On June 30, 2020, voters across Oklahoma cast their ballots in the state’s legislative primaries.
This year, 125 state legislative seats are up for election. Following the primaries, at least 106 incumbents are advancing to the general election, the highest number within the past decade. The higher number of incumbents in the general election is due to a decade-low number of open seats in both chambers and similarly low numbers of incumbents defeated in the primaries.
In the Senate, two of the 24 incumbents, both Republicans, did not seek re-election, leaving their seats open. In the House, three Democrats and six Republicans retired. In addition to these 11, four incumbents—three Republicans and one Democrat—were defeated in the June 30 primaries. They were:
• Sen. Wayne Shaw (R), Senate District 3
• Rep. Lundy Kiger (R), House District 3
• Rep. Derrel Fincher (R), House District 11
• Rep. Jason Dunnington (D), House District 88
Additionally, Sens. Ron Sharp (R) and Larry Boggs (R) advanced to primary runoffs on August 25. Sen. Paul Scott (R) and Rep. Ajay Pittman (D) ran in primaries that remain too close to call.
In total, 15 incumbents either retired before or were defeated in the June 30 primaries. Pending runoffs and too close to call elections, that number could increase to 19. In either scenario, it is the lowest such number within the preceding decade.
In total, there were 54 party primaries, 15 in the Senate and 39 in the House. By partisan affiliation, there were eight Democratic primaries and 46 Republican primaries. Overall, this marks a 54 percent decrease from 2018, which saw 117 total primaries.
Heading into the general election, Republicans hold a 38-9 supermajority in the Senate and a 77-23 supermajority in the House. Oklahoma is one of 21 Republican state government trifectas with Republicans controlling the governorship and both chambers of the legislature. General election winners will be responsible for redrawing district lines after the 2020 decennial census. The legislature is responsible for drafting congressional and state legislative district plans, both of which are subject to gubernatorial veto.
On June 23, 2020, voters across Kentucky cast their ballots in the state’s legislative primaries.
In total, there were six party primaries for state Senate seats and 32 primaries in the state House. By partisan affiliation, there were 13 Democratic primaries and 25 Republican primaries for a total of 38, a decrease from the 51 primaries held in 2018. Overall, the total number of major party candidates seeking state legislative offices in Kentucky has decreased from 289 in 2018 to 242 this year. Democrats experienced a greater decrease in candidates, down from 150 in 2018 to 106 in 2020. There were 136 Republican candidates this year, down from 139 in 2018.
Seventeen incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2020, three in the Senate and 14 in the House. In the Senate, one incumbent was defeated, so of the 19 seats up for election, 15 will feature an incumbent in the general election. One incumbent was also defeated in the House with one race remaining too close to call as of July 2. This means that of the 100 seats up this year, at least 84 will feature incumbents in the general election.
Incumbents defeated in the primary:
• Sen. Albert Robinson (R), Senate District 21
• Rep. Les Yates (R), House District 73
As of July 2, the primary between first-term incumbent Rep. R. Travis Brenda (R) and Josh Bray (R) remained too close to call. On July 1, Brenda officially requested a canvas of the vote after initial results showed Bray with 50.2 percent of the vote to Brenda’s 49.8 percent, a 30-vote margin.
Heading into the general election, Republicans hold a 29-9 majority in the Senate and a 61-37 majority in the House. In Kentucky, a simple majority of votes in each chamber is required to override a gubernatorial veto. In 2019, Andy Beshear (D) was elected governor, making Kentucky one of the 14 states with divided government. General election winners will be responsible for redrawing district lines after the 2020 census. In Kentucky, the legislature is responsible for drafting congressional and state legislative district plans, both of which are subject to gubernatorial veto.
