Avery Hill

Avery Hill is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at

New York State Senate minority leader announces he won’t seek re-election

New York State Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan announced March 25 he would not seek re-election. Flanagan is the seventh Republican state senator to announce their retirement since Democrats took control of the Senate in 2018.

Flanagan previously served as Senate president and Senate majority leader. He has represented New York State Senate District 2 since 2003 after representing state Assembly District 9 from 1987 to 2003. His current term ends on December 31, 2020.

Flanagan released a statement regarding his retirement which said, “For almost thirty-four years I have enjoyed the privilege, honor and distinction of serving as an elected official in the New York State Legislature. The opportunity to serve the public for virtually all of my adult life has enriched every aspect of my life, and so it is with a heavy but extremely proud heart that I announce today that I will not be seeking re-election to the New York State Senate.”

Elections for all 63 seats in the New York State Senate will take place in 2020. The general election will be held on November 3, 2020. A primary is scheduled for June 23, 2020, and the filing deadline is April 2, 2020.

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Washington lieutenant governor will not seek re-election

Washington Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib (D) announced on March 19 that he will not seek re-election and instead leave politics to join the Society of Jesus, a religious order within the Roman Catholic Church.

Habib was elected to the Washington House of Representatives in 2012 and the state Senate in 2014. He was elected lieutenant governor on November 8, 2016.

The Lieutenant Governor of Washington is the second-ranking officer of the state and separately elected from the Governor. Washington’s lieutenant governor is up for regular election on November 3, 2020, with a top-two primary scheduled for August 4. The filing deadline to run is May 15.

Ballotpedia is covering the Washington lieutenant gubernatorial election here.

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Washington lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2020
Joseph Brumbles
Mark Greene

Alaska Rep. LeDoux charged with voter misconduct

Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson (R) announced on March 13 that three charges of voter misconduct and seven counts of second-degree unlawful interference with voting were filed against Alaska state representative Gabrielle LeDoux (R). LeDoux’s former aide Lisa Simpson faces charges of voter misconduct as well.

LeDoux responded to these allegations stating, “because this is a pending legal matter, I cannot comment about the details other than to state that I am innocent of all charges and look forward to clearing my name in a court of law.”

The charges are the result of a 2018 Alaska Division of Elections investigation into irregularities in the House District 15 primary election. LeDoux won the Republican primary by 117 votes against challenger Aaron Weaver (R).

All 40 seats in the Alaska House of Representatives are up for election in 2020. LeDoux has represented Alaska House District 15 since 2012 and faces Republican David Nelson (R) in the August 18 primary. On February 17, 2020, the District 15 Republican Convention formally withdrew their support for LeDoux and stated they would support Nelson’s campaign for the seat. The filing deadline for these offices is June 1, 2020.

Ballotpedia is covering the Alaska House of Representatives elections here.

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David Nelson (Alaska)
Alaska House of Representatives District 15
Alaska House of Representatives elections, 2020

Former Rep. Hunter sentenced to 11 months in prison

Former Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) was sentenced on March 17 to 11 months in prison for using campaign funds for personal expenses.

The United States Justice Department began an investigation into the potential misuse of campaign funds by Hunter in March 2017. The House Ethics Committee alleged that Hunter “may have converted tens of thousands of dollars of campaign funds from his congressional campaign committee to personal use to pay for family travel, flights, utilities, health care, school uniforms and tuition, jewelry, groceries, and other goods, services, and expenses.”

In June 2019, Hunter’s wife pleaded guilty to knowingly and willingly using campaign funds with her husband for their family’s benefit, agreeing to cooperate with federal prosecutors. Federal prosecutors accused Hunter of using campaign funds for extramarital affairs with five women, including an aide. Hunter pleaded guilty to using $200,000 of campaign funds for personal expenses on December 3, 2019.

Hunter announced that he would resign from the U.S. House on December 6, 2019. He submitted his letter of resignation to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on January 7, 2020.

California’s 50th Congressional District remains vacant. The seat will be filled in January 2021 following the regular election set to take place on November 3. Ammar Campa-Najjar (D) and Darrell Issa (R) advanced from the district’s top-two primary on March 3.

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South Dakota governor selects new chief of staff

On March 3, 2020, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) appointed Tony Venhuizen to serve as her chief of staff. Venhuizen is Gov. Noem’s third chief of staff in the past year. He succeeds former chief of staff Joshua Shields, who stepped down on January 1, 2020, and Herb Jones, who resigned on October 1, 2019.

A chief of staff is the lead staff member of an executive administration and is responsible for implementing the governor’s agenda. The role is both a managerial and advisory position, although specific duties vary by each administration. Typically, the gubernatorial chief of staff manages the Governor’s schedule, assists in forming and implementing a policy agenda, and oversees the governor’s staff.

