TagDemocratic primaries

Lander wins Democratic primary for New York City comptroller

Brad Lander won the Democratic primary for New York City comptroller. The primary took place on June 22, and the race was called after the New York City Board of Elections released ranked-choice voting tabulations on Tuesday, July 6. Those tabulations included early voting ballots, election day ballots, and most absentee ballots. Voters were allowed to rank up to five candidates on their ballots.

As of Wednesday morning, Lander had 51.9% of the vote after 10 rounds of tabulation, followed by Corey Johnson at 48.1%, with 24,683 votes separating them. Johnson conceded the race Tuesday night.

Lander is a member of the New York City Council and a co-founder of the council’s Progressive Caucus. He received endorsements from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and The New York Times

Johnson, who placed second, is speaker of the city council. His endorsers included Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), the United Federation of Teachers, the NY Hotel & Motel Trades Council, and several other unions.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera placed third and was eliminated in the 9th round of ranked-choice tabulations. She is a former financial analyst at CNBC and challenged Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th Congressional District last year.

The comptroller’s duties include performing audits of city agencies and managing five public pension funds. The next comptroller will also oversee how federal stimulus money issued in response to the pandemic is spent. The general election is on November 2.



India Walton defeats four-term incumbent Byron Brown in Buffalo Democratic mayoral primary

India Walton (D), a nurse and community activist, defeated four-term incumbent Byron Brown (D) and Le’Candice Durham (D) in the Democratic primary for Mayor of Buffalo, New York, on June 22, 2021. According to unofficial results, Walton received 52% of the vote followed by Brown and Durham with 45% and 3%, respectively.

The New York Times‘ Luis Ferré-Sadurní described the race as an upset, saying the outcome “could upend the political landscape in New York’s second-biggest city and signal the strength of the party’s left wing.”

Brown was first elected Mayor of Buffalo in 2005 and won re-election three times. Before his defeat in 2021, Brown had won the four preceding Democratic primaries by an average of 26.5 percentage points. In 2021, he ran with the support of the Erie County Democratic Committee and multiple local labor unions including the Buffalo Central Labor Council.

Walton received endorsements from progressive organizations including Our Revolution and the local and national branches of the Democratic Socialists of America. She also received an endorsement from the Working Families Party of New York, which, until 2021, had endorsed Brown in all of his previous runs for mayor.

Since no Republicans filed to appear on the primary ballot, it is likely Walton will advance to the general election without major party opposition. If elected, Walton would become Buffalo’s first female mayor. She would also become the first socialist mayor of a large American city since 1960.

Learn more about the mayoral race in Buffalo here.



Adams leads Wiley, Garcia in first round of New York City Democratic mayoral primary

New York City held its Democratic and Republican primaries for mayor of New York City on June 22. It was the first time ranked-choice voting (RCV) was used for a mayoral primary in the city’s history. Final RCV tabulations are not expected until the week of July 12, due to the deadlines for voters to submit absentee ballots and fix ballot issues.

With 84% of precincts reporting, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams led 12 other Democrats with 32% support in the first round of voting. Former mayoral counsel Maya Wiley and former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia followed with 22% and 20%, respectively.

Curtis Sliwa defeated Fernando Mateo in the first round of the Republican primary with more than 70% of the vote.

Sliwa and the Democratic nominee will advance to the general election on November 2, 2021. Incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is not running for re-election due to term limits.



Voters in Alabama state House district to decide Democratic primary runoff on June 22

A special Democratic primary runoff will be held on June 22 for District 78 in the Alabama House of Representatives. Kenyatté Hassell and Donald Williams advanced to the Democratic primary runoff after defeating Terance Dawson and Roderick Thornton in the May 25 primary. The winner of the runoff will face Loretta Grant (R) in the special election on Sept. 7. The winner of the special election will serve until November 2022.

The special election was called after Kirk Hatcher (D) was elected to the Alabama State Senate in a special election on March 2. Hatcher served in the state House from 2018 to 2021.

