As the states complete their individual redistricting processes and candidate filing deadlines appear on the political horizon, some incumbents find themselves facing serious primary challenges.
Rep. Tom McClintock
Primary: June 7 (Jungle)
Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $372,569
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: R+17
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 56.6% R
The California Citizens Redistricting Commission made significant changes to the Golden State congressional map. As a result, veteran northern California Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) had his choice of two districts, one less Republican that contained more of his home area, and the other more strongly favoring the GOP but stretched from the Sacramento suburbs all the way to the Fresno area. Mr. McClintock chose the latter.
The Congressman’s most serious opponent is Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig (R). California imposes a jungle primary system meaning that the top two finishers in the June qualifying election advance to the general election. Considering the Republican trends in this district, it is wholly possible that both Rep. McClintock and Supervisor Magsig will advance into the general election, especially with three Democratic candidates dividing the liberal base.
Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Suwanee)
Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta)
Dem Pairing Primary: May 24 Runoff: July 26
Bourdeaux Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $2,005,771
McBath Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $2,452,731
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: D+16
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 58.4% D
Republicans held the redistricting pen in Georgia and after losing two Atlanta metropolitan districts in consecutive elections, it was clear the GOP map drawers were going to take one back. That translated into loading Democrats from the previously Republican 6th District into the transitioning 7th CD.
Along with bringing more Democrats into the 7th, the 6th District incumbent, Rep. McBath, decided to join them. Instead of fighting for re-election in a new Republican 6th District (R+24), she moved south to challenge freshman Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux in the party primary. As you can see from the cash-on-hand totals above, both incumbents are well-heeled financially, so a major campaign is underway.
Also in the Democratic field is state Rep. Donna McLeod (D-Lawrenceville), who points out that she is the only one of the three that actually lives in the 7th CD. Her campaign is slow to begin, so it is doubtful that she will be much of a factor, and probably will not draw enough support to force the two congressional incumbents into a runoff. Therefore, it is likely that this pairing will be settled in the May 24th primary.
Among carryover constituents Rep. Bourdeaux has a big advantage in seeing a majority of her current 7th District constituency (57%) remaining in the new 7th. Ms. McBath, however, sees only 12.1% carryover from her 6th District. The larger Democratic influx came from Rep. Hank Johnson’s 4th CD, as 26% of his constituency was transferred to the new 7th.
On the other hand, the new 7th is overwhelmingly minority: 29.8% black, 21.3% Hispanic, and 15.8% Asian. Thus, the demographics could help Rep. McBath, who is African American. Her strength within the party’s leftward faction is also a benefit in a primary contest. With each incumbent showing similar strength levels, this will be an interesting race to watch on May 24th.
Rep. David Scott*
Primary: May 24 Runoff: July 26
Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $1,107,286
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: D+52
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 77.9% D
After only scoring 52.9% in the 2020 Democratic primary against three opponents, Rep. David Scott’s (D-Atlanta) 2022 race may be even more serious. Opposing him in this election are two candidates with an election track record, former state Senator and 2017 Atlanta mayoral candidate Vincent Fort, and South Fulton City Councilman Mark Baker. The latter man bills himself as the “strongest progressive” in the race, but ex-Sen. Fort was well entrenched with the Bernie Sanders campaign.
Therefore, both opponents are attacking Rep. Scott from the left, which should help him split the opposition vote. Whether such a split will be enough to again allow him to capture majority support in the May 24th primary may be another question. Rep. Scott has long been attacked over not being further to the left on the ideological spectrum, which could again be a problem for him in a district that is overwhelmingly Democratic. Neither Messrs. Baker or Fort filed an FEC report at the end of the 2021, meaning they are behind on fundraising.
Rep. Scott must still be rated as the favorite to prevail, but this is another contest that will merit attention on May 24th.
Rep. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove)
Rep. Marie Newman (D-La Grange)
Dem Pairing Primary: June 28
Casten Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $1,580,171
Newman Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $ 573,120
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: D+6
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 51.4% D
The Illinois race is the second of the three Democratic congressional pairings, and it features sophomore Rep. Casten and freshman Rep. Newman. This particular pairing came about because of complaints that a second Hispanic seat should be drawn in Chicago. Fearing a loss in court, the Democratic legislative leadership acquiesced and drew a new open 3rd District that is 44% Hispanic. As a result, Rep. Newman’s home was placed in Rep. Chuy Garcia’s (D-Chicago) 4th District, but she pivoted to run in the 6th against Rep. Casten. Her move made sense because 43% of her constituency was drawn into the new 6th District versus just 24% coming from Rep. Casten’s current 6th District.
