What to Watch in the Primaries from September 6 to September 13
The 2022 primary season’s final Election Day is upon us. As national Republicans fret about the electability of many of their U.S. Senate nominees, New Hampshire will be the last piece of that puzzle; once again, a far-right candidate hopes to win the GOP nomination. A Trump-aligned Republican may also clinch the party’s nod for governor in Massachusetts. On the Democratic side, the primaries will resolve fierce ideological conflicts in legislative races in Delaware and Rhode Island, and in criminal justice elections in Massachusetts.
Here are 29 races that Bolts is watching on Sept. 6 (in Massachusetts), and Sept. 13 (in Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island), as prepared by Bolts editor Daniel Nichanian. More may be added to our cheat sheet through Election Day.
Check back on Election Night as we fill in each result in the second column. And support us to sustain this work.
|New Hampshire (GOP)|
Don Bolduc, who has already signaled he may vote to overturn the 2024 election in Donald Trump’s favor, is leading in public polls to take on Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan. National Republicans are hoping that they can push his opponent Chuck Morse, who they view as more electable, across the finish line.
Candidates kept dropping out from this once-crowded primary, and Attorney General Maura Healey is the favorite over Sonia Chang-Diaz.
The Trump-endorsed Geoff Diehl looks like the frontrunner to try to keep this governorship in GOP hands, which would be a huge jump to the right for the party in this state. He faces businessman Chris Doughty in the primary.
|New Hampshire (GOP)|
Trump allies hoped to mount a credible challenge against Republican Governor Chris Sununu, but Sununu looks in command against a crowded field of candidates taking him on from his right.
|Rhode Island (Dem)|
Dan McKee, whose administration is under investigation over its handling of state contracts, could be the first incumbent governor defeated in a primary this year. Polls show a close race, with Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, former Secretary of State Matt Brown, who has occupied the progressive lane, and others challenging McKee.
|Rhode Island (GOP)|
Republican candidate Ashley Kalus is favored to win this primary, and is already looking ahead to the general election, though she first faces Jonathan Riccitelli in the GOP primary.
Other statewide elections
|Delaware | Auditor (Dem)|
Two months after being found guilty on charges of conflict of interest, official misconduct and noncompliance with state procurement law, Delaware’s Auditor Kathleen McGuinness is defiant and is seeking re-election. She faces accountant Lydia York, who is endorsed by the state Democratic Party, in the primary.
|Massachusetts | Lieutenant general (Dem)|
Democrats are choosing a running-mate for Maura Healey, their presumptive nominee for governor. A group with ties to national GOP funders poured more than $1 million to help Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, who faces two lawmakers with more progessive profiles, Eric Lesser and Tami Gouveia.
|Massachusetts | Attorney general (Dem)|
In this open race, Andrea Campbell, a former Boston council member, faces attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan. The state’s prominent progressive politicians, including its two U.S. senators, have split their endorsements.
|Rhode Island | Lieutenant governor (Dem)|
The state party’s ideological divides have trickled down in the lieutenant governor primary. State Senator Cynthia Mendes represents the state’s progressive wing (alongside governor nominee Matt Brown), and incumbent Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos is running alongside Governor Dan McKee on a more moderate ticket. Deborah Ruggiero, another lawmaker, is running as well. The Providence Journal profiles the candidates.
U.S. House Primaries
There is a very large field of GOP candidates to take on Democratic incumbent Chris Pappas. Trump White House aid Karoline Leavitt is trying to seize the pro-Trump lane as she faces Matt Mowers, another Trump administration official.
This is one of the House districts where national Democrats are meddling in the GOP primary in hopes of boosting their November odds, Politico reports. To take on Democratic incumbent Annie Kuster, Bob Burns is running a far-right campaign against George Hansel, who is backed by the state’s governor.
Here is a rare New England seat that the GOP is targeting, and Democrats are choosing their nominee to face Republican Allan Fung. Analysts say name recognition could be decisive among a crowded slate of five candidates, including a statewide official running for Congress.
|Delaware | HD26 and HD27 (Dem)|
Two progressive lawmakers (Madinah Wilson-Anton and Eric Morrison), who were among a wave of left wins in the 2020 cycle, face primary challengers.
|Wilson-Anton and Morrison|
|Delaware | HD6 and HD13 (Dem)|
In challenging longtime incumbent Debra Heffernan, Becca Cotto has singled out the watering down of criminal justice reform and setbacks for police reform in recent legislative sessions as a key motivation, Delaware Public Media reports. Another election where police reform has come into play is the 13th District’s primary between Larry Mitchell, a lawmaker who is part of the Democratic leadership, and progressive challenger DeShanna Neal.
|Massachusetts | Legislative primaries (Dem)|
Abortion rights are a faultline in some Democratic primaries.
