Tagelections to watch

Special elections to be held in two Georgia legislative districts on June 15

Image of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia.

Special elections are being held on June 15 to fill vacant seats in Districts 34 and 156 in the Georgia House of Representatives. If no candidate earns a majority of the vote in the special election, the top two vote-getters will advance to a general runoff election. The runoff, if necessary, will be held on July 13. The winners of the special elections will serve until January 2023.

In the District 34 election, Sam Hensley Jr. (D), Priscilla Smith (D), David Blinkhorn (R), Devan Seabaugh (R), and Chris Neill (L) are running in the special election. The special election became necessary after Bert Reeves (R) resigned his seat on April 30 to become Georgia Institute of Technology’s vice president of university relations. Reeves served in the state House from 2015 to 2021.

In the District 156 election, Wright Gres (D), Leesa Hagan (R), and Wally Sapp (R) are running in the special election. The special election became necessary when Greg Morris (R) resigned his seat on April 13 to join the Georgia Department of Transportation’s State Transportation Board. Morris served in the state House from 1999 to 2021.

Georgia 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 Georgia House of Representatives by a margin of 101 to 77 with two vacancies.

As of June, 39 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. Pennsylvania held 44 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

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Val Demings announces she’s running for U.S. Senate from Florida

U.S. Rep. Val Demings (D) officially announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate on June 9. Demings currently represents Florida’s 10th Congressional District. Marco Rubio (R) is Florida’s incumbent U.S. Senator who is up for election in 2022. He was first elected to the Senate in 2010.

Demings announced she was running in a three-minute video in which she discussed how her upbringing and experiences had given her “tireless faith that things can always get better.” Demings said in the video, “I have never tired of representing Florida. Not for one single moment.”

Before her time in Congress, Demings served as chief of police for Orlando, Florida. Demings first ran for Florida’s 10th Congressional District seat in 2012, losing to incumbent Daniel Webster (R), 51% to 48%. She didn’t run for the U.S. House in 2014 but ran again in 2016 to represent District 10 after Webster decided to run in the 11th District. Demings defeated Thuy Lowe (R), 65% to 35% in 2016. She was re-elected in 2018 and 2020.

Demings is the 12th member of the House of Representatives to announce they are retiring or seeking another office. Six of those are Democrats, and six are Republicans. Demings is one of four members who are seeking a seat in the U.S. Senate.

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Seventy-nine percent of state legislative incumbents in New Jersey will not face a contested primary this year

Image of several stickers with the words "I voted"

Ninety percent of state legislative incumbents in New Jersey are seeking re-election in 2021. Of these 108 incumbents, 79%—85 legislators—will advance to the general election without a primary challenge, according to Ballotpedia’s primary election competitiveness analysis.

The remaining 23 incumbents—nine Democrats and 14 Republicans—will face contested primaries on June 8, 2021.

When an incumbent faces a contested primary, there is the chance he or she might be defeated before the general election, typically guaranteeing the seat to a newcomer. These defeats—along with retirements and general election losses—contribute to the overall incumbent turnover during each election cycle.

The most common cause of incumbent turnover is retirement, which, over the past decade, accounted for 70 percent of all state legislative turnover. Primary election defeats—at 10 percent—were the most uncommon cause of turnover.

Primary election defeats in New Jersey are especially rare. Since 2011, only one state legislative incumbent has been defeated in one: Assm. Joe Howarth, who lost in a 2019 Republican primary.

Contested incumbent primaries became more common in New Jersey during the 2017 state legislative elections. In 2019, the state saw a decade-high rate with around one-third of all incumbents facing primary challenges. The rate decreased to around one-fifth of all incumbents facing contested primaries in 2021 but remains higher than rates from the first half of the past decade.

