15 stories for Ballotpedia’s 15th Anniversary – Day 3

Welcome to the Friday, July 28, Brew. 

To celebrate Ballotpedia’s 15th Anniversary, we’ve been highlighting five of our favorite 2023 articles and analyses each day this week. You can find yesterday’s batch of five stories here. We hope you have enjoyed it this week. If you think we missed anything, reply to this email and let us know! Enjoy!

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

  1. Podcast: How A.I. might affect political news
  2. Seventeen noteworthy candidates are running for president in 2024  
  3. Here’s which 2024 Republican presidential candidates are getting noteworthy endorsements
  4. See who is running for U.S. House and U.S. Senate in 2024 in your state
  5. The most expensive judicial election in U.S. history—and other big elections we’ve covered this year

Podcast: How A.I. might affect political news

In 2022, we launched On the Ballot, our weekly podcast in which our host, Staff Writer Victoria Rose, unpacks the top political stories with Ballotpedia staffers and outside experts. We’ve covered a range of issues over the last year (you can explore past episodes here or wherever you subscribe to podcasts). But one of our most popular episodes was one on artificial intelligence (A.I.). 

Given how prevalent A.I. has been in the news since November, when ChatGPT took the world by storm, we wanted to explore how A.I. may affect political news and elections.

Victoria sat down with Joe Amditis, assistant director of products and events at the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University, for a wide-ranging conversation about how A.I. might affect news, misinformation, and our political media ecosystem. Along the way, Victoria and Joe discuss A.I.’s capabilities and limitations, the alternative A.I. tools that have arisen since ChatGPT became widely known last November, and Joe’s recent ebook, “Beginner’s prompt handbook: ChatGPT for local news publishers.”

Click below to listen. 

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Seventeen noteworthy candidates are running for president in 2024 

The country’s 60th presidential election is quickly approaching (less than one month until the first Republican primary debate on Aug. 23!).

Our hub page for the 2024 presidential election serves as a vital resource for keeping track of candidates, important dates, polling, fundraising, and more. 

For example, here’s a look at the 17 noteworthy candidates running for president:

Democratic Party

Republican Party

Third party or independent candidates

We use various criteria, like polling numbers, fundraising activity, and ballot access to determine who is a noteworthy presidential candidate. Click here to learn more about how we define noteworthy candidates. 

Click below to stay up to date on the latest 2024 presidential election news (you may want to bookmark the page because the news is changing quickly!). 

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Here’s which 2024 Republican presidential candidates are getting noteworthy endorsements

Speaking of the 2024 presidential election, one way to distinguish the 13 Republican candidates is to look at which of them are getting endorsements from party leaders, members of Congress, governors, and more.  

Currently, Trump has the most noteworthy endorsements at 90, including endorsements from 10 U.S. Senators and two governors. Trump also has the most support from U.S. House members with 66 endorsements. 

At this point in the 2020 Democratic primary, Kamala Harris had the most (30) noteworthy endorsements, and Joe Biden had the most support from U.S. Senate members (2).

Our list of endorsers include current and former presidents and vice presidents, current and former party leaders, governors and other state executives, members of Congress, mayors of large cities, and state legislative majority and minority leaders.

Our page shows data on endorsements over time, and breaks down endorsements by type. Click below to see our full list of endorsements. 

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See who is running for U.S. House and U.S. Senate in 2024 in your state

Let’s continue this theme of keeping track of 2024 candidates and turn our attention to the battle for Congress. 

In 2024, all 435 U.S. House districts and 33 of the 100 U.S. Senate seats are up for regular election (that includes 10 seats held by Republicans, 20 held by Democrats, and three held by independents who caucus with Democrats). 

According to our database, 1,056 candidates are running for Congress in 2024, including 192 for the U.S. Senate and 864 for the U.S. House.

We’ve made it easy to see all the candidates we’re keeping tabs on in 2024 congressional races, including declared and official candidates. Declared candidates are those who have not completed the steps to become an official candidate but may have informally announced their candidacy through, among other things, media interviews or publishing a campaign website. 

