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Checks and Balances: Tennessee lawmakers end judicial deference

Checks and Balances

The Checks and Balances Letter delivers news and information from Ballotpedia’s Administrative State Project, including pivotal actions at the federal and state levels related to the separation of powers, due process, and the rule of law.

This edition: 

In this month’s edition of Checks and Balances, we review the United States Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) reinstatement of a Trump-era water rule; the latest on challenges to the Biden administration’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine requirement for federal employees; a challenge to free-speech limitations in agency settlement agreements; and the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) appeal of a nationwide injunction blocking the Biden administration’s public transport mask requirement. 

At the state level, we take a look at a new Tennessee law prohibiting judicial deference practices in the state as well as a case pending before the Ohio Supreme Court that could determine the future of judicial deference in Ohio.

We also highlight the Biden administration’s recent departure from the Trump administration’s position on agency sue and settle practices. As always, we wrap up with our Regulatory Tally, which features information about the 176 proposed rules and 241 final rules added to the Federal Register in April and OIRA’s regulatory review activity.

In Washington

SCOTUS reinstates Trump-era Clean Water Act regulation

What’s the story?

The U.S. Supreme Court on April 6, 2022, voted 5-4 to halt a lower court injunction that had blocked a Trump-era rule regarding certification procedures for certain projects under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The dissenting justices argued that the court’s decision—part of its shadow docket—failed to explain the need to reinstate the rule and grant emergency relief in the case. 

The 2020 rule aimed to update the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 1971 regulations governing state and tribal water quality certifications to align with the 1972 CWA amendments. The rule limited the scope of project certification under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) to consideration of the proposed project’s effect on water quality requirements, among other provisions. Prior to the rule, some state and tribal entities had considered other environmental factors as part of their certification decisions.

 A coalition of states, tribes, and advocacy groups challenged the rule in three district courts, arguing in part that the rule unlawfully violated established case law regarding the interpretation of the CWA. After the Biden administration took office in 2021, the EPA requested that the district courts remand the cases without vacating the rule while the agency determined whether to repeal or revise the regulation. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California nonetheless remanded and vacated the rule in part “because the agency has demonstrated that it will not or could not adopt the same rule upon remand.” 

A separate coalition of states and industry groups appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and asked the United States Supreme Court to issue a stay blocking the vacatur pending the Ninth Circuit’s decision. “Can a single district court vacate a rule that an agency adopted through notice-and-comment rulemaking without first finding that the rule is unlawful? The answer is plainly ‘no,’” they argued.

The majority Supreme Court justices did not provide an explanation for their decision to issue a stay. A dissent by Justice Elena Kagan, joined by the minority justices, argued, “The applicants here have not met our standard because they have failed to substantiate their assertions of irreparable harm. The Court therefore has no warrant to grant emergency relief.”

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Courts direct challenges to federal employee vaccine mandate through civil service procedures

What’s the story? 

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on April 19, 2022, unanimously held in Rydie v. Biden that federal government employees cannot challenge President Joe Biden’s (D) coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine requirement for federal workers in an Article III court without first bringing their challenge before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

Biden issued the vaccine mandate via Executive Order 14043 on September 9, 2021. The plaintiffs in the case argued that Biden lacked the authority to issue the requirement. The Fourth Circuit judges held that the plaintiffs must first direct their challenge through the grievance process outlined in the Civil Service Reform Act, which culminates in a decision by the MSPB. Final decisions by the MSPB can then be challenged in an Article III court. 

A three-judge panel of the United States Supreme Court for the Fifth Circuit on April 7 arrived at a similar decision, voting 2-1 to overturn a nationwide injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown that had blocked enforcement of the mandate.

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SCOTUS could hear challenge to free-speech limitations in SEC settlements

What’s the story?

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide whether to take up a case questioning the constitutionality of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) settlement agreements that require defendants to sign away their First Amendment rights.

Since 1972, the SEC has entered into settlement agreements allowing defendants to publicly disavow the agency’s complaint against them while, at the same time, preventing them from making “any public statement denying, directly or indirectly, any allegation in the complaint or creating the impression that the complaint is without factual basis,” according to the petition before the court in Romeril v. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The case concerns Barry D. Romeril, a former Xerox executive who entered into a settlement with the agency in 2003 and sued in 2019 to reinstate his right to speak about the case. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit unanimously ruled in favor of the SEC, holding that Romeril had given up his First Amendment right to free speech when he agreed to settle with the agency rather than litigate the case in an Article III court. Romeril appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing in part, “No act of Congress authorizes such a sweeping restriction on freedom of speech.” 

