TagHeart of the Primaries

Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 22 (May 12, 2022)

Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Republican Edition

May 12, 2022

In this issue: Takeaways from Tuesday’s big primaries and the Connecticut GOP endorses Klarides

Primary results roundup

The big stories of the night: Mooney defeats McKinley, Pillen defeats Herbster

West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District: Rep. Alex Mooney defeated Rep. David McKinley and three others. Based on unofficial returns, Mooney received 54% of the vote and McKinley received 36%.

The incumbents ran against one another because the state lost a congressional district following the 2020 census. McKinley currently represents 66% of the new 2nd District and Mooney represents 34%.

Mooney’s backers included former President Donald Trump (R) and the House Freedom Fund. Gov. Jim Justice (R) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) were among McKinley’s supporters. Throughout the primary, Mooney criticized McKinley’s vote for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. McKinley criticized Mooney for previously holding office in Maryland and running unsuccessful campaigns in both Maryland and New Hampshire.

Three independent race forecasters consider the general as Solid or Safe Republican

Nebraska Governor: University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen defeated Charles Herbster, state Sen. Brett Lindstrom, and six others. Pillen received 34% of the vote to Herbster’s 30% and Lindstrom’s 26%.

Incumbent Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) endorsed Pillen, while Lt. Gov. Mike Foley (R) backed Herbster. Herbster also had an endorsement from Trump. The Nebraska Farm Bureau endorsed Pillen. 

Herbster chaired Trump’s Agriculture and Rural Advisory Committee. As we wrote previously, the Nebraska Examiner‘s Aaron Sanderford reported last month that eight women, including state Sen. Julie Slama (R), had accused Herbster of sexual misconduct occurring between 2017 and 2022. Herbster denied the allegations and said they were “part of a greater scheme calculated to try and defeat [his] candidacy.” At a May 1 rally, Trump said Herbster was “innocent of these despicable charges.”

Pillen said he had a record of resisting critical race theory, while Herbster said Pillen didn’t do enough to oppose it. The Nebraska Examiner wrote that “Herbster pointed to Pillen’s 2018 vote, as a University of Nebraska regent, in support of hiring a leader to create a new Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. … Pillen’s campaign said that he was the first elected university regent in the U.S. to stand up against critical race theory and that he is a recognized leader in higher ed on the issue.”  

Ricketts is term-limited. Major independent observers rate the general election as Solid or Safe Republican. Republicans have had trifecta control of Nebraska state government since 1999.

Nebraska State Board of Education District 7: Elizabeth Tegtmeier and incumbent Robin Stevens advanced from the top-two primary. Tegtmeier received 62% of the vote to Stevens’ 20%. The third candidate, Pat Moore, received 17%. The race has featured conflict around proposed health education standards the board considered and then voted to pause in 2021. The election is nonpartisan, though the candidates are affiliated with the Republican Party.

Defeated incumbents

U.S. House:

McKinley is the first U.S. House incumbent to lose a primary this cycle. In Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District, former U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R) resigned on March 31 after being found guilty in a federal campaign finance investigation, but his name remained on the ballot. State Sen. Mike Flood (R) won that race.

State executives:

Nebraska held several primaries for state executive offices. District 4 Public Service Commissioner Rod Johnson (R) lost to Eric Kamler (R).

There are three races featuring incumbents that remain too close to call. In one of those races, the Republican incumbent is trailing a challenger as of Thursday morning: Challenger Kevin Stocker (R) has a 3-percentage-point lead over Public Service Commissioner Mary Ridder (R) in District 5.

State legislature:

All eight Republican incumbents seeking re-election to the Nebraska Senate (the state’s only legislative chamber) will advance to the general election. 

Since 2010, only one incumbent Nebraska state senator has lost in a contested primary: Sen. Nicole Fox (R) in 2016. Ricketts appointed Fox to the seat in 2015 after the Democratic incumbent resigned.

In West Virginia, one incumbent is confirmed to have lost: Incumbent George Miller (R) defeated incumbent Ken Reed (R) in the state House. There are 17 Republican primaries featuring incumbents—16 in the House and one in the Senate—that remain too close to call.

In 2020, 10 GOP state legislators in West Virginia lost primaries. Four lost in 2018.

The following table shows data from 15 states for which we have post-filing deadline information and from four states—Indiana, Nebraska, Texas, and West Virginia—where state legislative primaries have taken place.

Media analysis

The Wall Street Journal‘s Joshua Jamerson said the incumbent-vs.-incumbent primary in West Virginia’s 2nd tested Republicans’ sentiment on compromise:

The West Virginia race offers a glimpse at GOP sentiment toward the infrastructure law and the broader idea of compromising with Democrats. An aide to McKinley, before the results came in, said Mr. Mooney’s criticisms have made traction with voters, causing Mr. McKinley to explain his vote and tout the money being steered toward West Virginia.

FiveThirtyEight‘s Nathaniel Rakich said that Herbster’s loss doesn’t indicate a decrease in Trump’s influence:

[Nebraska’s Republican gubernatorial primary] had been seen as a proxy war between Trump and the establishment and moderate wings of the GOP. And thanks to Pillen’s win, the next governor of Nebraska will likely1 be someone with deep ties to the state’s political and economic establishment who has accepted President Biden’s election, rather than someone who believes that China orchestrated the coronavirus pandemic and spent Jan. 6, 2021, in the Trump war room. …

But at the same time, this loss isn’t evidence that Trump’s influence with the Republican base is slipping. Herbster was far from a perfect candidate … Ultimately, Trump’s endorsement wasn’t powerful enough to drag Herbster to victory, but his endorsement remains an asset in any Republican primary. Just ask Rep. Alex Mooney, who decisively won his primary last night in West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. 

Connecticut GOP endorses Themis Klarides for U.S. Senate

The Republican Party of Connecticut voted to endorse Themis Klarides for U.S. Senate at its convention Saturday and guaranteed two other candidates spots on the ballot.

Klarides received 57% of the delegate vote, followed by 23% for Leora Levy and 20% for Peter Lumaj. Candidates who received 15% or more of the delegate vote qualified automatically for the primary without needing to collect petitions.

The CT Mirror wrote that “Levy and Lumaj embrace Trump and oppose abortion and gun control, positions separating them from Klarides.” Klarides served as state House minority leader from 2015 to 2021. Klarides voted in favor of a bill that introduced a new set of regulations on firearms following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Klarides also supports a legal framework for access to abortion. Klarides said she voted for write-in candidate Lawrence Cafero rather than Donald Trump (R) for president in 2020. 

The three convention-qualified candidates, as well as any who qualify via petition ahead of the June 7 filing deadline, will compete in an Aug. 9 primary. Incumbent Richard Blumenthal (D) is seeking re-election. 

Klarides said, “Listen, we agree on way more than we disagree on, and it’s healthy to disagree on some things. If we agree on 70%, you need to focus on the candidate that has the best chance to win in November. I’m the only [Republican] candidate in the race that’s ever won an election. I’ve won 11 elections in a Democrat-leaning district.”

Levy said, “I put a lot of my own money in, much more than my opponent has. … No matter what, I will let the Republican voters of the state of Connecticut decide who their candidate will be to go up against Dick Blumenthal.”

Lumaj said, “I want to make sure that if I get to the U.S. Senate we get someone who has the backbone and the character and fortitude to defend the Constitution.”

A Republican has not been elected to the U.S. Senate in Connecticut since 1982 or to the House since 2004. Independent forecasters currently rate the Senate general election Safe or Solid Democratic.

Super PAC switches gears from Ohio to Pennsylvania, Barnette rises in polls

The USA Freedom Fund spent on ads supporting Josh Mandel and opposing J.D. Vance, the winner in Ohio’s U.S. Senate primary. The PAC is now spending in Pennsylvania opposing Mehmet Oz’s Senate bid. Meanwhile, candidate Kathy Barnette has risen in polls in recent weeks, showing numbers on par with Oz and David McCormick.

The day after Vance’s Ohio win, USA Freedom Fund released an ad saying Oz “glorif[ied] transgender kids” on his TV show. 

Axios reported that “Mandel and David McCormick, Oz’s top primary opponent, share a general consultant: the powerhouse Republican firm Axiom Strategies.” Axiom worked on Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign and Glenn Youngkin’s 2021 Virginia gubernatorial campaign.

Former President Trump endorsed Vance in Ohio and Oz in Pennsylvania. Axios wrote, “During the Ohio race, the USA Freedom Fund was largely funded by the Club for Growth, which feuded with Donald Trump and his allies over its attacks on Vance.” The Club endorsed Mandel in Ohio and has not endorsed in Pennsylvania’s Senate race. A Club representative said the group was not involved with USA Freedom Fund’s Pennsylvania effort.

In several recent polls, Barnette was effectively tied with Oz and McCormick. A Trafalgar poll from early May showed Oz with 25%, Barnette with 23%, and McCormick with 22%. The margin of error was +/- 3.0 percentage points.

The primary is May 17.

Percentage of each congressional caucus not seeking re-election

Fifty-five members of Congress are not running for re-election in 2022, including 33 Democrats and 22 Republicans. For Democrats, this is a larger percentage of the party’s House and Senate caucuses to retire in one cycle—12.2%—than in any cycle dating back to 2014. For Republicans, this represents 8.4% of the party’s caucuses.

The highest recent percentage of Republicans retiring was in 2018, when 12.6% of the party’s caucus—37 members—didn’t run for re-election. That year, Republicans gained two Senate seats and lost 35 House districts.

The lowest recent percentage of Democrats retiring was in 2020, when 10 members—3.6% of the caucus—didn’t run. Democrats gained three Senate seats and lost 10 House districts. 

The lowest recent percentage of Republican congressional retirements was in 2016. Twenty-six Republicans announced their retirement—8.6% of the caucus. Republicans lost two Senate seats and five House districts.

Competitiveness data: Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s filing deadline for congressional and statewide candidates was March 15. The filing deadline for state legislative candidates was March 28.

We’ve crunched some numbers to see how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles.

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.


Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 22 (May 12, 2022)

Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Democratic Edition

May 12, 2022

In this issue: Fetterman has big lead in Pennsylvania Senate primary and an update on the 2024 presidential primary calendar

Primary recap

Nebraska and West Virginia held primaries on Tuesday. Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District was our only battleground Democratic primary of the night. 

