Author

Cory Eucalitto

Cory Eucalitto is a managing editor at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Heart of the Primaries 2020, Republicans-Issue 29 (August 5, 2020)

This week: Jake LaTurner defeats incumbent Rep. Steve Watkins, Marshall wins Kansas Senate nomination over Kobach, Hamilton, and Collins launches TV ad against Loeffler in Georgia.

Election results

Here are some key primary results from Aug. 4.

  • United States Senate, Kansas: Roger Marshall defeated Kris Kobach, Bob Hamilton, and eight others. Marshall received 40% of the vote followed by Kobach and Hamilton with 26% and 19%, respectively. No other candidate received over 10% of the vote. Incumbent Pat Roberts (R), who was first elected in 1996, is not seeking re-election. The last time Kansas had an open Senate seat was in 2010.
  • Kansas’ 1st Congressional District: Tracey Mann won. He received 54% of the vote to Bill Clifford’s 33%. Incumbent Rep. Roger Marshall (R) is running for U.S. Senate, leaving this safe Republican seat open. 
  • Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District: Jake LaTurner won with 49% of the vote to incumbent Steve Watkins’ 34% and Dennis Taylor’s 17%. Watkins and William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) were the sixth and seventh incumbent representatives defeated in a primary in 2020. Watkins was first elected in 2018, defeating Paul Davis (D) by less than 1 percentage point. 
  • On July 14, Watkins was charged with voter fraud, having used the address of a UPS store on his voter registration form. Watkins said he mistakenly used his mailing address instead of his residential address and that the charges were politically motivated. 
  • Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District: Amanda Adkins won with 31% of the vote, defeating Sara Hart Weir (23%) and Adrienne Vallejo Foster (20%). Adkins will face incumbent Sharice Davids (D) and Steve Hohe (L) in the general. Davids was first elected in 2018 after challenging and defeating incumbent Kevin Yoder (R), who had represented the 3rd District since 2011. 
  • Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District: Peter Meijer won with 50% of the vote and 51% of precincts reporting. Lynn Afendoulis received 26% and Tom Norton received 16%. The seat was left open after incumbent Justin Amash joined the Libertarian Party and decided not to pursue a third-party candidacy. 
  • Michigan’s 10th Congressional District: With 80% of precincts reporting, Lisa McClain led with 41% of the vote, followed by Shane Hernandez with 38% and Doug Slocum with 21%. Incumbent Paul Mitchell (R) did not seek re-election, leaving this safe Republican seat open. 
  • Missouri governor: Incumbent Mike Parson won the primary with 75% of the vote. Four candidates ran. 
  • Washington governor, top-two primary: Incumbent Jay Inslee (D) and Loren Culp (R) were the top two finishers among a field of 36 candidates and will compete in the general election. With half of precincts reporting, Inslee received 52% of the vote and Culp received 17%.
  • United States Senate, Arizona: Incumbent Martha McSally won with 76% of the vote, followed by Daniel McCarthy with 24%. Sean Lyons, a write-in candidate, also ran. As of 9:55 a.m. Eastern Time, write-in vote totals had not yet been reported. McSally will face Mark Kelly (D) in the general election. Both candidates have raised over $40 million for their respective campaigns as of mid-July.
  • Kansas State Senate: Ten Republican incumbents faced primary challengers. Six incumbents were defeated, three won, and one race remains too close to call. High Plains Public Radio reported that “Control of the Kansas Legislature could turn on dozens of down-ballot races … in which many of the contests … pit conservative Republicans against moderate incumbents.”
  • Arizona State Senate: Wendy Rogers defeated incumbent Sylvia Allen in Senate District 6. Rogers received 59% of the vote to Allen’s 41%. We covered this primary on July 29 after Allen received an endorsement from the Gila County GOP, which does not usually weigh in on primaries. Both candidates were opposed and supported by satellite spending totaling over $300,000.
  • Sheriff, Maricopa County, Arizona: Jerry Sheridan leads former Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the Republican primary, 37% to 36%. Arpaio lost his 2016 re-election bid to Democrat and current incumbent Paul Penzone. Sheridan was chief deputy under Arpaio. In July 2017, Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt when a judge ruled that he had violated a court order requiring him to stop detaining people suspected of being in the country illegally without reasonable suspicion that they had committed a crime. In August 2017, President Donald Trump (R) pardoned Arpaio.

On the news

Where do Republican and conservative pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

On voting by mail

“We have also seen that voting by mail can slow the counting of votes. Particularly in close races, this sometimes makes it impossible to declare a result on election night. Occasionally, as some primary races have shown us this year, it can take days or even weeks. But the fact that results take longer does not mean those results are tainted. The work of counting mail-in votes, and especially of verifying signatures and resolving disputes, can take time, but this is precisely the work of assuring that results are legitimate and reliable.

“It’s essential that public officials help the American public understand this in advance of the fall election, to help voters see that the fact that results may not be available within hours doesn’t mean the results aren’t reliable.”

Yuval Levin, National Review, July 30, 2020

“Americans should insist on their right to vote in-person in their polling places in November, where they can be sure their ballots are safely received and counted.

 

“No one disputes that those most at risk from the coronavirus pandemic may want to vote by absentee ballot. But as the New York Times correctly said back in 2012, ‘votes cast by mail are less likely to be counted, more likely to be compromised and more likely to be contested than those cast in a voting booth.’

 

“That assessment is just as true today as it was eight years ago. Voters should not be forced to deal with the problems that massive voting by mail would create.”

Hans von Spakovsky, Fox News, July 30, 2020

U.S. Congress

Collins’ first TV ad criticizes Loeffler on stock sales, wealth

Doug Collins’ first TV ad criticizes incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) over stock sales amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The ad says Loeffler is using her family fortune to attack Collins and “high-priced lawyers to help her get away with” her stock transactions.

In March, media outlets began reporting that Loeffler and her husband, Jeff Sprecher, sold $3 million in stocks at the beginning of the year following a briefing for senators on COVID-19 that Loeffler attended. Financial disclosures released in April showed more than $18 million in stock sales on Loeffler’s behalf from mid-February to mid-March. Loeffler denied wrongdoing, saying in March, “There is a range of different decisions made every day with regard to my savings and 401(k) portfolios that I am not involved in.” 

Loeffler launched a $4 million ad campaign in May defending herself against criticisms around the stock sales. The ads say the allegations of wrongdoing are lies. The ads also highlight $1 million Loeffler donated to a hospital and the use of her personal plane to bring home four Georgians stranded on a cruise ship.

Loeffler and Collins are among 21 candidates running in the all-party special election on Nov. 3—six Republicans, eight Democrats, five independents, a Green Party candidate, and a Libertarian. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, a runoff will be held Jan. 5, 2021. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Loeffler to the Senate seat after Johnny Isakson (R) resigned in December. 

Six primary candidates have filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, designed to elicit insightful and thoughtful responses from candidates on what they care about, what they stand for, and what they hope to achieve. Click on candidates’ names below to read their responses.

If you’d like to learn more about the survey, or if you are a candidate who would like to submit a survey, click here.

Club for Growth spends $2.4 million supporting Donalds, opposing Askar in FL-19

Club for Growth Action has spent $1.4 million supporting Byron Donalds and $937,000 opposing Casey Askar in Florida’s 19th Congressional District Republican primary

The group has released ads calling Donalds a true conservative who has fought for lower taxes and stands with police. The group’s ads say Askar donated to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and not Donald Trump’s.

Donalds has served in the Florida House of Representatives since 2016. Askar is a franchisee for Dunkin’ Donuts, Church’s Chicken, and other businesses. They are among nine candidates running in the primary. Incumbent Francis Rooney (R) is retiring, leaving this safe Republican district open.

Most other satellite spending in the race has surrounded Dane Eagle, who has served in the state House since 2012. Conservative Outsider PAC spent $251,000 opposing him, and Concerned Conservatives Inc. spent $167,000 supporting him.

Six primary candidates submitted responses to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. To read their responses, click on candidates’ names below. 

The primary is Aug. 18.

State executives

Riggleman considers independent gubernatorial run in 2021 after Republican primary defeat

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) said he is considering running for governor of Virginia in 2021 as an independent candidate. Riggleman lost his re-election bid for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District in June. Bob Good (R), a former member of the Campbell County Board of Supervisors, defeated him at the Republican Party’s district convention by a margin of 16 points.

“The Virginia Republican Party is so broken. Maybe it is time for a third-party run,” Riggleman said in an interview. He added that he would decide by September or October.

Former Virginia State House Speaker Kirk Cox (R) also announced this week that he was looking at joining the race. Cox would join state Sen. Amanda Chase (R), who has already declared her candidacy. 

Virginia is the only state to prevent governors from serving consecutive terms, meaning the office is open in every election year. The gubernatorial election will take place on Nov. 2, 2021. 

Virginia is currently a Democratic trifecta, where a Democrat is governor and Democrats hold majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. Except for the 2013 election, every Virginia gubernatorial race since 1973 has been won by the party that lost the previous year’s presidential election.

Legislatures

*The number of incumbents who did seek re-election is provided for the 41 states whose 2020 filing deadlines have already passed. The number of incumbents defeated in primaries is provided for the 24 states that have already held state legislative primaries in 2020.

Alaska AFL-CIO, former challenger encourage voters to support Sen. Cathy Giessel (R) in Senate District N primary

On Aug. 2, Must Read Alaska’s Suzanne Downing reported that the Alaska AFL-CIO, headed by Vince Beltrami (I), has been conducting door knocking and literature drops encouraging voters to request a Republican ballot and support Senate President Cathy Giessel (R) in the Senate District N primary.

Beltrami challenged Giessel in the district’s 2016 general election. Giessel received 52% of the vote to Beltrami’s 48%. This year, Giessel faces a primary challenge from Roger Holland (R), a state Department of Transportation employee and Coast Guard reservist.

The contest between Giessel and Holland has centered on Alaska’s Permanent Fund dividends (PDF), a yearly dividend paid out to Alaska residents. In December 2019, Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s (R) budget proposed setting the dividend at nearly $3,000 per person. Dunleavy would have used state savings to supplement the payment.

Giessel opposed the plan, saying, “Should we institute an income tax, even a statewide sales tax, for the sole purpose of paying a very large dividend?” She recommended the state modernize its formulas used to calculate the PFD rather than using savings. The 2020 PFD ultimately paid out at $992 per recipient.

On his campaign website, Holland wrote, “Now is not the time to take PFD funds from Alaskans to allow continued irresponsible spending by state government.” He said, “proposed changes should be studied by the experts and put before the people for a vote.”

The AFL-CIO is also distributing materials encouraging voters to support Rep. Chuck Kopp (R-24) in his House District 24 primary against challenger Tom McKay, which we covered on July 29.

Candidates participate in forum for open Wyoming Senate District 18 seat

On July 23, the Park County Republican Women hosted a candidate forum for the upcoming Aug. 18 primary in Wyoming’s Senate District 18. Four candidates—Stefanie Bell, Tim French, Richard Jones, and state Rep. David Northrup—are running. Incumbent Sen. Henry Coe (R-08) is not seeking re-election, leaving the seat open for the first time since he took office in 1989.

Each of the four candidates has held or currently holds a public office. Bell is a member of the Park County School District Board of Trustees, a position she has held for 20 years. French served as a Park County Commissioner from 2000 to 2018. Jones served on the Planning and Zoning Boards for the City of Cody and Park County. Northrup has represented House District 50 since 2013.

The forum’s first question asked candidates whether they supported increases in a state income tax, corporate income tax, or sales tax. Currently, Wyoming does not have a personal income or corporate income tax. 

Bell and Jones said they generally oppose tax increases and instead suggested the state take a closer look at spending and efficiencies. Bell said the budget should be simplified so more citizens can weigh in each year. Jones went into greater detail in his Candidate Connection survey, saying, “New taxes and fees may be needed but should have the approval of the voters not just imposed by legislation.”

French said he opposed raising any taxes, citing the economic conditions associated with the coronavirus pandemic. “What are you gonna tell those people,” French said, “‘I want you to cut this out of your life,’ ‘I need you to cut this’? They’re already struggling, what are they supposed to cut?”

Northrup also mentioned the economy. He said financial reserves could be used to balance the budget over the upcoming two years, but the state needed to have a longer-term strategy. “If we blow all of our … savings right off the bat trying to figure out how to get through this, then what?” Northrup said one option to explore would be an optional penny sales tax with a sunset provision.

Power players

“The NRRT focuses on the unique legal and data demands of redistricting and coordinates a nationwide redistricting strategy with the Republican Party’s national and state committees and conservative organizations around the country.” – National Republican Redistricting Trust website

Launched in 2017 in response to the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, the National Republican Redistricting Trust (NRTT) says it aims to position Republicans favorably for redistricting through litigation and data analysis. Adam Kincaid acts as executive director, and in 2019 former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was brought on as financial director.

The NRRT has previously said that it planned to raise $35 million by 2020. In May 2020, the organization filed paperwork to establish the National Republican Redistricting PAC. Kincaid told The Hill that this “would give his group access to small-dollar donors who are increasingly crucial to political success.”



Heart of the Primaries 2020, Democrats-Issue 29 (August 5, 2020)

This week: Cori Bush defeats incumbent Rep. William Lacy Clay, Ilhan Omar releases first TV ad, and Ocasio-Cortez appears in an ad for Ed Markey.

Election results

Here are some key primary results from Aug. 4.

  • Arizona’s 1st Congressional District: Incumbent Tom O’Halleran defeated Eva Putzova. O’Halleran received 59% to Putzova’s 41% with 98% of precincts reporting. O’Halleran, a former Republican member of the state legislature, was first elected to the seat as a Democrat in 2016. He co-chairs the Blue Dog Coalition. Putzova is a former member of the Flagstaff City Council.
  • Arizona’s 6th Congressional District: Hiral Tipirneni won with 54% of the vote to Anita Malik’s 36%, with 95% of precincts reporting. In the general election, Tipirneni will run against incumbent David Schweikert (R) in a district rated lean Republican.
  • Michigan’s 13th Congressional District: Incumbent Rashida Tlaib won with 66% of the vote to Brenda Jones’ 34%, with 87% of precincts reporting. The race was a rematch. Tlaib and Jones ran against one another in both the district’s regular and special election primaries in 2018. Jones defeated Tlaib in the special primary election. Tlaib defeated Jones in the regular primary.
  • Missouri’s 1st Congressional District: Cori Bush defeated incumbent William Lacy Clay and Katherine Bruckner. Bush received 49% of the vote to Clay’s 46%. Clay is one of seven incumbent representatives who have lost in primaries in 2020, along with Steve Watkins who lost the Republican primary in Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District on Aug. 4.
  • Bush challenged Clay in the district’s 2018 primary, which Clay won with 57% of the vote to Bush’s 37%. Clay was first elected in 2000. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch endorsed his re-election bid. Bush received endorsements from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jamaal Bowman, a candidate for New York’s 16th District who defeated 16-term incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel in the district’s June 23 Democratic primary. 
  • Washington’s 10th Congressional District, top-two: As of 9:15 a.m. Eastern Time on Aug. 5, this race had not been called. Marilyn Strickland (D) led with 21.4% of the vote. Beth Doglio (D) had 14.4%, Kristine Reeves (D) had 13.2%, and Rian Ingrim (R) had 10.6%. Nineteen candidates—eight Democrats, eight Republicans, one independent, one Essential Workers Party candidate, and one Congress Sucks Party candidate—ran in the primary. Denny Heck (D), in office since 2013, sought election as lieutenant governor, leaving the seat open.
  • Washington governor, top-two primary: Incumbent Jay Inslee (D) and Loren Culp (R) were the top two finishers among a field of 36 candidates and will compete in the general election. With half of precincts reporting, Inslee received 52% of the vote and Culp received 17%.
  • St. Louis Circuit Attorney: Incumbent Kimberly Gardner won the Democratic primary for circuit attorney in St. Louis. She received 61% of the vote to Mary Pat Carl’s 39%. The race was a rematch. Gardner and Carl ran in the four-candidate Democratic primary in 2016, where Gardner received 47% of the vote and Carl was second with 24%.

