Category2022 elections

Hawaii sees one open U.S. House seat for the sixth election cycle in a row

The filing deadline for candidates running for Congress in Hawaii this year was June 7, 2022. Thirteen candidates are running for Hawaii’s two U.S. House districts, including eight Democrats and five Republicans. That’s 6.5 candidates per district, less than the 9.5 candidates per district in 2020 and the same number as in 2018.

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • This is the first election to take place under new district lines following the 2020 census. Hawaii was apportioned two districts, the same number it was apportioned after the 2010 census.
  • The 13 candidates running this year are six fewer than the 19 candidates who ran in 2020 and the same number as in 2018. Twelve candidates ran in 2016 and 2014, and 13 ran in 2012.
  • Rep. Kaiali’i Kahele (D) is retiring to run for governor of Hawaii, making the 2nd district an open seat this year. This is the sixth consecutive election cycle where one of Hawaii’s two U.S. House seats is open. 
  • Eight candidates — two Republicans and six Democrats — are running to replace Kahele, the most candidates running for a seat this year.
  • There are four contested primaries this year, the most since 2012. There were three contested primaries in every election cycle between 2014 and 2020. 
  • Democratic and Republican candidates filed to run in both districts, so no seats are guaranteed to either party this year. 

Hawaii is holding congressional primaries on August 13, 2022, the 41st state to do so. In Hawaii, the winner of a primary election is the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes, even if he or she does not win an outright majority of votes cast.

Additional reading:

Contested state legislative primaries increase in Hawaii this year

There are 51 contested state legislative primaries in Hawaii this year, representing 34% of the total number of possible primaries. This is a 65% increase from 2020.

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

Of the 51 contested primaries, 36 are for Democrats and 15 are for Republicans. For Democrats, this is up from 29 in 2020, a 24% increase. For Republicans, the number increased 650% from two in 2020.

Twenty-five contested primaries feature an incumbent, representing 40% of all incumbents running for re-election. This is a higher rate of incumbents in contested primaries compared to 2020, but lower than rates in the 2018 and 2016 cycles.

All 25 incumbents in contested primaries are Democrats.

Overall, 205 major party candidates—126 Democrats and 79 Republicans—filed to run. All 51 House districts and 25 Senate districts are holding elections.

Hawaii has had a Democratic trifecta since the party won control of the governorship in 2010. Democrats currently hold a 47-4 majority in the House and a 24-1 majority in the Senate.

Hawaii’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for Aug. 13, the 13th statewide primary date of the 2022 state legislative election cycle.

Additional reading:

Trifecta status on the line in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial election on Nov. 8

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D), state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R), and three others are running in the general election for governor of Pennsylvania on November 8, 2022. Incumbent Tom Wolf (D) cannot run for re-election due to term limits.

Shapiro was elected as attorney general in 2016 and served as Montgomery County Commissioner from 2011-2017 and state representative from 2005-2011. Shapiro’s campaign has focused on two key messages: his experience and work as attorney general and his potential ability as governor to veto legislation passed by the legislature’s Republican majority. Shapiro said his experience in the criminal justice system and on cases related to LGBTQ issues, workers’ issues, and election security are things he would continue to pursue as governor. Shapiro’s campaign website highlighted abortion and absentee/mail-in voting issues where he would veto legislation he disagreed with.

Mastriano was elected as a state senator from the Cumberland Valley in 2018. He served in the United States Army from 1988 to 2017. Mastriano also proposed a number of election policy changes, including eliminating no excuse absentee/mail-in voting and drop boxes, enacting universal voter identification, and prohibiting the use of private donations or grants for election administration. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and its overturning of Roe v. Wade, Mastriano called on the state legislature to pass a bill banning abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Mastriano said he would rescind any remaining mask and vaccine mandates related to the coronavirus pandemic on his first day in office and work to pass a law banning similar future mandates.

How the state runs its elections has been one focus of each candidate’s campaign. As of 2022, the governor of Pennsylvania has the power to appoint a secretary of state charged with certifying election results, determining which voting machines the state uses, and ordering recounts and recanvasses of elections. Shapiro said, “[I will] appoint a pro-democracy Secretary of State to run our elections, expand pre-registration opportunities for young people, and implement same-day voter registration through Election Day.” Mastriano’s website said he would “Appoint a Secretary of State with experience in securing elections from fraud.”

