TagDaily Brew

113 statewide ballot measures certified for the ballot, including new firearms measure in Oregon

Welcome to the Thursday, July 21, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 113 statewide ballot measures certified for the ballot, including new firearms measure in Oregon
  2. Dan Cox wins Republican nomination for governor of Maryland, Democratic primary too close to call
  3. Ohio Supreme Court overturns state’s congressional district boundaries; map to still be used for 2022 elections

113 statewide ballot measures certified for the ballot, including new firearms measure in Oregon

As of July 20, 113 statewide measures have been certified for the ballot in 35 states, 27 less than the average number certified at this point in other even-numbered years from 2010 to 2020. 

Here’s an update on the latest ballot measure activity:

One new measure was certified for the ballot last week: Oregon Changes to Firearm Ownership and Purchase Requirements Initiative.

The initiative (#17) would enact a law outlining a procedure to apply for a permit to purchase a firearm. Local law enforcement would issue permits. Applicants would need to pay a fee, submit a photo ID, be fingerprinted, complete approved safety training, pass a criminal background check, and not be prohibited from possessing firearms. Law enforcement would be able to deny a permit to an applicant believed to be a danger to oneself or others. The initiative would also criminalize the manufacture, importation, possession, use, purchase, sale, or otherwise transferring of ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

Existing law requires a seller or transferor to request a background check before firearm purchase.

Oregon voters will be deciding on three other ballot measures this fall. The state Legislature voted to refer an amendment that would add affordable health care as a fundamental right to the Oregon Constitution and an amendment that would repeal language allowing slavery or involuntary servitude as criminal punishment. The third measure is a ballot initiative that would disqualify state legislators from re-election for unexcused legislative absenteeism, such as for legislative walkouts.

Between 2010 and 2020, an average of 64 ballot initiatives were filed in Oregon each election cycle, with an average of five making the ballot. In 2022, 60 citizen initiatives were filed for the ballot and two qualified.

Signatures have been submitted and are pending verification for another 20 initiatives in 11 states:

From 2010 to 2020, the average number of statewide ballot measures certified in an even-numbered year was 164. By this time during even-numbered years from 2010 through 2020, an average of 140 statewide measures had been certified for the ballot.

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Dan Cox wins Republican nomination for governor of Maryland, Democratic primary too close to call

Dan Cox won the Republican nomination for governor of Maryland in Tuesday’s primary. As of writing, the Democratic primary remained too close to call, with Wes Moore and Tom Perez leading the 10-candidate field.

As of writing, Cox had 56% of the vote, followed by Kelly Schulz with 40%. Cox, who serves in the state House of Delegates and is an attorney, was endorsed by former President Donald Trump (R). Schulz, a former state secretary of commerce, was endorsed by current Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who is term-limited. 

According to The Washington Post, it could be several days until a winner can be declared in the Democratic primary. Voters in the state requested a record number of mail ballots—approximately 500,000. Election officials may not begin counting mail ballots until July 21 at 10 a.m., according to state law. Election officials in the state estimate that some counties may finish counting these mail-in ballots by July 29, while other counties may not finish until early August.

Wes Moore worked in the finance sector and as CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, in addition to writing books about race, equity, and opportunity in America. Tom Perez served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2017 to 2021 and as the U.S. secretary of labor in the Obama administration from 2013 to 2017. 

Two election forecasters say the general election leans towards Democrats and a third says they are likely to win.

So far this year, 135 state legislative incumbents—29 Democrats and 106 Republicans—have lost to primary challengers.

Across the 27 states that have held primaries, 4.8% of incumbents running for re-election have lost, an elevated level of incumbent losses compared to previous cycles.

These totals include data from Maryland, which held state legislative primaries on July 19. No incumbents have lost in these primaries so far, but 55 races remain uncalled.

This year, Republican incumbents have lost at a higher rate than Democrats. Of the 1,574 Republican incumbents who filed for re-election, 106 (6.7%) have lost to primary challengers. For Democrats, 29 of the 1,208 who filed for re-election (2.4%) have lost.

But fewer Democratic incumbents are facing primary challengers than their Republican counterparts. Around 25% of Democratic incumbents who filed for re-election faced contested primaries compared to 32% for Republicans.

In these 26 states, 2,784 incumbents filed for re-election, 806 of whom (29%) faced primary challengers.

Thirty of these 135 incumbent defeats (22%) 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 v. incumbent primaries or general elections. Since, in these races, there are more incumbents running than nominations or seats available, at least one incumbent must lose.

Of the 27 states that have held primaries so far, eight have Democratic trifectas, 15 have Republican trifectas, and four have divided governments. Across these 27 states, there are 3,525 seats up for election, 57% of the nationwide total.

The figures for 2022 will likely increase. There are currently 61 uncalled primaries featuring incumbents—39 Democratic and 23 Republican—and 20 primaries featuring New York Senate incumbents scheduled for Aug. 23.

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Ohio Supreme Court overturns state’s congressional district boundaries; map to still be used for 2022 elections

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled 4-3 on July 19 that the congressional district boundaries that the Ohio Redistricting Commission adopted on March 2 were unconstitutional. The state’s 2022 primaries took place on May 3 under the overturned boundaries, so the state will again use those boundaries in the November general elections. 

The state supreme court directed the Ohio General Assembly to pass a compliant redistricting plan within 30 days. If the general assembly fails to do so, the court ordered the redistricting commission to then adopt a plan within another 30 days. That map would be used for the state’s 2024 congressional elections.

Justices Maureen O’Connor (R), Michael Donnelly (D), and Melody Stewart (D) signed the state supreme court’s majority opinion, with Justice Jennifer Brunner (D) filing a concurring opinion. Justices Sharon Kennedy (R), Pat DeWine (R), and Pat Fischer (R) wrote or joined dissenting opinions.

Governor Mike DeWine (R) first signed a new congressional map into law on November 20, 2021, after the state Senate voted to approve it 24-7 and the state House approved it 55-36. On January 14, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the state’s enacted congressional map and ordered the legislature to redraw it. On February 9, Ohio legislative leaders said they would not draw a new congressional map, meaning responsibility for the new map fell to the Ohio Redistricting Commission. The commission approved redrawn congressional boundaries in a 5-2 vote along party lines. 