State Sen. Tony Vargas defeated therapist and 2020 U.S. Senate primary candidate Alisha Shelton. Vargas said he has been a bipartisan leader in the state Senate. Vargas faces incumbent Rep. Don Bacon (R) in November. Independent forecasters view the general election as Lean or Likely Republican.

Defeated incumbents

U.S. House:

There were no incumbent Democratic members of Congress from Nebraska or West Virginia with elections on Tuesday.

State executives:

Nebraska held several partisan and top-two primaries for various state executive offices. No Democratic incumbents were defeated.

State legislature:

All three incumbent Democrats seeking re-election to the Nebraska Senate will advance to the general election. Since 2010, only one incumbent state senator has lost in a contested primary in Nebraska: Sen. Nicole Fox (R) in 2016. Ricketts appointed Fox to the seat in 2015 after the Democratic incumbent resigned.

In West Virginia, two Democratic incumbents lost primaries so far: Incumbent Owens Brown (D) lost to Randy Swartzmiller (D) in the state Senate primary. In the state House, incumbent Chad Lovejoy (D) lost to incumbent Ric Griffith (D).

In 2020, no Democratic incumbents lost state legislative primaries in West Virginia. One did in 2018.

The following table shows data from 15 states for which we have post-filing deadline information and from four states—Indiana, Nebraska, Texas, and West Virginia—where state legislative primaries have taken place.

Dueling newspaper endorsements in Pennsylvania as Fetterman widens lead in poll

The Philadelphia Tribune endorsed John Fetterman in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race, while The Philadelphia Inquirer endorsed Conor Lamb. A recent poll showed Fetterman leading Lamb 53%-14%.

In its endorsement of Fetterman, The Philadelphia Tribune wrote:

On the issues, the Democratic candidates aren’t that far apart, but Fetterman has demonstrated through his campaign that he is the candidate with the broadest appeal across the state and is the best candidate to represent the Democratic Party’s agenda.

His background as the former mayor of Braddock, a small industrial town in Allegheny County with a large percentage of African Americans in Allegheny County, helps bring a diversity of experience that allows him to connect with residents from small rural communities to Philadelphia, the state’s largest city.

The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board wrote of Lamb: 

Pennsylvanians deserve a senator who is more than just a plus-one vote for the Democratic caucus in the Senate; it’s crucial that voters elect a candidate who would add value by representing the commonwealth. Based on his history of winning extremely competitive general elections, his familiarity with Congress from his time in the House of Representatives, and his thoughtfulness on tough policy questions, we endorse Conor Lamb.

The latest Franklin & Marshall College poll from April 20 to May 1 showed Fetterman with 53% support, Lamb with 14%, and Malcolm Kenyatta with 4%. Twenty-two percent were undecided. The margin of error was +/- 6.6 percentage points. The college’s last poll, from March 30 to April 10, showed Fetterman ahead of Lamb 41%-17%.

The only other independent pollster in the race is Emerson College. A poll from the end of March showed Fetterman ahead of Lamb 33%-10%.

The primary is May 17.

Policy differences emerge in Iowa’s U.S. Senate primary

Differences between Iowa’s Democratic Senate candidates on Ukraine and healthcare were on display both in a May 7 debate and in a new ad from candidate Michael Franken.

All three candidates in the race—Abby Finkenauer, Franken, and Glenn Hurst—participated in the debate. According to KCRG’s Mollie Swayne, “One topic where there was a significant difference of opinion was on sending American troops to aid Ukraine. Finkenauer and Hurst said there was no point at which to do so. Franken said yes, if Vladimir Putin used a nuclear weapon.” 

You can watch the debate here

Franken, a retired U.S. Navy vice admiral, released his second ad on May 3. Franken said, “I’m running for the Senate to take on the big fights, from challenging drug and insurance companies with ‘Medicare for All’ to standing up for the environment, women’s rights, and democracy at home and abroad.”

The Washington Post’s David Weigel wrote, “National Democrats have already gotten behind former representative Abby Finkenauer, but Franken is still running for U.S. Senate, endorsing Medicare-for-all on the knowledge that Finkenauer won’t go there.” 

Finkenauer’s campaign website didn’t include a section on healthcare policy as of May 11. The website emphasizes her support for 12-year congressional term limits and says, “In Congress she built a reputation as someone who would work with anyone in either party to get things done, including funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program, strengthening Iowa’s flood prevention infrastructure and securing needed resources for our rural communities.” Finkenauer represented Iowa’s 1st Congressional District from 2019 to 2021 and was a member of the state House from 2015 to 2019. 

Hurst is a physician, a member of the Minden City Council, and chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Rural Caucus. Hurst calls himself “the only progressive in this race” and said, “I’m a Green New Deal Democrat. I’m Medicare for all Democrat. I align more closely with an Elizabeth Warren than a Pete Buttigieg.”

The primary is on June 7. Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley is running for re-election. 

An update on the 2024 presidential primary calendar: 18 states apply for early spot

We wrote in March that the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) Rules and Bylaws Committee discussed changing the election calendar ahead of the 2024 presidential primaries. In April, the committee approved a plan to choose up to five states to hold their nominating contests before the first Tuesday in March 2024. The deadline for states to submit letters of intent to apply for an early spot was May 6. 

Eighteen states plus Puerto Rico and Democrats Abroad submitted letters of intent. The states are: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington.

According to CBS News:

The committee will consider three main criteria for selecting the early states in 2024: diversity, competitiveness and feasibility. Diversity, according to the resolution, includes weighing racial, ethnic, geographic and economic diversity, as well as union representation. 

National Democrats will also consider how competitive states are in the general election. Among the feasibility requirements that the committee will examine are whether states can move their contest into the early window, if they can run a “fair, transparent and inclusive nominating process” and the logistical requirements and cost of campaigning in that state. 

Iowa has held the nation’s first presidential nominating contest since 1972. See our story from March for more on the debate around Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status. The DNC’s decision on early-contest states is expected in July.  

Percentage of each congressional caucus not seeking re-election

Fifty-five members of Congress are not running for re-election in 2022, including 33 Democrats and 22 Republicans. For Democrats, this is a larger percentage of the party’s House and Senate caucuses to retire in one cycle—12.2%—than in any cycle dating back to 2014. For Republicans, this represents 8.4% of the party’s caucuses.

The highest recent percentage of Republicans retiring was in 2018, when 12.6% of the party’s caucus—37 members—didn’t run for re-election. That year, Republicans gained two Senate seats and lost 35 House districts.

The lowest recent percentage of Democrats retiring was in 2020, when 10 members—3.6% of the caucus—didn’t run. Democrats gained three Senate seats and lost 10 House districts. 

The lowest recent percentage of Republican congressional retirements was in 2016. Twenty-six Republicans announced their retirement—8.6% of the caucus. Republicans lost two Senate seats and five House districts.

Competitiveness data: Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s filing deadline for congressional and statewide candidates was March 15. The filing deadline for state legislative candidates was March 28.

We’ve crunched some numbers to see how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles.

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.


Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 21 (May 5, 2022)

Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Democratic Edition

May 5, 2022

In this issue: Takeaways from Ohio’s primaries and the intensifying abortion debate in TX-28 runoff

May 3 primary results roundup

Ohio and Indiana held primary elections on Tuesday. Indiana’s ballot included state legislative elections, while Ohio’s did not, as redistricting is still underway. Key Democratic primaries took place in Ohio. Below, you’ll find results from marquee Democratic primaries and takeaways.

The big story of the night: Brown wins rematch with Turner in OH-11 

Ohio’s 11th Congressional District: Incumbent Rep. Shontel Brown defeated Nina Turner in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District for the second time in less than a year. Brown defeated Turner 66%-34% in this year’s primary and 50%-45% in the August 2021 special primary.

Brown assumed office in November 2021, succeeding Rep. Marcia Fudge (D), who resigned that year to become U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Brown said she kept her promise to work with President Joe Biden (D) by voting for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and campaigned on her record. Turner said Brown hadn’t done enough to change the material conditions of the district’s poor and low-income residents.

Biden endorsed Brown, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed Turner. The Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC endorsed Brown, a change from 2021 when it endorsed Turner. Brown became a member of the caucus after she took office. 

This is a Safe or Solid Democratic district, according to three election forecasters.

Other marquee primary results

U.S. Senate

  • Ohio Senate: Tim Ryan received 70% of the vote, defeating Morgan Harper and Traci Johnson. Incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R) is retiring. Race forecasters disagree on this race’s outlook, calling it Lean, Likely, or Solid Republican.

Local

  • Nashville District Attorney: Incumbent Glenn Funk won with 43%. Sarah Beth Myers was second with 40%. Myers and P. Danielle Nellis criticized Funk’s record, including his handling of a case involving an officer charged with criminal homicide. Funk defended his record.

Defeated incumbents

No Democratic incumbents lost in Tuesday’s primaries.

As with 2022, no incumbent Democratic state legislators in Indiana lost primary bids in 2020 or 2018.

The following shows data from 14 states for which we have post-filing deadline information and from two states—Texas and Indiana—where state legislative elections have taken place.

Media analysis

The Associated Press‘ Nicholas Riccardi said Ohio’s 11th District results are a reminder that the establishment has an advantage in Democratic primaries:

Brown’s easy victory is a reminder that the left has a very uneven track record in Democratic primaries, notching a few high-profile wins like that of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York City, but mostly a long string of losses. Trump may have changed Republican primaries, but Democratic ones still tilt toward the same establishment that has run the party for decades. 

Vox‘s Christian Paz said that while progressive candidates lost, progressive ideas won on May 3:

Though establishment-aligned candidates won in races around Ohio, they didn’t get there without embracing a slight leftward shift in their priorities.

Ryan and Brown, in their respective races, … pulled together ideas from the center and left in their pitches to voters, specifically on job creation, labor-organizing protections, a $15 minimum wage, and lowering health care costs. Though they beat left-leaning challengers, their wins also show that challenges from the left can push more moderate candidates to consider the substance of progressive demands.

Cisneros’ first TV ad on abortion, candidates respond to leaked SCOTUS opinion draft 

Between Jessica Cisneros’ first runoff TV ad and the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion on Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, abortion has remained in the spotlight in Texas’ 28th Congressional District primary runoff. 

Last week, Cisneros released her first runoff TV ad, which contrasts her position on abortion with that of incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar (D). The ad’s narrator said, “We showed up and spoke out when Texas Republicans passed the most extreme abortion ban in the country. But Henry Cuellar sided with them, the Lone Democrat, against a woman’s right to make her own decisions, even opposing life-saving care.” 

