Welcome to the first split!
Split Ticket will be sending out three different newsletters each week to keep up with our commitment to covering a wide variety of content. Each will have a specific theme, with subject matter alternating by the week.
Here’s the plan:
- Mondays (Campaign news and general updates)
- Wednesday (A deep-dive analytical piece)
- Friday (Looking back to history with a map)
This week’s split aims to add some excitement and fun to the mundane developments of the campaign trail. We hope you enjoy!
Candidacy, O Candidacy
We recognize how hard it can be to keep track of candidacy declarations in hundreds of races across the board, so we’ve made a concise list of some of this week’s most important announcements broken up by office.
Keep in mind that most of these declarations are still dependent on redistricting. For states without new maps we’ll be using the current numbering systems.
CA-09 (DEM) Jerry McNerney – San Joaquin County supervisor Tom Patti announced that he will be running for the 9th district last week. The Stockton-based seat has grown more favorable for Democrats since McNerney first won it in 2006. McNerney is one of many veteran California Democrats undecided about reelection next year. If the recently-proposed lines are enacted, the 9th would be Biden +16. That’s a bit redder than the current district, but probably still too blue to permit a Republican victory.
CA-21 (REP) David Valadao – Former Congressman TJ Cox recently announced that he would not challenge David Valadao again next year. The Biden-seat Republican lost to Cox in a midterm upset before winning back his district in 2020. California’s recent redistricting proposal would split the 21st into three parts, placing Valadao’s home in the same Democratic Fresno seat as fellow-Republican Devin Nunes. Valadao will probably run to the south in a Bakersfield-based district that is only Biden +7, redder than his current seat. Cox endorsed Bakersfield Assemblyman Rudy Salas, who currently seems likes the Democrats’ leading contender for the seat.
CO-08 Open – The newly-minted 8th district is expected to be the most competitive in Colorado. In this Biden +5 seat, elections will be a balancing act between Democratic Adams County and Republican Weld County. State Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer entered the race last week and is expected to become the Republican primary frontrunner. Yadira Caraveo, a state Representative, headlines the Democratic field. Other candidates include county commissioners Chaz Tedesco (DEM) and Lori Saine (REP).
FL-20 (DEM) Vacant – A primary rematch could be shaping up in this majority-black, South Florida seat. The district opened up earlier this year after long-time Congressman Alcee Hastings passed away following a battle with pancreatic cancer. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick won the fractious November 2nd Democratic primary by just five votes over Dale Holness! While Cherfilus-McCormick’s win is tantamount to general election victory, the result will not be determined until the January special election. Holness, a Broward County commissioner, recently announced a rematch bid. Keep in mind that redistricting is still up in the air in the Sunshine State.
IL-03 Open – Redistricting has placed 3rd district Democrat Marie Newman into the same seat as 6th district Democrat Sean Casten. That race could be next year’s nastiest double-bunking primary. Those developments leave the new 3rd open. Gilbert Villegas, a Democratic alderman on the Chicago City council, is now his party’s frontrunner for the seat. This mostly-Hispanic district is out of reach for Republicans. If he gets elected, Villegas would be the second Hispanic Congressman from Chicagoland along with Chuy Garcia in the 4th district.
IA-03 (DEM) Cindy Axne – Two-term Democrat Cindy Axne announced that she would be seeking reelection last week. The Des Moines-based 3rd is the most Democratic of Iowa’s four Congressional seats, but remains narrowly Trump-won under the new lines. If next year’s environment continues to look favorable for the GOP, Trump-district Democrats will be among the first in the party’s caucus to go down in close reelection fights. Polk and Dallas counties are trending Democratic, so the party could take the 3rd back later in the decade even if it loses it next year. State Senator Zach Nunn and former state Representative Mary Ann Hanusa are running on the Republican side.
MI-03 (REP) Peter Meijer – Freshman Republican Peter Meijer represents a marginal Trump seat based around Grand Rapids and Battle Creek. His support for President Trump’s second impeachment has drawn a primary challenge from the right in former Trump Administration official John Gibbs. It is unclear what the new district will look like and remains to be seen how potent Trump’s post-presidency endorsement will be. Gibbs joins numerous “anti-establishment” Republicans challenging incumbents that have upset the party’s right-wing.
