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Idaho recall effort qualifies for August ballot

Recall efforts to remove Tim Winkle, Alicia McConkie, and Marianne Blackwell from their positions on the Middleton School District board of trustees in Idaho have been certified for the August 27 ballot.
The recall effort against Winkle and McConkie began after they voted to accept the superintendent’s personnel recommendations at a board meeting on May 6, 2019. Recall supporters objected to the superintendent’s recommendation since it did not renew the contract of Middleton High School’s principal, Ben Merrill. Board member Kirk Adams was also targeted for recall at that time, but his petition was rejected by the county since he had not served in office long enough to be recalled.
The recall petition against Blackwell alleged that she “set an unprofessional and unacceptable precedent for school board trustees” and violated the board’s code of ethics.
Winkle said that because the decision to not renew Merrill’s contract was a personnel matter, the board was limited in what they could share with the public. McConkie said she has served the best she could for the last two years and felt she was being targeted for recall over a single decision. Blackwell had not responded to the recall effort against her as of June 19.
In order for the board members to be removed from office in the recall election, a majority of voters must cast ballots in favor of the recall. The number of voters who cast ballots in favor of the recall must also be higher than the total number of people who voted for the officeholders when they were last up for election.
In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.

Bullock is 21st Democrat to qualify for second 20-person set of debates

Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s campaign announced on June 18 that he had met the polling threshold to participate in the second set of Democratic presidential primary debates. The two CNN-hosted debates will take place July 30 and 31 in Detroit, Michigan.
Bullock is the 21st candidate to meet at least one of the two criteria to qualify, but no more than 20 candidates—10 per night—can participate. His qualification will trigger tie-breakers to the final candidate list.
The first set of rules to qualify are:
  • Receive 1% support or more in three national or early state polls—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada—publicly released between January 1, 2019, and 14 days prior to the date of the debate.
  • Receive donations from at least 65,000 unique donors and a minimum of 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 states.
The tiebreaker will be decided according to the rules below, in order of preference:
  • Candidates who have reached both the polling and grassroots thresholds;
  • Candidates with the highest polling averages; and
  • Candidates with the highest number of contributions.
Four noteworthy Democratic candidates have met neither the polling nor fundraising criteria for the July 30 and 31 debates: Michael Bennet, Mike Gravel, Seth Moulton, and Wayne Messam.
Bullock is one of four noteworthy Democratic primary candidates who did not qualify for the first set of debates taking place June 26 and 27 in Miami, Florida. The others are Gravel, Moulton, and Messam.

Trump announces 2020 bid, says he will Keep America Great

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

June 19, 2019: President Donald Trump kicked off his re-election campaign last night, featuring the slogan Keep America GreatThe New York Times released a series of interviews where it asked 21 Democratic candidates the same 18 questions.

Notable Quotes of the Day

“It is clear that the inherently dubious nature of [the debates] has been exacerbated by the party’s new rules. A real debate would provide a substantive back and forth between candidates on major issues; but despite the considerable build-up, that’s not what these nationally televised sessions deliver.”

—Elizabeth Drew, Daily Beast

“The field will winnow. And I don’t think that it’s worth it for the DNC to be involved in the winnowing. I don’t find it concerning or alarming to have 20 people running for president. I think it’s great.”

—U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Politico


  • The New York Times released a video interview series with 21 of the Democratic candidates, where it asked each candidate the same 18 questions. The three candidates to not participate were Joe Biden, Mike Gravel, and Wayne Messam.
  • Joe Biden visited Stonewall Inn in New York City to celebrate Pride Month.
  • Bill de Blasio expressed support for New York’s new law allowing immigrants residing in the country without legal permission to obtain driver’s licenses.
  • Cory Booker will testify before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties at a hearing on paying reparations to descendants of slaves.
  • Steve Bullock met the polling threshold to qualify for the second Democratic debate in July.
  • Jay Inslee announced the hiring of a number of campaign staff, including press secretary Katie Rodihan and operations director Molly Keenan.
  • Seth Moulton participated in a virtual town hall for Business Insider. Moulton discussed his National Service Guarantee plan and the Green New Deal.
  • Beto O’Rourke released his voting policy plan, which called for a new Voting Rights Act that allows for same-day and automatic voter registration and limits gerrymandering.
  • Bernie Sanders discussed the Trump administration’s Iran policy on MSNBC.
  • Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate that would implement her universal child care plan.
  • Marianne Williamson spoke at the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire, where she said that the U.S. should re-enter the Paris climate accords and the Iran nuclear deal.
  • Andrew Yang appeared on MSNBC’s Meet the Press Daily, where he discussed his campaign and told viewers he would not be running in 2020 if Trump had not won in 2016.