On the news

Where do Democratic and progressive pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

On vice-presidential ambition

“Biden’s biggest strength is that he has from the beginning of the primary contest polled best in head-to-head matchups against Trump. ‘Electability’ was always the number one issue for most Democratic primary voters desperate to put an end to Trump’s reign … But that doesn’t mean even older, more moderate Democratic voters want Biden determining the character of the party going forward–much less the younger … progressive wing winning an increasingly larger share of the party’s internal battles. Biden is a calming caretaker for our democracy, not the face of the Democratic Party’s future. His vice-presidential pick shouldn’t be determining that, either.

 

“In short, an underrated characteristic of Biden’s vice-presidential pick should be that she not necessarily want the job in four to eight years. Not as a knock against anyone he might choose, but because after the immediate danger of Trump is passed, Democratic voters should be at liberty to freely choose the direction of the party over the next decade without being locked into the defensive, electability-driven calculations of the Biden campaign in 2020.”

David Atkins, Washington Monthly, Aug. 1, 2020

“Fourteen American vice presidents have gone to become president, including John Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, and George H.W. Bush. But even as Joe Biden vies to become the 15th, a warped, sexist narrative has emerged in recent days that his female running mate should not have presidential ambitions herself …

 

“Political ambition is tantamount to striving for power, and when it comes from women, it makes people deeply comfortable. American culture tends to like unassuming models and actresses who are discovered magically, serendipitously, plucked from obscurity, aw-shucks-ing their way up the ladder. To try is to offend the increasingly delicate status quo of white-male rule and the evident fragility of Biden’s inner circle. The truth is: Every woman on their short list is powered by ambition. They could never have become senators and governors and congressional leaders without it—especially not in the male-dominated world of politics, with people like Biden’s top donors working against them.”

Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, Aug. 3, 2020

U.S. Congress

Ilhan Omar releases first TV ad in MN-05

Rep. Ilhan Omar released her first TV ad ahead of the Aug. 11 primary in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District. 

In the ad, Omar says, “We can translate our cries for justice into legislation, and that’s the fight we have been leading in Congress.” In a second ad, Omar said Antone Melton-Meaux, one of the five primary candidates, was a partner at “one of the worst union-busting law firms in the country” and that he used nondisclosure agreements to prevent women from talking about sexual harassment.   

Melton-Meaux says he would find common ground with others to reach progressive goals. In a recent ad, he said, “I won’t be chasing cameras or selling books. I’ll work for you.” Melton-Meaux’s campaign slogan is “Focused On the Fifth.”

As we recently reported, Melton-Meaux raised $3.2 million to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s $480,000 in the second quarter of 2020. As of July 22, Omar had raised a total of $4.3 million to Melton-Meaux’s $4.2 million.

Two primary candidates have filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, designed to elicit insightful and thoughtful responses from candidates on what they care about, what they stand for, and what they hope to achieve. Click on candidates’ names below to read their responses.

If you’d like to learn more about the survey, or if you are a candidate who would like to submit a survey, click here.

Ocasio-Cortez appears in Markey ad

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) appeared in an ad for Sen. Ed Markey, who faces Joe Kennedy III in Massachusetts’ Senate primary

Ocasio-Cortez said Markey was an original cosponsor of Medicare for All legislation and that he co-authored the Green New Deal resolution with her in 2019. She said, “When it comes to progressive leadership, it’s not your age that counts. It’s the age of your ideas.”  

Markey, 74, has been in the Senate since 2013. He served in the U.S. House from 1976 to 2013. Kennedy, 39, has been in the U.S. House since 2013. 

Kennedy says he supports Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. At a recent debate, he said Markey hadn’t done enough to implement the Green New Deal. Kennedy has said the race is part of the “fight of my generation,” but also said, “This isn’t about age, and it isn’t about seniority. … It’s about meeting this moment and doing everything that you can possibly do to take it on.”

Along with Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed Markey. Recently, the Massachusetts Teachers Association backed him.

Kennedy’s endorsers include Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), and former Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who died last month. 

A recent JMC Analytics poll found Markey with 40% support, Kennedy with 36%, and 24% undecided. The poll’s margin of error was +/- 4.4 percentage points.

The poll also asked if Markey’s 44 years in Congress would make respondents more or less likely to vote for him—30% said less likely, 30% said more likely, and 40% said it made no difference. When asked about the effect of the Kennedy family name, 20% said they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate with it, 24% said less likely, and 57% said it made no difference. 

The primary is Sept. 1.

State executives

Feltes, Volinsky spar over unemployment benefits in New Hampshire gubernatorial debate

State Sen. Dan Feltes (D) and New Hampshire Executive Councilman Andru Volinsky (D) discussed the coronavirus pandemic and economic recovery plans in their first in-person gubernatorial debate on July 29.

Feltes criticized Volinsky’s position on reevaluating enhanced unemployment insurance, saying, “This election is about who’s [sic] side are you on – working people and working families. You got to be on their side full time, not part time.”

Volinsky, who said the amount of the weekly $600 federal benefit should be reconsidered, defended his record as an attorney and public servant. “No one gets to claim that mantle in this race. We’re both committed to working-class people,” Volinsky said.

The primary is scheduled for Sept. 8. On the Republican side, incumbent Chris Sununu (R), who was first elected in 2016, faces two opponents. Two election forecasters say Republicans are likely to win the general election and a third says it leans Republican.

Legislatures

*The number of incumbents who did seek re-election is provided for the 44 states whose 2020 filing deadlines have already passed. The number of incumbents defeated in primaries is provided for the 24 states that have already held state legislative primaries in 2020.

Cabrera and Farmer participate in Connecticut Senate District 17 debate

On July 28, Jorge Cabrera and Justin Farmer participated in a virtual debate sponsored by The Valley Independent Sentinel, WNHH Radio, and The New Haven Independent. Cabrera and Farmer are vying for the Democratic nomination to face incumbent Sen. George Logan (R-17). 

Cabrera is an organizing director with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 919. He received endorsements from the Connecticut branches of the AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union as well as from the District 17 Democratic Party.

Farmer is a member of the Hamden Legislative Council. The Democratic Socialists of America, Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut, and the Connecticut Young Democrats endorsed his campaign.

On a question about healthcare, Cabrera discussed his support for a public option, saying, “I’m a big believer in high-quality, affordable healthcare for everyone.” Farmer said, “I am a big proponent of Medicare for All,” adding that “We can have a Connecticut option to allow our undocumented community members to be covered.”

In Connecticut, candidates participate in conventions before proceeding to primaries. A candidate can win the nomination outright at a convention so long as no other candidates receive more than 15% of the delegate vote. On May 27, we covered the convention vote setting up the contest between Cabrera and Farmer. Delegates supported Cabrera over Farmer 39-10, enough votes to net Cabrera the party’s endorsement, but not enough to win the nomination outright.

In 2018, Logan defeated Cabrera, that cycle’s Democratic nominee, 50.1-49.9%, a margin of 85 votes. In 2016, District 17 supported Hillary Clinton (D) over Donald Trump (R), 53-44%.

Sunrise Rhode Island endorses challenger Potter in House District 16 primary against Rep. Millea

On July 29, Sunrise RI, the Rhode Island affiliate of the national Sunrise Movement, endorsed Brandon Potter (D) in the House District 16 primary, where he is challenging incumbent Rep. Christopher Millea (D-16). Sunrise Movement describes itself as “a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.”

Announcing the endorsement, Potter, a sales manager, said, “We not only have a moral obligation to protect our environment, we have a major economic opportunity to invest in renewable energy.” In addition to Sunrise RI, he received endorsements from the Rhode Island affiliates of Planned Parenthood Votes! and Our Revolution.

Millea was first elected in 2018 after defeating incumbent Rep. Robert Lancia (R), 53-47% in the general election. In his campaign announcement, Millea said that he “has been a constant champion for education reform and governmental transparency.” He added, “There is far more work to be done for the residents of District 16, but we have made tremendous progress.”

The winner of the Sept. 8 primary will face Maryann Lancia (R), the wife of former Rep. Lancia, in the general election. 

Power players

“The National Democratic Redistricting Committee is the centralized hub for executing a comprehensive redistricting strategy that shifts the redistricting power, creating fair districts where Democrats can compete.” – National Democratic Redistricting Committee website

Since 2017, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee says it has been working to position Democrats favorably for redistricting through litigation, legislation, and elections. Currently led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, it also counts President Barack Obama (D) among its notable supporters. 

As of June 30, its PAC has raised $3,899,804 and spent $2,397,598 this election cycle. Among its largest campaign contributions are $250,000 to Common Good Virginia, a committee supporting Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D), $75,000 to the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee, and $75,000 to the Virginia House Democratic Caucus.

Click the following links to view the organization’s 2019-2020 electoral targets and endorsements.



Heart of the Primaries 2020, Republicans-Issue 28 (July 29, 2020)

This week: Sen. Pat Roberts endorses Roger Marshall, Hagerty and Sethi line up support in Tennessee Senate contest, and Vermont Republicans hold first gubernatorial debate

On the news

Where do Republican and conservative pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

On the Silent Majority

“Trump announced that Bill Stepien, a longtime aide, would be his new reelection campaign manager and that his outgoing campaign manager, Parscale, would remain a senior adviser to the campaign focused on digital and data strategies.

 

“I think we can take this as affirmation that the Trump campaign does not believe that it is on track to win in a landslide, and that all of the public polling is wildly wrong.

 

“Are there ‘secret Trump voters’ out there, Americans who are certain to vote for him but unwilling to say so to a pollster? Sure. I don’t know how many there are, and what percentage of the electorate they are. If they’re not close to ten percent, Trump’s in deep trouble. The available polling shows Trump down by a lot in states he won last time around — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida. When you say this, Trump supporters scoff that their man won states he was trailing last time, which is true — but he didn’t jump ten points on Election Day. Pollsters have attempted to correct their errors in sampling from the 2016 cycle. It’s worth noting that Nate Silver crunched the numbers and concluded, ‘the 2017-19 cycle was one of the most accurate on record for polling.’”

Jim Geraghty, National Review, July 16, 2020

“As we saw in 2016 … the reluctance of right-of-center voters to argue with puffed-up progressives simply meant they wanted to avoid shaming and social ostracism. They kept their peace until it really mattered — when they reached the voting booth. That’s the beauty of the secret ballot — people who decline to be bullied by ‘strong liberals’ can make their voices heard loud and clear in November. According to the [July 22] Cato survey, the number of people choosing this path is far larger than it was in 2016. Moreover, they span the entire demographic spectrum …

“Trump’s silent majority is real, and it is much larger than it was four years ago. What should scare the pants off any sentient Democrat is the number of Latinos (65 percent) and black Americans (49 percent) who self-censor. For them, there is no risk of social ostracism for supporting Biden or any other Democrat. The only plausible reason for their reticence is support for Trump. The president is about to make history with the magnitude of his victory and, more importantly, who will vote for him.”

David Catron, The American Spectator, July 24, 2020

U.S. Congress

Roberts endorses, groups spend, in Senate primary in Kansas

Sen. Pat Roberts (R) endorsed Roger Marshall in the Senate primary in Kansas. Roberts was first elected to the seat in 1996 and is retiring.

Marshall’s other endorsers include National Right to Life and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has endorsements from the National Association for Gun Rights, the National Border Patrol Council, and former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).

Open Secrets reports $9.3 million in satellite spending on the race. More than half has come in recent weeks. Kelly Arnold, a former Kansas Republican Party chairman, said, “I am just shocked about the amount of outside money. … These are numbers that you normally would see in a general election where it’s very competitive, and the national Democrats and national Republicans are battling it out in the state.”

Of the $9.3 million spent, $4.4 million went to activities opposing Marshall and $2.5 million went to activities opposing Kobach. Some recent expenditures:

  • The super PAC Sunflower State is spending more than $4 million on ads. Media outlets wrote that the group has Democratic connections. Politico’s James Arkin wrote that one of the group’s ads was “engineered to drive conservative voters toward Kobach. A narrator in the ad calls Kobach ‘too conservative’ because he ‘won’t compromise’ on building President Donald Trump’s border wall or on taking a harsher stance on relations with China. By contrast, the ad labels Marshall a ‘phony politician’ who is ‘soft on Trump.'” 
  • Plains PAC said it would spend $3 million on a television, radio, and online ad campaign criticizing Kobach.
  • The Senate Leadership Fund booked $1.2 million in airtime for an ad campaign supporting Marshall.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce began a $400,000 ad campaign supporting Marshall on July 13.
  • Free Forever PAC spent $365,000 on an ad supporting Kobach.

Click here for a compilation of satellite group ads.

Click here for a compilation of candidates’ campaign ads.

Eleven candidates are running in the Aug. 4 primary. Three election forecasters rate the general election Lean Republican or Likely Republican.

Charges against Watkins a focal point of KS-02 primary

On July 14, Rep. Steve Watkins (R) of Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District was charged with three felony counts and one misdemeanor count related to using an incorrect address on his voter registration form.

Watkins said he accidentally listed his mailing address as opposed to his residential address and corrected the error when he realized it. On July 17, Watkins said he was temporarily resigning his House committee memberships. House Republicans require any member charged with a felony carrying a sentence of two or more years to resign committee membership pending the charges.

Watkins, state Treasurer Jacob LaTurner, and former Kansas Secretary of Labor Dennis Taylor are running in the Aug. 4 primary.

LaTurner released an ad in which a narrator calls Watkins a fraud and calls LaTurner an honest conservative. The narrator says LaTurner would “bring integrity back to Congress.”

Watkins released an ad in which a narrator refers to the charges as a witch hunt and LaTurner as a swamp creature. The ad compares the charges against Watkins to the impeachment effort against President Donald Trump (R). It also says the district attorney who filed the charges shares a consultant with LaTurner. 

Kansas for Life switched from endorsing both Watkins and LaTurner to only endorsing LaTurner. Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kans.) endorsed LaTurner, saying, “Kansans deserve the best representation in Congress and Steve Watkins’ actions have unfortunately put this seat in danger of being handed over to a Nancy Pelosi liberal who doesn’t represent our Kansas values.”

