2022 Midterm Primaries Feature Incumbents versus Incumbents


Redistricting has made for strange bedfellows. Thanks to population losses reported in the 2020 Censusseven states lost one seat apiece in the US House of Representatives.  Individual states redraw their district boundaries to create a new map of congressional districts, and the states that lost a congressional seat have their own set of unique challenges.  On top of that, several states where one party has a supermajority are using their leverage to redraw district lines to bump out House members from another major party.  Therefore, the results of these newly drawn district lines have made for five strange matchups that involves two incumbents from the same party.

Lucy McBath (D-GA) versus Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA)

Both congresswomen are new to Washington – McBath was elected in 2018, and Bourdeaux in 2020.  On December 30, 2021, Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp, signed into law a Republican-drawn congressional map that shifts most of McBath’s 6th Congressional District to the exurbs west of Atlanta where Republicans dominate the electorate.  As a result, McBath is now running in the 7th Congressional District, which is currently held by Bourdeaux.  Each congresswoman has her own advantages, so the race is likely to be close.  While McBath has gained national recognition for her story as a gun control advocate and cancer survivor, Bourdeaux’s old district represents most of the new district, and she has repeatedly touted her ties to the district on the campaign trail.

Marie Newman (D-IL) versus Sean Casten (D-IL)

Democrats currently control 13 of Illinois’ 18 congressional seats, and Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law in November 2021 a new congressional map that aims to give Democrats a total of 14 seats out of 17 seats since the state will lose one due to a drop in population.  To accomplish this, however, state legislators had to put Rep. Newman and Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-IL) in the same district.  Rather than run against a fellow progressive, Newman has opted to run in the neighboring 6th Congressional District, currently held by Rep. Casten.  While Casten has been touting his work on climate an infrastructure, much of Newman’s old district lies in the new one, and she has been emphasizing her longtime Chicagoland roots to contrast herself with her opponent, who moved to the area as an adult.

Mary Miller (R-IL) versus Rodney Davis (R-IL)

Illinois Democrats’ “sacrifice” of Newman was intended to thin the herd of GOP-held seats.  For instance, the new map puts Rep. Miller’s hometown in a new seat held by Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) that covers the southern third of the state.  Rather than fight against Bost, Miller opted to seek run against Rep. Davis in the primary, whose central Illinois district contains portions of Miller’s old district.  While Davis has represented his district in Washington for five terms, Miller brings to the table an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, although she recently faced controversy for quoting Hitler.

Andy Levin (D-MI) and Haley Stevens (D-MI)

Michigan lost a congressional seat in 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. Levin and Rep. Stevens 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 suburbs northwest of Detroit.   While Levin resides in the new district, Stevens’ current district includes much of the new one she’s running in.

David McKinley (R-WV) versus Alex Mooney (R-WV)

West Virginia’s House delegation will shrink from three to two members in the next Congress.  A new congressional map signed into law by Republican Gov. Jim Justice last fall means Rep. McKinley and Rep. Mooney will have to square off to see who will represent the state’s northern 2nd Congressional District next year.  While two-thirds of McKinley’s old district is included in the newly formed district, Mooney is a staunch supporter of former President Trump, meaning whoever wins the May 10th primary is anyone’s guess.

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