A decision by the Supreme Court in the case would provide clarity to lower courts, which have reached different conclusions on the issue. In 2019, a divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit rejected a similar settlement between a private citizen and the City of Baltimore, holding “that enforcement of the non-disparagement clause at issue here was contrary to the citizenry’s First Amendment interest in limiting the government’s ability to target and remove speech critical of the government from the public discourse.”

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Appeal of mask mandate ruling could clarify scope of CDC authority

What’s the story?

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on April 20, 2022, appealed a decision by Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida that blocked enforcement of the Biden administration’s public transport mask mandate. A decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit could clarify the scope of the CDC’s authority to issue the mask mandate and take similar action in the future.

Judge Mizelle on April 18 issued a nationwide injunction that blocked enforcement of the mask mandate, arguing that the requirement for individuals to wear masks in public transportation hubs and conveyances (such as airports and airplanes) exceeded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) statutory authority and violated the rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

Mizelle wrote in the opinion, “The Mandate’s explanation—a single conclusory sentence—does not carry its burden to ‘show strong enough reason to invoke the good cause exception’” to notice-and-comment rulemaking. Mizelle added that the relevant section of the Public Health Services Act “has no ‘unmistakably clear language’ indicating that Congress intended for the CDC to invade the traditionally State-operated arena of population-wide, preventative public-health regulations.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki disagreed with Mizelle’s position, telling reporters that public health “decisions shouldn’t be made by the courts—they should be made by public health experts.”

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In the states

Tennessee lawmakers end judicial deference practices

What’s the story? 

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) on April 14, 2022, signed a bill aimed at ending judicial deference practices in the state. Tennessee joins at least eleven other states that have either limited or prohibited judicial deference to state agency interpretations of laws and regulations since 2008.

Senate Bill 2285 requires courts to interpret state statutes or rules de novo, as opposed to deferring to state agency interpretations of laws or regulations. The law also states, “After applying all customary tools of interpretation, the court shall resolve any remaining ambiguity against increased agency authority.” This resembles the rule of lenity in criminal law, which resolves ambiguities in favor of the defendant.  

Ballotpedia has identified eleven other states since 2008 in which voters, courts, or lawmakers have taken action to limit or prohibit judicial deference practices: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

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Ohio Supreme Court considers future of judicial deference

What’s the story? 

A case before the Ohio Supreme Court could determine the future of judicial deference in the state.

In TWISM Enterprises LLC v. State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors, the Hamilton County Court of Appeals deferred to the Ohio Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors’ interpretation of its engineering certification rules, which denied TWISM Enterprises’ application to provide professional engineering services because the company’s designated licensed engineer was an independent contractor rather than an employee. TWISM Enterprises appealed the decision to the Ohio Supreme Court, arguing that the agency’s interpretation of the governing statute was flawed because the law does not specify that the licensed engineer must be an employee of the business.

The Ohio Supreme Court had yet to set a date for argument in the case as of May 13, 2022.

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The return of sue and settle practices at the EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan issued a memorandum in March revoking former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s 2017 directive that ended sue and settle practices at the agency. Pruitt had argued that sue and settle (when a federal agency is sued by an interested party, declines to defend itself in court, and negotiates a settlement with the plaintiff in a non-adversarial process) amounted to regulation by litigation behind closed doors. 

Regan departed from Pruitt’s position in the memorandum, arguing in part that sue and settle practices serve to preserve agency resources by avoiding expensive litigation:

“In enacting environmental laws, Congress included tools to ensure that the EPA carries out its vital mission to protect human health and the environment for all. In environmental statutes, and in tandem with the Administrative Procedure Act, Congress commonly has adopted provisions authorizing judicial action against the EPA, such as citizen suits to enforce deadlines and judicial review processes related to final agency action. At the same time, parties, including federal agencies. frequently enter into settlements to avoid expensive and resource-intensive litigation, where appropriate. Settlements can preserve resources of the parties and the courts; in many instances they can be the most practical, economical and efficient path forward while also serving the public interest. Appropriate settlement of environmental claims against the EPA preserves agency resources to focus on the vital work the agency carries out under the environmental statutes. …

[Pruitt’s] directive gave little weight to the well-understood value of settlements in appropriate cases.”

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____________________________________________________________________________

Regulatory tally

Federal Register

Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)

OIRA’s April regulatory review activity included the following actions:

  • Review of 38 significant regulatory actions. 
  • No rules approved without changes; recommended changes to 36 proposed rules; two rules withdrawn from the review process.
  • As of May 2, 2022, OIRA’s website listed 110 regulatory actions under review.
  • Want to go deeper? 