Watkins’ endorsers include the National Rifle Association, National Right to Life, and the National Federation of Independent Business. The Kansas Farm Bureau endorsed LaTurner.

The Cook Political Report changed its general election race rating from Likely Republican to Lean Republican following the charges. Two other outlets see the contest as Solid Republican or Likely Republican. In 2018, Watkins defeated Paul Davis (D) 47.6% to 46.8%.

Blackburn endorses Hagerty, Paul appears in pro-Sethi ad in Senate race in TN

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) endorsed Bill Hagerty for the Senate seat held by Lamar Alexander (R). Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) appeared in an ad supporting Manni Sethi. 

Alexander was first elected in 2002 and is retiring. 

Blackburn said, “I need a true Tennessee conservative to stand with me to protect our Tennessee values.” She said Sethi had defended Obamacare and donated to ActBlue, an online fundraising platform for Democratic campaigns and progressive groups.

A Protect Freedom PAC ad features Paul saying, “Tennessee is too conservative a state to keep sending Democrats in Republican clothing to represent Tennessee. Manni Sethi is the real deal.” 

Other satellite groups and the candidates themselves have released ads recently. The group Standing with Conservatives released an ad criticizing Sethi’s donations and saying he isn’t a Tennessee conservative. Conservative Outsider PAC released an ad saying Hagerty backs Romney, who, according to the ad, betrayed conservatives by supporting Trump’s impeachment.

A recent Hagerty ad criticizes Sethi by saying he is friends with Tom Perriello, a Democrat who ran for governor of Virginia in 2017. A Sethi ad features his wife defending Sethi against the Democratic donation line of criticism, saying she donated $50 12 years ago. She says Hagerty gave Romney and Al Gore over $100,000.

Hagerty served as ambassador to Japan from 2017 to 2019. Sethi is an orthopedic trauma surgeon. 

Fifteen candidates are running in the Aug. 6 primary.

State executives

Vermont Republicans hold first gubernatorial debate

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and all four primary challengers participated in their first debate July 22, discussing Scott’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and his style of governance.

Scott, who is seeking election to a third two-year term, said he had led an effective pandemic response and was seeking re-election in order to continue to manage Vermont’s economic recovery.

Each of Scott’s challengers said his response to the coronavirus pandemic was too drastic and damaged the state’s economy. Scott said he was proud of Vermont’s response to the pandemic, saying it had a low number of positive cases both in absolute terms and as a proportion of the population.

Douglas Cavett, a former educator, said he was running to correct what he described as injustices in Vermont’s criminal justice system, using his conviction on a charge of aggravated assault of a minor as an example. He said the charges against him were fabricated and evidence of a broader problem in the system.

John Klar, an attorney and farmer who is running alongside a slate of candidates for other state offices, including the state legislature. Klar says he is running because Scott supports policies he says are out of touch with Vermont Republicans, mentioning firearms regulations and abortion as areas of specific disagreement.

Bernard Peters, a former employee of the Vermont Agency of Transportation, said he was concerned about Scott’s stance on firearms. Peters said Scott’s decision to sign a bill imposing new regulations on firearms in 2018 amounted to signing away Vermonters’ constitutional rights. Scott said as a gun owner, he did not feel as if his constitutional rights had been infringed and he preferred action to inaction.

Emily Peyton, a hemp farmer who earlier ran for governor in 2012, 2014, and 2018, said she was running to limit the state government’s power. She said Scott’s response to the coronavirus pandemic represented an overextension of the state government’s power.

The Aug. 11 primary is open to all registered voters.

Race recap: Governor of Utah

In this series, we look back at recent state executive primaries and preview the general election ballot.

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox (R) won the Republican nomination for governor of Utah in a primary on June 30, receiving 36.1% of the vote to second-place candidate Jon Huntsman’s (R) 34.9%. Huntsman earlier served as governor for four years before resigning to serve as ambassador to China under President Barack Obama (D).

Two other candidates advanced to the primary: former state House Speaker Greg Hughes (R) and former state GOP chairman Thomas Wright (R). Up to two candidates could earn a spot on the ballot if they were among the top finishers at the state party convention’s nominating vote. An unlimited number of candidates could win a spot on the ballot by submitting nominating petitions containing the signatures of 28,000 registered Republicans. Four additional candidates did not make it onto the ballot.

Cox, who has served as lieutenant governor since 2013, said he was running because he believes Utah has a bright future and that he would focus on managing the state’s economic recovery. Huntsman said his past experience as governor would make him a better leader in a time of crisis.

Cox faces University of Utah law professor Chris Peterson (D) as well as Gregory Duerden (Independent American Party of Utah), Daniel Rhead Cottam (L), and Richard Whitney (I) in the general election. Republicans have won each of the past 10 gubernatorial elections in Utah, the GOP’s longest ongoing winning streak nationwide.

Legislatures

The number of incumbents who did seek re-election is provided for the 41 states whose 2020 filing deadlines have already passed. The number of incumbents defeated in primaries is provided for the 24 states that have already held state legislative primaries in 2020.

Alaska Family Action announces it will not endorse in House District 24 primary featuring incumbent citing power-sharing agreement

On July 25, Alaska Family Action (AFA) announced it would not endorse incumbent Rep. Chuck Kopp (R-24) in the 2020 primary. 

AFA is a branch of the Alaska Family Council, which operates to “inspire biblical leadership” and “to see an Alaska where families thrive, religious freedom flourishes, life is cherished, and God is honored,” according to the group’s website.

AFA’s decision not to endorse Kopp is a break from 2018, when it supported his candidacy in that year’s Republican primary. 

Kopp was first elected in 2016. Following the 2018 elections, Republicans held a 23-16-1 majority in the House of Representatives. They were unable to form a majority coalition after Kopp and seven other Republican representatives created a power-sharing agreement with Democratic members to establish a bipartisan majority. 

The AFA wrote, “This bi-partisan majority is dominated by progressive liberals, and they have successfully blocked virtually all attempts to advance pro-life and pro-family legislation.” The announcement went on to say, “The policy issues that are most crucial to Alaska Family Action are routinely assigned to FOUR key committees: Health & Social Services, Education, Judiciary, and State Affairs. What do all these committees have in common? They’re all chaired by progressive lawmakers who are endorsed and bankrolled by Planned Parenthood.”

As part of the power-sharing agreement, Democrats were to lead six of the ten standing committees, including the four listed above. Three committees have bipartisan co-chairs. Kopp chairs the Rules Committee, which controls the flow of legislation to the floor.

On his campaign website, Kopp says he is “a proven and effective leader who values all Alaskans and will keep our legislature focused on issues that matter.” He won the 2018 primary with 70.5% of the vote. AFA has not endorsed his Aug. 18 primary opponent Thomas McKay (R).

Gila County GOP launches rare opposition ads against challenger in Arizona’s Senate District 6 primary

On July 24, the White Mountain Independent’s Peter Aleshire reported that the Gila County GOP launched ads and messaging opposing Wendy Rogers (R) and supporting incumbent Sen. Sylvia Allen (R-06) in Arizona’s Senate District 6 Republican primary. Aleshire wrote, “The Gila County Republicans normally don’t take a position in a party primary. However, … the committee considered Rogers such a flawed candidate that she might lose in the general election.” 

Rogers, an Air Force veteran and owner of a home inspection business, is the only candidate challenging Allen in the primary. 

The Gila County GOP ads claim, in part, that Rogers lives at a home owned in Tempe outside of the district rather than the Flagstaff mobile home listed as her address. In a Facebook post, Allen wrote, “That’s a direct violation of tax law and residency requirements,” adding, “She doesn’t even go here! So how can she accurately represent our district and our issues?”

Eric Frizzell, Rogers’ Fake News Response Director, said, “This is nothing but a bunch of losers trying to dig up fake dirt on Wendy,” adding that Rogers only visits her Tempe home to be with grandchildren.

Rogers leads Allen in fundraising, reporting $551,000 raised with $100,000 cash on hand. Allen has raised $127,000 with $16,000 available. Both candidates have been targeted and supported by satellite spending. Arizona’s campaign finance reports show that groups have spent $118,000 supporting Rogers and $86,000 in opposition. $93,000 has been spent supporting Allen with $131,000 spent in opposition.

Rogers has sought elected office five times, including four runs for U.S. House, twice in District 9 and twice in District 1. Most recently, Rogers ran against incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-01), receiving 46% of the vote to O’Halleran’s 54%. Allen currently serves as President Pro Tempore of the Senate. She was first elected to represent District 6 in 2014. She previously represented Senate District 5 from 2008 to 2013.

Kansas City Star endorses incumbent Skubal in Kansas Senate District 11 primary

On July 24, the Kansas City Star endorsed Sen. John Skubal (R-11) in the Kansas Senate District 11 primary, calling him “a solid, moderate voice in the Kansas Senate.” Skubal, first elected to the seat in 2016, faces a primary challenge from state Rep. Kellie Warren (R-28) on Aug. 4. The editorial board wrote, “the policy differences between the candidates are not subtle. But the starkest contrast between them is in how they see COVID-19, and what they think we should do about it.”

On the usage of masks, Skubal said “The science says that we should wear a mask … We’re not just protecting ourselves, we’re protecting others.” Warren said, “the science really hasn’t even been that clear,” adding, “the [Center for Disease Control] first said, don’t wear masks, you don’t need them.” The candidates vary on other issues like Medicaid expansion, which Skubal supports and Warren opposes. 

We previously covered this primary on April 8 following Warren’s announcement of her candidacy. This will be Warren’s second contested primary against an incumbent Republican. She was first elected to the state House in 2018 after defeating incumbent Rep. Joy Koesten 58-42% in the Republican primary. After her primary defeat but before leaving office, Koesten changed her party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.

The winner of the August primary will advance to the general election and will likely face Koesten, who is the only candidate running on the Democratic side.

Power players

“As an independent Super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund has one goal: to protect and expand the Republican Senate Majority when Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer, together with their army of left-wing activists, try to take it back in 2020.” – Senate Leadership Fund website

Founded in 2015 by supporters of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate Leadership Fund is a super PAC with the goal of supporting Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate. As of June 30, the fund has raised $102 million this cycle compared to $134 million for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Senate Republicans’ official campaign PAC.

During the 2018 campaign cycle, the Senate Leadership Fund reported more than $95.5 million in satellite spending, spending more than $10 million each to oppose four Democratic Senate candidates: Claire McCaskill in Missouri ($20.5 million), Jacky Rosen in Nevada ($15.9 million), Joe Donnelly in Indiana ($15.0 million), and Phil Bredesen in Tennessee ($13.3 million). Rosen was the only candidate among the four to win her race.

So far this cycle, the Senate Leadership Fund has reported spending more than $500,000 in two races. The group has spent $1.3 million in support of Roger Marshall (R) ahead of his Aug. 4 primary for Kansas’ open Senate seat. It has also spent $770,000 opposing Rep. Doug Collins’ (R) campaign challenging incumbent Kelly Loeffler (R) in Georgia’s upcoming Senate special election.



Heart of the Primaries 2020, Democrats-Issue 28 (July 29, 2020)

This week: Ilhan Omar challenger raises $3.2 million in second quarter, Working Families Party spends in support of Rashida Tlaib, and Bernie Sanders endorses in Vermont gubernatorial primary

On the news

Where do Democratic and progressive pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

On Medicare for All in the Democratic Party platform

“The platform does nod to ‘Medicare for All,’ the policy backed by Sanders, saying: ‘We are proud our party welcomes advocates who want to build on and strengthen the Affordable Care Act and those who support a Medicare for All approach.’

“Platform committee co-chair Denis McDonough, who served as former President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, called it the ‘boldest Democratic platform in American history.’

“Still, anticipating virtual floor fights and frustration from progressive activists who want the party to set an even more aggressive policy course, Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said at the top of the committee meeting that ‘we should never confuse unity with unanimity, nor should we confuse debate with division.’”

Denis McDonough, Tom Perez, quoted by Scott Detrow, NPR, July 27, 2020

“History teaches a clear lesson: The fact that our nation is the only advanced industrial country without universal healthcare cannot be blamed on Republican obstruction alone. It was also caused by Democratic leaders who’ve spent decades catering to corporate interests (while collecting their campaign donations)—and refusing to fight for universal coverage. 

“This history of Democratic obstruction and vacillation is why hundreds of elected delegates to next month’s Democratic convention have put their foot down. They’ve signed a petition pledging to vote down the party platform if it ‘does not include a plank supporting universal, single-payer Medicare for All.’ The petition’s initiator is Judith Whitmer, chair of the convention’s Nevada delegation. She told Politico: ‘This pandemic has shown us that our private health insurance system does not work for the American people. Millions of people have lost their jobs and their healthcare at the same time.’

“By demanding of the party leadership what Harry Truman called for 72 years ago, Whitmer and other Democratic activists are indeed ‘giving ’em hell.’” 

Jeff Cohen, Common Dreams, July 28, 2020

U.S. Congress

MN-05: Melton-Meaux raises $3.2 million in second quarter

Antone Melton-Meaux raised $3.2 million to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s $480,000 in the second quarter of 2020. They and three others are running in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District primary on Aug. 11.

As of June 30, Omar raised $3.9 million to Melton-Meaux’s $3.7 million. 

The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Torey Van Oot wrote, “Much of the money on both sides comes from out of the state, reflecting Omar’s national profile as one of the first Muslim women in Congress and an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump.”

Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party Chairman Ken Martin and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison—who previously represented the 5th District—held a press conference July 20 in which Martin said contributions to Melton-Meaux’s campaign were efforts to “silence a progressive champion rooted in xenophobia.” Martin said the average ActBlue contribution Melton-Meaux received in May was $650 compared to Omar’s average of $18. Melton-Meaux said he received five times the amount of contributions Omar did from within the 5th District. Omar said her campaign received more individual contributions from within the state than Melton-Meaux’s.

Omar is among four House members often referred to as the squad, along with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) recently endorsed Omar. Pelosi said in September 2019 that she has a policy of only endorsing incumbents. 

Working Families Party spends in support of Tlaib in MI-13

The Working Families Party and Detroit Action are spending $100,000 in support of Rep. Rashida Tlaib in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District primary. Tlaib faces Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones.

Politico’s Holly Otterbein reported that the independent expenditure campaign “will be focused on young Black and Latino voters, and is expected to highlight [Tlaib’s] record on racial justice, including her promotion of the BREATHE Act, which seeks to eliminate federal programs ‘used to finance and expand’ law enforcement.”

The Detroit News’ Melissa Nann Burke and Christine Ferretti wrote:

Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, made history as one of the two first Muslim women elected to Congress. But Jones’ surrogates are pitching their candidate, who is African American, as a better choice to lead the majority-Black district amid a national movement for racial justice. Blacks comprise nearly 54% of the district’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The primary is a rematch. Tlaib and Jones ran against one another in both the regular and special election primaries in 2018. Jones defeated Tlaib in the special primary election 37.7% to 35.9%, while Tlaib defeated Jones in the regular primary 31.2% to 30.2%. Jones completed the term to which John Conyers Jr. had been elected in 2016. Tlaib assumed office in January 2019.

The Michigan AFL-CIO recently endorsed Tlaib. In 2018, the group endorsed Jones. Jones’ 2020 endorsers include several local elected officials and Black pastors.