Cuellar was the only House Democrat to vote against the Women’s Health Protection Act, introduced in the U.S. House after Senate Bill 8 became law in Texas. The act would have legalized abortion nationally.

On May 2, Politico published a leaked initial draft opinion from the Supreme Court in which Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.”

Cuellar said, “I do not support abortion, however, we cannot have an outright ban. There must be exceptions in the case of rape, incest, and danger to the life of the mother. … My faith will not allow me to support a ruling that would criminalize teenage victims of rape and incest. That same faith will not allow me to support a ruling that would make a mother choose between her life and her child’s.”

Cisneros said, “As the Supreme Court prepares to overturn Roe v. Wade, I am calling on Democratic Party leadership to withdraw their support of Henry Cuellar who is the last anti-choice Democrat in the House” and that “with the House majority on the line, he could very much be the deciding vote on the future of our reproductive rights and we cannot afford to take that risk.”

House Minority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) campaigned for Cuellar at a get-out-the-vote rally in San Antonio Wednesday night. Cuellar previously received endorsements from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), meaning he has support from all three House Democratic leaders.

The race is a rematch. Cuellar won the 2020 primary 52%-48%. In this year’s primary, Cuellar received 48% to Cisneros’ 47%. Tannya Benavides received 5%. The primary runoff is May 24.

Our Revolution chapter endorses Tom Nelson for Senate in Wisconsin

Our Wisconsin Revolution, a state affiliate of Our Revolution, endorsed Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson in Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate primary. Our Revolution’s website says it is “America’s leading grassroots-funded progressive political organizing group.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) founded the group.

Nelson said, “I am the proven progressive in this race. I have consistently championed economic, social and racial justice issues, so voters know exactly where I stand, unlike others in the race. … I’m the one who consistently champions these progressive issues like Medicare for All and Green New Deal. I’m the only one who opposes Title 42.” 

The health order invoking Title 42 is a pandemic-related restriction on immigration at U.S. land borders.

Politico‘s Holly Otterbein wrote about the endorsement in connection with Lt. Gov. and Senate candidate Mandela Barnes’ ideological positioning: “[W]hile Barnes backs Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, he has not made them the central focus of his campaign.” Otterbein also noted Barnes’ opposition to Biden’s plan to end the health order invoking Title 42. 

Our Wisconsin Revolution executive director Andre Walton said Barnes didn’t fill out a questionnaire, which meant he couldn’t be considered for the endorsement.

A campaign representative told Politico that Barnes has endorsements from “more than 130 local elected officials in Wisconsin, influential local and national groups, and members of Congress from all corners of the Democratic Party, from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Cory Booker to [House] Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.”

Nelson’s other endorsers include Sunrise Movement Wisconsin and several local officials.

We’ve tracked 11 candidates running in the Aug. 9 primary so far. Nelson, Alex Lasry, and Kou Lee have filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Click their names to read their responses. 

The four candidates who reported raising more than $1 million as of March 31 were Lasry ($9.1 million), Sarah Godlewski ($5.1 million), Barnes ($4.1 million), and Nelson ($1.2 million). Lasry’s total includes $5.8 million he loaned his campaign, and Godlewski’s includes $2.9 million she loaned her campaign. 

Hoyer endorses Moore in Maryland gubernatorial primary, breaking with Pelosi

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) endorsed Wes Moore in the Maryland Democratic primary for governor. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is from Baltimore, Maryland, previously endorsed former Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez.

Hoyer said, “Wes stands out as a candidate whose experience, vision, and talent can lead Maryland toward a brighter future by inspiring our people — particularly our young people — to work together to face our toughest challenges.”

Pelosi credited Perez’s DNC leadership with giving Democrats control of the House and Senate and getting President Joe Biden elected. Pelosi said Perez has “the best opportunity to flip the state of Maryland.”

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is term-limited. Hogan won the open 2014 race against then-Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) 51%-47%. Hogan was re-elected in 2018, defeating Ben Jealous (D) 55%-44%.

Ten candidates are running in the Democratic primary, including Prince George’s County Executive and 2018 gubernatorial primary candidate Rushern Baker III, state Comptroller Peter Franchot, former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, and former U.S. Education Secretary John King Jr.

The primary is July 19.

Competitiveness data: South Dakota  

South Dakota’s filing deadline for congressional and state candidates was March 29.

We’ve crunched some numbers to see how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles.

South Dakota

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.


Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 15 (March 24, 2022)

In this issue: Trump endorses Huizenga in MI-04 and rescinds Brooks endorsement in Alabama

Trump endorses Huizenga in MI-04, Carra drops out

On March 11, former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Rep. Bill Huizenga in the Republican primary for Michigan’s 4th Congressional District. Huizenga, who has represented Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District since 2011, announced he would run for re-election in the 4th District following redistricting. 

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission adopted a new congressional map in December that placed Huizenga in the 4th District alongside Rep. Fred Upton (R). Upton has represented Michigan’s 6th Congressional District since 1993 and has not announced whether he’ll seek re-election.

On March 15, state Rep. Steve Carra (R) ended his candidacy in the 4th District primary. Carra said, “Now that Bill Huizenga has President Trump’s and my support in the newly formed 4th Congressional district, he has a clear path to victory.” Carra initially planned to challenge Upton in the 6th District, saying Upton “is seen as a moderate. … He is anti-Second Amendment; he voted for amnesty, he voted to impeach (former President Donald) Trump.” In September, Trump endorsed Carra in the 6th. Carra announced earlier this year he’d run in the 4th District. 

Upton was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump (Huizenga did not). 

Upton released an ad in February in which he said, “I’m not afraid to take on anyone when they’re wrong and work with anyone when they’re right. … If you want a rubber stamp as your congressman, I’m the wrong guy.” In a statement, Upton said, “Some believe the heart, soul and values of the Republican Party are defined by Donald Trump, but I believe our values are better defined by those espoused by Ronald Reagan. … Peace through strength, fiscal responsibility, dignity and honor.”

Huizenga said he’d worked with Trump on law enforcement, energy, and border issues and that he is “honored to have President Trump’s support in this fight.”

The filing deadline is set for April 19 and the primary for Aug. 2.

Trump rescinds Brooks endorsement in Alabama U.S. Senate primary

On March 23, Trump rescinded his endorsement of Mo Brooks in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Alabama, saying Brooks “made a horrible mistake recently when he went ‘woke’ and stated, referring to the 2020 Presidential Election Scam, ‘Put that behind you, put that behind you.'” 

Brooks was the first member of Congress to vote against certifying the 2020 election. He was booed at a rally in August 2021 after telling the crowd they should move past the 2020 election. 

On March 15, Trump said he was disappointed with Brooks’ remarks at the August rally. On March 16, Brooks released a campaign ad highlighting his speech at Trump’s rally on Jan. 6, 2021, and Trump’s endorsement. Brooks said in an interview with AL.com the same day that Trump’s comments surprised him and that “[Trump] wants me to remove Joe Biden from office so he can be president. … But the law doesn’t permit that.”
Trump said he’d make a new endorsement before the May 24 primary. Five other Republicans are running.

The Senate primaries with the most satellite spending

Decision Desk HQ‘s March 21 newsletter broke down independent expenditures in U.S. Senate primaries by top states, spenders, and supported or opposed candidates. Derek Willis wrote,

Outside spending in Senate primaries has already passed $68 million, well above the $48 million spent on Senate primaries at this point in the 2020 cycle. …

Republican races have so far brought in the bulk of independent expenditures reported to the Federal Election Commission: of the $68 million, just $2.7 million has been spent supporting or criticizing Democratic candidates.

As of March 18, four states saw satellite spending of more than $10 million on Senate primaries: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and North Carolina. Republican incumbents are retiring in all four states. In Arizona, the state that’s seen the fifth-highest satellite spending, Sen. Mark Kelly (D) is seeking re-election.

Seventeen PACs spent more than $1 million on Senate primaries—15 on Republican primaries (the Democratic PACs on the list, Moveon.org Political Action and Senate Majority PAC, had the 8th- and 16th-highest spending totals, respectively). 

Club for Growth Action spent the most at more than $14 million as of March 18. The group has spent on primaries in North Carolina, where it endorsed Ted Budd, and Ohio, where it endorsed Josh Mandel and has released ads opposing J.D. Vance and Jane Timken.

The second-highest spender, Honor Pennsylvania, Inc., supports David McCormick in Pennsylvania. The group has released ads opposing Mehmet Oz and has spent $8.6 million.

Protect Ohio Values, the only other PAC to have spent more than $5 million, supports Vance in Ohio. 

Oz, Vance, and Budd are the top three subjects of satellite spending. Also on the list are Brooks in Alabama and Blake Masters in Arizona.

Decision Desk HQ will break down satellite spending in House races next week.

Special primary to finish Don Young’s term will be the first congressional top-four primary

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), the longest-serving Republican representative in U.S. history, died on March 18. 

The special primary on June 11 to complete the remainder of Young’s term will be the first congressional primary using the state’s new top-four primary system. Every candidate will appear on the same primary ballot, regardless of party affiliation. The top four candidates will advance to the general election, in which voters can rank their preferences rather than voting for a single candidate. 

Voters approved the new system via ballot measure in 2020. Click here for more details.

The special primary election will be held by mail. The special general election will take place alongside the regular primary election on Aug. 16. 

April 1 is the filing deadline for the special primary. At least two candidates have said they’ll run in the special election: Nick Begich (R) and Christopher Constant (D). Both are also running in the regularly scheduled election. 

We’ve tracked five Republicans, one Democrat, and one independent running in the regular primary so far. 

Ricketts, Foley split on gubernatorial endorsements in Nebraska

On March 15, Lt. Gov. Mike Foley (R) endorsed rancher Charles Herbster in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Foley said, “Charles is a job creator who has invested in this state. He is rooted in our conservative values and will rely on those values when leading our great state.” Trump endorsed Herbster in October.    

Incumbent Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), who is term-limited, endorsed University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen in January. Following Foley’s endorsement of Herbster, Ricketts said, “I was very disappointed with the lieutenant governor’s choice. … I think it’s incredibly poor judgment on his part.” Ricketts said Herbster had put jobs in a different state and paid property taxes late and that Herbster would have difficulty recruiting businesses to the state.

Herbster’s campaign said that he “leads in the polls and leads the charge to be the next Governor of Nebraska. Like many of us, he wishes the current Governor, Pete Ricketts, would spend his remaining time in the office helping the state and staying out of politics.”

