Author

Samuel Wonacott

Samuel Wonacott is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Supreme Court ruling completes redistricting for 2022 elections

Welcome to the Wednesday, July 6, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Looking back on the past 18 months of redistricting
  2. Ranked-choice voting campaign submits signatures for Nevada ballot 
  3. 54% of state legislators are Republican, 44% Democratic

Looking back on the past 18 months of redistricting

Since spring 2021, we’ve brought you regular updates on the status of congressional and state legislative redistricting. With a recent Supreme Court decision, that process is now complete for 2022.  

On June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) overturned a U.S. district court ruling that struck down Louisiana’s congressional district boundaries. Louisiana was the last state to complete congressional redistricting this year. SCOTUS will review the case in an upcoming term (along with a similar case out of Alabama). The decision means the map the legislature approved in March will be used for this year’s elections. Now that this year’s maps are set, let’s take a look back on how we got here. 

  • Voters in five states will use congressional or legislative boundaries in the 2022 elections that will be in effect for this cycle only. In the following states, federal or state courts adopted remedial maps with the stipulation that they be redrawn before the 2024 elections. Those states are:
  • Alaska (state Senate)
  • South Carolina (state House of Representatives)
  • New York (state Assembly)
  • North Carolina (Congress)
  • Ohio legislative (state House of Representatives and state Senate)
  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed legislation on June 24 establishing new state House district maps for use beginning in 2024. The maps were redrawn as part of a settlement of a federal lawsuit that a group of civil rights groups filed in December 2021 alleging racial gerrymandering in the original map. South Carolina enacted the state legislative district boundaries that will be used for this year’s elections on Dec. 10, 2021.
  • At the federal level, 44 states adopted congressional district maps after the 2020 census. Six states were apportioned one U.S. House district, so no congressional redistricting was required.
  • At the state level, 49 states redrew legislative district maps for both chambers. Montana, however, has not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans and will use the boundaries enacted after the 2010 census for this year’s elections. The state’s legislature will draw state House and Senate boundaries next year, in 2023. It holds sessions in odd-numbered years and adjourned before the U.S. Census delivered detailed census information to states.
  • The Census Bureau released apportionment counts and state-level population data on April 26, 2021, and block-level data and county-level demographic information on Aug. 12, 2021. The agency was originally scheduled to deliver apportionment counts from the 2020 census to the President of the United States by Dec. 31, 2020, and redistricting data to the states by March 30, 2021. Mike Schneider of Yahoo News reported in December 2020 that the COVID-19 pandemic caused a shortage of survey workers and forced the Census Bureau to suspend field operations in the spring of 2020. The Bureau also announced in November 2020 that it needed additional time to address data processing anomalies due to the shortened timeline for tabulating the results.

Learn more about redistricting below. 

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Ranked-choice voting campaign submits signatures for Nevada ballot 

On June 29, the Nevada Voters First campaign submitted signatures to qualify a ranked choice voting measure for the November ballot. This came on the day after the Nevada Supreme Court ruled the initiative may proceed to the ballot. 

On Dec. 6, 2021, Nathan Helton, a registered voter in Churchill County, filed a lawsuit against the sponsors of the initiative. The challenge to the ballot initiative argued that the measure violated the single-subject rule. The Supreme Court backed a lower court ruling from January. 

The campaign reported submitting 266,000 signatures. To qualify for the ballot, 135,561 valid signatures are required. The submitted signatures will have to be verified in order for the measure to qualify for the Nevada ballot.

The ballot initiative would establish open top-five primaries and ranked-choice voting for general elections. Rank-choice voting allows a voter to rank candidates in preference from first to last. A candidate receiving 50% or more of the first choice votes wins. If no candidate is the first choice of more than 50%, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.

If voters approve an initiated amendment in one election, it must win again at the next general election in an even-numbered year for it to become part of the constitution. In other words, if the initiative is approved in 2022, it must be approved again in 2024 to take effect.

Ranked-choice voting is also used for certain elections in Alaska and Maine. In 2020, voters in Alaska passed Ballot Measure 2 50.55%-49.45%. The measure established open top-four primaries for state executive, state legislative, and congressional offices and ranked-choice voting for general elections, including presidential elections. 

In May, signatures were submitted for a top-four ranked-choice voting initiative in Missouri. 

Click below to read more about the Nevada Top-Five Ranked Choice Voting Initiative.

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54% of state legislators are Republican, 44% Democratic

Here’s an update on the partisan breakdown in state legislatures.

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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A mid-year report on state legislative sessions

Welcome to the Tuesday, July 5, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Lawmakers are in session in six states
  2. President Joe Biden’s approval at 39%, the lowest of his presidency thus far 
  3. We’re hiring—and we’d like you to be our next colleague! 