Nonprofit owner and former professional football player Burgess Owens (R) defeated three other candidates in the Republican primary for Utah’s 4th Congressional District on June 30, 2020. As of 10:15 a.m. Mountain Time on July 1, Owens had received 44 percent of the vote followed by state Rep. Kim Coleman (R-42) and radio personality Jay McFarland (R) with 24 and 22 percent of the vote, respectively. A fourth candidate, Trent Christensen (R), received 11 percent.
Owens will face incumbent Rep. Ben McAdams (D), one of 30 Democrats who represents a district won by President Donald Trump (R) in 2016. McAdams was first elected in 2018 after challenging and defeating incumbent Rep. Mia Love (R), receiving 50.1 percent of the vote to Love’s 49.9 percent, a margin of 694 votes. During the presidential election, Trump received 39 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s (D) 32 percent in the 4th District.
Businesswoman Terry Neese and state Sen. Stephanie Bice were the top two finishers in the Republican primary for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District. As of 10:30 p.m. Central Time on June 30, Neese was first with 37% of the vote and Bice was second with 25%. Because neither candidate received more than 50% of the vote, the two will advance to an August 25 primary runoff.
Nearly all of the satellite spending in the primary was by Club for Growth Action, which opposed Bice, and American Jobs & Growth PAC, which supported her. The winner will challenge incumbent Kendra Horn (D).
This week: Club for Growth Action suspends ads in Senate primary in KS, Right for Alabama PAC spends to counter Club for Growth spending in AL-01 runoff, and Missouri Right to Life PAC endorses state Senator in open Missouri House District 147 primary
On the news
Where do Republican and conservative pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.
On the Supreme Court decision in June Medical Services v. Russo
“The process bothers me as much as the result. The chief justice today joined with the four liberals on the court to strike down the Louisiana statute. Four years ago, in a case out of Texas, same statute, same issue, the chief justice voted with the conservatives. Today, he voted with the liberals. He changed his vote. He flip-flopped. He flip-flopped like a banked catfish. And that’s why I say the process worries me as much as the result. This is why so many people think the — that our federal courts, our federal judges have become nothing but politicians in robes. Now, the chief justice famously says all the time that he’s just an umpire, all he does is call balls and strikes. Well, four years ago, he called a ball. Today, same pitch, he called a strike.”
– Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), quoted by Breitbart, June 29, 2020
“I agree with the Supreme Court’s decision in June Medical, which recognizes the burden that the Louisiana statute could impose. Some have tried to suggest that this opinion is an indication of how certain justices would vote on the question of whether abortion will remain legal. That is reading too much into this specific decision. As Justice Gorsuch noted, ‘In truth, Roe v. Wade is not even at issue here.’”
Governor of Utah: As of 7:45 a.m. Mountain Time on July 1, the Republican primary for governor of Utah was too close to call. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox led with 37.0% of the vote, followed by former Gov. Jon Huntsman with 34.3%. Former state House Speaker Greg Hughes had 20.7% of the vote and former state GOP Chairman Thomas Wright had 8.0%.
Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District: Challenger Lauren Boebert defeated incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton in the Republican primary for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. As of 7:30 a.m. Mountain Time on July 1, Boebert had received 55% of the vote to Tipton’s 45% with 88% of precincts reporting. Tipton, who was first elected in 2010, is the fifth member of the U.S. House to lose renomination this year, joining Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Steve King (R-Iowa), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), and Denver Riggleman (R-Va.).
Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District: Terry Neese and Stephanie Bice were the top two finishers in the Republican primary for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District, with 36.5% and 25.4% of the vote respectively. Since neither candidate won 50% of the vote, the two advanced to an Aug. 25 runoff. Nearly all of the satellite spending in the primary came from either Club for Growth Action, which opposed Bice, or American Jobs & Growth PAC, which supported her.
Utah’s 1st Congressional District: As of 7:45 a.m. Mountain Time on July 1, the Republican primary in Utah’s 1st Congressional District remained too close to call. Blake Moore led with 30.2% of the vote, followed by Bob Stevenson with 29.6%. Incumbent Rob Bishop (R) ran for lieutenant governor rather than seeking re-election.