  • Donald Trump announced his re-election bid in Orlando, Florida. His 2020 campaign slogan will be Keep America Great.
  • The Independent Journal Review published an interview with Bill Weld.

General Election Updates

  • The Bridge Project released an ad in opposition to Trump that highlights audio from last year related to family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border. The ad played on the radio in Orlando prior to Trump’s re-election announcement. According to the group’s website, The Bridge Project “is dedicated to opposing the conservative movement’s extreme ideology and exposing its dishonest tactics.”

What We’re Reading

Flashback: June 19, 2015

Time released an article highlighting Hillary Clinton’s plan to live stream house parties across the country in order to build grassroots support.


U.S. Senators Lee and Hawley propose increasing presidential control of agency officials

U.S. Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced a bill that would give presidents more control over the administrative state. The Take Care Act, introduced on June 5, 2019, would repeal limitations on the president’s authority to remove Senate-confirmed officials in the executive branch and at independent agencies. The bill aims to make agencies more accountable by allowing new presidents to control agency leadership.
After the U.S. Supreme Court decided Humphrey’s Executor in 1935, several laws kept the president from being able to remove agency officials at-will. Under the Take Care Act, Congress would have to pass new laws to restrict presidential removal power in the future. If passed, the Take Care Act would go into effect on January 20, 2021, after the next presidential election.

Trump expected to announce re-election campaign tonight

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

June 18, 2019: President Donald Trump is expected to announce his re-election campaign in Orlando tonight. Joe Biden told supporters he would win five southern states in the general election.

 How many incumbent vice presidents have won a presidential election?

Notable Quote of the Day

“Even as much of the Democratic Party moves to his left, Obama remains extremely well-liked among liberal voters. Progressive activists and operatives eager to knock down Biden from his frontrunner perch admit it could be a serious problem that eight years of Biden’s political career is effectively off-limits. And for Biden, who is explicitly running as Obama’s heir, it’s been a godsend.”

—Holly Otterbein, Politico


  • Ten candidates spoke at the Poor People’s Campaign Presidential Forum in Washington, D.C.:Michael BennetJoe BidenJulián CastroKamala HarrisWayne MessamBernie SandersEric SwalwellElizabeth WarrenMarianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang.

  • Biden predicted in Washington, D.C., that if he were the Democratic nominee, he would win Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and that he believed he could win in Texas and Florida.

  • Steve Bullock will campaign in New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday, with six stops across the state.

  • Pete Buttigieg canceled several fundraising events across California this week. He announced that he was staying in South Bend, Indiana, following an officer-involved shooting on Sunday night.

  • Castro called for a federal guarantee of housing for the poor and said that housing was a human right. “Especially in the wealthiest nation on Earth, I don’t think there’s anybody who should go without a safe, decent place to live,” he said.

  • U.S. Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) endorsed Harris. In his endorsement, Costa highlighted Harris’ plan for Dreamers as a reason he was supporting her campaign.

  • Amy Klobuchar released a list of actions she would take in her first 100 days if elected president. The list included addressing voting registration, prescription drugs, and antitrust enforcement.

  • Seth Moulton attended a town hall in Merrimack, New Hampshire, where he discussed Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in the state.

  • Beto O’Rourke campaigned in South Carolina on Monday, including stops in Spartanburg and Greenville. He discussed equality and the environment.

  • Swalwell released his firearms policy that included an assault rifle ban and buyback program and additional requirements for gun ownership.