Pillen said, “It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that Mike Foley is endorsing Charles Herbster. He was pretty unhappy when I turned down his request to be my lieutenant governor. Herbster has always thrown his money around to buy political influence and favor. Nebraskans know what they want in a governor, and it is not backroom politics.” 

Foley said, “The Pillen campaign and other campaigns have reached out to me and that’s fine. I’m flattered by that. And we’ve had conversations with other candidates and I’ve just decided Charles Herbster is the best choice and anything beyond that would be a mischaracterization of that arrangement.” 

Herbster and Pillen recently clashed on Pillen’s record as a regent. Herbster said, “Because of his liberal ideology and weak leadership, Pillen is the reason the university is indoctrinating our students. … Jim Pillen’s lack of action and courage on critical race theory when Nebraska students needed him the most is shocking.”

Pillen’s campaign manager Kenny Zoeller said, “Jim Pillen was the first elected regent in America to take a stand against critical race theory. … Jim has been a nationally recognized leader in the fight against CRT in higher education and in our schools.”

Nine candidates are running in the May 10 primary

Ricketts and Foley also endorsed different candidates in the Republican primary for Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District: Ricketts is backing Mike Flood, while Foley supports incumbent Jeff Fortenberry.  

Primary date updates: Maryland court postpones primary date, Ohio state legislative primary date may change

On March 15, the Maryland Court of Appeals postponed the state’s primary from June 28 to July 19. The court also extended the candidate filing deadline from March 22 to April 15. This is the second time the court has extended the filing deadline, which was initially set for Feb. 22. 

The court’s decision follows a series of petitions challenging the legislative district boundaries the General Assembly approved in January. Special Magistrate Alan Wilner scheduled a hearing for March 23 through March 25—after the former March 22 filing deadline. The order said Wilner intends to file a report with the court on April 5. 

On March 23, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose ordered county boards of election to remove state legislative races from the May 3 primary ballot. The order came a week after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 decision that the state legislative maps did not meet the state constitution’s anti-gerrymandering requirements. 

This is the third set of legislative maps the court struck down. The court ordered the Ohio Redistricting Commission to draw new legislative maps by March 28.

According to Statehouse News Bureau, a panel of three federal judges will review a lawsuit a group of Republican voters filed: “The plaintiffs want the federal court to order the state to carry out the May 3 primary using those maps adopted by the commission on February 24,” which the state supreme court most recently rejected. Hearings are scheduled for March 25 and March 30.

LaRose estimated that state legislative races could be added back to the May 3 primary ballot if the court rules in favor of plaintiffs by March 31. Otherwise, a new date will be set for state legislative primaries.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced on March 18 it would allow the state to send overseas and military voters ballots by April 5 instead of March 18.



Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 15 (March 24, 2022)

March 24, 2022

In this issue: Philadelphia Democratic Party endorses Conor Lamb for Senate and a look at 2024’s presidential primary calendar debate

Philadelphia Democratic Party endorses Conor Lamb for Senate

The Democratic Party of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s largest city, endorsed Conor Lamb for U.S. Senate. Lamb faces four other candidates in the Democratic primary, including state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.

Philadelphia Democratic Party Chairman Bob Brady said Lamb “talked to every ward leader … he’s talked to a lot of committee people. He’s been in the city a lot, and he campaigned. Fetterman has done no campaigning whatsoever.” Brady also said that “there are people who … didn’t think Malcolm could win. They didn’t think he had the money, and they don’t think he could win the primary or the general.” 

Fetterman led in fundraising as of Dec. 31 with $12 million. Lamb was second with $4 million and Kenyatta third with $1.5 million.

Fetterman’s representative, Joe Calvello, told The Daily Beast, “We believe this campaign is not going to be won in hotel ballrooms and by backroom deals. … It’s going to be won by going to every county across the state and appealing to the actual voters.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer called the city party’s endorsement, along with former Mayor John Street’s and his son state Sen. Sharif Street’s endorsements of Lamb, “a somewhat expected snub” to Kenyatta, one of Philadelphia’s representatives in the state House. 

Kenyatta said that many committee people had endorsed his campaign and that he has “never been the candidate of the establishment— and that is not the path to winning this election.”

As we wrote before, the state Democratic Party did not endorse in the Senate race. Lamb received 61% support on the second ballot at the party’s meeting—short of the two-thirds required for an endorsement. Fetterman got 23% and Kenyatta, 15%. 

See a summary of issue differences between these three candidates here.
Incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey (R) is retiring. The primary is May 17.

Tony Evers won’t endorse in Wisconsin U.S. Senate primary; Marianne Williamson endorses Tom Nelson

Here’s a quick look at the latest developments in Wisconsin’s Democratic Senate primary. 

  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) said on March 17 it would not be appropriate for him to pick a favorite in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate as the state party’s top elected official. 
  • Former Democratic presidential primary candidate Marianne Williamson endorsed Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson on Monday. Williamson said Nelson is “a change agent in confronting the various crises facing our nation.”
  • Both Nelson and Williamson said the economy and labor are key issues in their Ballotpedia Candidate Connection survey responses. Nelson’s answer to the question “What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?” included the following:

From Kellogg to Starbucks to John Deere to local nurses, workers are demanding their rights to be paid fairly and with humane working conditions. I am a longtime advocate of repealing Taft-Hartley, which limits the ability of workers to strike and allows for right-to-work laws.

Read Williamson’s 2020 survey responses here.

We’ve tracked 11 candidates in the Democratic primary so far, including Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, and Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry. Barnes’ endorsers include Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), three U.S. representatives, and the Working Families Party. In addition to Williamson, Nelson has endorsements from Sunrise Wisconsin and several labor groups. Lasry also has labor group endorsers. EMILY’s List and former Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) are among Godlewski’s endorsers.

Candidates have until June 1 to file for the Aug. 9 primary. Incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R) is seeking re-election. Two election forecasters rate the general election Leans Republican and one rates it Toss-up.

Two more U.S. House members endorse in IL-03

Two U.S. House members endorsed different candidates this week in the four-candidate Democratic primary for Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-N.M.) endorsed Delia Ramirez, and Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) endorsed Gilbert Villegas. 

Ramirez has been in the state House since 2019. Villegas has served on the Chicago City Council since 2015.

As we wrote in the February 24 issue, U.S. Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-Ill.) endorsed Ramirez, and U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) endorsed Villegas. Ramirez and Villegas both have endorsements from state legislators and Chicago City Council members. The Chicago Tribune said Ramirez’s “congressional bid has drawn support from more progressive members of the Illinois legislature and City Council.”

The two other candidates in the primary are Juan Aguirre and Iymen Chehade. Neither has published a list of endorsements. Aguirre is a patient care coordinator and a consultant with the National Diversity & Inclusion Cannabis Alliance. Chehade is a history professor at Columbia College and was a foreign policy advisor for U.S. Rep. Marie Newman’s (D-Ill.) 2020 campaign.

The redrawn 3rd District’s population is 47% Hispanic and includes Chicago’s Northwest Side, Bensenville, Addison, and West Chicago. The primary is set for June 28. Newman, the 3rd District’s current representative, is seeking re-election in the 6th District.

Primary date updates: Maryland court postpones primary date, Ohio state legislative primary date may change

On March 15, the Maryland Court of Appeals postponed the state’s primary from June 28 to July 19. The court also extended the candidate filing deadline from March 22 to April 15. This is the second time the court has extended the filing deadline, which was initially set for Feb. 22. 

The court’s decision follows a series of petitions challenging the legislative district boundaries the General Assembly approved in January. Special Magistrate Alan Wilner scheduled a hearing for March 23 through March 25—after the former March 22 filing deadline. The order said Wilner intends to file a report with the court on April 5. 

On March 23, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose ordered county boards of election to remove state legislative races from the May 3 primary ballot. The order came a week after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 decision that the state legislative maps did not meet the state constitution’s anti-gerrymandering requirements. 

This is the third set of legislative maps the court struck down. The court ordered the Ohio Redistricting Commission to draw new legislative maps by March 28.

According to Statehouse News Bureau, a panel of three federal judges will review a lawsuit a group of Republican voters filed: “The plaintiffs want the federal court to order the state to carry out the May 3 primary using those maps adopted by the commission on February 24,” which the state supreme court most recently rejected. Hearings are scheduled for March 25 and March 30.

LaRose estimated that state legislative races could be added back to the May 3 primary ballot if the court rules in favor of plaintiffs by March 31. Otherwise, a new date will be set for state legislative primaries.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced on March 18 it would allow the state to send overseas and military voters ballots by April 5 instead of March 18. 

Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status in question for 2024

A look ahead to primaries beyond 2022…

On March 11, the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) Rules and Bylaws Committee discussed a proposal to change the election calendar ahead of the 2024 presidential primaries. 

The Washington Post reported the party circulated a draft proposal on Monday that “defines three criteria for the party’s Rules and Bylaws Committee to select early nominating states: the diversity of the electorate ‘including ethnic, geographic, union representation, economic, etc.;’ the competitiveness of the state in a general election; and the ability of the state to administer a ‘fair, transparent and inclusive’ process.”

Iowa has held the nation’s first presidential nominating contest since 1972. NBC News wrote, “Forces within the national party are pushing to cut Iowa, saying its caucus system is undemocratic and so convoluted that it completely broke down last time, not to mention Iowa is overwhelmingly white and now solidly Republican.”

Iowa DNC member Scott Brennan defended the state’s first-in-the-nation status: “We can’t get to a ruling majority if we can’t talk to rural folks.”

On March 16, New Jersey Democratic State Committee Chair LeRoy J. Jones Jr. sent a letter to DNC Chair Jaime Harrison asking him to consider the state for early primary status, calling New Jersey an “ideal proving ground for political candidates across urban, suburban, and rural settings. In many ways, we are truly a microcosm of the country.”

It’s unclear how a DNC effort to change the primary calendar would interact with state laws. Iowa law requires presidential nominating caucuses and for those caucuses to be held at least eight days before any other states’ nominating contest. New Hampshire law states its primaries must happen before a similar election in any other state. And last year, Nevada’s governor signed a law attempting to make it the first primary state.

The draft proposal includes three virtual public hearings for the Committee to hear input on the process.



Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 14

March 17, 2022

In this issue: Former Minneapolis Council member challenges Ilhan Omar and a hypothetical matchup poll shows Kathy Hochul and Andrew Cuomo about even 

Criminal justice issues in spotlight in California AG primary 

California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) faces Republican and independent challengers in the state’s top-two primary. Politico‘s Jeremy B. White said the attorney general race “could be the most consequential contest in the deep-blue state — a bellwether of Democratic voters’ commitment to criminal justice reform.”

White wrote that two of Bonta’s primary opponents, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert (independent) and former U.S. Attorney Nathan Hochman (R), have sought to connect Bonta to two California district attorneys facing recall efforts this year: Los Angeles County D.A. George Gascón and San Francisco D. A. Chesa Boudin. 

White said, “District attorneys wield far greater influence than the attorney general over whom to prosecute and what sentences to seek. But Schubert and Hochman argue Bonta should have used the power of his office to rein in progressive prosecutors.” 

The Boudin recall is on the June 7 ballot, and signature gathering is underway in the Gascón recall effort. Organizers of the recall campaigns allege that each D.A.’s policies led to an increase in crime. Bonta endorsed Gascón’s D.A. bid and worked with Boudin’s office on legislation when Bonta was in the General Assembly.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) appointed Bonta in 2021 after Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) became U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services. Bonta served in the General Assembly from 2012 to 2021, where his record included co-writing bills to end cash bail and requiring the attorney general to investigate fatal police shootings of unarmed people. 

Bonta says he “holds those who break the law – especially those in positions of power – accountable” and that in his first 100 days as attorney general, he won a settlement for families harmed by opioids, defended an assault weapons ban, and prosecuted major polluters. 

Hochman says he will “protect our neighborhoods, get fentanyl off our streets, get tough on crime, and find compassionate solutions to homelessness.” 

Schubert’s campaign slogan is “Stop the chaos.” She says she’ll “step in and take over cases from district attorneys when those district attorneys are not protecting Californians.”

Republican Eric Early is also running. He says, “It is time for someone new, an outsider who supports law enforcement and wants a California with low crime, good schools, thriving businesses, secure borders, fair elections, a strong Second Amendment, and government overregulation out of our lives.”

California has had Democratic attorneys general since 1999.

Former city council member challenges Ilhan Omar in MN-05

Former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels announced his Democratic primary bid for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District. Samuels says incumbent Rep. Ilhan Omar (D) “has demonstrated she’s out of touch with the residents of Minneapolis in the last election,” referring to her support for a 2021 ballot measure to replace the city’s police department with a Department of Public Safety. Voters rejected the measure 56%-44%.

Omar’s campaign said in a fundraising email following Samuels’ announcement, “[Samuels] was one of the most vocal opponents of a ballot amendment in Minneapolis that would have established a public safety system rooted in compassion, humanity and love, and delivering true justice. We can’t let him win and put a stop to all our work for progress.”

Samuels was part of a group of residents who sued the city in 2020 alleging it did not have enough police officers to meet the city charter’s requirements. A Hennepin County judge ruled in favor of the group in 2021, ordering the city to hire more officers. On Monday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the decision, stating that the mayor is responsible for determining police staffing levels.

Samuels also criticized Omar’s vote against the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021. Omar was one of six Democrats to vote against the bill. Samuels said, “Too many D.C. politicians find their success through the division and purity politics that have defined our era, and, unfortunately in this case, Rep. Omar’s position was quite literally ‘my way or the highway,’ a position that fails to recognize the tremendous infrastructural needs of our community.”

Omar said in November, “I have been clear that I would not be able to support the infrastructure bill without a vote on the Build Back Better Act. Passing the infrastructure bill without passing the Build Back Better Act first risks leaving behind childcare, paid leave, health care, climate action, housing, education, and a roadmap to citizenship.”

The Star Tribune reported that Joe Radinovich, who managed Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s successful re-election campaign last year, is managing Samuels’ campaign.  

Samuels served on the city council from 2003 to 2014. He then served a term on the Minneapolis Board of Education from 2014 to 2018. Omar was first elected to the U.S. House in 2018. She served in the state House of Representatives from 2017 to 2019.

Congressional Progressive Caucus members split endorsements in IL-06

U.S. Reps. Sean Casten and Marie Newman are both running in Illinois’ 6th Congressional District Democratic primary as a result of redistricting. Both have garnered endorsements from members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), of which Newman is a member and Casten is not. 

Most recently, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), deputy chair of the CPC, endorsed Casten. CPC Chair Pramila Jayapal has endorsed Newman.

In addition to Porter, 14 U.S. representatives have endorsed Casten, including four CPC members. Seven U.S. representatives in addition to Jayapal have endorsed Newman, six of whom are CPC members. The Progressive Caucus PAC endorsed Newman.

Forty-one percent of the newly drawn 6th District’s population comes from the old 3rd District, which Newman currently represents. Twenty-three percent comes from the old 6th District, which Casten represents. 

Casten was first elected to the House in 2018 and won re-election in 2020 by 7 percentage points. Newman was first elected in 2020, defeating then-U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary by 3 percentage points before winning the general election by 13 percentage points.

The primary is scheduled for June 28.

U.S. representatives not seeking re-election

As of the end of February—eight months before the general election—45 members of the U.S. House had announced they would not seek re-election. At the same time in the 2020 election cycle, 34 representatives had announced they wouldn’t seek re-election. That number was 46 in 2018.

Poll shows Gov. Kathy Hochul about even with former Gov. Andrew Cuomo in hypothetical primary matchup

Emerson College and The Hill released a poll showing that in a hypothetical primary matchup, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) had 37% support and the incumbent she replaced, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), had 33%. The poll had a +/- 4.3 percentage point margin of error.

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi had 7%, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams had 4%, Paul Nichols had 2%, and 16% were either undecided or voting for someone else.

Cuomo resigned during his third term last August after New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) released reports on investigations into Cuomo’s handling of the coronavirus in nursing homes and accusations of sexual harassment. Cuomo made his first public remarks since leaving office on March 6, saying that no legal charges were brought against him. A week later, Cuomo released an ad in which he says, “I haven’t been perfect, I’ve made mistakes, but I also made a difference. I’ve never stopped fighting for New Yorkers, and I never will.” 

AdImpact reported on Tuesday that Cuomo’s campaign committee had spent $2.4 million on ads since he left office, including a new buy to run from March 16 to March 25. Cuomo has not made any announcements regarding another run for political office.

Emerson College/The Hill also asked respondents who they’d vote for between current gubernatorial primary candidates, which showed Hochul at 42%, Williams at 10%, Suozzi at 7%, Nichols at 5%, and 36% either undecided or voting for someone else. 

The poll surveyed 504 registered Democratic voters and was conducted March 9-10. 

The filing deadline is April 7, and the primary is scheduled for June 28.

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper endorses challenger to state Sen. Kirk deViere

On March 8, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) endorsed Val Applewhite, who is challenging incumbent state Sen. Kirk deViere in the Democratic primary for Senate District 19. Cooper said Applewhite “isn’t afraid to stand up to Right Wing Republicans.” 

DeViere said, “This primary challenge is a direct result of putting my community over partisan politics and not being a rubber stamp.”

DeViere, first elected in 2018, was one of four Democrats who voted for a version of the 2021 state budget that the Republican majority supported. Among the items other Senate Democrats, along with Cooper, disagreed with Republicans on were raises for teachers and noncertified school employees. Cooper called for 10% teacher raises and a $15 minimum wage for noncertified employees. The Senate budget called for 3% teacher raises and a $13 minimum wage for noncertified employees. All four Senate Democrats who supported that version of the budget served on the committee responsible for negotiating a final budget with Cooper.

DeViere and Applewhite were candidates in the nonpartisan election for Fayetteville mayor in 2013. Applewhite finished first in the primary with 44% and DeViere was third with 20%. Applewhite lost the general election to Nat Robertson 50.5%-49.4%.

Ed Donaldson is also running in the Democratic Senate District 19 primary. The primary is scheduled for May 17 and will be open to registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters only. 



Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 14

March 17, 2022

In this issue: Rep. Rice criticizes Trump after S.C. rally and late Rep. Hagedorn’s wife enters special election

U.S. Rep. Tom Rice criticizes former President Trump after Trump hosts rally for primary opponent

U.S. Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) criticized former President Donald Trump (R) on March 12 after Trump hosted a rally supporting Russell Fry. Fry is one of 11 challengers to Rice in South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District Republican primary.

Rice was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the U.S. Capitol breach on January 6, 2021. Of the seven who are running or may run for re-election, Trump has endorsed challengers to six.

Rice said, “Trump is here because, like no one else I’ve ever met, he is consumed by spite. I took one vote he didn’t like and now he’s chosen to support a yes man candidate who has and will bow to anything he says, no matter what. … If you want a Congressman who cowers to no man, who votes for what is right, even when it’s hard, and who has fought like hell for the Grand Strand and Pee Dee, then I hope to earn your vote.”

At the rally, Trump said, “Right here in the 7th Congressional District, Tom Rice, a disaster. He’s respected by no one, he’s laughed at in Washington, he was never thought highly of in Washington. And he was just censured by your great South Carolina GOP. Tom Rice joined the Democrats’ deranged impeachment witch hunt … it’s all turned out to be a hoax.”

Fry thanked Trump in a tweet and said, “Conservatives are ready to replace Tom Rice and send a committed conservative to Washington. June 14 comes soon! It’s time to #FrytheRice”

Rice was first elected in 2012. Fry is a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives and was first elected in a 2015 special election. 

Primary candidates endorse in TX-28 runoff

Cassy Garcia picked up endorsements from four of the five unsuccessful candidates in the Texas 28th Congressional District primary. Garcia faces Sandra Whitten in the May 24 runoff.

Garcia received 23.5% of the primary vote to Whitten’s 18%. 

Garcia was a deputy state director for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Whitten is a preschool director and was the district’s Republican nominee in 2020, running unopposed in that year’s primary. Whitten lost to Rep. Henry Cuellar (D) 39% to 58%.

Cruz spent $137,000 from his campaign fund in independent expenditures supporting Garcia ahead of the March 1 primary.

Cuellar and 2020 Democratic challenger Jessica Cisneros are also in a primary runoff on May 24. The Cook Political Report and Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball moved the general election from Lean Democratic to Toss-up following the primary.