Utah’s 4th Congressional District: Super Bowl XV Champion Burgess Owens won the Republican primary in Utah’s 4th Congressional District. As of 7:45 a.m. Mountain Time on July 1, Owens had received 44% of the vote, followed by Kim Coleman with 24%. Owens will face incumbent Ben McAdams (D) in the November general election. Two election forecasters say the race leans towards McAdams and a third says it tilts towards him.
Utah Attorney General: As of 7:45 a.m. Mountain Time on July 1, the Republican primary for Attorney General of Utah remained too close to call. Incumbent Sean Reyes led with 54.4% of the vote, followed by Utah County Sheriff David Leavitt with 45.6%. Reyes, who has served as attorney general since 2013, says he is running to continue his record, while Leavitt says he is running to change Utah’s approach to criminal justice.
Club for Growth Action suspends ads in Senate primary in KS
Club for Growth President David McIntosh said, “We continue to believe Rep. Marshall is not a strong pro-growth candidate. … But the Club for Growth PAC is not endorsing in this race, and Club for Growth Action will be deploying resources in other critical House and Senate primaries.”
Politicoreported on March 31 that the PAC had booked $2.1 million for ads to run between June 9 and Aug. 4, the date of the primary.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed Marshall. Chamber CEO Thomas J. Donohue said, “As our country faces many challenges and is collectively working to not just reopen our economy, but return to growth and expanded opportunities for all Americans, we need leaders like Representative Roger Marshall. He has a proven track record of leading responsibly and standing up for good policies.”
Also last week, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach released his first broadcast TV ad. The ad criticizes Marshall for voting in favor of a 2018 immigration bill.
Marshall and Kobach have led the 11-candidate primary field in noteworthy endorsements. Marshall’s endorsers include former Gov. Jeff Colyer (R), the Kansas Farm Bureau, and National Right to Life. Kobach’s endorsers include the National Border Patrol Council, the Kansas Coalition for Life, and the National Association for Gun Rights.
Right for Alabama PAC spends to counter Club for Growth spending in AL-01 runoff
Right for Alabama PAC spent $29,000 on ads supporting Jerry Carl in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District Republican primary runoff. It’s the firstsatellite spending in support of Carl. Club for Growth Action has spent $1.1 million opposing Carl and $217,000 supporting Bill Hightower.
Right for Alabama PAC said the following in a statement to Alabama Daily News:
For some time now, a D.C.-based special interest group has tried to buy this election and attack the good name and character of Jerry Carl. … We could not sit back and continue to watch this happen to an honorable man like Jerry Carl. This D.C.-based special interest group did not support Donald Trump in 2016 and it continually opposes the Farm Bill, the National Flood Insurance Program and other critical policies that help South Alabama.
Club for Growth Action has criticized Carl by saying he supported “handing out over $20 million of tax money to billion-dollar corporations.”
Carl was elected to the Mobile County Commission in 2012 and said he is “a vocal fiscal hawk and advocate for pro-growth, job-creating policies.” Carl says his experience running small businesses has made him a problem-solver.
Hightower was a state senator from 2013 to 2018. He has emphasized bills he introduced or sponsored, including proposals to ban the sale of fetal body parts and to institute term limits for Alabama state legislators.
Incumbent Rep. Bradley Byrne (R), first elected in 2013, ran in the U.S. Senate Republican primary rather than seeking re-election to the House. The runoff is July 14.
Update: Trump rally for Tuberville in Alabama reportedly canceled
Last week, we reported that the president planned to hold a rally in Alabama supporting Tommy Tuberville ahead of the July 14 Senate primary runoff. On June 30, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak wrote that “Trump’s campaign has scrapped plans to hold a rally in Alabama next weekend amid concerns about coronavirus infections rising in the US.”
Bill Carrico considering a run for governor of Virginia in 2021
Former state Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Va.) said he is considering running for governor next year and will announce his final decision this fall.
