Category2022 elections

Primary watch: number of contested state legislative primaries is up 23% compared to 2020

There are 23% more contested state legislative primaries this year than in 2020, including 53% more Republican primaries and 8% more top-two/four primaries. Democratic primaries are down 10%.

These figures include elections in 39 states that account for 5,011 of 6,166 state legislative seats up for election this year (81%).

A primary is contested when there are more candidates running than available nominations, meaning at least one candidate must lose.

Since our last update on Aug. 1, we have added post-filing deadline data from Florida and Vermont. Overall, 11 states in this analysis have Democratic trifectas, 20 have Republican trifectas, and eight have divided governments.

Of the 39 states in this analysis, 36 are holding partisan primaries. Three states—California, Nebraska, and Washington—use top-two primaries.

The number of Democratic primaries has increased in 11 states, decreased in 21, and remains the same in three. The number of Republican primaries has increased in 31 states, decreased in four, and is unchanged in one. The table below shows partisan statistics for the three states with the largest increases and decreases so far.

In addition to a state’s political makeup and party activity, redistricting is another reason for an increase in primary competitiveness.

After redistricting, some states—like Arkansas—hold elections for every district, while in other years, fewer districts are up each cycle. This creates more opportunities for primaries to occur. Or, like in West Virginia, redistricting creates new districts and, by extension, more primary opportunities. Currently, the total number of possible primaries affected by these changes is up 3.0% compared to 2020.

For states like New Mexico and South Carolina, where only one chamber is up for election every two years, only those chambers holding elections in 2022 that also held elections in 2020 are included.

Ballotpedia will continue to update these figures as information becomes available. In addition to this analysis, Ballotpedia collects competitiveness statistics at all levels of government, available here. This data is calculated following candidate filing deadlines and readjusted at the time of the primary to account for any changes to candidate lists.



Newcomers will represent at least 32% of Vermont’s state legislative seats next year

Fifty-seven state legislative seats up for election in Vermont this year are open, meaning no incumbents filed to run. This represents 32% of the state’s legislature, a marked increase compared to recent election cycles.

Since no incumbents are present, newcomers are guaranteed to win all open seats.

Vermont restructured its House and Senate during the state’s redistricting process. Previously, the state had 117 state legislative districts containing 180 seats. After redistricting, there are 125 districts, still containing 180 seats.

While the number of open seats increased this year, other competitiveness metrics—like the number of contested primaries—decreased compared to the 2020 election cycle.

Across all districts, there are 24 contested primaries, representing 10% of all possible primaries.

A contested primary is one where there are more candidates running than nominations available, meaning at least one candidate must lose.

There are 17 Democratic primaries, a 23% decrease from 2020. Republicans are holding seven contested primaries, the same number as in 2020.

Overall, 276 major party candidates filed to run for the state’s 150 House and 30 Senate seats this year: 174 Democrats and 102 Republicans.

Vermont has had a divided government since Republicans won the governorship in 2016. Democrats hold a 91-46 majority in the House, with 12 other seats held by minor party or independent officeholders and one vacancy. The party holds a 21-7 majority in the Senate, with two seats held by minor party officeholders.

Vermont’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for Aug. 9, the 12th statewide primary date of the 2022 state legislative election cycle.

Additional reading:

Vermont House of Representatives elections, 2022

Vermont State Senate elections, 2022



Lake, Republican nominee for governor of Arizona, completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Kari Lake, who won the Republican primary for governor of Arizona on Aug. 2, completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey in May 2022. The Candidate Connection survey is an opportunity for voters to learn more about candidates through a variety of personal and political questions. 

A selection of Lake’s survey responses are excerpted below. To read Lake’s full survey responses, click here.

Please list below 3 key messages of your campaign. What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?

  • “Securing our Border is essential for the safety and security of Arizona’s future. I will finish Trump’s Wall & stop Biden’s cartel-controlled flood at our borders”
  • “Secure elections are essential to preserve our Republic, and our state”
  • “Arizona faces enormous challenges, we need a visionary leader to take them head-on”

What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

“Securing our border & our elections while locating and developing a new source of fresh water, reducing inflation and out-of-control housing costs, quality education with a renewed focus on technical education, creating smart economic growth, addressing our homelessness crisis, ensuring our businesses, churches and gyms are never closed again, and putting a stop to spiraling crime rates that are making our cities and towns less safe.” 

What qualities do you possess that you believe would make you a successful officeholder?

“I am convicted, not held back by political convention. Politics has become the art of saying everything, and accomplishing nothing. I do not accept that outcome. We need a governor with the courage to take on big challenges.”

What legacy would you like to leave?