MI-06 (REP) Fred Upton – Long-time Republican Congressman Fred Upton also faces a primary challenge from his right after his recent BIF vote. State Representative Steve Carra is challenging the incumbent with Trump’s endorsement. Upton, who was first elected in 1986 after primarying an incumbent, could very well retire next year.
MI-08 (DEM) Elissa Slotkin – The Lansing-based 8th district backed Trump by under a point last year. It is currently held by two-term Democrat Elissa Slotkin, a rising star in the Michigan delegation who has been touted as a potential statewide candidate by many in her own party. Her new district will be marginal however it ends up being drawn, so we can expect it to yield one of 2022’s marquee races. State Senator Tom Barrett became the first major contender to enter the race on the Republican side with an announcement last week.
MO-04 (REP) Open – Vicky Hartzler is retiring from the west-central 4th district to run for Senate next year. Last week state Senator Rick Brattin announced his run for the open seat, which will almost certainly remain reliably Republican. Five other candidates are already running.
MT-01 Open – For the first time since 1992 reapportionment, Big Sky Country will be gaining a second seat. The newly adopted map is the more Republican of two initial proposals. Under the new lines the 1st excludes Helena, making it Trump +7. That may make it more Democratic than the state as a whole, but it does not mean the seat is likely to break against the Republicans in a GOP environment. Former Congressman and Trump Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke appears to be an early favorite here. Tom Winter, a Democrat who lost the primary for the At Large seat in 2018, recently joined a slew of Democrats running here.
NC-06 (DEM) Open – The retirement of long-time Research Triangle Democrat David Price has opened up the bluest seat on the Tar Heel State’s new Congressional map; the new Durham-based seat is Biden +48. Durham County commissioner Nida Allam became the third major candidate last week in a seat where the Democratic primary is tantamount to victory. She joins state Senators Valerie Foushee and Wiley Nickel. Price has not made an endorsement.
NC-13 Open – Based outside Charlotte, the new 13th was drawn to be a Republican sink for state House Speaker Tim Moore. The political world was tipped on its head when Madison Cawthorn jumped from his mountain-based 14th to run here instead, pushing Moore out of contention. But Cawthorn is not that well connected with Charlotte’s suburban enclaves and it is unclear how vulnerable he may be in a Republican primary. Former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Karen Bentley is running for the seat.
OH-13 (REP) Open – Anthony Gonzalez is retiring this year. The two-term Republican voted for Trump’s second impeachment, drawing a primary challenge in Trump aide Max Miller. But redistricting has made the 13th more Democratic, putting Miller’s future in jeopardy. At Biden +1, the new seat takes in Akron and southwestern Cleveland suburbs, diluting Medina’s Republican strength. The neighboring 7th is Trump +18, so Miller could run there if Bob Gibbs ends up joining the retirement train out of Washington. A strong Republican environment could pull Miller over the line next year, but he would be at serious risk in a neutral environment – possibly 2024. (Ohio’s new map only stands for the next two cycles)
OR-06 Open – The newly-apportioned 6th may be the most Democratic of Oregon’s competitive seats at Biden +13, but it could be competitive in a Republican midterm. Most of its population is based in portions of Washington, Clackamas, and Marion counties. State representative Ron Noble and Dundee Mayor David Russ are running on the Republican side. On the Democratic side, state Representative Andrea Salinas recently joined ex-Multnomah County commissioner Loretta Smith in the race. If Republicans were to win this seat next year it would be on the crest of a large wave, meaning it would probably return to the Democratic fold in 2024.
WV-02 (REP) David McKinley and (REP) Alex Mooney – Some big developments have occurred in the last week in the redistricting primary between two Republican incumbents: David McKinley and Alex Mooney. West Virginia’s incessant population bleeding reduced its delegation to just two seats in reapportionment, placing the 1st and 2nd districts into one seat. McKinley is the senior member, elected in 2010. Mooney, once an elected official in Maryland, moved to west to run for Congress in 2014; he has been an electoral underperformer in each of his races. Reason would have us consider McKinley a favorite in the primary, but former President Trump could have changed the dynamics of the race following his recent endorsement of Mooney.
AK (REP) Lisa Murkowski – Alaska’s independent-minded senior Senator announced her bid for a fourth full term last week. Murkowski’s vote to convict President Trump during his second impeachment helped draw a right-wing challenger in Kelly Tshibaka, who has the former President’s support. Murkowski maintains the backing of many of her colleagues and the NRSC, which has committed to supporting all Republican incumbents. In 2010 Murkowski lost her primary to Joe Miller but managed to win a three-way general election as a write-in candidate. The Last Frontier’s newly-adopted ranked choice voting system should benefit Murkowski, who has been more vulnerable in primary contests than general elections.
