Category2022 elections

Ten Missourian candidates completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection Survey

Below are a selection of responses from the candidates who recently filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. To read each candidate’s full responses, click their name at the bottom of the article.

Justin Hicks is running for Missouri House of Representatives to represent District 108 and the Republican primary is on Aug. 2. Here’s how Hicks responded to the question “Who are you? Tell us about yourself.”

“Justin Hicks is a husband, father, combat veteran of six years in the United States Army, Attorney, Missouri Assistant Attorney General, and Director of the Defenders program which provides legal services to military members and veterans. As a Conservative, career public servant, and Christian, Justin believes traditional family values and the United States Constitution’s fundamental principles are the foundational elements to supporting strong communities and a prosperous state.”

Click here to read the rest of Hick’s answers. 

Jessica DeVoto is running for Missouri House of Representatives District 69 and the Democratic primary is on Aug. 2. Here’s how DeVoto responded to the question “What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?”

“My primary concern is the rights and personal liberties of my constituents—including women, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ individuals, individuals with disabilities, low-income families, etc.—not the interests of large corporations. In addition, I believe thats expanding voting access, expanding healthcare, empowering unions, and investing in education are critical to making our great state greater yet.”

Click here to read the rest of DeVoto’s answers.

If you’re a Missouri candidate or incumbent, click here to take the survey. The survey contains over 30 questions, and you can choose the ones you feel will best represent your views to voters. If you complete the survey, a box with your answers will display on your Ballotpedia profile. Your responses will also populate the information that appears in our mobile app, My Vote Ballotpedia.

If you’re not running for office but you would like to know more about candidates in Missouri, share the link and urge them to take the survey!

Additional reading:

  • Justin Hicks (R) – Missouri House of Representatives District 108
  • Jessica DeVoto (D) – Missouri House of Representatives District 69
  • Mike Tsichlis (R) – Missouri House of Representatives District 96
  • Philip Oehlerking (R) – Missouri House of Representatives to represent District 100
  • Alex Bryant (R) – U.S. House, Missouri 7th Congressional District
  • Thomas Ross (R) – Missouri House of Representatives District 161
  • Mark Matthiesen (R) – Missouri House of Representatives District 107
  • David Kelsay (R) – Missouri House of Representatives District 126
  • Deanna Self (R) – Missouri House of Representatives District 64
  • Michael Sinclair (D) – Missouri State Senate District 2

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.

Contested state legislative primaries in Wisconsin increase compared to 2020

There are 38 contested state legislative primaries in Wisconsin this year, 16% of the total number of possible primaries, and a 15% increase compared to the 2020 election cycle.

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

Republican candidates drove the increase this cycle. Of the 38 contested primaries this year, there are nine for Democrats and 29 for Republicans. For Democrats, this is down from 18 in 2020, a 50% decrease. For Republicans, the number increased 93% from 15 in 2020 to 29 in 2022.

Of those 38 contested primaries, nine feature an incumbent, representing 11% of incumbents who filed for re-election. This is the highest rate of incumbents in contested primaries since 2014 when 12% of incumbents faced primary challenges.

All nine incumbents in contested primaries this year are Republicans. No Democratic incumbents who filed for re-election face a contested primary.

Overall, 258 major party candidates—110 Democrats and 148 Republicans—filed to run. All 99 Assembly districts are holding elections this year as are 17 of the 33 Senate districts.

Thirty of those districts are open, meaning no incumbents filed. This guarantees that at least 23% of the legislature will be represented by newcomers next year.

Wisconsin has had a divided government since voters elected Gov. Tony Evers (D) in 2018. Republicans currently hold a 59-38 majority in the Assembly with two vacancies and a 21-12 majority in the Senate.

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

Additional reading:

Primary watch: number of contested state legislative primaries is up 30% compared to 2020

There are 30% more contested state legislative primaries this year than in 2020, including 62% more Republican primaries and 18% more top-two/four primaries. Democratic primaries are down 9%.

These figures include elections in 29 states that account for 3,661 of 6,166 state legislative seats up for election this year (59%).

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 June 21, we have added post-filing deadline data from New York and Wisconsin. Overall, eight states in this analysis have Democratic trifectas, 17 have Republican trifectas, and four have divided governments.

