TagRepublican 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.



Eric Schmitt wins Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Missouri

Eric Schmitt won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Missouri on August 2. According to the Missouri secretary of state’s office, Schmitt received 46% of the vote. Vicky Hartzler was second with 22% and Eric Greitens was third with 19%.

Twenty-one candidates ran in the primary. Greitens, Hartzler, and Schmitt led in media attention, endorsements, polling, and fundraising. Incumbent Roy Blunt (R), who was first elected in 2010, announced on March 8, 2021, that he would not seek election to a third term in 2022.

Schmitt has served as attorney general of Missouri since 2019. Schmitt previously served as treasurer of Missouri and was a member of the Missouri State Senate representing District 15. Schmitt said he “defended President Trump at every turn and fought for justice for Missourians against the radical left, Big Tech, and even the Communist Party of China,” and that “with Joe Biden in the White House and a liberal takeover in the House and Senate, we need a proven Conservative to take the fight to the Senate and save our values, our culture, and our country.”

Greitens was the governor of Missouri from 2017 until June 1, 2018, when he resigned following investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct and misuse of campaign information. Greitens also served as a U.S. Navy SEAL officer and founded The Mission Continues, a nonprofit group that connects veterans with volunteer work to help them in their post-military transitions. “We need fighters who are willing to do what it takes to take our country back, to take our country back from the left. And also we need fighters who are willing to take on the establishment — take on the mainstream media,” Greitens said.

Hartzler has represented Missouri’s 4th Congressional District since 2011. Hartzler also worked as a high school teacher and served as spokeswoman for the Coalition to Protect Marriage, an organization that supported an amendment to the Missouri Constitution barring gay marriage, in 2004. Gov. Matt Blunt (R) appointed Hartzler to the Missouri Women’s Council, an agency within the Missouri Department of Economic Development, where she served from 2005 to 2007. According to her campaign website, Hartzler ran for U.S. Senate “to protect our freedoms and preserve America’s greatness with a vision that puts our country first,” adding, “I listen. I care. I fight. I get things done.”

As of August 1, The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections both rated the general election as Solid Republican, while Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball rated it Likely Republican. In the 2016 general election, Blunt defeated Jason Kander (D) 49%-46%. In the 2020 general election, former President Donald Trump won the state by 15 percentage points.



Masters wins Republican primary for United States Senate in Arizona

Blake Masters defeated Jim Lamon, Mark Brnovich, and two other candidates in the Republican primary for United States Senate in Arizona on August 2, 2022. Incumbent Mark Kelly (D) is running for re-election.

Masters, a tech entrepreneur, co-authored Zero to One: Notes on a Startup, a business book based on a class tech investor Peter Thiel taught at Stanford. Masters joined Thiel Capital in 2014 and was named president of the Thiel foundation in 2015. Masters supported increased regulation of technology companies and privatizing Social Security. Thiel, former President Donald Trump (R), and TV show host Tucker Carlson endorsed Masters.

Lamon founded DEPCOM Power, a solar energy company he sold in 2021. Lamon largely self-funded his campaign. According to Open Secrets, Lamon contributed $14 million to his campaign as of August 2, 2022, or 93% of all funds donated. Lamon cited U.S.-China trade relations as a top issue, saying, “Communist China is the biggest threat to our economic security and national sovereignty.” The Conservative Political Action Coalition, the National Border Patrol Council, and a number of state legislators endorsed Lamon.

Brnovich, a career prosecutor, was elected Arizona’s attorney general in 2014. Before that, Brnovich served as an assistant attorney general from 1998 to 2003 and as the director of Arizona’s Department of Gaming from 2009 to 2013. Brnovich highlighted the legal challenges his office brought against President Joe Biden’s (D) tax and immigration policies, among others. TV show host Sean Hannity and radio host Mark Levin endorsed Brnovich.

All three candidates cited border security as a top issue. Brnovich highlighted his record as attorney general, saying he challenged border measures such as the 100-day pause on deportations. Masters said he would increase the size of the border patrol and use hi-tech surveillance at the border. Lamon said he would end sanctuary cities and called the border a “breeding ground for trafficking of illegal drugs, sex trafficking (including children), and even some known terrorists.” All three candidates said they supported finishing the construction of a border wall.

