We're tracking one legislative special election this week.
California State Assembly District 17
Democrats hold 57 of 80 seats in the California Assembly. There are 19 Republicans and one independent. Members serve two year terms. The next regularly scheduled elections are in November. Those will be contested under redistricted boundaries.
Three seats are open, all were previously held by Democrats. Vacancies in Districts 62 and 80 held primaries on April 5. Those general elections will be June 7, the same date as the statewide primary.
District 17 is located in San Francisco. The seat became vacant when Democrat David Chiu was sworn in as San Francisco City Attorney in November.
No Republican has contested this districts since 2016. There were four Democrats on the February 15 primary ballot; none received a majority of the vote. The top two finishers - Matt Haney (36.4% of the vote) and David Campos (35.7%) - were separated by just over 700 votes. Affordable housing is a key issue in the race.
In a joint statement issued Monday, Republican leaders of both branches of the Florida Legislature announced they will defer to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on congressional redistricting. The Legislature is awaiting a map acceptable to the governor, which they will evaluate and presumably pass during the upcoming April 19-22 special session.
In its current format, District 5 stretches across the northern tier of the state. It was shaped that way after court-ordered redistricting prior to the 2016 election and is intended to let Black voters elect a representative of their choice. Democrat Al Lawson is now in his third term there.
After a new map is enacted, a court battle is expected over whether it meets the standards of the Fair Districts Amendments to the State Constitution, approved by voters in 2010.
This week, we have an unusual Thursday special election to to fill a legislative vacancy.
New York State Assembly District 20
Democrats hold a large majority in the New York State Assembly. The party controls 106 seats, alongside 42 Republicans and one Independence Party member.
Members serve two-year terms. The next regularly scheduled elections will be in November. These will be contested using redistricted boundaries. Note that these new districts are being challenged in court. A judge ruled the maps unconstitutional on March 31. That decision has been stayed by a higher court while the appeal proceeds.
District 20 borders the New York City borough of Queens in southwestern Long Island. Republican Melissa Miller resigned in February after being appointed to the Hempstead town board. She won her third term by 59% to 41% in 2020.
Miller's prior wins were by single digit margins, including in 2016, when she flipped the district from Democratic control. It is unclear if this electoral history means we'll see a close special election or if the district has moved too far to the right for Democrats to compete.
There are two candidates on the ballot. Polls close at 9:00 PM Eastern Time.
Citing an "irresponsible" redistricting process, six-term Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Gibbs (OH-07) announced his retirement Wednesday. Gibbs will serve through the end of this Congress.
Since 2011, I’ve had the honor of serving the people of Ohio’s 18th, then 7th District. I helped reform federal water resources policy, made clean water utilities more affordable for low-income communities, cut taxes & red tape for millions of American families & businesses… pic.twitter.com/xABqVFGHjw
In his statement, Gibbs expressed frustration that the new congressional map was finalized - and perhaps only in effect for 2022 - just a week prior to the start of early voting, particularly since the new 7th district only contains about 10% population overlap with the existing 7th. (Gibbs isn't the only member seeing large shifts, some of which is driven by the fact that Ohio is losing a district.)
Per Cleveland.com, Gibbs was also facing some primary challengers "including Max Miller, a well-funded former White House aide to [and endorsed by] ex-President Donald Trump."
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.
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
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,11City rankings are based on July 1, 2020 Census Bureau population estimates. They are for the city itself, not the associated metropolitan area. 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.
New York State Assembly District 20 Special Election
California State Assembly District 17 Special Election
Michigan State House Districts 15, 36, 43, and 74 Special Elections
Lubbock, Texas Mayoral Election
Texas State House District 147 Special Election
West Virginia Primary
Newark, NJ Mayoral Election
North Carolina Primary
Runoffs, where necessary, on July 26
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
Upton was one of 10 House Republicans that voted to impeach Donald Trump last January. He is the fourth of those to retire; most of the others are facing a Trump-endorsed primary challenger.
In addition to running afoul of the former president, Upton was also facing an intraparty primary against Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-02). With Michigan losing a seat this year, the two incumbents were redistricted together into the new 4th district. The consensus rating for that district in this year's midterms is Likely Republican.
Don Young (R) had been Alaska's lone U.S. House representative for over 49 years when he died on March 18. There is clearly a lot of pent-up demand, as 51 candidates have filed to take his place. A nonpartisan primary will take place entirely by mail. Ballots will be sent out in May and must be postmarked by June 11.
The top four finishers in the primary will advance to the August 16 special general election, which will use ranked choice voting to determine a winner. Both the all-mail primary and the structure of the election are firsts for Alaska. August 16 is the same date as the statewide primary, where voters will separately choose four nominees for the full two-year term to be contested in November's general election.
The party distribution of the 51 candidates: 17 Republican (R), 13 nonpartisan (N), 10 undeclared (U), 6 Democratic (D), 3 Libertarian (L), 1 Alaska Independence (AK), 1 American Independent (AI).
