Author

Avery Hill

Avery Hill is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org

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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Vacancy committee appoints Champion to Colorado House

On February 8, 2020, Richard Champion (R) was appointed by Republican Party leaders in Colorado House District 38 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former Colorado Rep. Susan Beckman (R). Champion was sworn in on Feb. 12 and his term will end on January 13, 2021.

Beckman resigned from the Colorado House to join President Donald Trump’s (R) administration. She became a regional director for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Before Champion was appointed to the Colorado House, he served as the Mayor of Columbine Valley, Colorado, and as one of the town’s trustees.

Vacancies in the Colorado state legislature are filled by vacancy committees consisting of members representing the political party that last held the seat. The person appointed serves the remainder of the resigning officeholder’s term.

Champion’s appointment to the Colorado House filled the last remaining vacancy in the Colorado General Assembly. Champion was the third legislator to be appointed to the Colorado General Assembly in 2020 and the seventh appointee since the 2018 general election.

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Democrats select Woodrow to fill vacancy in Colorado House

On February 4, 2020, Steven Woodrow (D) was appointed to fill the vacant District 6 seat in the Colorado House of Representatives. Vacancies in either chamber of the Colorado General Assembly are filled by a committee of members of the political party that last held the seat.

Woodrow’s appointment came after former Colorado representative Chris Hansen (D) resigned on January 21, 2020. Hansen resigned from the state House of Representatives to accept an appointment to the state Senate. Woodrow will complete the remainder of Hansen’s term, which runs until January 2021. All 65 Colorado House seats are up for election in 2020.

The Colorado House has one remaining vacancy, created by Susan Beckman’s (R) resignation to join President Donald Trump’s (R) administration as regional director for the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

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