Ballotpedia Marquee team staff

Harris bulks up campaign in Iowa, reduces staff in Maryland

October 31, 2019: Kamala Harris is restructuring her campaign, sending more staffers to Iowa and reducing staff at her Maryland headquarters. Donald Trump ran a campaign ad during the final night of the World Series on Wednesday.

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

Notable Quote of the Day

“Last week, two polls painted two very different pictures of the state of the primary race. A CNN/SSRS poll put former Vice President Joe Biden 15 points ahead of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 34 percent to 19 percent, while a Quinnipiac University poll released a day later found Biden trailing Warren by 7 points, 21 to 28 percent. …

In short, the fact that they found such different outcomes isn’t that big a deal. As you can see in the chart below, once we control for house effects, the overall spread between polls since May isn’t actually all that large. In fact, the spread of values for both Biden and Warren fall within a range we might expect. So don’t read too much into those two polls. Turns out they’re just the kind of outliers we’d expect to see in this range of polls.”

– Laura Bronner, FiveThirtyEight





  • Bennet spoke about healthcare at the HLTH conference on Wednesday in Las Vegas.



  • Booker discussed gun buyback programs and civility in politics on The View Wednesday.



  • Tulsi Gabbard tweeted Wednesday she was preparing for Army National Guard duty. She also called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a “radical Islamist  megalomaniac who wants to establish a caliphate.”



  • Harris is restructuring her campaign, sending more staffers to Iowa and reducing staff at her Maryland headquarters. Her campaign manager, Juan Rodriguez, is also reducing his salary. Harris is planning to launch a seven-figure ad campaign before the Iowa caucuses.



  • Klobuchar begins her second bus tour of Iowa Thursday with an event in Des Moines.



  • Sanders is attending a forum hosted by Rights & Democracy, the New Hampshire Youth Movement, and People’s Action in New Hampshire Thursday. He is also filing to run in the state primary. 



  • Warren is expected to open her first California offices in Oakland and Los Angeles in November.





  • Yang is holding a Halloween Power Hour Thursday, where he will call 60 supporters in 60 minutes during a livestream.






  • Donald Trump ran a campaign ad during the final night of the World Series on Wednesday. “He’s no Mr. Nice Guy, but sometimes it takes a Donald Trump to change Washington,” the narrator says in the clip.


General Election Updates

  • Twitter announced Wednesday that it will no longer accept political advertising on its platform beginning Nov. 22.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: October 31, 2015

Donald Trump released his platform for veterans’ healthcare and employment services.

Twelve candidates compete in Houston’s mayoral election, one of 31 mayoral races in the country this year

Incumbent Sylvester Turner and eleven challengers will compete in the November 5, 2019, general election for mayor of Houston, Texas. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two general election candidates will participate in a runoff election on December 14, 2019.
Of the 11 candidates running against Turner, local media outlets have identified four major challengers: Dwight Boykins, Tony Buzbee, Bill King, and Sue Lovell. Policy debate in the race has centered on Turner’s record during his first term, especially regarding his handling of the city’s budget and allocation of resources.
Turner says his accomplishments in office include balancing the city’s budget, leading the recovery effort after Hurricane Harvey, reforming the city’s pension system, easing traffic congestion, filling potholes, creating jobs, and strengthening the economy.
Boykins and Lovell have criticized Turner for his opposition to Proposition B, a ballot referendum that voters approved in November 2018 requiring pay parity between firefighters and police officers. Boykins has proposed a zero-based city budget, saying it would allow Houston to prioritize spending on infrastructure, pay parity for firefighters, public safety, and trash pickup. Lovell says that she supports the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association and will make the government more efficient to improve public safety and infrastructure.
Buzbee and King both say corruption is creating inefficiency in Houston’s government. Buzbee has proposed third-party, independent financial audits, process audits, and zero-based budgeting to improve the efficiency and transparency of the city’s resource allocation. King has called for an overhaul of the city’s ethics rules and says he would regulate campaign contributions from companies that do business with Houston’s government.
Houston’s mayor serves as the city’s chief executive and is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors, and overseeing the city’s day-to-day operations. The mayor also presides over the city council and possesses voting privileges.
Thirty-one mayoral elections in the 100 largest cities are being held in 2019. In 20 of those cities, the pre-election incumbent is Democratic. Seven pre-election incumbents are Republican, three are independent, and the affiliation of one is unknown.

Trump appointed second-most federal judges through September 1 of a president’s third year

Donald Trump appointed and the Senate confirmed 146 Article III federal judges through September 1, 2019, his third year in office. This is the second-most Article III judicial appointments through this point in a presidency of all presidents dating back to Theodore Roosevelt. Only Bill Clinton, with 165 judicial appointments, had more.
The average number of federal judges appointed by a president through September 1 of their third year in office is 82.
The median number of Supreme Court justices appointed is two. William Taft’s (R) five appointments were the most among this set. Presidents Franklin Roosevelt (D), Jimmy Carter (D), and George W. Bush (R) did not appoint any justices through September 1 of their third years in office. Trump has appointed 2 justices so far.
The median number of United States Court of Appeals appointees is 18. Trump appointed the most with 43, and Presidents Theodore Roosevelt (R) and Woodrow Wilson (D) appointed the fewest with five each. Trump’s 43 appointments make up 24 percent of the total 179 judgeships across the courts of appeal.
The median number of United States District Court appointees is 56. Clinton appointed the most with 135, and T. Roosevelt appointed the fewest with 10. Trump has appointed 99 district court judges. Those appointments make up 15 percent of the 677 judgeships across the district courts.
Article III federal judges are appointed for life terms by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate per Article III of the United States Constitution. Article III judges include judges on the: Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. courts of appeal, U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade.