While Mr. Casten has a financial advantage and the support of most of the Chicago Democratic establishment, Rep. Newman is a darling of the far left and will likely attract the more ideological voter that tends to dominate primary voting in both parties.
The aspect of this race that attracts little attention is that the pairing winner is not necessarily home free in the general election. With the Illinois gerrymander drawing 14 Democratic seats of 17 total districts, some of the Dem seats are weak. The 6th, with a D+6 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data entity, is one of those. Therefore, a divisive primary could make the eventual Republican nominee even more viable in the general election. This draw was not favorable to either Democratic incumbent, and we will see a spirited fight between now and the June 28th primary.
Rep. Rodney Davis* (R-Taylorville)
Rep. Mary Miller (R-Oakland)
GOP Pairing Primary: June 28
Davis Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $1,234,171
Miller Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $ 414,795
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: R+42
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 64.6% R
The Illinois Democratic gerrymander created a new uber-safe Republican 15th District that attracted both Reps. Rodney Davis and Mary Miller. Therefore, the new member here will be chosen in the June 28th Republican primary.
The race is shaping up as a clear GOP establishment versus movement conservative contest. Virtually all of the state and national Republican leaders, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, have endorsed Mr. Davis. All of the movement right-of-center groups such as the Club for Growth and Freedom Works, along with former President Donald Trump, have endorsed Rep. Miller.
Mr. Davis also has a major fundraising advantage. Ms. Miller, on the other hand, sees 31% of her constituents carrying over to the new 15th, versus 28% for Mr. Davis. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Peoria) has the largest contingent of current constituents in the new IL-15, 36%, but he is running for re-election in the new 16th CD.
Rep. Jake Auchincloss
Primary: September 6
Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $2,199,042
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: D+28
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 57.4% D
Freshman Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Newton) succeeded former Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D) when the latter left the seat for his unsuccessful run for the Senate. Mr. Auchincloss, a Newton City Councilman who at one time was a Republican and an Independent, won the party primary by just a percentage point over then-Brookline City Selectman Jesse Mermell. He was easily elected in the general election with 61% of the vote, and stands for a second term this year.
At this point, Rep. Auchincloss has no primary opposition, but Ms. Mermell has not ruled out challenging him again. With a late filing deadline of May 31st and a September 6th primary, plenty of time remains for her to make a challenge. If she does run, this is a race. If not, Rep. Auchincloss will likely cruise to re-nomination and re-election.
Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland)
Rep. Fred Upton* (R-St. Joseph)
GOP Pairing Primary: August 2
Huizenga Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $1,141,056
Upton Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $1,467,055
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: R+9
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 51.6% R
With Michigan losing a seat in reapportionment, two of the state’s western members were destined to be paired. The new 4th District features a potential contest between Reps. Huizenga and Upton, though the latter man has not yet decided whether to seek re-election. A third candidate, state Rep. Steve Carra (R-Kalamazoo), who carries former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, is also in the race.
Mr. Carra is not likely to be a major factor because he represents very little of the new 4th Congressional District constituency in the state legislature. This race will come down to Rep. Upton’s decision whether to seek a 19th term in the House or retire. If he runs, this will be a major summer primary contest. Should he retire, Rep. Huizenga becomes the prohibitive favorite in the primary, with the inside track for the general election, though the new 4th is more competitive than his current 2nd CD.
Rep. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township)
Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills)
Dem Pairing Primary: August 2
Levin Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $1,118,706
Stevens Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $1,986,094
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: D+15
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 57.8% D
With the Michigan Independent Citizens’ Redistricting Commission members favoring the development of more competitive districts throughout the state, possibly an unintended consequence was the eventual pairing of Reps. Stevens and Levin. The latter member could have run in the new 10th District, but this seat slightly leans Republican so he felt his chances were better opposing Rep. Stevens in the Democratic primary.
