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Ramirez and Vallejo advance to runoff in Texas’ 15th Congressional District primary

Ruben Ramirez and Michelle Vallejo were the top two finishers in the Democratic Party primary election for Texas’ 15th Congressional District on March 1, 2022. Ramirez received 28.3% of the vote, followed by Vallejo with 20.1%. Because no candidate won 50% of the vote, Ramirez and Vallejo advanced to a runoff election on May 24.

Media attention focused on Eliza Alvarado, Ramirez, John Villarreal Rigney, and Vallejo, and these candidates also led in fundraising. Incumbent Vicente Gonzalez (D) ran to replace retiring District 34 incumbent Filemon Vela (D) after the Texas State Legislature redrew the 15th district to include more of western Hidalgo County during the 2020 redistricting cycle.

Ramirez is an Army veteran and former teacher who previously ran for election in the 15th District in 2012 and 2016. At the time of the election, he worked as an attorney. His top campaign priorities were healthcare, national security, and education. Ramirez said he would “continue to fight for my fellow veterans and district. Like all challenges I have faced, I will not back down and I promise to uphold our values and our Constitution” if elected.

Vallejo was a business owner and co-founder of two advocacy groups, New Leaders Council STX Frontera chapter and Hustle + Socialize. Her platform includes supporting Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, and an anti-war foreign policy. “I think traditionally these races are based on who has the most purchasing power when it comes to mailers, signs, and media, and I’m so grateful that for my campaign that’s not the only thing we’re focusing on, and I love that it started with the energy of having a ground game,” Vallejo said.

Alvarado was a director at South Texas educational service center Region One, and she previously worked for the U.S. Department of Labor and served as a congressional aide to U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D). She emphasized her experience in government, education, and healthcare and said partisanship was unimportant in representing the district. “I’m not there to represent Brooklyn or California, I’m there to represent District 15. And as such, I need to understand what District 15 needs regardless of whether they’re Republican or Democrat,” Alvarado said.

Rigney worked as an attorney and founded a construction company, Rigney Construction & Development. His top campaign issues included public safety, education, veterans’ education and healthcare, raising the minimum wage, and providing residency and citizenship opportunities for immigrants. Rigney said his campaign was focused on “you, your family, and all the people that work every day to provide for their families. Whether that means trying to put food on the table, dealing with rising gas prices, trying to pay for unaffordable medical care, or making sure your kids have quality afterschool care, I want to make sure you get the best representation.”

According to The Texas Tribune, Texas’ 15th Congressional District became more favorable to Republicans as a result of redistricting. Joe Biden (D) won the district by two percentage points in the 2020 presidential election. Donald Trump (R) would have won the new district by three percentage points. The Cook Political Report and other outlets rated the 15th district Solid Democratic in 2020 but rated it Lean Republican in 2022.

Julio Garza and Vanessa Tijerina also ran in the Democratic primary.



Van Taylor ends re-election campaign for Texas’ 3rd Congressional District

On March 2, a day after placing first in the Republican primary for Texas’ 3rd Congressional District, incumbent Van Taylor announced he was ending his re-election bid. In his announcement, Taylor admitted to an affair. Taylor was first elected in 2018.

Taylor won 48.7% of the vote in the primary, but candidates needed more than 50% to avoid a primary runoff election. He and challenger Keith Self, who received 26.5% of the vote, had been scheduled to face off in a May 24 runoff.

Candidates Suzanne Cassimatis Harp, Rickey Williams, and Jeremy Ivanovskis received 20.8%, 2.7%, and 1.3% of the vote, respectively.

In a statement, Taylor said, “About a year ago, I made a horrible mistake that has caused deep hurt and pain among those I love most in this world. I had an affair, it was wrong, and it was the greatest failure of my life. I want to apologize for the pain I have caused with my indiscretion, most of all to my wife Anne and our three daughters.”

According to The Texas Tribune, Taylor has until March 16 to officially withdraw from the runoff election. Self would then become the Republican nominee. Self would face Sandeep Srivastava (D), who won the Democratic primary, in the Nov. 8 general election.

The Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol was a prominent subject of disagreement in the race. Taylor was one of two Texas House Republicans—and 35 House Republicans nationwide—who voted on May 19, 2021, to establish a commission to investigate the breach. Taylor said, “there’s a lot of fault and a lot of answers we need about what Nancy Pelosi and her team knew, when they knew it and why the Capitol was not secure.”

