Tagincumbent

Nadler defeats Maloney in final incumbent-vs.-incumbent primary

U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler defeated U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Suraj Patel, and Ashmi Sheth in the Democratic primary for New York’s 12th Congressional District on Aug. 23, 2022. Nadler received 55% of the vote to Maloney’s 24%, followed by Patel with 19%.

This race was the last of six primaries featuring two U.S. House incumbents due to congressional redistricting. Maloney currently represents the old 12th District, and Nadler represents the old 10th District. According to data from Daily Kos, Maloney represents 61% of the redrawn 12th District’s population, and Nadler represents 39%.

Both Nadler and Maloney were first elected in 1992. Nadler chairs the Judiciary Committee, and Maloney chairs the Oversight and Reform Committee. Both are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Patel, an attorney, challenged Maloney in 2018 and 2020. In 2020, Maloney defeated Patel 43% to 39% in a four-candidate race.

The New York Times’ Nicholas Fandos wrote of the primary, “With overwhelmingly similar views, the candidates … toiled through the summer to differentiate themselves.” Fandos said that Nadler “tried to claim the progressive mantle and highlighted his status as the city’s last remaining Jewish congressman,” Maloney’s campaign “centered on women — both their electoral potential to sway the outcome and the importance of protecting one of their own,” and Patel “[targeted] younger voters, stressing the need for generational change against two septuagenarians[.]”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and The New York Times editorial board endorsed Nadler. Maloney received endorsements from the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC and EMILY’s List. 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Indian American Impact endorsed Patel.

Major independent observers rate the general election as solid or safe Democratic.



4.6% of state legislative incumbents who filed for re-election have lost in primaries

So far this year, 182 state legislative incumbents—48 Democrats and 134 Republicans—have lost to primary challengers.

Across the 38 states that have held primaries, 4.6% of incumbents running for re-election have lost, an elevated level of incumbent losses compared to previous cycles.

These totals include data from Tennessee, which held primaries on Aug. 4, as well as Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin, which held primaries on Aug. 9. So far:

  • Connecticut: one Democrat lost;
  • Minnesota: three Democrats lost; and,
  • Tennessee: two Republicans lost.

No incumbents have lost in Vermont or Wisconsin, though races featuring incumbents remain uncalled.

This year, Republican incumbents have lost at a higher rate than Democrats. Of the 2,186 Republican incumbents who filed for re-election, 134 (6.1%) have lost to primary challengers. For Democrats, 48 of the 1,753 who filed for re-election (2.7%) have lost.

Forty-one of these 182 incumbent defeats (23%) were guaranteed due to redistricting. When states redraw legislative lines, incumbents can oftentimes end up in a new district with other incumbents leading to incumbent v. incumbent primaries or general elections. Since, in these races, there are more incumbents running than nominations or seats available, at least one incumbent must lose.

Of the 38 states that have held primaries so far, 10 have Democratic trifectas, 19 have Republican trifectas, and nine have divided governments. Across these 38 states, there are 5,106 seats up for election, 81% of the nationwide total.

The figures for 2022 will likely increase. There are currently 23 uncalled primaries featuring incumbents: nine Democratic, nine Republican, and five top-two.



Final incumbent vs. incumbent primary upcoming in NY-12

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, Suraj Patel, and Ashmi Sheth are running in the Democratic primary for New York’s 12th Congressional District on Aug. 23. Maloney, Nadler, and Patel lead in endorsements, funding, and media attention.

This race is the last of six primaries featuring two U.S. House incumbents in 2022.

Maloney currently represents the 12th District as it was drawn before redistricting, and Nadler represents the old 10th District. Heading into the election, Maloney represents 61% of the redrawn 12th District’s population, and Nadler represents 39%, according to Daily Kos data.

Both representatives were first elected in 1992. Maloney chairs the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Nadler chairs the Judiciary Committee. Maloney and Nadler are both members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and are campaigning as progressives.

Maloney’s campaign website says she has fostered “lasting bipartisan agreement in an increasingly polarized government, without giving up the ideals and causes she’s fought for throughout her career: promoting equality, protecting consumers, building infrastructure that serves New Yorkers and the region, extending and protecting healthcare coverage for all, protecting the environment, and working to understand and find solutions for everyday issues like affordable housing and small business support.”

Nadler’s campaign website says his record includes “standing up to Republican attempts at voter suppression, providing justice to survivors of sexual assault and harassment, [and] leading the impeachment of President Trump as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.” The website calls Nadler “a relentless defender of our country’s democracy and a fierce fighter for civil rights, racial justice, and a safer, more equal America.”

Patel, an attorney, was a campaign staffer for Barack Obama’s (D) presidential campaigns. Patel challenged Maloney in 2018 and 2020, receiving 40% of the vote to Maloney’s 60% in 2018 and 39% to Maloney’s 43% in 2020.