“A better state than the one we’ve had. But, more specifically, the next governor of Arizona must address our looming water crisis in a sustainable, permanent manner, while also working to fix Arizona’s housing shortage and ensuring our next phase of growth doesn’t make our state and our biggest cities unlivable the way it has on our coasts.”



Kari Lake wins Republican primary for governor of Arizona

Kari Lake defeated Karrin Taylor Robson, Scott Neely, and Paola Tulliani-Zen in the Republican primary for governor of Arizona on Aug. 2, 2022. With 90% of the expected vote counted, Lake had received 47% of the vote, followed by Taylor Robson with 44%. 

Incumbent Gov. Doug Ducey (R) is term-limited. 

Heading into the primary, Lake and Taylor Robson led in endorsements, polls, and funding.

Lake, a former news anchor for Fox 10 News in Phoenix, said she was “running … on a platform of common sense conservatism dedicated to individual liberties, low taxes, limited regulation, and protecting Arizona’s great Western heritage.” Lake said, ” The ongoing border crisis is nothing less than a national security and humanitarian disaster.” She said, “After I take my hand off the Bible, we are going to issue a declaration of invasion. We are going to finish President Trump’s wall, and we are going to send our armed National Guard to the border and stop people from coming across.”

Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Lake, as did U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), U.S. Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), the Conservative Political Action Coalition, and the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police.

Taylor Robson, a former member of the Arizona Board of Regents and founder of a land-use strategy firm, said, “We need a leader with a record of accomplishment, not a career talker with the teleprompter.” Taylor Robson said that border security would be her first priority and that she would “surge National Guard troops to the border, equip the Border Strike Force with the latest technology, and finish the wall.” She also said, “I am uniquely qualified to lead this state into the future and to secure and protect Arizona’s water. My experience includes decades managing land, water and other natural resource issues, as well as working with government at all levels.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence (R), Ducey, and former Arizona Govs. Jan Brewer (R) and John Fife Symington III (R) endorsed Taylor Robson, as did Arizona state Senate President Karen Fann (R), Americans for Prosperity, and the National Border Patrol Council. Former U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon (R) withdrew from the primary and endorsed Taylor Robson at the end of June.

Lake said she would not have certified the results of the 2020 presidential election. She said that President Joe Biden (D) “lost the election and he shouldn’t be in the White House.” Taylor Robson said, “Joe Biden may be the president, but the election wasn’t fair.”

Patrick Finerd, Carlos Roldan, and Alex Schatz ran as write-ins in the primary.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs won the Democratic nomination on Aug. 2. Major independent observers rate the general election as a toss-up. Republicans have had trifecta control of Arizona state government since 2009.



Voters in St. Louis, Missouri, approve two ballot measures on Aug. 2

On August 2, voters in St. Louis, Missouri, approved two ballot measures—Proposition F and Proposition S.

St. Louis Proposition F amended the city’s charter to increase the maximum fine for violations of ordinances regarding environmental conditions, such as dumping waste and debris and prohibited refuse, from $500 to $1,000. With all precincts reporting, the vote was 85.03% to 14.97%. A 60% supermajority vote was required to approve Proposition F. In March, the St. Louis City Council voted 27-0 to place the measure on the ballot.

St. Louis Public Schools Proposition S authorized the Board of Education to issue $160 million in general obligation bonds for school renovations, repairs, and upgrades. With all precincts reporting, the vote was 86.87% to 13.13%. A four-sevenths (57.14%) vote was needed to approve the ballot measure. 

Superintendent Kelvin Adams said the bond revenue would cover about half of the district’s needed fixes. “We’re only going to touch the surface of this,” said Adams, “We know for a fact that there are more needs than the dollars will support, but this gets us moving in the right direction.” Voters last approved a bond for St. Louis Public Schools in 2010.

Since 2018, voters in St. Louis, and jurisdictions that include St. Louis, have decided on 18 local ballot measures, approving 15 (83%) and rejecting three (17%). Before August 2, the last citywide election in St. Louis was on April 5, 2022, when voters approved two ballot measures – an initiative addressing redistricting and conflict of interest policies and a capital improvements bond measure.   

St. Louis also held citywide primaries on August 2, including for the offices of the collector of revenue, license collector, and recorder of deeds.



Beasley, Budd, and seven other candidates running in North Carolina’s U.S. Senate general election on Nov. 8

Former state supreme court justice Cheri Beasley (D), U.S. Rep Ted Budd (R), and seven others are running in the general election on Nov. 8, 2022, to represent North Carolina in the U.S. Senate.

Incumbent Sen. Richard Burr (R)—who first took office in 2005—is not seeking re-election, making this an open seat race. In 2020, when the state last held an election for U.S. Senate, incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis (R) defeated Cal Cunningham (D), 49% to 47%. In 2016, Burr defeated Deborah Ross (D), 51% to 45%.