Carrico, a former state trooper, was elected to the state House in 2001 and to the state Senate in 2011. He retired from the legislature in 2019. He said he was considering running for governor because of the ongoing debate over policing and race relations.
Carrico made the announcement in an interview with former state Del. Chris Saxman June 25.
Carrico said he supported expanding training programs for police officers, creating a statewide list of officers who had been the subject of complaints, and mandating body camera usage. He said he was opposed to measures to reduce funding for police departments in favor of other social services because they would be costly and put first responders at risk.
State Sen. Amanda Chase (R) is the only Republican to have filed so far for 2021. Chase was first elected to the state Senate in 2015. She said she was inspired to run by Democratic proposals to tighten restrictions on firearms.
Virginia is the only state to prevent governors from running for consecutive terms, meaning the office is open in every election year. The gubernatorial election will take place on Nov. 2, 2021.
Virginia is currently a Democratic trifecta, where a Democrat is governor and Democrats hold majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. Except for the 2013 election, every Virginia gubernatorial race since 1973 has been won by the party that lost the previous year’s presidential election.
2020 battleground primary recap: Governor of West Virginia
In this series, we look back at recent state executive primaries to see what they can tell us about the November elections.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) is running for re-election this year. Although this is Justice’s second gubernatorial run, it is his first campaign as a Republican. Justice was elected as a Democrat in 2016 before joining the GOP the following year.
Justice defeated six challengers to win the Republican nomination on June 9. Justice won 63% of the vote, followed by former state Secretary of Commerce H. Woody Thrasher with 18% and state Del. Michael Folk with 12%.
Justice emphasized his endorsements from West Virginians for Life, the National Rifle Association, and President Trump. He said he was running to build on policies from his first term, including increasing teacher pay and funding repairs to West Virginia’s roads.
Thrasher, who served as Justice’s Secretary of Commerce for the first two years of his term, said Justice was not treating the office of governor as a full-time position and criticized his leadership during his first term.
Folk said both Justice and Thrasher were former Democrats who had only recently joined the GOP. He said West Virginia needed to change its approach towards governance in order to reverse its downward trend in population.
Justice will face Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango (D) and any declared independent or third-party candidates in the November general election. Two election forecasters say Justice is a solid favorite to win re-election and one says he is likely to win.
The number of incumbents who did seek re-election is provided for the 40 states whose 2020 filing deadlines have already passed. The number of incumbents defeated in primaries is provided for the 21 states that have already held state legislative primaries in 2020.
Arizona State Troopers Association endorses incumbent in Arizona Senate District 15 primary
On June 27, the Arizona State Troopers Association endorsed incumbent state Sen. Heather Carter in the Republican primary for Senate District 15. Carter faces state Rep. Nancy Barto in the primary. The Arizona Republic’s Andrew Oxford wrote that Barto’s challenge “pits a staunch conservative against one of the GOP’s moderate state senators.”
Carter and Barto were both elected to represent District 15 in 2010, Carter as a state Representative and Barto as state Senator. Both legislators were unable to run for re-election in 2018 due to term limits and chose to run for the opposite chamber.
When announcing her candidacy for Senate in 2020, Barto said, “District 15 should … have a representative that challenges government overreach,” adding, “Lately I’ve become deeply concerned to see our current senator is not representing our freedoms and values. It is vital that we bring back strong, conservative leadership.”
Carter, responding to Barto’s announcement, wrote, “Maybe she has unfinished business like protecting Big Tobacco … [or] promoting her dangerous anti-vaxer views,” continuing, “I’ve spent my entire legislative career focused on economic growth and creating jobs.”
No other candidates are running for the seat, meaning the winner of the August 4 primary likely will be the next Senator.
Missouri Right to Life PAC endorses state Senator in open Missouri House District 147 primary
On June 24, the Missouri Right to Life State PAC endorsed state Sen. Wayne Wallingford (R-27) in the primary for House District 147. Wallingford is facing former Cape Girardeau city councilman John Voss (R) in the primary. Incumbent Rep. Kathy Swan (R-147) is term-limited.
