Author

Marielle Bricker

Marielle Bricker is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at marielle.bricker@ballotpedia.org

Illinois congressional primaries see 1 incumbent defeated; 11 incumbents advance without primary challengers

Illinois held statewide major party primaries on March 17, 2020. All 18 U.S. House districts were on the ballot, along with the Class II U.S. Senate seat currently held by Dick Durbin (D). The general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Eighteen incumbents filed for re-election; Illinois’ 15th Congressional District incumbent John Shimkus (R) was the only federal officeholder in Illinois who did not file for re-election. All but one incumbent on the primary ballot advanced to the general election. 3rd District incumbent Dan Lipinski (D) lost to challenger Marie Newman in the Democratic primary.

Two seats had no candidates on either the Democratic or Republican primary ballot. In the 8th District, no Republicans filed for the ballot, and in the 18th District, no Democrats filed for the ballot. All other seats saw at least one candidate from the Democratic or Republican parties in the primary. Eleven incumbents were unopposed in the primary and advanced automatically to the general. No Republican incumbents faced challengers. In addition to Lipinski, the following incumbents faced primary opposition: Bobby Rush (D-1), Robin Kelly (D-2), Mike Quigley (D-5), Danny K. Davis (D-7), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-8), and Bill Foster (D-11).

Entering the 2020 election, the U.S. congressional delegation from Illinois has two Democratic U.S. Senators, 13 Democratic U.S. Representatives, and five Republican U.S. Representatives. The U.S. Senate has 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, and two independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. Only 35 out of 100 Senate seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats. The U.S. House has 232 Democrats, 197 Republicans, one independent, and five vacancies. All 435 seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.

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Six statewide filing deadlines pass in second week of March

Six states had major party filing deadlines from March 9 to March 13. These were: Montana on March 9; New Mexico and Oregon on March 10; and Idaho, Iowa, and Nevada on March 13.

At the federal level, all six states have U.S. House seats up for election, and all but Nevada also have a U.S. Senate seat on the ballot. At the state level, all six states will hold elections for both chambers of their state legislatures and for seats on their state supreme courts. Montana is the only state holding a gubernatorial election, but it is not holding state appellate court elections like the remaining five states. Idaho is the only one of the six states with no state executive offices on the ballot in 2020.

Fifteen states had filing deadlines before March 9; Nebraska and Georgia had filing deadlines in the first week of March. Eight more states have major party filing deadlines between March 16 and March 31.

From November 2019 to July 2020, Ballotpedia will cover an average of six statewide major party filing deadlines each month. Sixteen states have statewide filing deadlines in March 2020, making it the busiest month for candidate ballot access deadlines for the 2020 elections. November 2019, February 2020, and July 2020 are tied for the fewest with two each.

Additional reading:
Elections
Ballotpedia’s Election Analysis Hub, 2020
Twenty Quality Benchmarks for Election Transparency



22 of 149 congressional primaries on Super Tuesday advance to primary runoff

Five states held statewide primaries on March 3, 2020: Alabama, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, and Texas. In those states, 22 congressional races advanced to primary runoffs. Nine are Democratic primary runoffs, and 13 are Republican primary runoffs.

Alabama saw the highest percentage of primaries advance to primary runoffs. Of the six primaries on the ballot, four advanced to a primary runoff (67%)—three Republican primary runoffs and one Democratic primary runoff. Texas saw the next-highest percentage, with 17 of the 74 primaries advancing to a primary runoff (23%). North Carolina had one of 15 primaries advance to a primary runoff (7%). California does not hold primary runoffs. Arkansas’ congressional primaries were canceled for all four seats after one or fewer Democratic or Republican party candidates filed to run.

Overall, 149 primaries were held across a combined 117 seats up for election in the five states. California’s 25th Congressional District is up for regular and special election, and is counted twice in both figures. Of the primaries on the ballot, 47 were Republican primaries, 48 were Democratic primaries, and 54 were top-two primaries.

Entering the 2020 election, the U.S. Senate has 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, and two independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. Thirty-five of the 100 Senate seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats. The U.S. House has 232 Democrats, 197 Republicans, one independent, and five vacancies. All 435 seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.

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149 congressional primaries on the ballot on March 3

Five states are scheduled to hold statewide primaries on March 3, 2020: Alabama, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, and Texas. Arkansas’ congressional primaries were canceled for each of five seats after one or fewer Democratic or Republican party candidates filed for the primary. The remaining four states have 149 primaries on the ballot for a combined 113 seats up for election in 2020 (118 across all states, including Arkansas). California’s 25th Congressional District is up for regular and special election, and is counted twice in both figures.

