Key Primary Races to Watch in August 2022 (8/2/2022) 

The long 2022 primary season isn’t over yet.  Starting today, 15 states will hold primary elections over the next 30 days, and the results of some races will be more impactful than others.  By the beginning of September, American voters are sure to have a clearer idea of the importance of political dynasties, and more importantly, how much influence former President Donald Trump wields over the GOP electorate.   

Michigan Democrats: Levin v. Stevens (August 2) 

Michigan lost a congressional seat in the 2020 Census.  The state’s new congressional map is the product of an independent commission, and while the commission has been successful in avoiding partisan gerrymandering, it wasn’t enough to stop a race between two incumbents.  Both Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) and Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI) could have opted to run in the new 10th Congressional District, which leans slightly Republican and contains suburban communities northeast of Detroit.  But instead, both Democratic incumbents chose to seek reelection in the 11th Congressional District, which features a more Democratic-leaning electorate in the suburb’s northwest of Detroit.   While Levin resides in the new district, Stevens’ current district includes much of the new one she’s running in. 

Both Levin and Stevens first entered Congress at the start of 2019, meaning they have been incumbents for the same length of time.  However, Levin has one possible advantage in the form of name recognition.  His father, Sander Levin, served in the House before retiring in 2019, and his uncle, Carl Levin, served in the Senate from 1979 to 2015.   

Missouri Republicans: Greitens v. Schmitt (August 2) 

Eric Greitens was elected Governor of Missouri in 2016, but he resigned in 2018 following allegations of sexual misconduct and violations of campaign finance laws.  Having secured Trump’s endorsement back in 2016, Greitens threw his hat in the ring as a Trump-friendly candidate in the 2022 Republican primary to replace the retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) amid a crowded field consisting of Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), and Rep. Billy Long (R-MO).  While Trump has yet to formally endorse a candidate in the race, he has positively commented on Greitens as recently as July 8.  However, Greitens’ initial lead in the polls seems to have has fallen after allegations of domestic abuse became public and the release of a controversial ad about hunting “Republicans-in-name-only,” or RINOs.  

Currently, one poll has Greitens in third place behind Schmitt and Hartzler, while another has all three candidates tied for first.  As voters in Missouri head to the polls, many Republicans including members of the former president’s inner-circle are currently divided over whether to support Greitens or Schmitt.  However, given Trump’s 15-point victory margin in Missouri two years ago, whichever GOP Senate candidate prevails on Tuesday is all but certain to win in November. 

Arizona Republicans:  Brnovich v. Masters (August 2) 

Arizona State Attorney General Mark Brnovich led the polls for months as the Republican candidate in the primary race for the Senate.  However, Brnovich began to lose ground after former President Trump criticized the attorney general for not supporting him during the 2020 election audit of Maricopa County.  In June, Trump endorsed Blake Masters, bringing the 35-year-old venture capitalist to first place in the polls.  A critic of the validity of the 2020 presidential election, Masters has been also questioning whether the results of the 2022 midterm election will be legitimate, which some Republicans worry could backfire and dissuade some GOP voters from showing up at the polls this November.  Whoever secures the Republican Primary will take on freshman Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) this fall in a race that the Cook Political Report currently rates as a “toss-up.”  But the nomination of a hardcore Trump loyalist and election skeptic like Masters to the GOP ticket could turn off moderate and independent voters, leaving Kelly with a slight edge in November. 

Wyoming: Cheney v. Hageman (August 16) 

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) was a rising star in the Republican Party, having been elected House GOP Conference Chair in August 2019.  However, Cheney lost her leadership position in May 2021 after drawing the ire of House Republicans for her criticism of former President Donald Trump.  Since then, Cheney has only doubled down on her criticism of Trump by serving as the Vice Chair of the January 6th Committee.   

Wyoming voters picked Trump over then-candidate Joe Biden in 2020 by a 40-point margin, so it’s no surprise that Cheney is trailing the Trump-endorsed attorney Harriet Hagemen by nearly 20 points in the GOP primary.  Cheney’s current situation is a sharp contrast from 2020, when she won reelection with 70% of the vote.  Cheney could theoretically find a narrow pathway to victory if she secures the votes of independents and Democrats over the coming days, but a landslide loss would mean the former president is still capable of commanding influence in states that strongly lean red.   

The Rest of Primary Season 

After August 31, only four states have primaries left: Massachusetts’ primary is scheduled for September 6, while Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island have their primary elections on September 13.  Given the number of consequential primaries in August, however, voters won’t have to wait until the end of the month to get a sense of what the midterm election in November will look like – and how much of an influence the former president has on the GOP. 

Health Care: Is It Top of Mind for Voters in the Midterms?

Inflation.  Baby formula.  Gun control.  Countless important issues are at the top of voters’ minds as the midterm election approaches.  However, unlike previous election years, many voters aren’t saying health care is the most important issue to them.  How does health care stack up against a plethora of other important issues this year, and what could change in the coming months to bring health care to the forefront of the national conversation?

What the Polls Tell Us

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) poll conducted in March 2022, health doesn’t appear to be a leading issue among voters.  When asked to name what they think will be the most important factor when voting for the 2022 midterm election, 37% of voters cited the economy, inflation, and rising prices.  Other issues mentioned by voters include climate change (4%), crime (3%), the Russian invasion into Ukraine (3%), and the COVID-19 pandemic (2%).

With inflation having reached a 30-year high of 8.5% in April 2022, it shouldn’t be surprising that voters are naming economic-related issues as their top concern.  However, what’s unusual about the 2022 polling is that compared to previous election years, health care isn’t even close to being a top issue for voters.

In October 2020, for example, 12% of voters told KFF that health care is their top issue, making it the fourth most-cited issue.  Meanwhile, the economy was a top issue for 29% of voters, while the COVID-19 pandemic and public safety each respectively garnered 18% and 13%.

Health care was even more important to voters in 2018, a midterm election year that saw Democrats regain control of the House after flipping 41 seats.   That year, 26% of respondents told KFF that health care was their top issue, placing it third on the list of topics important to voters.  Corruption in Washington came in first place with 32%, while the economy and jobs came in second with 27%. 

