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The Trailer: The complete guide to the 2022 election

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Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect which Democrats running for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin have raised the most money as of the end of the third fundraising quarter.

In this edition: A guide to every election coming up in 2022, the latest on two open House seats, and all the gerrymandering news you missed while wassailing. 

Please memorize the primary calendar by tomorrow, as there will be a quiz. This is The Trailer.

We don't do predictions at The Trailer, but we can tell you what's coming. This will be a phenomenally busy and expensive election year, with early voting starting as soon as next month — in Texas — and the last results getting certified in December. In between, Republicans expect to win the House and Senate, and Donald Trump and his allies hope to unseat every Republican who voted to impeach him a year ago. 

The schedule is set, mostly. In 49 states, there's still time for candidates to file for ballot access. (Texas wrapped that up last month.) In 26 states, there's time for legislators or citizen groups to put ballot initiatives in front of midterm voters. And in a few states, lawsuits could alter the maps or get primaries rescheduled for later in the year. We're not picking on Texas, but that's one of them.

Events like the Conservative Political Action Conference — scheduled for Orlando next month — will set the tone for candidates, and elections in Hungary, France and South Korea will be watched more closely than usual, especially by American conservatives. But there's plenty to watch here. To kick off 2022, here's a guide to every election this year, and who's lined up for them so far. 

Jan. 11: The last election of 2021 ends, when voters in Florida's 20th Congressional District elect a replacement for the late Rep. Alcee L. Hastings. Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick is heavily favored to win, as Republicans created the district from the majority-Black suburbs and cities of Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Feb. 15: Voters in San Francisco decide whether to recall three left-wing commissioners on the city’s school board. Mayor London Breed, a Democrat who has endorsed the recall campaign, would appoint the replacements for any recalled incumbents.

March 1: Primaries in Texas, with most of the action happening in Republican-on-Republican contests for safe or statewide seats. 

Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who’s seeking a third term, is defending the nomination against former state GOP chairman Allen West, former state senator Don Huffines and five political unknowns. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) is also being challenged from his right; one of the contenders, Dan Miller, is a Texas secessionist. Attorney General Ken Paxton, who filed the state’s 2020 lawsuit to challenge the results of the election, is being challenged by three fellow Republicans: state Land Commissioner George P. Bush, Rep. Louie Gohmert and former state Supreme Court justice Eva Guzman. All of them have raised Paxton’s 2015 indictment on securities fraud charges, but Trump’s endorsed Paxton, and the incumbent has won a series of lawsuits against the Biden administration in front of friendly conservative judges.

The state's Republican-led redistricting dramatically reduced the number of competitive House seats, and the party's strong performance with Hispanics in 2020 led to the creation of a second swing seat, the 15th Congressional District in the Rio Grande Valley. In the neighboring 28th Congressional District, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D) is in a rematch with Jessica Cisneros, a young attorney and the first Justice Democrats-backed candidate on the ballot this year.

May 3: Primaries in Indiana and Ohio. In Indiana, Sen. Todd C. Young (R), who won a competitive primary and general election six years ago, has little competition now, and Republicans have put the traditionally Democratic 1st Congressional District, in northwest Indiana, on their target list.

There’s much more happening in Ohio, mostly in Republican primaries defined by opposition to pandemic vaccination and mask mandates, and by support for Donald Trump. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) is facing off against former congressman James B. Renacci, and 16 Republicans are running for Senate, led by author J.D. Vance, former state treasurer Josh Mandel, former state GOP chair Jane Timken, businessman Mike Gibbons, car dealer Bernie Moreno and state Sen. Matt Dolan

Democrats, currently suing to change to state’s new maps, have a few of their own primaries: The mayors of Dayton and Cincinnati are competing for the gubernatorial nomination, and Rep. Tim Ryan (D), running for U.S. Senate after years of being courted by the party, has a challenge from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau adviser Morgan Harper. Under the current lines, only the new version of Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s (D) 9th Congressional District, and the new 13th Congressional District, consolidating parts of Republican-trending northeast Ohio, are competitive; the 13th is where Trump adviser Max Miller, who brought Trump to Ohio as he sought to scare Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R) into retirement, is running.

May 10: Primaries in Nebraska and West Virginia. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is term-limited. Trump endorsed wealthy agribusinessman Charles Herbster, a supporter of his presidential campaigns, in the six-way GOP gubernatorial primary, though Ricketts had urged Trump to stay away. The Democratic nomination in the Omaha-based 2nd Congressional District, which the new map maintains as one of very few Republican-held districts carried by Joe Biden, is up for grabs. 

