Updates on the 2022 races and our endorsed candidates from Senior Fellow John Isaacs
June 29, 2022
Colorado Senate election becomes more challenging for Sen. Bennet: While Colorado is a Democratic-trending state and President Biden easily carried the state, the 2022 Senate contest has become more difficult for incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D) as he will face a more moderate Republican in November. In the June 28 GOP primary, businessman Joe O’Dea beat state Rep. Ron Hanks, an ardent advocate of Donald Trump’s stolen 2020 election charge, 55.5-45.5%. A Democratic-linked outside group spent almost $4 million on ads that proclaimed Hanks’ right-wing credentials and attacked O’Dea. This media campaign attempted to duplicate Sen. Claire McCaskill’s gambit in 2012 that helped make Rep. Todd Akin (R) the GOP nominee, where he self-destructed. Bennet won his last election in 2016 50-44% and a recent poll showed him ahead of O’Dea 49-36%, but national Democrats are not taking this race for granted this year.
June 29, 2022
Results of Illinois internecine progressive primary: Redistricting has led to multiple incumbent- vs.-incumbent primaries in a number of states, including Illinois. Two progressives, two-term Rep. Sean Casten and freshman Rep. Marie Newman, were forced into a face-off in an Illinois primary. Casten prevailed by a substantial 68-29% margin in Chicago’s inner western suburbs. Newman was hurt by an ethics investigation into charges she sought to keep a potential primary opponent out of the race when she ran in 2020 by offering him a job as a top aide if she won.
June 28, 2022
AIPAC intervenes against Rep. Andy Levin: Speaking of incumbent-vs.-incumbent races forced by redistricting, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Super PAC has purchased roughly $820,000 in the Detroit media market for one week of TV ads supporting Rep. Haley Stevens (D) in Michigan’s newly-drawn 11th District against Council-endorsed Rep. Andy Levin (D). AIPAC has endorsed more than 100 Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election. AIPAC also bundled $280,000 in individual contributions for Stevens’ campaign, making her a top Democratic recipient of their money. Levin, besides his Council endorsement, is being backed by many progressive organizations, national unions, environmental groups, Planned Parenthood, J Street, and teacher groups. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is featured in a Levin ad saying, “He’s the true progressive in this race.”
June 28, 2022
PA Senate candidate John Fetterman’s unusual campaign: Since John Fetterman, the Council-endorsed Senate candidate from Pennsylvania, suffered a stroke in mid-May he has, at the behest of doctors and his wife, stayed off the campaign trail. However, the New York Times reports: “More than a month into his recovery, Fetterman is trying something utterly novel in American politics: a towel-snapping virtual campaign of sassy online memes, withering mockery of his opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and fourth-wall-bending television ads and online videos that explode many of the usual tropes of political campaigns.” The Times also relates that Fetterman “is still very much his old self — gruff and iconoclastic, flaunting his stinging sense of humor, razor-sharp memory and an encyclopedic knowledge of political and cultural arcana.” Polls indicated that Fetterman has a six-to-nine point lead over his GOP opponent, who came out of a close Republican primary bruised by his New Jersey roots and uncertain science on his television shows.
June 15, 2022
Mondaire Jones introduces himself “differently” to new district: Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) has launched his first ad, called “Different,” in his new district: “Do I stand out in Washington? Yes. Let’s see: I’m a New Yorker. I grew up in Section 8 housing and on food stamps, raised by a single mom. I’m Black, I’m gay, and damn proud to be different.”
June 14, 2022
Murray runs negative ad, signaling concerns: Sen. Patty Murray is running a negative ad against her Republican opponent, motivational speaker Tiffany Smiley. The ad plays an audio of Smiley saying “I met with President Trump, and I was so impressed.” The ad says that Smiley “still has serious questions about the 2020 elections.” This move is evidence that Murray has a real race on her hands.