Even though voters might not cite health care as a top concern now, several factors could change in the coming months that could make health care top of mind for voters come November.

  • Expiration of enhanced ACA premium tax credits.  The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 increased Premium Tax Credits (PTCs) for Marketplace insurance coverage and extended eligibility for PTCs to more individuals, making health insurance more affordable for millions in America. However, those ACA premium subsidies expire at the end of the year, and if Congress fails to renew them, 13 million Americans will start 2023 with higher insurance premiums that they may not be able to afford.  Importantly, those impacted would start receiving notices about their premium increases in October, just a month before they’re set to vote in the midterm election.  Furthermore, higher insurance premiums would make consumers less likely to receive care, potentially resulting in a combined $5.1 billion decline in spending on hospitals and physician practice services.   Democratic lawmakers that face difficult midterm races are already sounding the alarm, it remains unclear if the Senate can pass any type of legislation before the election that includes a renewal of the ACA premium subsidies.
  • Higher Medicare Part B premiums.  The Medicare Part B base premium increased by 14.5% from $148.50 a month to $170.0 a month in 2022.  On top of this, the annual deductible for all Part B beneficiaries increased from $203 in 2021 to $233 in 2022.  When the Biden administration finalized Part B premiums and deductibles in November 2021, inflation for the upcoming year wasn’t anticipated to be much different from the usual level of 2%.  However, with inflation currently hovering above 8%, higher Part B premiums are especially difficult for seniors to absorb, and continued higher-than-average inflation over the coming months could make health care costs a more important issue for seniors.
  • End of public health emergency (PHE).  The administration has repeatedly pledged to provide 60 days’ notice before letting the PHE expire.  The end date for the current PHE is July 16, 2022, and since the administration declined to say in mid-May that it will let the PHE expire, it is all but certain that come mid-summer, the PHE will be extended through October 2022 – less than a month before the midterm election on November 8.  The end of the PHE would immediately trigger a 151-day period for temporary Medicare telehealth waivers to unwind and a 365-period for states to initiate redetermination of Medicaid eligibility for all Medicaid enrollees.  While the end of telehealth waivers and loss of Medicaid coverage for certain individuals wouldn’t occur until long after Election Day, starting the countdown less than a month before voters cast their ballots could cause some voters to consider health care as an important issue.   However, due to the potential political implications of ending the PHE in October, it seems safe to assume that the administration will ensure the PHE remains in place until after the midterm election

Inflation, foreign conflicts, and public safety are likely to continue to dominate voters’ thinking as the 2022 campaign season continues.  However, a loss of ACA premiums subsidies, pressure from high Part B premiums, and the end of the PHE all have the potential to change the calculus for some voters as they decide who to cast their ballots for on November 8.

For the 2022 Midterms, the GOP’s Future Is Female

Republicans are favored to do well in the 2022 midterm elections – after all, the party that occupies the White House historically almost always loses seats in Congress.  But Republicans don’t just want to rely on tried-and-true historical trends to win more seat this fall.  Instead, they’re focused on replicating a strategy that delivered better-than-expected gains for 2020 – supporting female candidates for congressional seats.

The 2018 midterms marked a low point for female Republican lawmakers, especially in the House.  That year, the number of GOP women holding House seats declined from 23 to 13 – which was the same number of Republican women serving in the House in 1989.  In contrast, 2018 saw 36 new Democratic women elected to the House.

To reverse the trend, Republicans adopted a new strategy: support GOP women running at the primary level.  Numerous organizations and political action committees (PACs) like Republican Women for Progress, Elevate PAC, Winning for Women, VIEW PAC, and Elise Stefanik’s E-PAC stepped up to offer their support, based on how the Democrats used Emily’s List to back their female candidates.  Additionally, more GOP women opted to run in 2020, probably in reaction to Democrats’ success in 2018. 

Issues matter, too.  With more and more college-educated men and women increasingly voting for Democratic candidates, many of the Republican women who ran for Congress in 2020 focused less on typical pro-business, main street policies that typically won over moderate voters.  Instead, they focused more on issues related to gun control and abortion that are more popular with the Republican Party’s base.

The new strategy paid off.  The number of GOP lawmakers in the House rose from 23 to 38 in the House after November 2020, beating the previous record high of female Republican representatives of 30.  In contrast, the number of Democratic female lawmakers grew from 89 to 106.  More so, every Republican who flipped a Democratic House district in 2020 was a woman or person of colorThere are now 144 women who are  members of the 117th Congress, compared to 127 in the 116th Congress

Based on the GOP’s success in 2020, the Republican Party is now trying to replicate its strategy of supporting female candidates to regain control of Congress this November.  According to the National Republican Congressional Committee, a record high number of 253 female Republicans have filed to run for House seats, with key recruits in competitive districts like Monica De La Cruz (Texas), Esther Joy King (Illinois), and Jen Kiggans (Virginia).  Additionally, Republicans are also keen on keeping female freshman of the 117th Congress in their seats. 

There are many factors that will affect the midterm elections, like the state of the economy and President Biden’s approval ratings.  However, given historical trends favoring Republicans and the success of Republican women in the 2020 elections, the GOP may have found a winning combination to ensure success in 2022.  And with the Senate split 50-50 and Democrats only having a five-seat majority in the House, it won’t take much for a record high number of female Republican candidates to move the needle and shake up Congress this fall.

What Texas Could Tell Us About the 2022 Midterm Primaries

Welcome to primary season.  The 2022 midterm primaries officially kicks off today in Texas, where polls are open until 10pm local time this evening.  For those curious about how the primary season will unfold, Texas is the state to watch.  That’s because the results of these races could provide some clues on how some major trends could play out in the upcoming midterms and provide insight on how voters view the political parties.

How Much Influence Does Trump Have Over the GOP?

Ever since Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential election, pundits have wondered how much loyalty to Donald Trump will matter to Republican candidates and voters going forward.  Polls have indicated that the former president’s hold on GOP voters is waning – a January 2021 poll found Republican voters were evenly split on whether they considered themselves supporters of Trump or the Republican Party, while a January 2022 found a majority of Republicans said they support the party and not Trump.

