Author

Elisabeth Moore

Elisabeth Moore is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski killed in car accident

Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski (R) was killed in a wrong-way vehicle crash on Aug. 3, 2022. Walorski was driving on an Indiana highway with two members of her staff, who were also killed in the crash.

Walorski represented Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District. She was first elected in 2012. Prior to serving in the U.S. Congress, Walorski worked as a television reporter and nonprofit director. She served as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives from 2004 to 2010.

A special election will be called to fill the vacancy created by Walorski’s death. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) stated that his office had not begun the process to set the election. Walorski’s seat is also up for election in the general election on Nov. 8.

Since 2019, eight members of Congress have passed away while serving their terms. Three of those members were Democratic, while the other five were Republican.

The Constitution requires that vacancies in the House be filled through an election. In the first session of any Congress, all states, territories, and districts mandate a special election in case of a vacancy in any House seat. If the vacancy occurs during the second session, requirements differ based on the length of time between when the vacancy occurs and the next general election.

The process for filling House vacancies is distinct from that of filling vacancies in the U.S. Senate, where 37 states fill vacancies through gubernatorial appointment and the remaining 13 require a special election.

Additional reading:

Special elections to the 117th United States Congress (2021-2022)



54% of state legislatures are Republican, 44% Democratic

At the end of June 2022, 54.27% of all state legislators in the United States are Republicans while 44.41% are Democrats. There are 7,383 state legislative seats in the country.

Republicans control 62 chambers, while Democrats hold 36. The Alaska House of Representatives is the only chamber organized under a multipartisan, power-sharing coalition.

Democrats hold 862 state Senate seats and 2,417 state House seats, gaining two Senate seats since last month. Republicans hold 1,095 state Senate seats and 2,912 state House seats, gaining two Senate seats and losing six House seats since last month.

Independent or third-party legislators hold 41 seats across 18 different states, including 33 state House seats and eight state Senate seats. There are 49 vacant state House seats and seven vacant state Senate seats across 18 different states.

Compared to June 2021, Democrats have lost five state Senate seats (867 v. 862) and 29 state House seats (2,446 v. 2,417). Republicans have gained three state Senate seats (1,092 v. 1,095) and lost seven state House seats (2,919 v. 2,912). 

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Congressman Jim Hagedorn (R) passes away

Congressman Jim Hagedorn (R-Minn.) passed away on Feb. 17 at the age of 59. He was battling kidney cancer.

Hagedorn’s wife Jennifer wrote, “Jim loved our country and loved representing the people of southern Minnesota. Every moment of every day he lived his dream by serving others. There was no stronger conservative in our state than my husband; and it showed in how he voted, led and fought for our country.”

Hagedorn represented Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District from 2019 until his death while in office.

A special election will take place to fill the U.S. House vacancy on Aug. 9, 2022. Democrats currently have a 222-211 majority in the House with two vacancies.

Hagedorn is the ninth member of the 117th Congress to leave office early. Two other members died, and six resigned to take other offices.

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39 state executives left office early in 2021—the most since at least 2012

In 2021, Ballotpedia identified 39 irregular state executive official office changes—the most since we started tracking these changes in 2012. An irregular office change is when an officeholder leaves office before their term ends. 

Of the 39 who resigned, 19 were nonpartisan, 11 were Democratic, and nine were Republican.

One notable change in 2021 was the resignation of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who stepped down following allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul (D) took his place as governor in August.

Of the 39 office changes, 18 were due to resignation, nine were appointed to another office, four left for the private sector, four left for political reasons, two retired, one passed away, and one (Kathy Hochul) succeeded the office of Governor of New York.

Of the offices vacated, attorney general, secretary of state, and public service commissioner were all tied for the most frequent resignations (six). The next-highest office was treasurer (three).

Between 2012 and 2021, there have been 29 irregular changes in public service commissioner offices; the most of any office. This is followed by the office of lieutenant governor, which has had 19 irregular changes, and superintendent of public instruction with 15 changes.

The three years with the most irregular office changes since 2012 have been those following a presidential election; Ballotpedia tracked 36 irregular office changes in 2013, 23 irregular office changes in 2017, and 39 irregular office changes in 2021.



