Thursday night is debate night

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Thursday, September 12, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Democratic presidential candidates participate in third debate tonight
  2. Local Roundup
  3. California Supreme Court will consider challenge to state law requiring presidential candidates to release tax returns

Democratic presidential candidates participate in third debate tonight

The third Democratic presidential debate takes place tonight at Texas Southern University in Houston. The following 10 candidates will participate:

•    Joe Biden
•    Cory Booker
•    Pete Buttigieg
•    Julián Castro
•    Kamala Harris
•    Amy Klobuchar
•    Beto O’Rourke
•    Bernie Sanders
•    Elizabeth Warren
•    Andrew Yang

Here’s a quick primer to get you prepared. 

  • ABC News and Univision are hosting the debate. 

  • Candidates will have one minute and 15 seconds to answer questions and 45 seconds for rebuttals. 

  • Candidates must have received donations from at least 130,000 unique donors with a minimum of 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 states. The candidate must also have received 2% support or more in four national or early state polls—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada. 

Both the fundraising and polling thresholds were higher for this debate—and the next debate in Ohio in October—then they were for the first two Democratic presidential debates held in June and July.

As part of our coverage of the presidential race, we track and report the number of views received by the candidates’ 2020 presidential campaign pages to show which ones are getting our readers’ attention. For the week ended September 7, Yang’s campaign page on Ballotpedia had 3,321 pageviews, more than any other Democratic candidate. This marked the fourth consecutive week Yang’s page received the most pageviews among the Democratic field. 

Axios reported on September 3 that Yang—along with Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard—had a “discrepancy between demonstrated voter support and the level of media coverage.” Yang, for example, had the sixth-highest polling average on Real Clear Politics among Democratic presidential candidates and received the 14th-most mentions in news articles and 13th-most mentions on cable news.

Local Roundup 

At Ballotpedia, we provide election coverage of all officeholders in the nation’s 100 largest cities—including mayors, city council members, and other municipal officers like city clerk and treasurer. We also cover every election on the ballot in these cities, such as county officials, local ballot measures, and special districts.

Here’s our weekly summary of the local news we’re covering. Email me to suggest some interesting local election coverage in your area—I’d love to hear about it!

Charlotte, North Carolina→

Incumbent Vi Lyles defeated four challengers to win the Democratic mayoral primary with 86.6% of the vote. She will face the sole Republican mayoral candidate—David Michael Rice—in the November 5 general election. Lyles is seeking her second two-year term as mayor. 


Incumbent Sylvester Turner and 11 challengers will compete in the November 5 general election for mayor of Houston. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two general election candidates will participate in a runoff election on December 14. Although the mayor’s office is officially nonpartisan, Turner is a former Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives.

Policy debates so far have focused on Turner’s record during his first term, especially his handling of the city’s budget. Local media outlets have identified four major challengers—Dwight Boykins, Tony Buzbee, Bill King, and Sue Lovell. 

Boise, Idaho→

Eighteen candidates filed to run for four nonpartisan city offices—mayor and three of the six city council seats—that voters will decide in the city’s general election November 5. Incumbent David Bieter—who was first elected mayor in 2003—faces six challengers including councilwoman Lauren McLean. Although the mayor’s office is officially nonpartisan, Bieter is a former Democratic member of the Idaho House of Representatives.

California Supreme Court will consider challenge to state law requiring presidential candidates to release tax returns

The California Supreme Court voted unanimously August 21 to consider whether a new law that requires presidential candidates to file their tax returns with the state conflicts with a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1972. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed Senate Bill 27 (SB 27) into law July 30 requiring presidential and gubernatorial candidates to file copies of their last five federal income tax returns in order to appear on the primary election ballot. The bill passed the state Senate by a 29-10 vote and the state House, 57-17, with all votes in favor by Democrats and all votes against by Republicans.

Several individuals and organizations—including President Donald Trump (R)—filed lawsuits in federal district court to declare SB 27 in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The California Republican Party also filed a lawsuit in state court against the law August 6 and asked the state’s highest court to decide whether SB 27 violates the California Constitution, including Proposition 4 (1972). 

Proposition 4 stated that presidential primary candidates on the ballot are “those found by the Secretary of State to be recognized candidates throughout the nation or throughout California for the office of the President of the United States, and those whose names placed on the ballot by petition.” Voters approved the measure, 61.4% to 38.6%, on June 6, 1972.

Written arguments in the case were due to be filed yesterday. The court has asked all parties to address the legislative history of Proposition 4 and related laws and the guidelines that the secretary of state has employed to assess who is a recognized candidate.

A legal filing challenging SB 27 said that the law prohibited the Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) —who is named as a defendant in the suit—”from exercising his constitutionally delegated duty to place the name of all nationally recognized presidential candidates” on the primary ballot. 

State lawyers representing Padilla said in a filing that Proposition 4 “imposes no mandatory duty on the secretary of state, but rather provides that the secretary will ‘find’ candidates that are ‘recognized … throughout the nation’ and include them on California primary ballots.”