It’s primary day in five states

Welcome to the Tuesday, May 17, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Five states holding primary elections today
  2. One last look at Pennsylvania’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate
  3. Fewer candidates are running for U.S. House in North Dakota than at any point since 2016

Five states holding primary elections today

Today is the fourth statewide primary election day of the 2022 cycle. Voters in five states—Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania—are selecting their general election nominees. Here’s a quick look at what’s on the ballot:

U.S. Senate

All five states are holding primaries for the U.S. Senate. Incumbents are running for re-election and facing contested primaries in Idaho, Kentucky, and Oregon. In North Carolina and Pennsylvania, incumbent Sens. Richard Burr (R) and Pat Toomey (R) are retiring, leading to large, competitive primary contests in both major parties.

U.S. House

This is the first post-redistricting House election in these five states. Oregon and North Carolina gained one congressional district leaving them with six and 14, respectively. Pennsylvania lost one district, dropping to 17. Idaho and Kentucky remained the same with two and six districts, respectively.

State executive offices

Idaho and Pennsylvania are holding primaries for state executive offices, including the governorship.

In Idaho, incumbent Gov. Brad Little (R) faces a primary field that includes Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin (R) and six others. This is the first time since 1938 that an incumbent lieutenant governor has challenged an incumbent governor in an Idaho gubernatorial primary.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is term-limited. Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination, and eight candidates are seeking the Republican nod. Pennsylvania has had a divided government since Wolf was first elected in 2014. Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature.

State supreme court

Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Oregon are holding primaries for their state supreme courts, though only voters in North Carolina will have a contested primary to decide.

The two incumbents up for election in Idaho and one incumbent in Oregon were the only candidates to file for their respective races. In Kentucky, no more than two candidates filed for any of the four districts up for election, so those primaries were canceled.

In North Carolina, two Democratic seats are up for election. There is one Republican primary for Seat 5, the winner of which will face Justice Sam Ervin IV (D) in the general election. No primaries are needed for Seat 3, where Justice Robin Hudson (D) is not seeking re-election. Democrats currently hold a 4-3 majority on the court.

State legislature

All five states are holding state legislative primaries. Democrats currently control both chambers in Oregon and Republicans in Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

The total number of contested primaries is up from 231 in 2020 to 323 this year, a 40% increase. The number of contested Democratic primaries decreased or stayed the same in Idaho, North Carolina, and Idaho, and increased in Kentucky and Pennsylvania. The number of Republican primaries increased in all five states.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for some unofficial results! And subscribe to our Heart of the Primaries newsletter for even deeper dives into party primaries throughout the cycle.

Keep reading

One last look at Pennsylvania’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate

As we mentioned above, one primary we are following closely today is the Republican race for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. Sen. Pat Toomey (R) is not running for re-election.

Seven candidates are running in the Republican primary. The candidates performing best in recent polls and receiving the most media attention are Kathy Barnette, David McCormick, and Mehmet Oz.

Barnette has had the largest increase in support in the polls heading into the primary. Barnette averaged 11% support in 10 polls conducted before May. Barnette’s support has averaged 23% in the four polls released this month. McCormick and Oz also saw increases in their respective polling averages in May.

A candidate can win the primary with a plurality, rather than a majority, of the vote.

On April 9, former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Oz. On May 12, following her rise in the polls, Trump issued a separate statement opposing Barnette, saying she “will never be able to win the General Election against the Radical Left Democrats.” In response, Barnette said, “[the people] don’t want to be spoon-fed two globalists … they want a real conservative.”

After serving in the U.S. Army Reserves, Barnette worked as a political commentator and in corporate finance. Barnette calls herself an America First candidate, a term often associated with Trump’s platform and candidates who say they support Trump’s agenda.

McCormick was the CEO of Bridgewater Associates, an investment management firm, from 2017 to 2022. McCormick also served as an undersecretary in commerce and treasury during the George W. Bush (R) administration. McCormick’s campaign has focused on economic issues and the U.S.-China relationship.

Oz is an author and former surgeon who hosted The Dr. Oz Show from 2009 to 2022. Oz says he is a political outsider. Oz’s campaign materials compare him to former Presidents Ronald Reagan (R) and Trump, saying they started in Hollywood before going to Washington to fight the establishment.

Jeff Bartos, George Bochetto, Sean Gale, and Carla Sands are also running in the primary.

Three independent race forecasters view the general election contest as either Toss-up or Tilt Republican. President Joe Biden (D) won Pennsylvania by 1.2 percentage points in the 2020 presidential election. Trump won the state by 0.7 percentage points in 2016.

Keep reading 

Fewer candidates are running for U.S. House in North Dakota than at any point since 2016

In the race for the U.S. House, North Dakotans won’t make any decisions during their June 14 primaries. That’s because only two candidates filed for the office—incumbent Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R) and Mark Haugen (D)—the first time only two candidates filed to run for the office since 2016.

Since only one Democrat and one Republican filed, there are no contested elections for the U.S. House in North Dakota for the third time since 2014. These races will still appear on primary ballots, but with only one candidate listed, depending on voters’ parties.