Taylor’s opponents criticized him for voting to establish the commission. Self, a retired Collin County judge who listed border security, election integrity, and the Second Amendment as issues he would focus on in Congress, said Taylor’s vote was “the red line for many people in their vote against Van Taylor.”

Texas’ 3rd Congressional District is considered a safe Republican seat.



Crockett and Hamilton advance to runoff in Texas’ 30th Congressional District Democratic primary

Jasmine Crockett and Jane Hamilton advanced to a May 24 runoff in the Democratic primary for Texas’ 30th Congressional District. In the March 1 primary, Crockett received 48.5% of the vote, followed by Hamilton with 17%. No other candidate received more than 10% of the vote. 

Incumbent Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) , who was first elected to the U.S. House in 1992, did not seek re-election. The Cook Political Report and other outlets rated the 30th district Solid Democratic. Media attention focused on Crockett, Hamilton, and Jessica Mason.

Crockett has represented Texas House District 100 since January 2021 and was among the Texas House members who left the state in protest of SB1, which made a series of changes to Texas’ election administration laws. “There’s a number of people who will most likely enter this race. There are none that I believe will enter this race that have been battle tested like I have this session,” Crockett said. She said she supported “Economic recovery that includes all, fair district maps, expanding healthcare and access to the ballot box, lowering property taxes, and reforming the criminal justice and policing systems.” Johnson and a number of Texas state representatives endorsed Crockett.

Hamilton served as an adviser on Pres. Joe Biden’s (D) 2020 campaign in Texas and worked as an online program manager. She emphasized her local support, saying, “There is no other candidate in this race that has such broad support throughout the district” and the race would be “determined by the candidate who works the hardest and gets out their supporters. And I’m experienced doing just that.” Hamilton said she supported criminal justice reform, expanding access to healthcare, and “Voters Rights legislation which prohibits States from disenfranchising people of color.” Hamilton’s endorsers included U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey (D), Texas State Rep. Chris Turner (D), State Sen. Beverly Powell (D), and several local officials.

Barbara Mallory Caraway, Arthur Dixon, Vonciel Jones Hill, Keisha Lankford, Abel Mulugheta, and Roy Williams Jr. also ran in the March 1 primary.



Morgan Luttrell wins TX-08 Republican primary

Morgan Luttrell won the Republican primary for Texas’ 8th Congressional District on March 1. As of March 3, he’d received 52% of the vote. Christian Collins was second with 22% and Jonathan Hullihan third with 13%.

The Texas Tribune‘s Patrick Svitek wrote that the race “boiled over into a tense proxy war, with some of the best-known Republicans in Texas — and the country — split between two of the leading candidates.” Luttrell had endorsements from former Gov. Rick Perry (R), Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), and the Congressional Leadership Fund, among others. Collins’ endorsers included Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), House Freedom Action.

Both candidates, along with eight others in the race, had filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. The following are excerpts from Luttrell’s and Collins’ responses to a question about what public policy areas they were personally passionate about:

  • Luttrell: “Like you, I will not allow the conservative values we’re teaching our children to be threatened by DC. As our Congressman, I will bring bold leadership, put America first, fight to finish the Wall, stop radical indoctrination in our kids’ classrooms, defend from increasing cybersecurity threats, stand with Israel, and protect America from the threat of Russia and China and socialists here at home.”
  • Collins: “Christian’s top three issues are fighting for election integrity, working to finish the wall and secure the border, and fighting against the radical indoctrination of our youth and backing pro-America education. This isn’t to say that he is not passionate about other issues too, but he believes that if we don’t tackle these three issues first then we aren’t going to have a country.”

Three independent election forecasters rate the Nov. 8 general election Safe or Solid Republican.

Additional reading:



Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 12

Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Democratic Edition

March 3, 2022

In this issue: Texas Democratic primary results roundup, Oregon county parties change rules to endorse challenger in OR-05

Texas results roundup

Texas held the nation’s first midterm primaries on Tuesday. Races in which no candidate received a majority of the vote are headed to May 24 runoffs. Here’s a roundup of results from marquee Democratic primaries, current as of Thursday morning. 