In the western part of the state, challenger Cameron Costa is criticizing incumbent Chris Markey for voting against the 2020 law, known as the ROE Act, that codified abortion rights in 2020.
The other Democrats who opposed the ROE Act and now face a primary are: Paul Donato, Russell Holmes, Joseph McGonagle (in the House) and Walter Timilty (in the Senate)
|All incumbents listed here win.|
|Rhode Island | SD4 (Dem)|
The state’s progressive faction is taking aim again at Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, with challenger Lenny Cioe facing him again after narrowly losing in 2020. The Valley Breeze previews.
|Rhode Island | SD6 (Dem)|
Two years ago, reproductie rights advocate Tiara Mack ousted a 30-year anti-abortion Democrat. Now she faces a primary challenger of her own in Providence.
|Rhode Island | SD29 (Dem)|
The state’s conservative-leaning Democratic Party establishment is trying to block progressive Jennifer Rourke, a Black woman who was attacked by a Republican opponent at pro-abortion rally in June, form joining the state Senate. They’ve rallied behind a candidate who has worn blackface and supported right-leaning causes.
|Rhode Island | SD30 (Dem)|
Jeanine Calkin, an incumbent who is closely aligned with the state’s progressive forces and is critical of the party establishment, faces a challenge from her right in Mark McKenney, a former senator.
|Massachusetts | Berkshire County DA (Dem)|
Timothy Shugrue is criticizing incumbent Andrea Harrington for not prosecuting “minor drug cases” and taking criminal justice reform too far, WBUR reports.
|Massachusetts | Bristol County sheriff (Dem)|
Democrats are choosing their nominee against Republican Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, a staunch conservative who is overseeing a jail with major issues.
|Massachusetts | Essex County DA (Dem)|
Although both candidates in this race are eschewing the progressive label, the Gloucester Daily Times reports on one fault line: Paul Tucker backs proposals to expand so-called dangerousness hearings, which decide whether to detain someone pre-trial, while James O’Shea is criticizing prosecutors for abusing those hearings and using them in racially unequal ways.
|Massachusetts | Essex County sheriff (Dem)|
Virginia Leigh, a social worker who is challenging incumbent sheriff Kevin Coppinger, is highlighting her credentials as an outsider to law enforcement to say she would manage the jail differently; issues regarding phone call fees and mental health issues are at the forefront. Bolts previews.
|Massachusetts | Hampshire County sheriff (Dem)|
Hampshire features another sheriff’s race, like the one in Essex, where candidates are challenging the conventional picture of who runs for sheriff and making the case that many issues that are funneled into the jail are really public health issues. In this case, it’s against incumbent Patrick Cahilihane. Bolts previews.
|Massachusetts | Suffolk County DA (Dem)|
Rachael Rollins, Boston’s reform prosecutor, was appointed to the U.S. attorney’s office, prompting progressives to worry about the rollback of her reforms by new DA Kevin Hayden, a Democrat appointed by the state’s GOP governor, as Bolts reported in March. Boston councilmember Ricardo Arroyo took on the reform torch and piled up progressive endorsements, but The Boston Globe reported in August about allegations of sexual assault against Arroyo; the reporting has led Arroyo’s prominent backers, including the state’s two U.S. senators and Boston’s mayor, to withdraw their endorsements.
|Massachusetts | Suffolk County sheriff (Dem)|
Deaths in the Boston jail have become a focal point in the primary between incumbent Steve Tompkins and challenger Sandy Zamor Calixte, GBH News reports.
|Masssachusetts | Secretary of state (Dem)|
Secretary of State Bill Galvin is seeking a record eighth term and is challenged by local NAACP leader Tanisha Sullivan who faults him for insufficiently championing ballot access. Bolts previews.
Other local offices
|Rhode Island | Providence mayor||With the incumbent retiring, the Sept. 13 Democratic primary will decide the next mayor of Providence. A prominent progressive group working with candidate Gonzalo Cuervo to inject a rent control plan into the campaign, The Providence Journal reports, while Providence Online finds that Brett Smiley is the most sympathetic toward policing and Nirva LaFortune has stressed education as she lands the local teacher’s unions nod.|