The primary is Aug. 4.

AG commissioner endorses Vazquez in FL-18

Nikki Fried, Florida’s agriculture commissioner and the only Democrat to win statewide office in 2018, endorsed Oz Vazquez in Florida’s 18th Congressional District primary.

Fried said in her endorsement, “Florida’s 18th Congressional District deserves a Congressperson who will fight to protect Social Security and Medicare, will be a champion for clean water, and will work to get things done for the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches.”

Vasquez is a lawyer and former Americorps volunteer. He faces Pam Keith, a lawyer and Navy veteran.

The Florida AFL-CIO endorsed Vasquez in June. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) endorsed Keith.

Both Keith and Vazquez completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. The survey questions are designed to elicit insightful and thoughtful responses from candidates on what they care about, what they stand for, and what they hope to achieve. Read Keith’s responses here and Vazquez’s responses here.

Incumbent Rep. Brian Mast (R), first elected in 2016, is seeking re-election and faces a primary challenger. Three election forecasters rate the general election Safe or Solid Republican. The primary election is Aug. 18.

State executives

Candidates prepare runs for Virginia lieutenant governor, attorney general

Candidate fields have begun to emerge for two top-level executive offices in Virginia ahead of next year’s primaries. This month, five Democrats, including three members of the legislative class of 2017, announced their intention to run for executive office.

Although there are no term limits on the offices of attorney general or lieutenant governor, Virginia is the only state where governors are prohibited from serving back-to-back terms. Both Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) and Attorney General Mark Herring (D) have suggested they will run to succeed Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

Delegate Jay Jones (D), who was elected to the Norfolk-area district his father represented during the 1990s, became the first member of either major party to declare his intention to run for state attorney general on July 13. Jones, who is Black, would be Virginia’s first nonwhite attorney general. He said in his campaign kickoff video that challenging efforts to limit the Affordable Care Act would be among his priorities.

On July 14, Del. Hala Ayala (D), who defeated incumbent Rich Anderson (R) to win a district representing Prince William County, said she would run for lieutenant governor in 2021, becoming the first candidate to officially enter the race. She said she was running to ensure Virginia was better-prepared for future public health emergencies, including expanding Medicaid coverage.

State Del. Elizabeth Guzman (D), who defeated incumbent Scott Lingamfelter (R) in another Prince William County contest, said she was exploring a run for lieutenant governor. 

On July 22, Norfolk city Councillor Andria McClellan (D) announced she was also exploring a run for lieutenant governor. McClellan was first elected to the city council in 2016, defeating incumbent Barclay Winn. Ayala, Guzman, or McClellan would each be the first woman elected to the office.

Sean Perryman said on July 27 that he was exploring a run. Perryman, a former counsel to the House Oversight Committee under Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), is the president of the Fairfax branch of the NAACP, Virginia’s largest.

Other Democrats who have indicated they are considering a run for lieutenant governor include former Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Paul Goldman and Mike Pudhorodsky.

Bernie Sanders endorses David Zuckerman for governor of Vermont

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman’s (D) run for governor Monday. The announcement came as Zuckerman and former state Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe (D) aired their first television ads ahead of the Aug. 11 primary.

Holcombe’s ad, titled “Believe”, first aired July 16. The ad introduces Holcombe as a former educator and says she believes Vermont can emerge from the coronavirus pandemic in a stronger position than when the pandemic started if it takes the opportunity to expand healthcare and education and attract high-paying jobs.

Zuckerman’s ad, titled “Building our Future”, displays clips of Zuckerman working on his farm. The ad says that while daily life has been disrupted by the pandemic, farm work needs to continue.

A third candidate, attorney Pat Winburn, began running television ads when he entered the race in March. Winburn, who has not previously held elected office, says he is running to bring a new perspective to state government.

Legislatures

The number of incumbents who did seek re-election is provided for the 41 states whose 2020 filing deadlines have already passed. The number of incumbents defeated in primaries is provided for the 24 states that have already held state legislative primaries in 2020.

Preliminary New York legislative results show progressive challengers defeated five incumbents

New York’s primaries occurred on June 23, but due to the coronavirus, results have been delayed as absentee ballots continue to be counted. Within the past week, additional votes counted show at least five progressive challengers defeating incumbent state Assembly members.

The New York Times’ Jesse McKinley and Luis Ferre-Sadurni wrote, “A slew of progressive challengers upset entrenched incumbents in the New York Legislature … cementing their movement’s influence in Albany and making it likely that the state government will become one of the most liberal in the nation.”

The NYC Democratic Socialists of America, for example, endorsed one incumbent, Sen. Julia Salazar (D-18), and four others—Jabari Brisport (D), Phara Souffrant Forrest (D), Zohran Mamdani (D), and Marcela Mitaynes (D)—in the primaries. Of those five, Salazar, Forrest, Mamdani, and Mitaynes won their primaries. Brisport’s primary for the open Senate District 25 seat remains uncalled, but he has claimed victory.

Below is a list of races where challengers defeated incumbents. Vote totals have not been finalized, but in each instance the incumbents have either conceded or the challenger’s victory has been widely reported:

  • AD-34: Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, an immigrant and healthcare activist, defeated Assm. Michael DenDekker, who first assumed office in 2009.
  • AD-36: Mamdani defeated Assm. Aravella Simotas. Simotas was first elected in 2010. She ran unopposed that year. Before Mamdani’s 2020 primary challenge, her only other contested election, general or primary, happened in 2012.
  • AD-50: Emily Gallagher defeated Assm. Joseph Lentol. Lentol was first elected in 1972. The NYC DSA did not endorse Gallagher, but she says she is a democratic socialist.
  • AD-51: Mitaynes defeated Assm. Felix Ortiz. Ortiz was first elected in 1994 and served as Assistant Speaker of the Assembly.
  • AD-57: Souffrant Forrest defeated Assm. Walter Mosley, who was first elected in 2012. Mosley will appear on the general election ballot on the Working Families Party ticket.

12 primaries featuring Democratic incumbents in the state Assembly remain uncalled. In the Senate, one such race remains uncalled.

Candidates participate in primary forum for Hawaii’s House District 20

On July 20, the four candidates running in the Democratic primary for Hawaii’s House District 20 participated in a virtual forum hosted by the Oahu County Democratic Party. 

This is the first election since 1976 when Rep. Calvin Say (D-21) will not appear on the ballot. The longtime incumbent and former House Speaker announced in May he would run instead for Honolulu City Council in 2020.

House District 20 encompasses the Honolulu neighborhoods of St. Louis Heights, Palolo, Maunalani Heights, Wilhelmina Rise, and Kaimuki.

The candidates are Kaimuki Neighborhood Board member Becky Gardner (D), state Department of Labor program specialist Jay Ishibashi (D), St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board member Jackson Sayama (D), and attorney Derek Turbin (D).

The candidates were asked to speak about the intersection of economic and public health amid the coronavirus outbreak. All four candidates said public health should be the top priority while acknowledging the influence tourism has on the local economy. Ishibashi and Turbin suggested Hawaii begin marketing to tourists in countries with less severe coronavirus outbreaks. 

Sayama, Turbin, and Gardner also said they would prioritize creating jobs in industries distinct from tourism. Sayama mentioned growing the state’s renewable energy and cybersecurity sectors. Turbin said he would direct federal funds towards the local agriculture industry and develop a remote-worker economy. Gardner supported the Green New Deal as a means to recover from the economic downturn. 

The winner of the primary will face Julia Allen (R) in the general election.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch endorses Sherod in six-way primary for Missouri’s open Senate District 5 seat

On July 25, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch endorsed former deputy State Auditor Michelle Sherod (D) in the six-person Democratic primary for the open seat in Missouri’s Senate District 5. The paper said: “Sherod, 58, has the maturity and broad-based experience to advance [an urban-centric] agenda without brow-beating or lecturing conservatives about causes and concerns they don’t necessarily prioritize.” 

The editorial board also mentioned state Rep. Steven Roberts (D-77), another candidate in the primary, saying, “it’s important for voters to know that they have a strong alternative candidate in [Roberts], 32, … a former prosecutor,” adding, “Although Roberts has more legislative experience, Sherod clearly has more life experience.” Roberts was first elected to represent House District 77 in 2016.

Of the six candidates running, three have raised more than $10,000 according to pre-primary campaign finance reports. Sherod, Roberts, and St. Louis Alderwoman Megan Green (D) raised $138,000, $273,000, and $101,000, respectively. Each candidate reported at least $20,000 cash on hand. 

Incumbent Sen. Jamilah Nasheed (D) is not running for re-election. She was first elected to represent District 5 in 2012.

Former St. Louis Public Schools Board member Bill Haas (D), non-profit consultant McFarlane Duncan (D), and property manager Jeremiah Church (D) are also running in the primary. The winner of the Aug. 4 primary will face Michael J. Hebron Sr. (R).

Power players

“In 2019-2020, we will work to elect Democratic senators who are committed to an economy that provides opportunity and security for America’s working families and who stand up to protect the rights of all Americans.” – Senate Majority PAC website

Founded in 2010 by supporters of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate Majority PAC is a super PAC with the goal of supporting Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate. As of June 30, the PAC has raised $148 million this cycle compared to $125 million for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Senate Democrats’ official campaign PAC.

During the 2018 campaign cycle, the Senate Majority PAC reported more than $111.6 million in satellite spending, spending over $10 million each to oppose four Republican Senate candidates: Josh Hawley in Missouri ($18.0 million), Rick Scott in Florida ($15.8 million), Dean Heller in Nevada ($14.4 million), and Mike Braun in Indiana ($14.2 million). Other than Heller, each of the four won their races.

So far this cycle, the Senate Majority PAC has reported spending more than $1 million in three races, having already spent $5.2 million to oppose John James in Michigan, $3.6 million to oppose Susan Collins in Maine, and $1.9 million to oppose Steve Daines in Montana.



Coronavirus weekly updates: July 16, 2020

Ballotpedia, The Encyclopedia of American Politics: Coronavirus Weekly Updates
The Coronavirus Weekly Update summarizes major changes due to the coronavirus pandemic in politics, government, and elections. Today, you will find updates on the following topics, with comparisons to our previous edition released on July 9:

  • Stay-at-home orders
  • Federal responses
  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies
  • Election changes
  • Ballot measure changes
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Travel restrictions
  • State legislation
  • State legislative sessions
  • State courts
  • Prison policies
  • Eviction and foreclosure policies
  • Diagnosed or quarantined public officials

For daily news on state reopening plans and which industries and activities are permitted across the country, subscribe to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery.

State stay-at-home orders

Read more: States with lockdown and stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

As of July 9, stay-at-home orders have ended in 41 states. Nineteen of those states have Republican governors and 22 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state supreme court invalidated the stay-at-home order).

California and New Mexico, both of which have a Democratic governor, are the only remaining states with an active stay-at-home order. 

Details:

  • New Mexico – On July 13, Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel extended the state’s stay-at-home order through July 30. The order first took effect on March 24.

School closures and reopenings

Read more: School closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • In March and April, 48 states closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. Those states accounted for 99.4% of the nation’s 50.6 million public school students. Montana and Wyoming did not require in-person instruction for the year. Montana schools were allowed to reopen on May 7 and Wyoming schools were allowed to reopen on May 15.
  • Seven states (Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, and Wyoming) have allowed schools to reopen for students and staff.
    • No new states have reopened campuses since July 9.
  • Thirteen states have released reopening guidance and also announced a scheduled reopening.
    • Two new states have done so since July 9.
  • One state has announced schools will reopen in the fall but has not released reopening guidance.
    • No new states have made reopening announcements since July 9.
  • Officials in 17 other states have released guidance for reopening schools to in-person instruction, but have not indicated when or whether they plan to do so.
    • Four new states have released guidance for reopening schools since July 9.

Details:

  • Arkansas – On July 9, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) announced that the reopening of public schools would be delayed until Aug. 24. Schools in the state were previously set to open on Aug. 13.
  • Delaware – Gov. John Carney (D) released guidance for reopening public schools for the 2020-2021 school year. Districts will use the guidance to create reopening plans that account for in-person, hybrid, and distance learning models.
  • Idaho – Gov. Brad Little (R) announced a reopening plan for public schools. Guidelines include encouraging face coverings for students and faculty, teaching hygiene, and complying with regular cleaning and disinfecting protocols. It also recommends schools be prepared to teach students in-person, with a hybrid schedule, and completely online.
  • Kansas – The Kansas Board of Education voted 9-0 to approve guidelines for reopening public schools for the 2020-2021 school year. Board members said that the guidelines were not mandates but were meant to help districts craft their own individual plans.
  • Louisiana – The Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted unanimously to approve reopening guidelines proposed by Superintendent Cade Brumley. The guidelines include a requirement for all adults and students in grades 3 through 12 to wear face coverings.
  • Missouri – The Department of Education released guidance for reopening public schools. Recommendations include screening students and faculty for symptoms, limiting students and faculty to the same group of people every day (cohorting), and requesting students and faculty wear masks.
  • New Hampshire – Gov. Chris Sununu (R) released guidance for reopening public schools for the 2020-2021 school year. Sununu said the plan is meant to give school districts local control over how they reopen. Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut said he expected students back in schools in September.
  • New York – The State Department of Education released a framework for public school reopening plans. Each school district will be required to submit a district-specific reopening plan based on the template between July 17 and July 31.

1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

Read more: 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

The United States held midterm elections as scheduled during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. More than 50 million people perished from the disease worldwide, including about 675,000 in the U.S., making it one of the deadliest pandemics in recorded history. Each week, we’ll look back at a story from the 1918 elections to see how America met the challenges of holding elections during a national health emergency.

On Nov. 6, 1918, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on how the 1918 influenza pandemic dampened election night energy.

“Darkest night, pierced only by lame street lights and far-scattered horns. A quiet stream of pedestrians and automobiles, moving east and west or stopping on side streets to wait for news.

Such was election night. Someone dared recall the nights of torchlight parades, when red flares and drums aided shouts and blows in expressing partisan fervor. Though torchlights fell from favor, horns were still ‘aces high’ when election night last came around. Memories of hilarious hands of young men, older men and old men–even girls and women joining them–parading the streets with banners and blatant horns, prompted a search for such troops last night.”

Click here to read the original article, courtesy of the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing’s Influenza Encyclopedia.

Federal responses

Read more: Political responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • On July 16, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced on Twitter that the Department would extend its prohibition on nonessential travel to Canada and Mexico through Aug. 20.
  • On July 14, retired General Joseph Dunford, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, withdrew his candidacy to lead a congressional commission established to oversee the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus relief fund. The five-member commission has been without a chair since its creation for the last four months.

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 433 lawsuits in 46 states dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 175 of those lawsuits.
    • Since July 9, we have added 52 lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional 25 court orders and/or settlements.
  • Ballotpedia has separately followed another 132 lawsuits, in 38 states, dealing with election issues during the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 68 of those lawsuits.

Here are two lawsuits that have either garnered significant national media attention or involve major advocacy groups.