The big story of the night: Cuellar and Cisneros in runoff

Texas’ 28th Congressional District: Incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar and Jessica Cisneros are headed to a runoff. They received 48.4% and 46.9%, respectively. Tannya Benavides received 4.7%. 

Cuellar, who first joined Congress in 2005, is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition and was the only House Democrat to vote against federal legislation to legalize abortion in September. Cuellar says he brought funding to the district for public education, healthcare services, small businesses, veteran’s programs, and immigration services. Cisneros, an immigration attorney, supports Medicare for All and has criticized Cuellar’s positions on abortion, immigration, and pandemic response.

In the 2020 Democratic primary, Cuellar defeated Cisneros 51.8% to 48.2%.

Other marquee primary results

U.S. House

  • Texas’ 15th: This race was too close to call as of Thursday morning. Ruben Ramirez led with 28.3%. Vying for second were Michelle Vallejo with 20.1% and John Villarreal Rigney with 19.2%. Six candidates ran.
  • Texas’ 30th: Jasmine Crockett and Jane Hamilton advanced to a runoff with 48.5% and 17.0% of the vote, respectively. Nine candidates ran. Incumbent Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) didn’t seek re-election.
  • Texas’ 34th: Rep. Vicente Gonzalez Jr. won with 64.8%. Laura Cisneros was second with 23.3%. Seven candidates ran. Gonzalez represents the 15th District and chose to run in the 34th after redistricting. Incumbent Filemon Vela (D) didn’t run for re-election. 
  • Texas’ 35th: Greg Casar won with 61.3%. Eddie Rodriguez had 15.6% and Rebecca J. Viagran, 15.5%. Four candidates ran. This seat is open as incumbent Lloyd Doggett (D) ran in the 37th after redistricting. 
  • Texas’ 37th: Rep. Lloyd Doggett won with 79.2%. Donna Imam was second with 17.8%. Four candidates ran.

State executive

  • Attorney General: This race was too close to call as of Thursday morning. Rochelle Garza received 43.1%. Vying for second were Joe Jaworski with 19.6% and Lee Merritt with 19.5%. Five candidates ran.

Media analysis

The Texas Tribune‘s Joshua Fechter said the following about primary results in terms of incumbents and challengers:  

Texas’ top Republicans mostly fended off challengers in the GOP primary Tuesday. Meanwhile, a slate of progressives made inroads in Democratic primaries for Congress — but fell short of their goal of an immediate sweep that would reshape the Texas’ U.S. House delegation.

Meanwhile, the status quo was largely preserved in the Texas Legislature. No state Senate incumbents lost their seats Tuesday night. In the House, one sitting Democrat lost and no incumbent Republicans were knocked out, though a few were forced into runoffs. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan both saw the vast majority of their favored candidates win primaries in the chambers they preside over.

The New York Times‘ Reid J. Epstein said the following of progressives’ performance in House primaries:

Progressives frustrated by Mr. Biden’s stalled social policy agenda were looking for a boost in Texas and got one — possibly three.

Greg Casar, a former Austin city councilman, won easily Tuesday night and appears poised to come to Washington next year from his safely Democratic district. Another progressive contender, Jessica Cisneros, forced a runoff with Representative Henry Cuellar, a moderate who narrowly defeated her in the 2020 primary but is now under investigation by the F.B.I.

Jasmine Crockett, a state lawmaker who was among the ringleaders of Texas Democrats’ flight to Washington to delay new Republican voting laws last summer, has a large lead but appears bound for a runoff in a Dallas-area district. …

Together, Mr. Casar, Ms. Cisneros and Ms. Crockett would bring new energy to the liberal wing of the House and to “the Squad” of progressive Democrats. Last month, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York came to Texas to campaign for Mr. Casar and Ms. Cisneros.

Following rules changes, Linn and Deschutes County Democrats endorse challenger in OR-05

Democratic Party leaders in Oregon’s Linn and Deschutes counties voted last week to change their committees’ rules against endorsing candidates in primaries. Both parties then endorsed Jamie McLeod-Skinner in the 5th Congressional District Democratic primary. 