Checking in on the candidates for Congress in 2022

Next year’s Congressional midterm elections on Nov. 8, 2022, are less than one year away. Already, 1,444 candidates have filed to run for Congress. Of those candidates, 742 are Republicans, 573 are Democrats, and 20 are Libertarians. The remaining are Green Party, independents, or other parties. 

The states with the highest number of declared congressional candidates are California (141), Florida (138), and Texas (123). Delaware and Vermont are tied with the fewest declared candidates, with one each. Hawaii, Louisiana, North Dakota, and Rhode Island each have two.

On Nov. 8, 2022, 469 seats in Congress will be up for election. That total includes 34 Senate seats and all 435 House seats. The current partisan balance in the Senate is 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and two Independents who caucus with the Democrats. In the House, Democrats hold 221 seats, Republicans hold 213, and one seat is vacant.

As of Nov. 18, six members of the Senate and 25 members of the House have announced they are not seeking re-election.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigns, Hochul sworn in as successor

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned on Aug. 24, effective at 12:00 a.m. Eastern. He first announced his plans to step down on Aug. 10.

Immediately after Cuomo’s resignation took effect, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul (D) was sworn in as the 57th governor of New York. Hochul is the first female to serve as governor in the state. She will serve the remainder of Cuomo’s term, which ends on Jan. 1, 2023. New York’s next gubernatorial election will take place in November 2022.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) released a report on Aug. 3 that said Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees. James began the investigation in February.

The New York State Assembly had initiated impeachment proceedings against Cuomo in March, examining the allegations of sexual misconduct among other accusations of impeachable conduct.

Cuomo has repeatedly denied these allegations. On August 23, in his final public address as governor, he said, “The attorney general’s report was designed to be a political firecracker on an explosive topic and it worked. There was a political and media stampede, but the truth will out in time.”

Lt. Gov. Cuomo was first elected governor in 2010 and re-elected in 2014 and 2018. He was New York’s attorney general from 2007 to 2010. Cuomo also served in President Bill Clinton’s (D) cabinet as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1997 to 2001.

Cuomo is the ninth governor of New York to resign. Six resigned to take another office, and three resigned following allegations of misconduct. New York’s last elected governor, Eliot Spitzer (D), resigned in 2008 amid allegations of misconduct. Spitzer’s lieutenant governor, David Paterson (D), served through 2010. Twelve governors of New Jersey have resigned, more than any other state. 

Since 1776, 218 state governors have resigned before the expiration of their term. Of those, 76% took place because the governor was elected or appointed to another office, 7% took place following allegations of misconduct, and 17% were for various personal reasons, such as illness or policy disputes with the state legislature.

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New York attorney general releases results of sexual harassment inquiry into Gov. Cuomo, impeachment inquiry approaches conclusion

On Aug. 3, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) released the findings of an investigation into accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).

The report found that Cuomo sexually harassed at least eleven women, breaking state and federal laws in doing so. The report’s executive summary stated that Cuomo “sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees by, among other things, engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.”

Cuomo responded to the report’s release, stating: “I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances. I am 63 years old. I have lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am, and that’s not who I have ever been.” 

On Aug. 5, the New York State Assembly announced that it was close to completing an impeachment investigation of Cuomo, which it began in March. The Assembly Judiciary Committee asked Cuomo to provide any materials he would like to submit as part of the investigation by the end of the week.

James’ office began the inquiry in February 2021 after multiple women came forward over several months accusing the governor of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior.

Also in February, the F.B.I. and U.S. Attorney’s office began an investigation of the actions of a task force Cuomo led in relation to the handling of nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This investigation followed James releasing a report stating that many nursing home residents died from COVID-19 in hospitals after they were transferred from nursing homes and that these deaths were not reflected in the Department of Health’s count of nursing home deaths. The report stated that nursing home resident deaths appeared to be undercounted by about 50%.

Cuomo said about the timing of the release of nursing home fatality data, “More than anything it was just a capacity issue. … Remember, at the same time we’re managing the pandemic; that’s what everyone was doing, and these things take time and the No. 1 priority was saving peoples’ lives.”