  • Yang appeared on WMUR’s The Trail podcast, where he discussed his stance on impeachment.


  • Donald Trump is expected to announce his re-election bid tonight at a rally in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday night. 

Flashback: June 18, 2015

On Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough considered the appeal of Donald Trump as a candidate and his potential impact on the presidential race.


Federal Register weekly update; lowest weekly proposed rule total since April

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity.
During the week of June 10 to June 14, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,168 pages, bringing the year-to-date total to 27,906 pages. This week’s Federal Register featured a total of 533 documents, including 447 notices, seven presidential documents, 36 proposed rules, and 43 final rules.
One proposed rule was deemed significant under E.O. 12866—meaning that it may have a large impact on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules.
During the same week in 2018, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,318 pages for a year-to-date total of 28,150 pages. As of June 14, the 2019 total trailed the 2018 total by 244 pages.
The Trump administration has added an average of 1,163 pages to the Federal Register each week in 2019 as of June 14. Over the course of 2018, the Trump administration added an average of 1,301 pages to the Federal Register each week. During the Obama administration, the Federal Register increased by an average of 1,658 pages per week.
According to government data, the Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.
Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.
Additional reading:
Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2016:,_1936-2016

De Blasio, Klobuchar call for impeachment

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

June 17, 2019: Bill de Blasio and Amy Klobuchar called for President Trump’s impeachment. Weld predicted he will beat Trump in Utah on Super Tuesday.

There are 12 new candidates running since last week, including six Democrats and two Republicans. In total, 745 individuals are currently filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Day

“Most candidates, if not all, had hoped to draw a lectern alongside Biden or Sanders, eager to draft off the early front-runners’ stature — and to emphasize their own contrasts with them. Harris and Buttigieg will get them both.”

—David Siders and Christopher Cadelago, Politico


  • Yahoo! Finance profiled Michael Bennet, highlighting his health care policy.
  • Bill de Blasio and Amy Klobuchar called for Donald Trump’s impeachment, both citing Trump’s ABC interview response to a question about accepting campaign information from foreign governments.
  • Cory Booker joined protesting fast-food workers in Charleston, South Carolina, Saturday. Booker called the strike for a $15/hour wage “an American fight.”
  • New York Magazine released an interview with Steve Bullock where they discussed his exclusion from the first round of Democratic debates.
  • Pete Buttigieg appeared on Meet the Press Sunday, where he discussed U.S-Iranian relations, Joe Biden’s age, and foreign interference in elections.
  • Kamala Harris campaigned in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, where she discussed the criminal justice system.
  • John Hickenlooper appeared on CNN’s Smerconish Saturday, where he discussed his presidential campaign and how being a governor has prepared him to be president.
  • Wayne Messam said he would continue campaigning despite missing the cut for the first round of Democratic debates while campaigning in Las Vegas.
  • Beto O’Rourke campaigned in Charleston, South Carolina, where he spoke with a group of African-American community leaders.
  • Tim Ryan discussed Trump’s policy on Iran and his appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor on MSNBC.
  • Bernie Sanders appeared on Fox News Sunday, where he told host Chris Wallace that to see real change the United States would “need a political revolution.”
  • Eric Swalwell spoke at a rally in San Francisco on Friday night, where he discussed guns, student debt, and impeachment.
  • The Ezra Klein Show interviewed Elizabeth Warren, where she discussed income inequality and corruption.


  • Donald Trump called into Fox and Friends on Friday to celebrate his 73rd birthday and spoke with the hosts for 50 minutes.
  • Bill Weld predicted he would beat Trump in Utah’s Super Tuesday primary next year during an appearance on CNN Saturday. 

What We’re Reading

Flashback: June 17, 2015

The Washington Post published an article detailing the relationship between Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi.