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Nine states begin general election early voting in September

Welcome to the Wednesday, July 20, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Nine states begin general election early voting in September
  2. The Republican candidates who raised the most money for state legislative House races in 10 states 
  3. Meet us in Madison at the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) Summer Conference

Nine states begin general election early voting in September

Although we’re still in the midst of a busy primary season, the Nov. 8 general elections are quickly approaching—in 111 days, to be precise. With November right around the corner, now is a good time to look at when states will begin allowing early voting in the general elections. 

In this election cycle, 45 states and Washington, D.C., will conduct no-excuse, in-person early voting for the November elections. In states that permit no-excuse early voting, a voter does not have to provide an excuse for being unable to vote on Election Day. A total of nine states begin early voting in September. Another 33 states and Washington, D.C., begin early voting in October. Three states begin early voting in November.

The earliest start date for early voting takes place on Sept. 19, in Pennsylvania, where early voting begins when absentee/mail-in ballots become available. Another three states – Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming – begin their early voting periods on Sept. 23. 

Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming will have the longest early voting periods, opening on Sept. 23 and closing on Nov. 7—a total of 46 days. See the chart below for more details. 

In 2020, 42 states and Washington, D.C. conducted no-excuse, in-person early voting. The earliest start date for early voting took place on September 18 in Minnesota, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming. Eight states began early voting in September. The remaining 34 states and Washington, D.C., began early voting in October. 

Since 2020, Delaware, Kentucky, and South Carolina have implemented permanent, no-excuse voting policies. 

Click the link below to learn more about early voting in your state. 

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The  Republican candidates who raised the most money for state legislative House races in 10 states 

Earlier this week, we brought you data from our partnership with Transparency USA on the Democratic candidates and officeholders who raised the most money for state legislative House races in 10 states. Today, we’re looking at the top Republican fund-raisers in those same states. 

Four of these candidates and officeholders raised more than $1 million: Dade Phelan of Texas ($2.9 million), Carrie DelRosso of Pennsylvania ($2.1 million), James Gallagher of California ($1.8 million), and Timothy Moore of North Carolina ($1.7 million). One of these candidates, Erik Mortensen of Minnesota ($90,777), raised less than $100,000. Collectively, these candidates raised $11.81 million and spent $8.30 million.

You can see the list of candidates and officeholders in the table below. Click on a link below to learn more about these candidates and their campaigns. 

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 below.

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Meet us in Madison!

We exist to help solve one of the biggest issues state election directors face – the massive information gap. Voters come to the polls, ready to make their voices heard, but they don’t know who or what’s on the ballot until they get into the voting booth. A related problem for both voters and state election directors is that election administration is always changing. A few weeks ago, we introduced you to our Election Administration Legislation Tracker—a new tool for quickly and easily tracking election-related legislation in all 50 states. 

Now, Ballotpedia founder and CEO Leslie Graves and Ken Carbullido, Vice President of Election Product and Technology Strategy, are attending the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) Summer Conference July 19-20. It’s the first time the conference has been in-person since February 2020.  

This ballot information gap is particularly big for local offices, especially for the thousands of races and tens of thousands of candidates running for positions on school boards, municipal and county governments and more. Now multiply this problem by every state and every county, city, town, and village in the country.   

We’ve made our goal to cover every single elected position in the nation. That’s more than 500,000 officials. Leslie and Ken are scheduling meetings with NASED attendees to discuss how we can work together to close the information gap

If you’re attending NASED and would like to meet with Leslie or Ken, you can schedule a meeting here.  

Click below to learn more about our Election Administration Legislation Tracker. 

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Sixteen states are holding primaries in August

Welcome to the Tuesday, July 19, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Looking ahead to the August primaries
  2. Eight candidates running in Wisconsin’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary
  3. You’re invited: Election Timing and Voter Turnout book discussion

Looking ahead to the August primaries

Maryland is holding statewide primaries today, July 19, the only state to do so in July this cycle. But one of the busiest months on this year’s election calendar is rapidly approaching.

Sixteen states will hold statewide primaries in August, second only to June when 17 states held primaries. August primaries will take place on six different dates, up from four in June.

August’s six statewide primary dates are:

And here’s a closer look at a few of the battleground primaries we will be covering throughout the month:

  • Michigan’s Republican gubernatorial primary: six candidates are running in the primary. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is running for re-election. The fundraising and polling leaders are Tudor Dixon, Ryan Kelley, Kevin Rinke, and Garrett Soldano. Five candidates failed to make the ballot after state officials found petition circulators those campaigns hired had forged signatures on their nominating petitions. One of those candidates—James Craig—is running as a write-in.
  • Alaska’s At-large Congressional District top-four primary: twenty-two candidates are running in a top-four primary for Alaska’s at-large U.S. House district. All candidates will appear on the same ballot. The top four finishers will advance to a general election using ranked-choice voting. This primary coincides with a special ranked-choice general election to pick a successor to U.S. Rep. Don Young (R), who died in March. One Democrat—Mary Peltola—and two Republicans—Nick Begich and Sarah Palin—are running in that race after Al Gross (I) dropped out after the primary.
  • New York’s 12th Congressional District Democratic primary: in what is likely to be the cycle’s sixth and final incumbent v. incumbent primary, six candidates are seeking the nomination, including U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler. Both are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and describe themselves as progressives. 

Four incumbents—two Democrats and two Republicans—have lost in incumbent v. incumbent primaries so far this cycle. In addition to New York’s 12th District Democratic primary, there is another Democratic primary in Michigan’s 11th District featuring U.S. Reps. Andy Levin and Haley Stevens.

To stay on top of the latest primary conflicts, subscribe to Ballotpedia’s free weekly newsletter, The Heart of the Primaries. The Heart of the Primaries details policy differences between candidates, which donor groups are behind which candidates (and why!), moves by political operatives, polling, and more. Two versions are published weekly: one for Democratic primaries and one for Republican primaries.

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Eight candidates running in Wisconsin’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary

Speaking of August primaries, today, we’re highlighting the Democratic U.S. Senate primary in Wisconsin, scheduled for Aug. 9.

Eight candidates are running in the primary. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry, and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson have received the most media attention. Kou Lee, Steven Olikara, Peter Peckarsky, and Darrell Williams are also running.

CNN’s Simone Pathe described the Democratic primary as “the last truly unsettled Democratic contest in a competitive general election state.”

