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Amee LaTour

Amee LaTour is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at amee.latour@ballotpedia.org

Top Nashville mayoral candidates meet in first televised debate

The four top candidates in Nashville’s mayoral election appeared in the race’s first televised debate on June 25. Incumbent Mayor David Briley, state Rep. John Clemmons (D), City Councilman John Cooper, retired professor Carol Swain, and six other candidates are running in the August 1 general election.
 
The candidates discussed property taxes, economic incentives for businesses, infrastructure, affordable housing, juvenile crime rates, and the state of the city’s public schools, among other issues.
 
Some highlights from the debate included the following:
  • Briley and Cooper spoke about their opposition to a revenue plan that included a property tax increase. The plan was voted down by the city council recently. Swain also opposed the increase, while Clemmons said the increase was needed to fund schools.
  • Briley highlighted his affordable housing plan, which will commit $500 million toward units over the next 10 years. Clemmons said Briley has not treated the affordable housing issue as a crisis and that, as mayor, he would put money into a housing fund and create a land bank, among other efforts. Swain said her plan focuses on those earning $50,000 or less a year and using city-owned land for affordable housing construction. Cooper said his background in real estate equipped him to address the issue and criticized Briley’s plan, saying it doesn’t offer a good return on investment.
Last week, Clemmons was endorsed by the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association PAC. The Nashville Education Association supported the proposed property tax increase that was rejected by the council and supported by Clemmons. This week, Briley received the Nashville Business Coalition’s endorsement, and Cooper was backed by the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police.
 
A runoff election will be held September 12 if no candidate receives a majority of the vote August 1. Briley assumed office in March 2018 upon his predecessor Megan Barry’s resignation and won a special election to complete her term in May 2018.
 


Former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak becomes 25th notable Democratic candidate

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

June 24, 2019: On Sunday, former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Penn.) announced he is running for president, becoming the 25th notable Democratic candidate. Twenty-two Democratic candidates spoke at the South Carolina Democratic Convention Saturday.

There are three new candidates running since last week, including two Democrats (Sestak has not yet officially filed with the Federal Election Commission, so he’s not included). Six individuals are no longer filed as candidates with the FEC, including three Democrats. In total, 748 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Day

“A divided vote among black Democrats, who represent 60 percent of the primary electorate in this state [South Carolina], could profoundly transform the race, leading to a drawn-out and more brutal fight for the nomination. The race could go on well past South Carolina and Super Tuesday, which are just three days apart next year and will offer the best test of candidate strength with voters of color.” 