Lawmakers are in session in six states

Now that we’ve reached the halfway point of the year, let’s look back at the status of state legislative sessions over the last six months.  

Currently, most states are out of session. But six state legislatures are in regular session—California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Lawmakers in California, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Ohio are considered full-time legislators, because they meet periodically throughout the year (in 41 other states, state legislators are considered part-time because they only meet for a portion of the year). 

Massachusetts’ legislative session is scheduled to end July 31. California’s is scheduled to end Aug. 31, while Pennsylvania’s is scheduled to end Nov. 30. In Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio, sessions are scheduled to end on Dec. 31. 

Since January, lawmakers in all but four states have held regular sessions. That’s because  46 state legislatures hold regular sessions annually. In Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Texas, however, lawmakers hold regular sessions in odd-numbered years only. 

The length of a session varies among the states, and is set by a state’s constitution, a statute, or by the legislature. 

Here’s a roundup of facts about state legislative sessions this year: 

  • 46 states held regular sessions in 2022. 
    • 39 state legislatures convened in January.  
    • Five state legislatures—Oregon, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Arkansas, and Wyoming—convened in February. 
    • Louisiana’s state legislature convened in March, and North Carolina’s convened in May. 
  • 40 states have ended their sessions
    • One state legislature ended its session in February. 
    • 12 state legislatures ended their sessions in March. 
    • Eight state legislatures ended their sessions in April. 
    • 13 state legislatures ended their sessions in May. 
    • Five state legislatures ended their sessions in June.
    • North Carolina ended its session on July 1.  

State legislatures sometimes meet outside of their regularly scheduled sessions in what are called special or extraordinary sessions. According to MultiState, 12 states have held special sessions so far this year—Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Additionally, South Carolina has a forthcoming special session on a date to be determined.

Click below to read more about state legislative sessions.

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President Joe Biden’s approval at 39%, the lowest of his presidency so far 

We’ve aggregated polling data since the first days of the Trump administration. Let’s take a look at some recent polling data. 

Recent polling averages show President Joe Biden’s (D) approval rating at 39% as of June 30, the lowest of his presidency thus far. Fifty-six percent of voters disapprove.

Biden first received this rating on June 13. At the end of May, his approval rating was at 40%. Biden’s highest approval rating was 55% on May 26, 2021.

Our polling index takes the average of polls conducted over the last 30 days to calculate presidential and congressional approval ratings. We average the results and show all polling results side-by-side because we believe that paints a clearer picture of public opinion than any individual poll can provide. The data is updated daily as new polling results are published.

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We’re Hiring!

We’re hiring interns and full-time staff! If you’re interested in getting paid to help ensure that every voter in America has unbiased election information, then we encourage you to join our team! We’re looking for fast learners and creative problem solvers who are eager to work hard to make the world a better place.

To apply for these 100% remote opportunities, visit our Job Opportunities page at the link below and submit an application today! 

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Mullin and Shannon advance to Aug. 23 special runoff for U.S. Senate in Oklahoma

Markwayne Mullin and T.W. Shannon advanced to an August 23, 2022, Republican primary runoff in the special U.S. Senate election in Oklahoma. Neither received the majority of the primary vote needed to win outright on June 28.

Ten candidates ran in the primary. The special election will fill the rest of the six-year term left by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R), who was last elected in 2020. Inhofe announced he would resign January 3, 2023, to spend time with family.

Mullin, Shannon, Nathan Dahm, Scott Pruitt, and Luke Holland led in polling, noteworthy endorsements, and media attention.

Mullin has represented Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013. He campaigned on making the country energy independent, lowering inflation, and defending the Second Amendment. Mullin said, “I entered the race for Senate because the people of Oklahoma deserve a Senator who will fight for their conservative values. I am a Christian, a family man and a proud supporter of President Trump and I will always fight for the America First policies that Oklahomans have been desperately missing during Joe Biden’s failed time in office.”

Shannon is the CEO of Chickasaw Community Bank in Oklahoma City. He previously served as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 2006 to 2014. Shannon campaigned on opposing taxpayer-funded abortion, protecting the U.S. Constitution, and lowering taxes to create jobs. Shannon said he was running to “push back against this woke agenda” because “what made this country great is our constitution, capitalism and Christianity, and all three of those are under attack.” Former Vice Presidential and current U.S. House candidate Sarah Palin (R) endorsed Shannon.

Dahm is a member of the Oklahoma State Senate, a position to which he was first elected in 2011. Dahm campaigned on election integrity, protecting the Second Amendment, and term limits for members of U.S. Congress. Dahm said, “I’m running for the United States Senate because, like you, I am tired of the spineless politicians who turned their backs on President Donald J. Trump. We need proven Republican fighters, and I’ve proven I’ll never back down.” U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R) endorsed Dahm.