Barnes was elected lieutenant governor in 2018 and served in the state Assembly from 2013 to 2017. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Isaac Yu, Barnes “is running on issues that range from rebuilding the middle class to bringing manufacturing back to Wisconsin to supporting family farms.” The Congressional Black Caucus, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed Barnes.

Godlewski was elected state treasurer in 2018 and has highlighted that experience, saying she “ensured the state invested in renewable energy projects, broadband expansion, … supported Wisconsin small businesses,” and secured “record funding for technology and books in public schools.” EMILY’s List, the National Organization for Women, and former U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wisc.) endorsed Godlewski.

Lasry is a vice president of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks who previously worked in former President Barack Obama’s (D) administration. In a Candidate Connection survey submitted to Ballotpedia, Lasry listed raising wages and creating union jobs, rebuilding infrastructure, and protecting democracy as his three key messages. Seven Wisconsin labor union chapters and Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson (D) endorsed Lasry.

Nelson was elected executive of Outagamie County in 2011 after serving in the state Assembly since 2005, including a period as the chamber’s majority leader from 2008 to 2011. In a Candidate Connection survey submitted to Ballotpedia, Nelson said he supports labor, family farms, and universal healthcare. Nelson also said he had a history of winning in Republican-leaning areas. Six Wisconsin labor union chapters, Our Wisconsin Revolution, and New Deal America endorsed Nelson.

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R), first elected in 2010, is seeking re-election, making him one of two incumbent Republicans up for election this year in a state Joe Biden (D) won in the 2020 presidential election. The other such incumbent, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), is retiring.

Two election forecasters rate the general election as Tilt or Lean Republican, and one rates it as a Toss-up.

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You’re invited: Election Timing and Voter Turnout book discussion

Elections take place at various—and sometimes unpredictable—times throughout the year. Why isn’t the election calendar more uniform? Who decides when elections are held? What are the effects of a spread-out electoral schedule?

You are invited to listen in as Ballotpedia staff, led by assistant staff writer Paul Rader, dive into these questions and more while discussing Sarah F. Anzia’s 2013 book Timing and Turnout: How Off-Cycle Elections Favor Organized Groups.

Discussions will be held every Friday at 4:00 PM ET from July 29 to Sept. 16, 2022, as we cover Anzia’s findings as well as Ballotpedia’s role in informing and educating voters about the ins and outs of the U.S. electoral calendar.

You can use the link below to sign up for notifications and learn more about the book.

We hope you will join us!

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The only statewide primary this month

Welcome to the Monday, July 18, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. A look at tomorrow’s Maryland primaries
  2. Biden White House has 474 employees 
  3. The Democratic candidates who raised the most money for state legislative House races in 10 states

A look at tomorrow’s Maryland primaries 

Maryland is the only state holding statewide primaries in July. The pace of primary elections will quicken in August, and we’ll have more about those elections as we get closer to the end of the month. For now, let’s see what’s on the ballot in Maryland on July 19. Maryland will be the 31st state with a statewide primary this year.

Congress

Voters will decide Republican and Democratic primaries for one U.S. Senate seat and all eight U.S. House districts. Incumbent Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) is running in the Democratic primary against Michelle Smith. On the Republican side, 10 candidates are seeking the nomination. The last Republican U.S. Senator from Maryland was Charles Mathias, Jr., who served from 1969 to 1987.

Democrats have a 7-1 majority in Maryland’s U.S. House delegation. Sixty-five candidates filed to run for the state’s eight U.S. House districts, including 31 Democrats and 34 Republicans. Rep. Anthony Brown (D) is running for attorney general of Maryland, leaving the 4th District open. Rep. Andrew Harris (R), who represents the 1st District, is the only incumbent without a primary this year. 

State

Maryland voters will decide Republican and Democratic primaries for several state executive positions—including governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general—and all state Senate and state House districts. Let’s briefly look at the gubernatorial and state legislative primaries.

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is term-limited. In recent memory, both Republicans and Democrats have held the governor’s office. Democrat Martin O’Malley was the governor before Hogan from 2007 to 2015. Republican Bob Ehrlich served as governor from 2003 to 2007. 

Four candidates are running in the Republican gubernatorial primary. State Rep. Dan Cox and former state secretary of commerce Kelly Schulz have led in endorsements and media attention. Former President Donald Trump (R) has endorsed Cox, while Hogan has endorsed Schulz. 

Ten candidates are running in the Democratic primary. Peter Franchot, Wes Moore, and Tom Perez have led in polling, endorsements, and fundraising. Franchot is the state comptroller, Moore was the CEO of the Robinhood Foundation, and Perez chaired Democratic National Committee from 2017 to 2021 and was U.S. Labor Secretary under former President Barack Obama. National officeholders who’ve waded into the primary include U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who has endorsed Franchot, U.S. House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who has endorsed Moore, and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has endorsed Perez. 

All 188 state legislative districts across both chambers are up for election this year. Democrats control the state Senate 32-15, and the state House 99-42. Thirty-six percent of the legislative primaries are contested this year (86 primaries out of a possible 236). That is a higher percentage of contested primaries than the national average so far. In states where filing deadlines have passed, 22.6% of state legislative primaries are contested. Maryland’s  86 contested primaries include 51 Democratic primaries and 35  Republican primaries. For Democrats, this is down from 64 in 2018, a 20% decrease. Republican primaries have increased 40%, from 25 in 2018 to 35 in 2022. Thirty-nine districts are open, meaning no incumbents are running. This guarantees that at least 21% of Maryland General Assembly members will be newcomers in 2023. Nationally, in states where the filing deadline has passed, an average of 24% of state legislative districts are open.   

In Maryland, the primary candidate with the most votes wins—even if that candidate receives less than 50% of the total vote. Maryland is one of 40 states without primary election runoffs. The state does not cancel uncontested primaries, and write-in candidates are required to file and can only run in general elections. 

Click below to learn more about Maryland’s upcoming elections. 

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Biden White House has 474 employees 

Now that we’ve covered Maryland’s upcoming elections, let’s hop over to Washington D.C. and take a look at a new report on White House staffing. On July 1, the White House released its annual report to Congress on personnel. 

According to the report, the White House has 474 employees. Sixty-three staff members are detailees— that is, staff temporarily assigned to the White House from another agency or department. The other 411 staff members are employees.

Last year, the Biden Administration reported that it had 560 staff members. Twenty-six staff members were detailees. The other 536 staff members were employees.

