2022 Midterm Primaries Feature Incumbents versus Incumbents

Redistricting has made for strange bedfellows. Thanks to population losses reported in the 2020 Census, seven 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.

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.