  • Page v. Cuomo: On July 1, an Arizona resident filed a lawsuit challenging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) executive order requiring travelers entering New York from states with high COVID-19 infection rates to self-quarantine. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. The plaintiff, Cynthia Page, said she was forced to cancel a planned trip to Brooklyn as Arizona’s current rate of infection would require her to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The plaintiff alleges Cuomo’s order violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantees of equal protection and due process. The suit also alleges Cuomo’s order violates the Privileges and Immunities Clause, which guarantees legal protections related to distinctively national citizenship, such as the right to interstate travel. The plaintiff alleges the quarantine is “the equivalent of a house arrest.” The plaintiff further alleges Cuomo’s order “lacks any rational basis, is arbitrary, capricious, and vague, has no real or substantial relation” to the aim of mitigating the spread of COVID-19, “and is beyond all question, a plain, palpable invasion of rights secured by fundamental law.” Cuomo has yet to release any statement related to the complaint. The case is assigned to Judge David N. Hurd, an appointee of President Bill Clinton (D).
  • Power v. Leon County: On July 10, Judge John Cooper, of Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit Court, denied a motion to prohibit Leon County’s mask ordinance. The lawsuit, one of nine filed by attorney and state Representative Anthony Sabatini (R) on behalf of plaintiffs across the state, challenges the constitutionality of Leon County’s Emergency Ordinance 20-15, enacted on June 23 as a response to COVID-19. The ordinance requires individuals to wear face coverings while inside public businesses to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The plaintiff, a Leon County resident and business owner, alleges the ordinance violates guarantees of privacy, due process, religious freedom, and equal protection under the Florida Constitution. Cooper dismissed arguments that the ordinance was impermissibly vague and found the science justifying the ordinance convincing, stating, “If people are going to go into businesses and spread it all over the place, then about the only thing available is a face mask.” Sabatini, who has filed similar lawsuits against Martin, Miami-Dade, Seminole, Orange, and Hillsborough counties, as well as the cities of St. Augustine, DeLand, and Jacksonville, has indicated he will file an appeal in the First District Court of Appeal.

Election changes

Read more: Changes to election dates, procedures, and administration in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Twenty states have postponed state-level primary or special elections.
    • No states have postponed elections since July 9.
  • Eighteen states have modified their candidate filing requirements.
    • No states have made candidate filing modifications since July 9.
  • Thirty-seven states have made modifications to their voting procedures.
    • One state has made voting procedure modifications since July 9.
  • Political parties in 19 states have made modifications to party events on a statewide basis.
    • One state party has made modifications to party events since July 9.

Details:

  • Texas – On July 9, Judge Larry Weiman, of the Texas 80th District Court, rejected requests from both the Republican Party of Texas and Steve Hotze, a Houston Republican, to bar Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner from canceling the state Republican Party convention, originally scheduled for July 16-18. The GOP petitioned the Texas Supreme Court to intervene and direct the city to allow the convention to proceed as planned. On July 13, the state supreme court dismissed the petition, and the party’s executive committee voted to hold the convention online.
  • Vermont – Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos (D) announced that the state would send mail-in ballot request forms to all eligible voters in the Aug. 11 primary election.

Ballot measure changes

Read more: Changes to ballot measure campaigns, procedures, and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • At least 18 lawsuits were filed in 13 states seeking court orders suspending or changing signature requirements and deadlines.
  • Rulings or settlements have been issued in all of the pending cases, although some are still pending appeal.
    • At least one ruling has been issued since July 9.
  • Ballotpedia has tracked 26 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  • Seven states and D.C. changed ballot measure procedures through executive orders or legislative action.
    • No new changes have been enacted since July 9.
  • At least four initiative campaigns initially targeting 2020 reported they would shift their focus to 2022.

Details:

Travel restrictions

Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Governors or state agencies in 24 states issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 13 of those orders have been rescinded.
    • Since July 9, five states have modified their travel restrictions.

Details:

  • Connecticut, New Jersey, New York –  Governors Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced on July 14 that New Mexico, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota had been added to the joint travel advisory originally announced June 24. Travelers from those states will need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in the tristate area. The governors removed Delaware, which was added July 7, from the list. The list now includes 22 states. Gov. Cuomo also announced that visitors to New York from those 22 states will need to fill out a form with contact information or face a $10,000 fine. Gov. Lamont said Connecticut would join New York in requiring visitors to fill out a contact form.
  • Hawaii – Gov. David Ige (D) announced on July 14 that he was extending the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers through Sept. 1. Previously, Ige said a new program would take effect Aug. 1 that would allow visitors to avoid the quarantine requirement by presenting a negative coronavirus test. The program will not start before Sept. 1.
  • Pennsylvania – On July 12, the Pennsylvania Department of Health added Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma to its quarantine list. Visitors from those states are recommended to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entering Pennsylvania. On July 15, the Department of Health removed Delaware from the list.

State legislation

Read more: State laws in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • To date, 2,564 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
    • We have tracked 95 additional bills since July 9.
  • Of these, 349 significant bills have been enacted into law, about 14 percent of the total number that has been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.
    • We have tracked 41 additional significant bills since July 9 (also omitting ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.)

State legislative session changes

Read more: Changes to state legislative session dates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Six state legislatures have suspended their sessions. Five of those have since reconvened.
    • One state legislature that had suspended and then resumed its session has adjourned since July 9.
  • Thirty-seven legislatures have either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
  • Five state legislatures are in regular session.
  • Two state legislatures are in special session.
    • Two state legislatures have convened special sessions since July 9.

Details:

  • Hawaii – The Hawaii Legislature adjourned on July 10.
  • Minnesota – The Minnesota Legislature convened a special session on July 13.
  • Nevada – The Nevada Legislature convened a special session on July 8.

State court changes

Read more: State court closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide
  • Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings at the local level
    • Since July 9, two local courts and one state have extended restrictions on in-person proceedings and the suspension of jury trials.

Details:

  • Massachusetts – Effective July 13, visitors can enter Massachusetts courthouses subject to restrictions put in place by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
  • Georgia – Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton issued an order extending the state’s judicial emergency, which had been set to expire on July 12, through Aug. 11. Jury trials and most grand jury proceedings remain prohibited.
  • Chicago – On July 13, Rebecca Pallmeyer, the Chief judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, announced that all criminal and civil jury trials set to begin before Aug. 3 in Chicago’s federal courts will be rescheduled.
  • Los Angeles – On July 13, the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, California announced that jury trials would not resume until August.
  • Iowa – On July 13, courtrooms reopened to in-person proceedings with restrictions. Social distancing of at least six feet is required, and anyone who talks must be behind a transparent face shield while doing so. Jury trials will not resume until Sept. 14.
  • New York – Janet DiFiore, the chief judge of the Court of Appeals in New York, announced that grand jury proceedings could resume in all judicial districts except New York City. Grand jury proceedings are set to resume on Aug. 10 in New York City.
  • North Carolina – Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley announced on July 16 that she was maintaining the pause on jury trials through the end of September. She also announced that masks will now be required in courthouses.

Eviction and foreclosure policies

Read more: Changes to rent, mortgage, eviction, and foreclosure policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Twenty-one states have current moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
    • Since July 9, one state has ended a moratorium on evictions.
  • Twenty-one states have ended moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • California has current local moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • Seven states did not issue a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures on the state or local level.

Details:

  • Michigan – The state’s moratorium on evictions expired on July 16.

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • Federal
    • Six members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty-three federal officials quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Four state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • Fifty-seven state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Seventy-four state-level incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least two local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 19 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since July 9, one governor, one congressman, one city councilmember, and one state senator tested positive for coronavirus.

Details:

  • Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced on July 15 that he tested positive for the coronavirus. Stitt, who assumed office in 2019, is the first governor known to have tested positive for the virus.
  • Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), who represents Virginia’s 9th Congressional District, announced on July 14 that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • Chicago City Councilmember Carrie Austin, who represents Ward 34, announced on July 13 that she tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Pennsylvania state Sen. Anthony Williams (D), who represents District 8, announced on July 14 that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

Learn more



Heart of the Primaries 2020, Democrats-Issue 27 (July 15, 2020)

This week: M.J. Hegar wins Senate nomination in Texas, Super PAC spends $900,000 to support Ed Markey in Massachusetts, and Vermont gubernatorial candidates differ on ethics policy

On the news

Where do Democratic and progressive pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

On ‘cancel culture’

“A specter is haunting Western democracies. No, it is not the surging pandemic, mass death or catastrophic unemployment. It is, if you believe Donald Trump and some of his critics, the end of free speech and the advent of ‘cancel culture.’ … 

“… free speech has never been more widely available than it is today. So much so that the cacophony of voices liberated by digital media too frequently drowns out well-informed and sensible opinion. Trump, who blurts out several hot takes every day, is himself an example of the verbal incontinence enabled by Twitter in recent years. … 

“… the picture that Trump and highly prominent writers draw of narrowed and darkened intellectual horizons seems wholly unrecognizable, even paranoid.

“Could it be that increasingly diverse voices and rich conversations are a threat to their free speech — more accurately, the prerogative of famous and powerful people to speak at length on all sorts of things without interruption or disagreement? … 

“No doubt this networked minority will continue to protect its privileges by invoking various dangers to free speech. But no one should mistake its fear of obsolescence and irrelevance for any kind of liberalism.”

Pankaj Mishra, Bloomberg Opinion, July 14, 2020

 

“In recent years, there has been a marked and disquieting increase in the willingness of a raft of actors left, center, and right, both in government and in civil society, to engage in a practice and attitude of censorship and to abandon due process, presumption of innocence, and other core civil liberties.

“There have been some attempts from different quarters at a pushback against this, but the most recent such effort at a course correction is an open letter decrying the phenomenon appearing in Harper’s magazine. …

“What is true is that to limit this discussion to the acts of the extremely online mob, to, say, British author Jon Ronson’s concerns about Twitter public shaming, or to the ill-defined term ‘cancel culture,’  entirely misses the far wider atmosphere of an aggressive and accelerating threat to civil liberties.

“It is understandable that a brief open letter would not offer a catalog of episodes, but this is nevertheless unfortunate, as it allows Robinson and others to maintain a ‘nothing to see here, please move along’ stance.

“When we do in fact consider such a catalog, we find that to deny that this is happening, or to diminish it as inconsequential is untenable. There are simply too many examples.”

Leigh Phillips, Jacobin, July 12, 2020

Election results

U.S. Senate in Maine: Sara Gideon defeated Betsy Sweet and Bre Kidman in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Maine. As of 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time on July 15, Gideon had received 70%of the vote followed by Sweet and Kidman with 23% and 7% of the vote, respectively, with 87% of precincts reporting. Gideon was endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the official Senate campaign wing of the national Democratic Party. According to pre-primary campaign finance reports, she had raised $23,001,088, more than all but four other Senate candidates across the country so far in 2020. Gideon will face incumbent U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R) in the general election. Collins is one of two incumbent Republican senators running for re-election in a state that Hillary Clinton (D) won during the 2016 presidential election. Clinton received 48% of the vote in Maine to Donald Trump’s (R) 45%.

U.S. Senate in Texas:  M.J. Hegar defeated Royce West in the Democratic primary runoff for U.S. Senate in Texas. Hegar received 52% of the vote to West’s 48%. Hegar’s endorsers included the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and End Citizens United. She is a former U.S. Army search and rescue and medevac pilot. Hegar ran for the U.S. House in Texas’ 31st District in 2018, losing to incumbent John Carter (R) 51% to 48%. The Texas Working Families Party and several state House members endorsed West. West has served in the state House since 1992. Incumbent Sen. John Cornyn (R) is running for re-election. Democrats last won a statewide election in Texas in 1994. In the most recent U.S. Senate election, incumbent Ted Cruz (R) defeated then-Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) 51% to 48%.

Texas’ 10th Congressional District: Mike Siegel defeated Pritesh Gandhi in the Democratic primary runoff for Texas’ 10th Congressional District. Siegel received 54% of the vote to Gandhi’s 46%. The candidates split on healthcare and climate policy, with Siegel supporting a single-payer healthcare plan and the Green New Deal and Gandhi backing a plan he described as Medicare for All who want it and a carbon fee structure to reduce emissions. The Austin American-Statesman endorsed Gandhi, while the Austin Chronicle and Houston Chronicle endorsed Siegel.

Texas’ 24th Congressional District: Candace Valenzuela defeated Kim Olson in the Democratic primary runoff for Texas’ 24th Congressional District. Valenzuela received 60% of the vote to Olson’s 40%. Former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro (D), U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), several members of the U.S. House, and multiple congressional caucus PACs endorsed Valenzuela, who served on the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school board. The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and multiple organizations supporting military veterans in politics endorsed Olson, a retired Air Force colonel. In 2018, retiring incumbent Kenny Marchant (R) won re-election by three percentage points.

Texas’ 31st Congressional District: Donna Imam defeated Christine Eady Mann in the Democratic primary runoff for Texas’ 31st Congressional District. Imam received 57% of the vote to Eady Mann’s 43%. Imam, a computer engineer, received an endorsement from former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang (D), who said, “Imam is one of the most solutions-oriented candidates I’ve ever spoken to, which is no surprise as she’s an engineer and entrepreneur.” Imam will face incumbent Rep. John Carter (R) in the general election. Carter has represented the 31st District since its creation in 2003. He most recently won re-election in 2018 over M.J. Hegar (D), receiving 51 percent of the vote to Hegar’s 48 percent, the first time a Democratic candidate had won over 40 percent of the vote in the district.

U.S. Congress

Super PAC spends $900,000 supporting Markey in Mass.

The super PAC United for Massachusetts spent $900,000 on TV and digital ads saying Sen. Ed Markey was progressive on healthcare and the environment before crises developed in these areas. The Sunrise Movement and Environment America Action Fund formed the PAC. 

Markey faces U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy in the Sept. 1 primary. Kennedy has pledged to disavow satellite spending in the race and called on Markey to do the same. Markey says he wants to allow progressive voices to be heard.

Former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer endorsed Markey on June 29, saying he’s “been leading the fight in Congress to tackle our climate crisis.”

Markey introduced a Green New Deal resolution into Congress with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in 2019. Kennedy says he supports the Green New Deal and that Markey hasn’t done enough to implement it.

Kennedy released an ad last week saying America has left people behind and, “If you think this is as good as we can possibly be, then great, vote for the status quo. But if you believe that we actually can do better, this has to be the moment where we finally reject the policies of the past and we build something better, something stronger for the future.”

Markey has been in the Senate since 2013. He served in the U.S. House from 1976 to 2013. Kennedy has been in the U.S. House since 2013. 

Groups focused on Israel policy fundraise for Omar challenger Melton-Meaux

Antone Melton-Meaux, who is challenging Rep. Ilhan Omar (D) in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District primary, raised $1.5 million in May. Some of his contributors cite policy differences between him and Omar on Israel as the reason for their support.

Melton-Meaux has received about $450,000 from Pro-Israel America and NORPAC. NORPAC says it supports candidates who “demonstrate a genuine commitment to the strength, security, and survival of Israel.” Pro-Israel America collected about $300,000 in individual donations for Melton-Meaux, and NORPAC collected about $150,000.