West Virginia lost one of its seats after the census, forcing Rep. Alex Mooney and Rep. David B. McKinley, both Republicans, into a primary for the new 2nd Congressional District. Trump endorsed Mooney, citing McKinley's support for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. As of New Year’s Day, no Democrats had filed for Congress in the state.

May 17: Primaries in Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon, Pennsylvania and, thanks to a court order, North Carolina, which had been scheduled to hold them in March. 

The new North Carolina map, under review by the state Supreme Court, drew just one swing seat — the 2nd Congressional District in the state’s Black belt, where Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D) is retiring, and both parties are holding competitive primaries. Retirements and new district lines have created battles for the safely red 4th and 7th Congressional Districts, and the deep-blue, Durham-centered 6th Congressional District. 

Early drafts of Pennsylvania's maps have created competitive seats in the state’s northeast and the Pittsburgh area. Democrats have already settled on their gubernatorial nominee — there’s no candidate challenging Attorney General Josh Shapiro — while 14 Republicans are running for governor. Both parties are expecting pileups in the primary for an open U.S. Senate seat, with doctor and TV personality Mehmet Oz getting most of the attention, but two other candidates in a good position to self-fund.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little, who won his last primary with 37 percent of the vote, is facing a divided right-wing field: Trump has endorsed Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who’s feuded with Little over pandemic rules, and rancher/anti-Washington activist Ammon Bundy has accused Little of not doing enough to battle “tyranny.”

In Kentucky, two Democrats (so far) are competing to replace Rep. John Yarmuth (D) in the commonwealth’s only deep-blue district. In Oregon’s 4th Congressional District, Democrats will nominate a successor to Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, while both parties will pick nominees in a new 6th Congressional District drawn to lean Democratic. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D), the chair of the moderate Blue Dog Democrats’ PAC, faces a left-wing primary challenger, attorney Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

May 24: Primaries in Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia, and runoffs in Texas. The theme of the day, once again, will be Trump’s clout inside the GOP: He has endorsed Rep. Mo Brooks (R) for Senate in Alabama and former football star Herschel Walker for Senate in Georgia. Neither endorsement fully cleared the field, and Brooks has had more of a race so far than Walker, raising about half as much money as Katie Britt, who’s backed by her old boss, former senator Richard C. Shelby.

In Georgia, Republican voters will also decide the fate of Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who Trump and other Republicans have condemned since Biden’s narrow Georgia win was certified. Trump endorsed former senator David Perdue over Kemp, and Rep. Jody Hice in the four-way secretary of state primary; Democrat Stacey Abrams is getting a free ride in the Democrats’ gubernatorial primary, while Democrats have a crowded race for secretary of state. Twelve Republicans, including former congressman Paul Broun, are running for Hice’s open seat, and the new Republican-drawn map has pushed Democratic Reps. Lucy McBath and Carolyn Bourdeaux into a new, blue 7th Congressional District.

June 7: It’s the biggest primary day of the year, with races in California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota — and the California calendar includes the first round of Los Angeles’s mayoral election, a recall vote on San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin and potentially the special election to replace former congressman Devin Nunes. (California Gov. Gavin Newsom needs to set the date.)

Democrats hold every statewide office in California, and while the GOP’s 2021 recall debacle ended up making Newsom safer, two candidates are trying to break the one-party hammerlock: Republican Lanhee Chen, running for state comptroller, and Republican-turned-independent Anne Marie Schubert, running for attorney general. In the 10 years since the state replaced parties primaries with top-two contests, Republicans haven’t made the runoff for a Senate race;  more than a dozen of them are running against Sen. Alex Padilla (D) now, and one is likely to get a spot on the November ballot.

Every House incumbent from California is favored to make it to November, thanks to the top-two primary system. Unlike other states losing a House seat, California isn’t getting a member-vs.-member primary: Two elderly Los Angeles County Democrats forced into the same new district simply chose to retire. In eight of the new districts, the margin between “yes” and “no” in the recall election was within single digits: the Republican-held 22nd, 27th, 40th and 45th, and the Democratic-held 9th, 14th, 47th and 49th

There’s less competition in the rest of the June 7 primary states, with just one open House seat — the safely Democratic 8th Congressional District of New Jersey, where Rob Menendez, the son of the state’s senior senator, is running. In Montana, which got a second congressional district for the first time in nearly a century, Rep. Matthew M. Rosendale (R) is seeking reelection in the safely Republican 2nd Congressional District. The more Democratic 1st Congressional District, which still went for Trump in 2020, has wide-open primaries for both major parties. And in South Dakota, state Rep. Steve Haugaard is challenging Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R) from the right, accusing her of being “beholden to special interests” for failing to ban vaccine mandates.

