The Daily Brew: Comparing votes on Trump, Biden Cabinet nominees

Welcome to the Thursday, March 18, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. How senators from the opposite party voted on Trump, Biden Cabinet nominees
  2. Roundup of measures on the May 1 ballot in Austin, Texas
  3. Minnesota GOP chair candidates allege conflicts of interest

How senators from the opposite party voted on Trump, Biden Cabinet nominees

The Senate has confirmed 18 of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominees. Twenty-three Cabinet-rank positions in Biden’s administration require Senate confirmation. Let’s take a look at how the minority party (Democrats in 2017 and Republicans in 2021) has voted on the confirmation of each president’s nominees.

In 2017, 22 members of President Donald Trump’s (R) Cabinet required Senate confirmation.

Here are some facts about which members of the opposite party voted to confirm Cabinet nominees

Seven Republican senators have voted to confirm more than 80% of Biden’s 18 nominees so far:

  • TwoSusan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)—supported all 18 (100%)
  • TwoRob Portman (Ohio) and Mitt Romney (Utah)—supported 17 (94%)
  • ThreeMitch McConnell (Ky.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), and Mike Rounds (S.D.)—supported 15 (83%)

One Democratic senator voted to confirm more than 80% of Trump’s 22 nominees

  • Joe Manchin (W.V.) supported 18 (82%)

Here are some facts about which members of the opposite party voted against confirming Cabinet nominees

Four Republican senators have voted against confirming more than 80% of Biden’s 18 nominees:

  • Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.) voted against 17 (94%) 
  • Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rick Scott (Fla.) voted against 16 (89%)
  • Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) voted against 15 (83%)

Five members of the Democratic caucus in the Senate voted against more than 80% of Trump’s 22 nominees:

  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) voted against 20 (91%)
  • Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) voted against 19 (86%)
  • Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) voted against 18 (82%)

Read on 

Roundup of measures on the May 1 ballot in Austin, Texas

Yesterday, we looked at a ballot measure in San Antonio that would repeal local authority for collective bargaining with the San Antonio Police Officers Association. Today we’ll look at eight ballot measures Austin voters will decide on May 1, with topics ranging from ranked-choice voting, police oversight, and adding a city council district. 

Seven of the eight measures were placed on the ballot through citizen-initiated petitions. Petitioners needed to submit at least 20,000 valid signatures to put the measures on the ballot. The city council voted to put the eighth measure—Proposition C—on the ballot. 

Here’s a summary of each measure:

  • Proposition A: The Austin Firefighters Association, Local 975 sponsored the measure, which would amend the city’s charter to require the city and firefighters association to participate in binding arbitration when an agreement cannot be reached through collective bargaining regarding working conditions. 
  • Proposition B: This measure would make sitting, lying down, or camping in public areas criminal offenses and prohibit the solicitation of money or other things of value at specific hours and locations. The measure is in response to the Austin City Council’s unanimous vote in 2019 to repeal an ordinance that prohibited sitting, lying, or panhandling in the downtown area.
  • Proposition C: The Austin City Council referred this measure to the ballot in a 10-1 vote. Proposition C would amend the city’s charter to authorize the city council to determine through a city ordinance how the director of the Office of Police Oversight is appointed or removed. Currently, the city manager appoints the director.

Austinites for Progressive Reform sponsored five initiatives related to elections and local governance: 

  • Proposition D would align mayoral elections with presidential election years instead of gubernatorial elections years beginning in 2024.
  • Proposition E would enact ranked-choice voting provided state law allows it.
  • Proposition F would change city governance from a council-manager system to a mayor-council system. (Of the 100 largest cities by population in the U.S., 48 have mayor-council systems, 45 have council-manager systems, and seven have other forms of government.)
  • Proposition G would add an additional city council district, thereby increasing the total number of city council members from 10 to 11.
  • Proposition H would adopt a public campaign finance program that provides $25 vouchers to registered voters to contribute to qualifying candidates’ campaigns.

We’re covering five other local ballot measures that voters in three other Texas cities will decide on May 1—two in San Antonio, two in Dallas, and one in Lubbock. 

Read on 

Minnesota GOP chair candidates allege conflicts of interest

Earlier this week, we brought you a story about factional conflict within the Democratic Party of Nevada. Today, we turn to conflict unfolding in Minnesota’s Republican Party.

Next month, the Republican Party of Minnesota will hold an election for party chair. Two-term incumbent Jennifer Carnahan is seeking a third term against state Sen. Mark Koran. Approximately 340 party members from around the state will meet in a virtual convention to vote for the next chair. These party members were selected at 121 local conventions, also known as basic political operating units (BPOUs). Carnahan and state party staffers directly managed 60 BPOUs. 

Carnahan and Koran have been critical of one another, alleging each individual has a conflict of interest. 

  • Koran alleged that this constitutes a conflict of interest: “It’s a massive conflict of interest. Free, fair, open and transparent elections have to be the basic foundation of what we do. If you have distrust in the process, it’s difficult to get people to accept the results of those conventions.” 
  • Carnahan denied the allegation, and she alleged Koran has a conflict of interest: “There was no impropriety. … The real conflict of interest here is [Koran] trying to serve in the state Legislature and trying to run the party at the same time.”

The Star Tribune‘s Briana Bierschbach described the race for chair as a step in shaping the party’s direction in 2022: “Whoever wins the party leadership race in April will have to immediately focus on 2022, when the governor’s office will be on the ballot, along with all 201 legislative seats. DFL Gov. Tim Walz is expected to run for a second term, but no front runner has emerged on the GOP side.”

Read on