Omar has supported the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s approach of using economic pressure in an effort to change Israel’s policies regarding Palestine. Melton-Meaux opposes BDS. Both candidates say they support a two-state solution.

Omar has apologized for a 2012 tweet in which she said Israel “has hypnotized the world.” In 2019, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R) said he would take action against Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for their statements on Israel and BDS. Democratic and Republican members of Congress criticized Omar for responding that McCarthy’s statement was “all about the Benjamins,” saying she was playing on anti-Semitic tropes. Omar said she was referring to lobbying money from groups supporting Israel and apologized for her comment. 

Through March 31, Omar reported raising $3.4 million to Melton-Meaux’s $484,000. John Mason had raised $108,000. Data was unavailable for the remaining two primary candidates.

Omar was first elected in 2018. She is part of a progressive group of representatives of color known as the Squad, including Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.).

The primary is Aug. 11.

State executives

Vermont gubernatorial candidates differ on ethics regulations

Former Vermont Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe’s (D) proposed ethics rules have split two of her opponents in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Holcombe’s proposal, released July 9, calls for expanding the Vermont Ethics Commission’s powers as well as a five-year lobbying ban on former governors and administration officials and a two-year lobbying ban on former state legislators.

Attorney Pat Winburn said he backed Holcombe’s proposal and that lobbyists should have less influence in state politics. Holcombe’s other opponent, Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, said her proposal went too far. 

Zuckerman said Vermont’s two-year gubernatorial terms already put the state at a disadvantage when attempting to hire top administration officials from the private sector and that a five-year lobbying ban was a step in the wrong direction. 

The Aug. 11 primary is open to all registered voters. Incumbent Phil Scott (R), who was first elected in 2016, is running for a third term this year. Two election forecasters say Scott is likely to win and a third says he is a solid bet to win.

Vermont Auditor, challenger clash over state audit release

Vermont Auditor Doug Hoffer and primary challenger Linda Sullivan released dueling statements following Hoffer’s release of an audit of Vermont’s healthcare system. 

Sullivan, a member of the state House, criticized the timing of the report’s release. Sullivan said the report had been deliberately timed to coincide with the start of early voting in the primary. She said Hoffer’s campaign had sent a message to supporters touting the audit the same day it was published. 

Sullivan also criticized the substance of the audit, saying it did little beyond state known risk factors and describe existing problems without offering any suggestions for improvement. Sullivan campaign manager Jim Salsgiver said the report was evidence that Hoffer did not have the technical knowledge necessary to oversee an office of auditors since he was not a licensed accountant or auditor.

Hoffer, who was first elected in 2012, said Sullivan’s criticisms were politically motivated and contained multiple factual errors. He said the report was intended to be a first step in a larger audit process and that it was appropriate for his campaign to promote it since it was directly related to the responsibilities of the office. He described Sullivan’s criticism as an attempt to gain voters’ attention ahead of the primary.

The Aug. 11 primary is open to all registered voters. The winner of the Democratic nomination will face Progressive nominee Cris Ericson in the general election. No Republican candidate filed for state auditor in Vermont this year.

Legislatures

*The number of incumbents who did seek re-election is provided for the 41 states whose 2020 filing deadlines have already passed. The number of incumbents defeated in primaries is provided for the 24 states that have already held state legislative primaries in 2020.

Minn. state Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party warns incumbent to stop implying he received the party’s endorsement

Minnesota Democratic-Famer-Labor Party (DFL) Chairman Ken Martin wrote a letter to state Sen. Erik Simonson (D-07) last week warning him over his campaign practices. The letter requested that Simonson stop implying the party has endorsed him in the Aug. 11 primary.

In a now-inactive Facebook ad, Simonson wrote, “As a Senate DFL assistant leader, public servant and fierce advocate of Duluth, it comes as no surprise that labor and local DFL organizations are standing by Senator Simonson.”

In his letter to Simonson, Martin wrote, “I … request that you cease and desist the manner in which you reference your affiliation with the ‘DFL.’” He added, “An unendorsed candidate like you wishing to identify himself as a member of the DFL Party must use words such as ‘member of’ or ‘affiliated with’ in conjunction with the party name.” 

On May 13, we reported that challenger Jen McEwen (D) received the party’s endorsement over Simonson at a virtual convention with 70 percent of the delegate vote to Simonson’s 29 percent. McEwen’s campaign manager, Bridget Holcomb, said, “While it must be difficult for Sen. Simonson to have lost the support of local Democrats, it’s important that we all play by the rules.”

Simonson said he addressed the issues on July 9: “I wasn’t trying to be sneaky, I get it … I am an assistant minority leader of the DFL caucus in the state Senate.”

Campaign finance reports show challenger outraising incumbent in Hawaii’s House District 13

Campaign spending reports covering the period from January 1 to June 30 showed Walter Ritte (D) outraising incumbent Rep. Lynn DeCoite (D-13) in Hawaii’s House District 13. 

According to The Maui News Colleen Uechi, reports from across the state showed that “incumbent candidates unsurprisingly led the field in total campaign funds,” but that “Ritte was one of the few challengers to stay financially competitive with his opponent.” During the first half of the year, Ritte raised $39,076.83, giving him $23,127.60 cash on hand. DeCoite raised $16,050, bringing her cash total to $29,872.95.

Ritte is a Native Hawaiian activist who helped form Hui Alaloa, a group focused on water and land access rights, in the 1970s. Since then, he has been involved in a number of movements on the island of Molokai. He received endorsements from Our Revolution Hawaii, the Sierra Club, and the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

DeCoite owns and operates L&R Farms Enterprises on Molokai. She was appointed to District 13 in 2015 following the resignation of Rep. Mele Carroll (D). She won election to a full term in 2016 and was re-elected in 2018. DeCoite received contributions from the campaigns of state Sens. J. Kalani English (D-07), Michelle Kidani (D-18), Donna Kim (D-14), and Gil Keith-Agaran (D-05).

The winner of the Aug. 11 primary will face Republican Robin Vanderpool and Aloha Aina Party candidate Theresa Kapaku in the general election.

Power players

“BOLD PAC is the fastest growing Democratic Political Action Committee dedicated to increasing the diversity of our leadership in the House and Senate. It champions progressive Democrats fighting for change.” – BOLD PAC website 

BOLD PAC was founded in 2001 as the fundraising arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The group says it supports “strong Hispanic candidates and candidates who embrace BOLD policies.” As of May 2020, the group said it was spending $2.75 million on 2020 congressional primaries. 

BOLD PAC Chairman Tony Cárdenas said, “BOLD PAC is proud to support Latino candidates to help hold the Democratic House majority and expand the Hispanic Caucus. Democrats made historic gains in 2018 and secured the majority in the House with the most diverse Congress in our nation’s history. With so much at stake, BOLD PAC is fully committed to building on the success of 2018 and helping elect a new wave of Latino leaders to Congress.”

Click the following links to view the group’s endorsed Hispanic candidates, endorsed candidates, and BOLD members



Heart of the Primaries 2020, Republicans-Issue 27 (July 15, 2020)

This week: Tuberville defeats Jeff Sessions in Alabama Senate runoff, PAC spends $3 million to oppose Kobach in Kansas Senate primary, and Washington gubernatorial candidates hold debate

On the news

Where do Republican and conservative pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

On Roger Stone

“Bill Clinton pardoned his own brother for felony distribution of cocaine. And a key witness in the Whitewater scandal for which he and Hillary Clinton were under investigation. And three others convicted in independent counsel Ken Starr’s probe. And Marc Rich, in what was a straight up political payoff. And his CIA director. And his HUD secretary. And eight people convicted in an investigation of his Agriculture Department. …

“Clinton also commuted the sentences of convicted terrorists, some of whom hadn’t even asked for clemency. Shameless as he was, though, even he couldn’t bring himself to pardon Oscar Lopez Rivera, the defiantly unrepentant FALN leader.

“President Obama took care of that.

“Obama also commuted the sentence of a U.S. soldier who passed top-secret information to WikiLeaks. He pardoned his former Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chairman, who’d been convicted of making false statements about a leak of classified information to the New York Times. And when he couldn’t get Congress to amend federal drug laws the way he wanted them amended, Obama used the pardon power to slash hundreds of sentences, under an executive initiative later sharply criticized by the Obama-appointed DOJ inspector general. …

“So, as abuses of the pardon power go — and they do go — I can’t get too whipped up over President Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s 40-month sentence for non-violent criminal obstruction of a bogusly based and ridiculously over-prosecuted investigation.”

Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, July 11, 2020

 

“The fact that Obama and Clinton ‘got away with it’ does not make Trump’s commutation of the sentence of his longtime political dirty trickster, Roger Stone, less of an affront to the system. …

 

“There is no defensible excuse for eliminating Stone’s sentence. Stone tried to enable a hostile foreign power to influence an election, in ways illicit and bordering on illegal, and then illegally and unambiguously lied about it. For this, he should serve jail time.

 

“There is one way in which Trump’s commutation is worse than some of the outlandish commutations and pardons from Obama and Clinton. Those earlier clemencies included neither crimes directly connected to the sanctity of our elections nor ones involving illicit foreign activities related to elections

 

“The worst of those other presidents’ clemencies also came when they were on their way out the door, leaving office and thus unable to benefit electorally from them. Trump’s action, in the run-up to the next election, sends a signal that foreign shenanigans to benefit his candidacy are likely to go unpunished. …

 

“This is corruption. It is wrong each time any president engages in it. Trump’s commutation of Stone is particularly galling and is one more sign of his unfitness for the presidency.”

Quin Hillyer, Washington Examiner, July 13, 2020 

Election results

U.S. Senate in Alabama: Tommy Tuberville defeated Jeff Sessions in the Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate in Alabama. Tuberville received 61% of the vote to Sessions’ 39%. President Donald Trump endorsed Tuberville, a former college football coach. Sessions held the Senate seat for 20 years before Trump appointed him as U.S. attorney general in 2017. Club for Growth PAC and FarmPAC—the political action committee of the Alabama Farmers Federation—were among Tuberville’s other endorsers. Sessions’ endorsers included the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund, the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, and several U.S. senators. Tuberville will face incumbent Sen. Doug Jones (D) in November. Roll Call named Jones the most vulnerable incumbent senator up for re-election in 2020.

Alabama’s 1st Congressional District: Jerry Carl defeated Bill Hightower in the Republican primary for Alabama’s 1st Congressional District. Carl had 52% of the vote to Hightower’s 48%. Alabama Daily News‘ Todd Stacy described the race as “a battle between the activist and business wings of the Republican Party.” Carl received endorsements from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the outgoing incumbent Rep. Bradly Byrne (R). Hightower received endorsements from the National Right to Life and Club for Growth, which spent over $1 million in the race primarily opposing Carl.

Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District: Barry Moore defeated Jeff Coleman in the Republican primary runoff for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. Moore received 60% of the vote to Coleman’s 40%. Incumbent Martha Roby (R) did not seek re-election, leaving this safe Republican district open. Moore served in the state House from 2010 to 2018 and is a U.S. Army and Alabama National Guard and Reserves veteran. Club for Growth PAC, the House Freedom Fund, and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) were among his endorsers. Coleman is chairman of Coleman Worldwide Moving. His endorsers included Roby, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Business Council of Alabama.

Maine’s 2nd Congressional District: As of 10:45 a.m. Eastern Time on July 15, the Republican primary in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District remained too close to call. With 86% of precincts reporting, Dale Crafts led with 44.8% of the vote to Adrienne Bennett’s 32.4% and Eric Brakey’s 22.8%. The primary was carried out using ranked-choice voting, in which voters rank candidates from their first to their third choice. Should no candidate receive more than 50% of the vote in the final tally, the last-place candidate will be eliminated and their voters’ votes distributed to their second-choice candidate. The winner will face incumbent Jared Golden (D), who unseated Bruce Poliquin (R) in 2018.

Texas’ 13th Congressional District: Ronny Jackson defeated Josh Winegarner in the Republican primary runoff for Texas’ 13th Congressional District. Jackson received 56% of the vote to Winegarner’s 44%. President Donald Trump (R), U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) endorsed Jackson. Incumbent Rep. Mac Thornberry (R), who did not seek re-election, endorsed Winegarner, along with U.S. Reps. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Lance Gooden (R-Texas), and Kenny Marchant (R-Texas). Thornberry, who was first elected in 1994, won his last election in 2018 by a margin of victory of 65 percentage points. 

Texas’ 17th Congressional District: Pete Sessions defeated Renee Swann in the Republican primary runoff for Texas’ 17th Congressional District. Sessions received 54% of the vote to Swann’s 47%. Sessions was a member of Congress from 1997 to 2019, representing Texas’ 32nd Congressional District (2003-2019) and Texas’ 5th Congressional District (1997-2003). He campaigned on his record and said he voted in support of Trump 98% of the time. Incumbent Rep. Bill Flores (R) endorsed Swann, citing her desire to work with President Trump and her stances on immigration and social issues. Swann’s campaign highlighted her experience in business and healthcare. Flores won re-election by 15 percentage points in 2018. 

Texas’ 22nd Congressional District election: Troy Nehls defeated Kathaleen Wall in the Republican primary runoff for Texas’ 22nd Congressional District. Nehls received 70% of the vote to Wall’s 30%. The Houston Chronicle, SEAL PAC, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed Nehls. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), the National Association for Gun Rights, and the Susan B. Anthony List endorsed Wall. According to campaign finance reports, Wall spent $2 million to Nehls’ $98,000 between April 1 and June 24. Incumbent Pete Olson (R), who was first elected in 2008, did not seek re-election. Since 1979, Republicans have represented the district for all but two years, when Nick Lampson held the seat from 2007 to 2009. In 2018, Olson won re-election 51.4% to 46.5%. 

Texas’ 23rd Congressional District: Tony Gonzales and Raul Reyes Jr. ran in the Republican primary runoff for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District. As of 8:30 a.m. Central Time on July 15, the race was too close to call with 100% of precincts reporting. Gonzales and Reyes each had 50.0% of the vote. A margin of seven votes—0.028% of the total votes cast—separated them. Incumbent Will Hurd (R), who was first elected in 2014, did not seek re-election. Both Gonzales and Reyes highlighted their military backgrounds. Gonzales served in the Navy, and Reyes served in the Air Force. President Donald Trump (R), U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and U.S. Reps. Hurd, Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and Steve Scalise (R-La.) endorsed Gonzales. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Young Conservatives of Texas, Texas Family Action, and Texas Right to Life endorsed Reyes. Hurd won his last election in 2018 49.2-48.7%.

U.S. Congress

PAC spends $3 million opposing Kobach in Senate primary in KS

Plains PAC announced $3 million in spending opposing Kris Kobach in the Senate primary in Kansas. The group released an ad criticizing Kobach’s 2018 gubernatorial election defeat and says he employed an aide with a history of making racist comments. Kobach’s campaign fired the aide, and Kobach denounced the comments. 

Kobach, Kansas’ secretary of state from 2011 to 2019, defeated incumbent Jeff Colyer in the 2018 gubernatorial primary. He lost to Democrat Laura Kelly in the general election 43% to 48%.  