June 14: Primaries in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota and South Carolina. In Maine, two former Republican incumbents, ex-governor Paul LePage and ex-congressman Bruce Poliquin, are favored to win the party’s nominations for governor and in the 2nd Congressional District, respectively. In South Carolina, Rep. Tom Rice (R)’s vote to impeach Trump has attracted 12 challengers, which could help him if no clear alternative emerges.

Nevada Democrats tried to shore up their incumbents in the 3rd and 4th Congressional Districts with a map that makes the Las Vegas-based 1st Congressional District more competitive. That infuriated Rep. Dina Titus (D), who’d locked down that safe seat — and who faces a challenge from Amy Vilela, a single-payer health-care advocate who helped Bernie Sanders win the 2020 caucuses. Republicans including former U.S. senator Dean Heller, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee and Las Vegas City Council member Michele Fiore are all running for governor, and the state GOP’s challenge to the 2020 election will ripple through statewide races. Former assemblyman Jim Marchant (R), who sued to overturn his five-point defeat in the 4th District last year, has made the election a focus of his bid for secretary of state.

June 21: Primaries in Virginia, and runoffs in Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia. The new Virginia maps, drawn by court-appointed masters after a commission couldn’t finish the job, created four safe Republican districts and five safe Democratic districts while drawing new versions of two swing districts held by Democrats: the 2nd and 7th Congressional Districts. Democratic incumbents are running for reelection in both, and Republicans have competitive primaries, optimistic about their chances in places that swung from backing Joe Biden in 2020 to Glenn Youngkin in 2021.

June 28: Primaries in Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma and Utah, and runoffs in Mississippi and South Carolina. If you’re designing TV chyrons — we know our audience at The Trailer — this and June 7 are the elections that deserve a “Super Tuesday” tag.

The new map in Illinois set up member-on-member primaries in the 6th Congressional District, between Rep. Sean Casten and Rep. Marie Newman, and between Rep. Rodney Davis (R) and Rep. Mary E. Miller (R) in the 15th Congressional District. (Democrats drew the district for Davis, but Miller got Donald Trump's endorsement.) In the safely Democratic 7th Congressional District, Justice Democrats have endorsed activist Kina Collins. New maps in Maryland and Colorado largely protected House incumbents of both parties, and Maryland Democrats are pining to take back the governor’s office after two terms of Gov. Larry Hogan (R) — 10 of them, including former DNC chairman Tom Perez and former secretary of education John B. King Jr., are running.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) extinguished her highest-polling challenger last year, when Attorney General Letitia James (D) quit the race to seek reelection. Hochul is still facing a left-wing challenge from New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and a “pragmatic progressive” (his words) challenge from Rep. Tom Suozzi (D). The Long Island Democrat’s decision to run opened up his district, and two Republicans are leaving theirs — one, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R), to run for governor — but we don’t know the new district lines just yet. We do know that Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D) is running against another crop of challengers to her left, and while Justice Democrats has endorsed Rana Abdelhamid, it hasn't moved other candidates out of the race. Republicans, who had a great 2021, have their own family feud over the state party's decision to support Zeldin, who faces first-time candidate Andrew Giuliani and failed 2014 nominee Rob Astorino in the primary.

Aug. 2: Primaries in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington. Like California, Washington holds top-two primaries, with the winner and runner-up advancing to November no matter what party they’re in. That will matter in the 3rd Congressional District, where Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R) is facing Trump-endorsed rival Joe Kent and a few other candidates, including a weak Democrat who may not make the runoff — a situation where Herrera Beutler could court Democratic voters. The same could happen in the 4th Congressional District, where 2020 gubernatorial nominee and election conspiracy theorist Loren Culp is one of multiple Republican challengers to Rep. Dan Newhouse (R).

In Kansas, former secretary of state and Trump administration election reform adviser Kris Kobach (R) is making a comeback bid for attorney general. (He lost a race for governor in 2018 and a U.S. Senate primary in 2020). There’s another Lazarus act in Missouri, where former governor Eric Greitens (R) is one of 10 Republicans running to replace Sen. Roy Blunt. Republicans haven’t approved their next congressional maps, but the only open seats are in two deep-red districts: The 4th in central Missouri, and the 7th in Springfield and Branson.