The two have opposite assets. While Rep. Stevens sees a carryover constituent factor of 46% from her current 11th to the new 11th, her home base of Rochester Hills is not in the newly crafted seat. While Rep. Levin has a carryover factor of only 26% from his current 9th CD, his home base of Bloomfield Township is placed wholly in the new 11th.
Rep. Levin is also betting on his superior name identification with Democratic voters throughout the Detroit metro region. His father, former US Rep. Sander Levin (D), represented the area for 36 years. His uncle, the late Sen. Carl Levin (D), was a major factor in Michigan politics for his own 36 years. Therefore, with the Levin family base solidly in the 11th, the Congressman felt his best chance for continuing his congressional service was to compete in the primary pairing.
Rep. Stevens benefits from a robust fundraising base, and has strong ties to the party’s left faction, thus giving her an edge different from Rep. Levin’s. This will be another August 2nd primary that attracts national attention. On that night, one of these members’ congressional careers will draw to a halt.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib
Primary: August 2
Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $1,425,778
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: D+44
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 73.4% D
The Michigan redistricting commission members also significantly changed the Detroit area to the point of drawing a civil rights lawsuit from a group of current and former Democratic state legislators. The plaintiffs lost at the initial court level, meaning that this Michigan map is very likely to be the political playing field for at least the 2022 election cycle. Appeals could eventually cause changes, but not likely before the current elections conclude.
Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) retiring gave Rep. Rashida Tlaib an easy move into the new 12th CD that houses 61% of her current constituency. She has drawn significant Democratic primary opposition, however, from two candidates with electoral histories, Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey and former three-term state Representative Shanelle Jackson. Both of these ladies have been defeated in previous congressional runs, however. A third challenger, college professor Michelle Wooddell, is also in the race but won’t prove much of a factor.
In a situation with no runoff, an incumbent with multiple challengers is in better shape because it is obviously easier to win with plurality support. This is another primary to watch, but Rep. Tlaib must be considered the favorite in a multi-candidate contest.
Rep. Steven Palazzo
Primary: June 7 Runoff: June 28th
Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $ 385,211
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: R+42
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 66.5% R
A congressional ethics investigation into Rep. Palazzo’s (R-Biloxi) use of campaign funds is an obvious negative as he strives to win re-nomination for a seventh term. The investigation prompted state Sen. Brice Wiggins (R-Ocean Springs) and Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell to launch a primary challenge against the Congressman, in addition to four others. Local business owner Carl Boyanton has thrown $550,000 of his own money into his campaign, making him a factor, too. This field could grow or retract as the March 1st candidate filing deadline looms on the political horizon.
It remains to be seen whether the investigation hinders Rep. Palazzo to the point of forcing him into a runoff - he has survived other tough primary challenges with larger than expected percentages - but the possibility of going to a secondary vote is certainly real. Should Mr. Palazzo be forced into a runoff, his re-nomination could be in serious jeopardy.
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry
Primary: May 10
Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $ 895,329
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: R+17
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 56.2% R
On Monday, a California court ruled that indicted Rep. Fortenberry (R-Lincoln) must stand trial in Los Angeles on campaign finance and lying to federal authorities charges. Considering his chances before a California jury are poor, this legal situation could cause a major death blow to the Congressman’s political career.
That being the case, state Senator Mike Flood (R-Norfolk), who is a former Senate Speaker, announced a challenge to the Congressman and immediately received Gov. Pete Ricketts’ and former Gov. Dave Heineman’s endorsements. The latter two are likely concerned that a wounded Fortenberry would be in trouble in a general election against state Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks (D-Lincoln), who will be a credible November contender. Sen. Flood, who owns a media news network in Nebraska, will become the favorite in this race if Fortenberry is found guilty. In that case, the Congressman may be forced to resign.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney
Primary: June 28
Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $1,072,404
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: D+67
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 83.5% D
Congresswoman Maloney has had two competitive Democratic primary challenges from businessman and former Obama White House aide Suraj Patel. In 2020, she scored only a plurality victory (42.7%) over Mr. Patel (39.3%) and two others. While he returns for a re-match, along with five others at least at this point, the 12th CD has changed. The Brooklyn and Queens areas where Mr. Patel previously performed strongly has been sent to other CDs, and the new 12th is back to being wholly contained within the Manhattan borough. This will help Rep. Maloney secure re-nomination for a 16th term, and this after serving 10 years on the New York City Council.