In Republican primary races across the nation, pro-Trump candidates are facing off against candidates who signal a stronger loyalty to the GOP, and one Texas race could preview which camp might fare better in the 2022 Republican primaries

Back in 2020, Rep. Van Taylor (R-TX) won his district comprising the norther suburbs of Dallas by a comfortable margin.  At the same time, Trump only narrowly won against Biden in what is officially the 3rd Congressional District of Texas.  But a lot has changed since November 2020.  A few months later, Taylor became one of 35 House Republicans to vote for an independent commission to investigate the January 6th riot at the US Capitol.  Since then, supporters of the former president have criticized this group of Republicans for their lack of loyalty to Trump.  

While Taylor did not go as far as to vote to impeach the former president last year, his vote in support of the January 6th commission still leaves him vulnerable to GOP challengers in the March 1 primary.  While Trump has not endorsed any of Taylor’s challengers, the Texas congressman still faces a few tough opponents, including former Collin County Judge Keith Self and Suzanne Harp, the mother of Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-NC) chief of staff.  How Taylor fares in the March 1 primary could portent the fate of other Republican incumbents who’ve drawn the ire of the party’s pro-Trump faction.

How Will Progressives Fare against Centrists in the Democratic Primaries?

In Democratic primaries across the country, voters are deciding over with whether to support centrist incumbents   or support progressives who are more aligned with the party’s liberal policies.    This battle will be played out on March 1 in the Democratic primary for the 28th Congressional District, which runs from San Antonio to the Rio Grande River.  In 2020, incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) defeated progressive primary challenger Jessica Cisneros by just four points.

Since the last election, congressional districts in Texas have been redrawn, and the 28th District is now more left leaning than in the previous decade.  In 2022, Cisneros is once again challenging Cuellar for his seat, and this time, she’s secured endorsements from fellow progressives Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  Adding interest to the race is the fact that Cuellar’s residence and campaign office were raided by the FBI a few weeks ago

Since the redrawn 28th District is more favorable to Democrats this time around, Cisneros could, in theory, have an advantage on ideological grounds.  However, Mexican-American voters who dominate the Democratic electorate there aren’t particularly warm to progressive ideas, the 2022 Democratic primary for the 28th District is looking just as competitive as it was in 2020.   

How Will New Voting Laws Affect Turnout?

Since the 2020 election, 19 mostly GOP-controlled states like Georgia and Kansas enacted new laws to restrict voting.  States were able to do this thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down an important provision of the Voting Rights Act.  In Texas, new voting laws include ID requirements and limit voting hours from 6am to 10pm local time. 

These new laws might suppress turnout, but the impact is likely to be minimal.  That’s because historically, voter turnout in Texas primary elections is low, as less than 20% of registered voters participate in midterm primaries most years.  Early voting for 2022 in Texas started already on February 14, and results show lower than average turnout so far, although early voting numbers the counties report to the state do not include mail-in ballots.   And traditionally, early voting has not been a good indicator of overall turnout in Texas.   This means we may not know the full impact of new voting laws in Texas until this November’s midterm election.

Could Manchin and Sinema Get Primaried for 2024?

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have torpedoed key Democratic proposals like voting right reform and the Build Back Better Act, which has sparked some lawmakers like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to say that he would support primary challengers against both of his Democratic colleagues.  In theory, this would give Democrats an opportunity to replace both Manchin and Sinema with Senators who are more supportive of the party’s legislative agenda.  But what is the likelihood of a Democratic challenger replacing either of them in the Senate?

Joe Manchin

As much as he remains a thorn in the side of many congressional Democrats, Joe Manchin is probably the only Democrat capable of winning a statewide seat in the Mountain State.  That’s because the state leans heavily Republican – in the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump won West Virginia with nearly 69% of the vote, the second-highest percentage carried by either presidential candidate that year (Wyoming was first, with Trump carrying nearly 70% of the vote). 

Additionally, all winners of statewide races in West Virginia, who are currently holding elected office, are Republicans.  This includes Manchin’s colleague in the Senate, Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and all five directly elected executive branch officials in West Virginia’s state government including Republican Gov. Jim Justice.

Even if a Democratic candidate were to successfully defeat Manchin in the 2024 primary, they would almost certainly lose the general election.  In 2018, Manchin defeated his Republican opponent by a margin of only 3%, and it’s highly unlikely a Democrat even one iota further to the left would have fared any better.

It is also worth noting Joe Manchin is quite popular among West Virginia voters.  A recent poll by the American First Policy Institute showed 59% percent of voters approve of Manchin – nearly double of President Joe Biden’s approval rating of 30% in the state.  Manchin is also very familiar to West Virginia voters, having severed six years as governor before being elected to the Senate in 2010.  Even though West Virginia isn’t friendly territory for Democrats, Manchin has proven time and time again he’s the only Democrat capable of winning the state.

Kyrsten Sinema

The senior Arizona senator isn’t as immune to a primary challenger, however.  Arizona is a purple state that has been gradually trending blue.  President Joe Biden won the state in the 2020 general election by a razor-thin 0.4% margin, while then-Democratic candidate Mark Kelly defeated Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) by a margin of 2.4%.  In theory, this would give a Democratic senator candidate who’s slightly to the left of Sinema – and more supportive of the party’s legislative agenda – at least a somewhat viable shot at winning a statewide race. 

Like Manchin, Sinema is up for reelection in 2024, and while no Democrats have officially announced plans to primary Sinema, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) has publicly expressed interest.  The Phoenix-area congressman has been openly critical of Sinema before, and in January 2022, he met with some of Sinema’s donors in New York City.   

More so, Sinema’s popularity has been dropping among Democratic voters in Arizona.  Sinema started 2021 with a 60% approval rating among Arizona Democrats, but since she voiced her opposition to the Build Back Better Act tax provisions and filibuster changes necessary to bring about voting rights reform, her approval rating among the state’s Democrats has dropped to just under 10% in January 2022.  With low approval ratings, a potential formidable challenger, and a state electorate leaning ever so slightly blue, Sinema could face some serious headaches if she seeks an additional Senate term two years from now.