Patel calls himself “an Obama Democrat” and said, “Democrats need a new generation of leaders – practical and progressive leaders who can deliver new energy and fresh ideas on how to get things done.” Patel said, “New Yorkers are hungry for change. They want more affordable housing, better jobs, safer streets, modern infrastructure that actually gets built in their lifetimes, and representatives who are willing to do whatever it takes to protect and codify their human rights at the federal level.”

Major independent observers rate the general election as solid Democratic or safe Democratic.



Stevens defeated Levin in race incumbent-vs.-incumbent Democratic primary for Michigan’s 11th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens defeated U.S. Rep. Andy Levin in the Democratic primary for Michigan’s 11th Congressional District on August 2, 2022. Stevens received 59.5% of the vote, and Levin received 40.5%.

This race was one of six incumbent-vs.-incumbent primaries occurring for the U.S. House in 2022 as a result of congressional redistricting.

Michigan lost one congressional district following the 2020 census, and when the lines were redrawn, its new 11th district included areas represented by multiple Democratic incumbents. According to data from Daily Kos, the newer 11th district contains about 45% of the older 11th district, which Stevens began representing in Congress in 2019. The newer 11th contains about 25% of the older 9th district, which Levin began representing in Congress in 2019.

When asked why he decided to run for election in the new 11th district instead of the new 9th, Levin said, “I’m running where I live, and I’m very happy about that decision, no regrets.” Levin’s campaign website said of the newer 11th district that Levin’s “roots in Oakland County, Michigan, go back well over 100 years” and that his father Sandy Levin (D) represented parts of the newer 11th in the older 9th district from 1983 to 2019.

Stevens called the incumbent-vs.-incumbent primary unfortunate, saying, “No one asked for this…In ten months, we are not going to be colleagues and that is not good. That is not good for Michigan. That’s not good for the Democratic Party. It’s not good for the country.” 

Levin served on the Education and Labor and Foreign Affairs committees in the 117th Congress. He was also a member of the Progressive caucus. Levin’s campaign said he had a progressive record in Congress, citing his co-sponsorship of bills to implement the Green New Deal and Medicare for All and his endorsements from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D). Levin also emphasized his background on the campaign trail, saying of his former jobs as union organizer for the national AFL-CIO and SEIU, “It’s my life. I’m the union organizer in Congress.” Heading into the final month of the race, Levin had raised more than $4.5 million.

Stevens served on the Education and Labor and Science, Space & Technology committees in the 117th Congress. She helped launch the Women in STEM Caucus in 2020, which said that its goal is to support and increase the number of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. Prior to her election to Congress in 2018, Stevens served as the chief of staff for the U.S. Auto Rescue Task Force under former President Barack Obama (D). Heading into the final month of the race, Stevens had raised more than $2.5 million. In a July 2022 Target-Insyght poll, Stevens led Levin with 58% of voter support to his 31%.

Before the primary, the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections all rated Michigan’s 11th Congressional District as a solid/safe Democratic seat, meaning that the winner of the Democratic primary was very likely to win the general election as well.



Schweikert defeats Barnett and Norton in the Republican primary for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District

Incumbent David Schweikert defeated Josh Barnett and Elijah Norton in the Republican primary for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District on August 2, 2022. Schweikert and Norton led in fundraising and media attention throughout the race.

Schweikert was the incumbent in Arizona’s 6th Congressional District and ran in the 1st District due to redistricting. According to data from DailyKos, 75% of the redrawn 1st District, which covered parts of Phoenix and Scottsdale, came from areas Schweikert represented in the 6th District. U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D), the incumbent in the 1st District, ran in the 2nd District.

Schweikert served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 1991 to 1995 and as Maricopa County’s treasurer from 2004 to 2006 before being elected to represent the 6th District in 2010.

Schweikert highlighted his record on tax policy and economic issues, including voting for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Schweikert’s website said, “As a member of the Ways and Means committee responsible for tax policy, David took the lead in ensuring the historic tax cuts in 2017 became law.” Schweikert also focused on his opposition to vaccine mandates and President Joe Biden’s (D) immigration policies. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Schweikert.

Norton, a Missouri native, is the founder and owner of Veritas Global Protection Services, a Phoenix-based car insurance company. Norton highlighted his business credentials, saying that, as an entrepreneur, he would bring a unique perspective to Congress. Norton also cited immigration as a top issue, saying he supported investing in technology to monitor the border and “establish[ing] a criminal database sharing system with Mexico.” In his responses to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, Norton said he intended to serve no more than eight years in Congress and would donate his congressional salary to charity.

