An analysis of notable endorsements of Democratic presidential candidates

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Monday, November 25, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. An analysis of notable endorsements of Democratic presidential candidates
  2. Iowa governor to appoint new state supreme court justice after chief justice dies
  3. North Carolina court delays candidate filing for U.S. House seats

An analysis of notable endorsements of Democratic presidential candidates

The 17 Democratic elected officials and notable public figures running for president have received a combined 173 noteworthy endorsements, according to a review of a list of endorsements compiled by FiveThirtyEight through Nov. 22. 

Noteworthy endorsers include current and former presidents and vice presidents, current and former party leaders, governors and other state executives, members of Congress, mayors of large cities, state legislative majority and minority leaders, and Democratic National Committee (DNC) members. 

Sixty-nine percent of Democratic governors and members of Congress have yet to endorse a candidate in the primary. This includes 70% of Democratic governors, 66% of the party’s U.S. Senators, and 69% of the Democratic representatives in the House.

Joe Biden leads with 40 noteworthy endorsements, followed by Kamala Harris with 35 and Bernie Sanders with 23. Six noteworthy candidates—Tulsi Gabbard, Deval Patrick, Joe Sestak, Tom Steyer, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang—have not received any such  endorsements. 

Of the 23 Democratic governors, six have endorsed a presidential candidate and one—Steve Bullock of Montana—is running for president. Biden, Cory Booker, Harris, and Amy Klobuchar have each been endorsed by their home state’s governors. Biden was also endorsed by Govs. Ned Lamont (Conn.) and Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.). Sixteen Democratic governors have yet to endorse a candidate. 

Of the 47 Democratic members of the U.S. Senate, 10 have endorsed a presidential candidate and six are running for president—thus, 31 senators have not endorsed a candidate. Five senators have endorsed Biden, which is more than any other candidate. Booker, Klobuchar, Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren were each endorsed by their fellow home-state senator. Harris’ fellow California senator—Dianne Feinstein—endorsed Biden, and Michael Bennet’s fellow Colorado senator—Cory Gardner—is a Republican.

Of the 236 Democratic U.S. House members—including the three nonvoting members—71 have endorsed a presidential candidate and one—Gabbard—is running for president. Biden has the most congressional endorsements with 19, followed by Harris with 17 and Booker with 11. 

Three presidential candidates have received noteworthy endorsements from officeholders in early voting states—Iowa (Feb. 3), New Hampshire (Feb. 11), Nevada (Feb. 22), and South Carolina (Feb. 29): 

  • Bullock was endorsed by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and DNC member Jan Bauer. 

  • Julián Castro was endorsed by Nevada DNC member Allison Stephens. 

  • Warren was endorsed by Iowa Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, Nevada state Controller Catherine Byrne, and Nevada DNC member Alex Goff.


Iowa governor to appoint new state supreme court justice after chief justice dies 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ (R) will make her third appointment to the state’s seven-member supreme court after Chief Justice Mark Cady died suddenly Nov. 15. Cady was appointed to the court in 1998 by Gov. Terry Branstad (R) and had served as chief justice since 2011. 

When a vacancy occurs on the Iowa Supreme Court, the governor appoints a new justice from among three nominees submitted by the Iowa Judicial Nominating Commission. The new justice must then stand in a retention election during the next regularly scheduled general election to continue serving on the court. After the initial election, justices must stand for retention every eight years and retire at age 72. 

When Cady’s successor is appointed, the court will have five judges appointed by Republican governors and two appointed by Democratic governors.

There are 344 state supreme court justices nationwide. Of those judgeships, 165 are elected by voters, 12 are selected by state legislatures, and 167 are appointed.  

In 2019, there have been 22 supreme court vacancies across 14 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. Of those 22 vacancies, 15 are in states where a Republican governor appoints the replacement. Six vacancies occurred in a state where a Democratic governor fills vacancies, while one occurred in a state where a Republican-controlled legislature appoints the replacement. 

Cady’s is the first such vacancy this year to be caused by the death of a sitting justice. Of the other 21 vacancies, 14 were due to retirement and two former justices took jobs in the private sector. One vacancy occurred when a justice was elevated to chief justice of the court, and four others occurred when the justices were elevated to federal judicial positions.

North Carolina court delays candidate filing for U.S. House seats

A three-judge panel of North Carolina’s state superior court issued an order last week delaying the filing period for 2020 congressional candidates pending finalization of the state’s congressional district plan. That filing period had been scheduled from Dec. 2 through Dec. 20.

The North Carolina House and Senate approved a remedial congressional district plan (HB1029) earlier this month along party lines, with all Republicans voting in favor and all Democrats voting against. In its Nov. 20 order delaying candidate filing, the court scheduled a hearing for Dec. 2 to consider both the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ motions for summary judgment in the case. 

Until a decision is reached, the North Carolina State Board of Elections cannot accept filing petitions for U.S. House candidates. This does not affect candidate filing deadlines for other offices, such as U.S. Senate, governor, or members of the state legislature.

Opponents of North Carolina’s congressional districts filed suit Sept. 27 in state superior court alleging that the districts enacted by the state legislature in 2016 constituted a partisan gerrymander in violation of state law. The plaintiffs asked that the court bar the state from using the maps in the 2020 election cycle. The court granted this request Oct. 28, enjoining further use of the 2016 maps. 

The filing period for congressional candidates in Pennsylvania in 2018 was delayed for two weeks after the state supreme court approved a revised map of the state’s U.S. House districts. The court had ruled in January 2018 that the congressional districts adopted in 2011 violated the state constitution. The 2018 filing deadline for gubernatorial and state legislative candidates in Pennsylvania was March 6 and the deadline for congressional candidates was March 20.  

The filing deadline passed earlier this month for congressional candidates in two states—Alabama and Arkansas. Four additional states—California, Illinois, Ohio, and Texas—have candidate filing deadlines in December.