However, a lot can change between now and 2024.  If the Democrats lose their majority in the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections, Manchin and Sinema’s hold on the party’s agenda won’t be quite as noticeable.  Additionally, priorities can change quickly, and Democrats may not be as occupied with sweeping legislative proposals over the next two years.  But at least in the case of Sinema, opportunities for potential primary challenges remain ripe.

Video Games: A New Frontier for Politics?

227 million Americans play video games.  That includes a grow number of US lawmakers, who are not only embracing video games as a hobby but incorporating them into their campaigns.  

Video games come to Washington.  A Politico Magazine article published in 2018 profiled a few members of Congress and their interest in video games.  Reps. Scott Peters (D-CA) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) indicated video games provide a way for lawmakers of different parties to bond, while Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), now Governor of Colorado, said video games improve critical thinking skills.

Politicians haven’t always liked video games, to say the least.  In 1993, then-Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) first suggested banning violent video games, while then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) introduced legislation to add more restrictions to violent and sexually explicit games in 2005.  Over the past 20-plus years, many politicians have at least partially blamed video games on mass shootings, including then-President Donald Trump with the 2018 Parkland High School shooting, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-CA) with the 2019 shooting in El Paso.

Video Games on the Campaign Trail

However, lawmakers’ changing attitudes on video games has coincided with political campaigns’ increased use of video games.  In September 2020, the Biden-Harris campaign made available virtual yard signs that players of the game Animal Crossing could download and place in their virtual front yards.  The COVID-19 pandemic may have also inspired the Biden-Harris campaign to dive into the world of virtual organizing, as many Democratic campaigns had suspended in-person events and shifted online due to the virus. But, the Biden-Harris campaign wasn’t the first political campaign to use  video games – in 2008, the Obama-Biden campaign placed ads on virtual billboards in Madden NFL 09 and NBA Live 08.  

Given the large number of Americans that play video games, it’s hard to deny the potential video games offer politically.  Campaigns can use video games to target specific demographics such as men aged 18-49, who are disproportionately more likely to participate in gaming.  And unlike print, radio, and television ads, video games offer an interactive format that can be potentially more persuasive than traditional forms of media.

That doesn’t mean video games are the new frontier for campaigns.  Instances of campaigns ads in video games appear to be the exception, not the rule, and it’s unclear to what extent politics will encroach on the world of gaming.  Most video game developers prefer to keep their products apolitical, largely to avoid pushback from their (mostly male) customers.  Additionally, many people turn to video games as a way to take a break from aspects of the real world – like politics.  While politicians may see video games as fertile ground for outreach, fear of backlash from developers and gamers could slow down the adoption of virtually campaigning as a major way to reach potential voters.

All About PACs

To run a campaign, candidates need money, and with the small exception of publicly financed campaigns, a sizeable portion of this money comes from political action committees (PACs).  By providing for a campaign’s war chest, PACs play a massive role in determining how candidates are elected, and in turn, which kinds of policies are enacted.


The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) established the first PAC in 1943 after Congress prohibited unions from directly contributing to political candidates.  Corporations were initially barred from directly contributing to PACs under the Tillman Act of 1907, and the Smith-Connally Act extended this law to include unions in 1943.  Later, a series of campaign laws including the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) of 1971 allowed corporations and trade associations to form PACs.  The FECA also notably established the Federal Election Commission (FEC), which enforces PAC laws.

Businesses, organizations, and other entities form PACs as a way to pool resources together to support the candidates they like, and indirectly, oppose candidates they don’t like.  Overall, a PAC’s purpose is to raise money in support of a candidate, to get them elected, and to help defeat candidates they oppose.  Additionally, PACs aren’t limited to candidates for elected office – such as with state ballot measures.   

Types of PACs

There are five types of PACs:

  1. Separate Segregated Funds (SSF).  These are political committees established by labor unions, corporations, membership organizations, or trade associations.  They can only solicit contributions from an individual connected with the sponsoring organization, such as an employee or an association member. 
  2. Nonconnected committees. These entities are not established or sponsored by any particular organization, and unlike separate segregated funds, they can target the general public for solicitation. 
  3. Super PACs.  Created in 2010 after the US Supreme Court rulings for Citizens United v. FEC and SpeechNOW v. FEC , super PACs cannot make contributions to candidates or parties.  However, these PACs do make independent expenditures in federal campaigns, such as running advertisements or sending mail that either supports or opposes a candidate.  Unlike other PACs, there are no limits or restrictions on the sources of funds that can be used for expenditures.  Super PACs are still bound by the rules of other PACs in that they must file regular reports with the FEC.
  4. Hybrid PACs.  Similar to super PACs, hybrid PACs can spend unlimited funds on activities outside a campaign.  What sets hybrid PACs apart, however, is their ability to contribute funds directly to a political party, campaign, or candidate, similar to SSFs and nonconnected committees.
  5. Leadership PACs.  These are committees established by candidates or individuals currently holding federal office.  Both Representatives and Senators can establish leadership PACs to support candidates within their political party.

PAC Rules

PACs must follow numerous rules set out by the FECA and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.  For instance, a PAC has 10 days to register with the FEC after its formation.  The FEC also requires politicians and candidates who create a leadership PAC to be listed when submitting the required documentation.  Furthermore, current laws require PACs to meticulously keep records on how they spend their money, which includes salaries, advertisements, supplies, rent, day-to-day expenses, dinners, and more.

The following chart provides an overview of the limitations on how much different types of PACs can spend and receive.