The most candidates to file for the House race was five back in 2018—four Republicans and one Democrat: four Republicans and one Democrat. Former Rep. Kevin Cramer (R) did not seek re-election that year, leaving the office open.

Unlike most states, North Dakota has an at-large congressional district, meaning the state has one U.S. representative.

While Armstrong and Haugen have a clear path to the general election ballot, more candidates may enter the race. The filing deadline for independent candidates is Sept. 6.

Keep reading



Indiana Secretary of State raises $497,226 this election cycle

According to the most recent campaign finance reports filed with the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, Indiana Secretary of State Holli Sullivan has raised $497,226 and spent $210,517 between Jan. 1, 2021 and Apr. 8, 2022. Sullivan is currently ranked sixth in state-level donations in the 2022 election cycle.

Sullivan is a member of the Republican Party and assumed office in 2021. In Indiana, the secretary of state is an elected position, but Sullivan was appointed to the office when her predecessor left before the end of the term. Duties vary by state but are generally administrative in nature and may include recordkeeping, certification of state documents, and serving as chief election official. Sullivan is running for reelection in 2022.

Sullivan’s reported campaign finance activity, by quarter (2017-2022)

Source: Transparency USA

Contributions to Sullivan

Of the $497,226 already reported in the 2022 election cycle, 19.61 percent came from the top 10 donors.

Top Donors to Sullivan (1/1/2021 – 4/8/2022)

RankTotal AmountDonor NameDonor Type
1.$10,000.00Ambassador Enterprises LLCENTITY
2.$10,000.00Amy E TownsendINDIVIDUAL
3.$10,000.00Elaine E Kops BedelINDIVIDUAL
4.$10,000.00Eric HolcombENTITY
5.$10,000.00Evansville Endoscopy Surgery Center LLCENTITY
6.$10,000.00Gary TownsendINDIVIDUAL
7.$10,000.00Keith Byers LLCENTITY
8.$10,000.00Phillip ChambersINDIVIDUAL
9.$10,000.00Richard RohrmanINDIVIDUAL
10.$7,500.00Charlotte and Forrest D LucasINDIVIDUAL

Expenditures by Sullivan

On the expenditures side, Sullivan reported $210,517, with 85.34 percent of all spending going to the 10 payees topping this list. 

Top Expenditures by Sullivan (1/1/2021 – 4/8/2022)

RankTotal AmountPayee NamePayee Type
1.$56,397.84Daniels Spaulding Consulting LLCENTITY
2.$40,189.47Whitney PetersonENTITY
3.$38,486.22Hathaway Strategies LLCENTITY
4.$15,613.28Three Point Advisors LLCENTITY
5.$9,902.19Indiana Republican State Committee, IncENTITY
6.$4,658.38Bh Creative LLCENTITY
7.$4,612.40Anedot IncENTITY
8.$3,776.56French Lick Resort and CasinoENTITY
9.$3,500.00Jordan CaldwellENTITY
10.$2,519.32SignaramaENTITY

How donations to Sullivan compare to the same office in other states

Contributions vary widely among officeholders in the same role. A number of factors, including whether the position is appointed or elected, can influence donor activity. Here is how Sullivan compares to the 10 other state and commonwealth secretaries with campaign finance data available from Transparency USA in 2022:

Across the U.S., 27 secretaries of state are members of the Republican Party and 20 are members of the Democratic Party. Voters elect the secretary of state in 35 states, while they are appointed by either the governor or state legislature in the other 12. Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah do not have secretaries of state. In 2022, 27 states are holding elections for the position.

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active Indiana PACs submitted to the Indiana Secretary of State. Transparency USA publishes campaign finance data following major reporting deadlines. State or federal law may require filers to submit additional reports.

Report NameReport Due Date
2022 Jan Semiannual1/19/2022
2022 Statewide Quarterly/Semiannual7/15/2022
2022 Pre-Election10/17/2022
2022 Statewide Quarterly11/1/2022
2022 Annual Report1/18/2023

This article is a joint publication from Ballotpedia and Transparency USA, who are working together to provide campaign finance information for state-level elections. Learn more about our work here.



Arizona Secretary of State raises $3.69 million this election cycle

According to the most recent campaign finance reports filed with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has raised $3.69 million and spent $2.19 million between Jan. 1, 2021 and Mar. 31, 2022. Hobbs is currently ranked third in state-level donations in the 2022 election cycle.

Hobbs is a member of the Democratic Party and assumed office in 2019. In Arizona, the secretary of State is an elected position. Duties vary by state but are generally administrative in nature and may include recordkeeping, certification of state documents, and serving as chief election official. Hobbs’ current term ends in 2023. She is running for Governor of Arizona in 2022.

