Douglas Kronaizl

Douglas Kronaizl is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at

Scott Franklin defeats incumbent Rep. Ross Spano in Florida’s 15th Congressional District’s Republican primary

Scott Franklin defeated incumbent Rep. Ross Spano in the Republican primary for Florida’s 15th Congressional District. With 99% of precincts reporting, Franklin received 51% of the vote to Spano’s 49%.

Franklin, who was elected to the Lakeland City Commission in 2018, said he would advance President Trump’s agenda and “earn back the trust, respect and integrity the people of Central Florida deserve.”

The Federal Election Commission received complaints that Spano had loaned his 2018 campaign $167,000 that he borrowed from friends, in violation of contribution limits. In November 2019, the Justice Department and House Ethics Committee began federal probes into the alleged violation.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that Spano said he didn’t know the loans violated any regulations and that he acknowledged the likely wrongdoing, but said if campaign finance regulations were violated, they were violated by mistake.

Three election forecasters rate the general election Lean Republican. In 2018, Spano received 53% of the vote to Kristen Carlson’s (D) 47%.

Ten candidates to compete in Florida’s 3rd Congressional District Republican primary

Ten candidates are running in the August 18 Republican Party primary in Florida’s 3rd Congressional District. Incumbent Rep. Ted Yoho (R), first elected in 2012, is not running for re-election.

Three candidates—Kat Cammack, Judson Sapp, and James St. George—lead in noteworthy primary endorsements and fundraising.

Cammack was endorsed by two Tea Party organizations and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who said, “We need to send strong conservative like … Cammack to Washington who have the courage to take on career politicians and drain the swamp.”

Three members of Florida’s congressional delegation endorsed Sapp, including U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R). Gaetz said Sapp “has been right there with us making America great, fighting for the America First agenda.”

U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.) endorsed St. George, saying, “As a fellow physician, [St. George] understands the need to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with a free market solution.”

Yoho said he would not endorse a candidate before the primary.

According to pre-primary campaign finance reports, Cammack, a former deputy chief of staff to Yoho, raised $490,000. Sapp, a railroad contractor, reports $770,000, and St. George, a surgeon, leads in fundraising with $920,000 raised.

Ryan Chamberlin, Todd Chase, Bill Engelbrecht, Joe Dallas Millado, Amy Pope Wells, Gavin Rollins, and David Theus are also running in the primary.

Nine of the 10 candidates have completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. As part of the survey, candidates are asked to list three key messages from their campaigns. From those who submitted surveys, below are excerpts from each of the nine candidates’ first response:

• Cammack: “I will work with the Trump Administration to help build the wall and secure the border.”
• Chamberlin: “We need to Replace Career Politicians with a New Results Driven Congress”
• Chase: “I would fight to fund President Trump’s border wall, eliminate sanctuary cities, and support E-Verify.”
• Engelbrecht: “Bill Engelbrecht is a Conservative Republican who supports President Donald Trump.”
• Millado: “Solving critical issues for everyday Americans and their families with practical policy solutions not politics.”
• Rollins: “Conservative Fighter”
• Sapp: “Lower Taxes”
• St. George: “I am a successful small business owner and a surgeon not a career politician.”

• Theus: “The freedom to believe and exercise your faith at work, in class, church, synagogue, and mosque without threat of persecution by our government.”

Incumbent McSally receives Republican nomination in Arizona’s special U.S. Senate election

Incumbent Sen. Martha McSally defeated Daniel McCarthy and write-in candidate Sean Lyons in the Republican special primary election for U.S. Senate in Arizona on August 4, 2020.

The special election was called to fill the rest of the 2017-2022 term that John McCain (R) was elected to in 2016. McCain died of cancer on August 25, 2018. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) appointed Jon Kyl (R) to the seat in 2018, and Kyl resigned later that year. Ducey then appointed McSally.

Prior to her appointment, McSally ran for Senate in 2018 and lost to Kyrsten Sinema (D) 47.6% to 50%. McSally served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2015 to 2019. During the primary, she highlighted her military service and said she would work to protect coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, lower prescription drug costs, and hold China accountable for the COVID-19 pandemic.

McSally will face Mark Kelly (D) in the general election, which forecasters expect to be competitive. As of July 15, McSally had raised $41.3 million with $11.9 million on hand. Kelly had raised $46.1 million with $21.2 million on hand.

Previewing Tennessee’s U.S. Senate Republican primary

Fifteen candidates are running in the Republican Party primary for U.S. Senate in Tennessee on August 6, 2020. Incumbent Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), first elected in 2002, is not running for re-election. Two candidates—Bill Hagerty and Manny Sethi—lead in media attention, noteworthy primary endorsements, advertisement activity, and campaign spending.

CNN‘s Alex Rogers and Manu Raju wrote that the primary “resembles the political battles of the past, with libertarian and tea party-aligned conservatives taking on party leaders and the GOP establishment.”