SSFsNonconnected PACsLeadership
Hybrid PACsSuper PACs
Limits on

Can contribute no more than:

$5,000 to a
candidate or
committee for each election
$15,000 to a
political party per year, and
$5,000 to
another PAC
per year

Can contribute no more than:

$5,000 to a
candidate or
committee for each election
$15,000 to a
political party per year, and
$5,000 to
another PAC
per year

Can contribute no more than:

$5,000 to a
candidate or
committee for each election
$15,000 to a
political party per year, and
$5,000 to
another PAC
per year

Can contribute no more than:
$5,000 to a
candidate or
committee for each election,
$15,000 to a
political party per year, and
$5,000 to
another PAC
per year, but
can spend
amounts of
money on
non-candidate or campaign-

Cannot directly contribute to
candidate or
party but can
amounts of
money on
non-candidate or campaign-
political activities
Limits on
Can accept up to $5,000 per
Can accept up to $5,000 per
Can accept up to $5,000 per
Can accept up to $5,000 per
No cap on

PACs and Advocacy

By influencing elections, PACs indirectly play a pivotal role in lobbying and advocacy.  Different businesses, industries, and interests have PACs, and they work to get candidates elected who support those issues or host fundraisers for other candidates in the hopes of attracting them to their cause.  In turn, once those candidates are elected, advocates can target public officials who are more likely to be favorable to their cause.  Thus, by helping to get friendlier candidates elected to public office, PACs show they can play a massive role in moving organizations’ advocacy objectives forward.

Lay of the Land for 2022 Senate Elections

The 2022 midterm election for the US Senate is a tale of two conflicting narratives.  On the one hand, the map favors Democrats, who only must defend 14 seats compared to Republicans’ 20 seats.  On the other hand, midterm elections typically do not bode well for the party that occupies the White House, giving Republicans an advantage.  Given the current 50-50 split in the Senate, the stakes for either party couldn’t be higher.

To illustrate the current lay of the land, the map below shows all the seats up for the 2022 election along with the party of the incumbent.

The 2022 Outlook

Below is a chart of all the states with a 2022 Senate election, their likely outcome according to the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, and a comparison with 2020 presidential election results.

StateIncumbentPartyProjection2020 Presidential Margin
AlabamaRichard Shelby*RSolid RTrump (+25.5)
AlaskaLisa MurkowskiRSolid RTrump (+10.1)
ArizonaMark KellyDLean DBiden (+0.3)
ArkansasJohn BoozmanRSolid RTrump (+27.6)
CaliforniaAlex PadillaDSolid DBiden (+29.5)
ColoradoMichael BennetDSolid DBiden (+13.5)
ConnecticutRichard BlumenthalDSolid DBiden (+20)
FloridaMarco RubioRLean RTrump (+3.4)
GeorgiaRaphael WarnockDLean DBiden (+0.2)
HawaiiBrian SchatzDSolid DBiden (+29.5)
IdahoMike CrapoRSolid RTrump (+30.7)
IllinoisTammy DuckworthDSolid DBiden (+16.9)
IndianaTodd YoungRSolid RTrump (+16)
IowaChuck GrassleyRSolid RTrump (+8.2)
KansasJerry MoranRSolid RTrump (+14.6)
KentuckyRand PaulRSolid RTrump (+26)
LouisianaJohn N. KennedyRSolid RTrump (19.6)
MarylandChris Van HollenDSolid DBiden (+33.5)
MissouriRoy Blunt*RSolid RTrump (+15.4)
NevadaCatherine Cortez MastoDLean DBiden (+2.4)
New HampshireMaggie HassanDLean DBiden (+7.4)
New YorkChuck SchumerDSolid DBiden (+23.1)
North CarolinaRichard Burr*RToss-upTrump (+1.3)
North DakotaJohn HoevenRSolid RTrump (+33.3)
OhioRob Portman*RLean RTrump (+8)
OklahomaJames LankfordRSolid RTrump (+33.1)
OregonRon WydenDSolid DBiden (+16.1)
PennsylvaniaPat Toomey*RToss-upBiden (+1.2)
South CarolinaTim ScottRSolid RTrump (+11.7)
UtahMike LeeRSolid RTrump (+20.3)
VermontPatrick LeahyDSolid DBiden (+35.4)
WashingtonPatty MurrayDSolid DBiden (+19.2)
WisconsinRon JohnsonRToss-upBiden (+0.6)

*not seeking reelection

Democrats May Have an Advantage…

Five Republican incumbent Senators, Shelby, Blunt, Burr, Portman, and Toomey, are not seeking reelection, and three of them represent states that are currently rated as “toss-up.”  This leaves the GOP without the advantage of an incumbent candidate on the ballot for three key races.  Furthermore, the number of “toss-up” states without an incumbent GOP Senator on the ballot could grow from three to four if Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) decides not to seek reelection.  In contrast, none of the 14 Democratic Senators in the mix for 2022 have announced retirement plans.

Democrats are also heading into the 2022 Senate races with an impressive war chest.  During the second quarter of 2021, several Democratic candidates in competitive states announced sizable fundraising totals, including Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) with $7 million and Sen. Mike Kelly (D-AZ) with nearly $6 million.  The strong fundraising shown thus far is reminiscent of the 2018 and 2020 cycles, where Democrats translated money raised into electoral victories. 

…Or Not

However, there are many other factors to consider, namely the popularity of President Joe Biden.  As mentioned before, midterm elections tend to not favor the party that controls the presidency, and an unpopular president has the potential to hurt Democrats even more.  Recent polling shows that President Biden’s approval rating has dipped below 50% as the Delta variant, inflation, and the evacuation of Afghanistan take a toll on Biden’s agenda.  If these trends persist into 2022, Democrats might find themselves in a tough position to win any “toss-up” seats.

Trump: the X Factor

A major unknown factor heading into the 2022 Senate races is the role of former President Donald Trump.  Since leaving office, Trump has continued to hold rallies with his supporters and endorsed candidates who he perceives as loyal to him.  In June, for instance, Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) in the GOP primary to succeed the retiring Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) in the race for North Carolina’s open Senate seat.  This endorsement conflicts with Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who has expressed a desire for the former president to refrain from endorsing candidates until the primaries have wrapped up.  

