The Daily Brew: Dive into the Administrative State on our newest Learning Journey

Welcome to the Friday, September 17, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Announcing our newest Learning Journey: the Overview of Agency Dynamics
  2. Three of the top-100 U.S. cities have mayoral primaries still to come
  3. #FridayTrivia: How many state supreme court justices are there?

Announcing our newest Learning Journey: the Overview of Agency Dynamics

Ballotpedia’s Learning Journeys bring deep dives into political and governmental topics right to your inbox. Today, we are introducing our newest Learning Journey: the Overview of Agency Dynamics. To date, we’ve published 29 Learning Journeys.

In this Learning Journey, we provide you with a thorough overview of agency dynamics, a term used to describe the structure and function of administrative agencies as well as the nuts and bolts of agency functions, including rulemaking and adjudication proceedings.

We will guide you through the types of agencies and their functions as well as introduce you to the main areas of discussion and debate around these dynamics.

While a majority of agencies are housed under the executive branch, others are established as independent federal agencies or are housed under the legislative or judicial branches. The structural variations affect agency oversight and interactions across branches.

This journey is part of Ballotpedia’s coverage of the administrative state, making up one of the five pillars necessary to understand the administrative state. For each pillar, we offer several Learning Journeys designed to help you understand that pillar and its effect on the administrative state. The other pillars include nondelegation, judicial deference, executive control of agencies, and procedural rights.

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Three of the top-100 U.S. cities have mayoral primaries still to come

Three of the 100 largest U.S. cities by population have mayoral primaries still to come: Durham, N.C. (Oct. 5), Hialeah, Fla. (Nov. 2), and New Orleans, La. (Nov. 13).

The incumbents in Durham and Hialeah—Steve Schewel (D) and Carlos Hernandez (R), respectively—are not seeking re-election, meaning a new mayor will be elected. In New Orleans, incumbent LaToya Cantrell (D) is running against 13 others in the city’s mayoral primary. Cantrell was first elected in 2017.

These three cities represent 28 of the top-100 cities holding mayoral elections in 2021. While most of these cities will hold general elections on Nov. 2, nine top-100 cities have already held mayoral elections this year.

Of the nine mayoral elections held so far this year, one has resulted in an office changing partisan control. In Anchorage, Alaska, David Bronson (R) was elected to succeed nonpartisan acting mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson, who assumed office following the resignation of Ethan Berkowitz (D). One other mayorship also changed partisan control when North Las Vegas Mayor John J. Lee (R) announced he was switching his affiliation from Democratic to Republican in April 2021.

In 2020, mayoral elections were held in 29 top-100 cities, and seven offices changed partisan control. In 2019, 31 top-100 cities elected mayors, resulting in four party changes.

Since 2014, the number of mayoral elections in top-100 cities per year has ranged from 23 to 36.

Currently, 63 mayors in the largest 100 cities by population are affiliated with the Democratic Party, 26 are affiliated with the Republican Party, four are independents, six identify as nonpartisan or unaffiliated, and one mayor’s affiliation is unknown. 

While most mayoral elections in the 100 largest cities are nonpartisan, most officeholders are affiliated with a political party. Ballotpedia uses one or more of the following sources to identify each officeholder’s partisan affiliation: (1) direct communication from the officeholder, (2) current or previous candidacy for partisan office, or (3) identification of partisan affiliation by multiple media outlets. 

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#FridayTrivia: How many state supreme court justices are there?

Each state within the U.S. has at least one supreme court or court of last resort. Oklahoma and Texas both have two courts of last resort, one for civil appeals and one for criminal appeals.

How many justices serve on state supreme courts nationwide?

  1. 344
  2. 602
  3. 108
  4. 819