McLeod-Skinner, who was the Democratic nominee for Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District in 2018 and ran for Oregon Secretary of State in 2020, is challenging incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader. Schrader was first elected in 2008 and is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, New Democrat Coalition, and Problem Solvers Caucus. McLeod-Skinner has endorsements from the Working Families Party and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).  

After a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee field organizer spoke on behalf of Schrader at a Deschutes County Democrats meeting on Feb. 10, Deschutes County precinct committee member Sid Snyder said, “[T]he fact that we have the 800-pound gorilla from Washington coming in and weighing in in our primary spurred some of us to say, ‘You know what, we need Deschutes County Democrat voices heard, not just Washington, D.C., Democrat voices heard.'” Noting that redistricting moved the district eastward, Snyder said, “To us, [Schrader is] not an incumbent.” 

According to Daily Kos data, 47% of the new 5th District’s population comes from the old 5th District.

Deschutes County’s rule change only applies to this year’s 5th District primary. Linn County’s new rule applies to all primaries.

So far, Schrader and McLeod-Skinner are the only candidates running in the primary. The filing deadline is March 8 and the primary will be held on May 17. 

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb endorses Rep. Shontel Brown in OH-11

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb endorsed Shontel Brown’s re-election bid in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District. Brown defeated Nina Turner in the special Democratic primary last year 50% to 45%. Turner is running against Brown again. 

Bibb mentioned voting rights and federal infrastructure funds Cleveland had received and said, “We won’t be that city of opportunity unless we have a strong voice in Washington that will fight for Cleveland every single day.”

Bibb assumed office in January, succeeding Mayor Frank Jackson, who endorsed Turner in last year’s primary. Turner endorsed Bibb’s mayoral bid (after the primary, in which she endorsed a candidate who didn’t advance).

Brown took office in November and succeeded Marcia Fudge, who left office to become secretary of housing and urban development. Brown was on the Cuyahoga County Council from 2015 to 2021 and chairs the county Democratic Party. Turner was a state senator from 2008 to 2015 and co-chaired Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign.

The primary is scheduled for May 3. Ohio’s congressional district boundaries are in the process of being redrawn. 

Ad shines spotlight on CO-03 Democratic primary

Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District Democratic primary was in the news last week when candidate Alex Walker announced his bid with an ad featuring graphic language and visuals, including feces falling from the sky. 

Walker said, “We are real Coloradans. We deserve a living wage, small government that actually works, and freedom of choice. Instead, we have bull****.” 

Walker’s isn’t the first ad in the race with a fecal focal point. Last May, attorney Cory Wilhelm released an ad in which he said, “Our current representative is full of bull***, and I’m not bull***.”

At least nine candidates are running in the Democratic primary. Six have filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey:

As of Dec. 31, Sandoval, a community organizer, led Democrats in fundraising with $535,000. Wilhelm had $305,000, including $281,000 he loaned his campaign. Two other Democrats had raised six figures—state Rep. Donald Valdez at $286,000 and veterinarian Debby Burnett at $179,000.

Incumbent Lauren Boebert (R) raised more than $3.5 million as of Dec. 31. Boebert was first elected to represent the 3rd in 2020 after defeating incumbent Scott Tipton in the Republican primary 55% to 45%.

Competitiveness data: West Virginia’s primaries

West Virginia’s filing deadline for federal and state elections was Jan. 29. We’ve crunched some numbers to compare how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles:

U.S. House

Due to population changes, the state lost one district and was apportioned two ahead of the 2022 cycle. West Virginia was apportioned three congressional districts after the 2010 census. All three incumbents filed to run for re-election, two of whom—Reps. David McKinley (R) and Alexander Mooney (R)—are running in the same district.

State legislature

During the 2020 redistricting cycle, the legislature changed the makeup of the House of Delegates. Previously, the chamber had 67 districts with a total of 100 members. Now, the chamber has 100 single-member districts. This did not change the number of delegates, but it increased the number of possible primaries from 134 to 200.

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries: four in the U.S. House and 234 in the state legislature.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.


Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 12

Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Republican Edition

March 3, 2022

In this issue: Texas GOP primary results roundup and a Senate leadership disagreement in N.C.

Texas results roundup

Texas held the nation’s first midterm primaries on Tuesday. Races in which no candidate received a majority of the vote are headed to May 24 runoffs. Here’s a roundup of results from marquee Republican primaries, current as of Thursday morning. 