Brnovich and Lamon criticized Masters for his relationship with Thiel. Brnovich said, “I know that the answer to Big Tech is not having someone that’s financed by Big Tech and made all their money in Big Tech.” Masters said that his understanding of tech companies would allow him to confront them better. “I know how it works,” Masters said.

In June, Saving Arizona PAC, a political action committee affiliated with Thiel, released an ad criticizing Lamon’s solar company for importing supplies from China and said the company was “associated with forced slave labor.” Lamon said everyone in the energy industry used Chinese parts and added, “This ad paid for by Blake Masters’ big tech super PAC is ridiculous and comically hypocritical given Masters’ extremely recent and proactive business dealings with China.”

The 2020 presidential election was a top issue in the race as well. Trump criticized Brnovich, saying he didn’t do enough as Arizona’s attorney general to investigate fraud in the election. Brnovich, who opened an ongoing civil investigation into the 2020 results in Arizona, said, “I understand [Trump’s] frustration, but as I’ve said previously, I will continue to follow the facts and evidence and do what the law requires.”

Masters and Lamon, who signed his name on a list of alternate Arizona presidential electors ahead of the 2021 Electoral College vote count, said they wouldn’t have voted to certify the election. Masters said he believed Trump won the election.

Michael McGuire and Justin Olson also ran in the primary.

Three election forecasters rate the general election a Toss-up, meaning the race is expected to be competitive.



Primary watch: number of contested state legislative primaries is up 25% compared to 2020

There are 25% more contested state legislative primaries this year than in 2020, including 55% more Republican primaries and 8% more top-two/four primaries. Democratic primaries are down 9%.

These figures include elections in 37 states that account for 4,672 of 6,166 state legislative seats up for election this year (76%).

A primary is contested when there are more candidates running than available nominations, meaning at least one candidate must lose.

Since our last update on July 25, we have added post-filing deadline data from Minnesota. Overall, 11 states in this analysis have Democratic trifectas, 19 have Republican trifectas, and seven have divided governments.

Of the 37 states in this analysis, 34 are holding partisan primaries. Three states—California, Nebraska, and Washington—use top-two primaries.

The number of Democratic primaries has increased in 11 states, decreased in 19, and remains the same in three. The number of Republican primaries has increased in 30 states and decreased in four. The table below shows partisan statistics for the three states with the largest increases and decreases so far.

In addition to a state’s political makeup and party activity, redistricting is another reason for an increase in primary competitiveness.

After redistricting, some states—like Arkansas—hold elections for every district, while in other years, fewer districts are up each cycle. This creates more opportunities for primaries to occur. Or, like in West Virginia, redistricting creates new districts and, by extension, more primary opportunities. Currently, the total number of possible primaries affected by these changes is up 1.4% compared to 2020.

For states like New Mexico and South Carolina, where only one chamber is up for election every two years, only those chambers holding elections in 2022 that also held elections in 2020 are included.

Ballotpedia will continue to update these figures as information becomes available. In addition to this analysis, Ballotpedia collects competitiveness statistics at all levels of government, available here. This data is calculated following candidate filing deadlines and readjusted at the time of the primary to account for any changes to candidate lists.



Twenty-one candidates running in U.S. Senate primary in Missouri

Twenty-one candidates are running in the Republican Party primary for U.S. Senate in Missouri on August 2, 2022. Eric Greitens, Vicky Hartzler, and Eric Schmitt have led in media attention, endorsements, and polling.

Incumbent Roy Blunt (R), who was first elected in 2010, announced on March 8, 2021, that he would not seek election to a third term in 2022.

The Missouri Independent‘s Jason Hancock said, “Polls throughout the campaign have shown Greitens, Hartzler and Attorney General Eric Schmitt tightly grouped at the top of the crowded Republican field,” but that an endorsement from former President Donald Trump (R) “is widely considered a potential silver bullet in the race that would automatically launch whoever received it to frontrunner status.” As of July 19, Trump had not endorsed a candidate in the race.