Heading into the election, Pennsylvania has a divided government, with a Democratic governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. A Shapiro win would preserve this divided government, while a Mastriano win would create the opportunity for a Republican trifecta if Republicans also hold the state legislature. A trifecta occurs when one political party holds the governorship and a majority in both legislative chambers. Across the country, there are 23 Republican trifectas, 14 Democratic trifectas, and 13 divided governments.

Minor party, independent, and write-in candidates include Christina Digiulio (G), Joseph Soloski (Keystone Party of Pennsylvania), and Matt Hackenburg (L).

Each candidate has a running mate for lieutenant governor. Shapiro’s running mate is state Rep. Austin Davis and Mastriano’s running mate is state Rep. Carrie DelRosso.

Catherine Cortez Masto, Adam Laxalt, and three others running for Senate in Nevada

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D), former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), and three others are running for a seat in the U.S. Senate from Nevada on November 8, 2022.

Time’s Philip Elliott wrote, “The match-up [between Cortez Masto and] Republican Adam Laxalt is seen as a two-point race at best—and one that could decide if the Democrats hold their narrow majority in the Senate.”

Cortez Masto took office in 2017 after defeating Joe Heck (R) 47.1% to 44.7%, becoming the first-ever Latina elected to the U.S. Senate. Sen. Harry Reid (D) held the seat from 1987 to 2017. Before being elected to the Senate, Cortez Masto served as Nevada’s attorney general from 2007 to 2015.

Laxalt replaced Cortez Masto as state attorney general, serving from 2015 to 2019. Laxalt was the Republican gubernatorial nominee in 2018, losing to Steve Sisolak (D) 49.4% to 45.3%. Laxalt is the grandson of former Nevada governor and U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt (R), and is the son of former New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici (R).

Three election forecasters rate the race a toss-up, and recent statewide elections in Nevada have been decided by five percentage points or fewer.

In the Nevada 2018 U.S. senate race, Jacky Rosen defeated incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R) by five percentage points. In 2016, Cortez Masto defeated Heck (R) by 2.4 percentage points. The two most recent presidential elections in Nevada were similarly close. Joe Biden (D) defeated incumbent President Donald Trump (R) by 2.4 percentage points in the 2020 presidential election. Hillary Clinton (D) defeated Trump in the 2016 presidential election by 2.4 percentage points.

The Cook Political Report’s Jessica Taylor said demographic shifts are one reason for the state’s competitiveness. “Nevada is a uniquely transient state: half of those on the state’s voter rolls have registered since 2016, when Cortez Masto was first elected,” Taylor said. “Unaffiliated voters became the largest bloc in the state last fall,” Taylor also said.

Times’s Elliott said the state’s Latino population will play an important role in the election’s outcome. “Strategists anticipate about 15% to 20% of the electorate to identify as Hispanic or Latino—and could be even bigger as both sides are working to register new voters,” Elliot said.

Minor party, independent, and write-in candidates include Barry Rubinson (Independent American Party), Neil Scott (Libertarian), and Barry Lindemann (Independent).

The outcome of this race will affect the partisan balance of the U.S. Senate. Thirty-five of 100 seats were 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. 

Kemp, Abrams, and three other candidates running for Georgia governor on Nov. 8

Incumbent Brian Kemp (R), Stacey Abrams (D), and three other candidates are running in the general election for governor of Georgia on November 8, 2022.

Kemp and Abrams faced each other in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, with Kemp defeating Abrams 50-49%. Georgia has had a Republican governor since 2003, and President Joe Biden (D) won the state by less than one percentage point in 2020. Politico‘s Brittany Gibson said Kemp and Abrams are “stuffing their campaign war chests for what is expected to be an expensive rematch,” and that “[t]he razor-thin margins for Georgia elections has made fundraising even more competitive since the last gubernatorial election.”