— Jonathan Martin and Astead W. Herndon, The New York Times

Democrats

  • Twenty-two notable Democratic candidates (all but Steve Bullock and Mike Gravelspoke at the South Carolina Democratic Convention Saturday. This was a record-breaking number of presidential candidates speaking at the state party’s convention, The Greenville News reported.
  • Twenty candidates attended a forum hosted by Planned Parenthood Saturday. Eight candidates—Pete ButtigiegJulián CastroJohn HickenlooperAmy KlobucharBeto O’RourkeBernie SandersEric Swalwell, and Elizabeth Warrenparticipated in a National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) forum Friday.
  • Michael Bennet and a group of other senators introduced a bill called the Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act of 2019 that would allow the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program to provide meals that can be eaten off-site and create an option to give parents $30 per child per summer month to buy eligible food items.
  • Joe Biden was endorsed by the Iowa Professional Fire Fighters union for the 2020 Iowa caucuses.
  • On ABC’s This Week SundayCory Booker said Trump has no strategy on Iran. Booker said that, if elected president, he would strengthen relationships with U.S. allies to denuclearize Iran.
  • Bullock campaigned in New Hampshire this weekend.
  • On Sunday, Buttigieg held a town hall in South Bend, Indiana, with police chief Scott Ruszkowski, where they responded to residents’ questions related to an officer-involved shooting that occurred June 16.
  • Castro referred to a Trump tweet saying he called off a military strike against Iran 10 minutes before it was set to happen, and to Trump delaying raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement over the weekend, as “bull**** politics.” Castro said Trump is “a political conman.”
  • John Delaney spoke about his candidacy on CBSN’s Red & Blue Friday.
  • Tulsi Gabbard discussed “ending wasteful regime change wars” as her priority on NBC’s Nightly News.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak.) on Friday introduced a bill called the Summer Meals Act of 2019 that would expand eligibility for the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program and provide transportation for children to meal sites.
  • Related to an officer-involved shooting in South Bend, Indiana, Mike Gravel tweeted, “The media has given Buttigieg a pass on a lackluster record in South Bend that shows him to be more concerned about public acclaim than the lives of average people. Why the pass? Because he’s an articulate white kid with all the right credentials. His constituents know the truth.”
  • Kamala Harris on CBS’ Face the Nation criticized Trump’s approach to Iran and said the U.S. should re-enter the Iran nuclear deal. She also discussed tensions within the Democratic Party over whether to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump.
  • Hickenlooper said at Friday’s NALEO forum that people living in the country without legal permission should be given 10-year visas.
  • Jay Inslee is in Everglades Holiday Park in Florida today, where his campaign said he’ll make a major policy announcement.
  • Wayne Messam was interviewed on Caribbean Riddims, a South Florida radio show.
  • Seth Moulton criticized Trump’s Iran strategy. Moulton said if he were president, he would “respond to Iran by turning off the power in the grid in the southern part of the country where the Iranian missile system is based,” Roll Call reported.
  • Politico reported that O’Rourke hired Carmel Martin as his national policy director. Martin served as policy adviser to John Kerry’s and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns; she has also worked for the Department of Education and the Center for American Progress.
  • Tim Ryan on MSNBC’s Saturday Night Politics discussed the upcoming Democratic debate, the economy, and Iran. He criticized Trump for withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.
  • Sanders said at Friday’s NALEO forum that his Medicare for All plan would include healthcare for people in the country without legal permission.
  • Joe Sestak announced he is running for president. In his announcement video, Sestak said, “We must convene the world for two primary objectives: Putting a brake on climate change and putting an end to an illiberal world order’s injustices.”
  • Warren published a post on Medium outlining her plan to ban private prisons and detention facilities.
  • New York Magazine published a profile of Marianne Williamson.
  • Andrew Yang talked about his support for a universal basic income and his opposition to private prisons and cash bail with Al Sharpton on MSNBC.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump said Friday that he called off a military strike on Iran that he had approved Thursday night in response to a U.S. drone having been shot down in Iranian airspace last week. He cited concerns over casualties as the reason for calling off the strike. Saturday, Trump announced he would delay Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in 10 major cities for two weeks to give Congress more time to develop a solution.
  • Bill Weld spoke at the New Hampshire Free State Project’s Porcfest event and attended Portsmouth PRIDE events in New Hampshire Saturday.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: June 24, 2015

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) announced his candidacy for president, bringing the 2016 Republican primary field to 13 notable candidates.

 



Early TV ads released in Louisiana governor’s race

The group Rebuild Louisiana began airing a 30-second TV ad Monday praising Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) for “work[ing] with Republicans and Democrats to pass Louisiana’s first teacher pay raise in a decade.” On June 13, the group released a 1-minute ad featuring Edwards speaking in support of a revenue plan that fell six votes short of passing the legislature earlier this month.
 
Rebuild Louisiana “is registered as a 501(c)4 group with the IRS, meaning it is a nonprofit that can publicize a candidate’s achievements without expressly asking the public to vote for the candidate,” The Advocate reported, saying the group “is allowed to coordinate its activities with the Edwards re-election campaign.”
 
Louisiana’s top-two primary election takes place October 12, 2019. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary, a general election will take place November 16. The filing deadline is August 8. So far, Edwards has two challengers: U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R) and businessman Eddie Rispone (R). The three candidates have all released digital campaign ads, and the Republican Governors Association has released digital ads opposing Edwards.
 