Trump’s obsession with the 2020 election has shaped the GOP’s primaries in Arizona and Michigan, and how Democrats are running, too. He’s backing Kari Lake for governor in Arizona, and the primaries for secretary of state pit Democrats who defended the 2020 election result against Republicans who wanted to overturn it. Trump’s criticism of Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who has backed audits of the election but didn’t try to prevent it from being certified, has given other U.S. Senate candidates an opening with primary voters. No House Republican is vulnerable on the state's new map, and Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D) moved from a swing seat to a strongly Republican 2nd Congressional District; one Republican candidate spoke at a “Justice for J6” rally.

Michigan’s nonpartisan commission ripped up the state’s old map, creating three swing seats — the 3rd, 7th and 8th Districts — where incumbents had been running ahead of the party. One of those incumbents, Rep. Peter Meijer (R), faces challengers from the right over his vote to impeach Trump; the other Michigan Republican who cast that vote, Rep. Fred Upton, was pushed into a race in the new 4th Congressional District against fellow Rep. Bill Huizenga, who voted against impeachment. In the new, Democratic 11th Congressional District, Democratic Reps. Andy Levin and Haley Stevens are challenging each other; in the 13th Congressional District, which Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D) has now won after two contested primaries, wealthy state Rep. Shri Thanedar is running after just one term.

Aug. 4: Primaries in Tennessee, the only state that holds them on Thursday. Two Republican members of Congress, Rep. Charles J. “Chuck” Fleischmann and Rep. Scott DesJarlais, have held off a series of primary challengers, and both have new opponents who are waiting on the Republican-run state legislature to release new maps. Those maps will determine whether the Nashville-based district represented by Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper stay intact, or is split into several Republican-leaning districts. If Republicans let the current district survive, Cooper will be defending his job from Justice Democrats-backed community organizer Odessa Kelly.

Aug. 9: Primaries in Connecticut, Vermont, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Republicans have so far ignored the federal races in the two Northeast states. The only open seat in Connecticut is the secretary of the state’s office, which Democrats have held since the 1980s; in Vermont, while most Democrats have endorsed Rep. Peter Welch to replace Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, the party is staying out of the primary for Welch’s seat.

In Minnesota, where the GOP has not won a statewide race in more than a decade, multiple Republicans are looking to challenge Gov. Tim Walz (D); at a debate last month, none of the five candidates currently running would say that Joe Biden won the 2020 election. (At the moment, no governor of a state Biden won has questioned the election’s result.) Four Republicans, including 2018 nominee Doug Wardlow, are running to face Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Wisconsin Republicans currently expect Sen. Ron Johnson to seek a third term, as do Democrats — 12 already are in the race. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D), who’d be the first Black nominee for Senate in the state, has gotten endorsements from high-profile Democrats, like House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn. He hasn't cleared the field: Wealthy Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry, who entered the race before Barnes, has raised more money, as has state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski. None of the state’s eight House primaries are so crowded, and the only seat drawn to be competitive in November is the 3rd Congressional District, in southwest Wisconsin’s driftless region, where Rep. Ron Kind (D) is retiring and the likely Republican nominee, who nearly won in 2020, went to Washington on Jan. 6.

Aug. 13: Primaries in Hawaii. Democratic Gov. David Ige is termed out, and Democratic Lt. Gov. Josh Green, a medical doctor who became the face of the state’s pandemic response, has led in early polls. Democratic Rep. Ed Case is facing a primary challenge over his insistence last year that the bipartisan infrastructure package get a vote before the Build Back Better spending package was ready.

Aug. 16: Primaries in Alaska and Wyoming, runoffs in South Dakota, but only two races being watched nationally. In Wyoming, it's Republican Rep. Liz Cheney’s attempt to win renomination after voting to impeach Donald Trump and joining the special committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. Cheney got a breather last year when legislators tabled a potential runoff law, making it possible for her to win a primary with less than 50 percent of the vote. Harriet Hageman, a onetime Trump critic, has gotten Trump’s endorsement, but not cleared the anti-Cheney field.

The Senate race in Alaska is more complicated — and not really a primary. For the first time, Alaskans will get a single ballot with each candidate from every party. The four who get the most votes will advance to a ranked-choice election in November. Former state administration commissioner Kelly Tshibaka (R), endorsed by Trump, is likely to make the top four, but so is Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), the only Republican senator up for reelection this year who voted to remove Trump from office.

