ICYMI: Top stories of the week

A look at who is running this year’s presidential campaigns

With the first presidential primary debate behind us, let’s take a look at where our list of 2024 noteworthy presidential candidates stands and who runs their campaigns.

As of Aug. 24, we’ve identified 18 noteworthy presidential candidates—three Democrats and 15 Republicans. Ryan Binkley (R) and Perry Johnson (R) both made the list this month after their campaigns announced they had met the fundraising requirements for the presidential debate. Binkley announced his campaign back in April, and Johnson announced his campaign in March.

At this point in the 2016 cycle, there were 22 noteworthy presidential candidates—five Democrats and 17 Republicans. At this point in the 2020 cycle, there were 28—26 Democrats and two Republicans. 

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Virginia Senate battleground elections to watch

On Nov. 7, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia will hold state legislative elections. Control of the Virginia state Senate is likely to be determined by what happens in the battleground seats. 

We’ve identified eight battleground districts in the Virginia Senate based on media coverage and race forecasts. Of the eight battleground districts, Democrats and Republicans currently represent four each. Incumbents are running in four of these races, while the other four are in open districts, meaning no incumbents are running. 

Our battleground designations rely, in part, on election forecasts from two nonpartisan organizations—CNalysis and the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP). 

Democrats currently have a 22-18 majority in the chamber, which holds elections every four years. Ten incumbents did not seek re-election in 2023. This was the largest number of retirements since 2011, and a 113% increase from the average of 4.7 retirements per cycle between 2011 and 2019.

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November elections to determine six state financial officers

This year’s elections in Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia will determine who controls six state financial officerships (SFOs) across those states.

Before we dig into these races, let’s catch up about what SFOs are and why they matter. 

SFOs include treasurers, auditors, and controllers. Broadly, these officials are responsible for things like auditing other government offices, managing payroll, and overseeing pensions. In some states, certain SFOs are also responsible for investing state retirement and trust funds.

Voters will directly elect five SFOs across three states. Republicans currently control all five offices.

In Kentucky, voters will elect a new treasurer and auditor, as both positions are open. Incumbent Treasurer Allison Ball (R) is running for auditor. Incumbent Auditor Mike Harmon (R) ran in this year’s Republican gubernatorial primary, where he placed fifth in the 12-candidate field.

In Louisiana, voters will similarly fill an open treasurer’s office. Incumbent Treasurer John Schroder (R) is running in the state’s Oct. 14 gubernatorial primary.

In Mississippi, incumbents David McRae (R) and Shad White (R) are running for re-election as treasurer and auditor, respectively.

The major parties have candidates in all five elections, meaning at least one Democrat and one Republican are running.

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