Abrams was a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, representing District 89 from 2007 to 2017. She also served as House minority leader from 2011 to 2017, when she resigned her seat to run for governor. Abrams’ campaign has emphasized her position on abortion policy and gun regulations in campaign ads and statements. On her campaign website, Abrams said she would “[v]eto legislation that would further restrict abortion rights and work to repeal the 6-week abortion ban.” Abrams also said “violence our neighborhoods face is directly tied to guns and their availability and poor oversight in Georgia,” and that Kemp “cares more about protecting dangerous people carrying guns in public than saving jobs and keeping business in Georgia.”

Kemp was elected governor of Georgia in 2018. He was appointed secretary of state by Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) in 2010 and served in the Georgia State Senate from 2003 to 2007. Kemp has emphasized economic issues as a key part of his campaign platform, saying he “put hardworking Georgians first by keeping our state open in the face of a global pandemic, bringing record economic success to communities across Georgia.” Kemp’s campaign said in a statement that Abrams’ policies “will only divide Georgians and hit their pocketbooks, Gov. Kemp will stay focused on helping Georgians fight through 40-year high inflation and the recession brought on by the Biden-Abrams agenda.”

This election has the potential to change Georgia’s state trifecta status. Georgia has had a Republican trifecta—meaning Republicans controlled the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature—since 2005. 

Minor party, independent, and write-in candidates running for governor include Shane Hazel (L) and independent candidates Elbert Bartell and President Boddie.

This is one of 36 gubernatorial elections taking place in 2022. There are currently 28 Republican governors and 22 Democratic governors in the United States.

Availability of voter files by state

Voter files are digital databases of information about registered voters that the federal government requires each state to maintain. States can legally sell voter file information to individuals or groups, and each state has developed its own guidelines regarding these sales. Prices range from $0 to $37,000. Additionally, the data included for sale and the individuals and groups allowed to purchase voter files varies from state to state. 

In a 2016 report, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission classified the availability of voter file information in each state as either open, mixed, or restricted, based on the type of individuals or group that were allowed to purchase the data.

As of August 2022, voter file data is available for purchase in every U.S. state and Washington, D.C. Thirty-one states have open availability, meaning they have no restrictions on the types of individuals and groups that can purchase their voter file data. Sixteen states have mixed availability, meaning certain types of individuals or groups can purchase information from voter file data that is unavailable to others. Four states have restricted availability, meaning only certain types of individuals or groups are allowed to purchase their voter file data.

The map below provides a summary of the availability of voter files and pricing for each state and Washington, D.C. as of August 2022.

The table below provides details about the availability of voter files in each state and Washington, D.C. as of August 2022. It lists the specific information that is included and excluded from voter file data purchases.

Campaigns for four ballot initiatives in Colorado submitted signatures by August 8 deadline and could appear on November ballot

Campaigns for four Colorado ballot initiatives submitted signatures by the August 8 signature deadline. Three of the initiatives would change state alcohol laws, and one initiative concerns revenue for housing projects. To qualify for the ballot, sponsors of each initiative needed to submit 124,632 valid signatures.

Initiative 108 is being sponsored by Coloradans for Affordable Housing Now, which has raised $2.8 million and is supported by the National Association of Realtors, Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver, and Gary Ventures, Inc. The initiative would dedicate a percentage of federal income tax revenues, estimated at $300 million per year, to housing projects including “affordable housing financing programs that will reduce rents, purchase land for affordable housing development, build assets for renters, support affordable homeownership, serve persons experiencing homelessness, and support local planning capacity.”

Initiative 96 is being sponsored by Coloradans for Consumer Choice and Retail Fairness, which has raised $2.2 million and is supported by Colorado Fine Wines & Spirits LLC, U.S. Representative David Trone (D-Maryland), and his brother who co-owns Total Wine with him, Robert Trone, who each donated around $900,000. The initiative would incrementally increase the number of retail liquor store licenses an individual may own or hold a share in, as follows:

  1. up to eight licenses by December 31, 2026;
  2. up to 13 licenses by December 31, 2031;
  3. up to 20 licenses by December 31, 2036; and
  4. an unlimited number of licenses on or after January 1, 2037.

Currently, retailers can open a maximum of three liquor stores in Colorado.