Virginia is also holding state legislative elections in its House of Delegates in 2021. Based on preliminary data, the state is slated to see a decade-high rate of incumbents facing contested primaries at 18.1%. Out of the 100 incumbents, 94 are seeking re-election, 17 of whom will face contested primaries. Parties in Virginia use a mixture of primaries and conventions to select nominees. All primaries will take place on June 8 whereas convention dates are selected by district parties. Ballotpedia will update its primary competitiveness data for Virginia as it becomes available.

Ballotpedia is collecting primary election competitiveness statistics for all regularly-scheduled state legislative and state executive elections ongoing in 2021. Learn more here. Use the links below to view coverage of the New Jersey and Virginia state legislative elections:



Special election primary to be held June 12 in Louisiana Senate district

A special election primary is being held on June 12 for District 7 of the Louisiana State Senate. Joanna Cappiello-Leopold (D), Gary Carter Jr. (D), Mack Cormier (D), and Patricia McCarty (R) are running in the primary. Louisiana elections use the majority-vote system. All candidates compete in the same primary, and a candidate can win the election outright by receiving more than 50% of the vote. If no candidate does, the top two vote recipients from the primary advance to the general election, regardless of their partisan affiliation.

The District 7 seat became vacant after Troy Carter (D) won a special election for Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District on April 24. Carter had represented District 7 since 2016. He resigned on May 10, a day prior to his swearing-in as a member of Congress.

Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 27-11 majority in the Louisiana Senate with one vacancy. Louisiana has a divided government, and no political party holds a 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 June, 38 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Louisiana held 36 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

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Virginia municipal primaries to be held June 8 

The municipal primary elections in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Richmond in Virginia are scheduled for June 8. Candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for Nov. 2. 

The filing deadline to run for major party candidates passed on March 25. For minor party and independent candidates, the filing deadline is Aug. 13. Primary elections are canceled for offices where only one candidate from a party filed to run. 

Candidates filed to run for:

• Commonwealth’s attorney

• Sheriff 

• Treasurer

• Commissioner of revenue (for Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake only)

Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Richmond are the top four largest cities by population in Virginia. In the United States, they are the 39th-, 80th-, 90th-, and 100th-largest cities, respectively.

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Eleven incumbents file to run for re-election to offices in King County, Wash.

The filing deadline passed on May 21 to run for elected office in King County, Wash. Candidates filed for the following positions:

Mayor of Seattle

Seattle City Attorney

Seattle City Council Position 8 At-Large

Seattle City Council Position 9 At-Large

Port of Seattle Commission Position 1

Port of Seattle Commission Position 3

Port of Seattle Commission Position 4

King County Executive

Metropolitan King County Council District 1

Metropolitan King County Council District 3

Metropolitan King County Council District 5

Metropolitan King County Council District 7

Metropolitan King County Council District 9

Eleven incumbents filed for re-election. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced in December 2020 that she would not run for re-election. Fifteen candidates are seeking to become Seattle’s next mayor, including M. Lorena González, who currently holds the Position 9 seat on the Seattle City Council.

The primary is scheduled for Aug. 3, and the general election is scheduled for Nov. 2.

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Special election to be held on June 8 in New Hampshire House district

A special election is being held on June 8 for the Merrimack 23 District of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Muriel Hall (D) and Christopher Lins (R) are running in the general election. The winner of this special election will serve until December 2022.

The seat became vacant after Samantha Fox (D) resigned on January 12. Fox had represented the district since 2018.

Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 212-186 majority in the New Hampshire House with two vacancies. New Hampshire 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.

As of May, 38 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. New Hampshire held 29 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

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Special primary election to be held in Alabama state House district

A special Democratic primary will be held on May 25 for District 78 in the Alabama House of Representatives. A Democratic primary runoff, if necessary, will take place on June 22. The winner of the Democratic primary will face Loretta Grant (R) in the special general election on September 7.

Terance Dawson, Kenyatté Hassell, Roderick Thornton, and Donald Williams will face off in the Democratic primary. The special election became necessary 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. He was elected in 2018 with 83% of the vote.

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 May, 38 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.

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