Hobbs’ reported campaign finance activity, by quarter (2017-2022)

Source: Transparency USA

Contributions to Hobbs

Of the $3,694,059 already reported in the 2022 election cycle, 2.36 percent came from the top 10 donors.

Top Donors to Hobbs (1/1/2021 – 3/31/2021)

RankTotal AmountDonor Name Donor Type
1.$15,200.00Daryl KlingINDIVIDUAL
2.$15,000.00Lewis GuthrieINDIVIDUAL
3.$10,600.00United Food & Commercial Workers Union of AZ Local 99ENTITY
4.$10,500.00Donalyn MiklesINDIVIDUAL
5.$6,700.00Penelope M PestleINDIVIDUAL
6.$6,300.00Marleigh FletcherINDIVIDUAL
7.$6,189.57Internal Revenue ServiceENTITY
8.$5,700.00Richard B UsherINDIVIDUAL
9.$5,500.00Timothy ErnstINDIVIDUAL
10.$5,397.75Elizabeth CookINDIVIDUAL

Expenditures by Hobbs

On the expenditures side, Hobbs reported $2,192,498, with 6.20 percent of all spending going to the 10 payees topping this list. 

Top Expenditures by Hobbs (1/1/2021 – 3/31/2021)

RankTotal AmountPayee NamePayee Type
1.$639,300.00Authentic Campaigns IncENTITY
2.$128,340.34Alaina PembertonINDIVIDUAL
3.$114,289.49Internal Revenue Service FederalENTITY
4.$90,899.34Andrew MarkoffINDIVIDUAL
5.$71,926.94Vantiv EcommerceENTITY
6.$67,000.00The Money Wheel LLCENTITY
7.$64,837.33Saguaro Strategies LLCENTITY
8.$62,617.00Al Media LLCENTITY
9.$62,389.37Jenna RiveraINDIVIDUAL
10.$57,398.86Rosevely HuertaINDIVIDUAL

How donations to Hobbs compare to the same office in other states

Contributions vary widely among officeholders in the same role. A number of factors, including whether the position is appointed or elected, can influence donor activity. Here is how Hobbs compares to the 10 other state and commonwealth secretaries with campaign finance data available from Transparency USA in 2022:

Across the U.S., 27 secretaries of state are members of the Republican Party and 20 are members of the Democratic Party. Voters elect the secretary of state in 35 states, while they are appointed by either the governor or state legislature in the other 12. Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah do not have secretaries of state. In 2022, 27 states are holding elections for the position.

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active Arizona PACs submitted to the Arizona Secretary of State. Transparency USA publishes campaign finance data following major reporting deadlines. State or federal law may require filers to submit additional reports.

Report NameReport Due Date
20211/15/2022
2022 Q14/15/2022
2022 Q27/15/2022
2022 Pre-Primary7/23/2022
2022 Post-Primary and Q310/15/2022
2022 Pre-General10/29/2022
2022 Post-General and Q41/17/2023

This article is a joint publication from Ballotpedia and Transparency USA, who are working together to provide campaign finance information for state-level elections. Learn more about our work here.



New Jersey sees the most candidates running for the U.S. House since at least 2014

The filing deadline for candidates running for Congress in New Jersey this year was April 4, 2022. Fifty-five candidates are running for New Jersey’s 12 U.S. House districts, including 20 Democrats and 35 Republicans. That’s 4.58 candidates per district, more than the 4.17 candidates per district in 2020 and the 4.08 in 2018.

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • This is the first election to take place under new district lines following the 2020 census. New Jersey was apportioned 12 districts, the same number it was apportioned after the 2010 census.
  • The 55 candidates running this year are the highest number of candidates running for New Jersey’s U.S. House seats since at least 2014, when 45 candidates filed.

  • Rep. Albio Sires (D) is retiring, making the 8th district the only open seat this year. That’s one more than in 2020, when there were no open seats, and one less than in 2018, when the 2nd and the 11th districts were open.
  • Nine candidates — seven Republicans and two Democrats, including incumbent Rep. Tom Malinowski (D) — filed to run in the 7th district, the most running for one seat this year. That’s two more than in 2020, when seven candidates ran in the 2nd district, and one less than in 2018, when 10 candidates ran in the 11th district.  
  • There are six contested Democratic primaries this year, the lowest number since 2016, and 10 contested Republican primaries, the most since at least 2014. 
  • Five incumbents — all Democrats — are not facing any primary challengers this year. That’s one more than in 2020, when four incumbents did not face any primary challengers. 
  • Candidates filed to run in the Republican and Democratic primaries in all 12 districts, so no seats are guaranteed to either party this year. 

