Welcome to the Thursday, August 17, 2023, Brew.
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Eight candidates met the polling and fundraising thresholds for the first Republican presidential primary debate on Aug. 23
- Number of U.S. Senators not running for re-election tied with 2022. Number of House members not running less than 2022 and 2018, tied with 2020
- John Matsusaka discusses direct democracy and ballot measures in the latest episode of On The Ballot
Eight candidates met the polling and fundraising thresholds for the first Republican presidential primary debate on Aug. 23
The first Republican presidential primary debate will be held Aug. 23 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The debate will take place at Fiserv Forum, with Fox News, Young America’s Foundation, and Rumble set to sponsor the debate. The moderators with be Fox’s Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum.
As of Aug. 16, eight candidates had met the polling and fundraising thresholds necessary to participate in the debate. Those candidates are:
- North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum
- Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
- Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley
- Former Vice President Mike Pence
- Entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy
- South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott
- Former U.S. President Donald Trump
Candidates were required to receive at least 1% support in three national polls, or 1% support in two national and one early primary state poll. They also needed to receive contributions from 40,000 unique donors, with at least 200 donors in 20 different states or territories.
Candidates are also required to sign several pledges with the Republican National Committee, including an agreement to not participate in any debates the RNC doesn’t sponsor, to share data with the organization, and to support the eventual party nominee.
Burgum, DeSantis, Haley, Ramaswamy, and Scott have all signed the necessary pledges according to media reports and the campaigns themselves. Both Pence and Christie have said they are willing to sign the pledge. In an Aug. 10 interview with Newsmax, Trump said he did not intend to sign the loyalty pledge.
Trump has also implied he may not attend the first Republican debate, but there has been no official announcement from his campaign.
In 2015, 10 candidates qualified for the first Republican primary debate of the 2016 presidential election, held on Aug. 6 in Cleveland, Ohio. Debate sponsor Fox News announced the debate participants on Aug. 4 based on their placement in an average of five national polls Fox selected. The network invited the candidates who did not place in the top 10 to participate in a candidate forum that took place earlier on the same day as the debate.
In 2019, 20 candidates participated in the first Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential election. That debate was held over two nights on June 26 and 27 in Miami, Florida. Candidates had until June 12 to qualify. Under a rule the Democratic National Committee adopted in May 2019, the candidates were divided into two groups: those above and those below a polling average of 2%. The two groups were then randomly and equally divided between both nights of the debate to avoid one debate being classified as an undercard event.
We’ll be covering the Aug. 23 debate. Watch this page for in-depth summaries of where each candidate stands on the issues.
Number of U.S. Senators not running for re-election tied with 2022. Number of House members not running less than 2022 and 2018, tied with 2020
As of Aug. 15, 18 members of Congress—five Senators and 13 Representatives—have announced they will not seek re-election in 2024.
This includes 13 Democrats—four in the Senate and nine in the House—as well as five Republicans—U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and four House members.
The same number of U.S. Senators (five) had announced they were not running for re-election at this point in the 2022 election cycle. Four had announced at this point in the 2020 cycle. There were no announcements at this point in the 2018 season.
Seventeen House members had announced at this point in both the 2022 and the 2018 election cycles. The same number of U.S. House members (13) had announced they were not running for re-election at this point in the 2020 cycle.
Of the Senators not running for re-election, Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Tom Carper (D-Del.)—all Democrats—are retiring from public office. Braun is running for governor of Indiana.
Ten of the 13 U.S. House members not running for re-election—eight Democrats and two Republicans—are running for the U.S. Senate. Seven are running for the open seats in California, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, and Indiana, specifically:
- Reps. Barbara Lee (D), Katie Porter (D), and Adam Schiff (D) are running to replace Feinstein;
- Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D) is running to replace Carper;
- Rep. David Trone (D) is running to replace Cardin;
- Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D) is running to replace Stabenow; and,
- Rep. Jim Banks (R) is running to replace Braun.
And three other House members are challenging incumbent senators:
- Rep. Alex Mooney (R) is running against Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in West Virginia;
- Rep. Rubén Gallego (D) is running against Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I) in Arizona; and,
- Rep. Colin Allred (D) is running against Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in Texas.
Additionally, Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) is running for state attorney general in North Carolina.
Reps. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) and Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) are the only House incumbents to have announced their retirement from public office.
John Matsusaka discusses direct democracy and ballot measures in the latest episode of On The Ballot
In this week’s episode of On the Ballot, University of Southern California Professor John Matsusaka joins host Victoria Rose to talk about his research into direct democracy, ballot measures, and the laws governing the initiative process. An economist by training, Matsusaka is the president and executive director of the Initiative & Referendum Institute, an organization dedicated to the study of direct democracy.
In the episode, Matsusaka discusses some of the findings of his most recent paper, “Direct Democracy Backsliding?”, where he explores whether state lawmakers pose an increased threat to the initiative process. From 1960 to 2022, Matsusaka found that 62% of proposed anti-direct democracy amendments originated in Republican-controlled state legislatures, 17% in Democratic-controlled state legislatures, and 21% in divided legislatures.
Matsusaka also found there was a shift around 2000. Before 2000, about 50% of the amendments originated in Republican-controlled state legislatures, while about 25% originated in Democratic-controlled state legislatures, and 25% originated in divided legislatures. After 2000, Republicans continued proposing constitutional amendments, but the numbers decreased for Democratic-controlled state legislatures and divided legislatures.
Matsusaka’s paper was released in the same week as Ballotpedia’s analysis of the changes to laws governing ballot measures over the last five years. That analysis revealed a similar trend: between 2018 and 2023, Republican majorities enacted more laws to make the initiative process more difficult than Democratic majorities. In the episode, Matsusaka and our host discuss some of their theories about what might be behind this trend and whether there are any similarities in the instances where Democratic majorities have done the same.
Matsusaka also discusses what the defeat of Ohio Issue 1 might mean for similar efforts in the future, and goes over some of the topics most often addressed by anti-direct democracy measures, including signature requirements, vote requirements, subject matter restrictions, and the time period for gathering signatures.
If you’re interested in learning more, tune in! Episodes of On the Ballot come out Thursday afternoons, so if you’re reading this on the morning of August 17, you’ve still got time to subscribe to On the Ballot on your favorite podcast app before this week’s episode comes out!
Don’t miss out on the latest content! Click below to listen to older episodes and find links to where you can subscribe.