Four Republican candidates filed to run for governor of New Jersey ahead of the April 5 filing deadline. Jack Ciattarelli, Brian Levine, Philip Rizzo, and Hirsh Singh will compete in the June 8 primary election for their party’s nomination. The general election will take place on Nov. 2.
Ciattarelli and Singh both ran for governor in 2017. Kim Guadagno, the Republican nominee, received 47% of the vote in the Republican primary. Ciattarelli received 31% and Singh received 10% of the vote.
Governor Phil Murphy (D) faces challenger Roger Bacon in the Democratic primary. Murphy won a six-way Democratic primary with 48% of the vote in 2017. This is Bacon’s second run for governor. In 2009, he ran in a four-way primary against then-Gov. Jon Corzine (D) and received 6% of the vote.
New Jersey is currently a Democratic trifecta, with a Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. New Jersey was last under divided government in 2017, when Democrats controlled the legislature and Chris Christie (R) was governor.
Louisiana held special state-level primary elections on March 20. A general election is scheduled for April 24. Louisiana elections use the majority-vote system. All candidates compete in the same primary, and a candidate can win the election outright by receiving more than 50% of the vote. If no candidate wins outright, the top two vote recipients from the primary advance to the general election, regardless of their partisan affiliation.
On the ballot at the state level were special elections for Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) District 4, Louisiana Circuit Courts of Appeal District 1, and Louisiana House of Representatives District 82. Ballotpedia also covered special elections in Louisiana’s 2nd and 5th Congressional Districts. Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District was the only race decided outright in the primary; the rest advanced to the April general election.
The BESE special election was called after Tony Davis (R) left office in January. He served from 2016 to 2021. Five candidates were on the ballot, including one Democrat, two Republicans, and two independents. Cassie Williams (D) and Michael Melerine (R) advanced to the general election. Williams received 29.3% of the vote, and Melerine received 28.2% of the vote.
Louisiana Circuit Courts of Appeal District 1 became vacant in October when Judge Felicia Toney Williams (D) retired. Williams served on the court from 1993 to 2020. Three candidates competed to replace her, all Democrats. Marcus Hunter (D) received 43.7% of the vote. He faces J. Garland Smith (D), who received 31.9% of the vote, in the general election.
The Louisiana House of Representatives District 82 seat became vacant in January when Charles Henry (R) resigned. Henry served from 2020 to 2021. Three candidates competed to replace him—one Democrat and two Republicans. Edwin Connick (R) faces Laurie Schlegel (R) in the general. Connick received 39.7% of the vote and Schlegel received 35.7% of the vote.
Louisiana has a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. The governor is a member of the Democratic Party and both chambers in the Louisiana State Legislature have Republican majorities.
Special election primaries are being held on March 30 for District 14 of the Alabama State Senate and District 73 of the Alabama House of Representatives. Democratic primaries were canceled in both elections because a single candidate filed for each. Primary runoffs will take place on April 27 if no candidate earns more than 50% of the vote. General elections are being held on July 13. The winners of the special elections will serve until November 7, 2022.
In Senate District 14, Joseph Barlow, Donna Dorough Strong, and April Weaver are running in the Republican primary. Virginia Applebaum automatically advanced from the Democratic primary. The seat became vacant on December 7 after Cam Ward (R) was appointed to serve as director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles by Gov. Kay Ivey (R). Ward had represented the seat since 2010 and was unopposed in his re-election bid in 2020. He faced competition in 2018 and won re-election with 72.6% of the vote.
In House District 73, Joseph Daley, George Henry, Leigh Hulsey, Kenneth Paschal, and Kerri Pate are facing off for the Republican nomination. Sheridan Black automatically advanced from the Democratic primary. The special election became necessary after Matt Fridy (R) was elected to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in November 2020. Fridy had represented District 73 since 2015 and won re-election in 2018 with 69.1% of the vote.
Alabama has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 26-8 margin with one vacancy and the state House by a 76-27 margin with two vacancies.
As of March, 33 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.
Tishaura Jones and Cara Spencer advanced from the St. Louis mayoral primary on March 2 and will run against each other in the general election on April 6. Jones received 25,374 votes, while Spencer received 20,649 votes. Lewis Reed and Andrew Jones, the other two candidates in the primary, received 17,162 and 6,422 votes, respectively.
This election was the first one that used approval voting in the city’s history. Candidates of all political affiliations ran in the election without partisan labels and voters could choose any number of candidates to vote for. This voting method was approved by voters in November 2020 as Proposition D.
Mayor Lyda Krewson (D) is not running for re-election. Both Tishaura Jones and Spencer are affiliated with the Democratic Party. The last 10 mayors of St. Louis have all been Democrats. The last time a Republican held the mayor’s office was Aloys Kaufmann, who served as mayor from 1943 to 1949.
On March 2, St. Louis, Missouri, will hold a mayoral primary using an electoral system called approval voting for the first time in the city’s history. Candidates of all political affiliations will appear on the ballot without partisan labels and voters may choose any number of candidates to vote for. The two candidates receiving the most votes will advance to the general election on April 6. Voters approved the method through the passage of Proposition D in November 2020.