U.S. Chamber Action, affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, spent $400,000 on an ad campaign supporting U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall in the primary. The group’s ad says Marshall, a veteran, fought for educational and economic opportunities for veterans. Marshall was first elected in 2016. 

As we recently covered, Club for Growth Action suspended its ad campaign opposing Marshall. The group had planned to spend $2.1 million in the primary.

Meanwhile, Marshall released an ad criticizing Bob Hamilton, saying he hired someone in the country illegally to work for his plumbing business and put families in danger. Hamilton’s campaign said the employee in question stole an identity and Hamilton did not know he was in the country illegally.

The primary is Aug. 4. Eleven candidates are on the ballot. Incumbent Pat Roberts (R), first elected in 1996, is not seeking re-election. Three election forecasters rate the general election Lean or Likely Republican.

Club for Growth spends $550,000 supporting Hill in TN-01

Club for Growth Action spent $550,000 on an ad campaign supporting Timothy Hill for Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District. The ad says Hill would support President Donald Trump (R) on term limits for members of Congress and defend law enforcement against defunding efforts. 

Hill has served in the Tennessee House of Representatives since 2012.

Sixteen candidates are running in the Aug. 6 Republican primary. Incumbent Phil Roe (R), first elected in 2008, isn’t seeking re-election. This is a safe Republican district.

Center for Responsive Politics data as of July 14 showed Club for Growth Action had spent to support or oppose 49 candidates in the 2020 election cycle. The group’s expenditures supporting Hill were their eighth-highest on any candidate and their fourth-highest in support of a candidate.

After the Club for Growth endorsed him, Hill said, “The question is not ultimately whether the First Congressional District will be Republican. … It’s will we be conservative, and that’s where those endorsements, that’s where those groups are coming in and saying, ‘hey, we think we can make a difference, Timothy has demonstrated that he’s conservative.'”   

A Spry Strategies poll showed pharmacist Diana Harshbarger leading the primary field with 22% support among likely voters. Rusty Crowe, a state senator, was second with 14%, and Hill was third with 11%. Twenty-one percent of respondents said they were undecided.

The poll included nine of the 16 candidates by name and had a margin of error of +/-4 percentage points.

State executives

Seven Republican candidates for governor of Washington discuss homelessness, pandemic response, in debate

The Clark County Republican Women hosted a debate attended by seven Republican candidates for governor of Washington on July 9. The candidates discussed Washington’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as well as their proposals to address homelessness.

Fundraising leader Loren Culp, the chief of police for the town of Republic, criticized incumbent Jay Inslee (D) for ordering businesses to close and residents to remain in their homes during the pandemic. Culp said Inslee’s order was unconstitutional and that he should have focused on making sure the public was aware of the risks associated with the pandemic instead. Culp said he would offer homeless individuals accused of substance abuse a choice between treatment or prison.

Tim Eyman, an activist and the sponsor of 17 measures that have appeared on Washington’s statewide ballot in the past 22 years, said the issues of homelessness and the coronavirus pandemic were related. Eyman said while homelessness was a problem before the pandemic began, Inslee’s orders shutting down businesses and government services had made the situation worse.

State Sen. Phil Fortunato, the only current elected officeholder among the Republican gubernatorial candidates, said Inslee’s response to the coronavirus had frozen most sectors of the state’s economy. Fortunato said Washington did not have a clear and consistent standard for determining which businesses were essential. He said Washington’s homeless population had grown because cases where homeless individuals were accused of committing a crime were not being prosecuted.

Businessman Joshua Freed, the former Mayor of Bothell, said he had successfully sued the Inslee administration over regulations prohibiting religious gatherings during the pandemic. Freed proposed the state launch a public/private partnership to give homeless addicts the option of undergoing a one-year treatment program or going to jail.

Raul Garcia, a physician, said he was concerned by what he described as a need to control the people on behalf of the state government during the pandemic. Garcia compared the feeling to growing up in his native Cuba under Fidel Castro. He said the best option for reducing Washington’s homeless population would be to create a program offering the homeless addiction treatment and job training.

Businessman Anton Sakharov said Washington should have been better prepared for the coronavirus pandemic. He said all businesses should have been allowed to remain open. Sakharov said he would seek to reduce Washington’s homeless population by 90% within three years of taking office and proposed a partnership between state, city, and county governments to meet that goal.

Businessman Martin Wheeler criticized the economic shutdown Gov. Inslee ordered, saying it had had a particularly strong effect on rural areas. Wheeler said expanding law enforcement’s power to combat drug trafficking while expanding training for mental health professionals would be the most effective way to reduce rates of homelessness.

The seven are among the 36 gubernatorial candidates who will appear on the Aug. 4 top-two primary ballot. The top two finishers, regardless of partisan affiliation, will advance to the November general election. Sakharov will appear on the ballot as a member of the Trump Republican Party while the other six are running as members of the Republican Party. In all, there are 11 Republican Party candidates, three Trump Republican Party candidates, and one Pre-2016 Republican Party candidate among the 36.

Erin Stewart launches PAC to change the direction of the Connecticut GOP, sparking questions about a 2022 gubernatorial run

Fourth-term New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart (R) announced on July 7 she would launch a political action committee supporting what she described as moderate Republican candidates in this year’s state elections. Stewart’s said the PAC is part of an effort to change the ideological direction of the state GOP. It has fuelled speculation among political observers that she is planning a run for governor in 2022.

Stewart’s new effort is a relaunch of STEWPAC, the political action committee supporting her mayoral campaigns. Stewart said the new STEWPAC’s mission would be to promote Republican state legislative candidates who share her policy priorities. In an interview with the Hartford Courant, Stewart said the GOP should emphasize its stances on the role of government and fiscal policy: “We have to elevate our voices even louder to say ‘Here’s why you should vote for Republican ideology — less government, pro-business, not necessarily the things spewing from President Trump.”

Stewart has served as mayor of New Britain, Connecticut’s eighth-largest city, since 2013. She won the 2019 mayoral election 61% to 37%. In the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton (D) defeated Donald Trump in New Britain 69%-27%. Stewart says her brand of politics is the key to the Connecticut GOP’s future success: “I know if the Republican Party wants to survive in this state, they need to change the narrative — they need to start listening to people like me.”

Some political observers have suggested Stewart’s move could foreshadow a run for governor in 2022. Stewart ran for governor briefly in 2018 before switching to the lieutenant gubernatorial primary, where she lost to state Sen. Joe Markley (R) 48% to 33%.

 

Legislatures

*The number of incumbents who did seek re-election is provided for the 41 states whose 2020 filing deadlines have already passed. The number of incumbents defeated in primaries is provided for the 24 states that have already held state legislative primaries in 2020.

Satellite spending opposing incumbent senator in Missouri’s Senate District 23

The Republican primary in Missouri’s Senate District 23 has seen an influx of satellite spending from the Missouri-based political committee Voters for Good Government with mailers opposing incumbent Sen. Bill Eigel (R-23) and supporting one of his primary opponents, attorney Eric Wulff (R). A third candidate, Dan O’Connell (R), is also running in the primary. Earlier this month, the group received a $390,000 donation from the national political committee Americans for Limited Government, a portion of which has been spent in District 23.

Typical of the mailers are images of Eigel with text saying the incumbent supports “de-funding law enforcement … funding Planned Parenthood … [and] raising taxes.”

Eigel is a co-founder of the legislature’s six-member Conservative Caucus, which, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jack Suntrup, “routinely needles GOP leadership and others, pushing an agenda that supports charter schools and opposes income taxes and corporate incentives.” He received endorsements from Gov. Mike Parsons (R), the Missouri Right to Life, and the National Rifle Association.

In response to the mailers, Eigel asked, “Why would Eric Wulff be funded by $390,000 in secret money to lie about me?” He added, “They’re mad that I work for the people, not the establishment.”

William Hardin, treasurer of Voters for Good Government, said, “The word was out there that I wanted to do something in that race and a contribution came.” He said the decision was not based on Eigel’s Conservative Caucus membership, adding that he made a $2,500 contribution to one of the caucus’ members, Sen. Eric Burlison (R-20). Hardin added that the entire $390,000 donation will not be spent in District 23.

Wulff is an attorney and a municipal judge in St. Charles. He previously served on the Orchard Farm School Board. Regarding the mailers, Wulf said Voters for Good Government seemed “very sympathetic to me … They like me a whole lot more than Bill Eigel.” Wulff supports increased funding for public schools and incentives for a local GM plant, positions he described as counter to Eigel’s.

Fiona McFarland receives endorsement from Sarasota County Commissioner in Florida’s House District 72 primary

On July 10, Sarasota County Commissioner Charles Hines (R) endorsed Fiona McFarland (R) in Florida’s House District 72. McFarland faces Donna Barcomb and Jason Miller in the three-way Republican primary. The incumbent, Rep. Margaret Good (D-72), is not seeking re-election.

McFarland is a U.S. Navy reservist and consultant with McKinsey and Company. In his endorsement of her campaign, Hines said, “[McFarland’s] military service to our country combined with her fresh outlook and energy … are characteristics we need right now in government.”

Barcomb is a member of the Sarasota County Charter Review Board, a countywide elected position, and the owner of an outpatient physical therapy clinic. She previously served on the Sarasota Hospital Board. Barcomb received an endorsement from County Commissioner and former state Sen. Nancy Detert (R).

Miller is a U.S. Army reservist and an assistant attorney general with the criminal appeals division of the Florida Attorney General’s office. He previously served as assistant state attorney in the area. Miller received endorsements from fellow assistant attorneys general, Jeffrey Seigal and Clifford Chapman.

As of June 26, McFarland led the field with $175,199 cash on hand followed by Barcomb with $70,952 and Miller with $2,941.

According to Florida Politics’ Jacob Ogles, “District 72 is among a handful of House seats where voters in 2016 favored Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton but are held by Democrats.” The winner of the primary will face attorney Drake Buckman (D) in the general election.

Joseph Orgeron wins special election for Louisiana House District 54 outright

On July 11, voters in Louisiana’s House District 54 cast their ballots in a special primary to fill the remainder of the late Rep. Reggie Bagala’s (R) term. Joseph Orgeron (R) won the election outright after receiving 55 percent of the vote in the six-way primary, more than the 50 percent needed to avoid a later general election. 

Orgeron received endorsements from the Republican parties in Jefferson and Lafourche Parish, both of which make up a bulk of District 54. The special election was open to members of any party, but only Republican challengers filed.

Power players

“Concerned Women for America is the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization with a rich 40-year history of helping our members across the country bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy.” – Concerned Women for America

Founded in 1979, Concerned Women for America says its mission is to “protect and promote Biblical values among all citizens – first through prayer, then education, and finally by influencing our society – thereby reversing the decline in moral values in our nation.” The group defines its core issues as follows: sanctity of life, defense of family, education, religious liberty, national sovereignty, sexual exploitation, and support for Israel. To view a list of the organization’s concerns and goals related to these issues, click here.

The Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) endorsed the following candidates in 2020, whom it says meet “qualifications required for leadership with regards to CWALAC’s seven core issues:” 

U.S. Senate: Cynthia Lummis (Wyoming) and Daniel Gade (Virginia)

U.S. House: Kathaleen Wall (TX-22), Beth Parlato (NY-27), Amy Phan West (CA-47), Darrell Issa (CA-50), and Tina Ramirez (VA-07).



Coronavirus weekly update: July 3 – July 9, 2020

Ballotpedia, The Encyclopedia of American Politics: Coronavirus Weekly Updates
From March 18 to June 10, Coronavirus Daily Update provided a daily summary of major changes due to the coronavirus pandemic in politics, government, and elections. Now, we cover those same stories in a weekly format sent out on Thursday afternoons.

Today, you will find updates on the following topics, with comparisons to our previous edition released on July 2:

  • Stay-at-home orders
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Federal responses
  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies
  • Election changes
  • Ballot measure changes
  • Travel restrictions
  • State legislation
  • State legislative sessions
  • State courts
  • Eviction and foreclosure policies
  • Diagnosed or quarantined public officials

We're tracking states' reopenings — subscribe to Documenting America's Path to Recovery to learn more

For daily news on state reopening plans and which industries and activities are permitted across the country, subscribe to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery.

State stay-at-home orders

Read more: States with lockdown and stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

As of July 9, stay-at-home orders have ended in 41 states. Nineteen of those states have Republican governors and 22 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state supreme court invalidated the stay-at-home order).

California and New Mexico, both of which have a Democratic governor, are the only remaining states with an active stay-at-home order.

School closures and reopenings

Read more: School closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • In March and April, 48 states closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. Those states accounted for 99.4% of the nation’s 50.6 million public school students. Montana and Wyoming did not require in-person instruction to close for the year. Montana schools were allowed to reopen on May 7 and Wyoming schools were allowed to reopen on May 15.
  • Seven states (Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, and Wyoming) have reopened their campuses for students and staff.
    • No new states have reopened campuses since July 2.
  • Eleven states have issued reopening guidance and also announced a scheduled reopening.
    • One new state has done so since July 2.
  • Two states have announced schools will reopen in the fall but have not released reopening guidance.
    • No new states have made reopening announcements since July 2.
  • Officials in 13 other states have issued guidance for reopening schools to in-person instruction, but have not indicated when or whether they plan to do so.
    • No new states have released guidance for reopening schools since July 2.

Details:

  • Florida – On July 6, the Florida Department of Education ordered that all school boards and charter school governing boards must physically open schools for at least five days per week for all students beginning in August.
  • Kentucky – On July 6, the Kentucky Department of Education released guidelines on reopening schools in the fall. The document, a complement to interim guidance the Kentucky Department of Public Health issued in June, does not mandate a uniform course of action for reopening schools. Instead, “it is intended to be a guide for local school districts when developing and adapting their return-to-school plans.”
  • Montana – Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced guidelines for reopening schools. The plan encourages schools to consider several precautions, including limiting occupancy, adjusting transportation schedules, and adopting special cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
  • Texas – On July 7, Education Commissioner Mike Morath released guidance for reopening schools in the fall. Parents will be able to choose between on-campus and distance learning options. Masks will be required in school buildings.

1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

Read more: 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

The United States held midterm elections as scheduled during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. More than 50 million people perished from the disease worldwide, including about 675,000 in the U.S., making it one of the deadliest pandemics in recorded history. Each week, we’ll look back at a story from the 1918 elections to see how America met the challenges of holding elections during a national health emergency.

On Nov. 6, 1918, the Cincinnati Commercial Tribune published “Health Before Politics.” Covington, Ohio’s Health Department issued an order that prohibited crowds from gathering to hear election results.

“Covington’s Health Department issued an order Tuesday prohibiting the congregation of crowds in the County Clerk’s office Tuesday night to hear the election returns. It is usual for several hundred eager voters to crowd the office on election nights.” 

Click here to read the original article, courtesy of the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing’s Influenza Encyclopedia.

Federal responses

Read more: Political responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • On July 7, the federal government awarded $1.6 billion to Novavax Inc. for clinical studies of a coronavirus vaccine, and $450 million to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. to manufacture doses of an experimental treatment for COVID-19.

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 381 lawsuits, in 45 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 150 of those lawsuits.
    • Since July 2, we have added 61 lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional 29 court orders and/or settlements.
  • Ballotpedia has separately tracked another 127 lawsuits, in 37 states, dealing with election issues during the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 62 of those lawsuits.