Of the 29 states in this analysis, 27 are holding partisan primaries. Two states—California and Nebraska—use top-two primaries.

The number of Democratic primaries has increased in 10 states, decreased in 14, and remains the same in two. The number of Republican primaries has increased in 25 states and decreased in two. 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 1.5% 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.

Incumbent O’Connor faces challenger Drummond in Republican primary for Oklahoma attorney general

Incumbent John O’Connor and Gentner Drummond are running in the Republican primary for attorney general of Oklahoma on June 28. Libertarian candidate Lynda Steele is running in the general election, but no Democratic candidate filed to run, meaning that the winner of the Republican primary will be heavily favored in November. Republicans have held the office of Oklahoma attorney general continuously since voters elected Scott Pruitt (R) to the position in 2010.

Ben Felder wrote in The Oklahoman that “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.”

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.

O’Connor’s professional experience includes 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.

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 includes 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.”

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 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.”

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. A 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. The margin of error of that poll was +/- 4.6 percentage points.

Additional reading:

Across 10 states, attorneys general have collectively raised $48.4 million this election cycle

In the current election cycle across 10 states, attorneys general have collectively raised $48.4 million. Nearly half of that number has come from Josh Shapiro (D-Pa.), who has raised $20.5 million running for governor rather than for re-election. Two other 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 is how that fundraising compares across the 10 states with data available from Transparency USA for this election cycle:

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

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 here:

New York sees increase in state legislative incumbents facing contested primaries this year

Fifty-one of the 191 New York state legislators running for re-election this year—46 Democrats and five Republicans—face contested primaries. That equals 27% of incumbents seeking re-election, an increase from previous election cycles. The remaining 73% of incumbents are not facing primary challengers.

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

The total number of contested primaries—including those without incumbents—also increased compared to recent election cycles. With 213 districts, there are 426 possible primaries every election cycle.

This year, there are 75 contested primaries (18%): 60 Democratic primaries and 15 for Republicans. For Democrats, this is up from 53 in 2020, a 13% increase. For Republicans, the number increased 150% to 15 compared to six contested primaries in 2020.

New York allows fusion voting, where more than one political party can support a common candidate. It is common for candidates to seek both major and third-party nominations. Under this system, if a candidate loses one primary but wins another, he or she may appear on the general election ballot with the nomination of the party won.

New York is holding two separate primaries this year due to delays caused by redistricting. Primaries in the 150 Assembly districts are scheduled for June 28. The 63 Senate districts will hold primaries on August 23.

Across both chambers, 25 of those districts were left open, meaning no incumbents filed to run, a decrease from the 33 open districts in 2020 but up from the 18 in 2018.

Overall, 468 major party candidates filed to run this year: 291 Democrats and 177 Republicans.

New York has been a Democratic trifecta since the party won a clear majority in the Senate in 2018. Democrats had held a numerical majority before that time, but Republicans controlled the chamber through a series of power-sharing agreements and Democratic members caucusing with the party.

Democrats currently hold a 106-43-1 majority in the Assembly and a 43-20 majority in the Senate.

Additional reading:

Decade-high 23% of state legislative seats are open so far this year

A decade-high 23% of state legislative seats up for election this year are open, meaning no incumbents filed to run. This is based on an analysis of 30 states where Ballotpedia has collected post-filing deadline data in 2022.

Open seats typically occur when an incumbent leaves office. In post-redistricting years, it is also common to see open seats when incumbents are drawn into other districts, leaving their old districts open. Across these 30 states, the next-closest rate of open seats came in the last post-redistricting cycle, 2012, with 22% of those seats without incumbents.

Open seats can alter the makeup of state legislatures both in terms of politics and personality. Since no incumbents are present, newcomers to the chamber are guaranteed to win these seats. The number of newcomers can also increase if incumbents lose in primaries or general elections.

There are four states—Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Idaho—where over one-third of the state legislature will be represented by newcomers based solely on the number of open seats.

Of these four, Arizona, Colorado, and Maine all have term limit laws, which can force incumbents to leave office after serving a maximum number of years. Maine had the largest number of term-limited incumbents in this group with 46, followed by Colorado with 14, and Arizona with nine.