Edwards is the only Democratic governor among the southernmost states, and he is the only Democrat holding statewide office in Louisiana. Both the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) and the Republican Governors Association (RGA) have said their parties are in a favorable position to win the gubernatorial election.
 
DGA spokesman Jared Leopold said, “Gov. Edwards is in a strong position for re-election and is one of the most popular governors in America for a reason: He’s working across party lines to get things done for Louisianans.” The DGA has pointed to Edwards’ role in expanding Medicaid in the state and referred to the state’s economic performance as accomplishments of Edwards’ tenure.
 
The RGA has called Louisiana a “top pick-up opportunity for Republicans” in 2019. “With the state’s solid red hue combined with President Trump’s 20-point victory in 2016, Gov. Edwards will certainly face a competitive race no matter who Republicans decide to nominate,” said Jon Thompson, RGA spokesperson. The Louisiana Republican Party has criticized Edwards by saying that economic growth has been slow during his tenure while taxes have increased.
 


Several Democratic candidates criticize Biden over comments on past Senate civility

 

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

June 20, 2019: Several Democratic candidates criticized Joe Biden’s (D) comments on civility in referencing two former Senate colleagues who opposed desegregation efforts. The chairwoman of the RNC stated that Donald Trump (R) raised $24.8 million toward his reelection in one day.
        

Notable Quotes of the Day

“Establishment and moderate Democrats haven’t necessarily been won over to [Elizabeth] Warren’s camp yet — many still point to former Vice President Joe Biden as their preferred candidate. But the tensions that once marked Warren’s relationship with moderate Democrats have begun to dissipate as she methodically lays out her agenda and shows a folksier, more accessible side that wasn’t always apparent in her role as a blue-state senator and progressive icon.”

—Natasha Korecki and Charlie Mahtesian, Politico

“[T]he starkest apparent point of contrast [between Warren and Bernie Sanders] lies in how the two candidates describe themselves ideologically. Sanders calls himself a socialist; Elizabeth Warren identifies as a capitalist. The two ideologies, as traditionally conceived, are, on paper, diametrically opposed. You either believe that the productive constituent parts of the economy should be controlled by workers themselves or the state or you do not.”

—Osita Nwanevu, The New Yorker

Democrats

  • Politico published a piece on Michael Bennet‘s proposals to reform lobbying, campaign finance, and redistricting and his support for ranked choice voting.
  • On Wednesday, several Democratic candidates criticized Joe Biden for remarks he made about civility in the Senate during his time in the chamber. Biden said he worked with former Sens. James Eastland (D-Miss.) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.), with whom he often disagreed, to get things done. Bill de BlasioCory BookerKamala HarrisBernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren criticized Biden for mentioning his work with the former senators, who opposed desegregation efforts. Biden responded, “There’s not a racist bone in my body. I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career. Period.”
  • Peter Ward, president of the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, said the union planned to launch ad campaigns in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina supporting Bill de Blasio.
  • Booker added four new members to his South Carolina campaign staff.
  • New Hampshire TV station WMUR9 announced that Steve Bullock will participate in an interview on CloseUp Sunday morning.
  • Pete Buttigieg appeared on local station WNDU to discuss an officer-involved shooting in South Bend, Indiana, that took place Sunday. Buttigieg canceled campaign events this week to remain in South Bend following the shooting.
  • Julián Castro released the final part of his three-part housing plan, saying the plan—called “People First Housing”—would “help more families realize the dream of homeownership and…boost oversight of Wall Street’s housing practices to ensure more families can stay in their homes.”
  • In a CNN interviewJohn Delaney criticized Trump by saying he is invoking executive privilege to stonewall an investigation by Congress.
  • WMUR9 reported that Kirsten Gillibrand will campaign in all 10 New Hampshire counties from July 3-9. This would be the longest visit to the “first-in-the-nation” primary state by any candidate thus far, according to WMUR.
  • Mike Gravel published a piece on Mondoweiss—a website featuring news and commentary on Palestine, Israel, and the U.S.—entitled, “The two-state solution is dead. Let us take the obvious and humane path forward.”
  • Harris introduced a bill in the Senate called the 21st Century SKILLS Act, which would fund workforce training for eligible Americans at amounts of $4,000 to $8,000 depending on employment status and income level.
  • John Hickenlooper discussed socialism, gun policy, and climate change in an interview on MSNBC.
  • Jay Inslee discussed his support for paid family leave at a roundtable at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.
  • Amy Klobuchar talked about mental health care and addiction treatment on NBC’s Nightly News.
  • Seth Moulton participated in the High School Democrats of America’s monthly committee call Wednesday.
  • Beto O’Rourke published a piece entitled, “From Juneteenth to today, Americans are still on the march for justice” in USA Today.
  • Sanders commented on a Politico article entitled “Warren emerges as potential compromise nominee” with the following tweet: “The cat is out of the bag. The corporate wing of the Democratic Party is publicly ‘anybody but Bernie.'”
  • Eric Swalwell is meeting with the Alabama Young Democrats in Birmingham today.
  • Warren said in a statement shared with The Washington Post that she was open to decriminalizing sex work.
  • Marianne Williamson said on ABC News’ Start Here podcast that she supports reparations over other policies because “[i]t is an inherent acknowledgement of a wrong that has been done, of a debt that is owed, and a willingness to pay it.”
  • Andrew Yang discussed automation, technology, and the economy on Boston’s WBUR show Here & Now, saying, “I want to become the next president to start solving the problems that got Donald Trump elected in 2016.”