New Jersey and six other states — California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, and South Dakota — are holding primary elections on June 7. Winners in New Jersey primary elections are determined via plurality vote, meaning that the candidate with the highest number of votes wins even if he or she did not win more than 50% of votes cast.

Additional reading:



Seven Missourian candidates complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey since May 1

Below are a selection of responses from the candaidates who filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey since May 1. To read each candidate’s full responses, click their name at the bottom of the article.

Christopher Davis is running for Missouri House of Representatives District 143 and the Republican primary is on Aug. 2. Here’s how Davis responded to the question “What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?”

“As a single father I am extremely passionate about reforming child custody laws. The most common denominator in poverty, prisons, drug abuse, high school drop out rates, and just about every other negative metric is a Fatherless household. For far to long the state has played a very large role in the absence of fathers by alienating them and in many case removing any meaningful contact whatsoever. I will work hard to pass a 50/50 Shared Custody Presumption law that will ensure that the family court systems opinion is that equal time with the Father and Mother is in the best interest of the child.”

Click here to read the rest of Davis’ answers.

Joshua Shipp is running for U.S. Senate and the Democratic primary is on Aug. 2. Here’s how Shipp responded to the question “What qualities does the U.S. Senate possess that makes it unique as an institution?”

“It helps represent the voices of the population as an equal spectrum of billing, and provides a safety net of checks and balances to ensure tyranny, oppression, or any other abuses of power isn’t established against citizens.”

Click here to read the rest of Shipp’s answers.

If you’re a Missouri candidate or incumbent, click here to take the survey. The survey contains over 30 questions, and you can choose the ones you feel will best represent your views to voters. If you complete the survey, a box with your answers will display on your Ballotpedia profile. Your responses will also populate the information that appears in our mobile app, My Vote Ballotpedia.

If you’re not running for office but you would like to know more about candidates in Missouri, share the link and urge them to take the survey!

Additional reading:



Two bills passed during Missouri’s 2022 legislative session

The Missouri General Assembly adjourned on May 13 having passed two bills during the 2022 legislative session. Both House Bill 3014 and House Bill 3015 are appropriation bills. There were a total of 11 resolutions adopted between the two chambers.

In 2021, Missouri state legislature passed a total 58 bills. That is 97% decrease in passed bills from last year’s legislative session to this year’s session. Alaska passed the fewest amount of bills last year with a total of 48 bills. 

After the Missouri legislature adjourns, there will be 20 state legislatures in session, 28 adjourned, one in special session, and one yet to convene.

The Missouri General Assembly is the state legislature of Missouri. It is a bicameral legislature composed of a 34-member Senate and a 163-member House of Representatives. Senators are term limited to two terms and representatives are limited to four. The Missouri General Assembly is a part-time legislature. Legislative sessions are held between January and May. 

Missouri is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas in the U.S. The Republican Party controls the office of governor and both chambers of the General Assembly. There is a 24-10 Republican majority in the Senate and a 108-49 majority in the House. The Republicans have a veto-proof supermajority in both chambers. In the event of a veto issued by Gov. Parson, the Republican majority is large enough to override the veto without any votes from members of the Democratic party. 

Additional reading:



Four candidates are running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Arkansas

Four candidates — Jake Bequette, Heath Loftis, Jan Morgan, and incumbent John Boozman — are running in the Republican primary on May 24, 2022, for U.S. Senate in Arkansas. Boozman, Bequette, and Morgan have led in polling and fundraising.

In Arkansas, a primary candidate must win more than 50% of the votes cast in order to win the election. If no candidate meets that threshold, a runoff will be held between the top two vote-getters on June 21.

Roby Brock, editor-in-chief of Talk Business & Politics, an Arkansas news website, said, “The key question in the U.S. Senate GOP primary is whether two-term U.S. Senator John Boozman can avoid a runoff election with a decidedly more conservative opponent. While our survey shows Boozman coming up just short of the magic 50% to avoid a costly and time-consuming contest, a chunk of probable GOP primary voters remain undecided.”

Boozman, a former optometrist, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010. Boozman has the endorsements of former President Donald Trump (R), U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and former White House Press Secretary and 2022 Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R). Boozman has highlighted Trump’s endorsement and has focused on his legislative record, saying, “[President Trump and I] rebuilt our military, stood up for our veterans, helped our farmers through challenging and unprecedented times, confirmed three conservative Justices to the Supreme Court and completely reshaped the judiciary.”

Bequette is a U.S. Army veteran and a former football player from Little Rock. Bequette cited immigration and law enforcement as top issues and has highlighted his military service and time as a player for the Arkansas Razorbacks and the New England Patriots. Bequette described himself as a political outsider, saying, “I’m no squish career politician. I’m a former all-SEC Razorback and an army veteran who left the NFL and volunteered for the 101st Airborne in Iraq.” Reps. Madison Cawthorn (R) and Burgess Owens (R) have endorsed Bequette.

