The 4 most interesting kinds of House primaries in 2022
But some primaries are more interesting than others; either because they offer a test of the direction of a party or they help determine how competitive a district will be in the fall or simply because of a high-profile candidate.
Democrats have their own contests between progressive and moderate wings of the party.
Here are four major categories of House primaries to watch, which will be updated as the season unfolds.
Member vs. member races
Incumbents don’t often run against each other in primaries, but the redistricting process that follows the once-a-decade census can scramble congressional maps, sometimes drawing two members into the same geographic area. That’s especially the case when states lose seats because of population changes.
IL-06 (June 28)
IL-15 (June 28)
MI-11 (August 2)
The race between two Democratic incumbents, both elected in 2018, for Michigan’s new 11th District captures some of the divides within the party. Rep. Haley Stevens belongs to the more moderate New Democrat Coalition, while Rep. Andy Levin, the son of longtime Rep. Sander Levin, is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and has backing from Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee and Democratic Majority for Israel are backing Stevens while J Street is backing Levin, who is Jewish.
GA-07 (McBath won on May 24)
WV-02 (Mooney won on May 10)
The congressmen were forced into the same district after West Virginia lost a seat in reapportionment following the 2020 census.
Mooney is the heavy favorite for November against Democrat Barry Wendell in the deep-red district.
The impeachment 10
Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio (retiring; primary on May 3)
David Valadao of California (June 7)
Tom Rice of South Carolina (June 14)
Adam Kinzinger of Illinois (retiring; primary on June 28)
“I cannot focus on both a reelection to Congress and a broader fight nationwide,” Kinzinger said in a video at the time. The congressman has been an outspoken critic of the GOP’s embrace of Trump and misinformation. “I want to make it clear. This isn’t the end of my political future, but the beginning,” he said in the video. He hasn’t ruled out a White House bid in 2024.
John Katko of New York (retiring; primary on August 23)
Fred Upton of Michigan (retiring; primary on August 2)
Peter Meijer of Michigan (August 2)
Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington (August 2)
Kent is not the only Republican challenging Herrera Beutler. Under Washington state’s top-two system, candidates from all parties run together on the same primary ballot, which could benefit the incumbent if GOP opposition to her is split.
Dan Newhouse of Washington (August 2)
Trump has endorsed 2020 GOP gubernatorial nominee Loren Culp to challenge four-term Rep. Dan Newhouse. The former police chief lost by more than 500,000 votes to Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee but refused to concede, repeating similar election lies as the former President. Newhouse had a significant fundraising advantage over Culp heading into April.
Liz Cheney of Wyoming (August 16)
Other races where Trump has endorsed against an incumbent
Mace, the first woman to graduate from the Citadel, put the seat back in Republican hands two years later, narrowly unseating Cunningham. The district has become more Republican in redistricting, which could benefit Arrington in the primary. But Mace also has a significant local endorsement from former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations.
Establishment vs. progressive Democrats
NC-01 & NC-04 (Davis and Foushee won on May 17)
A pair of open-seat primaries in North Carolina was upended by outside spending against progressive candidates.
OR-05 (McLeod-Skinner won May 17 primary)
Schrader has been a thorn in the side of the Biden agenda, voting against a measure allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, against initial passage of the American Rescue Plan, and for Build Back Better only after working to decouple it from the bipartisan infrastructure bill — a move that progressives say effectively killed the President’s would-be signature policy achievement.
Despite it all, Biden gave Schrader his first congressional endorsement of 2022. The move underscored the party establishment’s desire to aid the endangered incumbent, who was facing a lot of unfamiliar voters in a redrawn district where some local party leaders endorsed McLeod-Skinner and requested that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which routinely helps incumbents, “immediately stop campaigning for Schrader.”
Schrader conceded the week after the primary. “I have striven to represent the entire district regardless of party affiliation, be a fiscally responsible voice of moderation, and worked across the aisle to bring our State and Country together,” he said in a statement. “The majority of Democrats have chosen a different direction for now.”
PA-12 (Lee won on May 17)
Lee was up against a late blitz of attack ads from outside groups supporting supporting Irwin. Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey — a progressive who defeated the incumbent mayor in 2021 — and other local Democrats called on Irwin to condemn the ads, paid for by the AIPAC-connected United Democracy Project, saying they were “full of outright lies.”
TX-28 runoff (CNN has yet to call May 24 runoff)
Cuellar is the lone remaining House Democrat to consistently vote against abortion rights legislation. But that doesn’t seem to have bothered top House Democrats. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip James Clyburn all endorsed Cuellar in his runoff. Party leaders see Cuellar’s culturally conservative brand of politics — he has also long supported gun rights — as more likely to help them hold the seat in November in an area of South Texas where Republicans have made inroads with Latino voters.
This story has been updated with election-related developments.
Maeve Reston, Manu Raju, Alex Rogers and Melanie Zanona contributed to this report.