Kansas City voters reject citizen initiative to limit revenue used for economic development incentive programs

On June 18, voters in Kansas City defeated Question 1, a citizen initiative that would have limited the property tax abatement or redirection that could be used toward economic development projects in the city to 50% of the revenue that would have otherwise been generated.
According to election night results with 97% of precincts reporting, the measure was defeated 66% to 34%.
In 2017, the city implemented a 75% incentive cap on ad valorem tax incentives for economic development. Question 1 was a citizen initiative designed to enact a more restrictive cap of 50%.
This measure was put on the ballot through a successful initiative petition campaign led by the Coalition for Kansas City Economic Development Reform, also known as the KC TIF Watch. The signature requirement to place an initiative on the ballot in Kansas City is equal to 5% of the total votes cast for mayoral candidates at the last preceding regular municipal election. KC TIF Watch needed to collect 1,708 valid signatures. On November 29, 2018, the city clerk verified that proponents had submitted 2,321 valid signatures.

A closer look at Trump’s twice-nominated judge: Peter Phipps

President Donald Trump (R) has announced 190 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on January 20, 2017. Two of those individuals, Peter Phipps and A. Marvin Quattlebaum Jr., were nominated twice to different courts.
On February 15, 2018, Trump first nominated Phipps to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The U.S. Senate confirmed Phipps to the District Court on October 11, 2018, by voice vote. On May 13, 2019, the president then nominated Phipps to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.
Phipps was nominated to the Western District of Pennsylvania on recommendation from Pennsylvania Senators Pat Toomey (R) and Bob Casey Jr. (D). Toomey also supported Phipps’ 3rd Circuit nomination, saying, “Judge Phipps will make an outstanding addition to the Third Circuit. He has the experience, intellect and integrity to be a superb circuit court judge.” Casey, however, expressed opposition to the second nomination and questioned whether “six months on that bench is sufficient experience or preparation” for a Circuit Court elevation. Casey also said, “Circuit court judges are often asked to decide questions of law that can have an enormous impact on Americans’ lives, and I have significant concerns about Judge Phipps’ judicial and constitutional philosophy.”
The United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit is one of 13 U.S. courts of appeal. They are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal court system. The court has 14 authorized judgeships and one current vacancy. Republican presidents appointed seven of the current judges. Democratic presidents appointed the remaining six judges. The 3rd Circuit has appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Phipps was born in Abilene, Texas, in 1973. He received a B.S. in physics and a B.A. in history from the University of Dayton in 1995. He obtained a J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1998. During his legal studies, Phipps served as a managing editor of the Stanford Law Review from 1997 to 1998. He worked in private practice from 1998 to 2001 and then became a law clerk to Judge Guy Cole of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals from 2001 to 2002. From 2003 to 2018, Phipps was an attorney with the Federal Programs Branch of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division.
The president has also nominated A. Marvin Quattlebaum Jr. twice. Quattlebaum Jr. was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina in 2017 and confirmed in March 2018. In May 2018, the president nominated Quattlebaum to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. The U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination on August 16, 2018.

No party control flips in Florida state legislative special elections

Two seats in the Florida House of Representatives, District 7 and District 38, were up for special general election on Tuesday. The primary was held on April 9, and the filing deadline was on February 14. A third seat, District 97, was originally scheduled to be on the ballot as well, but the election was canceled after only one candidate filed to run. All three seats were won by members of the same political party as their predecessors.
  • Jason Shoaf (R) defeated Ryan Terrell (D) with 71.3% of the unofficial election night vote for the District 7 seat. Shoaf had previously defeated three other Republican candidates in the primary. Terrell ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. The seat was vacated by Halsey Beshears (R), who resigned in January 2019 to become the Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
  • Randy Maggard (R) defeated Kelly Smith (D) with 55.6% of the unofficial election night vote for the District 38 seat. Maggard had previously defeated one other candidate, David McCallister, for the Republican nomination in the primary. Smith ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. The seat was vacated by Daniel Burgess (R), who resigned in January 2019 to become the Executive Director of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
  • Dan Daley (D) ran unopposed for the District 97 seat and won it automatically. The seat was vacated by Jared Moskowitz (D), who resigned in January 2019 to become the Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
As of June, 60 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 23 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
Entering the special election, the Florida House of Representatives had 46 Democrats, 71 Republicans, and three vacancies. Florida has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.
Additional reading: