Election News

Cook Political Shifts Eight Gubernatorial Races Toward Republicans

Citing a sour political environment for Democrats, Cook Political on Friday shifted eight gubernatorial races toward the GOP.  A ninth race was rerated in favor of Democrats. After two other changes earlier in the week, the forecaster has now updated its outlook on 11 of the 36 gubernatorial elections to be held in 2022.

Jessica Taylor's analysis at Cook Political >> ($)

Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin were moved from Leans Democratic to Toss-up. Of these races, Cook cited Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) as "probably the most endangered".

Maine is now viewed as more competitive, moving from Likely to Leans Democratic.  Still favoring Democrats, but no longer 'Safe', New Mexico and Oregon were moved to Likely Democratic. Iowa and South Carolina, on the other hand, are seen as largely out of reach for Democrats, moving from Likely to Safe Republican.

The lone race moving in the other direction is in New York, which moves from Likely to Safe Democratic.

Earlier in the week, Massachusetts was moved from Safe Republican to Leans Democratic, as GOP Gov. Charlie Baker announced he wouldn't seek a third term. Cook notes this rating may be transitional "until all the primary contours become clearer, but it seems destined to end up in Likely or Solid Democrat very soon." Georgia was moved from Leans Republican to Toss-up, after 2018 Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams entered the race.

The Cook map with these changes is below. Select it for an interactive version to create and share your own 2022 gubernatorial forecast.

Stacey Abrams Running for Georgia Governor in 2022

Democrat Stacey Abrams announced Wednesday that she is running for Georgia governor, setting up a possible rematch with GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, who narrowly defeated her in 2018. 

Kemp defeated Abrams by 1.4% in 2018. It was the third closest gubernatorial race that year. 

Abrams' entry into the race has long been expected. She should have little trouble securing the Democratic nomination. Kemp, on the other hand, has alienated Donald Trump for refusing to help overturn Joe Biden's victory in Georgia last November. Former Sen. David Perdue is considering a primary challenge that would likely come with an endorsement from the former president.

If Abrams were to win next November, she would become the first Black woman elected governor in U.S. history.

Oregon Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio to Retire

Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio has become the 19th Democrat to announce they are retiring or seeking another office in 2022. Now in his 18th term, DeFazio is the longest-serving House member from Oregon.

DeFazio was reelected by about 5% in 2020. It was the closest race of his entire House career. The only other time he won by less than double digits was when first elected in 1986. That year, he won by 8%.

While the seat is back in play for 2022, the Democrat that attempts to succeed DeFazio will have the benefit of a more favorable district. According to FiveThirtyEight, the partisan lean of the 4th district moved from R+1 to D+9 in the state's recently completed redistricting.

2022 House Retirements

As of December 1, 2021. Select map for a detailed list.

 

Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker Won't Seek a Third Term in 2022

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a popular Republican governor in a deep blue state, said Wednesday that he will not seek a third term in 2022. 

More popular with Democrats and Independents than his own party, Baker was facing a primary challenge from the right by Donald Trump-endorsed former state Rep. Geoff Diehl.

Democrats in the race already include State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and former State Sen. Ben Downing. Popular Attorney General Martha Healey, a moderate, has considered running. That candidacy may now be more likely given the incumbent's departure.

The race was seen as Likely Republican with Baker running; we expect forecasters to dramatically shift those ratings towards Democrats in the days ahead. Thus far, Cook Political has moved its rating from Safe Republican to Leans Democratic.

Live Results: Atlanta Mayoral Runoff, Massachusetts House Special Election

Atlanta Mayor

Rank Population Mayor Term Status
38 498,715 Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) 1 Did not run

No candidate received a majority of the vote in the November 3 election, necessitating Tuesday's top two runoff. As expected, City Council President Felicia Moore finished first. She received 41% of the votes across the 14-person field. 

In a bit of a surprise, City Councilman Andre Dickens edged out former two-term mayor Kasim Reed by 600 votes to claim the second spot. Dickens received 23% of the overall vote. Dickens has been endorsed by outgoing mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

The runoff looks competitive. There have been two polls, which offset each other. A University of Georgia survey showed Dickens with a six-point lead over Moore, while a SurveyUSA poll found just the opposite. Both polls had a significant number of undecided voters.

Polls close at 8:00 PM Eastern Time.

Massachusetts State House 4th Essex

There are 160 districts in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The chamber is dominated by Democrats, who hold 129 seats. There are 29 Republicans and 1 independent. The next regularly scheduled election is in 2022.

This coastal district is located in the northeast part of the state. Republican Bradford Hill resigned in September after being appointed to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. He had been in office since 1999, and had run unopposed over the last decade, except in 2018. That year, Hill defeated Democrat Allison Gustavson by 56% to 44%. 

Primaries for this election were held on November 3. Both featured two candidates. Jamie Belsito won the Democratic nomination with 74% of the vote. The Republican nominee is Robert Snow, who received 57% support. 

Polls close at 8:00 PM Eastern Time.

Long Island Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi Enters New York Gubernatorial Race

Rep. Tom Suozzi (NY-3) has entered the 2022 race for governor of New York. He made his announcement Monday morning.

This will be Suozzi's 2nd run for governor. In 2006, he lost the Democratic Primary to Eliot Spitzer by 82% to 18%. 

Suozzi joins a field looking to win the Democratic nomination and deny Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) the opportunity to win a full term. Hochul succeeded Andrew Cuomo, who resigned in August. Attorney General Letitia James and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams previously declared their candidacy. Among those still considering a bid is outgoing NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio.