Republicans

  • Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel stated that Donald Trump raised $24.8 million toward his reelection in less than 24 hours amid his official campaign kickoff Tuesday. Trump raised $30.3 million during the firstquarter of the year, from January 1 through the end of March.
  • New Hampshire TV station WMUR9 announced that Bill Weld will participate in an interview on CloseUp Sunday morning.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: June 20, 2015

Several Republican primary candidates commented on whether the Confederate flag should be removed from outside the South Carolina Statehouse three days after the shooting deaths of nine African Americans by a white gunman at a church in Charleston. The Associated Press published the following statements:  

Jeb Bush: “In Florida we acted, moving the flag from the state grounds to a museum where it belonged.”  

Scott Walker: “I think they’re going to have a good, healthy debate—and should have a healthy debate in South Carolina amongst officials at the state level.”

Lindsey Graham said the flag “is a part of who we are” and was open to discussion about whether to use it.

Carly Fiorina said the flag symbolized racial hatred but did not call for its removal, saying, “personal opinion is not what’s relevant here.”

Ted Cruz said South Carolina didn’t need “people from outside of the state coming in and dictating how they should resolve it.”



State Rep. Eric Johnson will be the next mayor of Dallas, Texas

State Rep. Eric Johnson defeated City Councilmember Scott Griggs in the runoff election for Dallas mayor on Saturday. Johnson received 56 percent of the vote to Griggs’ 44 percent.

Johnson has been a member of the Texas House of Representatives since 2010. Griggs has served on the Dallas City Council since 2011. The candidates campaigned on who was best equipped to build consensus on the city council, each referring to their respective legislative experience.

Dallas uses a council-manager form of government in which the mayor serves as a member of the city council along with 14 elected council members. The council appoints a chief executive called a city manager to oversee day-to-day municipal operations. The mayor appoints city council committee members and chairs, determines what policy-related agenda items will be considered by the council, and makes policy and budget recommendations.

Johnson’s endorsers included incumbent Mayor Mike Rawlings, a number of Republican and Democratic state representatives, and The Dallas Morning News editorial board. Griggs was backed by the Dallas Fire Fighters Association, the Dallas Police Association, and several organizations, including the Sierra Club and the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

Rawlings, in office since 2011, was prevented by term limits from seeking re-election in 2019. Although elections for the office are nonpartisan, Rawlings and Johnson are both Democrats.

Dallas is the ninth-largest city in the U.S., with a population of 1.3 million. Mayors serve four-year terms.



