The Daily Brew: Presidential candidates begin to release Q2 fundraising figures

Today’s Brew highlights the money game  among 2020 White House hopefuls + 2019’s ballot measure law changes  
 The Daily Brew

Thanks for joining us for last week’s Summer Camp. The other Ballotpedia staff members and I enjoyed looking back at the first six months of the year, previewing the stories we’re curious about in the weeks ahead, and sharing pictures of our fun-loving pets. We also loved hearing from you—our incredible readers—and learning about your summer plans and interests. Obviously, we don’t know what will happen during the rest of 2019, but we’re excited to have you following all of it with us! 
Welcome to the Monday, July 8, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Trump re-election campaign announces it raised $54 million in second quarter
  2. Fourteen states have approved changes to ballot measure laws in 2019
  3. Republican primary runoff tomorrow in NC-03

Trump re-election campaign announces it raised $54 million in second quarter

While financial reports for the second quarter of 2019 are not due to the Federal Election Commission until July 15, some presidential candidates announced their fundraising amounts last week. Here’s a quick rundown as we await the official figures next week. These campaign finance reports summarize amounts raised from April 1 through June 30, 2019. 

  • President Donald Trump’s (R) campaign announced that it raised $54 million during the second quarter through his re-election campaign and related committees. For comparison, President Barack Obama (D) raised $46.3 million during the same time period in 2011.
  • Among the Democratic candidates who have released fundraising totals so far, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) received $24.8 in the second quarter, more than tripling the $7 million he raised in the first quarter.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) raised $24 million during this period, which included $6 million that was transferred from previous campaign accounts, His campaign reported that nearly half of his contributions came from donors under the age of 39.
  • In his first reporting period as a 2020 presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden (D) raised $21.5 million. He announced that he was running on April 25.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D) raised $12 million, which matched her first quarter fundraising. Her campaign said she raised $2 million the day after the first presidential debate last month.

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Fourteen states have approved changes to ballot measure laws in 2019 

In order to cover the ballot measures that will appear before voters, our team must stay abreast of the laws that govern how measures appear on the ballot. Each month, our ballot measures team produces a report detailing the legislation surrounding ballot initiatives, veto referendums, referrals, local ballot measures, and recalls. 

Fourteen states have approved 29 such proposals in 2019. Five were constitutional amendments that will be decided by voters in 2019 or 2020. 

The Idaho Legislature also approved two additional measures that were vetoed by the governor. Five citizen-initiated measures directly related to initiative and referendum laws were also filed in Florida, Missouri, and South Dakota. Here are some of the most significant proposals:

  • Arkansas legislators approved a constitutional amendment which will be decided by voters in 2020. The measure increases the state’s distribution requirement for signatures on citizen initiatives and requires that the legislature approve proposed constitutional amendments by a  supermajority vote. It also changes the deadlines for submitting signatures and legal challenges to citizen initiatives.
  • Arkansas also enacted a law that changes when the ballot title and popular name of citizen initiatives are approved to after signatures on such a measure are submitted and made other changes to the state’s initiative processes.
  • Maine lawmakers approved bills requiring that ballot language be written as simply as possible and public hearings be held for direct initiatives that have been certified by the Secretary of State.
  • Utah legislators approved five bills changing the initiative process, including:
    • changing signature requirements, 
    • requiring county clerks to post the names of those who sign an initiative petition on county websites, 
    • requiring funding sources to be specified, and 
    • establishing rolling signature submission deadlines.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) issued a legal opinion in May that the distribution requirement and other provisions restricting the state’s initiative process that were enacted in 2018 are unconstitutional. Her opinion is binding for state officials unless a court ruling overturns it. Two lawsuits have been filed challenging Nessel’s ruling—including one filed by the state legislature. Michigan is one of 14 states under divided government. Republicans control the state legislature and a Democrat holds the governor’s office.

As of June 25, Ballotpedia was tracking 216 legislative proposals in 34 states. We tracked 203 ballot measure law change proposals in 34 states in 2018 and 213 bills in 37 states in 2017.

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Republican primary runoff takes place tomorrow in NC-03

The second half of the year kicks off with a marquee election tomorrow in North Carolina, where State Representative Greg Murphy and Dr. Joan Perry are running in the Republican primary runoff in the state’s 3rd Congressional District. 

Murphy was endorsed by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the House Freedom Caucus, and the National Rifle Association. Perry received the support of all 13 Republican women in Congress, Winning for Women Action Fund, and FreedomWorks for America.

Murphy has raised $544,000 and spent $449,000 on the race through June 19, which is more than Perry’s $374,000 and $319,000, respectively. However, outside groups have spent more in support of Perry. Satellite spending supporting her has totaled $879,000 and groups backing Murphy have spent $589,000.

The winner of the runoff will face Allen Thomas (D) and Tim Harris (L) in a special election September 10. This election will fill the vacancy left by Walter Jones (R), who died on February 10. In 2018, Jones won a three-way Republican primary and was unopposed in the general election. He received 67% and 68% of the vote in the 2016 and 2014 general elections, respectively. Inside Elections rates the special election “Solid Republican.”  

Four special elections have been called during the 116th Congress. Three of those are for seats in the U.S. House, and one is for a seat in the U.S. Senate—which will occur in 2020. Fred Keller (R) won the special election in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District on May 21. The special election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District will be held September 10.

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