Wallingford represented House District 158 for one term from 2011 to 2013. He won election to two terms representing Senate District 27 in 2012 and 2016. Wallingford said, “[O]ur district needs a strong, proven, conservative fighting for us.”
Voss served on the Cape Girardeau city council from 2006 to 2014, including two years as Mayor Pro Tempore in 2013 and 2014. He entered the race after Wallingford. Voss described himself as “a fresh set of eyes — a new conservative voice.”
The winner of the August 4 primary will likely face Andy Leighton (D), the only other candidate running for the seat. The Republican candidate has either run unopposed or received over 60 percent of the vote in each of the District’s past four general elections.
A weekly feature on an influencer shaping the direction of the party.
“National Right to Life is the nation’s largest pro-life organization, with 50 state affiliates and approximately 3,000 local affiliates nationwide. NRL works through legislation, education and political action to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and assisted suicide.” – NRLC PAC website
Founded in 1968, National Right to Life describes its mission as “to protect and defend the most fundamental right of humankind, the right to life of every innocent human being from the beginning of life to natural death.”
The group’s policy page lists “Abortion”, “Federal Funding of Abortion”, “Planned Parenthood”, “Euthanasia/Assisting Suicide”, “Heath Care Rationing”, “Medicare”, “Advance Care Planning”, “Living Wills/Will to Live”, “International Issues”, “Free Speech”, and “Campaigns & Elections” as issue areas.
To view candidates endorsed by the National Right to Life Political Victory Fund, click here.
As of June 29, 3,019 major party candidates have filed to run for the Senate and House of Representatives in 2020.
So far, 461 candidates are filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate. Of those, 369—187 Democrats and 182 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 527 candidates filed with the FEC to run for U.S. Senate, including 137 Democrats and 240 Republicans.
For U.S. House, 3,019 candidates have filed with the FEC to run. Of those, 2,650—1,247 Democrats and 1,403 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 3,244 candidates filed with the FEC, including 1,566 Democrats and 1,155 Republicans.
Thirty-six members of the U.S. House are not seeking re-election in 2020. That includes 27 Republicans and nine Democrats. Four senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) are not running for re-election. In 2018, 55 total members of Congress—18 Democrats and 37 Republicans—did not seek re-election.
On November 3, 2020, 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election. Of those Senate seats, 33 are regularly scheduled elections, while the other two are special elections in Arizona and Georgia. Twelve are Democratic-held seats and 23 are Republican-held seats. In the House, Democrats currently hold a majority with 233 seats.
A special primary election is being held on June 30 for District 28 of the Oklahoma State Senate. Christian Ford, Mike Haines, and Zack Taylor are competing in the Republican primary. No Democratic candidates filed to run for election.
The seat became vacant when Jason Smalley (R) resigned on January 31 to take a private-sector job with Motorola Solutions Corporation. Smalley had represented the district since 2014.
Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 38-9 majority in the Oklahoma State Senate with one vacancy. Oklahoma 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.
Regularly scheduled elections are being held in odd-numbered Oklahoma State Senate districts in 2020. A primary is being held on June 30, and a primary runoff is scheduled for August 25, 2020. The general election will be held on November 3.
As of June, 48 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2020 in 25 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
The statewide primaries for Colorado, Oklahoma, and Utah are on June 30, 2020. The filing deadline to run passed in March for Colorado and Utah and in April for Oklahoma.
One U.S. Senate seat and seven U.S. House seats are up for election in Colorado. A Democratic and Republican primary is being held for each seat. All eight incumbents are running for re-election, leaving no open seats. Seven incumbents are unopposed in their primaries; Rep. Scott Tipton (R-3) faces one challenger, Lauren Boebert. Entering the 2020 election, Colorado has one Democratic U.S. senator, one Republican U.S. senator, and four Democratic and three Republican U.S. representatives.