The big stories: Taylor suspends campaign, Paxton and Bush go to runoff

Texas’ 3rd Congressional District: Incumbent Van Taylor and Keith Self advanced to a runoff with 48.7% and 26.5%, respectively. Taylor suspended his campaign on Wednesday, saying, “About a year ago, I made a horrible mistake that has caused deep hurt and pain among those I love most in this world. … I had an affair, it was wrong, and it was the greatest failure of my life.” 

The Texas Tribune‘s Patrick Svitek said that “no other race in Texas this year seems to more reflect the debate within the GOP over the fallout from Jan. 6.” Taylor was one of two House Republicans from Texas—and 35 House Republicans nationwide—who voted last May to establish a commission to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol breach. Self, a former Collin County judge, criticized Taylor’s vote. Five candidates ran in the primary.

Attorney General: Incumbent Ken Paxton and state Land Commissioner George P. Bush advanced to a runoff with 42.7% and 22.8%, respectively. Former state supreme court Justice Eva Guzman received 17.5% and U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, 17%. 

Svitek and the Tribune‘s James Barragán wrote during the primary, “Gohmert and Paxton are … vying for the same conservative voters who are further right than the establishment GOP. Bush and Guzman appear to be fighting over traditional, pro-business Republicans.”

A grand jury indicted Paxton on securities fraud charges in 2015, and former aides have accused him of bribery and abuse of office. Paxton has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

Other marquee primary results

U.S. House

  • Texas’ 1st: Nathaniel Moran won with 62.9%. Joe McDaniel was second with 24.3%. Four candidates ran. The district is open—incumbent Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) ran for attorney general.
  • Texas’ 8th: This race was too close to call as of Thursday morning. Morgan Luttrell led with 52.2%. Christian Collins was in second with 22.3%. Eleven candidates ran. Incumbent Rep. Kevin Brady (R) didn’t seek re-election.
  • Texas’ 15th: Monica De La Cruz Hernandez won with 56.5%. Mauro Garza was second with 15.3%. Nine candidates ran. The district is open—incumbent Vicente Gonzalez Jr. (D) is running for re-election in the 34th District after redistricting.
  • Texas’ 38th: Wesley Hunt won with 55.3%. Mark Ramsey had 30.2%. This is a newly created district following redistricting.

State executive

  • Governor: Incumbent Greg Abbott won with 66.4%. Next were Allen West and Don Huffines with 12.3% and 12.0%, respectively. Eight candidates ran in the GOP primary.
  • Agriculture Commissioner: Incumbent Sid Miller won with 58.5%. James White was second with 31.1%. Three candidates ran.

State legislature

  • State legislative: There were 62 Republican state legislative primaries. Nine were for the state Senate and 53 were for the state House. Two incumbent senators and 30 incumbent representatives faced primaries. No incumbent Republicans lost primaries on Tuesday.
    • Both incumbent senators in contested primaries won on Tuesday. No Republican state senator has lost in a primary or runoff since 2014. 
    • Four of five state Senate candidates Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) endorsed won primaries. The fifth is headed to a runoff. 
    • There are three runoffs in the House with GOP incumbents—in districts 12, 60, and 85. Two GOP House incumbents were in primaries that haven’t been called yet (districts 64 and 91). In 2020, no GOP House incumbents lost in primaries, and two lost in runoffs.

Media analysis

The Texas Tribune‘s Joshua Fechter said the following about primary results in terms of incumbents and challengers:  

Texas’ top Republicans mostly fended off challengers in the GOP primary Tuesday. Meanwhile, a slate of progressives made inroads in Democratic primaries for Congress — but fell short of their goal of an immediate sweep that would reshape the Texas’ U.S. House delegation.

Meanwhile, the status quo was largely preserved in the Texas Legislature. No state Senate incumbents lost their seats Tuesday night. In the House, one sitting Democrat lost and no incumbent Republicans were knocked out, though a few were forced into runoffs. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan both saw the vast majority of their favored candidates win primaries in the chambers they preside over.