In 12 congressional districts across the five states, both the Democratic and Republican party primaries were canceled, meaning only 106 congressional seats will appear on the March 3 ballot. About 18% of the possible 182 primaries were canceled due to lack of opposition; 149 primaries made the ballot either because they are competitive or because the state does not cancel unopposed races. Of these, 47 are Republican primaries, 48 are Democratic primaries, and 54 are top-two primaries.

California is the only state with March 3 congressional primaries that does not have a U.S. Senate seat up for election in 2020. North Carolina and Texas both have Democratic and Republican primaries for their U.S. Senate seats, held by Thom Tillis (R) and John Cornyn (R), respectively. Alabama is holding a Republican primary for its U.S. Senate seat, currently held by Doug Jones (D). Ballotpedia has identified all three seats as battleground U.S. Senate races in 2020.

Ballotpedia has identified eight California congressional districts, two North Carolina districts, and eight Texas districts as battleground U.S. House races. Both Republican primaries in North Carolina’s battleground races were canceled after only one candidate filed for each. California and Texas do not cancel unopposed races.

Entering the 2020 election, the U.S. Senate has 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, and two independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. Only 35 out of 100 Senate seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats. The U.S. House has 232 Democrats, 197 Republicans, one independent, and five vacancies. All 435 U.S. House seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.

Click here to learn more about the 2020 United States Congressional elections.

Additional reading:
United States House of Representatives elections, 2020
United States House Democratic Party primaries, 2020
United States House Republican Party primaries, 2020
United States Senate elections, 2020
United States Senate Democratic Party primaries, 2020
United States Senate Republican Party primaries, 2020



No open seats in Pennsylvania U.S. House races; all races feature a Democratic and Republican candidate

Pennsylvania’s statewide major-party filing deadline was February 18, 2020. The primary is scheduled for April 28, and the general election is November 3. Fifty-four candidates filed for the 18 congressional seats on the ballot.

All 18 incumbents filed for re-election, and three face same-party challengers: Brian Fitzpatrick (R) in District 1, Mary Gay Scanlon (D) in District 5, and Michael Doyle (D) in District 18. The remaining 15 officeholders do not have primary competition.

At least one Democratic and one Republican candidate filed for each U.S. House seat. Of the 36 possible primaries, 25 are unopposed. Seven primaries feature two candidates, three primaries have three candidates, and one primary has six candidates on the ballot. Six of the contested primaries are Democratic primaries, and five are Republican primaries.

The 2018 election saw 11 incumbents file for re-election. Due to redistricting, not all officeholders filed for re-election to the same seat they held. Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District was the only U.S. House district in the state to not have a major-party candidate file for election that year.

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Caddo Parish Public Schools schedules special election for November 3

Caddo Parish Public Schools in Louisiana announced a special election for the District 8 seat. The election is being held on November 3, 2020. The filing period for the special election is from July 15 to July 17. The seat was previously represented by Denee Locke (R), who announced her resignation on February 11 after moving out of the district.

The board is appointing an interim school board member after applicant interviews are conducted during a February 21 special meeting. Applicants had until noon on February 14 to submit letters of interest to the board. The interim member will serve until the special election winner is sworn in.

Caddo Parish Public Schools has a 12-member school board. All board members serve four-year terms and are elected concurrently in by-district partisan elections. Following the 2018 election, seven board seats were held by Democratic members and five were held by Republican members, including Locke in District 8. That year, Democrats picked up one seat previously held by an independent board member and the number of Republican members remained the same.

Click here to read more about Caddo Parish Public Schools 2020 election

Additional reading
Caddo Parish Public Schools, Louisiana
Caddo Parish Public Schools elections (2018)



Texas runoffs close out 2019’s special state legislative elections

On January 28, three districts in the Texas House of Representatives held general runoff elections to fill seats that were vacated in 2019. Races in Districts 28, 100, and 148 advanced to general runoffs following the general election on November 5, 2019. None of the seats changed party control as a result of the special runoffs.

  • The District 28 seat became vacant after Rep. John Zerwas (R) resigned effective September 30, 2019, to take a position with the University of Texas System. Gary Gates (R) defeated Elizabeth Markowitz (D) in the runoff with 58.0% of the vote.
  • The District 100 seat became vacant after Eric Johnson (D) was elected to serve as mayor of Dallas on June 8, 2019. Lorraine Birabil (D) defeated James Armstrong III (D) in the runoff with 66.3% of the vote. The special election for this seat was the only one of the night to be between two candidates of the same party.
  • The District 148 seat became vacant after Jessica Farrar (D) resigned on September 30, 2019. Anna Eastman (D) defeated Luis LaRotta (R) in the runoff with 65.5% of the vote.