Click below to see candidates in your state running for Congress. 

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The most expensive judicial election in U.S. history—and other big elections we’ve covered so far 

This is a relatively slower year for elections (that’s true of off-cycle years in general), but that doesn’t mean electoral politics has stopped altogether. This year, we’ve covered elections at the state and local levels, including state legislative, judicial, municipal, and school board races. And the year is far from over! In the coming months, we’ll cover even more elections, including state legislative general elections in Mississippi, New Jersey, Virginia, and Louisiana

For now, let’s take a look back at some of the bigger races we’ve covered since January, beginning with the most expensive judicial election in U.S. history. 

Wisconsin Supreme Court

The election determined who would succeed retiring Justice Patience Roggensack, whose term expires in a few days. While supreme court elections are officially nonpartisan, justices and candidates are considered to be liberal or conservative. With Roggensack—a member of the court’s conservative majority—retiring, the election determined the ideological control of the court.

Janet Protasiewicz defeated Daniel Kelly in the April 4 general election. Protasiewicz, a former assistant district attorney, had served on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court since 2014. Kelly previously served on the supreme court from 2016, when Gov. Scott Walker (R) appointed him to fill a vacancy, to 2020, when he lost re-election to Jill Karofsky 55.2% to 44.7%.

The election set a new record for campaign spending in state judicial elections—more than $44 million. That was three times the $15 million spent on an Illinois Supreme Court race in 2004. The liberal majority is now 4-3, and one seat will be up for election in 2025

Chicago mayoral election

Chicago, the country’s third-largest city, held one of the 40 mayoral elections we’re covering this year. The general election happened on Feb. 28, where more than nine candidates ran—including incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D). Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas advanced to an April 4 runoff election because they received the most votes but neither got more than 50% (Lightfoot came in third with 16.8% of the vote, becoming the first mayoral incumbent in the city to lose re-election since 1989). In the runoff, Johnson defeated Vallas 51.4% to 48.6%.

Johnson was elected to the Cook County Board of Commissioners as a Democrat in 2018. He was also a teacher with Chicago Public Schools and an organizer with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). Vallas was the 2014 Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor. He worked as chief administrative officer at Chicago State University and was the CEO of Chicago Public Schools.

Oklahoma Marijuana Legalization Initiative

On March 7, Oklahoma residents defeated Oklahoma State Question 820, a ballot measure, 61.67% to 38.33%. 

State Question 820 would have legalized marijuana for adults 21 years old and older.

Oklahoma is one of 37 states—and D.C.—where medical marijuana is legal. Eighteen of those states, including Oklahoma, established medical marijuana through the ballot initiative process.

Yes on 802-Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws sponsored the initiative. The campaign said: “Fewer arrests also means our courts aren’t clogged with petty marijuana cases. State Question 820 will create a sensible program tailored to Oklahoma, carefully balancing personal freedom with responsible regulation. Products will be tested, labeled, and tracked from seed-to-sale; employers will be able to maintain a drug-free workplace; and it keeps penalties in place for anyone who gives marijuana to someone under 21.”

Protect Our Kids- No 820 led the campaign in opposition to the measure. Protect Our Kids said, “SQ 820 does NOT limit THC content. This puts our kids at even more risk. According to medical doctors, when children ingest high THC edibles that look like candy, cookies, or chips they are at risk for seizures or even coma. SQ 820 will encourage more violence. We have already had execution style killings in Oklahoma related to the marijuana black market. Law enforcement agrees passage of SQ 820 will provide more cover for illegal activity. SQ 820 fails to address the very real concerns of foreign ownership of our land, as well as excessive water and electricity usage that strains our infrastructure.”

Including Oklahoma State Question 820, there are two marijuana-related measures certified for the 2023 ballot and eight for 2024. 

Click the link below to learn more about 2023 elections.  

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