The average salary in the Biden White House is $102,095. 

The highest-paid staff member according to the 2022 report is Francis Collins, a detailee serving as acting science advisor to the president. Collins’ annual salary was $300,000. Twenty-seven staff members earned $180,000 or more.

Sixteen staff members received no salary. The majority of individuals receiving no salary (nine) were policy advisors.

The largest share of employees (153) received salaries between $60,000 and $89,999, and the second largest (114) received $90,000 and $119,999. 

See the chart below for the average salary of paid White House staff members in the Biden, Trump, and Obama administrations between 2013 and 2022. Salaries between 2013 and 2021 were inflation-adjusted to 2022 dollars.

You can learn more about White House staff under the Biden Administration at the link below. 

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The Democratic candidates who raised the most money for state legislative House races in 10 states

With general elections around the corner, it can be difficult to make sense of all the campaign finance figures that get thrown around in the media. That’s why we’ve partnered with Transparency USA to make money in politics as clear and accessible as possible.

This week, the Democratic candidates who raised the most money for state legislative House races in 10 states. 

Two candidates raised more than $1 million: Phil Ting of California ($3.75 million) and Austin Davis of Pennsylvania ($2.70 million). Two candidates raised less than $100,000: Steve Doyle of Wisconsin ($99,607) and Kelly Morrison of Minnesota ($74,968). Collectively, these candidates raised $8.44 million and spent $6.29 million.

Take a deeper dive into these fundraising figures at the links below:

We’ll publish a story about the top Republican state house fundraisers in a future edition, so look forward to that soon. 

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 below.

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The final sneak peek: mayoral and school board elections

Welcome to the Friday, July 15, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Previewing mayoral and school board elections
  2. The next U.S. Supreme Court term begins in October
  3. #FridayTrivia: How many abortion-related ballot measures have been certified for the ballot so far this year?

Previewing mayoral and school board elections

All this week, we’ve brought you analyses and sneak peeks into the upcoming general elections at all levels of government, from the U.S. Senate to state legislatures.

In a midterm election year, attention tends to focus on these high-profile races. But when voters go to the polls, they’re likely to find local races on their ballots, as well – particularly with more than 500,000 elected officials nationally.

Here’s a look at mayoral and school board races Ballotpedia covers across the largest cities and school districts in the country.

Mayoral elections

Twenty-four of the 100 largest U.S. cities by population are holding mayoral elections in 2022. In 15 of those cities, the incumbent is a Democrat. Four incumbents are Republicans, one is independent, and three are nonpartisan. One office is currently vacant.

Of the races we cover, two of those cities hold partisan elections, where candidates appear on the ballot with party labels. The rest hold nonpartisan elections. In cities with nonpartisan elections, Ballotpedia uses several sources to identify partisan affiliation: direct outreach to the officeholder, candidacy in some other partisan office, or identification of partisan affiliation by multiple media outlets.

While most mayoral elections are scheduled for later this year, four of the 100 largest cities have already held their contests:

No party changes resulted from any of those elections.

Ballotpedia also covers mayoral elections in every state capital, 11 of which are holding elections in 2022. At the start of this year, Democrats held the mayorship in nine of those cities, and Republicans held two.

One race we will be watching closely is the mayoral race in Los Angeles, Calif., where Karen Bass (D) and Rick Caruso (D) will face off in November after advancing from a top-two primary in June. Bass, a member of the U.S. House, has held elected office as a Democrat since 2005. In January 2022, Caruso announced he changed his party registration from no party preference to Democrat.

School board elections

Ballotpedia covers school board elections in 470 school districts, including the 200 largest districts by student enrollment and all districts in the 100 largest cities by population. 

This year, we are covering school board elections in 373 districts across 28 states and Washington D.C. Within those districts, 1,149 seats are up for election with an average term length of four years.

School districts hold elections throughout the year, with a majority clustered in November. Twenty-seven percent of districts within our coverage scope have already held general elections, with 70% scheduled for Nov. 8.

Most districts we cover only hold a single general election, but 38% hold primaries and general elections. A majority of primaries—63%—have already come and gone. Maryland, the next state with upcoming school board elections, will hold primaries on July 19.

This year, 2,487 candidates are running for 1,062 school board seats within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope where the filing deadline has passed, an average of 2.34 candidates per seat. This is an 18.7% increase from the average of 1.94 candidates per seat in 2020.

To stay informed on the latest in school board elections and district policy, subscribe to Hall Pass, our weekly education-related newsletter.

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The next U.S. Supreme Court term begins in October

Yesterday we reviewed the events of the most recent SCOTUS sitting. Now, let’s look to the fall. The U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing cases for its next term on Oct. 3, 2022. 

To date, the court has added 23 cases to its docket for the next term, which the court will decide after hearing oral arguments. None of the cases have been scheduled for arguments as of this writing.

Here’s a look at some of the most recent cases the court accepted for review:

  • Percoco v. United States, which asks whether a private citizen who can influence governmental decision-making should be convicted of bribery;
  • Moore v. Harper, involving the independent state legislature doctrine, which theorizes that the U.S. Constitution allows state legislatures to regulate federal elections without oversight from state courts.

This will be the first full term for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was sworn in on June 30 to succeed Justice Stephen Breyer following her nomination by President Joe Biden (D) earlier this year.

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#FridayTrivia: How many abortion-related ballot measures have been certified so far this year?

On Tuesday, we brought you an update from the world of ballot measures. 2022 will see the largest number of abortion-related statewide ballot measures on record.

How many abortion-related ballot measures have been certified for the ballot so far this year?

  1. 12
  2. 3
  3. 9
  4. 5


Preview week day 4 – state legislative elections

Welcome to the Thursday, July 14, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Preview week day 4 – state legislative elections
  2. Supreme Court of the United States enters summer recess
  3. Six candidates seek Republican nomination for governor of Michigan

Preview week day 4 – state legislative elections

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers are holding regularly-scheduled elections on Nov. 8, representing 6,166—84%—of the country’s 7,383 state legislative seats.

As of July 1, Republicans controlled 54% of all state legislative seats nationwide, including those not up for election in 2022, while Democrats held 44%.

Republicans hold majorities in 55 chambers holding elections this year, while Democrats control 32. One chamber—the Alaska House—is controlled by a multipartisan power-sharing coalition.

