Welcome to the Monday, May 23, Brew.
By: Samuel Wonacott
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- For the first time since 1964, there’s no statewide initiative on California’s primary ballot
- Georgia’s May 24 primary elections
- Alabama’s May 24 primary elections
For the first time since 1964, there’s no statewide initiative on California’s primary ballot
The June 7 California primary ballot won’t feature any state ballot measures for the first time since 1964. This year’s lack of measures follows a decline in primary ballot initiatives—last year, one proposition was on the primary ballot. Based on decades, the average has declined over time, with an average of 11 on primary ballots in the 1970s and 1980s, 10 in the 1990s, seven in the 2000s, and three in the 2010s.
One contributing factor to the decline could be Senate Bill 202, which lawmakers approved in 2011. SB 202 required citizen-initiated ballot measures be placed on November general election ballots. Since SB 202’s passage, only legislatively referred ballot measures can appear on primary ballots. The state legislature did not place any such measures on the June primary ballot.
However, there are a number of local measures to be decided on primary day—90 to be exact. We cover all local ballot measures in California.
There are currently four citizen-initiated measures that qualified for the statewide ballot in November and several more are expected to file signatures ahead of the June 30 signature verification deadline. Legislators also have until June 30 to refer measures to the November ballot. Since 2010, there have been an average of 10 measures decided at the general election—nine citizen-initiated measures and two legislative referrals.
Georgia’s May 24 primary elections
On Tuesday, Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia will hold this month’s final statewide primaries (Texas will also decide runoff elections). Last Friday, we previewed Arkansas’ upcoming elections. Today, let’s look at what voters in Alabama and Georgia will see when they go to the polls.
First up, the Peach State.
Georgia voters will pick nominees for one U.S. Senate seat and all 14 of the state’s U.S. House districts. Incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), who won in a special election in 2021 by two percentage points, is running against Tamara Johnson-Shealey (D) in the Democratic primary. Six candidates are running in the Republican primary, including Gary Black, Kelvin King, Latham Saddler, and Herschel Walker, who have led in fundraising and media attention. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Walker. Three independent race forecasters consider the general election a Toss-up.
Georgia’s U.S. House delegation is currently split between six Democrats and eight Republicans. Eighty-two candidates, including 31 Democrats and 51 Republicans, filed to run for the 14 districts—the most since 2012, when 44 candidates filed. There are eight incumbents in contested primaries this year, the most since 2012.
Five incumbents are not facing any primary challengers.
The Democratic gubernatorial primary features Stacey Abrams, the only candidate who filed to run. Abrams, a former state representative, ran for governor in 2018 and lost to current incumbent Brian Kemp (R) 50.2%-48.8%. Kemp, David Perdue, and three other candidates are running in the Republican primary. Trump endorsed Perdue in the election.
This year, there are 104 contested state legislative primaries—51 Democratic primaries and 53 for Republicans. For Democrats, this is up from 49 in 2020, a 4% increase. For Republicans, that number increased 71%, from 31 in 2020 to 53 in 2022. This is also the state’s first cycle since 2016 with more Republican Republican than Democratic primaries.
In Georgia, primary candidates must get a majority of the vote to win. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the total vote, the two candidates with the most votes advance to a June 21 runoff election. Georgia is one of 10 states that conduct runoff elections as part of their party nomination process.
Click below to learn more about Georgia’s primaries.
Alabama’s May 24 primary elections
Now that we’ve looked at Georgia’s primary elections, let’s jump next door and look at Alabama’s upcoming elections.
Alabama voters will decide who will replace Sen. Richard Shelby (R). Shelby first took office in 1987 and announced in 2021 that he would retire. Three candidates are running in the Democratic primary—Will Boyd, Brandaun Dean, and Lanny Jackson. Six candidates are running in the Republican primary, including Katie Britt, Mo Brooks, and Michael Durant, who have led in polling and endorsements. Trump initially endorsed Brooks but later rescinded his endorsement.
Alabama is also holding elections for its seven congressional districts. Republicans currently hold six of those districts. There are three contested Democratic primaries and two contested Republican primaries. Five incumbents—four Republicans and one Democrat—aren’t facing any primary challengers.
Incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey, Lynda Blanchard, and Tim James, and six other candidates, are running in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Six candidates are running in the Democratic primary. Three independent race forecasters consider the general election Solid Republican.
Thirty-five state Senate districts and 105 House districts are up for election. Republicans control the Senate 27-8 and the House 73-28 (with four current vacancies). In the 140 districts holding elections, 17.9% were left open, meaning no incumbent filed to run in them. This was a decrease from the 37 open districts in 2018 but more than the 20 in 2014.
Like in Georgia, Alabama primary candidates must get a majority of the vote to win. Candidates that do not receive more than 50% of the vote will advance to a June 21 runoff election.
Click below to read more about Alabama’s upcoming elections.