Oklahoma Supreme Court will hear case about delaying Senate special election

The Oklahoma Supreme Court will hear arguments on March 23 in a case seeking to delay the U.S. Senate special election in Oklahoma. Attorney Stephen Jones alleges in the lawsuit that the state would violate the 17th Amendment by holding the special election before Sen. Jim Inhofe’s resignation is effective on Jan. 3, 2023. Jones represented Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing trial.

Inhofe (R) announced in what he called an “irrevocable pledge” on Feb. 28 that he’ll retire in January, four years before his term expires. According to state law, “a vacancy or irrevocable resignation” for Senate taking place on or before March 1 in an even-numbered year is to be filled by special election at the time of the next regularly scheduled statewide election. The special primary and general elections for Inhofe’s seat are set for the same dates as this year’s regular elections.

The 17th Amendment states, “When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.”

Joe Thai, a constitutional law professor at the University of Oklahoma Law School, said, “If you look at the text of the 17t [sic] Amendment, it talks about vacancies in the present tense. … Jones has an argument there; that the legislature is getting ahead of the ball.” 

James Davenport, a Rose State College political science professor, said the case hinges on whether an irrevocable resignation creates a vacancy: “The court would have to find something that would be fairly clear in striking that process (the irrevocable resignation) down. … Additionally, the court would need to make a decision quickly, they don’t have a whole lot of time.”

The filing deadline is currently set for April 15 and the special primary for June 28.

U.S. representatives not seeking re-election

As of the end of February—eight months before the general election—45 members of the U.S. House had announced they would not seek re-election. At the same time in the 2020 election cycle, 34 representatives had announced they wouldn’t seek re-election. That number was 46 in 2018.

Former Minnesota Party chair announces campaign for late husband’s district

On Monday, former Minnesota Republican Party Chair Jennifer Carnahan announced her GOP primary bid for the special election in Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District. The previous incumbent and Carnahan’s husband, Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R), died of cancer on Feb. 17.  

Carnahan served as Minnesota Republican Party chair from 2017 to 2021. Carnahan resigned in August after an associate and GOP donor, Anton Lazzaro, was indicted on federal sex trafficking charges. Four former state party executive directors also said Carnahan fostered a toxic work environment. 

Carnahan said, “Strong leaders frequently end up with enemies. You could pick almost any Member out of the Congressional register and come up with similar attacks.” Carnahan said she condemned Lazzaro after the accusations were made public and that Lazzaro also donated to other Republicans. “This is clearly a double standard. It’s time to move on.”

Former Minnesota Republican Party Deputy Chair Michael Brodkorb said, “I think [Carnahan] has a lot of unresolved political baggage that will put the congressional district in play for the Democrats.”

The primary field includes at least nine other candidates. 

Among them is Brad Finstad, a former state representative who served as director for USDA Rural Development in Minnesota during the Trump administration. U.S. Rep. GT Thompson (R-Pa.) endorsed Finstad. Thompson is the Republican leader on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, on which Hagedorn previously served. 

Also running is state Rep. Jeremy Munson, co-founder of the New House Republican Caucus, a group of four state House members who split from the Republican caucus in 2019 after disagreements with party leadership. All four caucus members called on Carnahan to resign as party chair in August. U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), the House Freedom Caucus chair, endorsed Munson. 

Recent elections in the district have been close. Current Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D), who represented the district from 2007 to 2019, defeated Hagedorn in 2016 50.3% to 49.6%. In 2018, Hagedorn defeated Democrat Dan Feehan 50.1% to 49.7%. Hagedorn defeated Feehan again 48.6% to 45.5% in 2020. 

The special primary is scheduled for May 24. The special general election will be Aug. 9. A regular election for the district takes place Nov. 8.

Trump-endorsed primary voting bill dies in Wyoming House

A bill Trump endorsed that would have changed when voters could switch their party affiliation before a primary died in the Wyoming House of Representatives last week. 

Politico’s Meridith McGraw wrote that “Trump and his allies [had] been privately lobbying Wyoming lawmakers to change the state’s election laws as part of an effort to unseat Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).” Trump publicly endorsed the bill, saying, “This critically important bill ensures that the voters in each party will separately choose their nominees for the General Election, which is how it should be!”

Currently, Wyoming primary voters can switch their party affiliation on the same day as the state’s primary elections. SF0097 would have changed the deadline to before the start of the candidate filing period, which falls in May this year. The primary is scheduled for Aug. 16.

The Hill‘s Reid Wilson reported, “Supporters of the bill said making the change would prevent Democrats or independent voters from casting a ballot in the Republican primary — presumably, voters who would be more likely to favor Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump and who sits on the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.”

Trump endorsed Harriet Hageman in the primary in September, calling Cheney a “warmonger and disloyal Republican” and “the Democrats [sic] number one provider of sound bites.”  

The Wyoming Senate passed the bill 18-12 on Feb. 25. On March 7, the House Appropriations Committee recommended that the bill not pass. According to the Casper Star-Tribune’s Victoria Eavis, the House adjourned without considering the bill by the March 8 deadline. Wyoming’s 2022 legislative session ended on March 11. The GOP has a 28-2 majority in the state Senate and a 51-7 majority in the House. 

According to the Associated Press’ Mead Gruver, “Similar measures have failed in the Wyoming Legislature in recent years amid concern that narrowing the dates in the law could dampen turnout.”



Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 13

Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Democratic Edition

March 10, 2022

In this issue: Working Families Party endorsements in NY congressional races and Israel an early issue in MI-11

NY Working Families Party endorses in NY-11, NY-12

The New York Working Families Party endorsed Brittany Ramos DeBarros in New York’s 11th Congressional District primary and Rana Abdelhamid in the 12th District primary. Spectrum News 1 reported that former Rep. Max Rose in the 11th District and incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney in the 12th had sought the party’s endorsement.

Both Abdelhamid and Ramos DeBarros are members of the Democratic Socialists of America. Rose was elected to the 11th District in 2018 and lost in 2020 to Nicole Malliotakis (R). The Working Families Party did not endorse in the 11th District primary or general elections in 2020. The party did not endorse in the 12th District primary that year, though it did back Maloney’s general election bid. Maloney was first elected to the House in 1992.

New York uses fusion voting. More than one political party can support the same candidate, and that candidate appears on the same ballot multiple times under different party lines (for example, the Democratic Party and the Working Families Party).

NY-11

Ramos DeBarros, a veteran, said last year in response to a question on Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, “There are a lot of people who have been left behind by the political establishment that always courts the margins in the center while we have hundreds of thousands of constituents who don’t turn out because they aren’t inspired.” Click here to read her full survey.

Rose, also a veteran, said after announcing his bid in December that he would spend time “earning people’s trust across the political spectrum and talking about ways in which we can actually fix people’s problems. Not just dividing us.”

Komi Agoda-Koussema is also running in the primary.

NY-12

Abdelhamid founded a women’s defense nonprofit and works for Google. She said, “Representative Maloney has spent nearly 30 years taking millions of dollars from developers and Wall Street banks profiting off our suffering. People don’t feel represented when 50% of Congress is made up of millionaires.” 

When announcing her bid for a 16th term, Maloney said, “Now more than ever, our city needs innovative leaders to spearhead our rebuilding from the COVID-19 crisis … From securing federal funding to help New Yorkers get vaccinated, pay their rent, and feed their families, I have led efforts that will enable New York City and New York State to build back better.”


As we wrote last month, there are several other candidates running in the primary, including Suraj Patel, who challenged Maloney in 2018 and 2020. 

The primaries are set for June 28.

Israel an early issue in MI-11 primary

On March 3, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee endorsed Rep. Haley Stevens in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District primary, where she faces fellow Rep. Andy Levin due to redistricting. The groups Democratic Majority for Israel and Pro-Israel America have also endorsed Stevens. The group J Street endorsed Levin.

Jewish Insider wrote, “The debate within the Democratic Party over the future of its support of the U.S.-Israel relationship and what it means to be pro-Israel is set to play out in stark fashion” in this district’s primary.

Levin introduced the Two-State Solution Act in the House in September. The bill would prohibit the U.S. “from providing support for projects in geographic regions that came under Israeli control after June 5, 1967. It also prohibits the use of any U.S. security assistance, defense articles, or defense services provided to Israel for efforts to annex or exercise permanent control over any part of the West Bank or Gaza,” according to the bill summary. It also allows for temporarily waiving some restrictions on the Palestine Liberation Organization and contains provisions for product labeling and development assistance.

Pro-Israel American Executive Director Jeff Mendelsohn said the Act was “unhelpful to the U.S.’s relationship to Israel and the peace process itself” and one of the reasons his group endorsed Stevens. 

J Street supports the Two-State Solution Act. A J Street representative said Levin “embodies what it looks like to combine love for Israel with concern for its future and a commitment to core Jewish values of peace, justice and equality.”

Sumukh Kallur is also running in the primary, scheduled for Aug. 2.

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette endorses in Colorado’s new 8th District

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-01) endorsed state Sen. Yadira Caraveo in the Democratic primary for Colorado’s newly created 8th Congressional District covering Denver’s northern suburbs. The state was apportioned eight U.S. House seats after the 2020 census, a one-seat gain.

In a statement, DeGette said, “As a pediatrician and state legislator, Dr. Caraveo knows how to have tough conversations and take on tough fights — and it’s long past time for Coloradans to elect our first Latina U.S. representative.”

Chaz Tedesco, Johnny Humphrey, and Joshua Rodriguez are also running so far. 

Tedesco has been a member of the Adams County Commission since 2012 and has endorsements from several labor unions, including the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, the International Association of Firefighters, and Local 9 of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers.

Johnny Humphrey describes himself as a moderate Democrat and is the director of Inclusivity Services for The Center on Colfax, an LGBTQ nonprofit organization. 

Joshua Rodriguez sought the Unity Party’s nomination for Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat in 2020. Rodriguez was arrested last month on charges including identity theft and attempting to influence a public servant.

The Denver Post‘s Alex Burness wrote, “Recent election results suggest the new 8th Congressional District will be a close race in 2022 — though Democrats may have a slight advantage.” He also said that the district “is projected to have the highest concentration of Latino voters of any U.S. House district in the state.”

The primary is scheduled for June 28.

U.S. Rep Matt Cartwright endorses Rep. Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate primary

On March 5, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) endorsed fellow Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) in the Democratic Senate primary. Lamb also announced endorsements from several Democratic state representatives. 

Lamb is one of 12 candidates running in the primary. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D) have also received several endorsements. 