The two most recent presidential elections in North Carolina were decided by less than 4 percentage points. In the 2020 election, incumbent President Donald Trump (R) defeated Joe Biden (D), 49.9% to 48.6%. In the 2016 election, Trump carried North Carolina with 49.8% of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s (D) 46.2%. At the start of the 2022 election cycle, Inside Elections rated this state Battleground Republican.

The outcome of this race will affect the partisan balance of the U.S. Senate. Thirty-five of 100 seats are up for election, including one special election. Democrats have an effective majority, with the chamber split 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris (D) having the tie-breaking vote. Fourteen seats held by Democrats and 21 seats held by Republicans are up for election in 2022. Republicans are defending two Senate seats in states Joe Biden (D) won in the 2020 presidential election: Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Democrats are not defending any Senate seats in states Donald Trump (R) won in 2020.

Minor party, independent, and write-in candidates include Matthew Hoh (G), Shannon Bray (L), and independent candidates Hayden Boyette, Michelle Lewis, Kimrey Rhinehardt, Brenda Rodriguez, and Marc White.

Additional reading:

U.S. Senate battlegrounds, 2022

United States Senate election in North Carolina, 2022 (May 17 Democratic primary)

United States Senate election in North Carolina, 2022 (May 17 Republican primary)



Final incumbent vs. incumbent primary upcoming in NY-12

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, Suraj Patel, and Ashmi Sheth are running in the Democratic primary for New York’s 12th Congressional District on Aug. 23. Maloney, Nadler, and Patel lead in endorsements, funding, and media attention.

This race is the last of six primaries featuring two U.S. House incumbents in 2022.

Maloney currently represents the 12th District as it was drawn before redistricting, and Nadler represents the old 10th District. Heading into the election, Maloney represents 61% of the redrawn 12th District’s population, and Nadler represents 39%, according to Daily Kos data.

Both representatives were first elected in 1992. Maloney chairs the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Nadler chairs the Judiciary Committee. Maloney and Nadler are both members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and are campaigning as progressives.

Maloney’s campaign website says she has fostered “lasting bipartisan agreement in an increasingly polarized government, without giving up the ideals and causes she’s fought for throughout her career: promoting equality, protecting consumers, building infrastructure that serves New Yorkers and the region, extending and protecting healthcare coverage for all, protecting the environment, and working to understand and find solutions for everyday issues like affordable housing and small business support.”

Nadler’s campaign website says his record includes “standing up to Republican attempts at voter suppression, providing justice to survivors of sexual assault and harassment, [and] leading the impeachment of President Trump as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.” The website calls Nadler “a relentless defender of our country’s democracy and a fierce fighter for civil rights, racial justice, and a safer, more equal America.”

Patel, an attorney, was a campaign staffer for Barack Obama’s (D) presidential campaigns. Patel challenged Maloney in 2018 and 2020, receiving 40% of the vote to Maloney’s 60% in 2018 and 39% to Maloney’s 43% in 2020.

Patel calls himself “an Obama Democrat” and said, “Democrats need a new generation of leaders – practical and progressive leaders who can deliver new energy and fresh ideas on how to get things done.” Patel said, “New Yorkers are hungry for change. They want more affordable housing, better jobs, safer streets, modern infrastructure that actually gets built in their lifetimes, and representatives who are willing to do whatever it takes to protect and codify their human rights at the federal level.”

Major independent observers rate the general election as solid Democratic or safe Democratic.



Stevens defeated Levin in race incumbent-vs.-incumbent Democratic primary for Michigan’s 11th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens defeated U.S. Rep. Andy Levin in the Democratic primary for Michigan’s 11th Congressional District on August 2, 2022. Stevens received 59.5% of the vote, and Levin received 40.5%.

This race was one of six incumbent-vs.-incumbent primaries occurring for the U.S. House in 2022 as a result of congressional redistricting.

Michigan lost one congressional district following the 2020 census, and when the lines were redrawn, its new 11th district included areas represented by multiple Democratic incumbents. According to data from Daily Kos, the newer 11th district contains about 45% of the older 11th district, which Stevens began representing in Congress in 2019. The newer 11th contains about 25% of the older 9th district, which Levin began representing in Congress in 2019.

When asked why he decided to run for election in the new 11th district instead of the new 9th, Levin said, “I’m running where I live, and I’m very happy about that decision, no regrets.” Levin’s campaign website said of the newer 11th district that Levin’s “roots in Oakland County, Michigan, go back well over 100 years” and that his father Sandy Levin (D) represented parts of the newer 11th in the older 9th district from 1983 to 2019.

