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Joel Williams

Joel Williams is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Running in a new district, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich) faces three primary challengers

Rashida Tlaib, Kelly Garrett, Shanelle Jackson, and Janice Winfrey are running in the Democratic primary for Michigan’s 12th Congressional District on August 2, 2022. Tlaib, the representative for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, is running in the 12th District due to redistricting. U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D), the district’s current representative, is running in the 6th District. 

In a statement on her choice to run in the 12th District, Tlaib said: “As expected, communities [in my current district] were unfortunately split up between the new 12th and 13th Congressional Districts… [The 12th District] contains nearly two-thirds of the people I currently serve. I’m excited to continue to fight for our residents and engage with new neighbors in Wayne and Oakland counties.” 

Tlaib was first elected to Congress in 2018. Tlaib’s top priorities on her website included “racial and immigration justice, economic and housing justice, healthcare for all, human rights around the world, environmental justice, and LGBTQ+ and gender justice.” Her endorsements include the Democratic Socialists of America, the Michigan AFL-CIO, the Michigan Education Association, Our Revolution, and Planned Parenthood.

Jackson served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2007 to 2013 and worked in financial technology. Jackson’s top priorities on her website included narrowing pay equity gaps, supporting Ukraine in its war with Russia, supporting cryptocurrency and opposing its regulation, and increasing the national minimum wage.

Winfrey is the Detroit city clerk. She highlighted her experience in that role through the city’s bankruptcy in 2013 and the COVID-19 pandemic as evidence of her ability to lead in difficult times. Winfrey’s top priorities on her website included working across the aisle in Congress, reducing inflation, healthcare, and supporting Israel as a free state.

Garrett is the Mayor of Lathrup Village and served as Mayor Pro Tem from 2013 to 2017. In a candidate survey submission to Ballotpedia, she said that key issues included “challenges around climate control, renewable energy, crime and violence in our neighborhoods, and the survival of our small businesses.”



Hochul wins Democratic primary for Governor of New York

Incumbent Kathy Hochul defeated Tom Suozzi and Jumaane Williams in the Democratic primary for governor of New York on June 28, 2022. Based on unofficial returns, Hochul received 67.3% of the vote, followed by Williams with 20.0% and Suozzi with 12.6%. Hochul, previously New York’s lieutenant governor, became governor in August 2021 following the resignation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).

Hochul was first elected lieutenant governor in 2014. She served one term in the U.S. House from 2011 to 2013. The Democratic Party of New York endorsed Hochul at its state convention in February 2022. Hochul’s other endorsements include U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, 12 members of the state’s U.S. House delegation, 77 members of the state Legislature, and four New York City borough Democratic parties (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens). Public safety was a key issue of Hochul’s campaign. In response to a May 2022 shooting in Buffalo, New York, Hochul said, “New York already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country but clearly we need to make them even stronger. New Yorkers deserve to feel safe in schools, in grocery stores, in movie theaters, in shopping malls, and on our streets — and we must do everything in our power to protect them.”

Williams was elected New York City Public Advocate in 2019 and served on the New York City Council from 2009 to 2019. Our Revolution, the Working Families Party, two state legislators, nine members of the New York City Council, and 2021 Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton endorsed Williams. Williams campaigned on housing, public safety, and healthcare. Williams said he believed that housing is a human right and the government must play a role in providing it, that public safety required creating thriving communities, and that New York should enact a universal, single-payer healthcare system.

Suozzi was elected to the U.S. House in 2016. Suozzi criticized Hochul for “pandering to the far left” and said his campaign was focused on “reducing taxes, making New York more affordable and cutting crime.” Suozzi said, “I’ve always known that taxes are the biggest drawback in our state. Our state and local taxes are one of the highest taxes in the United States of America and it’s one of the reasons people leave to these lower tax states, like North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida.” New York City Councilmember Robert Holden and former councilmember Diana Reyna endorsed Suozzi.