Some notable entrants:
Nick Begich III (R)
From a prominent Alaska political family. His grandfather, Nick Begich Sr. (D) was elected as the state's U.S. Representative in 1968. A plane he was on vanished in October, 1972. Still on the ballot, Begich defeated Don Young that November. Young would go on to win the special election in March, 1973. Begich III is the nephew of former Sen. Mark Begich (D) and current State Sen. Tom Begich (D).
John Coghill (R)
Former State Senator
Chris Constant (D)
Member of the Anchorage Assembly
Al Gross (N)
Orthopedic surgeon. Running as an independent, he was the 2020 Democratic U.S. Senate nominee, losing to incumbent Dan Sullivan (R).
Emil Notti (D)
Lost to Don Young in the 1973 special election. Now 89, he's giving it another try.
Sarah Palin (R)
Former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee. Palin entered the race on April 1, the final date for filing.
Josh Revak (R)
State Senator and co-chair of Young's 2022 reelection campaign
Tara Sweeney (R)
Co-chair of Young's 2022 reelection campaign
Adam Wool (D)
Santa Claus is also running. He is a councilman in - obviously - North Pole, Alaska. Claus was once the special assistant deputy police commissioner in New York City.
I'm happy to announce that I'm a Candidate in the Special Election for the U.S. House of Representatives for Alaska in 2022! I'm an independent, progressive, democratic socialist, with an affinity for Bernie Sanders, and aim to represent ALL Alaskans :-)} https://t.co/DrYTU63Xp3pic.twitter.com/r8HplPVC3z
The new map largely maintained the status quo of the last decade, which translates to five seats for Republicans and one for Democrats. None of these are competitive from a party control perspective. Democrats, led by Edwards, had wanted the new map to include a second majority-minority district given that Blacks now comprise about 33% of the state's population.
New York: On Thursday, a judge threw out the state's enacted congressional map, calling it a partisan gerrymander in violation of the State Constitution. The decision will be appealed. As a stay of the court order is expected while the higher court adjudicates, the district shapes will remain on the interactive map for the time being.
Ohio: It looks like the Legislature's second enacted congressional map will stand for the midterm elections, despite it being only slightly fairer than the one the Supreme Court tossed out in January. The court has yet to rule on the new map, and has now set a timeline for hearing the case that takes any decision past the state's May 3 primary. These shapes were previously added to the House Interactive Map.
Four states, with 46 total districts, have yet to complete congressional redistricting.
As expected, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) vetoed the plan sent to him by the Republican-controlled Legislature. DeSantis is convening a special session of The Legislature from April 19 to 22 for the sole purpose of coming up with a new map. The intraparty battle centers largely around the treatment of District 5, a Black Opportunity district that stretches across much of the northern part of the state. Gov. Ron DeSantis wants this district made more compact, effectively eliminating the only Democratic-held district north of the Orlando area. The vetoed plan somewhat acceded to this by consolidating the district around Jacksonville. However, it didn't go as far as DeSantis wanted.
On March 25, a judge invalidated Maryland's previously enacted map, calling it a Democratic gerrymander in violation of the state Constitution. On March 30, the Democratic-controlled Legislature passed a revised plan to meet a tight deadline set by the Court. It was transmitted to GOP Gov. Larry Hogan on March 31. According to FiveThirtyEight, the new map is much fairer based on their efficiency gap metric. It remains to be seen which (or either) of the two maps is enacted. The Court needs to rule on the new map, while at the same time the State will appeal the prior ruling. The bill (SB1012) passed with the revised map includes a provision that specifies the original map will be used if the State wins on appeal.
A deadlock in the Republican-controlled Missouri Senate was finally broken, and that chamber passed a map on March 24. However, the state House, which passed its own plan back in January, rejected the plan. Missouri is the only state remaining where no plan has been enacted or passed by legislators. It is a bit unclear what will happen next. The state's deadline for the August 2 primary was March 29; candidates filed based on the 2010 boundaries. However, a lawsuit has been filed, as congressional districts are required to have equal populations based on the most recent Census.
New Hampshire (2)
Gov. Chris Sununu (R) will veto the congressional map sent to him by the Republican-controlled Legislature. On March 22, he submitted his own plan to the leaders of both legislative chambers. Sununu favors a plan that keeps both districts competitive, while the map approved by the legislature makes each of the state's two districts more partisan. It made District 1 more favorable for a GOP pick-up; the party has not won a U.S. House seat since 2014.
Republicans hold a 29-16 edge over Democrats in the 46-member South Carolina State Senate. Terms are for four years; the next regular elections are in 2024. These will be contested using redistricted boundaries.
District 31 is located in and around Florence, close to the coast in the northeastern part of the state. Republican Hugh Leatherman, who had been in the State Senate since 1981, died last November 12. Leatherman was unopposed in the three elections (2012, 2016, 2020) since the last redistricting.