Previewing the fourth special congressional election of this year

Welcome to the Thursday, July 22, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Voters to decide runoff election in Texas’ 6th Congressional District on July 27
  2. Redistricting review: New Jersey Chief Justice asks parties to submit consensus candidate
  3. Curious about the administrative state? Join us for our webinar on judicial deference!

Voters to decide runoff election in Texas’ 6th Congressional District on July 27

This Tuesday—July 27—voters in Texas’ 6th Congressional District will head to the polls to vote in the district’s runoff election. Jake Ellzey (R) and Susan Wright (R) are running to fill the vacancy left by Rep. Ronald Wright (R), who died from COVID-19 related complications on Feb. 7. 

Susan Wright is Ronald Wright’s widow. Her endorsements include former President Donald Trump (R), U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R), and the State Republican Executive Committee. 

Ellzey’s endorsements include former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), U.S. Rep Daniel Crenshaw (R), and Texas Farm Bureau AGFUND.

Since both runoff candidates are Republicans, the seat will not change party hands as a result of the election. The two advanced from a 23-candidate special election on May 1. Wright received 19.2% of the vote, while Ellzey received 13.8% of the vote.

Three special elections to the 117th Congress have taken place so far in 2021. The election in Texas’ 6th is one of four more currently scheduled. There were 10 special elections to the 116th Congress and 17 special elections to the 115th Congress.

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Redistricting review: New Jersey Chief Justice asks parties to submit consensus candidate

New Jersey: On Tuesday, New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner asked Democrats and Republicans to reconvene and pick a consensus candidate for the 13th member of the state’s congressional redistricting commission. 

According to state law, the first 12 commissioners are appointed by the majority and minority leaders of the legislature, and the chairs of the state’s two major political parties. The 12 commissioners then appoint the last commission member. If they cannot agree on an appointment, the commissioners must submit two names to the state supreme court and the court must then appoint the final commissioner. 

Last week, when the commissioners could not reach a consensus by their July 15 deadline, they submitted former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice John E. Wallace, Jr. and former Superior Court Judge Marina Corodemus to the court for a decision.

According to the New Jersey Globe, “This is the first time the two parties haven’t agreed on a 13th member for congressional redistricting. The Supreme Court option wasn’t involved in 1991, 2001 and 2011.” Chief Justice Rabner gave the commissioners until July 30 to respond with a consensus candidate. If they do not, the state supreme court will pick a tiebreaker candidate by Aug. 10.

Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Supreme Court put a stay on a Dane County Circuit Court ruling that blocked Republican legislators from hiring private attorneys with taxpayer funds. The original lawsuit argued state law prohibits legislative leaders from hiring attorneys other than from the Wisconsin Department of Justice before a lawsuit has been filed. On April 26, Dane County Circuit Judge Stephen Ehlke issued a ruling that barred Republican leaders in the state legislature from hiring private attorneys, and on June 24, an appeals court decision denied a motion to stay the order. 

On June 30, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R) asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to invalidate the appeals court ruling. The supreme court unanimously agreed to take up the case on July 15, and in a 4-3 decision, ordered that Republican lawmakers be allowed to hire private attorneys pending their decision.

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Join us for our webinar on judicial deference!

Are you curious about the administrative state? Join us on Monday, July 26, at 5 p.m. Eastern for the next webinar in our ‘You Ask, Ballotpedia Answers’ series, where Ballotpedia’s administrative state team answers your questions and demystifies one of the pillars of the administrative state. This month, we’ll be discussing judicial deference. 

In the context of administrative law, deference applies when a federal court yields to an agency’s interpretation of either a statute that Congress instructed the agency to administer or a regulation promulgated by the agency. We’ll discuss the types of deference as well as explore both the current state of deference and its future.

Click the link below to grab your spot today!

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