Alabama has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 26-8 margin with one vacancy and the state House by a 76-27 margin with two vacancies.

As of June, 40 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 17 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Alabama held 23 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

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Hala Ayala wins Virginia’s lieutenant governor Democratic primary

Hala Ayala (D) won the Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial Democratic primary on June 8, 2021, defeating five other candidates. Ayala received with 39.1% of the vote, followed by Sam Rasoul (D) with 25.2% and Mark Levine (D) with 11.7%.

Andria McClellan, Sean Perryman, and Xavier Warren also ran in this election. At the time of the election, Ayala, Levine, and Rasoul all served in the Virginia House of Delegates. McClellan was elected to the Norfolk City Council in 2015. Perryman’s career experience includes working as the director of social impact at the Internet Association. Warren has worked as an NFL sports agent and lobbyist for non-profit organization.

Ayala will face Republican nominee Winsome Sears in the Nov. 2 general election. Sears won his party’s nomination at a May 8 nominating convention.

The lieutenant governor serves as the president of the Virginia State Senate and may cast tie-breaking votes. The lieutenant governor is first in the line of succession to the governor; in the event the governor dies, resigns, or otherwise leaves office, the lieutenant governor becomes governor.

Of the four lieutenant governors who have been elected since 2002, three were Democrats and one was a Republican. Two of them, Tim Kaine (D) and Ralph Northam (D), went on to become governor. The lieutenant governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and, unlike the governor, may run for re-election.

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Voters to decide state legislative primaries in New Jersey, Virginia on June 8

Two states—New Jersey and Virginia—are holding state legislative elections this year. Democratic and Republican voters in each state will be selecting nominees for these races on June 8.

In New Jersey, all 120 state legislative seats are up for election: 80 in the General Assembly and 40 in the state Senate.

Ninety percent of incumbents, or 108 legislators, are running for re-election, down from 2019 when 95% of incumbents ran for re-election.

A majority of incumbents running for re-election in 2021, 85 legislators, will not face a primary and will advance directly to the general election. The remaining 23—nine Democrats and 14 Republicans—face contested primaries. This is the lowest share of incumbents facing contested primaries in New Jersey since 2015.

Former Assm. Joe Howarth (R), who lost a primary in 2019, is the only state legislative incumbent to lose a primary in New Jersey since 2011.

Democrats have held majorities in both chambers of the New Jersey State Legislature since 2003 and currently hold a Democratic trifecta alongside incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who is also running for re-election in 2021.

In Virginia, all 100 seats in the House of Delegates are up for election. 

Ninety-four percent of incumbents filed to run for re-election to the House in 2021, more than 2019 (84%) and 2017 (93%). Of the six incumbents not seeking re-election, one is a Democrat and five are Republicans. 

Not all state legislative nominees in Virginia are chosen through a primary. District Democratic and Republican parties may choose to hold a nominating convention rather than a primary to pick their candidates. In 2021, at least 22 state legislative district parties—five Democratic and 17 Republican—chose conventions as their selection method.

In 2019, one House incumbent—Del. Robert Thomas Jr. (R)—lost in a primary election. Thomas’ defeat was the first for a House incumbent in Virginia since 2015 when Mark Berg (R) and Johnny Joannau (D) lost in their respective primaries.

This is the first state legislative election cycle in Virginia since Democrats won a majority in the House of Delegates. In 2019, Democrats won majorities in both the state House and Senate, creating a Democratic trifecta in Virginia for the first time since 1994. The chart below shows the change in partisan control of the House of Delegates since 2011.

To learn more about these state legislative elections, use the links below:



Edward Gainey wins the Democratic primary for mayor of Pittsburgh, advances to November general election

State Rep. Edward Gainey (D) defeated incumbent Bill Peduto, Tony Moreno, and Michael Thompson in the May 18, 2021, Democratic primary for mayor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Gainey received 46.18% with 98% of precincts reporting as of May 19. Peduto received 39.29% of the vote, while Moreno and Thompson received 13.12% and 1.2% respectively. 

