TagCongressional election

Preview: Upcoming special congressional elections

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Three special elections for the U.S. House will take place within the next month: a runoff election for Texas’ 6th Congressional District on July 27 and primaries in Ohio’s 11th and 15th congressional districts on Aug. 3.

Texas’ 6th

The July 27 runoff in Texas features Republicans Jake Ellzey and Susan Wright. The two advanced from a 23-candidate special general election on May 1, where Wright received 19% of the vote to Ellzey’s 14%.

The previous incumbent, Ronald Wright (R), died from complications related to COVID-19 on Feb. 7. Susan Wright is his widow. She served as district director for state Reps. Bill Zedler (R) and David Cook (R). Ellzey is a state representative, first elected in 2020. In 2018, he ran against Ronald Wright in the 6th Congressional District Republican primary, losing in the primary runoff with 48% to Wright’s 52%. 

The Club for Growth has spent more than $500,000 supporting Wright and opposing Ellzey in the special election. Former President Donald Trump endorsed Wright. Ellzey’s supporters include former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and the Texas Farm Bureau AGFUND.

Ohio’s 11th

President Joe Biden (D) appointed former incumbent Marcia Fudge (D) secretary of housing and urban development, leaving this seat vacant. Inside Elections rates the Nov. 2 general election Solid Democratic. Of the 13 candidates in the Democratic primary, Shontel Brown and Nina Turner have led in fundraising, endorsements, and media attention.

Brown is a member of the Cuyahoga County Council and chairwoman of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton (D) endorsed her. Turner was a state senator and co-chaired Bernie Sanders’ (I) 2020 presidential primary campaign. Sanders endorsed Turner.

Ohio’s 15th

Former Rep. Steve Stivers (R) resigned in May to become CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Inside Elections rates the Nov. 2 general election Solid Republican. Eleven candidates are running in the Aug. 3 special Republican primary.

Stivers endorsed Jeff LaRe, a state representative since 2019. LaRe also has a background in law enforcement. Trump endorsed Mike Carey, who served in the Army National Guard. Bob Peterson is a state senator and former president of the Ohio Farm Bureau. The Ohio Right to Life PAC endorsed him.

Seven special elections have been called during the 117th Congress so far. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held. 

Eighteen congressional incumbents not running for reelection in 2022

As of June 2021, 18 members of Congress—five members of the U.S. Senate and thirteen members of the U.S. House—have announced they will not seek re-election in 2022. Ten members—five senators and five representatives—have announced their retirement.

All five retiring Senate members are Republicans, and of the retiring House members, three are Democrats and two are Republicans. Eight U.S. House members are running for other offices. Three Republicans and two Democrats are running for U.S. Senate, one Republican and one Democrat are running for governor, and one Republican is running in a different district. No U.S. Senate members are running for other offices.

Reps. Val Demings (D) and Vicky Hartzler (R) were the most recent congressional members to announce they would not seek reelection. On June 9, Demings announced that she would challenge Sen. Marco Rubio (R) for one of Florida’s U.S. Senate seats rather than seek reelection in Florida’s 10th Congressional District. Hartzler, who represents Missouri’s 4th Congressional District, announced on June 10 that she is running for U.S. Senate to replace retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R).

Between 2011 and December 2020, 245 members of Congress announced they would not run for re-election. Fifty-five members did not run for re-election in the 2018 cycle (three Senators and 52 members of the House), the most in any cycle in that period. Forty members did not run for re-election in 2020 (four Senators and 36 members of the House), the fewest in that period.

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United States Congress elections, 2022

Melanie Stansbury sworn in to Congress on June 14

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D) was sworn in to represent New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District on June 14. Stansbury defeated Mark Moores (R), 60% to 36%. to win a special election for the seat on June 1. The seat became vacant when former Rep. Debra Haaland (D) left office to become secretary of the interior. 

At the time of her election to Congress, Stansbury served in the New Mexico House of Representatives, representing District 28. She was first elected in 2018, defeating incumbent Jimmie Hall (R), 54% to 46%. Before running for office, Stansbury worked for the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Office of Management and Budget. She has also worked as a science educator with the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. 

When a vacancy occurs in the New Mexico House of Representatives, the governor appoints a replacement from a list provided by the board of county commissioners representing the vacant seat. The governor is not required to appoint someone of the same party as the last person who held the seat. 

With Stansbury taking office, the partisan breakdown of the U.S. House is 220 Democrats, 211 Republicans, and four vacancies. The partisan balance of the New Mexico House is 44 Democrats, 24 Republicans, one independent, and one vacancy. 

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Democrat Melanie Ann Stansbury wins special election in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District

Melanie Ann Stansbury (D) defeated Mark Moores (R) and four other candidates in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District special election. Stansbury received 63% of the vote to Moore’s 33%.

The election took place after the U.S. Senate confirmed incumbent Debra Haaland (D) as secretary of the on March 15, 2021.

Stansbury served in the New Mexico House of Representatives since 2019. She led the race in fundraising and spending. According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, as of May 12 she had $1,348,453 in receipts and $874,861 in disbursements. Moores had raised $595,423 and spent $469,868.