Based on information from 34 states analyzed to date, there are more open state legislative seats this year than at any point in the past decade. Roughly 24% of all state legislative seats up for election—1,048—are open, meaning no incumbents filed and guaranteeing those seats to newcomers.

Additionally, based on filing deadline data, 44% of state legislative seats are effectively guaranteed to one of the two major parties. This is because 1,948 seats lack major party competition, meaning either no Democrats or no Republicans filed to run.

By party, 14% of seats are guaranteed to Democrats, and 30% are guaranteed to Republicans, with the remaining 57% of seats contested by both major parties across the 34 states where Ballotpedia has gathered data.

The most recent chambers to switch party control among those holding elections this year are New Hampshire’s Senate and House, both of which switched from Democratic to Republican control in 2020. These were the only chambers to switch party control during that election.

In 2018, the most recent midterm election, Democrats won control of six chambers, and the Alaska House switched to a multipartisan power-sharing agreement.

The table below shows the 15 chambers holding elections this year that switched party control twice or more between 2010 and 2020.

The 2022 election cycle is the first midterm election during Joe Biden’s (D) presidency. Historically, the president’s party loses state legislative seats during the first midterm. Since 1922, only two presidents—Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) in 1934 and George W. Bush (R) in 2002—saw their parties gain seats during the first midterm election.

On average, under Democratic presidencies, the party loses an average of 388 state legislative seats during the first midterm. Under Republican presidencies, the party loses an average of 345 seats.

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Supreme Court of the United States enters summer recess

The Supreme Court of the United States went on summer recess on June 30, 2022, following the release of its final two opinions in argued cases for the term. 

Overall, the court agreed to hear arguments in 68 cases during its 2021-2022 term and issued rulings in 66 cases. Three cases were decided without argument. Four cases were dismissed, and one case was removed from the argument calendar.

The 2021-2022 term also marked Associate Justice Stephen Breyer’s final term as an active justice. Breyer assumed senior status on June 30. His successor, Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, was commissioned to the court on April 8, 2022, and was sworn in on June 30. 

Opinions breakdown in brief

During the 2021-2022 term, the court issued 10 total 5-4 opinions and 11 total 8-1 opinions. The court reversed lower court rulings in 43 cases. One case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson (2022), was affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded back to the lower court for further proceedings. Twelve cases were reversed, and 30 cases were reversed and remanded.

Historical comparison

Between 2007 and 2020, SCOTUS released opinions in 1,062 cases, averaging between 70 and 90 cases per year. Be sure to check back in August when updates to Ballotpedia’s end-of-term statistics are published.

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Six candidates seek Republican nomination for governor of Michigan

Earlier this week, we looked at the 36 states holding elections for governor this year, including 12 states where we identified the general election for governor as a battleground race. Today, we’re taking a look at a primary in one of those states.

Six candidates are running in the Republican primary for governor of Michigan. Four candidates—Tudor Dixon, Ryan Kelley, Kevin Rinke, and Garrett Soldano—lead in fundraising and polling. The winner of the primary will face incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in the November general election.

Dixon is a former news anchor for America’s Voice News. Dixon called herself “the visionary and clear policy leader in the Republican field,” saying she would “rebuild and grow the economy, stop the indoctrination of our school children, … [and] apply common-sense reforms to Michigan’s elections.”

Kelley owns a real estate investment firm. Kelley said, “We have God-given rights, not government granted privileges,” adding that he would “protect and defend those rights from an overreaching federal government,” and referring to Whitmer as a “radical left wing dictator.”

Rinke owned and operated a group of car dealerships in the Detroit area. Rinke highlighted his business experience, saying he would “get the government out of the way, eliminate regulations, lower costs and let businesses do what they do best: create good paying jobs for our communities.”

Soldano is a chiropractor and co-founder of Stand Up Michigan, a group opposed to the state’s coronavirus policies. Soldano said he was standing up for Michigan and “running to be your voice and return our government to We the People,” listing integrity, transparency, and freedom as three key points of his campaign.

Ralph Rebandt is also running in the primary.

Five candidates did not qualify for the Republican primary ballot following a May 23 report from the state Bureau of Elections that found 36 petition circulators had forged an estimated 68,000 signatures across multiple campaigns’ sets of nominating petitions, including those of the affected gubernatorial candidates. One of those candidates—former Detroit Police Chief James Craig—is running as a write-in in the primary.

Whitmer was first elected in 2018, defeating then-state Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) 53% to 47%. The race was open as incumbent Rick Snyder (R) was term-limited. Whitmer faced two other candidates in the Democratic primary, winning with 52% of the vote. Schuette faced three other candidates in the Republican primary, winning with 51% of the vote. None of the four Republicans who ran for governor in 2018 are running again this year.

Keep reading



Eighty-seven state supreme court seats (25%) up for election this year

Welcome to the Wednesday, July 13, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Eighty-seven seats on state supreme courts are up for election this year
  2. An update on Alaska’s special U.S. House election 
  3. Campaign in North Dakota submits signatures for marijuana legalization initiative

Eighty-seven seats on state supreme courts are up for election this year

Yesterday, we continued our weeklong preview of November elections with a look at the 309 state executive offices that will appear on the ballot. Today, we’re turning our focus to state supreme court elections.   

Eighty-seven seats on 32 state supreme courts are up for election this year. This represents 25% of all state supreme court seats. These elections are split about evenly between contested elections (where more than one candidate appears on the ballot) and retention elections (where only the judge appears on the ballot in a yes/no election). 

Here’s a rundown of what you can expect this November:

  • Retention elections will be used for 44 judicial elections this year, while contested elections will be used for 43 judicial elections.
  • Of the 87 judges up for election this year, 66 are officially nonpartisan. Thirteen justices up for election are Republicans and eight are Democrats.

Here is where elections could change the partisan control of the court. 

  • Illinois: Democrats hold a 4-3 majority on the court. One seat from each party is up for election, while another justice from each party is up for retention.
  • Michigan: Democrats hold a 4-3 majority on the court, with one seat from each party up for election. 
  • North Carolina: Democrats hold a 4-3 majority on the court, with two Democrat-held seats up for election. 
  • Ohio: Republicans hold a 4-3 majority on the court, with three Republican-held seats up for election.