Aug. 23: Primaries in Florida. Despite a disastrous 2020, and despite a big cash advantage for Gov. Ron DeSantis, three well-known Democrats are battling to challenge him: Former governor Charlie Crist, state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and state Sen. Annette Taddeo. Rep. Val Demings (D) has raised 10 times more money than any other Democrat seeking the nomination to challenge Sen. Marco Rubio (R). 

Sept. 13: Primaries in Delaware, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. In New Hampshire, more Republicans could seek the U.S. Senate nomination that Gov. Chris Sununu opted not to. A Republican-drawn map has made the 1st Congressional District, which voted for Joe Biden in 2020, more conservative, and that’s pulled six Republicans into the primary, including 2020 nominee Matt Mowers. In Rhode Island, Gov. Dan McKee is seeking the Democratic nomination after inheriting the job from U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. Former secretary of state Matt Brown is running against him, as part of a bloc of left-wing candidates trying to replace a more conservative Democratic establishment.

Sept. 20: The primary calendar finally runs out with races across Massachusetts. In 2018 and 2020, there were heated, ideological, Democrat-on-Democrat House primaries from the Berkshires to South Boston. While filing doesn’t end until May 31, none of the state’s nine Democratic members of Congress have drawn well-funded challengers, and none are being targeted by Republicans. The major competition, right now, is in the primaries for governor and, if Attorney General Maura Healy runs for that office, Healy’s current job.

Nov. 8: Midterm elections in every state except Louisiana, which is holding its all-party primary, and where no federal races are competitive under current lines. If no more challengers emerge to face Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R), he could win outright and avoid a runoff.

Dec. 10: Runoffs in Louisiana wrap up the election year. The 2024 cycle begins.

Reading list

What the Jan. 6 committee has done and where it is headed, by Tom Hamburger and Jacqueline Alemany

The many steps left in the investigation.

“The political life of Dr. Oz,” by Olivia Nuzzi

Always check whether you've actually hung up the phone before you start talking about the reporter.

“How the left’s rage at Joe Manchin crystallizes the Democrats’ 2022 dilemma,” by Tyler Pager

Facing an election year in which Democrats like Manchin are in worry mode.

“The left is already looking to 2024. Some want to see a Biden primary challenge,” by Holly Otterbein

The primary that most Democrats would rather not have.

“Schumer says Senate will vote by Jan. 17 on changing rules if GOP continues to block voting rights legislation,” by John Wagner

Do you want more hallway interviews with Joe Manchin in 2022? You're in luck.

“At time of Capitol prayer service Jan. 6, Trump will deliver remarks doubling down on the ‘Big Lie,’" by David Siders

The ex-president celebrates one year of an alternate narrative.

“From the Capitol to the city council: How extremism in the U.S. shifted after Jan. 6,” by Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins

From QAnon's storm to the anti-vaccine movement.

Poll watch

Was the president's election win legitimate, or not legitimate? (Washington Post/University of Maryland, 1,101 adults)

Joe Biden (2021)
Legitimate: 69%
Not legitimate: 29%

Donald Trump (2017)
Legitimate: 57%
Not legitimate: 42%

George W. Bush (2001)
Legitimate: 62%
Not legitimate: 36%

In the Post's latest polling on voter attitudes about democracy, a third of all Americans agreed with the statement that, sometimes, it may be “justified for citizens to take violent action against the government.” Forty percent of Republicans endorsed that idea, along with 23 percent of Democrats. The question itself may be an ink blot test. For example: A liberal who says that last year's civil rights protests were good and necessary is, by definition, excusing riots and property damage that occurred in a few cities. Does that liberal answer “yes” or “no” when asked if “violent action” may sometimes be necessary?

Still, it's clear from this question that Americans' willingness to consider drastic, violent action against the government doesn't rise in sync with voter attitudes about election results. After the 2000 and 2016 elections, when Republican presidents took office after winning the electoral college but losing the popular vote, a solid majority of Democrats and a rump of independents said that the wins were not “legitimate” — but there was not the same thinking about anti-government violence. While Trump is adamant that the last election was stolen, 26 percent of his voters and 41 percent of all Republicans say it wasn't. More independents, and more Democrats, had doubts about 2016 and 2000.

Redistricting

Which states finished their new congressional maps while you, and this newsletter, were on vacation? A few big ones.