Christopher Manning (L), Aubrey Dunn (I), write-in Laura Olivas (I), and write-in Robert Ornelas (I) also ran.

The outcome of this race affected partisan control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 117th Congress. Leading up to the election, Democrats had a 219 to 211 majority over Republicans. When Stansbury is sworn in, Democrats will have expanded their majority to 220-211.

As of June 1, 2021, seven special elections have been called during the 117th Congress. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held.

To read more about New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District special election, click here.

New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District to hold special election June 1

The special general election for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District is on June 1. Melanie Ann Stansbury (D), Mark Moores (R), Christopher Manning (L), Aubrey Dunn (I), and two write-in candidates are competing for the seat.

The Democratic Party nominated Stansbury at a primary convention on March 31, and the Republican Party nominated Moores at a convention on March 27. 

The special election became necessary after Debra Haaland (D) was confirmed as U.S. secretary of the interior in the Biden administration on March 15. Haaland served from 2019 to 2021.

The U.S. House of Representatives has 219 Democratic members, 211 Republican members, and five vacancies. New Mexico’s delegation to the House includes one Democrat and one Republican with one vacancy.

Seven special elections have been called during the 117th Congress as of May 25. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held.

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Melanie Ann Stansbury (D), Mark Moores (R), four others running in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District special election on June 1

Melanie Ann Stansbury (D), Mark Moores (R), and four other candidates are running in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District special election on June 1, 2021. The election was called following incumbent Debra Haaland’s (D) appointment as secretary of the interior in Joe Biden’s (D) presidential administration. 

Stansbury and Moores were elected to run at Democratic and Republican Party conventions, respectively. Stansbury has served in the New Mexico House of Representatives since 2019. She has received endorsements from incumbent Debra Haaland (D) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D), EMILY’s List, and the Sierra Club.

Moores has served in the New Mexico State Senate since 2013. He has been endorsed by Rep. Yvette Herrell (R), the Albuquerque Journal, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses. 

As of May 12, Stansbury led in fundraising and spending, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. She had $1,348,453 in receipts and $874,861 in disbursements. Moores had raised $595,423 and spent $469,868.

Christopher Manning (L), Aubrey Dunn (I), write-in Laura Olivas (I), and write-in Robert Ornelas (I) are also running.

Haaland had represented New Mexico’s 1st since after the 2018 election. She was re-elected in 2020 58.2% to 41.8%. In the 2020 presidential election, Biden defeated Donald Trump (R) in the district 60.2% to 37.4%. The district last elected a Republican to Congress in 2006 when it backed incumbent Heather Wilson.

The outcome of this race will affect partisan control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 117th Congress. Democrats have a 219 to 211 majority over Republicans. Five seats are vacant.

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Voters to decide special election on May 1 for Texas’ 6th Congressional District

A special election to fill the vacancy in Texas’ 6th Congressional District will be held May 1. Twenty-three candidates are running to represent this district in the Fort Worth suburbs. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters will compete in a runoff election. The previous incumbent, Ronald Wright (R), died from COVID-19 related complications on February 7, 2021.

Media attention has focused on eight candidates in the race: Lydia Bean (D), Shawn Lassiter (D), Jana Lynne Sanchez (D), Jake Ellzey (R), Brian Harrison (R), Sery Kim (R), Michael Wood (R), and Susan Wright (R).

Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Wright this week. Harrison received endorsements from several Trump administration officials, including former Cabinet members Alex Azar, Betsy DeVos, and Linda McMahon. U.S. Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who voted to impeach Trump, endorsed Wood. 

Ellzey was endorsed by former Gov. Rick Perry (R), the Texas Farm Bureau, and three Ellis County Commissioners. He has faced opposition from the Club for Growth and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R).

Kim, a Korean-American, was endorsed by the two Korean-American members of Congress, but those endorsements were later rescinded following comments she made about Chinese immigrants.

Among the Democratic candidates, Bean received endorsements from several unions, including the Texas AFL-CIO, the local Teamsters, and the local United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Lassiter received endorsements from local school board officials, a former state board of education member, the 314 Action Fund, and the Voter Protection Project. Sanchez was endorsed by a pair of Arlington City Council members and the campaign arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

The district has become more competitive in both presidential and congressional elections since 2012. In 2020, Trump won the district 51-48, running behind Wright, who won 53-44. In 2016, Trump won the district 54-42, while Wright won 58-39. In 2012, Mitt Romney (R) won the district 58-41 while then-Rep. Joe Barton (R) won re-election 58-39. Midterm elections in the district have followed the same trend. In 2018, Wright won re-election 53-45, while Barton won 61-36 in 2014.

Troy Carter wins special election in Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District

Troy Carter (D) won the special election for Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District on Saturday, April 24. Carter received 55.2% of the vote, and fellow Democrat Karen Peterson received 44.8%. The two advanced to the general election from the March 20 all-party primary. Carter was elected to the state Senate in 2015 and has previously served in the Louisiana House of Representatives and the New Orleans City Council.

