What candidates are saying in Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Welcome to the Friday, October 14, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Hear from California controller and Oklahoma House of Representatives District 79 candidates in their own words
  2. Battleground preview—U.S. Senate election North Carolina 
  3. 45% of all Utah state legislative seats lack a Democratic candidate this year

Hear from California controller and Oklahoma House of Representatives District 79 candidates in their own words

This year, we’ve periodically featured responses to our Candidate Connection survey from races with a 100% completion rate. We created the survey to help solve the ballot information problem because we believe everyone deserves meaningful, reliable, trustworthy information about their candidates. 

Here are a few recent examples of elections where all candidates completed the survey. We’ll be back next week with some details on some of the lighter survey questions (such as favorite song and fictional character—stay tuned!).

California controller election

In yesterday’s edition of the Daily Brew, we looked at elections for state financial officers like treasurers, auditors, and comptrollers. 

One of the state financial officer elections we’re watching is for California controller (most states refer to this position as comptroller). Candidates Malia Cohen (D) and Lanhee Chen (R) both completed the survey. Incumbent Betty Yee (D) is term-limited.

Here’re excerpts from Cohen’s and Chen’s answers to the following question: Please list below 3 key messages of your campaign. What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?


  • “I want to bring equity and justice to the State Controller’s office to reduce historic inequalities. The Controller has the ability to spotlight issues and can produce data to inform policymakers on important decisions. I have done this throughout my career. While on the Board of Supervisors, I passed legislation requiring the San Francisco Police Department to produce quarterly reports on the use of force. I’ve also worked to make the San Francisco budgeting process more transparent to end political payouts that hinder the process. I am committed to transparency and making decisions that help build a California where everyone thrives.”


  • “As Controller, I will hold policy makers accountable for keeping the promises they make. For too long, the one-party monopoly in Sacramento has resulted in politicians protecting one another rather than being accountable to taxpayers. This is particularly important as we consider the challenges that we faced during the recent pandemic. California taxpayers deserve answers to questions like how tens of billions of dollars in federal assistance during the pandemic were spent. And whether school districts are actually using the funding they’ve received to help get our kids back into the classroom safely. These are the sorts of questions that, as Controller, I will answer on behalf of taxpayers.”

In the 2018 election for California controller, Yee defeated Konstantinos Roditis (R) 65.5% to 34.5%.

Democrats hold six of the nine comptroller offices up for election this year, while Republicans hold three. 

Oklahoma House of Representatives District 79

Incumbent Melissa Provenzano (D) and Paul Hassink (R) are running for Oklahoma House of Representatives District 79. Provenzano was first elected in 2018. In 2020, she defeated Margie Alfonso (R) 51.8% to 48.2%. District 79 covers parts of the cities of Tulsa and Broken Arrow. 

Here’s how Provenzano and Hassink answered the following question: What do you perceive to be your state’s greatest challenges over the next decade?


  • “Oklahoma has a supermajority of one party, which has proven to be problematic and prone to extremism and corruption. No one party should have total power, regardless of political persuasion.”


  • “Oklahoma has many great resources; the greatest of which is its citizens. With our oil and gas economy under attack by the federal government and inflation climbing rapidly, it is difficult to retain the next generation of Oklahomans as they seek opportunity in other states. If I am elected, I will focus on developing our economy with lower taxes, focusing education on students, and creating well-paid jobs, so that we can retain talent in Oklahoma.”

As of Oct. 13, we’ve posted Candidate Connection survey responses for 143 races nationwide where all candidates running completed our survey — including for six U.S. House and seven state executive elections. Is an election on your ballot one of them?  

Click below to view all races with a 100% survey response rate, and if you’d like to learn more about the candidates on your ballot, ask them to fill out the survey.

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Battleground preview—U.S. Senate election North Carolina 

Election Day is 26 days away (!), and we’re bringing you stories from the battleground races we’re following between now and Nov. 8. Today, we’re looking at North Carolina’s U.S. Senate election.

Former state supreme court justice Cheri Beasley (D), U.S. Rep Ted Budd (R), and seven others are running in the general election.

Incumbent Sen. Richard Burr (R)—who first took office in 2005—is not seeking re-election. In 2020, incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis (R) defeated Cal Cunningham (D), 49% to 47%. In 2016, Burr defeated Deborah Ross (D), 51% to 45%.

Beasley served as a North Carolina district court justice from 1999 to 2008 and as a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals from 2008 to 2012. Gov. Bev Perdue (D) appointed Beasley to the North Carolina Supreme Court in 2012, where she was chief justice from 2019 to 2020. Beasley has also worked as an assistant public defender and a partner at McGuireWoods LLP. Beasley said she was running to “fight to lower costs, create good-paying jobs and expand access to affordable, quality health care in every part of North Carolina.”

