Category2022 elections

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.



Joe O’Dea wins Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Colorado

Joe O’Dea defeated Ron Hanks in the Republican Party primary for U.S. Senate in Colorado on June 28. O’Dea received 55.5% of the vote to Hanks’ 44.5%.

Leading up to the primary, Hanks and O’Dea led in media attention, and O’Dea maintained a lead in fundraising. According to the most recent Federal Election Commission data available, O’Dea had raised over $2.3 million and Hanks had raised $124,840 as of June 8.

O’Dea is the CEO of a Denver-based heavy civil contracting company and owner of the Mile High Station and Ironworks event centers. O’Dea said he ran for Senate “[t]o break the cycle of partisanship. To rebuild this country. To get it moving forward again. Colorado deserves a Senator who represents our voice.”

Hanks is a member of the Colorado House of Representatives representing District 60 since his election in 2020. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Hanks also worked as a linguist, a counterdrug officer, and a counterintelligence agent. Hanks said he was “the only proven conservative state legislator running” and “is adamantly pro-life and an ardent and active supporter of our second amendment.”

Key issues in the race included abortion and the 2020 election. Hanks said all abortions should be banned, and he “believe[s] life starts at conception. There should not be any exceptions.” The primary will “come down to that issue first and foremost. Are we a pro-life party, or aren’t we? I will tell you, I am pro-life, and my opponent is not. End of story,” Hanks said. 

O’Dea said he didn’t support overturning Roe v. Wade or total bans on abortions: “I don’t support a total ban. The country is not 100% pro-life. The country is not 100% pro-choice.” O’Dea said he “would vote for a bill that protects a woman’s right to choose early in the pregnancy. I would also protect that right in cases of rape, incest and medical necessities.”

On the 2020 election, Hanks said he believed former Pres. Donald Trump (R) won. Hanks said election security became a priority for him after 2020: “Just like the changes we felt after 9/11, my mission as a state representative shifted to election integrity. I have been fighting for it ever since.” O’Dea said he did not believe the election was stolen and that Republicans should “stay to the issues” in their campaigns. “I’ve been very clear about my stance. Biden’s our president. He’s lousy,” O’Dea said.

Incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D) was first elected in 2008, and in the 2016 election, won re-election with 50% of the vote. In the state’s 2020 U.S. Senate election, John Hickenlooper (D) defeated incumbent Cory Gardner (R) 54% to 44%, and Joe Biden won the state in the 2020 presidential election by 13 percentage points. In its June 14 ratings, The Cook Political Report rated the general election as Likely Democratic.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Darren Bailey wins Republican nomination for governor of Illinois

Photo of the Illinois State Capitol building

Darren Bailey defeated Richard Irvin, Jesse Sullivan, and three other candidates in the Republican primary for governor of Illinois on June 28, 2022. 

Bailey is a state senator and farmer who was first elected to office in 2020. A campaign ad said, “In Springfield, Darren stood up for working families and fought against every single tax increase. When Governor Pritzker tried to close Illinois, Darren sued him and won to keep our state open. Now, Darren is running for governor with a plan to cut our taxes, fund our police, and impose term limits on politicians.” Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Bailey on June 25.

Along with Bailey, Richard Irvin and Jesse Sullivan led the Republican primary field in fundraising and media coverage leading up to the primary. Irvin is an attorney who has served as mayor of Aurora, Illinois, since he was elected in 2017. Sullivan is a venture capitalist who has not previously held political office.

Gary Rabine, Paul Schimpf, and Max Solomon also ran in the primary.

Bailey will face incumbent Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) in the November general election. Pritzker was first elected in 2018, defeating then-incumbent Bruce Rauner (R) 55% to 39%. As of June 28, 2022, The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections rated the 2022 general election as Solid Democratic, and Sabato’s Crystal Ball rated the race as Likely Democratic.



Delia Ramirez wins IL-03 Democratic primary

Delia Ramirez won the Democratic primary for Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District on June 28, 2022. Four candidates ran. Ramirez had 66% of the vote to Gil Villegas’ 24%.

According to ABC Chicago, the district was redrawn after the 2020 census “specifically to provide a Latino plurality district.” Rep. Marie Newman (D), the old 3rd District’s representative, ran for re-election in the 6th District.

The Chicago Tribune‘s John Byrne called the primary “a modern referendum on issues ranging from diversity of representation to the political philosophies that are dominating the Democratic Party in Illinois and across the nation. And it’s all playing out in a new district that extends from progressive Chicago neighborhoods to historically conservative towns in the far reaches of what used to be the Republican stronghold of DuPage County.”