Fetterman served as mayor of Braddock from 2005 to 2019. His endorsers include current Braddock Mayor Delia Lennon-Winstead, the Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association, the United Steelworkers District 10, and UFCW Local 1776.

Kenyatta’s endorsers include the American Federation of Teachers, the Working Families Party, Brand New Congress, and U.S. Reps. Al Green (D-Texas) and Sharice Davids (D-Kan.).

In addition to Cartwright’s endorsement, Lamb’s other endorsers include the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee’s Latino Caucus, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, and several labor organizations. 

As we wrote last month, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party did not endorse in the primary at its Jan. 29 meeting. Lamb received 61% support on the final ballot and Fetterman received 23%. A candidate needed two-thirds of the vote to win the endorsement. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Julia Terruso wrote that the three candidates disagree on federal marijuana legalization, fracking moratoriums, and the Electoral College. 

  • Terruso said Kenyatta supports a moratorium on new fracking sites, while Fetterman and Lamb “both oppose any ban, favoring a more gradual transition from natural gas.”
  • Fetterman and Kenyatta support federal recreational marijuana legalization—which Fetterman has made a top priority—while Lamb supports state and local decriminalization along with legalized medical marijuana. 
  • Kenyatta supports, and Fetterman and Lamb oppose, abolishing the Electoral College.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R) is not running for re-election. The primary is May 17.

Defeated incumbents tracker

We’ll be tracking how many state legislative incumbents are defeated throughout 2022. Here’s some very preliminary data after Texas’ March 1 primaries. Note that the following includes incumbents filed and in contested primaries from six states (Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Nebraska, Texas, and West Virginia). The “defeated” column only includes data from Texas, which holds primary runoffs for some seats in May. 

Former Oregon Gov. Barbara Roberts endorses Tobias Read in primary

On March 3, former Oregon Gov. Barbara Roberts (D) endorsed state Treasurer Tobias Read in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Roberts, the first woman elected governor in the state, served a single term from 1991 to 1995.

Roberts said, “Oregon needs a governor with a statewide record of tackling tough issues, delivering results, and fighting for Oregonians living in every corner of this great state.”

The Willamette Week said the endorsement was “somewhat surprising and a big boost for Read” in light of key endorsements former House Speaker Tina Kotek has received, including from the Service Employees International Union and the Oregon Education Association. The paper says Kotek and Read are the leading primary candidates.

Seventeen candidates filed for the Democratic primary, including Kotek and Read. 

Incumbent Kate Brown (D), who first took office following John Kitzhaber’s (D) resignation in 2015, is term-limited. The primary is May 17. Democrats have won the last 10 gubernatorial elections in Oregon, the longest winning streak for either party in state history.

Competitiveness data: Indiana’s primaries

Indiana’s filing deadline for federal and state elections was Feb. 4. We’ve crunched some numbers to see how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles.

U.S. House

State legislature

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.


Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 13

Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Republican Edition

March 10, 2022

In this issue: Jeanne Ives endorses Darren Bailey for Illinois governor and Ducey not running for Senate in Arizona

Jeanne Ives endorses Darren Bailey for Illinois governor

Former state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R) endorsed Darren Bailey in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Politico wrote that Ives’ backing gives Bailey “an edge that could only be upped if Donald Trump were to endorse” and “a boost in conservative credibility.” Ives challenged then-Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) in the 2018 GOP primary, losing 49%-52%. 

In her endorsement, Ives mentioned candidate Richard Irvin and his running mate, Avery Bourne: “Republican voters need to be warned. The same people who ran Rauner’s campaign backed by a billion-dollar checkbook are now running the Irvin-Bourne race backed by the same billion-dollar checkbook.”

Hedge fund founder Ken Griffin gave $20 million to Irvin’s campaign in February. According to the State Journal-Register, Griffin donated $36 million to Rauner’s campaigns.

Bailey, a state senator, is emphasizing economic policy, saying he’ll lower taxes and spending. Bailey calls Irvin a Democrat, saying Irvin won’t say what his position is on abortion and accusing him of “imposing Draconian mandates in Aurora” amid the pandemic. Bailey filed a lawsuit challenging Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s (D) stay-at-home order.

Irvin, the mayor of Aurora and a former prosecutor, is emphasizing crime policy, saying he “defeated the local ‘Defund the Police’ movement” as Aurora mayor. He also says he prevented tax increases in the city and balanced its budgets.

The primary is scheduled for June 28. 

Gov. Brian Kemp places $4.2 million ad buy in Georgia

Gov. Brian Kemp placed a $4.2 million initial TV ad buy as he faces former Sen. David Perdue and at least two others in the GOP primary

The Hill‘s Max Greenwood reported, “The ad buy is enormous. Put in context, Kemp’s campaign is spending more than four times the amount that Perdue’s campaign had on hand at the end of January.”

The first spots will run statewide on March 30.

Ads have been a big storyline in the primary so far. As we wrote last month, the Republican Governors Association released a pro-Kemp ad—the group’s first-ever TV ad supporting an incumbent who’s facing a primary challenger. Perdue’s first ad featured former President Donald Trump (R). Trump endorsed Perdue in the race after clashing with Kemp on the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia. 

The primary is scheduled for May 24.

Gov. Kristi Noem calls for Steve Haugaard censure, S.D. GOP condemns his comments about woman with drug addiction

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem called for state Rep. Steve Haugaard’s censure over comments Haugaard made during a March 3 floor debate on a marijuana bill. Haugaard, who is challenging Noem in the gubernatorial primary, said he knew a woman who used marijuana and went on to use meth. Haugaard referred to the woman as “kind of a wrung-out wh*re, because she has prostituted herself for drugs over and over again.” 

Haugaard said after, “I really do apologize to those that I offended by using that word, but anybody here in the Capitol that knows me knows I do not use foul language.”

Noem said, “I am disappointed and appalled by the inappropriate and offensive language used today on the House floor by Rep. Haugaard. … I’m calling on the Speaker and the House to take a stand against this irresponsible and abusive behavior by formally reprimanding and censuring Mr. Haugaard.”

On March 4, the South Dakota GOP’s executive board condemned Haugaard’s comments, saying, “The language used by Rep. Haugaard to depict a Native American woman and the results of her drug addiction do not reflect the values of the Republican Party.” State Rep. Tamara St. John (R) said Haugaard told her the remark was about a Native American woman.

Noem and Haugaard recently clashed over policy on medication sometimes used to perform abortions. On Feb. 28, Haugaard’s proposed ban on medication used for the purposes of abortion stalled in the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The committee passed Noem’s legislation stating that the second drug used in medication abortions may only be dispensed in person. The state legislature passed Noem’s bill.

The primary is scheduled for June 7.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey won’t run for U.S. Senate

On March 3, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) told donors he won’t run for Senate this year. So far, there are nine candidates in the Aug. 2 Republican primary. The filing deadline is April 4. 

In the letter, Ducey wrote, “Right now I have the job I want, and my intention is to close my years of service to Arizona with a very productive final legislative session AND to help elect Republican governors across the country in my role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.”


Ducey also said, “We have a strong field of candidates in Arizona and I will be actively supporting our nominee — and perhaps weighing in before the primary.”

According to CNN, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “spent months working aggressively to persuade Ducey to mount a Senate campaign, under the belief that he would be the strongest candidate to try and win back the seat of Sen. Mark Kelly, a Democrat.” 

The primary field includes venture capitalist Blake Masters, who Club for Growth PAC and investor Peter Thiel endorsed; former solar energy executive Jim Lamon, whose endorsers include the National Border Patrol Council and Conservative Political Action Coalition; and Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who Fox anchor Mark Levin endorsed.

Trump criticized Ducey in a Save America PAC statement last month: “MAGA will never accept RINO Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona running for the U.S. Senate.” Trump and Ducey clashed over Ducey’s certification of the state’s 2020 presidential election results.

Defeated incumbents tracker

We’ll be tracking how many state legislative incumbents are defeated throughout 2022. Here’s some very preliminary data after Texas’ March 1 primaries. Note that the following includes incumbents filed and in contested primaries from six states (Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Nebraska, Texas, and West Virginia). The “defeated” column only includes data from Texas, which holds primary runoffs for some seats in May.

Proposed health education standards an issue in Nebraska BOE race

Proposed health education standards are an issue in the May 10 primary for Nebraska State Board of Education. Seat 7 incumbent Robin Stevens faces two challengers: Pat Moore and Elizabeth Tegtmeier. 

The Scottsbluff Star-Herald wrote that “the board halted a set of proposed health standards in September due to parent backlash. The standards would have taught about sexual orientations, identities and activities to children who were in elementary school.”

Stevens assumed office in 2019. He said, “My number one goal throughout (my first term) … was to increase early childhood education opportunities.” Stevens said, “I want people to know that there has never been a vote by the state board to either approve or disapprove the proposed health standards … I felt like the language that was used in parts of the health standards was too raw and therefore inappropriate.”

Moore is a pastor and emphasizes local control of education decisions. He said in response to a question on Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, “Comprehensive sex education and Critical Race Theory concepts need to be removed from education in Nebraska.” 

Tegtmeier, a former public school teacher, said, “The board became so wrapped up in activist causes that attempted to indoctrinate our children that they neglected their duty to our local school districts.” Tegtmeier said she “promises to protect Nebraska’s children from harmful ideologies that promote racially divisive ideas and inappropriate sexual content.” 

Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), Lt. Gov. Mike Foley (R), several Republican state senators, and several county Republican parties endorsed Tegtmeier. 

The primary is nonpartisan. All three Seat 7 candidates are Republicans.

The Nebraska State Board of Education’s responsibilities include appointing and removing the state commissioner of education, the organization of the Nebraska Department of Education, and oversight and supervision of the state’s K-12 public schools. 

Members are elected to four-year terms in nonpartisan elections. Four of eight seats are up for election this year. Three incumbents are running in 2022. One other incumbent, Democrat Deborah Neary, faces a primary with two challengers. The other two seats up for election saw two candidates file a piece, meaning both candidates for each will head to the November election.

Competitiveness data: Indiana’s primaries

Indiana’s filing deadline for federal and state elections was Feb. 4. We’ve crunched some numbers to see how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles.

U.S. House

State legislature

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.


Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 12

Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Republican Edition

March 3, 2022

In this issue: Texas GOP primary results roundup and a Senate leadership disagreement in N.C.

Texas results roundup

Texas held the nation’s first midterm primaries on Tuesday. Races in which no candidate received a majority of the vote are headed to May 24 runoffs. Here’s a roundup of results from marquee Republican primaries, current as of Thursday morning. 