Holland was Inhofe’s chief of staff until he resigned in February 2022 to run for U.S. Senate. He began working with Inhofe in 2009 as a staff assistant. Holland campaigned on standing up to China and stopping what he described as a rush to socialism. Holland said, “As your next senator, I will continue the Inhofe legacy of defending our Christian values, fighting socialism, rebuilding our military and standing up to China.” Inhofe endorsed Holland.

Pruitt served as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under former President Donald Trump (R) from 2017 to 2018. Prior to that, he served as the Oklahoma Attorney General from 2011 to 2017. He campaigned on energy independence, securing the border, fighting what he calls Big Tech, and stopping inflation. Pruitt said: “I think Oklahomans know that I’m going to fight for their values, I think they know that I exhibited courage in working with the president historically to get things done and I think they know that I’ve also engaged in leadership and civility. I believe very strongly that we’ll have the resources that we need.” Former Secretary of Energy and former Governor of Texas Rick Perry (R) endorsed Pruitt.

Alex Gray, Randy Grellner, Adam Holley, Laura Moreno, Paul Royse, and John Tompkins also ran in the election.

As of June 29, 2022, 16 special elections have been called during the 117th Congress. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held.



Ezell defeats incumbents Palazzo in primary runoff for Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District

Mike Ezell defeated incumbent Steven Palazzo in the June 28 Republican primary runoff for Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District on June 28, 2022. In the June 7 primary, Palazzo received 31.6% of the vote, while Ezell received 25.1%. Both candidates advanced to a runoff because no candidate received more than 50% of the vote.

Palazzo was first elected to the U.S. House in 2010. From 2006 to 2011, he served in the Mississippi House of Representatives. Palazzo said voters should choose him because of his experience in Congress, relationships at the state, local, and federal levels, and seat on the House Committee on Appropriations. Palazzo said, “If we lose this Appropriations seat, we will not get it back.” Palazzo also said, “I’m the one with the proven track record. I’ve been working hard for south Mississippi for over 12 years. Look, $26 billion for 26 ships since 2011, fighting for our men and women in uniform, helping to secure funds for the wall on our southern border. I think I’ve been an effective legislator for south Mississippi.” Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise (R) and the National Right to Life endorsed Palazzo’s re-election.

Ezell is the Jackson County Sheriff, a position to which he was first elected in 2014. Ezell campaigned on protecting the 2nd Amendment, securing the border, and growing the economy. Ezell said voters should choose him because of his law enforcement experience: “From the chaos and crisis on our southern border to the crime and drugs that are hurting so many communities across our country, it’s going to take someone in Congress with real law enforcement experience to tackle these issues that affect all of us.” The candidates who lost in the June 7 primary—Clay Wagner, Brice Wiggins, Carl Boyanton, Raymond Brooks, and Kidron Peterson—endorsed Ezell.

Allegations that Palazzo previously misused campaign funds were an issue in the primary, with Ezell saying, “Steven Palazzo has been under the cloud of an ethics investigation.” In 2020, the Office of Congressional Ethics released a report that said the allegations should be further investigated because “there is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Palazzo converted funds to personal use to pay expenses that were not legitimate and verifiable campaign expenditures attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes.” Palazzo denied the allegations. Palazzo’s campaign spokesman said, “All of this from the beginning was political, created by Congressman Palazzo’s political opponents…We’ve long been ready to get this behind us and we fully believe it will be resolved in Congressman Palazzo’s favor.” The House Ethics Committee’s review of the allegations is ongoing.



Our newest offering – introducing the Election Administration Legislation Tracker

Welcome to the Wednesday, June 29, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Introducing the Election Administration Legislation Tracker
  2. Californians will decide on an amendment that would provide a right to abortion and contraceptives in November 
  3. We’ve got June 28 election results!

Introducing the Election Administration Legislation Tracker

Election administration in the U.S. is characterized by an ever-changing patchwork of federal, state, and local laws and policies. This year alone, states have enacted 162 bills related to election administration. That can make it difficult to understand how election administration is changing in your state. To help cut through the noise, we’re excited to announce the launch of our new Election Administration Legislation Tracker—a resource to help you quickly and easily track election-related legislation in all 50 states

This free and accessible online resource allows you to find easy-to-digest bill tags and summaries—written and curated by our election administration experts! We update our database and bill-tracking daily. Using our powerful interactive search function, you can zero in on more 2,500 bills (and counting) covering these topics:

  • Absentee/mail-in voting and early voting policies
  • Ballot access requirements for candidates, parties, and ballot initiatives
  • Election dates and deadlines
  • Election oversight protocols
  • In-person voting procedures
  • Post-election procedures (including counting, canvassing, and auditing policies)
  • Voter ID
  • Voter registration and eligibility

To make your search results more precise, we first place bills into one of 22 parent categories. We then apply to each bill one or more of the 88 tags we’ve developed. 