Because many state supreme court justices do not run in partisan races, voters often don’t know their justices’ political leanings. In 2020, we conducted study of the 341 state supreme court justices holding office at that time. As part of that study, we assigned each justice a Confidence Score indicating their partisan affiliation. Of those 341 justices, 179 (52.5%) received Republican Confidence Scores, 113 (33.1%) received Democratic Confidence Scores, and 49 (14.4%) received Indeterminate Confidence Scores

Of the 341 justices studied at the time, 69 no longer serve on state supreme courts. 

States use a variety of methods for selecting state supreme court justices, and not all do so through elections. Click here to learn more about how states select state supreme court justices. 

You can learn more about this November’s state supreme court elections at the link below.

Keep reading

An update on Alaska’s special U.S. House election 

We’ve brought you periodic updates on the twists and turns of Alaska’s special U.S. House election. Here’s another look at that race.

On Aug. 16, Alaskans will vote in two elections for the same office: a special general election and a regular primary election for the state’s at-large U.S. House district. The special general election features three candidates and will use ranked-choice voting (RCV). Former Rep. Don Young (R), in office since 1973, died in March. 

Sarah Palin (R), Nick Begich III (R), Al Gross (nonpartisan), and Mary Peltola (D) advanced from the June 11 top-four primary. Gross withdrew from the general, endorsing both Peltola and fifth-place finisher Tara Sweeney (R). The Alaska Supreme Court subsequently ruled that Sweeney could not take the fourth spot on the ballot due to the timing of Gross’s withdrawal, leaving three candidates in the special general election.

An Alaska Survey Research poll conducted July 2-5 showed Peltola with 40%, Begich with 31%, and Palin with 29% in the first round. The poll showed Begich with 57% to Peltola’s 43% in the final round. Click here for more about how RCV works.

In the June 11 special primary, the 16 Republican candidates received 58% of the vote combined. The 22 candidates running as nonpartisans or undeclared received 24%. Six Democratic candidates received 17%. 

The Alaska Republican Party endorsed Begich, former President Donald Trump backed Palin, and the Alaska AFL-CIO endorsed Peltola. On July 9, Trump headlined a rally in Anchorage in support of Palin. 

In addition to Gross, one undeclared and three Democratic primary candidates endorsed Peltola in the special general election. Primary candidate John Coghill (R) endorsed Begich. Fifteen candidates who ran in the special election—including Begich, Palin, and Peltola—are also running in the regular election. Peltola is the only Democrat running in that race. 

The special House election is the first congressional election using the new voting system Alaskans approved via ballot measure in 2020. The June primary was the first top-four congressional primary in U.S. history. Alaska and Maine are the only states that use ranked-choice voting in congressional elections.

Keep reading 

Campaign in North Dakota submits signatures for marijuana legalization initiative

On July 11, New Approach North Dakota, one of the campaigns behind a marijuana legalization initiative, reported submitting 25,672 signatures. The measure needs 15,582 valid signatures to appear on the November ballot.

The measure would legalize the personal use of cannabis for adults 21 and older and allow individuals to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to three cannabis plants. The measure would require the Department of Health and Human Services, or another department or agency designated by the state legislature, to establish an adult-use cannabis program to regulate the production and distribution of adult-use marijuana by Oct. 1, 2023. Under the measure, the department could license seven cultivation facilities and 18 cannabis retailers. Marijuana would be taxed at the state’s 5% sales tax rate.

If the initiative makes the ballot, it will not be the first time North Dakota voters have considered legalizing marijuana. In 2018, voters rejected a legalization initiative 59.45% to 40.55%. New Approach North Dakota Chairman David Owen was also the chairman of LegalizeND, the committee that sponsored the rejected initiative in 2018. Owen said the biggest difference between the 2018 proposal and the current initiaitve is that “[this initiative] is restricted, regulated, controlled, legal marijuana. This is a marijuana program that is very, very similar to the one that passed the North Dakota State House.”

Along with North Dakota, campaigns submitted signatures for marijuana legalization initiatives targeting the November ballot in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. 

Currently, 19 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized the possession and personal use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Eleven states and D.C. had legalized marijuana through the ballot initiative process. 

 Click below to read more about the initiative to legalize marijuana in North Dakota. Click here to read a history of marijuana laws and ballot measures in the United States.

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Day 2 of the week of previews – state executive offices

Welcome to the Tuesday, July 12, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl   

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 309 state executive offices on the ballot in 44 states
  2. This year will feature the most abortion-related ballot measures on record
  3. Register for a briefing on Ballotpedia’s 2022 Mid-Year Recall Report

309 state executive offices on the ballot in 44 states

This week, we will be diving into elections at all levels of government coming up in November, with general elections less than four months away! 

Today, we are looking at state executive offices, elected officials—such as governor, attorney general, and secretary of state—who enforce state laws.

This year, there are 309 state executive offices on the ballot in 44 states. This figure includes 36 gubernatorial elections, 30 for attorneys general, and 27 for secretaries of state. 

Republicans currently hold 152 of these offices, Democrats hold 124, and 33 are either nonpartisan or are held by a third-party or independent officeholder. The graph below shows the partisan breakdown for top-ballot offices up for election this year:

Eight governors are not seeking re-election: three Democrats and five Republicans. Seven of those governors are term-limited. Gov. Charlie Baker (R-Mass.) is the only incumbent governor choosing not to seek re-election.

All outgoing Democratic governors are in states Joe Biden (D) won in the 2020 presidential election. Three of the five Republican retirements are also in states won by Biden: Arizona, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The remaining two outgoing Republican governors are in states that voted for Donald Trump (R): Arkansas and Nebraska.

There are also nine open races for attorney general, with four outgoing Democratic incumbents and five outgoing Republicans. Additionally, Gentner Drummond (R) defeated incumbent Atty. Gen. John O’Connor (R) in Oklahoma’s June 28 primary, guaranteeing a newcomer in that office.

There are 11 open races for secretary of state. This total includes five outgoing incumbents for both Democrats and Republicans as well as North Dakota Sec. of State Al Jaeger (I), though Jaeger is often regarded as a Republican incumbent.

When one party controls all three top-ballot offices—governor, attorney general, and secretary of state—we call that a state government triplex. Sixteen states with Democratic triplexes and 16 with Republican triplexes are holding elections for at least one of these offices this year. No single party holds all three offices in the other eight states holding top-ballot elections. Ten states are not holding any top-ballot elections this year.

