Welcome to the Wednesday, April 21, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District special election is April 24
- We’re covering elections across 22 counties and 70 cities in 2021
- Suellentrop removed as Kansas Senate majority leader
Yesterday, the jury in the trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin found him guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd. Chauvin faces up to 40 years imprisonment. His sentencing was set for several weeks following the verdict announcement.
Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District special election is April 24
Voters will decide the second special election of the 117th Congress on Saturday, April 24. Democrats Troy Carter and Karen Peterson are running to represent Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District. Carter and Peterson received the most votes (36% and 23%, respectively) in the District’s special primary election on March 20. In the Louisiana majority-vote system, if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in an all-party primary, the top two vote recipients advance to a general election.
Carter and Peterson, both state senators, agree on several policy issues—such as legalizing recreational marijuana, forgiving student loans up to $50,000, and ending cash bail.
Both support increasing the federal minimum wage but disagree on how high it should be. Carter supports raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, while Peterson said she would support raising it to $20 per hour. The candidates also differ on healthcare policy. Carter supports a public option, while Peterson supports a Medicare for All plan.
In January, former incumbent Cedric Richmond (D) endorsed Carter and 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D) endorsed Peterson. In recent weeks, Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams (D) endorsed Carter and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D) endorsed Peterson. Gary Chambers (D), who finished third in the primary with 21%, also endorsed Peterson.
Richmond was first elected to the U.S House in 2010. He resigned on Jan. 15 to become a senior adviser to President Joe Biden (D) and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Five special elections have been scheduled for the 117th Congress so far. Two other special elections remain to be scheduled. An average of 12.5 special elections were held in each of the four Congresses from the 113th to the 116th.
Tomorrow, we’ll preview the May 1 special election in Texas’ 6th Congressional District.
We’re covering elections across 22 counties and 70 cities in 2021
At Ballotpedia, an odd-number year following a presidential election year is no excuse to let up on our election coverage.
As regular Brew readers know, we cover local elections in the 100 largest U.S. cities by population and in the counties that overlap those cities. We’ve expanded our 2021 coverage of local elections to include mayoral, city council, and district attorney elections in the 32 state capitals that weren’t included in our largest-cities coverage.
In 2021, we’re covering municipal elections—including 43 mayoral elections—in 22 counties and 70 cities. According to 2013 Census Bureau estimates, those 70 cities had a total population of 32.9 million.
Suellentrop removed as Kansas Senate majority leader
Members of the Kansas state Senate Republican caucus voted 22-4 to remove Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop (R) from his position on April 9. Assistant Majority Leader Larry Alley will act as majority leader until the Republican caucus selects a new leader in May.
Suellentrop stepped down from the position on March 17 after the Kansas Highway Patrol arrested him for allegedly driving under the influence and attempting to flee from a law enforcement officer. On April 8, Kansas news network WIBW released the arresting officer’s affidavit of probable cause, which says Suellentrop’s blood-alcohol level was 0.17, more than twice the legal limit. The affidavit also says Suellentrop taunted the Highway Patrol officer.
In a statement issued on March 17, Suellentrop said, “Today, out of respect for Senate leadership, my Republican colleagues, and the entire Kansas Senate, I have decided to transfer the bulk of the formal duties of my office to the Assistant Majority Leader. I will do so until matters that I am currently dealing with are resolved.”
Suellentrop was elected Senate majority leader in December 2020 for a term lasting through 2024. The majority leader is the second-highest leadership position in the Kansas Senate, after the Senate president. As the floor leader of the majority caucus, the majority leader is the principal speaker during floor debates and works to promote the party’s legislative agenda.
Suellentrop was first elected to the state Senate in 2016, defeating Tony Hunter, 67% to 34%. He served in the Kansas House of Representatives from 2009 to 2017.