Budd was first elected to North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District in 2016 and was re-elected in 2018 and 2020. Before serving in the U.S. House, Budd was an investment analyst and owner of a gun range and store. Budd says he is “gravely concerned about our country’s future, because North Carolina families, our values, and our jobs are under attack every day in Washington.”[5]

The two most recent presidential elections in North Carolina were both decided by less than 4 percentage points. In 2020, incumbent President Donald Trump (R) defeated President Joe Biden (D), 49.9% to 48.6%. In 2016, Trump carried North Carolina with 49.8% of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s (D) 46.2%.

Election forecasters consider this race to Lean Republican or Tilt Republican

Minor party, independent, and write-in candidates include Matthew Hoh (G), Shannon Bray (L), and independent candidates Hayden Boyette, Michelle Lewis, Kimrey Rhinehardt, Brenda Rodriguez, and Marc White.

Thirty-five of 100 seats are up for election, including one special election. Democrats have an effective majority, with the chamber split 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris (D) having the tie-breaking vote. Control of the 50-50 Senate is expected to be decided by one of nine races.

Click below to learn more about this race, including candidate ads, noteworthy endorsements, and polling. 

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45% of all Utah state legislative seats lack a Democratic candidate this year

Today is the 34th day of our 50 States in 50 days series, and we’re featuring Utah, the Beehive State.

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota
Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana
Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho
Week Four: Kentucky, Michigan, Arkansas, Minnesota, West Virginia
Week Five: Vermont, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, Ohio
Week Six: South Carolina, Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, Tennessee
Week Seven: Colorado, New Jersey, Washington, Alabama

On the ballot in Utah

At the federal level, Utah voters will elect one U.S. Senator and four U.S. Representatives. 

At the state executive level, the treasurer and eight of 15 seats on the state Board of Education are up for election. 

One seat on the Utah Supreme Court is also up for a retention election

Finally, 15 of 29 seats in the state Senate and all 75 seats in the state House are up for election. There are eight open seats in the legislature.  

Redistricting highlights

Utah was apportioned four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, no change from its seats after the 2010 census.

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to immediately see what redistricting looks like in your state. Here are the congressional maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle in Utah: 

To use our tool to view Utah’s state legislative maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle, visit our Utah redistricting page

Partisan balance

  • Both of Utah’s U.S. Senators—Mike Lee and Mitt Romney—are Republicans.
  • All four of Utah’s U.S. Representatives are Republicans. 
  • Republicans hold a 23-6 majority in the state Senate and a 58-17 majority in the state House. Because the governor is a Republican, Utah is one of 23 Republican trifectas. Utah is the only state to have remained a trifecta from 1992 to 2022.
  • Utah’s governor, Spencer Cox, is a Republican. Utah’s last Democratic governor was Scott Matheson, who left office in 1985.
  • Utah’s attorney general is also a Republican, making the state one of 23 with a Republican triplex (Utah is one of three states that does not have a secretary of state).  

Seats contested by only one major party

This year, 44 state legislative seats in Utah, or 48% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either the Democratic or Republican parties runs for a state legislative seat, that party is all but guaranteed to win.

Democrats are running in 54% of all state legislative races. Forty-one state legislative seats (45% of all state legislative seats) do not have a Democratic candidate and a Republican is likely to win.

Republicans are running in 97% of all state legislative races. Three seats (3% of all state legislative seats) do not feature a Republican candidate and Democrat is likely to win.

Key races

Ballot measures

One statewide ballot measure is certified to appear on the Utah ballot: Utah Constitutional Amendment A, Emergency Session Appropriation Limits Measure.

Among other things, the amendment would increase the limit on appropriations that the legislature can make in an emergency session from 1 percent to 5 percent of the total amount appropriated by the legislature for the immediately preceding completed fiscal year.

Seventy-four ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2020. Fifty-eight ballot measures were approved, and 16 were defeated.


  • On Election Day, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mountain Time.
  • Utah requires voters to present identification while voting. Identification can include a valid Utah driver’s license, a valid Utah permit to carry a concealed weapon, and other forms of identification. A voter who doesn’t have an approved form of identification can provide two forms of identification that state the voter’s name and address, including a current utility bill or a legible copy dated within the 90 days before the election. Click here for the statute regulating accepted ID to ensure you have the most current information.
  • Early voting in Utah is available to all voters. Early voting begins on Oct. 25 and ends on Nov. 4.
  • The voter registration deadline in Utah is Oct. 28. Registration can be done online, in person, or by mail. In 2018, Utah enacted same-day voter registration. Voters may register by provisional ballot.
  • All voters are eligible to vote absentee in Utah. There are no special eligibility requirements for voting absentee. To vote absentee, an application must be received by county election officials no later than the Thursday before Election Day. A completed absentee ballot must be postmarked by the day before the election.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool!  

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