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Special Election Fields Form and 2022 Considerations Continue

January 25, 2021

This article originally appeared on BIPAC's blog. Written by BIPAC Political Analyst Jim Ellis.

Key Takeaways

  • Senate: All 100 Positions Now Filled
  • PA-Sen: St. Sen. Sharif Street (D) Revises US Senate Plans
  • IA-3: Rep. Cindy Axne (D) Considering Statewide 2022 Bid
  • LA-2; OH-11: Special Election Fields Begin to Form
  • WY-AL: Rep. Liz Cheney (R) Faces 2022 GOP Primary
  • MN-Gov: Rep. Pete Stauber (R) Considering Governor's Race
  • Pittsburgh Mayor: Mayor Bill Peduto (D) Draws Dem Challenge


Full Senate: Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris on Wednesday officially resigned her US Senate office in preparation for taking the oath of national office. After becoming Vice President, Ms. Harris then returned to the Senate chamber to administer the swearing in ceremonies for her successor, Senator-Designate Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Democratic Georgia runoff winners Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. The actions mean that all 100 Senate seats are now filled.

Pennsylvania: Before the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday break, state Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) was indicating that he would enter the open 2022 US Senate race. This week, however, he is said that he won’t make a final decision about his impending candidacy until the end of 2021. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) has already announced for the Senate race and begun raising money. It appears he has the early inside track to the party nomination, and with Sen. Street now apparently backtracking on his original statement further credence is lent to the analysis depicting Mr. Fetterman as the Democratic nomination favorite.


FL-1: Though Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach/Pensacola) clearly shot down any idea that he was considering challenging Sen. Marco Rubio in next year’s Republican primary, he did admit to looking at a run for state Agriculture Commissioner. The incumbent, Democrat Nikki Fried, was elected in 2018 with the barest of percentages, 50.04%. All of the Florida state constitutional offices are on the ballot next year. The top vote getter scored only 52%, so we can expect competitive races from the top of the 2022 Florida ballot to the bottom.

IA-3: When questioned late last week, two-term Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Des Moines) confirmed that she would consider running statewide next year, reflecting that Iowa will have both a Senate and Governor’s race on the ballot in 2022. As has been pointed out, with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) turning 89 years of age before the next election the chances of seeing him retire are strong. Sen. Grassley, at this time, refuses to comment upon his 2022 political plans. In the Governor’s race, incumbent Kim Reynolds (R) is expected to seek a second four-year term. 

LA-2: Former US Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-New Orleans) resigned from the House on January 15th in order to prepare to accept his position in the Biden White House, and this week endorsed a successor for the March 20th special election. Mr. Richmond urges the voters of his former district to support state Sen. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans). 

With candidate filing ending at the close of this week, seven contenders have announced, but others are expected to file. If no candidate receives majority support on March 20th, a runoff election between the two highest finishers will be held April 24th. The Democrats will retain this seat, and we can expect a double Democratic runoff to unfold for the secondary election.

MD-1Citing how the country has changed in the last ten years, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Cockeysville), despite campaigning in 2010 that he would only serve six terms, announced earlier in the week that he will seek re-election again in 2022. Mr. Harris is the lone Republican in the eight-member US House delegation. Redistricting may be Rep. Harris’ biggest political hurdle to overcome in 2022, however, as Democrats have a power edge in Maryland but not full control.

NY-22: The legal process of determining a winner in New York’s 22nd District remains in suspension. Final oral arguments will be presented as the week closes, meaning we could finally see a ruling next week, almost three months after the original election. State Supreme Court Justice of Oswego County Scott DelConte, who admits he has “no great options” in deciding this case, continues to admonish the Oneida County Elections Office personnel now citing 2,418 individuals who met the voter registration deadline but whose applications failed to be processed; hence, they were denied the opportunity of voting. 