New Jersey. The state redistricting committee approved a new map on Dec. 22. It protects, or does no real harm, to nine Democratic members of Congress, adding more Democratic precincts to protect most of the suburban liberals who flipped districts in the last decade — Rep. Josh Gottheimer, Rep. Mikie Sherrill and Rep. Andy Kim. The 4th Congressional District, which Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R) has held since Ronald Reagan's first term, was remolded into one of the most Republican districts in the northeast corridor. The 2nd Congressional District, which was trending right before Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R) left the Democratic Party, became more Republican.

The only Democrat who didn't benefit from the changes was Rep. Tom Malinowski (D), who narrowly won in 2020 and spent much of 2021 battling controversy over failing to report stock trades on the schedule required by law. Joe Biden carried Malinowksi's 7th Congressional District by 10 points, and carried the new one by single digits — but Gov. Phil Murphy (D) lost it handily last year. 

Michigan. The first map ever drawn by a new, nonpartisan commission was approved Dec. 28, obliterating an old Republican map that had been drawn to create a 9-5 Republican advantage. Democratic gains in the Detroit suburbs flipped two Republican seats in 2018, and Republican strength in central Michigan turned Rep. Daniel Kildee's 5th Congressional District from a safe Democratic seat into a potentially competitive one — just not one Republicans could win in 2020.

The new map, more geologically coherent than the old one, created four swing seats — with both Kildee and Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D) watching their districts shift slightly to the right. The 3rd Congressional District, which covers Grand Rapids and has been shifting left, added more Democratic precincts. And changes to the 10th and 11th Congressional Districts, in southeast Michigan, shifted the lines while maintaining the old map's balance — one Republican-leaning seat that could be competitive in a bad year for the party, and one safe seat. 

Georgia. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) approved the state's next map on Dec. 30, reshaping the House districts around suburban Atlanta to create one safely Democratic district, and one that's safe for Republicans, where there had been two Democratic-trending seats. 

In the states

Illinois. Rep. Bobby Rush (D) announced his retirement Tuesday, bringing the total number of Democrats leaving the House this year to two dozen. Democrats redrew Rush's 1st Congressional District last year, stretching it from Chicago's South Side into more Republican suburbs. (It was one of many ways that Springfield Democrats split up their Cook County advantage to create more safe seats.) 

The new district went for Joe Biden in 2020 by a better than 2-1 margin, so Rush's announcement doesn't put a Democratic seat at risk. Multiple Democrats had launched campaigns for the seat before Rush's announcement, taking note of the incumbent's paltry fundraising. Jahmal Cole, the CEO of the nonprofit My Block My Hood My City, had led the challengers in fundraising, but Rush hinted that he will endorse a successor, to be named later.

“I’m returning to my church. I’m returning to my family,” Rush said at a news conference in Chicago on Tuesday. “I will be in public life. I will be working hand in hand with someone who will replace me.”

Special elections

Early voting in Florida’s 20th Congressional District started Saturday, and absentee ballots have been hitting mailboxes for weeks. Circuit courts in Palm Beach and Broward counties had not taken up a lawsuit filed by defeated Democrat Dale Holness, which would have voided the results of the November primary. That meant no delay in the election, and nothing stopping Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick from winning the seat on Jan. 11.

“It's a political wild goose chase,” said Mitch Caesar, a longtime former chair of the Broward County Democrats who's offering legal representation to Cherfilus-McCormick.

Joe Biden won 77 percent of the vote in the district, and while Republican nominee Jason Mariner has raised more than $100,000, neither party has put resources into a race they expect to be a layup for Democrats.

Florida's “resign to run” law significantly shook up Democratic politics in South Florida. Two Broward County commissioners who ran and lost, including Holness, have resigned their jobs and been replaced by Gov. Ron DeSantis's (R) appointees. Three more special elections will unfold on Jan. 11, to nominate candidates in the state House and Senate districts of legislators who ran and resigned in order to lose the congressional primary.

In California's 22nd Congressional District, former Republican representative Devin Nunes resigned Jan. 3, taking his role at the new media enterprise being launched by Donald Trump. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has until Jan. 17 to set a special election date for Nunes's seat. In 2019, when former Democratic congresswoman Katie Hill resigned, it took Newsom 10 days to set up an election that Democrats went on to lose.

Countdown

… seven days until the special election in Florida's 20th Congressional District
… 42 days until school board recall elections in San Francisco
… 56 days until the first 2022 primaries 
… 308 days until the midterm elections

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