Across 10 states, attorneys general have collectively raised $48.4 million this election cycle

In the current election cycle across 10 states, attorneys general have collectively raised $48.4 million. Nearly half of that number has come from Josh Shapiro (D-Pa.), who has raised $20.5 million running for governor rather than for re-election. Two other attorneys general—Rob Bonta of California ($8.7 million) and Ken Paxton of Texas ($5.9 million)— have raised $5 million or more for re-election campaigns.

Figures from Virginia, which held an election for attorney general in 2021, are not included above. Jason Miyares (R) raised $7.4 million and spent $6.9 million during the 2021 campaign cycle. He defeated then-Attorney General Mark Herring (D) 50.4%-49.6%.

Here is how that fundraising compares across the 10 states with data available from Transparency USA for this election cycle:

You can take a deeper dive into these fundraising figures by clicking on the links below:

This year, we plan to publish several hundred articles breaking down campaign finance numbers in the 12 states covered by Transparency USA: Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. To learn more about our partnership with Transparency USA, click here:



Cuellar wins TX-28 Democratic runoff following recount

On June 21, the Texas Democratic Party shared unofficial results from a recount of the primary runoff in Texas’ 28th Congressional District indicating that U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D) had defeated challenger Jessica Cisneros. Cuellar defeated Cisneros by 289 votes. Initial results from the May 24 primary runoff showed Cuellar winning by 187 votes.

The candidates disagreed on abortion policy. This race occurred alongside several events related to abortion policy, including the passage of Texas Senate Bill 8, a vote in the U.S. House to legalize abortion nationally, and the leak of a draft opinion for a case related to abortion pending before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Cuellar, in Congress since 2005, was a member of the Blue Dog Coalition at the time of the primary. He was the only House Democrat to vote against a bill in 2021 that would have codified the right to abortion in federal law. Cuellar’s campaign said his membership on the House Appropriations Committee helped fund education, healthcare, small businesses, veterans, and immigration services programs in the district.

At the time of the primary, Cisneros was an immigration attorney and supported Medicare For All, legal access to abortion, a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, and the For The People Act. Cisneros criticized Cuellar for his abortion stance, his votes on federal immigration proposals, and his response to the coronavirus pandemic, citing the latter as a key reason she ran again.



Yesli Vega wins Republican primary in VA-07

Yesli Vega defeated Derrick Anderson, Bryce Reeves, Crystal Vanuch, and two other candidates in the Republican primary for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District on June 21, 2022. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) is running for re-election in the redrawn 7th District. Vega had 29% of the vote to Anderson’s 24%, Reeves’ 20%, and Vanuch’s 17%.

At the time of the primary, Vega served on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and worked in law enforcement. Her campaign website detailed a platform that included advocating for the “conservative values of freedom, limited government, the rule of law, and a firm reliance on our Creator.” Former U.S. Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), who lost to Spanberger in 2018, endorsed Vega, along with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Anderson served as a Green Beret in the U.S. Army. After retiring from active duty, he received a J.D. from Georgetown University. In Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection Survey, Anderson listed his three priorities as “standing up for our veterans, keeping our country and communities safe, and stand up for our conservative values.” Based on fundraising totals reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in April 2022, Anderson led the field in fundraising and spending. U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Greene County Supervisor Davis Lamb endorsed Anderson.

Reeves was elected to the Virginia State Senate in 2011. He served in the U.S. Army and worked for the Prince William County Police Vice/Narcotics Bureau. Reeves raised and spent the second-most of the six candidates based on FEC reporting. Reeves campaigned on his legislative record and his history of winning in what he called “Democrat districts,” citing victories in 2011 and 2019. U.S. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and state Del. Nick Freitas (R) endorsed Reeves.

At the time of the primary, Vanuch served on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors and worked in the healthcare field helping individuals with terminal or chronic illnesses find affordable treatment. In Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection Survey, Vanuch listed her three priorities as decreasing government spending, defending law enforcement, and supporting the right of parents to make decisions for their children. U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) endorsed Vanuch.