While it remains uncertain how much influence Trump will have over Senate races, the former president’s influence over recent House special elections offers clues.  In a July 27 special election for the 6th Congressional District of Texas, Republican State Rep. Jake Ellzey defeated the Trump-backed candidate Susan Wright in a runoff race to succeed Wright’s late husband, Rep. Ron Wright (R-TX).  However, a Trump endorsement may have been helpful to Republican Mike Carey, who won the Republican primary for a special election on August 3 to fill a seat representing the 15th Congressional District of Ohio.  The seat, which was vacated with the retirement of Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), leans Republican, meaning Carey is highly favored to win the general election on November 2, 2021.  Trump’s mixed record on special elections in 2021 further indicates the continued uncertainty on his sway over the Senate races next year.

Uncertain Impact of 2018 Midterm Elections

With the 2022 midterm elections on the horizon, it remains unclear whether the trends from the 2018 midterm elections will carry over into next year, especially for the Senate.  While the 2018 midterm elections saw the highest turnout in over half a century, the results were split between both parties.  While Democrats gained a total of 39 seats in the House, Republicans were able to gain two Senate seats, partially defying a trend that typically sees the party which occupies the White House lose seats in Congress.  However, the 2018 Senate map was historically bad for Democrats, and Republicans face a similar situation heading into 2022.  That said, with a new president and new issues currently dominating the public discourse, 2022 presents a different landscape from 2018, making it difficult to draw any hard conclusions from the previous midterm elections.   

How Restricting Could Determine Control of the House

With each new decade comes a new Census, and with every new Census comes a redrawing of the map of congressional districts for the House of Representatives.   Known as redistricting, the stakes of this process couldn’t be higher, with Democrats clinging to a narrow majority in the House and the electorate bitterly divided among voters of either party.  However, thanks to the pandemic and controversies from the redistricting process 10 years ago, the process to determine congressional district boundaries ahead of the 2022 midterm elections will look more complicated than usual.

How States Determine Congressional Districts

The lines for congressional districts are redrawn at the state-level every 10 years.  Notably, each congressional district is required to be as equal to the population in all other congressional districts in a state as practicable.  Using new census data, states typically determine district boundaries through one of three ways:

  1. State legislature.  The state legislature has ultimate authority to draft and implement maps for congressional districts.  While some states may have advisory commissions who assist with the redrawing process, state legislatures are not bound to follow the commissions’ recommendations.
  2. Commission.  An independent commission is tasked with drawing the boundaries of congressional districts.  Some commissions bar individuals that hold elective office from serving on them, while others may include elected officials.
  3. Hybrid.  Both a state legislature and a commission share redistricting authority.

Below is a map that shows each state’s redistricting process as of 2020.  Notably, states with only one member serving in the House of Representatives do not participate in the redistricting process.

States are tasked every decade with redrawing their congressional districts based on new census data.  With Democrats holding a five-seat majority in the House, how congressional maps are re-drawn could have a huge impact on which seats change hands and what party assumes the majority in the next Congress.  This blog post provides an overview of what the redistricting process will look like and what it means for the 2022 midterm elections in the House.

Since most states have their respective legislatures draw congressional boundaries, some state lawmakers feel an incentive to engage in partisan gerrymandering, which is when districts are drawn in a way that benefits their own party.  Related to this is racial gerrymandering, which refers to when districts are drawn to reduce the electoral power of one racial group in favor of another.  Notably, racial gerrymandering is prohibited under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  While the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in June 2019 that federal courts cannot weigh in on partisan gerrymandering cases, several lawsuits on the state level have been successful in changing maps.  In 2019, a three-judge panel in North Carolina threw out the Tar Heel state’s new congressional map for unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering, prompting a redrawing of the map that gave Democrats an edge.  One year earlier, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court declared the commonwealth’s 2011 congressional districting map to be in violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution, leading the way to a new map that also left Republicans disadvantaged. 

Delayed Census Data, Delayed Maps

Normally, the US Census Bureau releases its apportionment data in December of the year it is collected, with more in-depth demographic data that states use to determine district boundaries released throughout February and March of the following year.   However, COVID-19 delayed the Census Bureau’s ability to gather and process data, and therefore the apportionment data wasn’t posted until April 26, 2021, and the more in-depth data states use to draw district boundaries won’t be available until August 12.  The apportionment data refers to the number of seats in the House of Representatives allotted for a state based on the state’s population, while the more in-depth data includes demographic information such as age, sex, and race as well as geographic boundaries like jurisdictional limits, school districts, property lines, roads, and other features that states will use to redraw maps.

Due to the delay in receiving census data, states are facing tight deadlines on drawing their 2022 congressional maps.  Currently, 12 states are required either constitutionally or statutorily to have their 2022 congressional district boundaries enacted before the end of 2021.  As a result, many states are expected to hold special legislative sessions this fall to focus on redistricting.  Other states are using non-census data to draw new district boundaries.  For example, the state legislatures of Illinois and Oklahoma are both using data from the American Community Survey (ACS) to come up with new maps.  However, some dispute that ACS data can serve as a stand-in for census data, and the Illinois Republican Party has already filed a lawsuit to challenge the forthcoming new map.  By summer 2022, at least half of states are expected to have their new congressional districts finalized.

What to Watch for in 2022

Apportionment data released in April saw a dozen states either gain or lose House seats based on changes in total population.  Below is an overview of the states that will see changes in their delegation, with the current number of seats in the 117th Congress noted in parentheses.

  • States that will lose one seat: California (53), Illinois (18), Michigan (14), New York (27), Ohio (16), Pennsylvania (18), West Virginia (3).
  • States that will gain one seat: Colorado (7), Montana (1), North Carolina (1), Oregon (5).
  • States that will gain two seats: Florida (27), Texas (36).

Going into the 2022 redistricting process, Republicans have the upper hand.  A major reason for this is Democrats currently have a slim five-seat majority in the House, which means Republicans only have to flip a few seats to retake the majority.  Heading into 2022, two factors give the GOP an advantage when it comes to winning new seats.