FiveThirtyEight‘s Geoffrey Skelley said the following about the relation between the primary results and House incumbents’ votes on certifying the 2020 election results: 

I mentioned earlier tonight the strong hold that Trump continues to have on the GOP in Texas (many Republicans in the state have a popular view of the former president), and indeed, there were many strong performances by Republican incumbents who voted against certifying the 2020 election in the U.S. House — every one handily won renomination or looked to be on their way in a couple of uncalled races.

But in an example of how our politics are often full of contradictions, most Republicans who voted to certify the election did well, too — except Rep. Van Taylor … Taylor faced a number of attacks for his vote to certify the 2020 election results and for his support of a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. Senate candidates in N.C. disagree on Senate leadership

Veteran Marjorie K. Eastman, former Gov. Pat McCrory, and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker participated in the first U.S. Senate GOP primary debate in North Carolina on Feb. 26. Walker and McCrory disagreed on the topic of Senate leadership. 

The issue arose when Walker was discussing an 11-point plan Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) released that Scott said the GOP should adopt as its agenda. 

Walker said, “I applaud Sen. Rick Scott. … In fact, I think he needs to be the majority leader instead of Mitch McConnell moving forward. … How are you going to change something unless you put new leadership into the pipeline?”

McCrory said, “McConnell brought a change in the Supreme Court working with Donald Trump that we desperately needed, and without his legislative skills, it wouldn’t have happened.”

Eastman didn’t say who she’d support for leader.

McConnell, currently Senate minority leader, has said he will not release a GOP agenda ahead of the midterms. On March 1, McConnell said, “If we’re fortunate enough to have the majority next year, I’ll be the majority leader. I’ll decide in consultation with my members what to put on the floor.” 

Scott, for his part, has said he would support McConnell for majority leader. Scott chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee and said he released the plan separate from that work. In addition to this session of Congress, McConnell was minority leader from 2007 to 2015 and majority leader from 2015 to 2021. 

Rep. Tedd Budd, who Trump endorsed in the Senate primary in North Carolina, was invited to the debate but did not attend. His campaign previously said he wouldn’t participate in debates until the filing deadline passed.

More than a dozen candidates are running in the primary so far. Eastman, Benjamin Griffiths, and Lichia Sibhatu filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey—click on their names to read their responses. The primary is scheduled for May 17.

Sen. Richard Burr (R) isn’t seeking re-election. He was one of three GOP senators up for re-election this year who voted guilty in Trump’s 2021 impeachment trial.

Inhofe announces U.S. Senate retirement, triggering special election

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) announced he’ll retire effective Jan. 3, 2023, four years before his term expires. Inhofe is one of seven senators—six Republicans and one Democrat—to announce retirements at the end of the 117th Congress.

Under state law, a special election to fill the remainder of Inhofe’s term will take place on Nov. 8, at the same time as the regularly scheduled midterm elections. The special primary election is expected to take place on June 28 with a runoff election on Aug. 23 if no candidate wins a majority of the vote. 

Michael Crespin, the director of the Carl Albert Congressional Research & Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma, said, “I expect the primary to be very crowded. … It’s pretty rare for a U.S. Senate seat to open up.” Inhofe was first elected in 1994.

Luke Holland, U.S. Rep Markwayne Mullin, and state Sen. Nathan Dahm announced their candidacies shortly after Inhofe’s announcement. 

Holland has served as Inhofe’s chief of staff since 2017. Holland said he shares Inhofe’s policy positions and would continue Inhofe’s legacy. Inhofe endorsed Holland in his resignation letter, saying, “[Holland] is a fierce conservative and the best person to continue my legacy of a strong national defense and investment in local infrastructure.” 

Mullin said in a tweet, “We need an America First conservative fighting for Oklahoma in the Senate.” Mullin has represented Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013. 

Dahm, who represents District 33 in the Oklahoma State Senate, said in a post on his campaign Facebook page, “We continue to run on my record as THE proven Republican fighter.” Dahm was previously challenging Sen. James Lankford in the GOP primary for the state’s regularly scheduled Senate election this year.

Inhofe won a fifth term after defeating Abby Broyles (D) 63% to 33% in 2020. Oklahoma hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1990, and the winner of the Republican primary is expected to have an advantage in the special general election.