Ballotpedia has identified gubernatorial elections in 11 states, attorney general elections in six states, and secretary of state elections in five states as battlegrounds. There are five states where all three offices are battlegrounds: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin

Of those five states, all but Nevada—which voted Democratic in both 2016 and 2020—voted for Biden in 2020 after voting for Trump in 2016.

Keep reading 

This year will feature the most abortion-related ballot measures on record

There will be at least five abortion-related measures on the ballot this year, including the first two ballot measures to explicitly provide constitutional rights to abortion. This is the largest number of abortion-related ballot measures on record for a single year. 

Voters will decide on four of these measures on Nov. 8 and one, in Kansas, on Aug. 2.

Here are summaries of those five measures:

  • California: Proposition 1 says the state cannot “deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions,” including decisions to have an abortion or to choose or refuse contraceptives. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and legislative leaders called for the amendment on May 2, following the leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center.
  • Kansas: this measure would amend constitutional language to say that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortions. The amendment would also give the legislature the power to pass laws regarding abortion. Legislative sponsors introduced the amendment in response to the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling in Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt (2019), which held that the Kansas Bill of Rights provides a right to an abortion.
  • Kentucky: like Kansas, this proposal would change constitutional language to say nothing in the state constitution provides a right to abortion or requires government funding for the procedure. Unlike Kansas, there has not been a state court ruling providing such a right, though the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and others filed a lawsuit on June 27 arguing the constitution provides such a right.
  • Montana: LR-131 would provide in state law that infants born alive at any stage of development are legal persons. The measure would also require medical care to be provided to infants born alive after an induced labor, cesarean section, attempted abortion, or another method. 
  • Vermont: Proposal 5 would amend the state constitution to provide that “an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course.” Eileen Sullivan, communications director for the Planned Parenthood Vermont Action Fund, said her organization began preparing the measure following the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018.

More measures may follow. Campaigns in Colorado and Michigan are collecting signatures for abortion-related measures. Michigan’s signature deadline passed on July 11 and Colorado’s is set for Aug. 8.

  • Colorado: this initiative would prohibit abortion in Colorado, where the procedure is currently legal. On June 20, Colorado Life Initiative, which is backing the proposal, reported it had collected three-quarters of the required 124,632 signatures.
  • Michigan: this initiative would add a provision to the state constitution saying “[e]very individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom,” including a right to abortion. Reproductive Freedom For All, the campaign in support, reported it had collected around 800,000 signatures, more than the 425,059 required.

Keep reading 

Register for a briefing on Ballotpedia’s 2022 Mid-Year Recall Report

On July 14, we will host a briefing on our Mid-Year Recall Report, led by staff writers Samuel Wonacott and Caitlin Vanden Boom, digging into what we know about recalls so far!

In the first half of 2022, Ballotpedia tracked 152 recall efforts against 240 officials, representing a slight decline from 2021 when we tallied 165 efforts against 263 officials by midyear. The most recall efforts we have tracked by midyear was 189 in 2016, and the lowest was 72 in 2019.

This briefing will cover a range of topics, including where these recalls are happening and which officials have been affected. It will also look at results from some of the biggest recalls so far, including those in the San Francisco Unified School District and against the city’s former district attorney, Chesa Boudin.

You can also expect a deep dive into recall elections at the school board level, which remain elevated this year after a spike in 2021.

Use the link below to save your spot in our Mid-Year Recall Report briefing now!

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Sneak preview week – setting the stage for this fall

Welcome to the Monday, July 11, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Previewing this year’s U.S. House elections
  2. And a look at the U.S. Senate
  3. Across 11 states, senate presidents have collectively raised $19.5 million this election cycle

Preview this year’s U.S. House elections

Throughout the week, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the nation’s key elections, giving you the insight and context you need as Election Day approaches.

First up, the House. There are 120 days until the November 8 general elections, so we wanted to take some time to walk through this year’s races for Congress! Let’s start with the U.S. House.

All 435 seats in the U.S. House are up for election this year, along with the seats of five of the chamber’s six non-voting members.

As a recap: Democrats maintained their majority following the 2020 elections, winning 222 seats to Republicans’ 213. As of July 8, Democrats hold a 220-210 majority with five vacant seats. Republicans need to gain a net of eight seats to win a majority.

As of July 8, 37 districts are rated as Toss-ups by the Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, or Sabato’s Crystal Ball. Democrats hold 27 of those seats, Republicans hold eight, and two are vacant.

Regardless of how the elections turn out, we can already expect to see a number of new faces in the chamber next year. Forty-nine representatives—31 Democrats and 18 Republicans—are not seeking re-election. This is up from 2020, when 36 members opted against re-election and represents the second-highest number of outgoing House incumbents over the past decade.

Of those 49 outgoing incumbents, 32—22 Democrats and 10 Republicans—are retiring from public office. The remaining 17—nine Democrats and eight Republicans—are running for some other office.

The 2022 election will be the first to take place following apportionment and redistricting after the 2020 census. 

Seven states lost one seat, five states gained one seat, and Texas gained two seats.

Here’s a look at those newly-created House seats and their general election race ratings as of July 8:

Redistricting can also result in incumbent v. incumbent elections, which guarantee at least one incumbent must lose. There are six incumbent v. incumbent primaries, where incumbents from the same party compete against one another. So far, there are also two incumbent v. incumbent general elections:

In total, nine incumbents—three Democrats and six Republicans—have already lost in primaries, and at least two more Democratic defeats are guaranteed due to upcoming incumbent v. incumbent primaries in Michigan and New York.

Keep reading 

And a look at the U.S. Senate

In addition to the U.S. House races, 34 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate are up for regular election, with the winners beginning six-year terms next year. 

There are also two special U.S. Senate elections scheduled for November 8. One will fill the final four years of U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R) term in Oklahoma. Another will be held to fill the final weeks of Vice President Kamala Harris’ (D) term in California. That seat is also up for regular election this year, putting a total of 35 individual U.S. Senate seats up for election in November.

Following the 2020 elections and January 2021 runoffs in Georgia, control of the chamber was split evenly for the first time since 2001 and for the fourth time in U.S. history. Vice President Harris serves as the chamber’s tie-breaking vote, which gave Democrats control via a power-sharing agreement. 

Of the 35 seats up for election, Democrats hold 14, and Republicans hold 21. Either party needs a net gain of one seat to win full control of the chamber.

