This week, we're tracking a number of special elections, highlighted by the all-party primary for a vacant congressional district in California. There are legislative races in California, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. On the municipal front, voters in Milwaukee will elect a mayor.
Congressional Special Primary Election
California District 22
This seat has been open since the start of the 117th Congress in January. Republican Devin Nunes vacated the seat to lead Trump Media & Technology Group.
In California, all candidates appear on a single primary ballot. In regular elections, the top two advance to the general election. This is also the case in special elections, unless one candidate gets a majority of the primary vote. In that case, they are elected. If a special general election is needed, that will take place on June 7, the same date as the statewide primary.
There are four Republicans and two Democrats on the primary ballot. The frontrunner appears to be Republican Connie Conway, a former member of the State Assembly. Polls close at 11:00 PM Eastern Time.
There's a good chance that the winner of the special election will only serve in Congress until the end of the year. California is losing a district, and the current District 22 is essentially being eliminated, its current borders largely folded into the new Districts 5, 20 and 21.
Three participants in Tuesday's election - two Republicans and one Democrat - have entered the June 7 primary in the new District 21. Democrat Jim Costa (current CA-16) is running as the incumbent. While it is likely that one of the special election Republicans will advance with Costa, the district has been made safer for Democrats in redistricting.
The other three entrants in the special election - including Conway, the frontrunner - did not file for any seats in the regular 2022 election.
State Legislative Special General Elections
Georgia State House District 45
Republicans hold a 102-77 edge over Democrats in the Georgia State House. Members serve two year terms; the next regular elections are in November. These will be contested using redistricted boundaries.
District 45 is located in Atlanta's northern suburbs. Republican Matt Dollar resigned in February to take another position. Dollar was unopposed when first elected in 2012 and didn't face a challenger until 2018. That year, he won by nearly 20% over his Democratic foe; that gap narrowed to 10 points in 2020.
Of Tuesday's seven State House special elections and primaries, this one is likely to be the most competitive from a party control perspective.
In Georgia, special elections include all candidates from all parties. In this race, there are three Republicans and one Democrat. If no candidate gets a majority of the vote, the top two finishers will meet in a May 3 runoff.
Polls close at 7:00 PM Eastern Time.
Pennsylvania State House Districts 19, 24, and 116
Republicans hold 112 seats in the 203-member Pennsylvania State House. There are 88 Democrats. Members serve two year terms; the next regular elections are in November. These will be contested using redistricted boundaries.
Tuesday's elections will fill the chamber's three vacancies. Nominees were chosen directly by the political parties. Polls close at 8:00 PM Eastern Time.
District 19: This Pittsburgh-area district has not been contested by Republicans over the last decade. That will continue with this special election; Democrat Aerion Abney is unopposed on the ballot. The prior officeholder, Democrat Jake Wheatley Jr. resigned in January to become Chief of Staff to Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey.
District 24: Located just east of District 19, the prior incumbent, Ed Gainey was elected Mayor of Pittsburgh this past November. Although Republicans haven't contested this district over the past decade, they do have a candidate in the special election. Perhaps reflecting a very thin bench for the party in this part of the state, that nominee, Todd Koger, ran for this seat as a Democrat in both 2016 and 2018. The Democratic nominee is Martell Covington.
District 116: This district sits west of Wilkes-Barre. It was last represented by Republican Tarah Toohil. She resigned at the end of 2021 after being elected as a judge on the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. Toohil last won reelection by a 72% to 28% margin over her Democratic challenger in 2020. There are three candidates on the ballot.
State Legislative Special Primary Elections
California Assembly Districts 11, 62, and 80
The lower legislative chamber in California is known as the State Assembly. Democrats hold 56 of the 80 seats. There are 19 Republicans and one independent. Members serve two year terms; the next regular elections are in November. These will be contested using redistricted boundaries.
Tuesday's all-party primaries will start the process of filling three of four vacancies. If a candidate receives a majority of the vote, they are elected. Otherwise, the top two finishers advance to the June 7 general election. Polls close at 11:00 PM Eastern Time.
District 11: Located between San Francisco and Sacramento, this district was represented over the past decade by Democrat Jim Frazier. He resigned December 31. Frazier was reelected by a 65% to 35% margin in 2020. The only candidate on the ballot is Democrat Lori Wilson. Republican Erik Elness has been certified as a write-in candidate.
District 62: This coastal Southern California district includes Inglewood and Los Angeles International Airport. Democrat Autumn Burke resigned earlier this year. She had been first elected in 2014. In 2020, she was reelected with 81% of the vote. Four Democrats are on the primary ballot.
District 80: This district runs from the Mexico border to San Diego. Democrat Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher resigned in January. She was first elected in 2013. In 2020, she was reelected with 72% of the vote. There are two Democrats and one Republican on the ballot. While one of the Democrats is expected to prevail, this race has drawn some outsized interest.
Mayoral Special General Election
Milwaukee is the 31st largest city in the United States,1 with a population of just over 577,000.
The acting mayor is Democrat Cavalier Johnson, who also serves as the City's Common Council President. Johnson became acting mayor when five-term incumbent Tom Barrett resigned in December after being unanimously confirmed as the new U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg.
Johnson finished first in the February 15 nonpartisan primary with 42% of the vote. In second place was former Alderman Bob Donovan, who previously ran for mayor in 2016. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The candidates have offered voters a juxtaposition of a 35-year-old Democratic north side alderman who has moved up quickly at City Hall since his first election win in 2016 and a 65-year-old conservative former council member who spent 20 years representing a south side district before retiring in 2020."
The winner of this election will complete Barrett's term, which ends in 2024. Polls close at 9:00 PM Eastern Time.
- April 7
- New York State Assembly District 20 Special Election
- April 19
- California State Assembly District 17 Special Election
- May 3
- Indiana Primary
- Ohio Primary
- Michigan State House Districts 15, 36, 43, and 74 Special Elections
- May 7
- Lubbock, Texas Mayoral Election
- Texas State House District 147 Special Election
- May 10
- Nebraska Primary
- West Virginia Primary
- Newark, NJ Mayoral Election
- May 17
- Idaho Primary
- Kentucky Primary
- North Carolina Primary
- Runoffs, where necessary, on July 26
- Oregon Primary
- Pennsylvania Primary
- Charlotte and Greensboro, NC Mayoral Primaries
- Lexington and Louisville, KY Mayoral Primaries
- Oregon State Senate Senate District 18 Special Primary
- Pennsylvania State House District 5 Special Election
- South Carolina State House District 97 Special Election