Tagelection results

Sid Miller wins Texas Agriculture Commissioner Republican primary

Incumbent Sid Miller defeated Carey Counsil and James White in the Republican primary for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture on March 1, 2022. With 98% of polling locations reporting, Miller received 59% of the vote, followed by White with 31% and Counsil with 10%.

Miller was first elected agriculture commissioner in 2014 and was re-elected in 2018. He was formerly a member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing District 59 from 2001 to 2013. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Miller in December 2021. Miller said, “I’m a political maverick … I’m the only statewide [official] that actually holds liberals accountable and the establishment Republicans accountable.” According to The Dallas Morning News‘ Sami Sparber, Miller said he ran for re-election because there were “projects [he needed] to finish before [he moved] on.” The Texas Tribune‘s James Barragán wrote, “Miller said voters should reelect him because he has a track record of successfully running the agency.”

According to Barragán, Miller’s Republican and Democratic challengers “[called] his ethics into question while linking him to the recent arrest of [longtime political consultant Todd Smith].” Miller responded to criticism from his opponents: “We have the highest ethics of any elected official in the state. … These guys are way behind. They’re desperate, and desperate candidates do desperate things. … They’re trying to confuse people with misinformation, paint me in a bad light. It’s not going to work. People know me. I’ve got a stellar record as your Ag Commissioner.”

Counsil, an economics professor and rancher, said, “I think people are tired of the status quo and people are tired of the career politicians and people want fresh blood. People want people that are in the industry.” The editorial board of The Dallas Morning News and The Amarillo Pioneer‘s publisher’s committee endorsed Counsil in the Republican primary.

White, who has represented District 19 in the Texas House of Representatives since 2011, said he was a “proven conservative who will restore integrity to this crucial agency that oversees over $115 billion in annual economic impact to our state.” According to The Dallas Morning News, White “[ran] on a platform of organizational reform,” and “promised to make the pricing process for permits and licenses ‘methodological and transparent.'” The editorial boards of the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, and the Austin American-Statesman endorsed White in the Republican primary.

Miller faced two challengers in the 2018 Republican primary and won the party’s nomination by a margin of 33 percentage points.

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Casar wins Democratic primary in Texas’ 35th Congressional District

Greg Casar defeated three candidates—State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, consultant Carla-Joy Sisco, and former San Antonio City Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran—in the Democratic primary election for Texas’ 35th Congressional District on March 1, 2022. 

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D) is seeking re-election in the 37th District, leaving the 35th District open for the first time since its creation following the 2010 census.

Race forecasters have rated the Hispanic-majority 35th District, which contains portions of Austin and San Antonio, as Solid Democratic.

During the primary, Casar, a member of the Austin City Council from 2015 to 2022, received endorsements from groups like the Texas AFL-CIO, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and elected officials including Sen. Bernie Sander (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). 

In a campaign ad, Casar said, “working families … deserve a progressive leader who will always fight and deliver for reproductive rights, good jobs, Medicare for All, and a better Texas.”

In the Nov. 8 general election, Casar will face one of the 10 candidates who ran in the district’s Republican primary. The winner of that nomination likely will not be decided until after a May 24 runoff election since no single candidate is poised to receive a majority vote according to unofficial results.

If elected in November, Casar, who is 32 years old, likely would be the fourth-youngest member of Congress.

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Monica De La Cruz Hernandez wins nine-candidate Republican primary for TX-15

Monica De La Cruz Hernandez advanced from the Republican Party primary in Texas’ 34th Congressional District on March 1, 2022. As of 7:45 a.m. ET on March 2, 2022, De La Cruz Hernandez had received 56 percent of the vote and Mauro Garza was second with 15 percent. Nine candidates ran in the primary election. Incumbent Vicente Gonzalez Jr. (D) ran for re-election to Congress in Texas’ 34th Congressional District.

De La Cruz Hernandez is an insurance agent from Edinburg. She was the 2020 Republican nominee in the district and lost to Gonzalez 50.5% to 47.6%. De La Cruz Hernandez’s key campaign issues included immigration policy, investments in oil and natural gas, and school choice. Former President Donald Trump and 16 Republican members of Congress—including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)—endorsed De La Cruz Hernandez.

Garza is a businessman from San Antonio. His campaign focused on fiscal policy, border security, and funding for police and the military. Garza was primarily a self-funded candidate, who loaned his campaign $195,000 as of January 2022 according to the Federal Election Commission. In 2020, Garza lost to Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) in Texas’ 20th Congressional District 64.7% to 33.1%. In the 2018 election cycle, Garza did not advance from an 18-candidate Republican primary in Texas’ 21st Congressional District.

According to The Texas Tribune, Texas’ 15th Congressional District became more favorable to Republicans as a result of redistricting. Joe Biden (D) won the district by two percentage points in the 2020 presidential election. Trump would have won the new district by three percentage points. As of February 2022, three race rating outlets considered the general election to be either Lean or Tilt Republican.

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86% of incumbents were successful in their Nov. bid for re-election

In the 2021 general election, an average of 85.54% of incumbents nationwide won their re-election bids. The number drops to 82.35% when including incumbents that withdrew or were disqualified.

In 2020, 93% of incumbents won their elections. In 2019, that number was 90%, and it was 92% in 2018. 

Minnesota incumbents were the least successful in 2021 with a win rate of 55%, followed by Kansas (59%) and Colorado (67%).

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Hickman defeats Duong in Mississippi state Senate special runoff election

A special general runoff election was held for Mississippi state Senate District 32 on Nov. 23. Rod Hickman earned 59.8% of the vote, defeating Minh Duong, who earned 40.3%

State legislative special elections are nonpartisan in Mississippi, meaning that candidates’ party affiliations do not appear on the ballot. 