Competitiveness data: West Virginia’s primaries

West Virginia’s filing deadline for federal and state elections was Jan. 29. We’ve crunched some numbers to compare how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles:

U.S. House

Due to population changes, the state lost one district and was apportioned two ahead of the 2022 cycle. West Virginia was apportioned three congressional districts after the 2010 census. All three incumbents filed to run for re-election, two of whom—Reps. David McKinley (R) and Alexander Mooney (R)—are running in the same district.

State legislature

During the 2020 redistricting cycle, the legislature changed the makeup of the House of Delegates. Previously, the chamber had 67 districts with a total of 100 members. Now, the chamber has 100 single-member districts. This did not change the number of delegates, but it increased the number of possible primaries from 134 to 200.

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries: four in the U.S. House and 234 in the state legislature.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.

Incumbent candidates in IL-15 primary comment on Ukraine

U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis and Mary Miller are running in Illinois’ 15th Congressional District GOP primary. Both commented on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Chicago Tribune‘s Rick Pearson said Miller’s response “was in stark contrast to the reactions from the rest of the delegation, including the four other Illinois Republicans in the House” who denounced Putin. Several also called for sanctions.

Miller said on Feb. 24 that “Americans miss the ‘Peace Through Strength’ and energy independence that were achieved during the Trump Administration.” Miller criticized Biden on the withdrawal from Afghanistan, immigration policy, and energy policy, saying, “None of this would be happening if President Trump was still in the White House.” Trump endorsed Miller in the primary.

Davis tweeted on Feb. 24 that he “join[s] the free world in strongly condemning Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. […] Thugs like Putin only respond to strength. Now is the time for severe economic consequences.” He called for sanctions through passing the Putin Accountability Act and for increased military spending in the upcoming defense budget. 

A Davis press release from January said the Putin Accountability Act would “bypass the Biden Administration’s soft-on-Russia approach.”

Miller was first elected in 2020 to represent Illinois’ 15th. Davis was first elected in 2012 to represent the 13th. According to data from Daily Kos, 28% of the newly drawn 15th District’s population comes from Illinois’ old 13th District (which Davis represents) and 31% comes from the old 15th District (which Miller represents). Three independent race forecasters rate the general election Solid or Safe Republican.

Illinois’ primaries are scheduled for June 28.



Paxton, Bush advance to runoff in Texas Attorney General Republican primary

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and George P. Bush advanced to a May 24 primary runoff, after neither candidate received more than 50% of the vote in the March 1 primary election.

Paxton won 42.7% of the vote, while Bush won 22.4%. Candidates Eva Guzman and Louis Gohmert received 17.8% and 17.1% of the vote, respectively.

Paxton was first elected Attorney General in 2014. He was re-elected in 2018, defeating Justin Nelson (D) 50.6% to 47%. Paxton ran on his record as Attorney General—a record he says includes challenging the Biden administration in court and guarding religious freedom.

In June 2021, former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Paxton. Paxton said, “As the values conservative endorsed by President Trump, I am proud of my record standing up to and defeating the Biden Administration – repeatedly. I stand by my record and values, and ask each voter to join President Trump in standing with me for a safer and stronger Texas.”

Bush is the Texas Land Commissioner, a position to which he was first elected in 2014. His campaign has focused on border security, law enforcement, combating human trafficking, and restoring integrity to the office.

Bush said allegations that Paxton engaged in criminal misconduct make him unfit for office. In 2015, Paxton was indicted on three counts related to securities fraud violations. The case is still open, and no trial has been scheduled. In 2020, the FBI opened an investigation into claims that Paxton used the Office of the Attorney General to benefit a political donor. Paxton has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

Bush said: “Texans deserve a top advocate that’s above reproach, not under indictment, focused on the job, going to defend our state against federal overreach, but also take on progressive mayors that are doing everything, for example, here in Austin, such as defunding the police.”

Texas has had a Republican attorney general since 1999.

At the time of this writing, the Democratic primary had not been decided. Rochelle Garza had 43.6% of the vote, while Joe Jaworski had 19.6%.



Cuellar, Cisneros head to runoff in TX-28 Democratic primary

Incumbent Henry Cuellar and Jessica Cisneros advanced to a May 24 runoff in the Democratic primary for Texas’ 28th Congressional District. In the March 1 primary, Cuellar received 48.4% of the vote, followed by Cisneros with 46.9% and Tannya Benavides with 4.7%.