Greitens was the governor of Missouri from 2017 until June 1, 2018, when he resigned following investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct and misuse of campaign information. Greitens also served as a U.S. Navy SEAL officer and founded The Mission Continues, a nonprofit group that connects veterans with volunteer work to help them in their post-military transitions. “We need fighters who are willing to do what it takes to take our country back, to take our country back from the left. And also we need fighters who are willing to take on the establishment — take on the mainstream media,” Greitens said.

Hartzler has represented Missouri’s 4th Congressional District since 2011. Hartzler worked as a high school teacher, as spokeswoman for the Coalition to Protect Marriage, an organization opposing gay marriage, and as the spokeswoman for the Missouri Women’s Council, an agency within the Missouri Department of Economic Development. According to her campaign website, Hartzler is running for U.S. Senate “to protect our freedoms and preserve America’s greatness with a vision that puts our country first,” adding, “I listen. I care. I fight. I get things done.”

Schmitt has served as attorney general of Missouri since 2019. Schmitt previously served as treasurer of Missouri, was a member of the Missouri State Senate representing District 15, and worked as a private-practice attorney. Schmitt said, “with Joe Biden in the White House and a liberal takeover in the House and Senate, we need a proven Conservative to take the fight to the Senate and save our values, our culture, and our country.”

Both Hartzler and Schmitt have referenced the allegations against Greitens in their campaigns. “Real men never abuse women and children. Period, end of story. It’s time for Eric to get out of the Senate race and to get professional help,” Hartzler said. “This race comes down to me and Eric Greitens, who quit and was a former governor, lots of scandals, would lose the seat to the Democrats. It’s just a mess. And he’s a quitter,” Schmitt said.

Greitens said the accusations were “completely fabricated, baseless allegations.” Greitens’ campaign manager, Dylan Johnson, said, “The only reason these RINOs are willing to fund their lies is because Gov. Greitens is leading the entire field by a mile in recent public polling.”

According to Politico‘s Alex Isenstadt, “Top party officials, in Missouri and nationally, worry that should [Greitens] win the Republican nomination, he would jeopardize the party’s ability to retain the seat in the general election.” Show Me Values PAC, a political committee, that, according to Isenstadt, is funded by “Missouri-based Republican Party donors,” has sponsored ads criticizing Greitens. Johnson said, “These swamp creatures and grifters know their time at the trough is finished. That’s why they’re scared of America First champion Governor Greitens.”

As of July 17, The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections both rated the general election as Solid Republican, while Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball rated it Likely Republican. In the 2016 general election, Blunt defeated Jason Kander (D) 49%-46%. In the 2020 general election, former President Donald Trump won the state by 15 percentage points.



Cox wins GOP primary for Maryland governor

Dan Cox defeated Robin Ficker, Kelly Schulz, and Joe Werner in the Republican primary for Maryland governor on July 19, 2022. With 80% of results reported, Cox received 56% of the vote, followed by Schulz with 40%. Incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is term-limited and endorsed Schulz in the primary. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Cox.

Cox served in the Maryland House of Delegates since 2018. In an interview with O’Connor & Company, Cox said he was running to “give freedom back to the people. After two years, we’ve been working to renew a vision of constitutional leadership that our party believes in.”

Schulz served as Maryland’s secretary of commerce from 2019 to January 2022. Schulz said she graduated from college and worked in Maryland and her “campaign is about offering those same opportunities to Marylanders all across the state that deserve the opportunity to exceed and excel.”

Maryland has had a Republican governor since Hogan’s election in 2014. Joe Biden (D) defeated Trump in Maryland in the 2020 presidential election 65% to 32%.

Additional reading:

Maryland 2020 President Results



Cheney, Bouchard, and Hageman run in Republican primary for Wyoming’s At-Large District

Incumbent Liz Cheney, Anthony Bouchard, Harriet Hageman, and two others are running in the Republican primary for Wyoming’s At-large Congressional District on August 16, 2022. According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Cheney, who was first elected to represent this district in 2016, Bouchard, and Hageman lead the primary field in fundraising heading into the final month of the race.