  • Apportionment data.  Many of the states that are set to lose one seat are Democratic-leaning, while Republican-leaning Florida and Texas gain two seats apiece.  A minor shift in seats away from blue states toward red states could be especially impactful in the House.
  • Control of state legislatures.  The Republican Party holds a supermajority in the legislatures of 30 state governments, meaning party members control both the upper chamber and the lower chamber of a state’s legislative branch.  In contrast, Democrats hold a supermajority in 18 states, while control is split between the parties in two states’ legislature.  This translates to Republicans having direct control over the boundaries of 187 districts, while Democrats only control 75.  Out of the remaining districts, independent commissions will decide 96, both parties will decide 71, and six seats represent at-large districts.  By holding supermajorities in most state legislatures, the GOP is better positioned to engage in gerrymandering and redraw congressional lines in their favor.  Notably, the Republican Party controls the state legislatures of Texas and Florida, both of which will be gaining two seats for 2022. 

However, Democrats have a few tricks up their sleeve to counter Republicans’ advantage in redrawing the congressional map.

  • Lawsuits. Litigation brought about changes in the congressional maps in Pennsylvania and North Carolina in recent years, and new legal challenges could open the door for more changes as redistricting for 2022 heats up.  The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, an advocacy organization founded by former US Attorney General Eric Holder, filed lawsuits in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania in April 2021, immediately following the release of the apportionment data.  As a worst-case-scenario for Republicans, some lawsuits could potentially overturn newly drawn maps, meaning some 2022 congressional races could be decided using the 2020 map.  It should be noted that Democrats are not the only party with a redistricting advocacy group, as the National Republican Redistricting Trust has pledged to challenge any maps that it sees as unfairly skewing to the left. 
  • Democratic supermajorities.  State legislatures with Democratic supermajorities may attempt to redraw their lines through gerrymandering to squeeze out Republican members of the state’s congressional delegation, potentially providing a cushion for Democrats in anticipation of any 2022 losses in the House.  States to watch include Illinois and Maryland, where Democratic state lawmakers may redraw lines to make reelection a tough prospect for Reps. Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Andy Harris (R-MD).

Redistricting has massive ramification for US politics and this year is no exception.  Between delayed census data, tight redistricting deadlines, strong Republican advantages, and the specter of Democratic lawsuits, intense fights over the 2022 congressional map could be on the horizon. 

Lay of the Land for 2022 Gubernatorial Races

The 2022 midterms aren’t just about Congress.  36 states will be holding gubernatorial elections, and the consequences will not just determine state-level policies but also inform future political players on the federal level for presidential races..  At the moment, 27 states have Republican governors, while 23 have Democratic governors.

Nearly 40 state governorships are up for grabs over the next two years, and the winners of these races will have a broad impact on not just state-level policies but also the potential to reshape rising political stars on the national stage.  This blog post looks at all the upcoming gubernatorial races for 2021-2022 and provides insight on the likely outcome.

The 2021 Races

One indicator of the 2022 midterms will be three gubernatorial races scheduled in fall 2021.  Both New Jersey and Virginia have held their gubernatorial elections off-year to avoid being overshadowed by federal elections, while California’s election is part of a recall effort.

  • In New Jersey, incumbent Democratic Governor Phil Murphy is seeking a second term.  He will face Republican nominee and current State Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli. The state gubernatorial election will take place on November 2, 2021.
  • In Virginia, former Governor Terry McAuliffe is seeking a second term in a November 2, 2021, where he will face off against Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin.  Unlike other state governors, Virginia governors are not allowed to serve consecutive terms, which is why the current Democratic Governor Ralph Northam is not seeking reelection.
  • In California, incumbent Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom faces a recall election on September 14, 2021.  46 candidates have been deemed qualified to appear on the ballot, including 9 Democrats and 23 Republicans. 

However, the 2021 gubernatorial races are unlikely to serve as a bellwether for the 2022 midterms.  All three states are solidly Democratic, with Democrats currently serving as governor, attorney general, and secretary of state.  Additionally, the state legislatures of Virginia, New Jersey, and California all have Democratic majorities.

The 2022 Outlook

Of the 36 states in the mix for 2022, 20 governorships are held by Republicans, while 18 are held by Democrats.  Below is a chart of all states with 2022 gubernatorial elections, their likely outcome according to the Cook Political Report, and a comparison with 2020 presidential election results.

StateIncumbentPartyProjection2020 Presidential Margin
AlabamaKay IveyRSolid RTrump (+25.5)
AlaskaMike DunleavyRSolid RTrump (+10.1)
ArizonaDoug Ducey*RToss-upBiden (+0.3)
ArkansasAsa Hutchinson*DSolid RTrump (+27.6)
CaliforniaGavin Newsom†DLikely DBiden (+29.5)
ColoradoJared PolisDSolid DBiden (+13.5)
ConnecticutNed LamontDSolid DBiden (+20)
FloridaRon DeSantisRLean RTrump (+3.4)
GeorgiaBrian KempRLean RBiden (+0.2)
HawaiiDavid Ige*DSolid DBiden (+29.5)
IdahoBrad LittleRSolid RTrump (+30.7)
IllinoisJ.B. PritzkerDSolid DBiden (+16.9)
IowaKim ReynoldsRLikely RTrump (+8.2)
KansasLaura KellyDToss-upTrump (+14.6)
MaineJanet MillsDLikely DBiden (+9.1)
MarylandLarry Hogan*RLean DBiden (+33.2)
MassachusettsCharlie BakerRSolid RBiden (+33.5)
MichiganGretchen WitmerDLean DBiden (+2.4)
MinnesotaTim WalzDLikely DBiden (+7.1)
NebraskaPete Ricketts*RSolid RTrump (+19.1)
NevadaSteve SisolakDLikely DBiden (+2.4)
New HampshireChris SununuRLikely RBiden (+7.4)
New MexicoMichelle Lujan GrishamDSolid DBiden (+10.8)
New YorkAndrew CuomoDSolid DBiden (+23.1)
OhioMike DeWineRLikely RTrump (+8)
OklahomaKevin StittRSolid R Trump (+33.1)
OregonKate BrownDLikely DBiden (+16.1)
PennsylvaniaTom Wolf*DToss-upBiden (+1.2)
Rhode IslandDaniel McKeeDSolid DBiden (+23.1)
South CarolinaHenry McMasterRSolid RTrump (+11.7)
South DakotaKristi NoemRSolid RTrump (+26.2)
TennesseeBill LeeRSolid RTrump (+23.2)
TexasGreg AbbottRLikely RTrump (+5.8)
VermontPhil ScottRSolid RBiden (+35.4)
WisconsinTony EversDLean DBiden (+0.6)
WyomingMark GordonRSolid RTrump (+43.3)

*Not eligible for reelection due to term limits

†Dependent on results of 2021 recall election

Democrats face an uphill battle in the 2022 gubernatorial races.  In 16 of the 19 midterm elections held since World War II, the party of the president lost bids for governorship.  However, 2022 is unlikely to see a lot of turnovers in the governors’ mansions due to the fact that all but six races feature incumbents, who generally face an advantage in retaining their seats.  Nonetheless, conditions could change for all gubernatorial candidates, depending on the popularity of President Joe Biden, the state of the economy, public health, and countless other measures. 