June 13, 2022
Democrats run ad in Colorado Senate contest to boost extreme candidate: In 2012, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) ran ads praising one of her opponents to encourage Republicans to nominate a more extreme candidate. It worked: the Missouri GOP nominated Todd Akin, who self-destructed in the general election. This year, Democrats are trying to repeat this strategy in several states, including in Colorado where Sen. Michael Bennet (D) is running for re-election. An independent group called Democratic Colorado is spending up to $2 million running an ad that praises GOP candidate Ron Hanks, who proudly participated in the January 6 Capitol insurrection. The ad states that Hanks is too conservative for the state, highlighting his record on border security, gun rights and opposing abortion. A Washington Post article on this campaign and two others suggests that this strategy as risking electing to office more extreme candidates.
June 8, 2022
Primary results some key primaries
California 27th district: State Assembly Representative Christy Smith (D) easily topped John “Quaye” Quartey (D) with 37% of the vote compared to 6%, setting up a third toss up contest in November between Rep. Mike Garcia (R) and Smith. In 2020, Smith lost by only 333 votes.
California 47th district: Rep. Katie Porter (D) finished the primary in the newly formed 47th district with a very strong 51% of the vote, setting up a contest with Scott Baugh (R), the former leader of the California State Assembly, in November. This is a “Lean Democratic” district according to the Cook Political Report.
California 49th district: Rep. Mike Levin (D) advanced to the November ballot with 50% of the vote. He faces a rematch with his 2020 opponent Brian Maryott (R), who received 19% of the vote.
New Jersey 3rd district: Rep. Andy Kim (D) easily won his primary, and now faces yacht business owner Bob Healey (R). Kim is one of the few Democrats representing a district also carried by President Donald Trump in 2020.
New Jersey 7th district: Back for a rematch is 2020 nominee and former state Senator Tom Kean Jr. (R) against Council endorsee Rep. Tom Malinowski (D). The Malinowski staved off Kean in 2020 by only 1.2 percentage points, and redistricting has moved the district several points toward GOP favorability.
June 3, 2022
Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary ends: Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate David McCormick conceded the close primary contest to Dr. Mehmet Oz even though the state recount was still underway and there has been no official race call. Dr. Oz had a lead of fewer than 1,000 votes, or .07 percent, before the county-by-county recount began last week. This decision sets up one of the major Senate races in the country against Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, who is still recovering from a heart condition.
May 31, 2022
Encouraging poll in Ohio Senate race: A Columbus Dispatch/Suffolk poll shows a close race emerging in Ohio since J.D. Vance became the GOP nominee against Rep. Tim Ryan. The poll showed Vance only ahead by 42-39%. A separate Innovation Ohio poll put Ryan in the lead by two points. Vance won the Republican primary, but did so after converting from an anti-Trumper to a Trump disciple. Vance also tweeted, “I gotta be honest with you, I don’t really care what happens to Ukraine,” and praised Hungary’s authoritarian and anti-migrant leader Viktor Orban. Rep. Ryan emerged from the primary with favorability of 17 points while Vance has a net unfavorability of 4 points.
May 27, 2022
New Hampshire redistricting finally concluded: New Hampshire was the last state to finish its decennial congressional redistricting — aside from pending legal challenges in Florida and elsewhere — despite having only two districts. The state’s court-appointed special master has proposed lines that make minimal changes and make seats held by Rep. Annie Kuster (D) and Rep. Chris Pappas (D) competitive. The Republican-controlled state legislature had proposed lines that would have helped Kuster by adding blue portions of the state while undercutting Pappas in the hope of electing a Republican to replace Pappas. However, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) vetoed the legislative plan, leading to a result where just five towns changed districts.
May 26, 2022
Pennsylvania Senate race on hold: The critically important Pennsylvania Senate race is in limbo a week after the primary. Council-endorsed John Fetterman is out of the hospital after suffering a stroke, but the timing of his return to the campaign trail is unclear. Fetterman’s wife, Gisele Fetterman, has said that her husband has no set timeline.