Preview of June 8 mayoral runoff elections in Dallas and San Antonio

On June 8, Dallas and San Antonio, Texas—two of the 10 largest cities by population in the country—will hold runoff elections for mayor. Dallas’ runoff is for an open seat, while San Antonio’s incumbent mayor is seeking re-election.
 
In Dallas, the race is between City Councilmember Scott Griggs and state Rep. Eric Johnson, who were among nine candidates on the May 4 general election ballot. Griggs has served on the Dallas City Council since 2011 and Johnson in the state House since 2010.
 
The candidates have referred to their respective legislative experience as evidence of their ability to build consensus among members of the city council, on which the mayor of Dallas serves.
 
Griggs has the backing of the Dallas Fire Fighters Association and the Dallas Police Association, in addition to environmental and LGBT organizations. Johnson’s endorsers include incumbent Mayor Mike Rawlings, Democratic and Republican state representatives, and The Dallas Morning News editorial board.
 
San Antonio‘s mayoral runoff election features incumbent Ron Nirenberg and City Councilmember Greg Brockhouse, each of whom received more than 45 percent of the vote in the nine-candidate general election field. Nirenberg has been in office since 2017 when he defeated Mayor Ivy Taylor. He served four years on the city council before winning election as mayor. Brockhouse was first elected to the city council in 2017. Before that, he worked as a political consultant.
 
Nirenberg supported and Brockhouse opposed a proposal to make San Antonio carbon-neutral by 2050 and a measure denying Chick-Fil-A a permit to operate in the municipal airport. Brockhouse supported and Nirenberg opposed a 2018 ballot measure that gave firefighters binding arbitration power in contract negotiations.
 
Nirenberg’s backers include the San Antonio AFL-CIO and the Texas Democratic Party, while Brockhouse has support from the San Antonio Police Officers Association and the San Antonio Professional Firefighters.
 
Both Dallas and San Antonio use council-manager forms of government, meaning the mayor serves as a member of the city council and helps select a city manager to serve as chief executive officer of the city. Dallas mayors serve four-year terms and San Anontio mayors, two-year terms. Elections for mayor in both cities are nonpartisan.
 
Click the links below to learn more about these two elections:
 


Early voting for Dallas runoff elections takes place from May 28 to June 4

Early voting for the June 8 runoff elections in Dallas, Texas, began on Tuesday, May 28. The final day of early voting is Tuesday, June 4. Nonpartisan runoff elections are being held for mayor and for city council districts 4, 7, 9, and 14.
 
District 1 City Councilman Scott Griggs and state Rep. Eric Johnson (D) are running in the mayoral race. Incumbent Mayor Mike Rawlings, in office since 2011, was prevented by term limits from seeking re-election. Griggs and Johnson say their respective experience on the council and in the state House equip them to build consensus on the city council.
 
Dallas uses a council-manager form of government in which the mayor serves as a member of the city council along with 14 elected council members. The council appoints a chief executive called a city manager to oversee day-to-day municipal operations. The mayor appoints city council committee members and chairs, determines what policy-related agenda items will be considered by the council, and makes policy and budget recommendations.
 
Griggs lists among his accomplishments on the city council his role in passing pay increases for police officers and economic growth in the neighborhood he represents. Johnson says he has a record of working across the aisle in the state House to increase affordable housing and for full-day pre-K.
 
Dallas is the ninth-largest city in the U.S., with a population of 1.3 million.
 
Additional reading:


Democratic and Republican delegate rules: Demystifying the presidential nominee selection process

The 2020 Democratic and Republican presidential nominees will be selected by delegates at each party’s national convention in the summer of 2020. Delegates are individuals chosen by various means to represent their state or territory at the conventions. Each party has a different number of delegates and different methods by which they are allocated to presidential primary candidates.
 
 
In 2020, the Democratic Party will have an estimated 4,532 delegates: 3,768 pledged delegates and 764 automatic delegates—more commonly known as superdelegates (who make up 16.9 percent of total delegates).
 
Pledged Democratic delegates are allocated proportionally based on the outcome of each state’s primary contest.
 