At the time of the primary, three election forecasters rated the general election Lean Republican. According to Inside Elections’ Nathan Gonzales, the redrawn 1st district was slightly more competitive than the old 6th district. “[The 1st district] got a little more Democratic by the presidential numbers. Trump won the old district by 4 points, but Biden would have won the newly drawn District by a single point,” Gonzales said.



Gibbs defeats incumbent Meijer in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District Republican primary

John Gibbs defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer in the Republican primary for Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District on August 2, 2022.

Meijer, first elected in 2020, was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump (R) following the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Trump endorsed Gibbs in this primary.

In a Candidate Connection survey submitted to Ballotpedia, Gibbs said, “No one else has fought in Washington like I have under President Trump,” and that he would “[reduce] government largess and overreach which threatens civil rights, civil liberties and our way of life.” 

The primary received notable satellite spending in its final weeks, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spending $449,854 on ads opposing Gibbs.

Meijer wrote that the ads were, instead, intended to boost support for Gibbs in the primary, calling the spending a “naked political [gambit] aimed at elevating the weaker Republican candidate ahead of the November … elections.”

Gibbs’ campaign did not respond to the DCCC ads but, following the primary, said money did not play a role in the race and that his victory “is an important lesson for the powers that be … to learn they’ve really got to respect what the people want.”

Gibbs will face Hillary Scholten (D) in the general election. Scholten ran against Meijer in 2020, receiving 47% of the vote. The 3rd District’s line changed during redistricting with Michigan Radio’s Nisa Khan and Emma Ruberg describing the district as becoming more Democratic-leaning as a result.

Meijer’s defeat—along with U.S. Rep. Andy Levin’s (D) in Michigan’s 11th District—brings the total number of U.S. House incumbents defeated in primaries to 11 for this cycle. Over the past decade, this is second only to 2012, the most recent post-redistricting cycle, when 13 incumbents lost in primaries.



4.7% of state legislative incumbents who filed for re-election have lost in primaries

So far this year, 156 state legislative incumbents—39 Democrats and 117 Republicans—have lost to primary challengers.

Across the 33 states that have held primaries, 4.7% of incumbents running for re-election have lost, an elevated level of incumbent losses compared to previous cycles.

These totals include data from Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Washington, which held state legislative primaries on Aug. 2. No incumbents have lost, so far, in Arizona, Michigan, and Washington, though races featuring incumbents remain uncalled. For the remaining states:

  • Kansas: one Democrat and three Republicans lost;
  • Ohio: one Democrat and two Republicans lost; and,
  • Missouri: four Democrats and two Republicans lost.

This year, Republican incumbents have lost at a higher rate than Democrats. Of the 1,901 Republican incumbents who filed for re-election, 117 (6.2%) have lost to primary challengers. For Democrats, 39 of the 1,432 who filed for re-election (2.7%) have lost.

Thirty-four of these 156 incumbent defeats (22%) were guaranteed due to redistricting. When states redraw legislative lines, incumbents can oftentimes end up in a new district with other incumbents leading to incumbent v. incumbent primaries or general elections. Since, in these races, there are more incumbents running than nominations or seats available, at least one incumbent must lose.

Of the 33 states that have held primaries so far, nine have Democratic trifectas, 18 have Republican trifectas, and six have divided governments. Across these 33 states, there are 4,306 seats up for election, 70% of the nationwide total.

The figures for 2022 will likely increase. There are currently 87 uncalled primaries featuring incumbents: 24 Democratic, 33 Republican, and 30 top-two.

You can view more information about state-specific and historic information regarding incumbent defeats by clicking “Learn More” below.



33% of Washington state legislative incumbents face contested top-two primaries

Thirty-one of the 95 Washington state legislators who filed for re-election—22 Democrats and nine Republicans—will face contested primaries on Aug. 2. This represents 33% of incumbents who filed for re-election, lower than in 2020 but a higher rate than other recent election cycles.

Washington is one of three states holding top-two state legislative primaries this year. Under this system, all candidates appear on the same primary ballot regardless of their party affiliation and the top-two vote-getters advance to the general election.

Under this system, a primary is contested when more than two candidates file to run in the same district, at which point at least one candidate is guaranteed to lose.

Historically, however, incumbents tend to advance to the general election in Washington.

Between 2014 and 2020, 127 incumbents faced contested primaries in the state, four of whom—two Democrats and two Republicans—lost. This gives incumbents a primary win rate of 98%.

Twenty-seven incumbents are not seeking re-election this year, an increase compared to previous election cycles. This represents 18% of all seats in the Washington State Legislature.

Washington does not have term limits, meaning each of these incumbents either chose to retire or seek some other office.

Overall, 292 candidates filed to run in Washington’s top-two state legislative primaries this year: 126 Democrats, 142 Republicans, and 24 independent or minor party candidates.

