Voters rejected all three ballot measures calling for constitutional conventions

Welcome to the Wednesday, November 30, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

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

  1. Voters rejected all three ballot measures calling for constitutional conventions
  2. Control of Alaska House of Representatives still undecided
  3. More than 900 winning candidates completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey this year

Voters rejected all three ballot measures calling for constitutional conventions 

Fourteen states have a constitutional requirement to ask voters to weigh in on whether there ought to be a constitutional convention. These states’ constitutions require such questions to be referred to the ballot. Three states had those questions on the ballot in 2022.

Voters in Alaska, Missouri, and New Hampshire rejected the measures, denying the convention convening.

A state constitutional convention is a gathering of elected delegates who propose revisions and amendments to a state constitution. To date, 233 state constitutional conventions have been held in the United States.

Rhode Island was the last state to hold a voter-approved constitutional convention, doing so in 1984. Rhode Island voters will decide on a constitutional convention question in Nov. 2024. In Rhode Island, the question is automatically placed on the general election ballot every ten years. This requirement was added to the Rhode Island Constitution at a convention held in 1973.

Other states allow their legislatures to refer constitutional convention questions to the ballot. In five states, the legislature may call a constitutional convention without referring a measure to the ballot if a supermajority votes in favor. Seven states—Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Vermont—do not allow state constitutional conventions.

From 2000 to 2022, 22 constitutional convention questions appeared on statewide ballots in 13 states. All were defeated. The average vote was 64.44% opposed to 35.03% in favor. The question that came closest to being approved was in New Hampshire in 2002, which was defeated with 49.13% voting ‘Yes’ and 50.87% voting ‘No.’

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Control of Alaska House of Representatives still undecided

Speaking of Alaska, three weeks after Election Day, control of the Alaska House of Representatives is still undecided because of a possible power-sharing coalition forming.

Although certified election results were not available as of this writing, local political observers say Republicans appear to have won 21 seats to Democrats’ 13, with the six remaining seats going to independents who are expected to caucus with the Democrats.

In both 2018 and 2020, Republicans won a numerical majority in the Alaska House, but Democrats and independents joined with some Republicans to form a power-sharing coalition.

Alaska will have a divided government regardless of whether a power-sharing coalition forms. Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) was re-elected on the first ballot of the ranked-choice vote, becoming the first Alaska governor to win re-election since 1998 and the first Republican to do so since 1978. In the state Senate, all nine Democrats joined with eight of 11 Republicans to form a power-sharing coalition.

The Alaska House is the last remaining state legislative chamber where post-election control is unclear after the Republican majority in the New Hampshire House of Representatives was confirmed Monday. Republicans won 200 seats to Democrats’ 198, with the final results of two races subject to appeals.

New Hampshire

Republicans gained one of the two seats up for dispute when the Ballot Law Commission voted to count 27 absentee ballots that had been left out of the election-night count, bringing the Republican majority to 201-198 and confirming the party’s control of the chamber.

The two candidates who tied for the final remaining seat agreed to withdraw their dispute from the Ballot Law Commission. Instead, the state House will vote at the beginning of the next session on whether to break the tie itself or to call a special election. The result will determine whether House Republicans have a one-seat or a two-seat majority.

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More than 900 winning candidates completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey this year

More than 900 candidates who won election this month completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Of the 3,769 candidates on the ballot who filled out the survey, 902 (24%) were elected. Another 553 candidates (15%) ran in elections that remain too close to call.

Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey offers candidates for political office an opportunity to share with voters what motivates them on a personal and political level.

Among this year’s election winners to complete the survey are 26 candidates for U.S. House. Here are some selected responses from members-elect to Congress.

Jennifer Kiggans (R) defeated incumbent Elaine Luria (D) 52%-48% in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.

Who are you? Tell us about yourself.

I am a State Senator, geriatric nurse practitioner, U.S. Navy veteran, mother, Navy wife, and Republican candidate for Congress in Virginia’s 2nd District.

What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

I am a strong advocate for pro-growth policies that empower small businesses to do what they do best – create jobs, expand, and bolster our economy, combating the rising cost of living and increase energy costs hurting our families, fighting for election integrity, standing with law enforcement and our first responders to keep Hampton Roads safe, championing conservative values, and standing with parents and students against “wokeism” entering our schools.

What characteristics or principles are most important for an elected official?

The most important characteristic for an elected official is to be a good listener. Everyone wants to feel heard in life. When people are struggling or hurting, it is especially important for someone to listen and respond to their needs. As an elected official, my job is to listen, try to understand, and try to provide help for their concerns.

What legacy would you like to leave?

I would like to make the world a better place for our older adult patient population. The frail elderly are an underrepresented and sometimes voiceless group who needs more advocates in government. There is much need for nursing home reform and support for our caregivers in the present healthcare system. It is an honor to fight for our Greatest Generation in politics.

Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez (D) defeated Joe Kent (R) 51%-49% in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.

Who are you? Tell us about yourself.

I am Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, a Democrat, fifth-generation Washingtonian, small business owner, and mother. I’m running to represent Washington’s Third congressional district to bring the voices of Middle America back to DC.

I will work for Washington by supporting small businesses and worker’s rights, lowering the costs of healthcare, childcare and prescription drugs, addressing climate change by investing in clean energy, getting Big Money out of politics, investing in and expanding apprenticeship and skills training programs, protecting women’s access to health and rights, and tackling the rising costs of food, gas, and housing.

I own an auto-repair shop with my husband Dean, but like many small business owners, cannot afford healthcare for the two of us. We pay $500 a month for our infant son, but simply can’t afford an additional $1,200 to cover ourselves. Like so many families today, we struggle to find quality affordable childcare – so our son goes to the auto shop with us everyday.

I am a member of the working class Washingtonians that have been left behind in this economy and ignored by the political extremes in our nation’s capital – and that’s exactly why I’m running for Congress.

What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

Economy, plastic pollution, affordable childcare, fixing the supply chain, safe communities

Ballotpedia’s full Candidate Connection report, with details on candidate win rates, comparisons to previous years, and more featured responses, will be published after certified results are available in all 50 states.

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