Throughout these events, multiple prominent Democrats have called for Cuomo’s resignation. They include President Joe Biden (D), U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Govs. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), Tom Wolf (D-Pa.), Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Dan McKee (D-R.I.), state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D), and state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D).

In New York, a simple majority vote by the New York State Assembly is required to impeach a sitting governor. If that occurs, the case would go before a High Court of Impeachment made up of all sitting state senators except the majority leader, a well as the members of the court of appeals. Two-thirds of the 69-person court, or 46 members, would have to vote to impeach the governor.

In New York, if the governor resigns, the lieutenant governor fills the position until the remainder of the term. New York’s lieutenant governor is Kathy Hochul (D). Cuomo’s current term runs through 2023.

New York has removed one governor from office in the state’s history. Governor William Sulzer was impeached in 1913 after 10 months in office.

Additional reading:

Andrew Cuomo

Kathy Hochul

Letitia James



New Maryland superintendent of schools took office on July 1

Mohammed Choudhury took office as the new Maryland superintendent of schools on July 1. He replaces Karen Salmon, who stepped down at the end of her term on June 30.

The state board of education appointed Choudhury to a four-year term on May 29. “When we set out on our search for Maryland’s next superintendent, our goal was to identify and hire the highest caliber candidate to build the future of education for all Maryland children. Considering Mr. Choudhury’s outstanding transformative accomplishments, we are completely confident that we have hired the right person, one who deeply cares about children,” said Board President Clarence Crawford.

Choudhury previously served in various roles in the San Antonio and Dallas school districts. He also worked as a teacher in Los Angeles. He earned his M.Ed. from UCLA and completed graduate work at California State University in Northridge.

Salmon’s term was originally set to end on June 30, 2020, but it was extended for one year due to the pandemic.

The superintendent of schools is a statewide office responsible for overseeing and coordinating the state’s elementary and secondary schools. The position exists in all 50 states; it is elected in 12 and appointed in the remaining 38. Of those 38 states, the state board of education appoints the superintendent in 18, the governor appoints the position in 18, and the state board of regents appoints the superintendent in two.

Additional reading:

Maryland Superintendent of Schools

Superintendent of Schools (State Executive Office)



Ohio governor appoints new utility commission chairwoman

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) appointed former county judge Jenifer French as chairwoman of the state’s public utilities commission on March 19. French will fill a position that has been vacant since November, when former Chairman Sam Randazzo resigned. If confirmed by the state Senate, French’s term will run through April 10, 2024.

French was a judge on the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas from 2015 to 2021. She lost a re-election bid in the nonpartisan race on November 3, 2020, after running in the Republican primary unopposed. Although the general election for the court was nonpartisan, candidates ran in partisan primaries.

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission is a five-person state executive board that regulates electric and gas utilities, water and wastewater companies, telecommunication companies, and railroads.

Ohio is one of 37 states in which utility commission members are appointed by the governor. The position is elected in 11 other states and in two (South Carolina and Virginia) they are appointed by the legislature.

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August breakdown of state legislative party membership: 52.0% Republicans, 46.8% Democrats

Ballotpedia’s latest analysis of the partisan affiliation of all 7,383 state legislators in the United States shows 46.8% of state legislators are Democrats and 52.0% are Republicans. The partisan composition of state legislators stayed consistent as compared with July 2020.

Every month, Ballotpedia analyzes the partisan composition of state legislatures—1,972 state Senate seats and 5,411 state House seats. In August, Democrats and Republicans each lost one seat. Vacancies increased by one seat.

As of August 2020, the Democratic Party holds 875 state Senate seats nationwide and the Republican Party holds 1,081. In state Houses, Democrats hold 2,579 districts to Republicans’ 2,758. There are currently 56 vacant seats and 34 that are held by independent and third-party officials.

At the time of the 2018 elections, 7,280 state legislators were affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties. There were 3,257 Democratic state legislators, 4,023 Republican state legislators, 35 independent or third-party state legislators, and 68 vacancies.