This year’s primary is a rematch of the 2020 primary, which Cuellar won outright with 51.8% of the vote to Cisneros’ 48.2%.

Cuellar, in Congress since 2005, is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition. He was the only Democrat in the U.S. House opposed to federal legislation legalizing abortion in a September 2021 floor vote. Cuellar’s campaign said he had used his position on the House Appropriations Committee to bring funding to the district for public education, healthcare services, small businesses, veteran’s programs, and immigration services.

Cisneros is an immigration attorney and supports Medicare For All, access to reproductive planning and contraception, a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, and the For The People Act as key policy goals. Cisneros criticized Cuellar for his abortion stance, his votes on federal immigration proposals, and his response to the coronavirus pandemic, citing the latter as a key reason she ran again.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus endorsed Cuellar. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Justice Democrats endorsed Cisneros. The San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board, which backed Cuellar in the 2020 primary, endorsed Cisneros in the 2022 primary.



Sid Miller wins Texas Agriculture Commissioner Republican primary

Incumbent Sid Miller defeated Carey Counsil and James White in the Republican primary for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture on March 1, 2022. With 98% of polling locations reporting, Miller received 59% of the vote, followed by White with 31% and Counsil with 10%.

Miller was first elected agriculture commissioner in 2014 and was re-elected in 2018. He was formerly a member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing District 59 from 2001 to 2013. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Miller in December 2021. Miller said, “I’m a political maverick … I’m the only statewide [official] that actually holds liberals accountable and the establishment Republicans accountable.” According to The Dallas Morning News‘ Sami Sparber, Miller said he ran for re-election because there were “projects [he needed] to finish before [he moved] on.” The Texas Tribune‘s James Barragán wrote, “Miller said voters should reelect him because he has a track record of successfully running the agency.”

According to Barragán, Miller’s Republican and Democratic challengers “[called] his ethics into question while linking him to the recent arrest of [longtime political consultant Todd Smith].” Miller responded to criticism from his opponents: “We have the highest ethics of any elected official in the state. … These guys are way behind. They’re desperate, and desperate candidates do desperate things. … They’re trying to confuse people with misinformation, paint me in a bad light. It’s not going to work. People know me. I’ve got a stellar record as your Ag Commissioner.”

Counsil, an economics professor and rancher, said, “I think people are tired of the status quo and people are tired of the career politicians and people want fresh blood. People want people that are in the industry.” The editorial board of The Dallas Morning News and The Amarillo Pioneer‘s publisher’s committee endorsed Counsil in the Republican primary.

White, who has represented District 19 in the Texas House of Representatives since 2011, said he was a “proven conservative who will restore integrity to this crucial agency that oversees over $115 billion in annual economic impact to our state.” According to The Dallas Morning News, White “[ran] on a platform of organizational reform,” and “promised to make the pricing process for permits and licenses ‘methodological and transparent.'” The editorial boards of the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, and the Austin American-Statesman endorsed White in the Republican primary.

Miller faced two challengers in the 2018 Republican primary and won the party’s nomination by a margin of 33 percentage points.

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Casar wins Democratic primary in Texas’ 35th Congressional District

Greg Casar defeated three candidates—State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, consultant Carla-Joy Sisco, and former San Antonio City Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran—in the Democratic primary election for Texas’ 35th Congressional District on March 1, 2022. 

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D) is seeking re-election in the 37th District, leaving the 35th District open for the first time since its creation following the 2010 census.

Race forecasters have rated the Hispanic-majority 35th District, which contains portions of Austin and San Antonio, as Solid Democratic.

During the primary, Casar, a member of the Austin City Council from 2015 to 2022, received endorsements from groups like the Texas AFL-CIO, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and elected officials including Sen. Bernie Sander (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). 

In a campaign ad, Casar said, “working families … deserve a progressive leader who will always fight and deliver for reproductive rights, good jobs, Medicare for All, and a better Texas.”

In the Nov. 8 general election, Casar will face one of the 10 candidates who ran in the district’s Republican primary. The winner of that nomination likely will not be decided until after a May 24 runoff election since no single candidate is poised to receive a majority vote according to unofficial results.

If elected in November, Casar, who is 32 years old, likely would be the fourth-youngest member of Congress.

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