Mayor Lyda Krewson (D) is not running for re-election. Four candidates are running in the primary: 2017 mayoral candidate Andrew Jones, St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones, Aldermen President Lewis Reed, and Alderwoman Cara Spencer. Each has a partisan affiliation: A. Jones ran as a Republican in 2017, and the other three candidates have previously run for office as Democrats.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch endorsed both Spencer and Reed. T. Jones was endorsed by Saint Louis County Executive Sam Page, Democracy for America, and the state council of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Spencer was endorsed by former Mayor Vincent Schoemehl Jr. and former Aldermanic President James Shrewsbury.
Through Feb. 22, Spencer raised the most money of all the candidates ($356,000), followed by T. Jones ($333,000), Reed ($271,000), and A. Jones ($20,000).
Candidates have each made crime a key priority in this campaign. A. Jones said that the city’s violent crime problem made it harder for the city to attract new businesses and retain existing ones, so addressing crime would improve safety while also improving the city’s business climate. T. Jones said she supported restructuring the police department’s budget to reallocate funding for mental health services, job training programs, and treating substance abuse. Reed’s campaign website called for a focus on violent crime, using a strategy called focused deterrence with groups most likely to commit violent crimes. Spencer, citing her background in mathematics and modeling, said she would implement a data-driven strategy for crime reduction in the city.
The city of St. Louis utilizes a strong mayor and city council system. In this form of municipal government, the city council serves as the city’s primary legislative body and the mayor serves as the city’s chief executive.
The statewide spring primary for Wisconsin is on February 16, 2021. The filing deadline to run passed on January 5. If two or fewer candidates filed for each seat on the ballot, the primary was canceled and the candidates automatically advanced to the general election scheduled for April 6.
Wisconsin’s spring elections feature nonpartisan offices, and the fall elections feature partisan offices. However, two partisan state legislative special elections are on the otherwise-nonpartisan ballot. Wisconsin State Senate District 13 became vacant on January 1 after Scott Fitzgerald (R) was elected to the U.S. House. State Assembly District 89 became vacant on December 2, 2020, after John Nygren (R) resigned his seat to work in the private sector.
Candidates are also running in the nonpartisan election for the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Ballotpedia is also covering local primaries in the following areas:
• Dane County (1 seats)
• Milwaukee County (2 seats)
• Madison (3 seats)
• Middleton-Cross Plains Board of Education (1 seat)
• Milwaukee Board of School Directors (2 seats)
The general election ballot will feature more offices, including three state appellate court seats.
The nonpartisan primary election for school board seats in Oklahoma is on February 9, 2021. Candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for April 6, 2021. The filing deadline passed on December 9, 2020.
Five school districts within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope are holding primary elections for five seats. In Oklahoma, school districts cancel primary elections if fewer than three candidates file to run for each seat up for election, and the candidates automatically advance to the general election. Both the primary and general elections are canceled if only one candidate files for a seat up for election, and the unopposed candidate is automatically elected. The following school districts are holding primary elections:
• Edmond Public Schools
• Owasso Public Schools
• Putnam City Schools
• Tulsa Public schools
• Oklahoma City Public Schools
In all, a total of 33 school board seats across 26 Oklahoma school districts covered by Ballotpedia are up for election in 2021.
The largest school district covered by Ballotpedia and holding elections in Oklahoma in 2021 is Oklahoma City Public Schools. The district served 39,806 students during the 2016-2017 school year.
The city of St. Louis, Missouri, will hold a nonpartisan top-two primary election for mayor on March 2, 2021. The filing deadline for this election was January 4, 2021.
Four candidates filed to run for the open seat: 2017 mayoral candidate Andrew Jones, St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones, Aldermen President Lewis Reed, and Alderwoman Cara Spencer.
Candidates of all political affiliations will run in the primary election without partisan labels. Andrew Jones ran as a Republican candidate in 2017 and Tishaura Jones, Reed, and Spencer have previously run for office as Democrats.
Voters may choose any number of candidates to vote for and the two candidates that receive the most votes will advance to the general election. This method of voting is called approval voting. This is the first election cycle in the city using this primary election method following the approval of Proposition D on November 3, 2020.
Incumbent Mayor Lyda Krewson (D) announced on Nov. 18, 2020, that she would not seek re-election. Krewson became the city’s first female mayor after winning election on April 4, 2017, with more than 67 percent of the vote.
The last 10 mayors of St. Louis have all been Democrats. The last time a Republican held the mayor’s office was Aloys Kaufmann, who was mayor from 1943 to 1949.
Ballotpedia’s annual state legislative competitiveness study shows that for the third even-year election cycle in a row, the share of incumbents defeated in contested primaries has grown. In the 44 states that held state legislative elections this year, 153 incumbents—61 Democrats and 93 Republicans—were defeated by primary challengers.
Overall, 15.2% of the 1,016 major-party incumbents who faced primary challengers in 2020 lost, the third consecutive increase compared to 2018 (13.8%) and 2016 (12.3%). The loss rate in 2020 also exceeded that of 13.0% in 2014.
18% of Republicans who faced challenges in 2020 were defeated—the highest since at least 2014.
12% of Democrats who faced challenges were defeated, lower than the 14% rate in 2018.
More Democrats were defeated in states with Democratic trifectas, as was the case for Republicans in Republican trifectas.
The loss rate for incumbents in states with divided governments exceeds the national average altogether and by party.
Democratic incumbents were defeated at the highest rate in states with Democratic trifectas and at the lowest in those with Republican trifectas. In states with divided governments, the rate exceeded the national average for Democrats.
Republican incumbents facing contested primaries were more likely to be defeated in states with divided governments than in states with trifectas.