No Republicans filed to run in the race. Unless a write-in candidate enters, Gainey will run unopposed in the general election on November 2, 2021.

Gainey was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to represent District 24 in 2012. He was re-elected in 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020. His campaign focused on what he called demilitarizing the police, building affordable housing, and pushing to revoke the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s (UPMC) nonprofit status to collect more in taxes. Gainey would be the first Black mayor of Pittsburgh. 

Peduto was first elected mayor in 2013 and re-elected in 2017. Peduto’s campaign focused on policies he enacted as mayor, including mandatory de-escalation practices and implicit bias training for police officers and COVID-19 paid sick leave for Pittsburgh workers. Before becoming mayor, Peduto served on the Pittsburgh City Council, representing District 8 from 2002-2013.

Moreno, a military veteran and retired Pittsburgh police officer, campaigned on his experience in law enforcement, while Thompson, a math tutor and driver for Lyft and Uber, focused on affordable housing. 

To learn more about the mayoral election in Pittsburgh, click here.

Mayoral election in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2021)



Four Republicans file to run in New Jersey gubernatorial primary, Gov. Murphy draws one primary challenger

Four Republican candidates filed to run for governor of New Jersey ahead of the April 5 filing deadline. Jack Ciattarelli, Brian Levine, Philip Rizzo, and Hirsh Singh will compete in the June 8 primary election for their party’s nomination. The general election will take place on Nov. 2.

Ciattarelli and Singh both ran for governor in 2017. Kim Guadagno, the Republican nominee, received 47% of the vote in the Republican primary. Ciattarelli received 31% and Singh received 10% of the vote.

Governor Phil Murphy (D) faces challenger Roger Bacon in the Democratic primary. Murphy won a six-way Democratic primary with 48% of the vote in 2017. This is Bacon’s second run for governor. In 2009, he ran in a four-way primary against then-Gov. Jon Corzine (D) and received 6% of the vote.

New Jersey is currently a Democratic trifecta, with a Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. New Jersey was last under divided government in 2017, when Democrats controlled the legislature and Chris Christie (R) was governor.

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Delaware holds congressional primaries

Delaware held its statewide primary election on September 15. Races for two congressional seats were on the ballot—one for a U.S. Senate seat and one for Delaware’s at-large U.S. House seat. Both incumbents filed for re-election and won their respective primaries, advancing to the general election on November 3.

In the race for Delaware’s Class II Senate seat, incumbent Chris Coons (D) advanced from the Democratic primary over challenger Jessica Scarane with 73% of the vote, according to unofficial results. Republican Lauren Witzke won the Republican primary, beating James DeMartino with 57% of the vote.

Incumbent Lisa Blunt Rochester was unopposed in the Democratic primary for Delaware’s at-large U.S. House seat. The primary was canceled and Rochester advanced automatically to the general election. In the Republican primary, Lee Murphy secured 74% of the vote to advance to the general over Matthew Morris.

Delaware’s primary was the 49th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next and last congressional primary is on November 3 in Louisiana.

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Incumbent Neal wins Democratic nomination in Massachusetts’ 1st Congressional District

Image of several stickers with the words "I voted"

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Richard Neal defeated Alex Morse in the Democratic primary in Massachusetts’ 1st Congressional District. With 87% of precincts reporting, Neal received 59.1% of the vote to Morse’s 40.9%.

Neal was first elected in 1988 and has served as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee since 2019. He cited addressing coronavirus and its impact on the economy as key issues in the race. Morse is the mayor of Holyoke. He was first elected in 2012. In a Candidate Connection survey he submitted to Ballotpedia, he said, “For too long, our government has worked for the rich and the well-connected, and not so well for everyday people.”

Neal received endorsements from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), and the American Federation of Teachers during the primary.

No Republicans are running for the seat, meaning Neal will face independent Frederick Mayock in the general election. Neal previously faced Mayock in 2016, receiving 73% of the vote to Mayock’s 18%.