But don’t worry—if you don’t want to immerse yourself in the world of election legislation quite that often, we have a free, weekly digest that goes straight to your inbox and keeps you caught up on the week’s developments.

The Election Administration Legislation Tracker dashboard allows you to narrow your search through eight different factors that can be combined into any combination:

  • Keyword
  • Bill number
  • Most recent action
  • State
  • Current bill status
  • Topic
  • Party affiliation of the bill sponsor
  • State trifecta status

For example, here’s some trivia for you: legislators from both parties have co-sponsored 8.64% of the bills we’ve tracked. 

We also make it easy to visualize much of our data, including which states are introducing the most bills. 

Click here to sign up for our weekly digest of election-related legislation. Each week, we’ll bring you noteworthy bills from around the country, recent activity, and a look at the big picture. 

Click below to use the Election Administration Legislation Tracker! We’ll be back tomorrow and Friday with more data from the tracker – stay tuned! Go explore it for yourself.

Keep reading

Californians will decide on an amendment to provide a right to abortion and contraceptives in November 

California will be the fifth state to vote on an abortion-related ballot measure this year. This year will feature the most abortion-related ballot measures on record

On June 27, the California Assembly voted 58-16 to advance the California Right to Reproductive Freedom Amendment, a legislatively referred constitutional amendment providing that “The state shall not deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions …” Earlier, the state Senate passed the amendment by a vote of 29-8 with three absent.

Voters will decide on the measure in November.

Voters in Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, and Vermont will also decide abortion-related ballot measures this year. The proposed Vermont amendment would provide that an “individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course …” The Kansas and Kentucky amendments state that nothing in their respective state constitutions provides a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion. Montana voters will decide on a law to require medical care to be provided to infants born alive. It makes it a felony for healthcare providers to refuse to offer such care.

The California Right to Reproductive Freedom Amendment was introduced following the leak of a draft majority opinion for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on May 2. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said, “We are proposing an amendment to enshrine the right to choose in the California constitution. We can’t trust SCOTUS to protect the right to abortion, so we’ll do it ourselves. Women will remain protected here.”

The amendment states: “The state shall not deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives.”

Currently, abortion is legal in California up to fetal viability and after viability if the procedure is necessary to protect the life or health of the mother.

On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs that “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”

Click here to read more about the history of abortion-related ballot measures. Click below to read more about California’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Amendment.

Keep reading 

We’ve got June 28 election results!

Yesterday was one of the busiest primary nights of the year. There were statewide primaries in Colorado, Illinois, New York, Oklahoma, and Utah on Tuesday. Our team stayed up late into the night collecting results and monitoring the most significant developments. In tomorrow’s Brew, we’ll take a closer look at the biggest storylines to emerge from Tuesday’s results and how they may affect the November elections. 

In the meantime, check out our June 28 election hub to see the latest results. You can also subscribe to The Heart of the Primaries, our weekly dive into key congressional, legislative, and executive races. The next edition comes out Thursday! 

Click on the links below to see results from the battleground elections that happened last night:

Colorado

Illinois

Mississippi 

New York

Oklahoma

Click below to view all June 28 election results.  

Keep reading



Nearly $30 million raised among nine AGs

Welcome to the Monday, June 27, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Across nine states, attorneys general have collectively raised $48.4 million this election cycle
  2. A look at Utah’s June 28 elections 
  3. A look at Oklahoma’s June 28 elections

Across nine states, attorneys general have collectively raised $27.8 million this election cycle

Thirty states are holding attorney general elections this year. Let’s take a look at campaign finance numbers in nine of those states, where we partner with Transparency USA to provide detailed campaign finance data. 

In the current election cycle across nine states, attorneys general have collectively raised $27.8 million. Two 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’s what the data show:

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

Thirty states are holding attorney general elections this year. Of those 30 attorney general offices, Democrats hold 16 and Republicans hold 14. In 2018, the last time all 30 offices were up for election, Democrats gained control of four in Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin.

Overall, Democrats hold 22 attorney general offices, while Republicans hold 26. 

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 below.

Keep reading

A look at Utah’s June 28 elections 

By the time July comes around, a majority of states will have held statewide primaries. In contrast to May and June, when states held primaries nearly every week, only Maryland will hold statewide elections in July. 

Let’s turn to this month’s final primaries. Five states will hold primaries on June 28—Colorado, Illinois, New York (state legislative districts and state executive offices only), Oklahoma, and Utah. Here’s a preview of what’s on the ballot in Utah and Oklahoma. 