How has the United States acquired new territories?

Since the United States Constitution’s ratification in 1789, the country has grown from 864,746 square miles to 3,531,905 through territorial acquisitions.
According to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, the United States has employed three methods of territorial acquisition:
  • Cession refers to a transfer of land that is formally agreed upon by the acquiring and ceding state, usually by treaty.
  • purchase is a type of cession in which the acquiring nation agrees to financially compensate the ceding country for a territorial transfer.
  • Occupation refers to the appropriation of an area that lacks supreme control by another sovereign.
The U.S. also leased the Panama Canal Zone from 1903 to 1999.
The country’s first and largest territorial acquisition was the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 for $10 million; it nearly doubled the landmass of the original 13 states. In 1947, the Mariana Islands, Caroline Islands, and Marshall Islands became the United States’ most recent territorial acquisitions.
The cheapest acquisition by purchase was of Alaska for $12 per square mile. The most expensive acquisition by purchase was of the U.S. Virgin Islands for $183,824 per square mile.
The territories gained by the U.S. through occupation were primarily small islands in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The Guano Islands Act of 1856, which was designed to assist American farmers by making guano (dried sea bird excrement) easier to mine for use as fertilizer, authorized such occupations.
The United States currently controls five unincorporated, organized, inhabited territories: Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. The U.S. also controls nine minor outlying islands: Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Navassa Island, Johnston Atoll, Midway Islands, Palmyra Atoll, Wake Island, and Kingman Reef.

Cameron and Stumbo compete in Kentucky attorney general election, one of seven Kentucky state executive races this year

Daniel Cameron (R) and Gregory Stumbo (D) are running in the general election on November 5, 2019, for Attorney General of Kentucky. Cameron won the Republican primary election on May 21, while Stumbo ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Democrats have held Kentucky’s Attorney General office since 1952, but recent election history suggests that the race could be competitive. Pre-election incumbent Andy Beshear (D) defeated his opponent by a margin of 50.1% to 49.9% in 2015. Beshear is challenging Governor Matt Bevin (R) in Kentucky’s 2019 race for governor, leaving the attorney general election open. In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump (R) won Kentucky with 62.5 percent of the vote.
Cameron worked as a law clerk to Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, worked at a private firm in Louisville, and was legal counsel to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Stumbo’s experience includes 30 years in the Kentucky General Assembly and four years as the Attorney General of Kentucky from 2004-2008.
Heading into the election, Kentucky is one of 15 states under divided triplex control, meaning that its governor, attorney general, and secretary of state do not belong to the same political party. Either party could gain triplex control in 2019, as the attorney general election is occurring alongside Kentucky’s gubernatorial and secretary of state elections.
Three states are holding attorney general elections in 2019: Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Of those, Democrats hold two seats and Republicans hold one. Kentucky is also holding state executive elections for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, agriculture commissioner, auditor, and treasurer in 2019.

Trump has fourth-most federal judges, most appeals court judges confirmed at this stage of last 13 presidents

President Donald Trump made 104 Article III federal judicial appointments through May 15, 2019. How does that figure compare to other modern presidents at this stage of their terms?
We looked at the numbers from the last 13 presidents, dating back to Harry Truman.
Article III judges are lifetime appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court, a U.S. court of appeals, a U.S. district court, or the Court of International Trade. The breakdown of Article III judges is as follows:
  • Supreme Court of the United States: 9 justices
  • United States court of appeals: 179 judgeships
  • United States district court: 677 judgeships
  • United States Court of International Trade: 9 judgeships
The chart below shows the number of Article III judges confirmed by the U.S. Senate under each of the last 13 presidents on or before May 15 of their third years in office. The confirmations are broken up by court type.
Here are five takeaways from the above graph and other elements of the data:
  • Trump has made the fourth most Article III appointments through this point in his term. The three presidents who had more at this point were Bill Clinton (141), George W. Bush (124), and John F. Kennedy (116).
  • Trump has made the most appeals court appointments through this point, 39, which is 22 percent of the 179 appeals court judgeships. The next highest number of appointments at this point in a presidency was Richard Nixon (25) and George W. Bush (21).
  • Kennedy had 56 judges confirmed in the first year of his term, most among the group. Dwight Eisenhower had nine, the fewest. Trump’s 19 appointments in the first year of his presidency were eighth-most.
  • Trump has made the eighth-most district court appointments, 63, which is nine percent of the 677 district court judgeships. Clinton had made 118 such appointments, and George W. Bush had 100.
  • Trump inherited 108 Article III judicial vacancies when he was inaugurated. This represented 12.4 percent of the 870 Article III judicial posts. Among the last six presidents, only Clinton inherited more vacancies—111 of 842 positions, or 13.2 percent.
For more charts and to explore the raw data, visit our in-depth analysis at the link below.