Former incumbent Cedric Richmond (D) and several U.S. House members endorsed Carter, a state senator. Peterson, who is also a state senator, had endorsements from 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D) and Gary Chambers (D), who finished third in the primary. 

Richmond resigned in January to become a senior adviser to President Joe Biden (D) and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. He was first elected in 2010 and won re-election last year with 63.9% of the vote. Since 2000, the seat has been occupied by a Democrat in all years except 2009-2011, when it was occupied by Joseph Cao (R).

Carter and Peterson both expressed support for legalizing marijuana, ending cash bail, forgiving student debt loans for up to $50,000, and a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal land and waters. Both candidates supported increasing the federal minimum wage but disagreed on what it should be raised to. Carter supported a $15 per hour minimum wage, while Peterson said she would support raising it to $20 per hour. The candidates also differed on healthcare policy, with Carter supporting a public option and Peterson supporting a Medicare for All plan.

This is the second special election to be decided for the 117th Congress. On March 20th, voters in Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District elected Julia Letlow (R) in a special election to fill the vacancy left by Luke Letlow (R), who died before being seated in the 117th Congress from complications related to COVID-19.

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Rita Hart (D) withdraws contest of IA-02 election results

On Wednesday, March 31, Rita Hart (D) dropped her petition with the House Administration Committee to investigate the Nov. 3, 2020, election in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) defeated Hart by six votes in that race. House Administration Committee Chair Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D) said the committee would suspend its investigation of the election.

After announcing the decision, Hart said that she chose to end her challenge “after many conversations with people I trust about the future of this contest.” “Despite our best efforts to have every vote counted, the reality is that the toxic campaign of political disinformation to attack this constitutional review of the closest congressional contest in 100 years has effectively silenced the voices of Iowans,” she said.

After the Nov. 3, 2020, general election, Iowa officials conducted three recounts of the results in the 2nd district. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) ordered a recount in Jasper County on Nov. 6 and then another in Lucas County on Nov. 10. On Nov. 13, Hart requested a full recount of votes in all 24 counties in the district. After this last recount, Miller-Meeks was certified as the winner by a margin of six votes on Nov. 30.

On Dec. 2, Hart announced she would contest the election with the House Administration Committee. She submitted a notice of contest on Dec. 22 that said 11 ballots were excluded due to poll worker errors and another 11 were excluded because of unsealed or damaged envelopes, having the voter’s signature in the wrong place, or being left in a drop box outside the county. Miller-Meeks was provisionally seated in the House on Jan. 3, and on Jan. 21, she filed a motion asking Congress to dismiss Hart’s challenge of the election results, saying that Hart should have pursued the matter through state procedures rather than filing a petition with the House.

On Mar. 10, the House Administration Committee voted 6-3 to consider Hart’s challenge and table Miller-Meeks’ motion to dismiss Hart’s challenge. After the decision to move forward with the investigation was announced, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) said Democrats are “literally trying to overturn a state-certified election here in Congress.” Some Democrats, such as Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips (D), said overturning the results would be a mistake. “Overturning it in the House would be even more painful for America. Just because a majority can, does not mean a majority should,” Phillips said.

Last year’s general election in Iowa’s 2nd District had the narrowest margin of victory in a U.S. House race since 1984. That year, Francis McCloskey (D) defeated Richard McIntyre (R) by four votes in Indiana’s 8th Congressional District. The House Administration Committee has dismissed most contested election cases that have come before it. According to a 2016 Congressional Research Service report, out of 107 contested election cases filed between 1933 and 2009, the candidate who contested the election won three times. 

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Federal judge strikes down 5% petition requirement for minor-party and unaffiliated U.S. House candidates in Georgia

On March 29, 2021, Judge Leigh Martin May, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, struck down a Georgia law requiring minor-party and unaffiliated candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives to submit petitions signed by at least 5 percent of the district’s registered voters in order to appear on the ballot. May ruled this requirement “overburdens [voters’ and candidates’] rights to vote and to associate with their preferred political party, and so it violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.”

May contrasted the 5-percent signature requirement for U.S. House candidates with the 1-percent requirement for statewide candidates, “The [Georgia] General Assembly has deemed a 1% petition signature requirement adequate to guard against ballot crowding and frivolous candidacies on a statewide basis. It is not immediately clear why candidates for non-statewide office must clear a proportionally higher hurdle, the 5% petition signature requirement. [The state] has not offered any explanation for this disparity.” 

May has not yet ordered a remedy. She directed the plaintiffs (the Libertarian Party of Georgia) to submit a brief within three weeks on proposed remedies. The state will then have an opportunity to respond to this proposal before May issues further guidance. 

Under the 5-percent signature requirement, originally enacted in 1943, no minor-party candidate for the U.S. House has qualified for placement on the general election ballot. In 2020, minor-party or unaffiliated candidates would have needed between 19,777 and 26,539 signatures in order to qualify for the ballot (the number varies by congressional district). 

It is not clear whether the state will appeal the decision.

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