The general election is expected to be competitive. Three independent forecasting outlets rated the general election as Toss-up, Lean Democratic, and Tilt Democratic. Nathan Gonzales of Roll Call said that President Joe Biden (D) would have won the district by seven percentage points in the 2020 presidential election and Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) would have won the district by six points in the 2021 gubernatorial election. Spanberger defeated Brat by two points in 2018 and Freitas by two points in 2020.

Also running in the primary were Gina Ciarcia and David Ross.



Britt wins Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate in Alabama

Katie Britt defeated Mo Brooks in the Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate in Alabama on June 21, 2022. The pair advanced from a field of six candidates in a May 24 primary. Britt had 63% of the runoff vote to Brooks’ 37%. In the primary, Britt received 45% of the vote and Brooks received 29%. Incumbent U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R), first elected in 1986, did not run for re-election. Michael Durant, who finished third in the primary with 23% of the vote, said he would not endorse or vote for either candidate in the runoff.

Britt was Shelby’s chief of staff and the president and CEO of the Alabama Business Council. Britt’s campaign website said she was an “advocate for smaller government, modern job growth, constitutional liberties and greater opportunity.” Former President Donald Trump (R), U.S. Sens. Shelby, Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Maggie’s List, the Value In Electing Women PAC, and Winning for Women, Inc. PAC endorsed Britt.

Brooks was elected to represent Alabama’s 5th Congressional District in 2010 and served as Madison County Commissioner from 1996 to 2010. Brooks’ campaign ads highlighted his speech at Trump’s rally on Jan. 6, 2021, which preceded the U.S. Capitol breach. Brooks campaigned as an America First candidate, a term often associated with the platform of Trump and candidates who have said they support his agenda. Brooks’ endorsements included Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (R-Pa.). Trump initially endorsed Brooks in the primary election before rescinding his endorsement in March 2022.

Britt is also expected to win the general election. At the time of the runoff, three independent race forecasters considered the race either Solid Republican or Safe Republican. Before Doug Jones’ (D) tenure from 2018 to 2021, the last Democrat to represent the state in the U.S. Senate was Howell T. Heflin, who left office in 1997. Trump won the state with 62% of the vote in the 2020 presidential election.



Ten candidates running for Governor of Maryland in July 19 Democratic primary

Ten candidates are running in the Democratic primary for governor of Maryland on July 19, 2022. The candidates leading in polling, endorsements, and fundraising are Peter Franchot, Wes Moore, and Tom Perez.

Franchot was elected as Maryland Comptroller in 2006 and served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1986 to 2007. Franchot’s campaign has highlighted his experience in public office and said his priorities included a jobs program based on infrastructure development and restoring trust in state government. Twelve members of the Maryland General Assembly endorsed Franchot.

Moore worked in the finance sector and as CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, in addition to writing books about race, equity, and opportunity in America. Moore’s key policies include accelerating the state’s adoption of a $15 minimum wage, public safety and criminal justice, and increasing equity in public transportation. U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), 29 members of the legislature, and the Maryland State Education Association endorsed Moore.

Perez served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2017 to 2021 and as the U.S. Secretary of Labor in the Obama administration from 2013-2017. Perez said that Maryland needed a “multitasker-in-chief,” highlighting these public positions and his professional experience. U.S. Sens. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and eight other members of the U.S. House, 17 members of the legislature, and The Washington Post Editorial Board endorsed Perez.

Based on reports filed with the Maryland State Board of Elections in June 2022, Moore led in fundraising with $6.03 million, followed by Franchot ($3.61 million) and Perez ($3.26 million). Moore also led in spending with $4.27 million, followed by Franchot ($4.23 million) and Perez ($2.88 million). In a poll by The Baltimore Sun released in early June, Franchot led with 20% support, followed by Moore (15%) and Perez (12%) with 34% undecided.

Also running in the primary are Rushern Baker III (unofficially withdrawn), Jon Baron, Douglas F. Gansler, Ralph Jaffe, Ashwani Jain, John King, and Jerry Segal.



Russell Fry defeats Rep. Tom Rice and five others in SC-7 Republican primary

Russell Fry defeated six other candidates in the Republican primary election for South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District on June 14, 2022. The two candidates who received the most media attention were incumbent Tom Rice and Fry. Rice is the sixth U.S. House incumbent this cycle to lose re-election this cycle.