Morgan is a former journalist and gubernatorial candidate who owns a firearms training facility in Hot Springs. Morgan has focused on immigration and election administration and has said she supports term limits. Morgan described herself as a conservative fighter, saying, “America needs aggressive fighters in D.C. who will get in the ring and boldly take on our enemies rather than stand on the sidelines.” Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has endorsed Morgan.

Bequette and Morgan have called Boozman a RINO (Republican in Name Only) and have criticized him for not challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election. Bequette has also criticized Boozman for not committing to a debate. Boozman’s campaign has responded by highlighting Trump’s endorsement and Boozman’s record. In one of Boozman’s campaign ads, the narrator says, “[Boozman] is a workhorse, not a show pony.” It continues, “Others have words; Boozman does the work.”

As of May 2022, groups not directly affiliated with any of the candidates had spent a total of $2,787,346 in the race, the second-largest amount of satellite spending for a primary where a GOP incumbent is running for re-election, according to data from Open Secrets. The Arkansas Patriots Fund has spent $1,471,182 in support of Bequette, the most of any group. The group received a $1M donation from businessman Richard Uihlein last year, according to data from the FEC. Several different groups have spent a combined total of $1,163,214 in support of Boozman.

As of May 2022, three independent election forecasters considered the general election as Solid Republican.



Missouri Legislature passes constitutional amendment allowing increase in funding to Kansas City police

A constitutional amendment that would allow the state Legislature to increase the minimum required funding for Kansas City’s police department passed Missouri’s state Legislature on Friday. The measure passed in Missouri’s House of Representatives before they ended the legislative session, with 103 votes supporting the measure and 44 votes opposing the measure. 

Because the amendment was already passed in the Missouri State Senate in March, the measure will appear on the ballot before voters in November.

The measure, as written, would allow the Missouri General Assembly to increase minimum required funding for a police force established by a state board of police commissioners. Kansas City is the only city that does not have local jurisdiction over its department, and therefore the only city that this measure would currently impact. 

This amendment was passed along with another bill that would increase the minimum funding requirement for Kansas City’s police department. Currently, Missouri law mandates that Kansas City devote 20% of its general revenue to the police department. That bill would increase that funding to 25%. 

On KCUR, Celisa Calacal and Brian Ellison reported that some Democratic legislators argued that the bill was unconstitutional because it violates the Hancock Amendment of Missouri’s state constitution that prohibits unfunded state mandates on local actions. However, if voters approve of the constitutional amendment on the ballot this November, Missouri’s constitution will be amended to make an exception.

The support and opposition for the measure was mostly drawn between party lines. On Friday’s vote in Missouri’s House of Representatives, 100 Republicans supported the measure while 3 Democrats supported it. Forty-one Democrats opposed the measure while 3 Republicans opposed it. In the March Senate vote, 22 Republicans and 1 Democrat supported the measure, while 9 Democrats and 1 Republican opposed it.

This is the fourth ballot measure certified to appear on Missouri’s ballot this November. The other measures include:

  • A constitutional amendment that authorizes the state treasurer to invest in highly rated municipal securities.
  • A constitutional amendment that gives the Missouri National Guard its own department within the state government.
  • A constitutional convention question, which automatically appears on Missouri’s ballot every ten years, asking voters whether or not they agree with holding a constitutional convention.

A total of 85 measures have appeared on Missouri’s statewide ballots between 1996 and 2020. Out of those 85, 54 were approved by voters, while 31 were defeated.

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93 statewide measures certified (so far)

Welcome to the Monday, May 16, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. This is how many statewide measures have been certified for the ballot this year
  2. A look at Pennsylvania’s May 17 primaries
  3. A look at North Carolina’s May 17 primaries

This is how many statewide measures have been certified for the ballot this year

We periodically bring you updates on certified ballot measures. 

So far, we’ve tracked 93 statewide ballot measures that have been certified for the ballot in 33 states. That’s 10 fewer than the average number certified at this point in other even-numbered years from 2010 to 2020

Here’s the latest:

Seven new measure were certified last week: 

Signatures have been submitted and are pending verification for 10 initiatives in California, Idaho, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota: 

Enough signatures were verified for two initiatives in Alaska and Ohio to certify them to the legislature: 

From 2010 to 2020, the average number of statewide ballot measures certified in an even-numbered year was 164. By this time during even-numbered years from 2010 through 2020, an average of 103 statewide measures had been certified for the ballot. 

Click below to learn more about this year’s ballot measures. 

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A look at Pennsylvania’s May 17 primaries

Five states will hold statewide primaries tomorrow, May 17—Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. Last week, we looked at elections in Idaho, Kentucky, and Oregon. Let’s round out our May 17 primary preview series with Pennsylvania and North Carolina. 