At this point, it appears Rep. Maloney’s toughest primary challenges are behind her, but we can expect another strong effort coming from Mr. Patel, which will make things interesting for the late June primary.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman
Primary: June 28
Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $ 309,223
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: D+36
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 71.0% D
Two years ago, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers), then coming from a middle school principal background, caught fire nationally, attracted over $3 million in campaign support, partnered with then-Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx), and romped to a 55-41% Democratic primary victory over 44-year elected official Eliot Engel (32 years in Congress; 12 years in the NY State Assembly).
Now, as an incumbent, he is facing credible primary opposition of his own. Recently, Westchester County Legislator and former United Nations official Vedat Gashi announced a primary challenge to Rep. Bowman in a new 16th CD that no longer includes any of the Bronx borough that used to be the district’s anchor. Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, a former state Assemblyman, is also considering entering the race. Political consultant Manuel Casanova is an additional candidate, but is not expected to be a major factor.
Much will develop here, but this is another contest that merits political attention. Rep. Bowman must of course be considered the favorite, but his lack of early fundraising suggests that he will have to devote more attention to developing another nomination campaign.
Rep. Nancy Mace*
Primary: June 14th Runoff: June 28
Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $1,505,649
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: R+17
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 55.6% R
It remains to be seen if this primary develops, but former state Rep. Katie Arrington, who lost the 2018 election after defeating then-Representative and former Governor Mark Sanford in the Republican primary of that year, returns to challenge freshman Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston). The seat has improved for the Republicans under the new state district boundaries, so the Republican primary is likely the determining factor.
Ms. Arrington comes into the race with an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, and he argues the serious automobile accident in which she was involved during the 2018 campaign was the principal reason for her losing in that election year. Rep. Mace is the favorite in 2022, but it is worth watching to see if the Arrington campaign develops. Public attacks from both candidates toward the other have already begun.
Rep. Tom Rice*
Primary: June 14th Runoff: June 28
Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $1,877,244
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: R+26
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 58.5% R
Rep. Tom Rice (R-Myrtle Beach) is one of the ten Republicans to vote in favor of impeaching then-President Donald Trump. He is the surprise of the group since he had been a strong supporter throughout the Trump presidency. And, now he faces serious re-nomination opposition.
Typically, a crowded field of opponents helps an incumbent but in a runoff state, such is not often the case. Mr. Trump has already endorsed state Rep. Russell Fry (R-Surfside Beach) who is one of 11 GOP potential candidates who look to file at the March 30th candidate filing deadline. The Trump endorsement may have forced possibly the strongest challenger, conservative media personality Graham Allen, to drop out of the race.
If Mr. Fry, or one of the others, can force Rep. Rice into a runoff, the chances for an upset improve dramatically. South Carolina still can employ their two-week runoff system despite the federal MOVE Act requirement of 45 days notice before an election. Apparently, a lack of a legal challenge to the runoff system has allowed it to stand.
Rep. Henry Cuellar*
Primary: March 1st Runoff: May 24
Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $2,347,334
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: D+7
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 55.0% D
In 2020, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) survived a Democratic Socialist backed effort from attorney Jessica Cisneros, a former intern for the Congressman, by only a 52-48% margin. This year, she returns for a re-match and with a highly publicized FBI investigation underway involving Mr. Cuellar, the tables may turn despite the new 28th including more favorable territory for the incumbent.
The Congressman has a huge financial advantage, but we can again expect outside sources to come in with negative attacks now that the investigation is swirling around the 9-term incumbent. Of all the Democratic primary challenges, Rep. Cuellar is clearly the most vulnerable, and with a quick March 1st primary approaching, the final days of this race will be intense and likely transformational in determining the ultimate victor.
Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler*
Primary: August (Jungle)
Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $1,656,655
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: R+11
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 51.9% R
For the second time, we see a poll suggesting that six-term Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground/Vancouver), another of the Trump impeachment Republicans, is in danger of not qualifying for the general election.
