Tagstate senate

Special primary elections to be held on August 3 in Michigan State Senate Districts 8 and 28

The special primary elections for Michigan State Senate District 8 and 28 are on Aug. 3. The major party candidate filing deadline passed on April 20, and the filing deadline for minor party and independent candidates is Aug. 4. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 2.

District 8

In the Democratic primary, John Bill and Martin Genter are competing to advance to the general election. In the Republican primary, Mary Berlingieri, Bill Carver, Kristi Dean, Grant Golasa, Pamela Hornberger, Terence Mekoski, and Douglas Wozniak are competing to advance to the general election.

Andrew Kamal is running as an independent in the general election.

The special election for District 8 was called after Peter Lucido (R) left office after being elected Macomb County Prosecutor on Nov. 3, 2020. The seat has been vacant since Lucido resigned on Dec. 31. Lucido had served since 2019. 

District 28

Keith Courtade and Gidget Groendyk are competing in the Democratic primary to advance to the general election. In the Republican primary, Tommy Brann, Kevin Green, and Mark Huizenga are competing to advance to the general election.

The special election for District 28 was called after Peter MacGregor (R) left office after being elected Kent County Treasurer on Nov. 3, 2020. The seat has been vacant since MacGregor resigned on Dec. 31. MacGregor had served since 2015.

Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 20-16 majority in the Michigan State Senate. Michigan has a divided government, and no political party holds astate government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. 

As of July 2021, 46 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 18 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Since 2010, Michigan has held 16 state legislative special elections. 

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New Jersey state Sen. Chris Brown resigns to take new role in Murphy administration

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) appointed state Sen. Chris Brown (R) to a position in the Department of Community Affairs’ Division of Local Government Services on July 19. The position required Brown to leave the state Senate. Brown started his new job on July 20.

Brown first won election to the Senate to represent District 2 on Nov. 7, 2017, defeating incumbent Colin Bell (D) 53.52% to 46.48%. Brown had announced in February that he would not seek re-election.

Vacancies in the New Jersey Legislature are filled by interim appointment by the county leadership of the party that last controlled the district. 

The New Jersey Senate is the upper chamber of the state legislature. Currently, there are 25 Democrats, 14 Republicans, and one vacancy in the Senate.

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Special elections in two Mississippi Senate districts set for Nov. 2

Election officials have scheduled the special elections for the District 32 and District 38 seats in the Mississippi State Senate for Nov. 2. The seats became vacant after Sampson Jackson (D) and Tammy Witherspoon (D) resigned on June 30. There are no primaries, and a general runoff election will be held on Nov. 23 if no candidate receives a majority of the vote. The filing deadline is on Sept. 13.



Special elections to be held on July 13 in two Alabama state legislative districts

Special elections are scheduled for July 13 for District 14 of the Alabama State Senate and District 73 of the Alabama House of Representatives. The winners of the special elections will serve until Nov. 7, 2022.

  • In Senate District 14, Virginia Applebaum (D) and April Weaver (R) are running in the special election. The seat became vacant on Dec. 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.
  • In House District 73, Sheridan Black (R) is facing off against Kenneth Paschal (R). The special election became necessary after Matt Fridy (R) was elected to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in Nov. 2020. Fridy had represented District 73 since 2015.

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 July, 40 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 17 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Alabama held 23 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

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Lynn DeCoite appointed to Hawaii State Senate, creating vacancy in state House

Hawaii Governor David Ige (D) appointed Lynn DeCoite (D) to the District 7 seat in the Hawaii State Senate on June 17. The seat became vacant in May when former state Sen. Jamie Kalani English (D) retired due to the long-term health effects of a past COVID-19 infection. DeCoite to serve the remainder of Kalani English’s term, which was set to expire in November 2022.

At the time she was appointed, DeCoite was serving her fourth term in the Hawaii House of Representatives. Governor Ige appointed DeCoite to represent District 13 in February 2015, after former state Rep. Mele Carroll (D) resigned. DeCoite won re-election in 2016, 2018, and 2020.

DeCoite’s appointment to the state Senate creates a vacancy in the state House. When a vacancy occurs in the Hawaii legislature, the governor must appoint a replacement within 60 days after the vacancy happens. The governor selects from a list of three prospective candidates submitted by the political party that last held the vacant seat.

Hawaii is one of ten states that fill state legislative vacancies through gubernatorial appointment.

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Kenyatté Hassell wins Democratic nomination in special primary runoff for Alabama House District 78

A special Democratic primary runoff for District 78 in the Alabama House of Representatives was held on June 22, 2021. Kenyatté Hassell defeated Donald Williams and advanced to the general election.

The general election is scheduled for September 7. The filing deadline passed on March 23. Hassell will be running against Loretta Grant (R).