In three states—Utah, Indiana, and South Carolina—less than 10% of the state legislature is guaranteed to newcomers based on open seats. None of these three states have term limit laws.

Additional reading:

5.4% of state legislative incumbents who filed for re-election have lost in primaries

So far this year, 111 state legislative incumbents—18 Democrats and 93 Republicans—have lost to primary challengers.

Across the 21 states that have held primaries, 5.4% of incumbents running for re-election have lost, an elevated level of incumbent losses compared to previous cycles.

In addition to earlier primaries, these totals include initial results from primary runoffs in Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia. So far, four incumbents have lost in those states:

  • Three Republicans in Arkansas; and,
  • One Republican in Georgia.

No incumbents have lost in Alabama’s primary runoffs so far.

This year, Republican incumbents have lost at a higher rate than Democrats. Of the 1,265 Republican incumbents who filed for re-election, 93 (7.3%) have lost to primary challengers. For Democrats, 18 of the 786 who filed for re-election (2.3%) have lost.

But fewer Democratic incumbents are facing primary challengers than their Republican counterparts. Around 20% of Democratic incumbents who filed for re-election faced contested primaries compared to 34% for Republicans.

In these 21 states, 2,053 incumbents filed for re-election, 588 of whom (29%) faced primary challengers.

Twenty-seven of these 111 incumbent defeats (24%) were guaranteed due to redistricting. When states redraw legislative lines, incumbents can oftentimes end up in a new district with other incumbents leading to incumbent versus incumbent primaries or general elections. Since, in these races, there are more incumbents running than nominations or seats available, at least one incumbent must always lose.

Of the 21 states that have held primaries so far, five have Democratic trifectas, 13 have Republican trifectas, and three have divided governments with Democrats controlling the governorship and Republicans controlling both legislative chambers. Across these 21 states, there are 2,650 seats up for election, 43% of the nationwide total.

The figures for 2022 will likely increase. There are currently 37 uncalled primaries featuring incumbents: 19 Democratic and 18 Republican.

Yesli Vega wins Republican primary in VA-07

Yesli Vega defeated Derrick Anderson, Bryce Reeves, Crystal Vanuch, and two other candidates in the Republican primary for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District on June 21, 2022. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) is running for re-election in the redrawn 7th District. Vega had 29% of the vote to Anderson’s 24%, Reeves’ 20%, and Vanuch’s 17%.

At the time of the primary, Vega served on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and worked in law enforcement. Her campaign website detailed a platform that included advocating for the “conservative values of freedom, limited government, the rule of law, and a firm reliance on our Creator.” Former U.S. Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), who lost to Spanberger in 2018, endorsed Vega, along with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Anderson served as a Green Beret in the U.S. Army. After retiring from active duty, he received a J.D. from Georgetown University. In Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection Survey, Anderson listed his three priorities as “standing up for our veterans, keeping our country and communities safe, and stand up for our conservative values.” Based on fundraising totals reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in April 2022, Anderson led the field in fundraising and spending. U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Greene County Supervisor Davis Lamb endorsed Anderson.

Reeves was elected to the Virginia State Senate in 2011. He served in the U.S. Army and worked for the Prince William County Police Vice/Narcotics Bureau. Reeves raised and spent the second-most of the six candidates based on FEC reporting. Reeves campaigned on his legislative record and his history of winning in what he called “Democrat districts,” citing victories in 2011 and 2019. U.S. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and state Del. Nick Freitas (R) endorsed Reeves.

At the time of the primary, Vanuch served on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors and worked in the healthcare field helping individuals with terminal or chronic illnesses find affordable treatment. In Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection Survey, Vanuch listed her three priorities as decreasing government spending, defending law enforcement, and supporting the right of parents to make decisions for their children. U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) endorsed Vanuch.

The general election is expected to be competitive. Three independent forecasting outlets rated the general election as Toss-up, Lean Democratic, and Tilt Democratic. Nathan Gonzales of Roll Call said that President Joe Biden (D) would have won the district by seven percentage points in the 2020 presidential election and Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) would have won the district by six points in the 2021 gubernatorial election. Spanberger defeated Brat by two points in 2018 and Freitas by two points in 2020.

Also running in the primary were Gina Ciarcia and David Ross.