At the same time, Fetterman’s Republican opponent is also not yet clear. Pennsylvania’s acting secretary announced that a recount of the primary votes will be launched. Each of the state’s 67 counties can start their recounts as of May 26 and must finish by June 7. There are also uncounted mail-in ballots. According to the official count to this point, Dr. Mehmet Oz leads Dave McCormick by 902 votes out of 1.3 million votes counted. The two candidates are also fighting in the courts over which mail-in ballots can be tabulated.
May 25, 2022
Another close contest for Jessica Cisneros in Texas: The outcome of Council-endorsed Jessica Cisneros’ run-off primary election challenging Rep. Henry Cueller in Texas’ 28th district is still up in the air. Following the initial tally, Cisneros trails Cuellar by 177 votes out of more than 45,000 votes cast. Cuellar won 50.2% compared to Cisneros’ 49.8% of the vote, and the race has not yet been officially called. The House Democratic leadership endorsed the incumbent, who has declared victory even though a recount is likely.
May 25, 2022
Trump’s mixed 2022 election endorsement record in competitive races: One of the major questions about the 2022 elections is former President Donald Trump’s continued sway over the Republican Party. As the accounting below indicates after Trump-supported candidates in Georgia failed dramatically, his record is mixed:
July 27, 2021
Trump Loss: Texas special House election: Susan Wright
November 21, 2021
Trump Loss: Pennsylvania Senate: Sean Parnell (dropped out)
May 3, 2022
Trump Win: Ohio Senate: JD Vance
Trump Loss: Ohio Gov. DeWine wins renomination
Trump Win: Ohio Secretary of State: Frank LaRose
Trump Win: OH-13: Madison Gilbert
Trump Win: OH-7: Max Miller
May 10, 2022
Trump Loss: Nebraska Governor: Charles Herbster
Trump Win: WV-02: Rep. Alex Mooney over Rep. David McKinley
Trump Loss: NB-02: Rep. Don Bacon, who won
May 17, 2022
Trump Win: North Carolina Senate: Rep. Ted Budd
Trump Win: Pennsylvania Governor: Doug Mastriano
Trump Loss: NC-11: Madison Cawthorn
Trump Win: NC-13: Rep. Bo Hines
Trump Loss: Idaho Governor: Janice McGeachin
May 24, 2022
Trump Win: Georgia Senator: Herschel Walker
Trump Loss: Georgia Governor: David Perdue
Trump Loss: Georgia Attorney General: Chris Carr, who won
Trump Loss: Georgia Secretary of State: Brad Raffensberger, who won
Trump Win: Arkansas Governor: Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Trump Win: Texas Attorney General: Ken Paxton
Trump Loss: Alabama Senate: endorsed, later withdrew endorsement of Rep. Mo Brooks, who moves onto a run-off
Unknown: Pennsylvania Senate: Dr. Mehmet Oz – too close to call; recount expected
Unknown: GA-06 – Jake Evans; runoff June 21
Unknown: GA-10 – Vernon Jones/ runoff June 21
May 21, 2022
New York State redistricting finalized : The New York State Supreme Court approved a new congressional redistricting plan that drastically modified a plan previously drawn by the Democratic legislature. Some highlights:
►The previous Democratic gerrymander would have favored Democrats to win 22 out of 26 seats; the new plan has 15 safe Democratic seats, three safe Republican seats and eight swing seats.
►Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D) and Jerrold Nadler (D), who have served alongside each other for 30 years, are forced to run against each other in a new 12 th district.
►Rep. Mondaire Jones (D), who appeared to face a contest against Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D), will run instead in a newly reconfigured 10th District in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, a race that will also include former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and other candidates
►A district that had been reconfigured that would have helped former Rep. Max Rose’s (D) comeback has been returned to its mostly former GOP-leaning form.
►Two upstate Republicans, Reps. Claudia Tenney and Chris Jacobs, no longer must run against each other.
May 16, 2022
North Carolina Senate primary results : Former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley easily won her primary in the Tar Heel state, and faces Rep. Ted Budd (R), who swamped former Gov. Pat McCrory (R).