All 98 House seats are up for election along with 24 of the state’s 49 Senate seats.

Washington has had a Democratic trifecta since 2017 when the party won control of the Senate in a special election. Democrats currently hold a 57-41 majority in the House and a 29-20 majority in the Senate.

Washington’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for Aug. 2, the 10th statewide primary date of the 2022 state legislative election cycle.

Additional reading:

Washington House of Representatives elections, 2022

Washington State Senate elections, 2022



Incumbent Galvin faces Sullivan in Massachusetts’ secretary of state Democratic primary on Sept. 6

Incumbent William Galvin and Tanisha Sullivan are running in the Democratic primary for Massachusetts secretary of state on September 6, 2022. 

Galvin won his first term in 1994 and was re-elected six times before the 2022 election. In this period, he faced Democratic primary opposition twice. In the 2018 primary, he defeated Josh Zakim, 67% to 33%. 

According to Matt Stout of the Boston Globe, Galvin is “the only incumbent Democratic secretary of state being targeted within his own party.”

Galvin said his experience was important given the increased focus on elections, saying to the Boston Globe, “This is a critical time for democracy. That’s why I think I can provide a unique service. Probably the biggest shift is the national climate, the importance of elections. I believe I can continue to do it effectively. I don’t believe anyone else can [do it as well] at this point.”

Sullivan’s professional experience includes serving as the Chief Equity Office for Boston Public Schools, president of the Boston Branch of the NAACP, a corporate counsel for Sanofi Genzyme, and a fellow for CEO Action for Racial Equity. She said she would do more to promote voting among minority communities, saying at the state party convention, “Despite record voter turnout in 2020, hear me on this, voters from some of our most vulnerable communities still saw the lowest voter turnout across Massachusetts, leaving behind far too many voices…Simply put, Massachusetts needs a secretary of state who fights on the ground with us every day, fighting for the democracy we deserve.”

Sullivan received the Democratic Party’s official endorsement with the support of 62.4% of delegates at the state convention in June 2022. According to Colin A. Young of the State House News Service, Sullivan “was supported by more than 2,500 delegates while Galvin was backed by about 1,500 delegates.”

Young also wrote that “Galvin has lost at the party convention but then prevailed in the party primary three times previously: in 1990 when he ran for treasurer; in 1994 when he first ran for secretary of state; and in 2018 when the upstart campaign of Josh Zakim won the party’s endorsement before being crushed by Galvin when the contest extended beyond the most hardcore party insiders.”

Sullivan said she thought the state party convention endorsement was very important: “2020, in many respects, was a turning point for folks across the country and our understanding about just how important the office of secretary of state is. More people understand the critical role that this office has to play. And I believe that that’s going to make a difference. People are paying attention.”

Galvin said he wanted the support of party delegates at the convention but didn’t think it would decide the primary’s outcome, saying, “I’ve actually not been the endorsee of the convention on three different occasions and I’ve won by more every single time. So I guess I have a mixed opinion. I think the difference between now and four years ago is I think, more than ever before, people recognize the importance of secretary of state, not just here but everywhere in the country.”

Prior to the 2022 elections, the last Republican to serve as secretary of state in Massachusetts was Frederick Cook, who left office in 1949.

Additional reading:

Massachusetts Secretary of State

William Galvin (Secretary of the Commonwealth)

Tanisha Sullivan



All Connecticut U.S. House incumbents file to run for re-election

The filing deadline for candidates running for Congress in Connecticut this year was June 7, 2022. Eleven candidates are running for Connecticut’s five U.S. House districts, including five Democrats and six Republicans. That’s 2.2 candidates per district, down from 2.6 in 2020 and 2018. 

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  1. This is the first election to take place under new district lines following the 2020 census. Connecticut was apportioned five districts, the same number it was apportioned after the 2010 census.
  2. The 11 candidates running this year are the fewest since 2014, when 10 candidates ran, and down from 13 in 2020 and 2018. 
  1. All incumbents are running for re-election, meaning there are no open seats this year. The 5th District is the only Connecticut U.S. House seat to have opened up this past decade. It was open in 2012 after incumbent Rep. Chris Murphy (D) decided to run for the U.S. Senate, and again in 2018 when incumbent Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D) did not file for re-election. 
  2. The Republican primary in the 4th District is the only contested primary this year. That’s down from two in 2020 and 2018. 
  3. No incumbents are facing primary challengers. 
  4. Republican and Democratic candidates filed to run in all five districts, so no seats are guaranteed to either party this year.

Connecticut and three other states—Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin—are holding primary elections on August 9, 2022. Winners in primary elections in Connecticut are determined via plurality vote, meaning that the candidate with the greatest number of votes wins the election even if he or she did not win an outright majority of votes cast.