Congress

Utah will hold elections for a U.S. Senate seat and all four U.S. House districts. Seven candidates are running in the Republican Senate seat, including incumbent Mike Lee (R). Lee first took office in 2011. One candidate, Kael Weston, is running in the Democratic primary. Three independent election forecasters consider the general election Solid Republican or Likely Republican

All four of Utah’s House districts are up for election. Republicans represent all four districts. Thirteen candidates filed to run across all four districts, including four Democrats and nine Republicans. All four incumbents are running for re-election, and all four face primary challengers. There are no contested Democratic primaries.

State

Utah voters will decide primaries for state treasurer and eight of the 15 seats on the Board of Education. Voters will also decide primaries for state Senate and state House

Fifteen districts in the state Senate are up for election. Republicans have a 23-6 Senate majority. Seventy-five districts in the House are up for election. Republicans have a 58-17 majority. Fifteen of the 82 Utah state legislators running for re-election this year—two Democrats and 13 incumbents—have contested primaries. 

Utah uses a unique convention-primary structure where candidates participate in party conventions before advancing to the primary. Conventions were held on April 23. Three incumbents were defeated in conventions this year: Reps. Stephen Handy (R), Douglas Sagers (R), and Steve Waldrip (R). This was the most state legislative incumbents defeated in Utah’s conventions since 2014.

In Utah, the primary candidate with the most votes wins—even if that candidate receives less than 50% of the total vote. Utah is one of 40 states without primary election runoffs. The state cancels uncontested primaries, and write-in candidates participate only in general elections, not primaries. 

Keep reading 

A look at Oklahoma’s June 28 elections

Now, over to Oklahoma’s June 28 primaries. If necessary, primary runoffs will be held Aug. 23.

Congress

Voters will decide primaries for two U.S. Senate seats and all five U.S. House districts. 

Oklahoma is the only state this cycle in which both its U.S. Senate seats are up for election. Longtime U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, who took office in 1994, announced he would retire on Jan. 3, 2023, triggering a special election. The candidate who wins in the general election will serve the remainder of Inhofe’s term, which ends in 2027. Ten candidates are running in the special Republican primary. The special Democratic primary was canceled because Kendra Horn was the only candidate to file. The winner of the Republican primary will face Horn, Robert Murphy (L), and Ray Woods (I) in the November general election. 

Approximately one-third of U.S. Senate seats is up for election every two years. In 2020, Georgia held two U.S. Senate elections (both went to runoffs in January 2021). Before that, both of Mississippi’s U.S. Senate seats were up for election in 2018.   

Sen. James Lankford (R) is running in a regularly scheduled U.S. Senate election. Three candidates—Lankford, Joan Farr, and Jackson Lahmeyer—are running in the Republican primary. Six candidates—Arya Azma, Dennis Baker, Jason Bollinger, Jo Glenn, Madison Horn, Brandon Wade—are running in the Democratic primary. 

All five of Oklahoma’s U.S. House districts are on the ballot this year. Republicans represent all five districts. Twenty-eight candidates are running for Oklahoma’s five U.S. House districts, including five Democrats and 23 Republicans.

State

Oklahoma voters will decide primaries for a range of state executive offices, including governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Additionally, voters will decide primaries for 24 districts in the state Senate and all 101 districts in the state Assembly. 

Republicans have a 39-9 Senate majority and an 82-18 majority in the Assembly. Eighty-eight of the 125 districts up for election in Oklahoma in 2022 are uncontested, meaning voters in 70% of districts will have either only a Democrat or only a Republican on their general election ballots. This is both the largest number and highest rate of uncontested districts since 2014. 

In Oklahoma, primary candidates must get a majority of the vote to win. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the total vote, the two candidates with the most votes advance to an Aug. 23 runoff election. Oklahoma is one of 10 states that conduct runoff elections as part of their party nomination process.

Keep reading



Palazzo and Ezell headed for runoff in Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District primary

Incumbent Steven Palazzo and Mike Ezell are running in the June 28 Republican primary runoff for Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District. In the June 7 primary, Palazzo received 31.6% of the vote, while Ezell received 25.1%. Both candidates advanced to a runoff because no candidate received more than 50% of the vote.

Palazzo was first elected to the U.S. House in 2010. From 2006 to 2011, he served in the Mississippi House of Representatives. Palazzo said voters should choose him because of his experience in Congress, relationships at the state, local, and federal levels, and seat on the House Committee on Appropriations. Palazzo said, “If we lose this Appropriations seat, we will not get it back.” Palazzo also said, “I’m the one with the proven track record. I’ve been working hard for south Mississippi for over 12 years. Look, $26 billion for 26 ships since 2011, fighting for our men and women in uniform, helping to secure funds for the wall on our southern border. I think I’ve been an effective legislator for south Mississippi.” Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise (R) and National Right to Life endorsed Palazzo’s re-election.