May 16, 2022
Pennsylvania Senate primary results : Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (D) easily beat Rep. Conor Lamb (D) in the Democratic primary, 59-26%. Lamb immediately endorsed the winner. The Republican primary is still too close to call, and with absentee ballots still to be counted and a recount very possible, the winner may not be determined for weeks. Dr. Mehmet Oz barely leads Dave McCormack 21.2-31.1%, a margin of about 1,000 votes. From Politico : “Pennsylvania Republicans are predicting trench warfare that could drag out for weeks — and be fought in the media, as well as potentially in the courts.”
May 15, 2022
PA Senate candidate suffers stroke : Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a leading Democratic candidate vying for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat, says he suffered a stroke on Friday but is on his way to a full recovery.
May 14, 2022
Cuellar ducks and dodges in TX-28 : If you need evidence of the challenges resulting from Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion on Roe v. Wade, look no further than Rep. Henry Cuellar’s attempt to pretend to be what he is not. A super PAC called Mainstream Democrats supporting Cuellar is running an ad before the May 24 primary runoff claiming he opposes a ban on abortion. In fact, Cuellar supports the Supreme Court opinion and has voted for abortion bans in the past.
May 11, 2022
Radiation Exposure Compensation Act: Council-endorsed Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Representative Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM-03 ) played a key role in the successful passage of a two-year extension to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to cover people exposed to harmful radiation from U.S. nuclear weapons testing and uranium mining. As their joint statement indicates, t hey continue to fight to expand and strengthen the measure. Leger Fernandez is a CLW endorsee who serves New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District, which she first won in 2020 with 59% of the vote. Redistricting has led her seat to geographically grow and become more competitive this cycle.
May 7, 2022
Donald Trump Continues Senate Campaigning: Fresh off his claimed victory for J.D. Vance in Ohio, the former president rallied in Pennsylvania with his preferred candidate, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is engaged in a hot GOP primary that will take place May 17. The winner will almost surely face Council-endorsed candidate John Fetterman. Rolling Stone reported, “Trump attempted to sell his supporters on Oz in a variety of ways, ranging from the banal to the bizarre — even going so far as to remind the audience that Oz was ‘in the bedrooms’ of women across America, as if that was a good, totally un-creepy asset for a would-be politician.”
May 6, 2022
Ohio Senate Primary : In almost final results, Rep. Tim Ryan received 70% of the Democratic primary with 355,764 votes. He received more votes than author J.D. Vance, who was given a tremendous boost by former President Donald Trump, and won the Republican nomination with 32% of the vote and 340,991 votes. However, twice as many people voted in the Republican primary compared to Democrats. As the New York Times reported, “[The suburbs] is where Representative Tim Ryan, a Democrat hoping to appeal to establishment Republicans and working-class voters, will have to drive up the vote to overcome conservative shifts in more rural parts of the state.”
May 6, 2022
Minnesota Toss-up : The political prognosticators agree: Minnesota’s Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN-02) is in for a tight race. Craig, who first won this seat in 2018, won a narrow victory in 2020, 48-46%. The estimates of the race in 2022:
Cook Political Report: Toss up
Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Toss up
Inside Elections: Tilt Democratic
May 5, 2022
Pennsylvania Senate : John Fetterman has widened his Democratic primary lead over his main opponent. He now leads Rep. Conor Lamb by 53-14% in a new Franklin & Marshall Poll . The primary is May 17. In the meantime, Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidates are engaged in a donnybrook, with three candidates are within a few points of each other. Donald Trump has given his still-powerful endorsement to celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz, who hailed from New Jersey until recently.
May 3, 2022
Texas Progressive Primary : One House race where the Council has endorsed may see an early test over the enormous national controversy over the Politico leak of a draft opinion by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is the Jessica Cisneros primary challenge to Rep. Henry Cuellar. The runoff primary is May 24. Cuellar is the only House Democrat to vote against legislation to codify Roe v. Wade. An article in the Texas Tribune pointed out that, “The tight race between Cuellar, a moderate Democrat who famously opposes abortion, and Cisneros, a young progressive, represents the most vivid illustration of how the leaked opinion could reshape a number of the fast-approaching runoffs.”