While James is seen as the greatest challenge to Hochul at this point in the race, Suozzi's entry could complicate the governor's effort as the two occupy the same moderate wing of the party. The others mentioned are more progressive.

New York's primaries are on June 28, 2022. Related: 2022 Election Calendar >>

District 3

New York's District 3 includes a small part of Queens, one of the boroughs of New York City. However, the majority of it is along the North Shore of Long Island. Suozzi won a third term in 2020 by a 56% to 44% margin. With his departure, Republicans are expected to make a strong play to flip the seat.

One wildcard is redistricting, which is not yet completed. The state is losing a district next year, although that is most likely to come from combining two districts upstate. Absent the strength of an incumbent, Democrats could put more focus on the boundaries in redistricting, although that could put one or both of the other Long Island districts - both GOP held - more out of reach. 

Suozzi is the 18th Democrat to announce they will be leaving the House to retire or run for another office next year. 11 Republicans are also departing. That list includes Lee Zeldin, who represents neighboring NY-1, which covers the eastern half of Long Island. Zeldin is seeking the GOP nomination for governor.

Rep. Louie Gohmert Running for Texas Attorney General Next Year

Rep. Louie Gohmert is giving up his safe seat in Congress to run for Texas Attorney General. Gohmert joins a crowded field looking to unseat incumbent Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton. His entry comes relatively late, as Texas kicks off the 2022 election calendar with primaries on March 1.

Gohmert is a strong supporter of former President Donald Trump. However, Trump is already spoken for in this election. He endorsed Paxton for a third term last summer, choosing to back the incumbent over Land Commissioner George P. Bush. 

Under indictment for his entire tenure as Attorney General, Paxton is nonetheless running ahead of Bush in limited polling. A recent UT Tyler survey - conducted before Gohmert entered the race - showed Paxton with 46% support vs. 32% for Bush. Also in the race for the GOP nomination are former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman and state Rep. Matt Krause, although they've gained little traction. (Krause dropped out later on the day this article was published).

It is worth noting that if no candidate gets a majority of the vote - which may be more likely with Gohmert on the ballot - the top two finishers will meet in a May 24 runoff.

District 1

Gohmert's District 1 is in the eastern part of the state, ending at the Louisiana border. It is a very conservative area; Gohmert won his 9th term by 73% to 27% over Democrat Hank Gilbert last November. While the district's boundaries are shifting slightly in redistricting, its partisan lean, calculated by FiveThirtyEight, remains at R+50.

The image below is of the current district.

28 current House members, including 17 Democrats and 11 Republicans, have said they are retiring or seeking another office next year. Four of those are from Texas, including Gohmert's fellow Republican Kevin Brady (TX-8) and Democrats Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) and Filemon Vela (TX-34).

Live Results: Mississippi State Senate Special Election Runoff

There are 52 seats in the Mississippi State Senate. The chamber is overwhelmingly Republican; that party holds 36 seats, Democrats 15.

District 32 includes much of Meridian and points north. It reaches the Alabama border to the east. It has been vacant since Democrat Sampson Jackson retired June 30, less than two years through the current four-year term.  He had been in the Senate since 1992.

Nine candidates, including Jackson's son Keith, met in a nonpartisan special election on November 2. Keith Jackson finished third with 13%. No candidate received a majority of the vote, necessitating a runoff.

Rod Hickman (26% of the vote) and Dr. Minh Duong (22%) advanced and face off Tuesday to determine the winner of the seat. Sampson Jackson has endorsed Hickman.

Polls close at 8:00 PM Eastern Time.

Vermont Rep. Peter Welch Running to Replace Retiring Sen. Patrick Leahy

Democratic Rep. Peter Welch, Vermont's at-large U.S. House representative since 2007, is seeking a promotion. On Monday, he announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by the retiring Sen. Patrick Leahy (D).

Welch was elected in 2006, after then Rep. Bernie Sanders (I) retired to run for the Senate seat he now holds. In a bit of historical alignment, Sanders served eight terms in the House and replaced a retiring Senator, Jim Jeffords (R). Welch is now completing his 8th term, and starts out as a strong favorite to replace the retiring Leahy.

Sanders endorsed Welch shortly after he officially entered the race. 

Vermont is the only state that has never sent a woman to Congress. Several have publicly expressed interest in the House seat, pending Welch's decision.

Welch is the 27th current House member to announce they will be leaving at the end of this term.

Texas Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson to Retire

Texas Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson won't seek reelection in 2022. Johnson, who will be 86 in early December, had said in 2019 that she was planning to serve one more term. However, until Saturday, no official retirement announcement had been made.  According to the Dallas Morning News, "Johnson said people had been urging her to run for another term in Congress and she went back and forth about the decision but eventually decided to retire."

Johnson represents the safely Democratic 30th district, which includes much of the city of Dallas, and nearby areas to the south. She won her 15th and final term by 59% in 2020; Joe Biden carried the district by 61 points. Congressional redistricting in Texas has changed the current district boundaries (shown below) only slightly for 2022. 

 

Given the lean of the district, it is the upcoming Democratic primary that will almost certainly choose Johnson's replacement. Texas kicks off the 2022 primary calendar on March 1, so the race, which is considered wide open at this point, should develop fairly quickly now that Johnson has made her decision.

26 current House members - including 16 Democrats and 10 Republicans - are retiring or running for another office next year.