ICYMI: Top stories of the week


Another look at Texas’ 34th Congressional District special election

On June 14, Mayra Flores (R) defeated Dan Sanchez (D), Rene Coronado (D), and Juana Cantu-Cabrera (R), claiming for the GOP Filemon Vela’s (D) previous district. Vela resigned on March 31. Flores will serve the remainder of Vela’s term, which ends in January 2023. 

Flores defeated Sanchez, her closest challenger, 51% to 43.3%—a margin of 7.7 percentage points. Vela won the district in 2020 55.4% to 41.8%. That year, Democrats won 56 districts by margins smaller than Vela’s 13.6% margin of victory. 

This is the first time partisan control of a U.S. House district changed in a special election since Mike Garcia’s (R) May 2020 victory in California’s 25th Congressional District. The chart below shows all U.S. House elections in 2020 decided by margins of less than 20 percentage points.

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Here’s where states have passed or enacted Juneteenth legislation

Juneteenth became a federal holiday on June 17, 2021, when President Joe Biden (D) signed a bill making it the 11th federal holiday.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws observing Juneteenth. Texas, where Juneteenth originated, was the first state to do so in 1980. Currently, 18 states close state offices for Juneteenth and offer state employees paid time off.

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Ballotpedia’s mid-year recall report shows sustained interest in school board recall

In the first half of 2022, Ballotpedia tracked 152 recall efforts against 240 officials. For the second year in a row, school board members drew more recall petitions than any other group. One-third of officials who faced recall campaigns in the first half of 2022 were school board members. City council members—the officials who drew the most efforts from 2016 to 2020—accounted for 32% of officials targeted for recall in 2022. 

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The percentage of state legislative open seats is at a decade-high

A decade-high 23% of state legislative seats up for election this year are open, meaning no incumbents are running. This elevated rate of open seats is similar to the last post-redistricting cycle, 2012, in which 22% of seats up for election in these 30 states were open.

Open seats typically occur when an incumbent leaves office. But in post-redistricting cycles it is also common to see open seats when incumbents are drawn into other districts, leaving their old districts open.

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The latest on ballot measure certifications

Three new measures in two states were certified for the ballot last week, meaning voters will have a chance to weigh in on them in November:

Supporters have submitted signatures that are pending verification for nine initiatives in five states:

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