Ramirez was elected to the state House in 2018. She co-founded the Illinois House Progressive Caucus. Ramirez said her record included working to codify the right to abortion in Illinois, establish an elected school board in Chicago, and make Medicaid available to low-income people regardless of immigration status. Ramirez said she’d work for Medicare for All in Congress.

Villegas was elected to the Chicago City Council in 2015. As of the primary, he chaired the council’s Latino Caucus. Villegas said he worked to pass a universal basic income pilot and to create jobs for women, minority, and veteran workers. Villegas said he would prioritize public safety and work to prevent Republican efforts to pass what he described as anti-choice legislation in Congress.



Barbara Kirkmeyer wins CO-08 Republican primary

State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer won the Republican primary for Colorado’s 8th Congressional District on June 28, 2022. Four candidates ran. Kirkmeyer had 40% of the vote. Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann was second with 23%, Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine had 21%, and military veteran Tyler Allcorn had 17%.

Colorado gained an eighth congressional district following the 2020 census.

Kirkmeyer began serving in the state legislature in 2021 after she was on the Weld County Commission.

Three race forecasters view the general election as a Toss-up. Kirkmeyer will face state Rep. Yadira Caraveo, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, along with third-party and independent candidates in November.



Hochul wins Democratic primary for Governor of New York

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

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

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

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



Rep. Mary Miller defeats Rep. Rodney Davis in IL-15

U.S. Rep. Mary Miller defeated Rep. Rodney Davis in the Republican primary for Illinois’ 15th Congressional District on June 28, 2022. With 91% of precincts reporting, Miller had received 57.2% of the vote to Davis’ 42.8%.

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

The Herald & Review‘s Brenden Moore wrote that the race was “among the most contentious incumbent-versus-incumbent primaries in the country” and said the candidates “traded barbs over who [was] the true conservative candidate in the race.” As of election day, the primary had the second most satellite spending of all 2022 U.S. House races.

Miller said she was the “only Republican member of Congress from Illinois who’s fighting every aspect of the Biden agenda and putting America first,” saying on her campaign website that she had opposed “the disgraceful January 6th ‘witch hunt’ Commission, President Biden’s ‘red-flag’ gun confiscation measures, COVID vaccine mandates and databases, and taxpayer-funded chemical abortion.” She criticized Davis for a bill he cosponsored in 2019 that would have provided grants for states to enact extreme risk protection order laws, or red flag laws. Miller said, “I am the only candidate with an A rating from the NRA and Gun Owners of America because I support our Second Amendment! Everyone is tired of Red Flag Rodney Davis, who stabbed conservatives in the back by supporting federal gun confiscation.”

Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Miller in January 2022. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Club for Growth, the Conservative Political Action Coalition, and the House Freedom Fund also endorsed Miller.

Davis said, “I stick with my core values and principles. I have always been pro-life and will continue to stick by those values and principles. I’ve always stood up for the Second Amendment. I will continue to do that. But what separates me from my opponent is I have a record of actually governing. When people put Republicans in charge, at any level of government, they actually expect them to do the job.” Davis criticized Miller for voting against the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, saying, “All Mary Miller has to show for her time in Congress is quoting Hitler and voting with Democrats like [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and the far left squad to defund our military and block a pay raise for our troops. That’s shameful. It’s clear that Mary Miller is all talk, no action.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Farm Bureau, and Illinois Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge endorsed Davis, along with U.S. Reps. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Darin LaHood (R-Ill.).

Davis has represented Illinois’ 13th Congressional District since 2013, and Miller has represented the 15th Congressional District since 2021. According to data from Daily Kos, 28% of the new 15th District’s population came from the old 13th District (represented by Davis), and 31% came from the old 15th District (represented by Miller). Illinois lost one congressional district following the 2020 census.

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



Drummond defeats incumbent O’Connor in Republican primary for attorney general of Oklahoma

Gentner Drummond defeated incumbent John O’Connor in the Republican primary for attorney general of Oklahoma on June 28, 2022. Libertarian candidate Lynda Steele is running in the general election, but no Democratic candidates filed to run. According to Ben Felder in The Oklahoman, “Libertarians have never won a statewide race in Oklahoma, giving the Republican primary winner a sizable advantage in November.” Republicans have held the office of Oklahoma attorney general since voters elected Scott Pruitt (R) to the position in 2010.

Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) appointed O’Connor to the office on July 23, 2021, to succeed Mike Hunter (R). Hunter—who was elected in 2018—resigned on June 1, 2021, after The Oklahoman inquired about whether he was having an extramarital affair.

