The Daily Brew: Democratic presidential debates, Round 2

Today’s Brew previews the next set of Democratic presidential primary debates + the upcoming primaries for governor of Mississippi and Seattle city council  
The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Tuesday, July 30, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Second set of Democratic presidential debates begins tonight
  2. One week until August 6 Mississippi gubernatorial and Seattle city council primaries
  3. Thirty-one school board members have faced recall efforts in 2019

Second set of Democratic presidential debates begins tonight

The second set of Democratic presidential primary debates begins tonight in Detroit, Michigan. Twenty candidates will participate over the course of two debates on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren will appear in the center of the debate stage on July 30 due to their polling performance. The other participants tonight are Steve Bullock, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, and Tim Ryan. Bullock is the only candidate participating who did not appear in the June presidential primary debate.

On the second night, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will appear in the middle of the candidate stage. Michael Bennet, Bill de Blasio, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jay Inslee, and Andrew Yang round out the lineup on July 31. 

Dana Bash, Don Lemon, and Jake Tapper will moderate the event, which will be broadcast by CNN and streamed on Unlike the first debates held in June, there will be no questions requiring a show of hands or one-word, down-the-line answers. Candidates who repeatedly interrupt other speakers will have their speaking time reduced. Candidates will also be allowed to make opening and closing statements.

No debates are scheduled in August. The third presidential debate is scheduled in Houston on September 12 and 13. Candidates will need to receive 2% support or more in four national or early state polls and receive donations from at least 130,000 unique donors to qualify. Seven candidates have already achieved both thresholds—Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Harris, O’Rourke, Sanders, and Warren.

Also, we asked you—our Brew readers—whether you would be watching this week’s debates. Here are your responses: 

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One week until August 6 Mississippi gubernatorial and Seattle city council primaries 

We’re covering 47 battleground elections in 2019, including four over the next week. Incumbent David Briley faces nine challengers in the nonpartisan election for mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, later this week on August 1. There are also a trio of battleground elections one week from today on August 6. Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect next week. 


Only one of the three 2019 gubernatorial elections is an open-seat race as Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) is term-limited. Republican and Democratic party primaries will be held to select each party’s gubernatorial nominee.

Three candidates are running for the Republican nomination—Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., and state Rep. Robert Foster. Each has identified different policy priorities. Reeves—who was endorsed by Bryant—says he has a record of experience in state government and will oppose tax increases. Waller has received endorsements from four former state party chairmen and says he would focus on repairing the state’s roads and bridges. Foster emphasizes his status as a political outsider and says he would focus on agricultural policy.

On the Democratic side, state Attorney General Jim Hood, Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, and six other candidates are competing to be the nominee. The last Democrat to win election as governor of Mississippi was Ronnie Musgrove in 1999. If no candidate wins a majority in either primary, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff on August 27. 

Bryant won the past two general elections with more than 60% of the vote. Two of three election forecasters tracked by Ballotpedia rate the November 5 general election as “Leans Republican” and the other rated it as “Likely Republican.”


Seattle is holding primary elections for the seven district representatives on its city council. The top two vote recipients from each primary will compete in the November 5 general election.

Three incumbents are seeking re-election and four seats are open. The local Chamber of Commerce PAC—which has received contributions from local businesses, including Amazon—has spent more than $300,000 in support of nine candidates, including two challengers to incumbents Lisa Herbold and Kshama Sawant. In 2018, the city council passed and then repealed a head tax on businesses to fund affordable housing programs.

This year’s election also features a public campaign financing program in which residents distribute $25 vouchers to candidates of their choosing. Through the program, $1.4 million has been distributed among 35 participating candidates so far. Fifty-five candidates are running across the seven races. In 2015, 37 candidates ran for the same seven council seats.

Thirty-one school board members have faced recall efforts in 2019

We’ve recently told you about recall efforts against governors, state legislators, and city officials, so today let’s take a look at another down-ballot office—school boards.  

Ballotpedia has tracked 13 recall efforts targeting 31 school board members so far in 2019. Three of those recalls have been certified to proceed to an election:

  • One recall election of two school board members was held February 19 and both were recalled. 

  • A recall election against one board member was scheduled for July 16, but it was put on hold pending court action. 

  • A third recall election targeting three board members is scheduled for August 27. 

Recall efforts against 13 school board members are still in progress, while efforts against nine board members have ended and will not be going to a vote. Three board members resigned after recall efforts were initiated against them. 

As of this time last year, four recall elections had been held against seven school board members. Six members were recalled in those elections and one was retained. Overall, 33 school board recall efforts targeting 74 board members nationwide were covered by Ballotpedia in 2018.

Twenty-five percent of elected officials targeted by recall efforts in 2018 were members of school boards. In 2017, 15% of elected officials targeted by recall efforts were school board members.

Ballotpedia covered 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials in 2018. 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.