KS (REP) Jerry Moran – Two-term Republican Senator Jerry Moran was once on the retirement watchlist (with some saying he might run for Governor) but eventually announced he would run for a third term. Former Kansas City Mayor Mark Holland recently announced his campaign on the Democratic side. Democrats underperformed expectations in last year’s Senate race, with Barbara Bollier losing to Congressman Roger Marshall by double digits while outperforming President Biden. Kansas may be trending toward the Democrats long-term, but it is still a reliably Republican state. Democrats have not won a Senate seat here since 1932 and have not come close truly close to doing so since 1974.
MO (REP) Open – Republican Senator Roy Blunt’s retirement has opened up a free for all primary that might end up being the most fractured of the 2022 cycle. Six credible candidates are running in the former swing state’s already-crowded field. The most recent entry came from the Show Me State’s Senate President Dave Schatz. He joins disgraced ex-Governor Eric Greitens, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Congresspeople Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long, Mark McCloskey, and multiple minor candidates. Budget Committee Ranking Member Jason Smith of the 8th district could also jump into what is already shaping up to be a highly-regionalized primary. October polling showed Greitens and Schmitt nearly-tied for first place.
NH (DEM) Maggie Hassan – Elected by just 1,017 votes against a GOP incumbent in 2016, Maggie Hassan is a prime target for Republicans in what is currently shaping up to be a good midterm environment for the party. For the last year, the GOP had been hoping on popular Governor Chris Sununu’s entry into the race. He declined earlier this month. 2014 nominee Scott Brown and former Senator Kelly Ayotte also rejected the idea of running for the seat. 2020 primary runner-up Don Bolduc is currently the GOP frontrunner. Other potential candidates include 2020 nominee Corky Messner and former Congressman Frank Guinta. The Granite State may have been a slam-dunk for Biden’s campaign last year, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be competitive next year even with Republican recruitment shortcomings. Senator Hassan is also among the most unpopular Senators according to recent polling, suggesting something strange could happen in 2022. For now, though, the former Governor is favored to hold her seat.
GA (REP) Brian Kemp – Georgia Governor Brian Kemp joins Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in facing a Republican primary challenger next year. Ex-Democrat Vernon Jones has been in the race for quite some time, but new speculation has erupted around former Senator David Perdue. Unseated by Jon Ossoff in January, Perdue eschewed calls to challenge Senator Raphael Warnock and may instead consider a bid to be the Peach State’s state executive. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wrote in a recent column that Perdue would be a unifying leader for Georgia. Kemp’s relationship with Trump has been tense at best since the 2020 Presidential Election. Beating establishment Lt. Governor Casey Cagle in a 2018 primary runoff, Kemp could find the tables turned next year.
ID (REP) Brad Little – Idaho Governor Brad Little faces a Trump-endorsed Republican primary challenger in his own Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin. Their rocky relationship was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with McGeachin disagreeing with much of Little’s strategy to address the virus. When Little left the state on official business earlier this year, McGeachin signed a ban on statewide mask mandates as acting Governor without speaking to Little. Little has not announced a bid for a second term as of this writing.
NY (DEM) Kathy Hochul – The Empire State’s first female Governor is no longer uncontested in next year’s Democratic primary. Kathy Hochul assumed the office earlier this year after long-time incumbent Andrew Cuomo resigned following multiple substantiated allegations of sexual assault. In addition to being New York’s first woman state executive, Hochul is also the first Governor from the upstate in a century. As an unelected incumbent, her fate is uncertain. Attorney General Letitia James and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams are already in the race. Outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to join the field shortly. 3rd district Democratic Congressman Tom Suozzi has also shown interest in a run. Primary polling so far has shown Hochul leading her prospective challengers.
PA (DEM) Open – The governorship of the swingy Keystone State is open next year with incumbent Democrat Tom Wolf term-limited. Attorney General Josh Shapiro, an electoral powerhouse, is the assured Democratic nominee. The wide Republican field just got a little wider with the entry of state Senate President Jake Corman. Former Congressman Lou Barletta, William McSwain, Charlie Gerow, and Joe Gale are also running. Former state House Speaker Mike Turzai is also reportedly interested in joining the race. Three state Senators, including Doug Mastriano, have formed exploratory committees.