First up, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

At the congressional level, Pennsylvania voters will decide a Republican and Democratic primary for the state’s U.S. Senate seat, and Republican and Democratic primaries for all 18 of the state’s U.S. House districts. 

The Republican and Democratic primaries for the state’s U.S. Senate seat are being closely watched around the country because the general election is expected to be competitive. As of May 10, three independent race forecasters consider the general election either a Toss-up or Tilt Republican. The current incumbent, Sen. Pat Toomey (R), is retiring.

Seven candidates are running in the Republican primary. The candidates who’ve polled highest include Mehmet Oz, an author and former surgeon and TV show host, David McCormick, the CEO of an investment management firm and former Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs in the George W. Bush (R) administration, and Kathy Barnette, a political commentator who worked in corporate finance after serving in the United States Army Reserve. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Oz on April 9. Barnette trailed McCormick and Oz in polling for most of the race but has in recent weeks polled near the top of the pack. A recent poll conducted May 7-9 put Oz at 23%, Barnette at 21%, and McCormick at 19% (the poll has a margin of error of ± 3.6 percentage points). 

The Democratic primary features four candidates, including Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, who have received the most campaign contributions, media attention, and lead in the polls. Fetterman served as the mayor of Braddock, Pa., from 2005 to 2019 and was elected lieutenant governor in 2018. Lamb was an assistant U.S. attorney and was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in a March 2018 special election, before being re-elected in 2018 and 2020. Yahoo News’ Christopher Wilson wrote that the race for Toomey’s seat “might be the Democratic Party’s best chance to gain a Senate seat in the fall.”

We’ll bring you more on Pennsylvania’s Senate primaries in Tuesday’s edition. 

Pennsylvania is one of six states with one Democratic and one Republican U.S Senator. President Joe Biden (D) won the state by 1.2 percentage points in the 2020 presidential election. The state’s U.S. House delegation is currently divided between nine Democrats and nine Republicans. 

Pennsylvania is also holding elections for governor and lieutenant governor, 25 seats in the state Senate, and 203 seats in the state House. Forty-two of the 190 Pennsylvania state legislators who filed for re-election this year—20 Democrats and 22 Republicans—will face contested primaries. The rate of incumbents facing contested primaries—22%—is  the highest rate since 2014. The remaining 78% of incumbents are not facing primary challengers.

In Pennsylvania, the primary candidate with the most votes wins—even if that candidate receives less than 50% of the total vote. Pennsylvania is one of 40 states without primary election runoffs. The state does not cancel uncontested primaries.

Click below to read more about Pennsylvania’s May 17 primary. 

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A look at North Carolina’s May 17 primaries

Now that we’ve looked at Pennsylvania’s upcoming primaries, let’s head south to North Carolina. 

On May 17, North Carolinians will have a chance to vote in Republican and Democratic primaries for a U.S. Senate seat and Republican and Democratic primaries for the state’s 13 U.S. House districts. The state’s 50 state Senate seats and 120 state House seats are also on the ballot. North Carolina is one of six states that isn’t holding any state executive elections this year. 

Candidates in the Republican and Democratic primaries for North Carolina’s U.S. Senate seat are running to replace incumbent Richard Burr (R), who is retiring. 

Fourteen candidates are running in the Republican primary. The candidates that have led recent polls and have received the most media attention are Ted Budd, Pat McCrory, and Mark Walker. Trump endorsed Budd, a U.S. Representative since 2017, in June 2021. The Budd Senate endorsement was among Trump’s first in this election cycle. McCrory was governor from 2013 to 2017. Before that, McCrory was the mayor of Charlotte from 1995 to 2009, while Walker represented North Carolina’s 6th Congressional District from 2015 to 2021 and was a pastor for 16 years before that.

Ten candidates are running in the Democratic primary

As of May 10, three independent election forecasters considered the general election as Lean Republican.

All 14 of North Carolina’s House districts are up for election, four of which are open, meaning no incumbent is running. The current delegation is divided between eight Republicans and five Democrats. 

North Carolina is one of 32 states holding state supreme court elections this year. 

In the state Senate, all 50 seats are up for election. Republicans control that chamber 28-22. In the state House, all 120 seats are up for election. Republicans control that chamber 69-51. Across both chambers, the number of uncontested state legislative districts in North Carolina grew from 14 in 2020 to 51 in 2022. The increase in uncontested districts was driven by a decline in Democratic challengers. In 2020, Democrats ran in 166 of the state’s 170 districts, and Republicans ran in 160. This year, Republicans once again filed to contest 160 districts while Democrats filed to run in 129.

To learn more about North Carolina’s May 17 primaries, click below.

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