Five races—three for seats held by Democrats and two for those held by Republicans—are rated as Toss-ups by the Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, or Sabato’s Crystal Ball. They are:

Republicans are defending two Senate seats in states Joe Biden (D) won in the 2020 presidential election: Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Democrats are not defending any Senate seats in states Donald Trump (R) won in 2020.

Four of the 34 seats up for regular election changed party hands the last time they were up for election. Two, in Illinois and New Hampshire, switched in 2016. The other two, in Arizona and Georgia, changed party control in 2020 and 2021, respectively, following special elections. All four seats switched from Republican to Democratic control.

Eleven of the seats were won by fewer than ten percentage points the last time they were up for election. Of those, seven were won by fewer than five percentage points, four of which are held by Democrats and three by Republicans.

Aside from Inhofe, six incumbents—one Democrat and five Republicans—are not seeking re-election in 2022: Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), and Pay Toomey (R-Pa.).

The five retiring Republicans are the most in a decade. In total, the number of retirements is up two from 2020.

Keep reading 

Across 11 states, senate presidents have collectively raised $19.5 million this cycle

As part of our partnership with Transparency USA, we’ve been bringing you regular updates from the world of campaign finance. 

Today, we are taking a look at senate presidents, a position held by members who preside over state senate proceedings. The lieutenant governor serves as the president of the senate in 25 states. In other states, the president is a state senator chosen by other members of the chamber.

In the current election cycle, across 11 states, senate presidents have collectively raised $19.5 million.

More than half of that total has come from Dan Patrick (R-Texas), who has raised $11.8 million. Three other senate presidents—Eleni Kounalakis (D) of California ($2.9 million), Mark Robinson (R) of North Carolina ($2.0 million), and Suzanne Crouch (R) of Indiana ($1.3 million)—have raised more than $1 million. 

These four senate presidents are all lieutenant governors. Patrick and Kounalakis are the only two running for re-election this year.

Here are fundraising figures across these 11 states with data available from Transparency USA for this election cycle:

Use the link below to learn more about our partnership with Transparency USA.

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The number of state legislative incumbents defeated in primaries is up 65%

Welcome to the Friday, July 8, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Halfway through the primary calendar, the number of state legislative incumbents defeated in primaries is up 65%
  2. An update on upcoming Article III judicial vacancies 
  3. #FridayTrivia: What was the last state other than Alaska to have a state legislative chamber organized according to a power-sharing coalition?

Halfway through the primary calendar, the number of state legislative incumbents defeated in primaries is up 65%

State legislative incumbents are losing to primary challengers at an increased rate this year compared to 2020.

Across the 26 states that have held primaries so far, 132 incumbents—27 Democrats and 105 Republicans—have lost. This represents a 65% increase from 2020 among these states at the same juncture in 2020. This increase has been driven by Republican losses, which are up 98% from 53 in 2020. For Democrats, the number defeated this year remains the same.

Here are five facts about state legislative incumbent primary losses:

  • In total, 5.0% of incumbents running for re-election this year have lost, up from defeat rates ranging from 2.4% to 3.4% since 2014.
  • Of the 26 states that have held primaries, 22 have had at least one state legislative incumbent lose in a primary. 
  • The defeat rate is highest in Idaho, where 18 incumbents—all Republicans—lost to challengers. That represents 24% of all incumbents who filed for re-election.
  • Twenty-nine of the 132 incumbents defeated (22%) were guaranteed to lose because of redistricting (when states redraw legislative lines, incumbents can oftentimes end up in a new district with other incumbents leading to incumbent v. incumbent primaries or general elections). Twenty-three Republican incumbents lost in incumbent v. incumbent primaries, while six Democrats lost in incumbent v. incumbent primaries. 

There are currently 11 uncalled primaries featuring incumbents—four Democratic and seven Republican—and 20 primaries featuring New York Senate incumbents scheduled for Aug. 23.

Of the 26 states that have held primaries so far, eight have Democratic trifectas, 15 have Republican trifectas, and three have divided governments with Democrats controlling the governorship and Republicans controlling both legislative chambers. Across these 26 states, there are 3,337 seats up for election, 54% of the nationwide total.

Click below to read more incumbents defeated in state legislative elections this year. 

Keep reading 

An update on upcoming Article III judicial vacancies 

Every month, we bring you an update on Article III judicial vacancies. Article III judgeships refer to federal judges who serve lifetime appointments on the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of International Trade, or one of the 13 U.S. courts of appeal or 94 U.S. district courts

According to the latest vacancy data from the U.S. Courts, there were 43 total announced upcoming vacancies for Article III judgeships.

These positions are not yet vacant but will be at some point in the future with every judge having announced his or her intent to either leave the bench or assume senior status. The president and Senate do not need to wait for a position to become vacant before they can start the confirmation process for a successor. For example, Bradley Garcia was nominated to replace Judge Judith Rogers after she assumes senior status on September 1. There are 13 nominees pending for upcoming vacancies.

Twenty-five vacancy effective dates have not been determined because the judge has not announced the date he or she will leave the bench. The next upcoming scheduled vacancy will take place on July 9, when U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida Judge Roy Bale Dalton, Jr. assumes senior status.

In addition to these 43 upcoming vacancies, there are 75 current Article III vacancies in the federal judiciary out of the 870 total Article III judgeships. Including non-Article III judges from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, there are 77 vacancies out of 890 active federal judicial positions.

President Biden has nominated 105 individuals to federal judgeships on Article III courts. Sixty-nine of those nominees have been confirmed. Of the 36 nominees going through the confirmation process, 20 are awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate, four are awaiting a committee vote, and 12 are awaiting a committee hearing.

Biden’s 69 Article III judicial appointments is the second-most through this point in all presidencies since 1981. President Bill Clinton (D) appointed the most judges by this point in his presidency with 72. The Senate had confirmed 42 of President Donald Trump’s (R) appointees at this point in his term.

Keep reading 

#FridayTrivia: What was the last state other than Alaska to have a state legislative chamber organized according to a power-sharing coalition?

In the Wednesday Brew, we provided a partisan breakdown of state legislators as of the end of June. We noted that Republicans control 62 chambers, while Democrats hold 36. We also mentioned the Alaska House of Representatives is the only chamber in the country organized under a multipartisan, power-sharing coalition. 

That got us thinking…What was the last state other than Alaska to have a state legislative chamber organized according to a power-sharing coalition?

  1. Idaho
  2. New York
  3. Michigan
  4. Hawaii