Currently, the vote totals stand with challenger Claudia Tenney (R), a former Congresswoman, leading 116th Congress incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) by 29 votes of more than 311,000 ballots counted. The Brindisi legal team has presented 69 ballots they believe DelConte should add to the count. The Judge pointed out that the 69 are overwhelmingly Democratic and indicated that the Brindisi team was simply “cherry picking” favorable votes. 

It is likely we will see a ruling sometime next week, and it is unclear how such a declaration will unfold. Chances are very high that the losing candidate will appeal the impending DelConte decision, meaning this embroiled contest will likely continue for quite some time. It is also possible that a new election could be ordered.

NC-5: Eight-term North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk/Gastonia) has drawn a 2022 GOP primary challenger. Bo Hines is a former football player for North Carolina State University. He announced late this week his intention to enter the 5th District primary, but redistricting may change the footprint of virtually every CD in the state. This means, while Mr. Hines may in fact run for Congress, he may or may not eventually face Rep. Foxx. For her part, the Congresswoman has already announced her intention to seek re-election next year.

OH-11: Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Cleveland) is expected to easily win confirmation to her new post as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, so the Democratic field to replace her in the safe Cleveland-Akron congressional seat is already forming. Late this week, former state Sen. Shirley Smith indicated she would join the special Democratic primary that will be scheduled upon Rep. Fudge’s official resignation. Already saying they will enter the race are former state Senators Jeff Johnson and Nina Turner, ex-state Rep. John Barnes, Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown, and Ms. Smith. 

WY-AL: It didn’t take long for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) to draw a 2022 Republican primary opponent. State Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Laramie) on Wednesday said he will enter the GOP race against Rep. Cheney directly because of her vote to impeach President Trump. 

Rep. Bouchard was quoted on the Daily Kos Elections website as saying that Ms. Cheney’s, "long-time opposition to President Trump and her most recent vote for impeachment shows just how out of touch she is with Wyoming." It is likely that more people will join this race before candidate filing closes in May of next year. The Wyoming primary will be scheduled in mid-August ’22.


Minnesota: For the second time since the election, two-term Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Hermantown/ Duluth) has confirmed that he is not closing the door on entering the 2022 gubernatorial campaign and could compete to capture the Republican nomination in order to challenge Gov. Tim Walz (D). 

Rep. Stauber’s consideration of running statewide is likely serious. Minnesota looks to lose a seat in reapportionment, now scheduled for a March 6th announcement, and it will likely mean that Reps. Stauber and freshman Michelle Fischbach (R-Regal) could find themselves competing for the same seat. Both his 8th and her 7th District have the lowest population figures.

Rhode Island: Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea (D) confirmed at the end of last week that she is considering entering the state’s gubernatorial race next year. With Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) resigning her position upon being confirmed as US Commerce Secretary, Lt. Gov. Dan McKee (D) will assume the Governorship and become an unelected incumbent in preparation for the next campaign. Mr. McKee, who has a poor relationship with Gov. Raimondo, is expected to draw serious Democratic opposition despite him administering the office for well over a year by the time the September ’22 Democratic primary occurs.


New York City: It appears that former Citigroup executive Raymond McGuire’s (D) campaign has jumped out to a strong start, but his opponents may actually see some benefit from his success, as well. Since mid-July, Mr. McGuire has raised over $5 million for his Mayoral effort and holds $3.7 million cash-on-hand. 

Under the City’s public campaign finance law, a candidate not voluntarily agreeing to a $7.3 million spending limit for the primary election allows the barrier to increase at a 50% rate for all other candidates upon the non-conforming candidate exceeding the gross expenditure limit. With $5 million already raised, it appears a virtual certainty that Mr. McGuire will exceed the threshold, thus increasing the spending limit for his opponents.

Pittsburgh: Two-term Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto looks to face a Democratic primary challenge from his political left. State Rep. Ed Gainey (D-Pittsburgh) announced late this week that he will run for Mayor later this year declaring that he is the more progressive. He will first have to dislodge incumbent Democrat Peduto in the party primary, an election that will be held on May 18th. Winning the Democratic primary is tantamount to claiming the citywide position in November.