Hagerty received endorsements from Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and U.S. President Donald Trump (R), whose administration he previously served in as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Sethi, an orthopedic surgeon, received endorsements from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), founder of the Senate Conservatives Fund and former president of the Heritage Foundation.

Both candidates have aired campaign ads criticizing the other’s previous political donations and questioning their conservatism.

Hagerty released an ad saying Sethi “refused to donate a dollar to Donald Trump’s campaign against Hillary Clinton, but [he] did give money to liberal ActBlue helping Nancy Pelosi defeat Republicans,” referring to a $50 donation made by Sethi to ActBlue in 2008.

In a responding ad, Sethi’s wife, Maya, said she made the donation at the request of a friend. She continued, saying, “Bill Hagerty’s attacking me to hurt my husband, but Hagerty gave [Mitt] Romney and Al Gore over $100,000.” According to FEC reports, Hagerty donated $1,000 to Gore (D) in 2000 and $80,000 to Romney (R) between 2007 and 2012. He served as the national finance chairman for Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign.

According to pre-primary campaign finance reports, Hagerty raised $12.3 million, the second-highest total among all non-incumbent Republicans in 2020 U.S. Senate primaries. He reported $2.7 million cash on hand. Sethi raised $4.6 million and had $386,000 on hand.

Three race forecasters rate the general election as Safe/Solid Republican. In the three preceding senatorial elections, Republican general election candidates received at least 54% of the vote. Before 2020, the most recent time Tennessee had elected a Democratic U.S. Senator was 1990 when Al Gore (D) defeated William R. Hawkins (R).

Previewing Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District Republican primary

Sixteen candidates are running in Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District’s Republican Party primary on August 6, 2020. Incumbent Rep. Phil Roe (R), first elected in 2008, is not running for re-election.

Five candidates—John Clark, Rusty Crowe, Josh Gapp, Diana Harshbarger, and Timothy Hill—lead in fundraising and advertisement activity.

The top three fundraisers—Harshbarger, Gapp, and Clark—have largely self-financed their campaigns. Self-contributions made up 89% of Harshbarger’s $1.5 million raised and 76% of Clark’s $652,000 raised. Gapp has almost entirely self-financed his campaign with $852,000 of his $853,000 total coming from the candidate himself. Crowe and Hill have raised $376,00 and $230,000, respectively.

Groups have spent roughly $963,000 on satellite spending in the race. Club for Growth Action and House Freedom Fund have spent $520,000 opposing Harshbarger, Crow, and Gapp, and $441,000 supporting Hill.

Clark, Crowe, and Hill all held or currently hold elected positions. Clark was the Mayor of Kingsport from 2015 to 2019. Crowe and Hill serve in the Tennessee State Legislature, Crowe as a senator since 1991 and Hill as a representative since 2012. All three candidates have released ads or statements pointing to their records in their respective positions as support for their candidacies.

In the 2016 presidential election, Trump (R) received 77% of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s (D) 20%.

Inslee and Culp advance from Washington’s top-two gubernatorial primary

Incumbent Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and Loren Culp (R) defeated 34 other candidates to advance in Washington’s top-two primary for governor on August 4, 2020. In a top-two primary, all candidates regardless of party affiliation run in the same primary. The top-two vote-getters advance to the general election.

Eleven Republicans, five Democrats, five unaffiliated candidates, three independents, and 12 candidates affiliated with third parties were on the ballot. As of 10:15 p.m. Western Time, Inslee had received 52% of the vote followed by Culp with 17% with an estimated 50% of precincts reporting. No other candidate received more than 10% of the vote.

Inslee, first elected in 2012, is seeking a third term. One Washington governor has ever served a third consecutive term: Daniel Evans (R), who left office in 1977. Inslee was a 2020 Democratic primary candidate for president and suspended his campaign in August 2019.

Culp is the Chief of Police in Republic. He served as a combat engineer and owned Stamped Concrete, a construction business. Culp was also a police officer and narcotics detective before being appointed police chief.

Inslee last won re-election in 2016 with 54% of the vote to Bill Bryant’s (R) 45%.

Marshall defeats Kobach in Kansas’ Republican primary for U.S. Senate

U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall defeated former Secretary of State Kris Kobach, plumber Bob Hamilton, and eight others in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Kansas. As of 9:25 p.m. Central Time, Marshall had received 37% of the vote followed by Kobach and Hamilton with 26% and 20%, respectively. No other candidate received over 10% of the vote.
During the primary, Marshall said he had a record of accomplishments in the House including sitting on the Agriculture Committee, ensuring that protections for crop insurance were included in the Farm Bill, and passing a bill to reduce tax rates.
Since July 15, the Sunflower State super PAC has spent over $4 million worth of satellite spending in the primary principally supporting Kobach. Media outlets wrote that the group had Democratic connections, and Politico reported that one of the group’s ads was “engineered to drive conservative voters towards Kobach.”