Rice was first elected to the U.S. House in 2012 and had represented the district since it was created following the 2010 census. Rice was one of 10 Republican members of the U.S. House who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump (R) in 2021, which he had defended during his primary campaign. During a June 5 appearance on ABC’s This Week, Rice said, “Defending the Constitution is a bedrock of the Republican platform, defend the Constitution, and that’s what I did. That was the conservative vote. There’s no question in my mind.” In response to the impeachment vote, the Republican Party of South Carolina censured Rice.

Fry was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2015. Trump endorsed Fry in February 2021. Fry had called Rice a RINO (Republican in Name Only) over his impeachment vote. Following Trump’s endorsement, Fry said, “Radical Leftists, enabled by RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) like Tom Rice, are trying to erase President Trump’s legacy and move America towards socialism. We can’t let that happen.”



Who’s on your ballot in Missouri? Let Ballotpedia help you find out.

Following the 2020 census, Missouri completed a redistricting process that changed the district maps for the U.S. House and the state legislature. Legislative redistricting in Missouri was completed on March 15 with U.S. House redistricting completed on May 18. 

According to Rudi Keller of the Missouri Independent, “nine counties that have shifted almost wholly or entirely into new [U.S. House] districts. Boundaries shifted in the five large-population counties that were previously split and a new split was introduced in Boone County in central Missouri.”

As a result of redistricting, many voters will see new names and district numbers on their ballot. Ballotpedia’s Sample Ballot Lookup tool will allow you to see changes to your ballot ahead of time and research these candidates before you go to the polls on election day.

In the Aug. 2 primary, voters throughout the state will select one candidate to serve in the U.S. Senate, eight candidates to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, a state auditor, 17 state senators, and 163 state representatives. Clay County, Jackson County, Platte County, and the city of St. Louis have municipal positions that will be on the ballot.

Missouri has an open primary. Voters are not required to be affiliated with a political party in order to vote in that party’s primary. Voters are also able to declare any party at the polls regardless of previous party affiliation. 

Additional reading:



Garcia and Smith advance from top-two primary in CA-27

Incumbent Mike Garcia (R) and Christy Smith (D) advanced from a seven-candidate top-two primary for California’s 27th Congressional District on June 7, 2022. Based on unofficial returns, Garcia received 49.6% of the vote and Smith received 35.4%. John Quaye Quartey (D) finished third with 5.9%. Garcia and Smith will run in the general election on November 8, 2022.

In 2020, Garcia defeated Smith in the general election by 333 votes, making it the third-closest U.S. House race that year. Brianna Lee of LAist said the 2022 race should be more competitive because redistricting “jettisoned the district’s most conservative outpost in Simi Valley, giving Democratic voters even more of an edge.” The main story to watch in the primary election, Lee said, was “who [Democrats] trust most to take on Garcia during what promises to be a tough election year.”

Garcia was first elected to the U.S. House in May 2020, when he won a special election to succeed Katie Hill (D). Garcia served in the U.S. Navy as a pilot for 20 years and worked for Raytheon after his retirement. Garcia’s website listed the economy, jobs, taxes, and inflation as his key campaign issues. The Republican Party of California endorsed Garcia.

Smith served in the California State Assembly from 2018 to 2020. She worked as an analyst at the U.S. Department of Education and founded the Valencia Valley Technological Education Foundation. Smith’s campaign website highlighted expanding access to healthcare, improving the quality of public education, and codifying Roe v. Wade as key campaign issues. Smith’s endorsements included the California Democratic Party, the California Federation of Teachers, four members of the U.S. House, 22 members of the California State Legislature, and seven state elected officials.

As of the primary election, three independent election forecasters rated the general election as Toss-up. The district’s representation shifted party hands multiple times in the past decade, from Stephen Knight (R) to Hill (D) to Garcia (R).

Also running in the primary were Ruth Luevanos (D), Mark Pierce (R), David Rudnick (R), and Fepbrina Keivaulqe Autiameineire (I).