Cheney voted to impeach President Donald Trump (R) on January 13, 2021, for incitement of insurrection in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. She also voted to support the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. Cheney said, “I will do everything I can to make sure the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office…We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language…We have seen his lack of commitment and dedication to the Constitution.”

In response, the Republican National Committee and Republican Party of Wyoming voted to censure Cheney. Cheney was also removed from her position as GOP Conference Chair in the U.S. House.

Cheney received 73.5% and 67.2% of the vote in the 2020 and 2018 Republican primaries, respectively. Cheney said she is “honored to represent the people of Wyoming and proud of my strong conservative record. I look forward to an extended public debate about the importance of the rule of law…It is tragic that some in this race have sacrificed those principles, and their duty to the people of Wyoming, out of fear and in favor of loyalty to a former president…” Cheney was endorsed by former President George W. Bush (R), U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R), and U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R). Heading into the final month of the race, Cheney has raised over $10 million in the election.

Hageman founded the Wyoming Conservation Alliance and has worked as an attorney and legal consultant. Former President Trump endorsed Hageman on September 13, 2021. Hageman said she is running because “Wyoming is entitled to a representative in Congress who remembers who sent her there and remembers what their wishes are…Liz Cheney is doing neither, and I will do both.” Hageman worked for Cheney’s unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign in 2014, but said that she is challenging Cheney because of Cheney’s focus on the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. In addition to former President Trump, Hageman was also endorsed by over 100 Republican U.S. House members. Heading into the final month of the race, Hageman has raised over $2 million for this primary.

Bouchard served as a Wyoming state senator from 2016 to 2022, representing the state’s 6th district. He founded Wyoming Gun Owners, an organization that says it is dedicated to “defending and advancing the 2nd Amendment rights of all law-abiding citizens in the state of Wyoming.”

Bouchard called Cheney out of touch with Wyoming voters for voting to impeach President Trump. Bouchard said, “Wyoming was President Trump’s best state both times he ran…That’s because Wyoming voters are strong conservatives who want our leaders to stand up for America, defend our freedoms, fight for our way of life and always put working people first as President Trump did.” Bouchard was endorsed by conservative activist Brent Bozell and, heading into the final month of the race, Bouchard has raised over $600,000 for this primary.

Other candidates on the ballot included Robyn Belinskey and Denton Knapp. Before the primary, the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections all rated Wyoming’s At-Large Congressional District as a solid/safe Republican seat.



New York’s 23rd Congressional District Republican primary features former gubernatorial nominee, state party chairman

Nicholas A. Langworthy and Carl Paladino are running in New York’s 23rd Congressional District Republican primary on August 23, 2022.

Incumbent Rep. Christopher Jacobs (R) withdrew from the primary on June 3. Spectrum News 1’s Ryan Whalen wrote, “The election opened up […] when Rep. Chris Jacobs dropped out of the race. Jacobs faced immense pressure from the GOP and Conservative Party to withdraw after expressing his support for several new gun laws including a federal ban on AR-15-style rifles.”

The Buffalo News’ Robert J. McCarthy said Langworthy and Paladino’s presence in the primary “is expected to result in a lively race, pitting against each other two well-known conservatives and allies of former President Donald Trump in an overwhelmingly Republican and pro-Trump district.”

Langworthy is chairman of the New York Republican Party. He also worked as an executive committee member for Donald Trump’s (R) 2016 presidential transition. Langworthy received endorsements from the House Conservatives Fund and its chairman, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.). Banks said, “Nick is a true conservative who will be on the front lines fighting back against the radical policies of Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden. Nick will put American workers and families first and he is ready to hit the ground running on Day One.”

Paladino is an attorney who chairs the Ellicott Development Company, a real estate development and management company. He co-chaired Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign in New York, and was the Republican nominee for governor of New York in 2010. Paladino received endorsements from House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y). Stefanik said, “Carl is a job creator and conservative outsider who will be a tireless fighter for the people of New York in our fight to put America First to save the country.”