Previewing Missouri’s 1st Congressional District Democratic primary

Incumbent William Lacy Clay, Katherine Bruckner, and Cori Bush are running in the Aug. 4 Democratic Party primary in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District. Bush challenged Clay in the district’s 2018 Democratic primary, which Clay won, receiving 57% of the vote to Bush’s 37%.

Clay was first elected in 2000, replacing his father, former Rep. William Lacy Clay, Sr. (D). Clay Jr. served in the Missouri State Legislature from 1983 to 2001. He received endorsements from U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In their endorsement, the Post-Dispatch’s editorial board wrote, “[Clay] has been a steady, predictable representative and a reliable vote for mainstream Democratic priorities — including the fight against poverty and for social justice.”

Bush is a nurse and civil rights organizer who was involved with demonstrations in Ferguson after the shooting death of Michael Brown by police. She received endorsements from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jamaal Bowman (D), a candidate in New York’s 16th District who defeated 16-term incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel (D) in the district’s June 23 primary. In his endorsement, Bowman said, “Bush understands the struggles facing her communities, because she’s lived them herself … She will fight to confront racist and reckless policing … and I’m proud to support her grassroots campaign.”

Pre-primary reports show Clay raising $744,000 and Bush with $569,000. At this same point in the 2018 primary, Clay had raised $407,000 compared to Bush’s $139,000.

Clay and his father have represented the 1st District since 1969. Three race-tracking outlets rate the district as Solid/Safe Democratic. The winner of the primary will face Libertarian Alex Furman and the winner of the Republican primary, either Winnie Heartstrong or Anthony Rogers, in the general election.

12,274 major party candidates filed for 2020 state legislative elections

On November 3, 2020, 5,875 state legislative seats are up for regular election across 86 chambers in 44 states. This includes 1,164 state senate seats and 4,711 state house seats.
As of July 16, we’ve collected post-filing deadline data in 43 states. In 2020, 5,824 state legislative seats are up for regular election in those states, compared to 5,691 in 2018.
12,274 major party candidates—6,210 Democrats and 6,064 Republicans—have filed to run for state legislature in these states. This compares to 12,442—6,526 Democrats and 5,916 Republicans—in 2018.
Elections in open seats tend to be more competitive than those where an incumbent is seeking re-election. So far, there are fewer open seats in 2020 than in 2018. In 2020, 871 major party incumbents (15% of seats up for election) are not running for re-election, compared to 1,078 major party incumbents (19%) in 2018.
More incumbents face primary challenges in 2020 than in 2018. So far in 2020, 999 major party incumbents face primary challengers. In 2018, 909 major party incumbents faced primary challenges. In 2018, 86% of incumbents in these states won their primaries.
Overall, there are fewer contested state legislative primaries in 2020 than in 2018, with 1,864 and 1,984, respectively. These totals include all competitive partisan, top-two and nonpartisan primaries.
Currently, there is a Republican majority in 52 chambers, a Democratic majority in 33, and a power-sharing agreement in the Alaska House.

Texas Sen. Lucio wins Democratic primary runoff against Stapleton-Barrera

On July 14, incumbent Texas Sen. Eddie Lucio (D-27) defeated challenger Sara Stapleton-Barrera (D) in Senate District 27’s Democratic primary runoff. Lucio received 54 percent of the vote to Stapleton-Barrera’s 46 percent.
The runoff in District 27 received media attention after Planned Parenthood Texas, which endorsed Stapleton-Barrera, created a website and other materials opposing Lucio. One ad said, “For 30 years, Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. has done the dirty work of extremist politicians like Dan Patrick and Greg Abbott.” The Dallas Morning News’ Allie Morris wrote, “A devout Catholic, [Sen. Lucio] is often the lone Democrat to side with ruling Republicans on contentious social issues, including abortion.”
In a press release from Lucio’s campaign, his son, Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D-38) said, “These big special-interests groups from outside our border community should comprehend the deeper connotations behind the word ‘sucio’ (‘dirty Mexican’) and the association with a person of Hispanic descent.”
District 27 is located south of Corpus Christi along the Gulf Coast and includes communities along the U.S.-Mexico border. Roughly 89 percent of the district’s population are Hispanic.
In total, 16 Senate seats were up for election this year. Two incumbents—Lucio and Sen. Borris Miles (D-13)—faced primary challengers, down from the seven incumbents challenged in 2018. Miles received 55 percent of the vote on March 3, defeating two challengers and avoiding a runoff.
With both incumbents winning their respective primaries, no Senators were defeated in Texas’ primary elections this year. The most recent year an incumbent Senator was defeated in a primary was 2014 when Republican Sens. John Carona and Bob Deuell lost to challengers. No incumbent Democratic Senator has been defeated in a primary since 2006.