All three newly elected members will serve the remainder of the previous occupants’ unexpired terms, which end in January 2021. They have all filed for election in the regular election on November 3, 2020. A primary is scheduled for March 3, 2020. The challengers they each faced in the special runoff elections have also all filed for the same seats in the regular election, meaning all three will or could face a rematch in either the primary or the general.

In 2019, 77 state legislative special elections were held in 24 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year. Eight state legislative seats changed hands in special elections in 2019—five from Democrats to Republicans, two from Republicans to Democrats, and one from a Republican to an independent.

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No seats flip party control in first round of 2020 state legislative specials

Connecticut, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania held the first state legislative special general elections of the year on January 14. On the ballot were Connecticut House Districts 48 and 132, Kentucky Senate District 38, and Pennsylvania Senate District 48. All four seats became vacant in September or November 2019. No seats changed party control as a result of the special elections.

Connecticut House District 48 was the only seat up for general election that was previously held by a Democratic officeholder. Rep. Linda Orange (D) passed away on November 20, 2019. Democratic candidate Brian Smith was elected as her replacement, receiving 52.3% of the vote. Republican Brian Farnen won election to Connecticut House District 132 with 50.8% of the vote. He replaces Brenda Kupchick (R), who resigned on November 25, 2019, following her election as Fairfield First Selectman.

In Kentucky, Mike Nemes (R) was elected to Senate District 38 with 63.6% of the vote. His predecessor, Dan Seum (R), resigned his seat on November 16, 2019.

Republican David Arnold won election to Pennsylvania State Senate District 48 with 64.7% of the vote. The seat became vacant after Mike Folmer (R) resigned on September 18, 2019.

Two special primaries were also held on January 14. A Democratic primary was on the ballot for Arkansas House of Representatives District 34, a seat previously held by John Walker (D). The race advanced to a primary runoff on February 11. Minnesota House of Representatives District 30A, previously held by Nick Zerwas (R), held Democratic and Republican primaries. The general election is scheduled for February 4.

As of January 2020, 27 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2020 in 13 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:
Connecticut state legislative special elections, 2020
Kentucky state legislative special elections, 2020
Pennsylvania state legislative special elections, 2020



Four states with federal candidate filing deadlines in Jan. 2020

Seven statewide filing deadlines for the 2020 federal elections passed before the new year. January will see an additional four statewide ballot access deadlines for the November elections. The following states have their filing deadlines this month:

• Mississippi: January 10
• Kentucky: January 10
• Maryland: January 24
• West Virginia: January 25

Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, California, Texas, Ohio, and North Carolina all had their filing deadlines in 2019. Candidates in Alabama and Arkansas filed in November, and candidates in the remaining states filed in December.

From November 2019 to July 2020, Ballotpedia will cover an average of six statewide filing deadlines each month. November 2019 and February and July 2020 are tied for the fewest with two each. Sixteen states have statewide filing deadlines in March 2020, making it the busiest month for candidate ballot access deadlines for the 2020 elections.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:
Elections
Ballotpedia’s Election Analysis Hub, 2020
Twenty Quality Benchmarks for Election Transparency



North Carolina filing deadline is December 20

On December 20, the major-party filing deadline passed to run for elected office in North Carolina. Candidates filed for the following offices:

• U.S. Senate – Incumbent Thom Tillis (R) filed to run for re-election.
• U.S. House (13 seats) – Incumbents announced they would not file to run for re-election in districts 2, 6, and 11.
• Governor – Incumbent Roy Cooper (D) filed to run for re-election.
• Lieutenant Governor – Incumbent Dan Forest (R) did not file to run for re-election. He filed to run for governor.
• Attorney General
• Secretary of State
• Treasurer
• Superintendent of Public Instruction
• Auditor
• Commissioner of Agriculture
• Commissioner of Labor
• Commissioner of Insurance
• State Senate – all 50 seats
• State House of Representatives – all 120 seats
• State Supreme Court – three judgeships
• State Appellate Court – five judgeships

Ballotpedia is also covering local elections in the following areas:

• Mecklenburg County
• Wake County
• Guilford County
• Forsyth County
• Durham County
• Winston-Salem
• Guilford County Schools
• Johnston County Schools

The primary is scheduled for March 3, and the general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

North Carolina’s statewide filing deadline was the seventh to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on January 10 in Mississippi.

North Carolina has a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

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