Initiatives 121 and 122 were sponsored by Wine in Grocery Stores, which has raised $3.97 million from DoorDash and InstaCart. Initiative 121 would create a new fermented malt beverage and wine retailer license to allow grocery stores, convenience stores, and other businesses that are licensed to sell beer to also sell wine. Initiative 122 would allow retail establishments licensed to sell alcohol for off-site consumption to offer a delivery service or provide for a third-party alcohol delivery service.

Seven measures are currently certified to appear on the November ballot in Colorado.

From 1985 through 2020, an average of nine measures appeared on the statewide ballot during even-numbered years in Colorado. The approval rate for measures on the ballot in even-numbered years was 47.34%.

Massachusetts voters will decide on two ballot initiatives this fall related to retail alcohol licensing and dental insurance

The Massachusetts Secretary of State completed the signature verification process for the second round of signatures submitted by campaigns for two ballot initiatives. 

The Committee on Dental Insurance Quality is leading the campaign in support of a ballot initiative to establish a medical loss ratio for dental plans at 83% and require the insurer to refund the excess premium to its covered individuals and covered groups. A medical loss ratio is the portion of premium revenue a healthcare insurance company spends on claims, medical care, and healthcare quality for its customers. Currently, Massachusetts has established an 88% medical loss ratio for medical insurance plans, but there is no medical loss ratio for dental insurance plans.

The initiative would also require dental insurance carriers to submit to the insurance commissioner current and projected medical loss ratio for plans and specified financial information. Carriers would be required to file group product base rates, and any changes to group rating factors that will take effect in the next calendar year in July of the preceding year. The commissioner would be authorized to approve or disapprove of any product rates.

The initiative has received endorsements from the Association of Independent Dentists, Massachusetts Association of Orthodontists, American Dental Association Political Action Committee, and Massachusetts Dental Society.

Daisy Kumar, a registered nurse and founding member of the ballot question committee, said, “We do not expect dental insurance companies to waste our premiums by overpaying officers, having giant, wasteful commissions, sneaking payments to affiliates or gifts to parent companies that just add another layer of waste. Our insurance payments are not meant to be gifts to dental insurance companies. They are meant to help families like mine and yours.” 

The Committee to Protect Access to Quality Dental Care is leading the campaign in opposition to the initiative. The committee said, “The proponents of this ballot question are not being straight with the voters. What they aren’t telling you is that their anti-consumer proposal will increase costs for Massachusetts families and employers — a nearly 40% premium increase in one recent study — and can result in thousands of residents being denied access to much-needed dental care.”

A second ballot initiative sponsored by the Massachusetts Package Stores Association has also qualified for the November ballot. The initiative would incrementally increase the number of retail beer and wine licenses an establishment could own from no more than 12 in 2023 to no more than 18 by 2031; decrease the maximum number of full liquor licenses an establishment could own from nine to seven; and prohibit in-store automated and self-checkout sales of alcohol. It would also change the formula used to calculate fines for selling alcohol to minors by using gross profits on all retail sales instead of the gross profits on just the sale of alcohol, and it would add out-of-state driver’s licenses to the list of approved identification under the State Liquor Control Act.

On June 13, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled on a lawsuit filed by Cumberland Farms that challenged the initiative’s constitutionality, arguing that it contained unrelated subjects. The court held that the initiative “presents voters with an integrated scheme” that “does not require a voter to cast a single vote on dissimilar subjects.”

A similar ballot initiative was filed for the 2012 ballot, but the effort was paused after the state legislature reached compromise with sponsors. 

In Massachusetts, the power of initiative is indirect, which means the Massachusetts General Court must consider any successful initiative proposals after submitting the first round of signatures. If the legislature does not enact the initiative, sponsors must collect a second round of signatures. For 2022 initiatives, the total number of signatures for both rounds of petition circulation was 93,613 signatures, which equals 3.5% of the votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election.

Massachusetts voters will also be deciding on a legislatively referred constitutional amendment that would create an additional tax of 4% for income over $1 million, in addition to the existing 5% flat-rate income tax, and dedicate revenue to education and transportation purposes.

Between 1996 and 2020, about 54% (22 of 41) of the total number of measures that appeared on statewide ballots were approved, and about 46% (19 of 41) were defeated.

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