Ezell is the Jackson County Sheriff, a position to which he was first elected in 2014. Ezell has campaigned on protecting the 2nd Amendment, securing the border, and growing the economy. Ezell has said voters should choose him because of his law enforcement experience: “From the chaos and crisis on our southern border to the crime and drugs that are hurting so many communities across our country, it’s going to take someone in Congress with real law enforcement experience to tackle these issues that affect all of us.” The candidates who lost in the June 7 primary—Clay Wagner, Brice Wiggins, Carl Boyanton, Raymond Brooks, and Kidron Peterson—endorsed Ezell.

Allegations that Palazzo previously misused campaign funds have been an issue in the primary, with Ezell saying, “Steven Palazzo has been under the cloud of an ethics investigation.” In 2020, the Office of Congressional Ethics released a report that said the allegations should be further investigated because “there is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Palazzo converted funds to personal use to pay expenses that were not legitimate and verifiable campaign expenditures attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes.” Palazzo has denied the allegations. Palazzo’s campaign spokesman said, “All of this from the beginning was political, created by Congressman Palazzo’s political opponents…We’ve long been ready to get this behind us and we fully believe it will be resolved in Congressman Palazzo’s favor.” The House Ethics Committee‘s review of the allegations is ongoing.

Independent race ratings outlets consider the general election Solid Republican.



Making sense of the US House special election in Alaska

Welcome to the Wednesday, June 22, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Gross ends campaign for U.S. House
  2. All candidates in IL-03 Democratic primary complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey 
  3. Another look at Texas’ 34th Congressional District special election

Gross ends campaign for U.S. House 

On June 20, Al Gross (I) announced he was ending his campaign for Alaska’s At-Large Congressional District, leaving the Aug. 16 special general election candidate list in flux. Gross was one of 48 candidates who filed to run in the June 11 special primary to replace Rep. Don Young (R), who died in March. 

This was the first top-four congressional primary in U.S. history. In 2020, Alaska voters passed Ballot Measure 2, establishing a primary system in which candidates for state executive, state legislative, and congressional offices run in a single primary, regardless of party affiliation. The top four vote-getters advance to a general election. 

As of June 21, the four candidates are Sarah Palin (R), with 28.6%, Nicholas Begich (R), with 20%, Al Gross (I), with 13.1%, and Mary Peltola (D), with 9.8%. A final ballot count was scheduled for June 21.

In a statement, Gross said, “There are two outstanding Alaska Native women in this race who would both serve our state well, and I encourage my supporters to stay engaged and consider giving their first-place vote to whichever of them best matches their own values. Thank you for your support.” His campaign specified that he was referring to Peltola and Tara Sweeney (R), who came in fifth with 6% of the vote. 

The Washington Post reported that a representative for the Alaska Division of Elections said the agency was looking into whether the fifth-place finisher—Sweeney, in this case—would move into fourth and appear on the special general election ballot. According to Alaska Public Media, the Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai released a letter Tuesday afternoon stating the law does not allow the fifth-place finisher to appear on the general election ballot.

Fenumiai wrote: “Because this withdrawal occurred less than 64 days before the election, Alaska law does not permit the fifth-place candidate to advance.” Fenumiai also wrote that “any party that disagrees with these decisions should file suit immediately.”

Alaska Statute 15.25.100, a section of the codified version of Ballot Measure 2, describes the process of replacing a general election candidate: “…if a candidate nominated at the primary election dies, withdraws, resigns, becomes disqualified from holding office for which the candidate is nominated, or is certified as being incapacitated in the manner prescribed by this section after the primary election and 64 or more days before the general election, the vacancy shall be filled by the director by replacing the withdrawn candidate with the candidate who received the fifth most votes in the primary election.”

The law does not mention special general elections. The Aug. 16 special general election is 55 days from June 22. 

The winner of the Aug. 16 special general election will serve until the end of Young’s term—Jan. 3, 2023. The special election is one of two elections, alongside the regularly scheduled election, for Alaska’s at-large House district this year. Twenty-four candidates filed to run in both the regular and special elections, including all those named above except Santa Claus, Andrew Halcro, and Emil Notti.

Nine special elections for the 117th Congress have been held, and five are scheduled for later this year (including the special general election for Alaska’s At-Large Congressional District). 

Click below to read more about Alaska’s special U.S. House election.

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All candidates in IL-03 Democratic primary complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey 

We often mention our Candidate Connection survey. Here’s an update from a race in Illinois in which all the candidates completed the survey. 