One U.S. Senate and five U.S. House seats are up for election in Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, unopposed candidates automatically advance to the general election. The 3rd Congressional District has no primaries on the ballot, the 2nd Congressional District does not have a Democratic primary on the ballot, and the 1st Congressional District does not have a Republican primary on the ballot. All six incumbents are running for re-election, leaving no open seats. U.S. Representatives Kevin Hern (R-1) and Frank Lucas (R-3) faced no primary opposition and advanced automatically to the general election. Entering the 2020 election, Oklahoma has two Republican U.S. senators and one Democratic and four Republican U.S. representatives.
Four U.S. House seats are up for election in Utah. In Utah, the Democratic and Republican parties hold conventions to choose their Congressional candidates. If no convention candidates receive 60% of the vote or if additional candidates petition to get on the ballot, a primary is held. The 1st Congressional district is holding both Democratic and Republican primaries, and the 4th Congressional district is holding a Republican primary. The remaining districts’ major party candidates were decided at the convention. Three of the four incumbents are running for re-election. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-1) did not file for re-election as he is running for Lieutenant Governor of Utah. Entering the 2020 election, Utah has two Republican U.S. senators and one Democratic and three Republican U.S. representatives.
Candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020. If no candidates receive a majority of the vote in the Oklahoma primary, the two highest vote-getters will advance to a primary runoff on August 25, 2020. Colorado and Utah do not hold primary runoffs.
These states’ primaries are the 27th, 28th, and 29th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next primary is on July 7 in New Jersey.
Entering the 2020 election, the U.S. Senate has 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, and two independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. Thirty-three of the 100 U.S. Senate seats are up for regular election, and two seats are up for special election. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats. The U.S. House of Representatives has 233 Democrats, 197 Republicans, one Libertarian, and four vacancies. All 435 U.S. House seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.
Three states held congressional primaries on June 23, 2020, and two states held primary runoffs. Forty-four congressional seats were on the ballot, including two U.S. Senate seats and 42 U.S. House seats. The general election for all five states is November 3, 2020.
Kentucky held primaries for one U.S. Senate seat and six U.S. House seats.
U.S. Senate incumbent Mitch McConnell (R) advanced from his primary. The results of the Democratic primary were still pending as of June 25, 2020.
All six incumbents in the U.S. House—one Democrat and five Republicans—ran for re-election in the primaries. All six advanced to the general election.
Mississippi held a Republican primary runoff for the state’s 2nd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House. Brian Flowers defeated Thomas Carey and advanced to the general election.
New York held primaries for 27 U.S. House seats. Twenty-three incumbents—19 Democrats and four Republicans—ran for re-election. Eighteen incumbents advanced from their primaries, and one was defeated. The other four primaries had results still pending as of June 25, 2020.
North Carolina held a Republican primary runoff for the state’s 11th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House. Madison Cawthorn defeated Lynda Bennett and advanced to the general election.
Virginia held primaries for one U.S. Senate seat and seven U.S. House seats. Four of Virginia’s 11 U.S. House seats—Districts 7, 8, 9, and 10—were not on the ballot because they either held conventions instead of primaries or because their primaries were canceled due to lack of opposition.
U.S. Senate incumbent Mark Warner (D) was the only candidate to file in the Democratic primary and advanced to the general election by default. In the Republican primary, Daniel Gade defeated two opponents and advanced to the general election.
Ten U.S. House incumbents—seven Democrats and three Republicans—ran for re-election in either primaries or conventions. All 10 advanced to the general election.
Entering the November 2020 general election, the U.S. Senate has 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, and two independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. Thirty-five of the 100 U.S. Senate seats are up for election, including two seats up for special election. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats. The U.S. House of Representatives has 233 Democrats, 197 Republicans, one Libertarian, and four vacancies. All 435 U.S. House seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.