A rule change following the 2016 presidential election prohibits Democratic automatic delegates, who are not bound to vote based on states’ primary contests, from voting on the first ballot at the national convention, meaning they will only play a role in selecting the 2020 Democratic nominee if no candidate receives a majority of pledged delegates in the first round of voting.
 
The Republican Party will have an estimated 2,550 delegates: 2,440 pledged delegates and 110 unbound delegates (4.3 percent of total delegates). Republican pledged delegate allocation rules are largely set by state parties and state laws. States use a variety of methods to allocate Republican delegates, including winner-take-all, proportional, and hybrid methods.
 
A candidate from each party must win a majority of that party’s delegates to be named the nominee. Based on current estimates, a Democratic candidate must receive at least 1,885 delegates (or 2,267 if past the first convention ballot) and a Republican candidate must receive at least 1,276 delegates to become the parties’ presidential nominees.
 
For more information on delegate rules by party, including maps of delegate counts and allocation methods by state, charts showing percentages of pledged delegates awarded over time, and descriptions of different types of delegates, see our coverage below.
 


Former LAUSD board member Jackie Goldberg wins special election for District 5 LAUSD seat

Former Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board member Jackie Goldberg defeated former vice president of the Board of Public Works Commissioners Heather Repenning in a runoff election for the District 5 seat on the LAUSD Board of Education in California Tuesday night. Goldberg received 72 percent of the vote to Repenning’s 28 percent, according to unofficial results.
 
The district’s elections in 2017 flipped the LAUSD board from a 4-3 majority of members supported by United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) to a 4-3 majority of members supported by the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA). Former District 5 member Ref Rodriguez, who resigned in 2018 and whose seat was up for election, was a member of the latter group. Goldberg’s election returns the board to a majority of UTLA-backed members.
 
LAUSD is the second-largest school district in the United States and had 224 independently operated charter schools in 2017, more than any other school district in the nation.
 
In 2019, UTLA endorsed Goldberg, and the CCSA did not endorse a candidate. Both Goldberg and Repenning said they support holding charter schools to the same standards as public schools, but they differed in the degree of emphasis they placed on charter school policy and other issues in their campaigns. Goldberg made charter school accountability a key plank of her campaign. Repenning described herself as a coalition builder and emphasized other issues.
 
In addition to UTLA, Goldberg’s endorsers included U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D) and the Los Angeles chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Repenning received endorsements from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 99, Mayor Eric Garcetti (D), and the Los Angeles Times editorial board, among others.
 
 


LAUSD special runoff election is Tuesday

Former LAUSD board member Jackie Goldberg and former vice president of the Board of Public Works Commissioners Heather Repenning face each other in a runoff election for the District 5 seat on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education in California next Tuesday.
 
In recent years, LAUSD elections have been characterized by divisions between union-backed candidates and charter school group-backed candidates. LAUSD (the second-largest district in the U.S.) had 224 independently operated charter schools in 2017, more than any other school district in the nation.
 
School board elections in 2017 flipped the LAUSD board from a 4-3 majority of members supported by United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) to a 4-3 majority of members supported by the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA). Former District 5 member Ref Rodriguez, who resigned in 2018, was a member of the latter group. His resignation left a 3-3 split.
 
In the 2019 special election, UTLA endorsed Jackie Goldberg, and the CCSA has not endorsed. Both Goldberg and Repenning say they support holding charter schools to the same standards as public schools. But they differ in the degree of emphasis they place on charter school policy and other issues in their campaigns. Goldberg has made charter school accountability a key plank of her campaign. Repenning has described herself as a coalition builder and has emphasized other issues.
 
Along with UTLA, Goldberg has been endorsed by U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D) and the Los Angeles chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Repenning’s backers include the Service Employees International Union Local 99, Mayor Eric Garcetti (D), and the Los Angeles Times editorial board.
 
The special election has drawn $2.8 million in satellite spending. A teacher’s union-sponsored satellite group has spent $1.3 million in support of Goldberg and an SIEU Local 99 group has spent $875,000 supporting Repenning.
 


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