Hickman and Duong had advanced from the general election held on Nov. 2, where they were the top two finishers, defeating seven other candidates. A runoff was necessary because no one earned a majority of the vote during the general election.

The special election was called after Sampson Jackson (D) resigned on June 30. Jackson served from 1992 to 2021.

As of November 2021, 66 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 21 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Mississippi held 42 special elections from 2010 to 2020.

Mississippi is a Republican state government trifecta, meaning that the Republican Party controls the office of governor and both chambers of the state legislature. Republicans control the state Senate by a margin of 36 to 15, with one vacancy.

Party control of mayor’s office in Columbia, S.C., flips from Democratic to Republican in runoff

Daniel Rickenmann defeated Tameika Isaac Devine in the runoff election for mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, on Nov. 16. Rickenmann received 52% of the vote to Devine’s 48%. Both Rickenmann and Devine are members of the Columbia City Council.

While mayoral elections in Columbia are nonpartisan, Rickenmann is affiliated with the Republican Party. Incumbent Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin, a Democrat, did not run for re-election. Benjamin endorsed Devine, also a Democrat, in the runoff.

Fifteen state capitals held mayoral elections in 2021. Before these elections, 14 officeholders were Democrats and one was nonpartisan. As a result of the 2021 elections, 12 mayoral offices will remain under Democratic control (Atlanta, Georgia, will hold a runoff election between two Democrats on Nov. 30). The election in Columbia flips one office from Democratic to Republican control. One office continues to be held by a nonpartisan mayor, and one newly-elected mayor has not responded to inquiries.

Currently, the mayors of 39 state capitals are affiliated with the Democratic Party. Four are Republicans, one is independent, and two are nonpartisan. Four mayors have not responded to inquiries about their partisan affiliation.

In cities where mayoral elections are nonpartisan, Ballotpedia uses one or more of the following sources to identify each officeholder’s partisan affiliation: (1) direct communication from the officeholder, (2) current or previous candidacy for partisan office, or (3) identification of partisan affiliation by multiple media outlets.

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Virginia to become the third state with a split legislature following 2021 general elections

As a result of the 2021 elections, Republicans gained a 52-48 majority in the Virginia House of Delegates. Democrats hold a 21-19 majority in the Virginia State Senate. When the new legislature takes office in January, Virginia will join Alaska and Minnesota as the only states where control of two legislative chambers is split between parties.

Alaska’s legislature has been under split control since the start of 2016 when Democrats successfully created a minority-led coalition in the Alaska House of Representatives. Republicans have held a majority in the Alaska State Senate since 2012.

Minnesota’s legislature has been under split control since 2019. Republicans control the Minnesota State Senate, while Democrats control the Minnesota House of Representatives. The legislature was also split from 2015-2016 and 1999-2006.

Across the rest of the country, Republicans hold majorities in both state legislative chambers in 30 states, while Democrats hold majorities in 17 states.

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Pillsbury wins Dover City Council special election

The city of Dover, D.E., held a nonpartisan special election for District 1 on the city council on Nov. 16. The filing deadline for this election was Nov. 1.

Julia Pillsbury defeated Brandy Walker in the special election with 53.5% of the vote. According to unofficial results, Pillsbury received 272 votes to Walker’s 236. The special election was called after Matthew Lindell resigned from his seat on the nine-seat city council after deciding to move from the district. Lindell served from 2017 to 2021.

Dover is the capital city of Delaware and the second-largest city in the state. It had an estimated population of 39,403 in 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Ballotpedia covers elections for mayor, city council, and district attorney in all capital cities in the U.S.

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Nine state legislative seats changed party hands on Nov. 2

On Nov. 2, 2021, control of at least nine state legislative seats flipped from one political party to another. Eight of those seats flipped from Democratic to Republican control and the other flipped from Republican to Democratic control. There are 14 outstanding races still to be called, so these numbers could still change.

The nine seats flipped out of the 220 seats up for election means that 4.1% of the state legislative seats up for election on Nov. 2 changed party control. The net change was +7 for Republicans and -7 for Democrats. In 2019, 33 of 538 seats (6%) changed party hands. The net change that year was +6 for Republicans, -2 for Democrats, and -4 for Independent or third parties.

More state legislative seats flipped this year as a result of special elections, which are not included as part of this analysis. Five seats have changed party hands as a result of special elections in 2021: three from Democratic to Republican and two from Republican to Democratic. Two flips (one each way) happened as a result of a Nov. 2 special election.

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Democrats flip Maine state House seat in Nov. 2 special election

Democrats picked up a seat in the Maine House of Representatives on Nov. 2. In the District 86 special election, Augusta City Council member Raegan LaRochelle (D) defeated U.S. Army veteran James Orr (R) with 56.2% of the vote. LaRochelle’s term will last until December 2022. To keep hold of her seat, LaRochelle will have to run for re-election in 2022 for a two-year term.

The seat became vacant on July 4 when Justin Fecteau (R) resigned because he moved outside of the district. He had represented the district since 2018. He was re-elected in 2020 with 57% of the vote.

Democrats currently have a 79-65 majority in the Maine House with five third-party members and two vacancies. Maine has a Democratic state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

As of Nov. 4, 65 state legislative special elections were scheduled or had taken place in 2021. Including the District 86 race, five seats have changed partisan hands in 2021. Two seats flipped from Republican control to Democratic control, while three seats flipped from Democratic control to Republican control. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Maine held 15 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

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