The four Democratic candidates running in the June 28 primary for Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District are registered nurse Juan Aguirre, Columbia College Chicago history professor lymen Chehade, state Rep. Delia Ramirez, and Chicago Alderman Gil Villegas.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

  • Aguirre: “Anti-Corruption legislation as well as legislation to end corporate America’s [exploitation] of the working class AND the nursing profession.”
  • Chehade: “[Chehade] proposes an ambitious Marshall Plan for the United States, inspired by the post-World War II rebuilding of Europe.”
  • Ramirez: “Affordable Housing – Delia grew up volunteering at her church’s homeless shelter and became the Director of a homeless services agency at 21 years old.”
  • Villegas: “Public Safety … Families have a right to feel safe and secure in their own neighborhood, but crime is completely out of control. Enough is enough.” 

The redrawn 3rd District is a plurality-Latino district. The Chicago Tribune’s John Byrne said the redrawn district “extends from progressive Chicago neighborhoods to historically conservative towns in the far reaches of what used to be the Republican stronghold of DuPage County.” The current 3rd District’s incumbent, Rep. Marie Newman (D), is running in a primary in the 6th District against Rep. Sean Casten (D).

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Another look at Texas’ 34th Congressional District special election

Last Thursday, we looked at the results from the June 14 special election for Texas’ 34th Congressional District. Let’s take another look at that race and how the results compare to U.S. House races in 2020. 

On June 14, Mayra Flores (R) defeated Dan Sanchez (D), Rene Coronado (D), and Juana Cantu-Cabrera (R), claiming for the GOP Filemon Vela’s (D) previous district. Vela resigned on March 31. Flores will serve the remainder of Vela’s term, which ends in January 2023. 

Flores defeated Sanchez, her closest challenger, 51% to 43.3%—a margin of 7.7 percentage points. Vela won the district in 2020 55.4% to 41.8%. That year, Democrats won 56 districts by margins smaller than Vela’s 13.6% margin of victory. 

The chart below shows all U.S. House elections in 2020 decided by margins of less than 20 percentage points. Vela’s 13.6 percentage point margin of victory in Texas’ 34th Congressional District election is highlighted near the upper-left corner. 

This is the first time partisan control of a U.S. House district changed in a special election since Mike Garcia’s (R) May 2020 victory in the California congressional district previously represented by Katie Hill (D). Garcia defeated Christy Smith (D) 55% to 45%, a 9.8 percentage point margin of victory.

Flores is the Republican nominee for the regular election in November, where she will face fellow incumbent Rep. Vicente Gonzalez Jr. (D). This election was held under district lines dating to before the 2020 round of redistricting. Joe Biden (D) won the old 34th district in which this election took place by a margin of four percentage points. Under the new district lines that will be in place for the November election, Joe Biden would have won the district by more than 15 percentage points. 

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11 bills related to Juneteenth have been enacted so far in 2022

Welcome to the Monday, June 20, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Here’s where states have passed or enacted Juneteenth legislation
  2. A look at Colorado’s June 28 primaries 
  3. Election preview—Virginia’s 7th Congressional District Republican primary

Here’s where states have passed or enacted Juneteenth legislation

Juneteenth became a federal holiday on June 17, 2021, when President Joe Biden (D) signed a bill making it the 11th federal holiday.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws observing Juneteenth. Texas, where Juneteenth originated, was the first state to do so in 1980. Currently, 18 states close state offices for Juneteenth and offer state employees paid time off. 

Beginning in 2019, state legislators began introducing and enacting more legislation related to Juneteenth than at any time in the previous decade. So far in 2022, 44 Juneteenth-related bills have been introduced in legislatures around the country, and states have enacted 11 of them. 

The following table shows legislation related to Juneteenth enacted so far in 2022:

Click below to read more about Juneteenth legislation in the states. 

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A look at Colorado’s June 28 primaries 

On June 28, five states will hold Republican and Democratic primaries—Colorado, Illinois, New York (state legislative districts and state executive offices only), Oklahoma, and Utah. Let’s take a look at the races Colorado voters will decide that day. 

Congressional

One U.S. Senate seat is up for election in Colorado this year. Incumbent Michael Bennet (D), who first took office in 2009, is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. Three candidates are running in the Republican primary—Ron Hanks, Joe O’Dea, and Daniel Hendricks. Three independent race forecasters consider the seat Likely Democratic or Solid Democratic.

Eight U.S. House districts are up for election in Colorado. Democrats currently represent four of those districts, while Republicans represent three. Following the 2020 census, Colorado gained an eighth U.S. House district. Independent forecasters consider the new 8th Congressional District Election a Toss-up, meaning neither party has an obvious advantage over the other. Yadira Caraveo is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. Tyler Allcorn, Barbara Kirkmeyer, Jan Kulmann, and Lori Saine are running in the Republican primary. Allcorn, Kirkmeyer, and Kulmann completed our Candidate Connection survey, so click here to read their responses and learn more about the race.

