brownsville native and daughter of two public school teachers who, as an ACLU staff attorney, successfully sued the Trump administration on behalf of a seventeen-year-old ICE detainee seeking an abortion. Her run for attorney general is her first political race. Jaworski, 60, is a third-generation trial lawyer and the grandson of Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski. He is a seasoned politician, having served three terms on the Galveston City Council and one term as mayor.”

The attorney general is an executive office that serves as the chief legal advisor and chief law enforcement officer for the state government and is empowered to prosecute violations of state law, represent the state in legal disputes and issue legal advice to state agencies and the legislature. In most states, the attorney general has a substantial influence on a state’s approach to law enforcement.

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McBath wins Democratic primary in Georgia’s 7th District

U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath defeated U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux and Donna McLeod in the May 24 Democratic primary in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District near Atlanta. McBath received 63% of the vote, Bourdeaux was second with 31%, and McLeod was third with 6%.

Bourdeaux and McBath—who led in fundraising and media mentions—were members of the U.S. House of Representatives facing each other due to redistricting. As of May 2022, six U.S. House races had two incumbents running for the same congressional district in the 2022 elections.

Bourdeaux is the fourth member of the U.S. House, and first Democrat, to lose a primary this cycle.

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.” Data compiled by Bloomberg Government determined that Bourdeaux represented 57% of the residents in the new 7th District and McBath represented 12%.

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.”

McBath defeated incumbent Karen Handel (R) in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in 2018, 50.5% to 49.5%. She won the rematch against Handel in 2020, 55% to 45%. 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.”

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 number of votes. Bourdeaux 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 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. Bourdeaux received endorsements from former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young (D), former U.S. Sen Sam Nunn (D-Geo.) and four incumbent Georgia state representatives.

As of the primary, three race ratings outlets classified the November 8 general election as Solid or Safe Democratic.

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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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