The Elmira Star-Gazzette’s Chris Potter wrote that the district’s “new borders [after redistricting] include Allegany, Steuben, Chemung, Schuyler, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties, plus a large part of Erie County.” According to data from Daily Kos, 58% of New York’s new 23rd District population came from the old 23rd District, 36% came from the old 27th District, and 6% came from the old 26th District.



Four candidates running in Republican primary for Governor of Wisconsin

Adam Fischer, Rebecca Kleefisch, Tim Michels, and Timothy Ramthun are running in the Republican primary for governor of Wisconsin on August 9, 2022. Kleefisch and Michels have received the most media attention and endorsements.

Kleefisch served as lieutenant governor under Gov. Scott Walker (R) from 2011 and 2019. Before that, she worked as a journalist in the Milwaukee area and started a marketing company. Kleefisch has focused her campaign on her experience in office during the Walker administration and said that she would reimplement several policies discontinued under Gov. Tony Evers (D). Walker, U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wisc.), 58 members of the state legislature, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley (R), and former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) endorsed Kleefisch.

Michels co-owns a construction company and served in the United States Army for 12 years. Michels has campaigned as a political outsider and said he would “drain the Madison swamp.” Former President Donald Trump (R) and former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) endorsed Michels. In his statement of support, Trump said, “Wisconsin needs a Governor who will Stop Inflation, Uphold the Rule of Law, strengthen our Borders and End the well-documented Fraud in our Elections. Tim Michels is the best candidate to deliver meaningful solutions to these problems, and he will produce jobs like no one else can even imagine.”

Former candidate Kevin Nicholson suspended his campaign on July 5, 2022, and said he would not endorse another candidate. Although he is no longer actively campaigning, his name will still appear on the primary ballot. Before suspending his campaign, Nicholson polled at about 10 percent support. In a statement, Nicholson said, “It has become clear to me and my team the only path forward for our campaign is attacking the other candidates in the race on the airwaves and running a very negative campaign. While our team has the capability to do that, that is not something I want to do — nor do I believe that it would be good for the party to do so.”

In Wisconsin, gubernatorial candidates do not select their own running mates. The winner of the lieutenant gubernatorial primary is placed on the general election ballot alongside the winner of the gubernatorial primary. Eight candidates are running in the lieutenant gubernatorial primary.

Heading into the election, Wisconsin has a divided government. Gov. Evers is a Democrat, and Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature.



Seven candidates running in Republican primary for Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District

Seven candidates are running in the Republican primary for Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District on August 2, 2022. Walter Blackman and Eli Crane lead in endorsements and funding.

Blackman, who was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2018, said he was the only candidate in the primary with the “values, experience, and commitment to public service necessary to take back [the Republican] majority[.]” Blackman said in Congress he would “continue [his] fight for border security, election integrity and against the culture war.” Blackman served in the U.S. Army for 21 years as a tank commander and sexual assault prevention specialist. After retiring from the Army, he founded a consulting firm. The Arizona Police Association, U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah), Arizona House Majority Leader Ben Toma (R), Majority Whip Leo Biasiucci (R), and Speaker Pro-Tempore Travis Grantham (R) endorsed Blackman.

Crane, a Navy veteran and small business owner, said he was “an America First candidate who is pro-life, pro-second amendment, and has the courage to take a stand against cancel culture and the radical left.” Crane said, “I’m running for Congress because America is in trouble. The week after 9/11, I volunteered for the SEAL Teams. I’m ready to head back into the fight.” The National Border Patrol Council, Green Beret PAC, Arizona Sens. Wendy Rogers (R) and Sonny Borrelli (R), and Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem (R) endorsed Crane.

Also running in the primary are Mark DeLuzio, Steven Krystofiak, John W. Moore, Ron Watkins, and Andy Yates.

According to data from Daily Kos, after redistricting, 64% of the new 2nd District’s population came from the old 1st District, represented by Tom O’Halleran (D), and 36% came from the old 4th District, represented by Paul Gosar (R). O’Halleran, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary for the 2nd District, was first elected in 2016. In 2020, he was re-elected by a margin of three percentage points. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D), who was elected to represent the old 2nd District in 2018, did not file to run for re-election.

Major independent observers rate the general election as Likely Republican or Lean Republican.