The Week in Review: June 1-4

Biden Calls Out Manchin, Sinema for Holding Back Democrats’ Agenda

During a June 2 event marking the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre, President Joe Biden said “two members of the Senate who voted more with my Republican friends” is the reason why the Senate has been unable to advance a bipartisan voting rights bill.  The President was referencing Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), whose strong support of the filibuster means Democrats are unable to advance key proposals with a simple majority.  Notably, Manchin and Sinema’s record indicates they vote with other Democrats most of the time.

Biden’s All-Out Push to Get 70% of Adults Vaccinated by July 4

President Joe Biden on June 2 announced a “national month of action” to help his Administration meet its goal of having 70% of American adults at least partially vaccinated for COVID-19 by July 4.  Some of the key actions Biden outlined to spur more vaccinations include partnering with child-care providers to offer free services to all parents getting vaccinated or recovering from the shots and requesting pharmacies to extend their hours for the month of June.  The Administration also announced an initiative to provide vaccinations at Black-owned barbershops.  Currently, 63% of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Moderna Files Application for Full FDA Approval of COVID-19 Vaccine

On June 1, Moderna began filing for a Biologics License Application (BLA) with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that would allow full approval of its COVID-19 vaccine.  Full approval would allow Moderna to directly market its vaccine as well as make it easier for companies and government agencies to mandate vaccinations for employees.  Full approval is also seen as an important step in addressing vaccine hesitancy.  Pfizer became the first drug maker to seek full FDA approval for its vaccine on May 7.  However, FDA has yet to comment on the timeline for reviewing the BLA for either vaccine.

Administration Announces Plans for Sending 25 Million Vaccines Abroad

On June 4, the Biden Administration formally laid out a plan to send out an initial wave of 25 million COVID-19 doses to help countries that have been hit hard by the virus.  According to the plan, 19 million doses will be distributed via worldwide vaccination initiative COVAX to Central and South America, Africa, and Asia.  Additionally, the US will separately supply 6 million doses to over a dozen countries including Canada, Mexico, and Ukraine.  The first wave of doses is part of a broader Administration effort first announced on May 17 to contribute 80 million COVID-19 vaccine doses as part of a global vaccination effort.

ICYMI: DC Museum Features George Washington’s Whiskey Writing

Every Friday from now until the end of July, the Stephen Decatur House Museum in downtown DC will have on display a letter penned by George Washington in 1799.  The letter, which is on loan from the Distillery Spirits Council, focuses on Washington’s pre- and post-presidential career as a whiskey distiller.  In the letter, Washington asks his nephew to assist with purchasing with purchasing enough grain to produce 200 gallons of whiskey. 

The Week in Review: May 10-14

CDC: Vaccinated Americans Do Not Need to Wear Masks Indoors, Outdoors          

On May 13, the CDC announced people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.  However, the CDC still recommends individuals continue to wear masks while in large crowds or while riding in planes, trains, or buses.  The update comes as US virus cases reach their lowest rate since September 2020 and COVID-19 deaths reach their lowest point since April 2020.  However, some warn the new guidance is likely to cause confusion, as there is no simple way for businesses or others to determine an individual’s vaccination status.   

House GOP Replaces Cheney with Stefanik as Conference Chair

Republican members of the House of Representatives voted to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from her role as House Republican Conference on May 12 in a closed-door meeting.  The effort to remove Cheney from her House leadership role follows the Wyoming Congresswoman’s public criticism over former President Donald Trump.  On May 14, House Republicans voted to install Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) as Cheney’s successor. While Stefanik has the backing of former President Trump, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), some Republican members including Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) have raised concerns over Stefanik’s moderate voting record.

Over 100 Republicans Threaten to Form Rival Party

Over 100 former Republican officials issued a joint statement on May 13 threatening to create an alternative party if current GOP elected officials continue to espouse falsehoods about the 2020 General Election.  Among the influential Republicans to sign the letter are former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, and former Virginia Congresswoman Barbara Comstock.  The statement also outlines 13 core principles based on preserving democracy, supporting market-based economics, and maintaining ethical governance. 

Nominations for HHS Deputy Secretary, CMS Administrator Advance

On May 11, the confirmed 61-37 Andrea Joan Palm to serve as Deputy of Health and Human Services.  Palm previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Obama Administration and had most recently served as Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.  Two days later, the Senate voted 51-48 to advance the nomination of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to serve as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  Brooks-LaSure’s nomination was previously stalled due to a hold from Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in protest of the Biden Administration’s decision to rescind Texas’s Section 1115 Medicaid waiver.  The procedural vote to advance Brooks-LaSure’s nomination indicates she is likely to be confirmed soon.  Notably, Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Susan Collins (R-ME) joined Democrats in the vote to bring Brooks-LaSure’s nomination to the floor.

ICYMI: Jurisdictions Use Cash, Beer to Urge Vaccinations

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) announced the state will give away $1 million each to five vaccinated Ohio residents as a way to entice more Ohioans to get vaccinated.  DeWine’s announcement comes as state and local governments are creating incentives to encourage more people to get their shots.  In Washington, DC, for instance, individuals who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the Kennedy Center on May 4 were offered a free beer.  Additionally, West Virginia began offering a $100 savings bond for state residents aged 16-35 who receive a vaccine shot.