Drummond ran for attorney general in 2018 and advanced from that year’s Republican primary with 38.5% of the vote to Hunter’s 44.5%. In the primary runoff, Hunter defeated Drummond by 273 votes, 50.05% to 49.95%. Drummond served as a pilot and instructor in the U.S. Air Force during the Gulf War. His professional experience included owning The Drummond Law Firm and serving as a principal shareholder and director of Blue Sky Bank. Drummond said on his campaign website that “As attorney general, he will defend our rights, uphold the rule of law, and serve the people of Oklahoma, not the political elite.”

O’Connor’s professional experience included being a founding shareholder in the law firm of Newton, O’Connor, Turner & Ketchum, P.C. and working as an attorney at Hall, Estill, Hardwick, Gable, Golden & Nelson, P.C. President Donald Trump (R) nominated O’Connor for a federal judgeship in 2018 but his nomination was returned by the U.S. Senate before the conclusion of the 115th United States Congress, and he withdrew from consideration for re-nomination in 2019. During the campaign, O’Connor highlighted his efforts as state attorney general against some Biden administration policies, including joining lawsuits against vaccine and mask mandates.

Before the primary, Felder described the race this way: “One attorney general candidate is running on his close working relationship with the governor and his fidelity to the former president, while his challenger has presented himself as an independent who would serve as a check on state government power.”

During the campaign, both candidates criticized the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma but differed on how the state should proceed. In July 2020, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to reverse a decision by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals and ruled that holding that under the Indian Major Crimes Act, lands reserved for the Creek Nation in eastern Oklahoma constituted Indian Country and that the state of Oklahoma could not legally try a Creek citizen for criminal conduct in state court. It confirmed that a large portion of eastern Oklahoma are Indian reservations and not under the state’s law enforcement jurisdiction.

Drummond said he would work with the tribes in that area to develop a solution to jurisdictional issues. At a campaign forum, Drummond said, “The Supreme Court has ruled. That was two years ago. For two years we have not had a solution in the state of Oklahoma. … What must be resolved right now is a collaboration with the Native American tribes. O’Connor said that he has met with leaders from four of the six main tribes in the area and would still continue to pursue legal action on cases related to tribal jurisdictional matters. He also said, “Job number one is to protect the sovereignty of the state of Oklahoma.”

Before the primary, a June 2022 poll of 400 likely Republican primary voters by Amber Integrated found Drummond leading O’Connor, 41% to 28%, with 30% undecided. The margin of error was +/- 4.9 percentage points. An earlier poll of 455 likely Republican primary voters also conducted by Amber Integrated in March showed Drummond with 37% support, O’Connor with 16%, and 47% undecided, with a margin of error of 4.6 percentage points.

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Bonta and Hochman advance from top-two primary for California attorney general

Incumbent Rob Bonta (D) and Nathan Hochman (R) advanced from the top-two primary for California attorney general on June 7, 2022. Bonta received 55% of the vote and Hochman received 18%.

In the weeks leading up to the election, Bonta, Eric Early (R), Hochman, and Anne Marie Schubert (I) led in media attention and fundraising. Daniel Kapelovitz (G) also ran in the primary. The Los Angeles Times‘ George Skelton said, “Whether [Bonta is] contested competitively in November may well hinge on whom voters select as his challenger.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) appointed Bonta on March 24, 2021. Bonta was a Democratic member of the California General Assembly, representing District 18 from 2012 until his appointment. According to Bonta’s campaign website, “As California’s Attorney General and California’s chief law officer, Bonta is the ‘attorney for the people’ and holds those who break the law – especially those in positions of power – accountable and wins justice for California families.”

Hochman served as assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of California and assistant attorney general of the United States Department of Justice. Hochman also worked as a defense attorney, civil litigator, and appellate counsel. Hochman said his “360-degree perspective allows me to be in the best position to evaluate those who constitute true public safety threats and must be incarcerated from those who don’t pose such threats and can serve their debt to society through, for example, community service.”

California’s crime rate was an issue in the race, with other candidates criticizing Bonta’s record as attorney general. Hochman said there was “a spiral of lawlessness going on in our society” and Bonta was “not enforcing the laws that are on the books.” Responding to this criticism, Bonta said, “Public safety is, and has been, job No. 1, 2 and 3. I’m fully aware that in politics people like to take political shots that are not based on the facts.”

Politico’s Jeremy B. White said Bonta “embodies a broader tilt away from stringent criminal penalties, and his opponents have accused him of shifting too far in that direction,” but added that Bonta will “go into the general election contest with a likely financial advantage, a large Democratic voter registration edge and the unified support of California’s Democratic political establishment.”

Democrats have occupied the office of attorney general in California since 1999. Xavier Becerra (D) occupied the office before Bonta, serving from 2019 to 2021 when he was confirmed as U.S. secretary of health and human services.