The special election was called after Kirk Hatcher (D) was elected to the Alabama State Senate in a special election on March 2, 2021. Hatcher served from 2018 to 2021. 

The September 7 special election will mark the fifth Alabama state legislative special election this year and the third special election for the state house of representatives. Ben Robbins (R) defeated Fred Crum (D) in the January 19 special election for House District 33. Virginia Applebaum (D) and April Weaver (R) will compete for Senate District 14 and Sheridan Black (D) will face Kenneth Paschal (R) in House District 73 on July 13.

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Alex Kasser resigns from Connecticut Senate

Connecticut state Senator Alex Kasser (D) resigned from the legislature on June 22. Kasser, who represented District 36, cited her ongoing divorce proceedings as the reason for her resignation.

In a statement, Kasser said, “It is with deep sadness that I announce my resignation as State Senator. Serving the residents of Connecticut’s 36th Senate district has been a profound honor and a great joy. However, due to personal circumstances, I cannot continue.”

Kasser was first elected to the state Senate in 2018, defeating incumbent Scott Frantz (R), 50% to 49%. She won re-election in 2020, defeating challenger Ryan Fazio (R), 51% to 49%. Before entering politics, Kasser worked as the chair of Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center and as the director of Greening Our Children. She also founded The Parity Partnership, a non-profit organization that works to achieve equality for women in business.

When a vacancy occurs in the Connecticut state Senate, the governor must call for a special election within ten days. After the governor declares the special election, it must be held within 46 days.

Ballotpedia has identified 57 vacancies in state legislatures in 2021. Twenty-eight of these vacancies were in seats previously held by Democrats, and 29 were in seats held by Republicans. Thirty-nine of the vacancies have been filled.

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Redistricting review: Illinois enacts state leg., supreme court maps

On June 4, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed into law new maps for the Illinois state Senate, the Illinois House of Representatives, and the Illinois Supreme Court, making Illinois the first state to enact new district maps in this redistricting cycle.

Upon signing the maps into law, Pritzker said, “Illinois’ strength is in our diversity and these maps help to ensure that communities that have been left out and left behind have fair representation in our government. These district boundaries align with both the federal and state Voting Rights Acts, which help to ensure our diverse communities have electoral power and fair representation.” House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R), who voted against the new maps, said, “Gov. Pritzker, you sold out. You sold out independents, you sold out Republicans, you sold out Democrats, to the partisan Democrat machine which has destroyed Illinois.”

State supreme court districts were last redrawn in 1964. Illinois is divided into five supreme court districts. Cook County (home to Chicago) forms a single district, but it is allocated three seats on the seven-member court. Downstate Illinois is divided into four districts, each with one seat on the court. The state constitution allows state lawmakers to redraw supreme court districts at any time. However, according to The Chicago Tribune, “lawmakers have traditionally used boundaries for the circuit, appellate and Supreme Court laid out in a 1964 overhaul of the state’s court system.” 

In Illinois, the General Assembly is responsible for redistricting. Maps are subject to gubernatorial veto. Illinois is a Democratic trifecta, meaning that Democrats control the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. The General Assembly approved the state legislative redistricting plan (HB2777) and the supreme court redistricting plan (SB0642) on May 28. In both chambers, the votes split along party lines, with all Democrats voting ‘yea’ and all Republicans present voting ‘nay.’

Because the U.S. Census Bureau does not expect to deliver granular redistricting data to the states until mid-August, and in light of the state constitution’s June 30 deadline for state legislative redistricting, Illinois lawmakers used population estimates from the American Community Survey to draft the new maps.

It is not clear when lawmakers will begin the congressional redistricting process. The state constitution sets no deadline for congressional redistricting.

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Special elections to be held in two Georgia legislative districts on June 15

Special elections are being held on June 15 to fill vacant seats in Districts 34 and 156 in the Georgia House of Representatives. If no candidate earns a majority of the vote in the special election, the top two vote-getters will advance to a general runoff election. The runoff, if necessary, will be held on July 13. The winners of the special elections will serve until January 2023.

In the District 34 election, Sam Hensley Jr. (D), Priscilla Smith (D), David Blinkhorn (R), Devan Seabaugh (R), and Chris Neill (L) are running in the special election. The special election became necessary after Bert Reeves (R) resigned his seat on April 30 to become Georgia Institute of Technology’s vice president of university relations. Reeves served in the state House from 2015 to 2021.

In the District 156 election, Wright Gres (D), Leesa Hagan (R), and Wally Sapp (R) are running in the special election. The special election became necessary when Greg Morris (R) resigned his seat on April 13 to join the Georgia Department of Transportation’s State Transportation Board. Morris served in the state House from 1999 to 2021.

Georgia 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 Georgia House of Representatives by a margin of 101 to 77 with two vacancies.

As of June, 39 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 17 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Pennsylvania held 44 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

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