Since 2017, Ballotpedia has aimed to identify and curate profiles on the chief of staff to each governor. To view a list of all gubernatorial chiefs of staff, click here.

Governor Ducey appoints Corieri to Arizona Director of Insurance

On February 14, 2020, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) appointed Christina Corieri (R) to serve as the Interim Director of Arizona’s Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions. Corieri filled the vacancy created by Keith Schraad’s (R) resignation on February 12, 2020.

Schraad resigned from the Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions to take a job in the private sector. Schraad served as the Department of Insurance’s director for two years before his resignation.

The director oversees the Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions, the agency charged with enforcing state insurance regulations. The department licenses insurance companies to operate within the state and collects various financial filings and reports from them. It makes specific rules based on regulations passed by the state legislature and, with the cooperation of the attorney general, enforces them. The department also interacts with consumers through its education and outreach initiatives.

Before her appointment to lead the Department of Insurance, Corieri served as a senior policy advisor for Gov. Ducey. She has also served as the health and human services policy advisor for Gov. Ducey, chief of staff for Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, and as a health and policy analyst for the Goldwater Institute.

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Keith Schraad
Arizona Director of Insurance

Ostlie appointed to fill vacancy in North Dakota House of Representatives

Photo creditAcroterion

On February 19, 2020, Mitch Ostlie (R) was appointed by the North Dakota District 12 Republican Executive Committee to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former State Rep. Jim Grueneich (R). Ostlie will serve for the remainder of Grueneich’s term, set to end at the end of the year.

Grueneich resigned from the North Dakota House on February 11, 2020, after he moved outside of the district. Grueneich is running to represent North Dakota House of Representatives District 28—the district that encompasses his new home—in 2020. Grueneich was first elected tot he North Dakota House of Representatives in 2016.

Oslie’s appointment to the North Dakota House filled the Assembly’s only vacancy. Ostlie has said he will run in the district’s regular elections in 2020. The primary for that race is June 9 and the general election will take place Nov. 3.

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North Dakota House of Representatives District 12
North Dakota House of Representatives
North Dakota elections, 2020

Gilbert City Council member appointed Maricopa County Assessor

On February 19, 2020, Gilbert City Council member Eddie Cook (R) resigned to accept an appointment to become the Maricopa County Assessor. Cook replaces Paul Petersen, who resigned in January.

A county assessor is a public official responsible for determining the value of properties for tax purposes. As county assessor, Cook will organize regular evaluations of properties throughout Maricopa County and use those evaluations to calculate property tax obligations for residents and businesses. County assessors also maintain property records, deeds, and other documents related to county properties.

Cook’s appointment comes after former assessor Paul Petersen (R) resigned on January 7, 2020. Petersen resigned after being indicted in connection with an adoption fraud on October 8, 2019. The 32-count indictment alleged conspiracy, theft, forgery and 29 counts of fraudulent schemes, according to AZ Central. Petersen’s attorneys released a statement asserting his innocence.

A special election will be held to fill the vacancy created by Cook’s resignation. The winner of that election will serve out the remainder of Cook’s term on the Gilbert City Council, which is set to end in January 2021.

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Vermont state representative resigns

On February 14, 2020, Vermont State Representative Matt Trieber (D) resigned from the state House after representing the Windham-3 District for nine years. Trieber stepped down to focus on his job as a youth student counselor.

In Vermont, state employees elected to serve in the legislature must take an unpaid leave of absence from their employment during legislative sessions. Trieber recently became a full-time employee for the state of Vermont and would have been required to take a leave of absence during Vermont’s five-month-long legislative session.

Vacancies in the Vermont state legislature are filled by the governor. The person appointed serves the remainder of the resigning officeholder’s term. Local Democratic Party leaders will forward suggested appointees to Gov. Phil Scott (R). There are no deadlines set by statute on when this vacancy has to be filled.

Trieber previously served as a selectboard member in Rockingham, Vermont. Before becoming an elected official, Trieber was an environmental consultant with Atkinson Street Environmental in Bellows Falls, Vermont.

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Wisconsin Governor appoints White to Court of Appeals


On January 16, 2020, Judge Maxine White was appointed to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, District 1, by Governor Tony Evers (D) to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former judge Joan Kessler. White took her seat on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals on February 7, 2020. She will serve the remainder of Evers term, which ends on July 31, 2021.

Before White was appointed to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, she served as the chief judge of Wisconsin’s First Judicial District and as presiding judge of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court’s Family Division. Before becoming a judge, White served as a legal advisor for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and as a manager for the Social Security Administration.

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals is the state’s intermediate appellate court. The court is composed of 16 judges from four districts. Selection of state court judges in Wisconsin occurs through nonpartisan elections. In the event of a midterm vacancy, the governor appoints a replacement.

Three Wisconsin Court of Appeals justices’ seats are up for election in 2020. A nonpartisan election is scheduled for April 7, 2020.

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