TX (REP) Abbott – Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke announced a gubernatorial bid last week. The former Senate nominee and Presidential candidate is a significant underdog against Governor Greg Abbott, especially in a Republican environment. O’Rourke seems like the best option for the Democrats out of the current field. It would take a lot for this race to be truly close, so an Abbott loss is currently out of the question.
G.K. Butterfield – Since 2004, North Carolina’s 1st district has been represented by Democrat G.K. Butterfield. With a closer-than-expected victory last year and a redder seat in redistricting (Biden +2.4) the veteran member of the Congressional Black Caucus announced he would be retiring next year. Had he run in the new 2nd, Butterfield would have undoubtedly faced his toughest race yet. Countless Democrats could end up running here, including Senate candidate Erica Smith. 2020 Republican nominee Sandy Adams could also run again.
Jackie Speier – 14th district Democrat Jackie Speier has served in the House since 2008. Neighboring Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco seat, the 14th is reliably Democratic. Speier announced last week that she will forgo reelection. She is just one of many potential retirements that we could see among California’s experienced Democratic ranks over the next few weeks. Speier was on Congressman Leo Ryan’s staff when he was assassinated in Guyana while visiting Jonestown. We’ll have more information on replacements soon.
Eddie Bernice Johnson – Perhaps the most expected of last week’s three retirements came from Dallas Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson, who has served in Congress since 1993. The 30th district’s replacement field could grow quite large over the next few weeks. Jessica Mason is running with the support of the progressive organization Brand New Congress. Jane Hamilton, who directed President Biden’s Texas primary campaign, is also interested. Other potential candidates include state Representative Jasmine Crockett and former Johnson challengers Barbara Caraway and Shae Cleveland.
The Washington Redistricting Commission could not agree on a map proposal before the November 15th deadline. Like Virginia, the Evergreen State’s new maps will be drawn by the state Supreme Court. This year’s numerous troubles seem to have given redistricting commissions a bad name.
Nevada recently enacted its new map, but not without controversy. The new design unpacks the Las Vegas area, giving Dina Titus a district that is no longer safe. (She could very well retire) Susie Lee and Steven Horsford come out of this map with slightly more Democratic seats. In a normal year the new lines would reliably elect three Democrats, but it remains to be seen how they will vote next year.
Georgia Republicans put out their second redistricting proposal last week, and it could very well be the final map. The release barely touches Sanford Bishop’s VRA-protected southwestern Georgia seat – which gets just a bit redder under the new lines. Most of the change comes in districts 6 and 7, which are the only competitive seats on the current map. Lucy McBath’s Romney-Biden 6th district gets stretched north into Forsyth, Cherokee, and Dawson counties to become a Republican sink. Carolyn Bourdeaux’s 7th district sheds its Forsyth portion to become Safe Democratic. But the Gwinnett-based seat is only a third white, putting the freshman Democrat at serious risk for a primary challenge. With McBath’s general election prospects in the 6th eliminated, she could end up jumping over to the 7th.
Ohio Republicans recently passed the second Senate redistricting plan, which should be enacted soon. Because support for the proposal was one-sided, the new districts will only be used in 2022 and 2024. The new lines produce two Safe Democratic seats, eight Safe Republican seats, and five seats within the realm of competition. 9th district Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur is in a better position on this map than the earlier proposal, but still faces an uphill reelection battle in a Trump district if she decides to run. (If she runs and wins she would be the longest serving woman in Congressional history, beating out former Senator Barbara Mikulski) The new metropolitan contiguity rules also place the entirety of Cincinnati in Steve Chabot’s 1st district, making it Biden-won. He should be fine if he runs next year, but retirement is also a possibility. In the open 13th, Trump-endorsed candidate Max Miller would find himself in a narrow Biden seat. He would need to hope for a Bob Gibbs retirement in the 7th, where he could jump races.
My name is Harrison Lavelle and I am a political analyst studying political science and international studies at the College of New Jersey. As a co-founder and partner at Split Ticket, I coordinate our House coverage. I write about a variety of electoral topics and produce political maps. Besides elections, my hobbies include music, history, language, aviation, and fitness.
Contact me at @HWLavelleMaps or email@example.com
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