The Trafalgar Group surveyed the WA-3 jungle primary race, and they again find, as they did in their late October poll (2/11-14; 697 WA-3 likely jungle primary voters; live interview; interactive voice response system; text), that Democrat Brent Hennrich would place first with 33%, thus coalescing a large share of his party’s vote, and retired Army officer Joe Kent (R), armed with former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, placing second at 26%. Rep. Herrera Beutler lands in third with 22%. Two other Republicans combine for 17%.
Certainly, these polls are trouble signs for Rep. Herrera Beutler, and this is clearly a contest to watch. With a late August 2nd primary, the Congresswoman has time to recover, but it is obvious that her opponents are real.
Rep. Dan Newhouse*
Primary: August 2 (Jungle)
Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $ 855,007
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: R+25
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 58.8% R
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside) is another of the Trump impeachment Republicans, and the former President has already endorsed the state’s 2020 GOP gubernatorial nominee, ex-local police chief Loren Culp, in this congressional race. State Rep. Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick) is also a candidate, in addition to three other Republicans.
This is another example of a jungle primary where members of the same party could advance into the general election. This happened in the 4th District both when Rep. Newhouse was first elected in 2014 and again in 2016, each time facing former NFL football player Clint Didier (R). The 2022 campaign could turn into another serious challenge, particularly if Mr. Culp, or another Republican such as state Rep. Klippert, advances Into the general election opposite the Congressman.
Rep. David McKinley* (R-Wheeling)
Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town)
GOP Pairing Primary: May 10
McKinley Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $1,614,328
Mooney Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $2,386,030
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: R+34
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 67.5% R
Though the Republicans control the redistricting pen in West Virginia, the party leaders had no choice but to collapse a GOP seat. Reapportionment reduced the Mountain State congressional delegation from three seats to two, so a GOP pairing was unavoidable.
Being in the middle of the state, Rep. Alex Mooney was clearly going to be the odd-man out, and he would have his choice of running against veteran Rep. McKinley in the northern district or sophomore Rep. Carol Miller (R-Huntington) in the southern CD. Surmising a greater ideological difference between he and Rep. McKinley, Mr. Mooney chose the northern district even though Mr. McKinley has a 2:1 advantage in carryover constituents.
While the early polls favored McKinley, two conducted after the first of the year are showing a decided break toward Mr. Mooney. The latest, from WPA Intelligence (2/2-3; 406 WV-2 likely Republican primary voters; live interview), finds Rep. Mooney holding a substantial 43-28% lead after media attacks have pushed McKinley to the ideological center in former President Trump’s second strongest state in the country.
The WPAi survey confirmed the Public Opinion Strategies data of a month earlier (1/4-6; 400 WV-2 likely Republican primary voters; live interview) that also gave Rep. Mooney a double-digit lead. The POS margin showed a Mooney advantage of 45-32%.
Rep. Liz Cheney*
Primary: August 16
Cash-on-Hand (12/31/21): $4,715,289
FiveThirtyEight Statistical Rating: R+50
Dave’s Redistricting App Historical Voting: 68.9% R
For former President Donald Trump, this is likely the most important race featuring a Republican member who voted for his impeachment. Now, arguably his most vocal GOP critic, Mr. Trump is all-in to help defeat her in the summer primary in a state that has performed as his best in both his presidential campaigns.
His candidate is RNC National Committeewoman and attorney Harriet Hageman, but the key will be reducing the race to a one-on-one contest between she and Rep. Cheney. With polling showing 2/3 of Wyoming Republicans disapprove of Rep. Cheney, her only chance to win re-nomination is for the anti-Cheney vote to split among multiple candidates. Three have already dropped out, but four remain.
Another point in the Congresswoman’s favor is that Wyoming features an open primary, so Democrats can vote in the GOP nomination contest. Counting on a big crossover for her is a long shot, but it might be her only chance. Candidate filing doesn’t end here until May 27th, so expect a lot more to happen here between now and then.
Other Republican Potential Primaries
The following members have one or several opponents, but none have yet developed into serious enough challenges to threaten the incumbent’s re-nomination status:
Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise)
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Rome)
Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford)
Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-Orchard Park)
Rep. Van Taylor (R-Plano)