Thirty candidates filed to run for the state’s eight U.S. House districts—the most since 2012. 

State

Colorado’s gubernatorial office is on the ballot this year. Incumbent Jared Polis (D), who was first elected in 2018, is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. Polis will face one of the two candidates running in the Republican primary—Heidi Ganahl or Greg Lopez. Additionally, several other state executive offices are up for election this year, including attorney general and secretary of state.

All 35 of the state Senate seats and all 65 of the state House seats are up for election. Democrats have a 20-15 majority in the state Senate and a 41-24 majority in the state House. Incumbents did not file to run for re-election in 35 districts across both chambers, meaning that newcomers will represent at least 35% of the state’s legislative districts. Colorado is one of 15 states with term limits for state legislators. 


In Colorado, the primary candidate with the most votes wins—even if that candidate receives less than 50% of the total vote. Colorado is one of 40 states without primary election runoffs. The state generally does not cancel uncontested primaries, and write-in candidates are required to file. 

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Election preview—Virginia’s 7th Congressional District Republican primary

Tomorrow, voters in Virginia will go to the polls to decide U.S. House primaries. We delved into Virginia’s somewhat complicated primary election rules last week, so today, let’s look at a battleground race—the Republican primary for the state’s 7th Congressional District. 

Incumbent Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) is running for re-election. In 2018, Spanberger defeated incumbent Rep. David Brat (R) by a margin of 1.9%. In 2020, she defeated Nick Freitas (R) by a margin of 1.8%.

Six candidates are running in the primary—Derrick Anderson, Bryce Reeves, Crystal Vanuch, Yesli Vega, Gina Ciarcia, and David Ross. Anderson, Reeves, Vanuch, and Vega have raised the most money, and all four have received endorsements from various Republicans. 

  • Anderson served as a Green Beret in the U.S. Army and earned his J.D. from Georgetown University. U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) endorsed Anderson. 
  • Reeves was elected to the Virginia Senate in 2011. U.S. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) endorsed Reeves.
  • Vanuch serves on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors. U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) endorsed Vanuch.
  • Vega serves on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and has experience working in law enforcement. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and former U.S. Rep. Brat (R) endorsed Vega. 

The general election is expected to be competitive. Three independent forecasting outlets rated the general election as Toss-up, Lean Democratic, and Tilt Democratic.

Read more about the race below.

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Becker defeats four candidates to win Republican primary for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District

April Becker defeated four other candidates in the Republican primary for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District on June 14. Incumbent Susie Lee, who was first elected in 2018, ran in the Democratic primary.

Becker, John Kovacs, and Noah Malgeri led in fundraising and media attention.

Becker runs April Becker & Associates, a law practice, and has owned several small businesses with her husband. In the 2020 general election for state Senate, Nicole Cannizzaro (D) defeated Becker 50.5% to 49.5%. Becker listed the economy, border security and crime rates, and education as the top issues facing the state. Becker said, “I think Susie Lee doesn’t care about people. I think she is in this job for the wrong reasons. In contrast, I care about the people who I am going to work for…That has been my motivator for everything I have done my entire life. Going to law school, my pro bono work, my senate and congressional race…it is going to be me fighting for the people I work for.” Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R), former Ambassador Nikki Haley, and the Nevada Republican Party endorsed Becker.

Kovacs is the president of NVNJ Construction Group, a construction company he founded. He listed inflation, border security and crime, and water scarcity as his top issues. In drawing attention to the issue of water scarcity, Kovacs said, “It’s not as sexy as the election fraud or critical race theory or the Second Amendment, but if this area didn’t have water, it’d be a ghost town.” Kovacs has said his background running businesses is what sets him apart from his opponents: “How many other candidates are running multimillion-dollar businesses with collective bargaining agreements and paying into health care for more than 50 employees? None of them. One day I’m an accountant, the next a lawyer, then an engineer… the other candidates have no concept of this stuff. People are going to see this once we start talking about the issues.” In a campaign ad, Kovacs described Becker as a RINO (Republican In Name Only).

Malgeri is a U.S. Amy veteran, attorney and founder and CEO of Mojave Rail Fabrication, a company that makes automobile roof racks. Malgeri campaigned on stopping the teaching of critical race theory in schools, ending corruption in Washington D.C., and making America economically independent of China. Malgeri said, “I think my big picture appreciation of things like China, insight as patent attorney and decorated Army officer living in Europe for five years and the fact that I invented something and built a business around it have equipped me with the necessary perspective. I’ve also lived and worked in Washington, D.C., before. I know what it’s like there.”

Clark Bossert and Albert Maxwell Goldberg also ran in the race.

The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales consider the general election a Toss-upLarry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball rates the general election Tilt Democratic.