The big stories: Taylor suspends campaign, Paxton and Bush go to runoff

Texas’ 3rd Congressional District: Incumbent Van Taylor and Keith Self advanced to a runoff with 48.7% and 26.5%, respectively. Taylor suspended his campaign on Wednesday, saying, “About a year ago, I made a horrible mistake that has caused deep hurt and pain among those I love most in this world. … I had an affair, it was wrong, and it was the greatest failure of my life.” 

The Texas Tribune‘s Patrick Svitek said that “no other race in Texas this year seems to more reflect the debate within the GOP over the fallout from Jan. 6.” Taylor was one of two House Republicans from Texas—and 35 House Republicans nationwide—who voted last May to establish a commission to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol breach. Self, a former Collin County judge, criticized Taylor’s vote. Five candidates ran in the primary.

Attorney General: Incumbent Ken Paxton and state Land Commissioner George P. Bush advanced to a runoff with 42.7% and 22.8%, respectively. Former state supreme court Justice Eva Guzman received 17.5% and U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, 17%. 

Svitek and the Tribune‘s James Barragán wrote during the primary, “Gohmert and Paxton are … vying for the same conservative voters who are further right than the establishment GOP. Bush and Guzman appear to be fighting over traditional, pro-business Republicans.”

A grand jury indicted Paxton on securities fraud charges in 2015, and former aides have accused him of bribery and abuse of office. Paxton has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

Other marquee primary results

U.S. House

  • Texas’ 1st: Nathaniel Moran won with 62.9%. Joe McDaniel was second with 24.3%. Four candidates ran. The district is open—incumbent Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) ran for attorney general.
  • Texas’ 8th: This race was too close to call as of Thursday morning. Morgan Luttrell led with 52.2%. Christian Collins was in second with 22.3%. Eleven candidates ran. Incumbent Rep. Kevin Brady (R) didn’t seek re-election.
  • Texas’ 15th: Monica De La Cruz Hernandez won with 56.5%. Mauro Garza was second with 15.3%. Nine candidates ran. The district is open—incumbent Vicente Gonzalez Jr. (D) is running for re-election in the 34th District after redistricting.
  • Texas’ 38th: Wesley Hunt won with 55.3%. Mark Ramsey had 30.2%. This is a newly created district following redistricting.

State executive

  • Governor: Incumbent Greg Abbott won with 66.4%. Next were Allen West and Don Huffines with 12.3% and 12.0%, respectively. Eight candidates ran in the GOP primary.
  • Agriculture Commissioner: Incumbent Sid Miller won with 58.5%. James White was second with 31.1%. Three candidates ran.

State legislature

  • State legislative: There were 62 Republican state legislative primaries. Nine were for the state Senate and 53 were for the state House. Two incumbent senators and 30 incumbent representatives faced primaries. No incumbent Republicans lost primaries on Tuesday.
    • Both incumbent senators in contested primaries won on Tuesday. No Republican state senator has lost in a primary or runoff since 2014. 
    • Four of five state Senate candidates Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) endorsed won primaries. The fifth is headed to a runoff. 
    • There are three runoffs in the House with GOP incumbents—in districts 12, 60, and 85. Two GOP House incumbents were in primaries that haven’t been called yet (districts 64 and 91). In 2020, no GOP House incumbents lost in primaries, and two lost in runoffs.

Media analysis

The Texas Tribune‘s Joshua Fechter said the following about primary results in terms of incumbents and challengers:  

Texas’ top Republicans mostly fended off challengers in the GOP primary Tuesday. Meanwhile, a slate of progressives made inroads in Democratic primaries for Congress — but fell short of their goal of an immediate sweep that would reshape the Texas’ U.S. House delegation.

Meanwhile, the status quo was largely preserved in the Texas Legislature. No state Senate incumbents lost their seats Tuesday night. In the House, one sitting Democrat lost and no incumbent Republicans were knocked out, though a few were forced into runoffs. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan both saw the vast majority of their favored candidates win primaries in the chambers they preside over.

FiveThirtyEight‘s Geoffrey Skelley said the following about the relation between the primary results and House incumbents’ votes on certifying the 2020 election results: 

I mentioned earlier tonight the strong hold that Trump continues to have on the GOP in Texas (many Republicans in the state have a popular view of the former president), and indeed, there were many strong performances by Republican incumbents who voted against certifying the 2020 election in the U.S. House — every one handily won renomination or looked to be on their way in a couple of uncalled races.

But in an example of how our politics are often full of contradictions, most Republicans who voted to certify the election did well, too — except Rep. Van Taylor … Taylor faced a number of attacks for his vote to certify the 2020 election results and for his support of a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. Senate candidates in N.C. disagree on Senate leadership

Veteran Marjorie K. Eastman, former Gov. Pat McCrory, and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker participated in the first U.S. Senate GOP primary debate in North Carolina on Feb. 26. Walker and McCrory disagreed on the topic of Senate leadership. 

The issue arose when Walker was discussing an 11-point plan Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) released that Scott said the GOP should adopt as its agenda. 

Walker said, “I applaud Sen. Rick Scott. … In fact, I think he needs to be the majority leader instead of Mitch McConnell moving forward. … How are you going to change something unless you put new leadership into the pipeline?”

McCrory said, “McConnell brought a change in the Supreme Court working with Donald Trump that we desperately needed, and without his legislative skills, it wouldn’t have happened.”

Eastman didn’t say who she’d support for leader.

McConnell, currently Senate minority leader, has said he will not release a GOP agenda ahead of the midterms. On March 1, McConnell said, “If we’re fortunate enough to have the majority next year, I’ll be the majority leader. I’ll decide in consultation with my members what to put on the floor.” 

Scott, for his part, has said he would support McConnell for majority leader. Scott chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee and said he released the plan separate from that work. In addition to this session of Congress, McConnell was minority leader from 2007 to 2015 and majority leader from 2015 to 2021. 

Rep. Tedd Budd, who Trump endorsed in the Senate primary in North Carolina, was invited to the debate but did not attend. His campaign previously said he wouldn’t participate in debates until the filing deadline passed.

More than a dozen candidates are running in the primary so far. Eastman, Benjamin Griffiths, and Lichia Sibhatu filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey—click on their names to read their responses. The primary is scheduled for May 17.

Sen. Richard Burr (R) isn’t seeking re-election. He was one of three GOP senators up for re-election this year who voted guilty in Trump’s 2021 impeachment trial.

Inhofe announces U.S. Senate retirement, triggering special election

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) announced he’ll retire effective Jan. 3, 2023, four years before his term expires. Inhofe is one of seven senators—six Republicans and one Democrat—to announce retirements at the end of the 117th Congress.

Under state law, a special election to fill the remainder of Inhofe’s term will take place on Nov. 8, at the same time as the regularly scheduled midterm elections. The special primary election is expected to take place on June 28 with a runoff election on Aug. 23 if no candidate wins a majority of the vote. 

Michael Crespin, the director of the Carl Albert Congressional Research & Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma, said, “I expect the primary to be very crowded. … It’s pretty rare for a U.S. Senate seat to open up.” Inhofe was first elected in 1994.

Luke Holland, U.S. Rep Markwayne Mullin, and state Sen. Nathan Dahm announced their candidacies shortly after Inhofe’s announcement. 

Holland has served as Inhofe’s chief of staff since 2017. Holland said he shares Inhofe’s policy positions and would continue Inhofe’s legacy. Inhofe endorsed Holland in his resignation letter, saying, “[Holland] is a fierce conservative and the best person to continue my legacy of a strong national defense and investment in local infrastructure.” 

Mullin said in a tweet, “We need an America First conservative fighting for Oklahoma in the Senate.” Mullin has represented Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013. 

Dahm, who represents District 33 in the Oklahoma State Senate, said in a post on his campaign Facebook page, “We continue to run on my record as THE proven Republican fighter.” Dahm was previously challenging Sen. James Lankford in the GOP primary for the state’s regularly scheduled Senate election this year.

Inhofe won a fifth term after defeating Abby Broyles (D) 63% to 33% in 2020. Oklahoma hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1990, and the winner of the Republican primary is expected to have an advantage in the special general election.

Competitiveness data: West Virginia’s primaries

West Virginia’s filing deadline for federal and state elections was Jan. 29. We’ve crunched some numbers to compare how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles:

U.S. House

Due to population changes, the state lost one district and was apportioned two ahead of the 2022 cycle. West Virginia was apportioned three congressional districts after the 2010 census. All three incumbents filed to run for re-election, two of whom—Reps. David McKinley (R) and Alexander Mooney (R)—are running in the same district.

State legislature

During the 2020 redistricting cycle, the legislature changed the makeup of the House of Delegates. Previously, the chamber had 67 districts with a total of 100 members. Now, the chamber has 100 single-member districts. This did not change the number of delegates, but it increased the number of possible primaries from 134 to 200.

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries: four in the U.S. House and 234 in the state legislature.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.

Incumbent candidates in IL-15 primary comment on Ukraine

U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis and Mary Miller are running in Illinois’ 15th Congressional District GOP primary. Both commented on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Chicago Tribune‘s Rick Pearson said Miller’s response “was in stark contrast to the reactions from the rest of the delegation, including the four other Illinois Republicans in the House” who denounced Putin. Several also called for sanctions.

Miller said on Feb. 24 that “Americans miss the ‘Peace Through Strength’ and energy independence that were achieved during the Trump Administration.” Miller criticized Biden on the withdrawal from Afghanistan, immigration policy, and energy policy, saying, “None of this would be happening if President Trump was still in the White House.” Trump endorsed Miller in the primary.

Davis tweeted on Feb. 24 that he “join[s] the free world in strongly condemning Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. […] Thugs like Putin only respond to strength. Now is the time for severe economic consequences.” He called for sanctions through passing the Putin Accountability Act and for increased military spending in the upcoming defense budget. 

A Davis press release from January said the Putin Accountability Act would “bypass the Biden Administration’s soft-on-Russia approach.”

Miller was first elected in 2020 to represent Illinois’ 15th. Davis was first elected in 2012 to represent the 13th. According to data from Daily Kos, 28% of the newly drawn 15th District’s population comes from Illinois’ old 13th District (which Davis represents) and 31% comes from the old 15th District (which Miller represents). Three independent race forecasters rate the general election Solid or Safe Republican.

Illinois’ primaries are scheduled for June 28.