Stevens called the incumbent-vs.-incumbent primary unfortunate, saying, “No one asked for this…In ten months, we are not going to be colleagues and that is not good. That is not good for Michigan. That’s not good for the Democratic Party. It’s not good for the country.” 

Levin served on the Education and Labor and Foreign Affairs committees in the 117th Congress. He was also a member of the Progressive caucus. Levin’s campaign said he had a progressive record in Congress, citing his co-sponsorship of bills to implement the Green New Deal and Medicare for All and his endorsements from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D). Levin also emphasized his background on the campaign trail, saying of his former jobs as union organizer for the national AFL-CIO and SEIU, “It’s my life. I’m the union organizer in Congress.” Heading into the final month of the race, Levin had raised more than $4.5 million.

Stevens served on the Education and Labor and Science, Space & Technology committees in the 117th Congress. She helped launch the Women in STEM Caucus in 2020, which said that its goal is to support and increase the number of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. Prior to her election to Congress in 2018, Stevens served as the chief of staff for the U.S. Auto Rescue Task Force under former President Barack Obama (D). Heading into the final month of the race, Stevens had raised more than $2.5 million. In a July 2022 Target-Insyght poll, Stevens led Levin with 58% of voter support to his 31%.

Before the primary, the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections all rated Michigan’s 11th Congressional District as a solid/safe Democratic seat, meaning that the winner of the Democratic primary was very likely to win the general election as well.



Schweikert defeats Barnett and Norton in the Republican primary for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District

Incumbent David Schweikert defeated Josh Barnett and Elijah Norton in the Republican primary for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District on August 2, 2022. Schweikert and Norton led in fundraising and media attention throughout the race.

Schweikert was the incumbent in Arizona’s 6th Congressional District and ran in the 1st District due to redistricting. According to data from DailyKos, 75% of the redrawn 1st District, which covered parts of Phoenix and Scottsdale, came from areas Schweikert represented in the 6th District. U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D), the incumbent in the 1st District, ran in the 2nd District.

Schweikert served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 1991 to 1995 and as Maricopa County’s treasurer from 2004 to 2006 before being elected to represent the 6th District in 2010.

Schweikert highlighted his record on tax policy and economic issues, including voting for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Schweikert’s website said, “As a member of the Ways and Means committee responsible for tax policy, David took the lead in ensuring the historic tax cuts in 2017 became law.” Schweikert also focused on his opposition to vaccine mandates and President Joe Biden’s (D) immigration policies. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Schweikert.

Norton, a Missouri native, is the founder and owner of Veritas Global Protection Services, a Phoenix-based car insurance company. Norton highlighted his business credentials, saying that, as an entrepreneur, he would bring a unique perspective to Congress. Norton also cited immigration as a top issue, saying he supported investing in technology to monitor the border and “establish[ing] a criminal database sharing system with Mexico.” In his responses to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, Norton said he intended to serve no more than eight years in Congress and would donate his congressional salary to charity.

At the time of the primary, three election forecasters rated the general election Lean Republican. According to Inside Elections’ Nathan Gonzales, the redrawn 1st district was slightly more competitive than the old 6th district. “[The 1st district] got a little more Democratic by the presidential numbers. Trump won the old district by 4 points, but Biden would have won the newly drawn District by a single point,” Gonzales said.



Gibbs defeats incumbent Meijer in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District Republican primary

John Gibbs defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer in the Republican primary for Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District on Aug. 2, 2022.

Meijer, first elected in 2020, was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump (R) following the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Trump endorsed Gibbs in this primary.

In a Candidate Connection survey submitted to Ballotpedia, Gibbs said, “No one else has fought in Washington like I have under President Trump,” and that he would “[reduce] government largess and overreach which threatens civil rights, civil liberties and our way of life.” 

The primary received notable satellite spending in its final weeks, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spending $449,854 on ads opposing Gibbs.

Meijer wrote that the ads were, instead, intended to boost support for Gibbs in the primary, calling the spending a “naked political [gambit] aimed at elevating the weaker Republican candidate ahead of the November … elections.”

Gibbs’ campaign did not respond to the DCCC ads but, following the primary, said money did not play a role in the race and that his victory “is an important lesson for the powers that be … to learn they’ve really got to respect what the people want.”

Gibbs will face Hillary Scholten (D) in the general election. Scholten ran against Meijer in 2020, receiving 47% of the vote. The 3rd District’s line changed during redistricting with Michigan Radio’s Nisa Khan and Emma Ruberg describing the district as becoming more Democratic-leaning as a result.

Meijer’s defeat—along with U.S. Rep. Andy Levin’s (D) in Michigan’s 11th District—brings the total number of U.S. House incumbents defeated in primaries to 11 for this cycle. Over the past decade, this is second only to 2012, the most recent post-redistricting cycle, when 13 incumbents lost in primaries.