Here are three recent lawsuits that have either garnered significant national media attention or involve major advocacy groups.

  • Michigan v. DeVos: On July 7, Michigan, California, the District of Columbia, Maine, New Mexico, and Wisconsin sued U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging the U.S. Department of Education has unlawfully and erroneously interpreted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Plaintiffs claim the CARES Act “directs states to distribute CARES Act funds to local educational agencies” in proportion to “the number of children who are economically disadvantaged,” in accordance with Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The plaintiffs say, counter to congressional intent, the Department’s allocation of the $30.75 billion earmarked for schools has been based on the total number of all students—public and private—regardless of economic disadvantage. Plaintiffs say this “deprives low-income and at-risk students, their teachers, and the public schools that serve them of critical resources to meet students’ educational and social-emotional needs during and after pandemic-related school closures.”
  • When asked about the lawsuit, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said, “This isn’t how it should work. This is a virus that has had a disproportionate impact on low-income students and communities of color. Schools in these areas deserve a government that will support them throughout this crisis.” U.S. Department of Education Press Secretary Angela Morabito said, “The secretary has said many times, this pandemic affected all students, and the CARES Act requires that funding should be used to help all students.” The case is currently assigned to Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim.
  • Forest v. Cooper: On July 1, North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R) filed suit against Gov. Roy Cooper (D) in Wake County’s Tenth Judicial District Court, alleging procedural violations in Cooper’s implementation of COVID-19 restrictions. Forest seeks an injunction against enforcement of Cooper’s executive orders 118, 121, 135, 138, 141, and 147 (collectively referred to as the “shutdown orders”). These orders have limited food and beverage service at restaurants, mandated social distancing, limited mass gatherings, restricted travel, closed certain businesses, and provided for business reopening plans. Forest alleges Cooper failed “to receive the concurrence of the council of state prior to the shutdown being issued, “violating the North Carolina Emergency Management Act. The council of state is the collective name for North Carolina’s elected senior executive offices, including the lieutenant governor. Forest also alleges Cooper’s orders violate provisions of North Carolina’s quarantine and isolation statutes. In a press release, Forest said his intention was not to challenge the substance of the orders, but the nature of their issuance. Cooper has not yet responded to the lawsuit.
  • Sehmel v. Weisman: On July 1, a group of seven Washington residents sued Secretary of Health John Weisman in Lewis County Superior Court, seeking to prevent enforcement of Health Order 20-03, which mandates face coverings in public. Plaintiffs allege the mask requirement is arbitrary, capricious, and outside the statutory authority of the health secretary. Plaintiffs also say masks have become so politicized they amount to symbolic speech. Compelling people to wear masks “prohibits plaintiffs from expressing dissent” in violation of their right to free speech. Plaintiffs also claim that because they “have a fundamental right to wear the clothing of their choice and protect their own health as they see fit,” the mask requirement invades their personal autonomy in violation of their right to substantive due process. Shella Sadovnik, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said, “[The] Secretary of Health does not have sweeping power to pass rules and regulations imposing criminal penalties for refusing to kneel in submission.” Weisman has not yet commented, and the case does not yet appear on the court’s docket.

Election changes

Read more: Changes to election dates, procedures, and administration in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Twenty states have postponed state-level primary or special elections.
    • No new states have postponed elections since July 2.
  • Eighteen states have modified their candidate filing requirements.
    • No new states have made candidate filing modifications since July 2.
  • Thirty-six states have made modifications to their voting procedures.
    • Five states have made voting procedure modifications since July 2.
  • Political parties in 19 states have made modifications to party events on a statewide basis.
    • One state has made modifications to party events since July 2.

Details:

  • Alabama – On July 2, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily suspended a district court order barring Alabama election officials from enforcing witness and photo ID requirements for select voters casting absentee ballots in the July 14 runoff. This action allows the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to hear a pending appeal of the district court’s decision.
  • Arkansas – On July 2, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) and Secretary of State John Thurston (R) announced that voters in the Nov. 3 general election would be allowed to cite concerns over COVID-19 as a valid excuse for voting absentee.
  • Maryland – On July 8, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ordered the state board of elections to automatically send all qualified voters absentee/mail-in ballot request forms automatically to all qualified voters in the Nov. 3 general election.
  • Massachusetts – On July 6, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed into law legislation extending vote-by-mail eligibility in the fall primary and general elections to all qualified voters.
  • Texas – On July 8, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the cancellation of the state convention of the Republican Party of Texas. The convention had been scheduled for July 16 through July 18 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
  • Vermont – On July 2, Vermont S348 became law without the signature of Gov. Phil Scott (R). The legislation authorizes the secretary of state to implement modifications to election procedures without the approval of the governor.

Ballot measure changes

Read more: Changes to ballot measure campaigns, procedures, and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • At least 18 lawsuits were filed in 13 states seeking court orders suspending or changing signature requirements and deadlines.
    • Ballotpedia has tracked two new lawsuits since July 2.
  • Rulings or settlements have been issued in 17 cases, with appeals pending in some.
    • Ballotpedia has tracked two new rulings since July 2
  • Ballotpedia has tracked 26 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
    • Ballotpedia tracked one new petition drive suspension since July 2.
  • Seven states and D.C. changed ballot measure procedures through executive orders or legislative action.
    • No new changes have been enacted since July 2, although an executive order in Colorado allowing remote signature gathering was overturned.
  • At least four initiative campaigns initially targeting 2020 reported they would shift their focus to 2022.

Details:

  • California – On July 2, Judge James P. Arguelles ordered the deadline for the 2022 Packaging Waste Reduction Regulations Initiative be extended to September 28, 2020, to account for the shelter-in-place order and coronavirus-related government restrictions. Michael J. Sangiacomo, the CEO of Recology and one of the three individuals who filed the initiative, sued Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) on June 23, 2020. The lawsuit sought to extend the deadline to file signatures for the initiative beyond July 6. The lawsuit asked the court to extend the deadline until all California counties have moved into the third reopening stage following the coronavirus stay-at-home order or by at least 90 days. In California, campaigns have 180 days to collect signatures for their ballot initiative. Arguelles also previously ordered a deadline extension for a 2022 sports betting initiative.

Travel restrictions

Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Governors or state agencies in 24 states issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 13 of those orders have been rescinded.
    • Since July 2, four states have modified their travel restrictions.

Details:

  • Connecticut, New Jersey, New York – Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced on July 7 that visitors entering their states from Delaware, Kansas, and Oklahoma will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. The three governors announced the joint travel advisory on June 24. The initial list included eight states. It now applies to 19 states.
  • Pennsylvania – The Pennsylvania Department of Health recommended that residents who travel to 15 states with rising COVID-19 cases quarantine for 14 days upon returning to Pennsylvania. The states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

State legislation

Read more: State laws in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • To date, 2,469 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
    • We have tracked 71 additional bills since July 2.
  • Of these, 308 significant bills have been enacted into law, approximately 12.5 percent of the total number introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.
    • We have tracked 68 additional significant bills since July 2 (also omitting ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.)

State legislative session changes

Read more: Changes to state legislative session dates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Seven state legislatures have suspended their sessions. Six of those have since reconvened.
    • No legislatures that had suspended their sessions have adjourned since July 2.
  • Thirty-eight legislatures have either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
    • One legislature has adjourned a regular or special session since July 2.
  • Five state legislatures are in regular session.

State court changes

Read more: State court closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide
  • Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings at the local level

Details:

  • Delaware –  Supreme Court Chief Justice Collins Seitz, Jr. extended the statewide judicial emergency through Aug. 6, keeping courts in phase two of reopening. Phase two prohibits jury trials.

Eviction and foreclosure policies

Read more: Changes to rent, mortgage, eviction, and foreclosure policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Twenty-two states have current moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
    • Since July 2, one state has extended a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.
  • Twenty states have ended moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • California has current local moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • Seven states did not issue a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures on the state or local level.

Details:

  • Pennsylvania – Gov. Tom Wolf (D) extended the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through Aug. 31. The order had been scheduled to expire on June 10.

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • Federal
    • Seven members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty-four federal officials quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Four state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • Forty-eight state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Seventy-four state-level incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least two local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 18 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since July 2, five state politicians, one local politician, and one influencer have tested positive for coronavirus.

Details:

  • Keisha Bottoms, the Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, announced on July 6 that she had tested positive for coronavirus but did not have symptoms.
  • New York State Senator Julia Salazar (D), who represents District 18, tested positive for coronavirus, according to a July 2 press release from Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D).
  • Mississippi State Rep. Philip Gunn (R), who represents District 56, announced he tested positive for coronavirus on July 5.
  • Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann (R) tested positive for coronavirus on July 7, according to a statement released by his spokesperson.
  • Mississippi State Rep. William Brown (D), who represents District 70, tested positive for coronavirus on July 4.
  • California State Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D), who represents District 62, tested positive for coronavirus on July 6.
  • Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain (R) announced on July 2 that he had tested positive for coronavirus.

Learn more



Heart of the Primaries 2020, Republicans-Issue 26 (July 8, 2020)

This week: Van Drew wins Republican primary in NJ-2, Trump and Cruz back separate candidates in TX-23 runoff, and TN Gov. Lee endorses in a state Senate primary. 

Election results

This section includes election results for each July 7 battleground Republican primary we followed, as well as the results from those June 23 battleground primaries in New York and June 30 battleground primaries in Utah that were too close to call at the time we published last week’s edition.
July 7

New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District: Incumbent Jeff Van Drew defeated challenger Bob Patterson to win the Republican nomination in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District. As of 9:15 a.m. Eastern Time on July 8, Van Drew had received 81% of the vote to Patterson’s 18% with 54% of precincts reporting. Van Drew was first elected to the seat as a Democrat in 2018 and joined the Republican Party in December 2019. Van Drew will face Amy Kennedy, the winner of the Democratic primary, in the general election. Two forecasters say the race leans towards Van Drew and a third says it tilts towards him.

New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District: David Richter defeated Kate Gibbs to win the Republican nomination in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District. As of 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time on July 8, Richter had received 67% of the vote to Gibbs’ 33% with 53% of precincts reporting. Richter will face incumbent Andy Kim (D), who was first elected in 2018, in the general election. Two forecasters say the race leans towards Kim and a third says it is a toss-up.

June 30

Utah’s 1st Congressional District: Blake Moore defeated Bob Stevenson, Kerry Gibson, and Katie Witt to win the Republican nomination to succeed Rob Bishop (R) in Utah’s 1st Congressional District. Moore received 31% of the vote to Stevenson’s 29%, Gibson’s 24%, and Witt’s 17%. Election forecasters say Moore is a solid favorite to win the general election.

Governor of Utah: Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox defeated former Gov. Jon Huntsman, former state House Speaker Greg Hughes, and former state GOP Chairman Thomas Wright to win the Republican nomination for governor of Utah. As of 7:45 a.m. Mountain Time on July 8, Cox had 36% of the vote to Huntsman’s 35%, Hughes’ 21%, and Wright’s 8%. Cox and his running mate, state Sen. Deidre Henderson, will advance to the general election, where election forecasters say they have a solid chance to win.

Utah Attorney General: Incumbent Sean Reyes defeated Utah County Attorney David Leavitt to win the Republican nomination for a second full term as state attorney general. As of 7:45 a.m. Mountain Time on July 8, Reyes had received 54% of the vote to Leavitt’s 46%. Reyes said he was running to continue his record of success since taking office in 2013, while Leavitt said he would change Utah’s approach towards criminal justice. 

June 23

New York’s 2nd Congressional District: Andrew Garbarino defeated Mike LiPetri to win the Republican nomination for a chance to succeed Peter King (R) in New York’s 2nd Congressional District. The Associated Press called the race for Garbarino on July 3. At the time, Garbarino led LiPetri 61% to 38%. Garbarino will face Jackie Gordon (D) in the November general election. Election forecasters say the race leans towards Garbarino. 

On the news

Where do Republican and conservative pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

On President Donald Trump’s speech at Mount Rushmore

“President Donald Trump’s speech at Mount Rushmore may be the most important and historic speech of his career. If he continues to echo and reinforce the message of this profound speech, he will become as essential to the preservation of freedom in America for the 21st century as President Abraham Lincoln was in the 19th century and President Ronald Reagan was in the 20th century.

 

“Not since Reagan has a president laid out the core values that make America free – and stood defiantly in defense of those values despite the ridicule and hostility of the elites, news media, academics and his political opponents. … 

 

“We are fortunate that President Trump has the courage to say and do what he believes without regard to his critics. It’s exactly what American needs.”

Newt Gingrich, Fox News, July 6, 2020

“Yes, Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech lauded American greatness. For some, that immunizes it against criticism. But at a moment of heightened racial tensions, when millions of his fellow citizens feel embattled and betrayed, it’s morally obtuse to fail to devote any words of comfort and inclusion toward them. It is not enough to name-check Louis Armstrong or Jesse Owens. A president should acknowledge that we have not yet lived up to the ‘true meaning of [our] creed,’ and vow to do better.  It is especially important to do so on the Fourth of July. …  

 

“Leadership of a large, diverse nation requires certain grace notes that every president in living memory has found it in his heart to pronounce on important occasions.

 

“This president has chosen, and continues to choose, division and vitriol.”

Mona Charen, The Bulwark, July 6, 2020

U.S. Congress

Trump endorses Gonzales, Cruz endorses Reyes in TX-23 runoff

Last week, President Donald Trump endorsed Tony Gonzales in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District primary runoff, while Sen. Ted Cruz endorsed Raul Reyes Jr. 

Trump said of Gonzales, “A Navy veteran, he is Strong on the Economy, Life and the Second Amendment.” Cruz’s leadership PAC released an ad in which Cruz said, “We need to send conservative warriors to defeat Nancy Pelosi’s agenda and show some of our Republicans what a backbone is.”

Gonzales’ other endorsers include Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). William Hurd (R), the 23rd District’s retiring incumbent, also endorsed Gonzales. Reyes’ other endorsers include the Young Conservatives of Texas, Gun Owners of America, and Texas Right to Life.

Hurd won his last election in 2018 with 49.2% of the vote to Gina Ortiz Jones’ (D) 48.7%. Three election forecasters rate the 2020 general election as Lean Democratic.

The primary runoff is July 14.

Rubio endorses Eagle in FL-19

Sen. Marco Rubio endorsed Dane Eagle in Florida’s 19th Congressional District primary. Nine candidates are running for a chance to succeed retiring incumbent Francis Rooney (R) in this safe Republican district.

Rubio said, “As Republican Majority Leader of the Florida House of Representatives, Dane has proven time and time again his commitment to our conservative values, and his principles and track record of results make him the most qualified person in this race.”

Other elected officials in the race are state Rep. Byron Donalds (whom the Club for Growth PAC endorsed) and Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson. Dan Severson served in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

The other five primary candidates submitted responses to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. To read their responses, click on candidates’ names below. 

If you’d like to learn more about the survey, or if you are a candidate who would like to submit a survey, click here.

As of March 31, Askar led in fundraising with $3.5 million, including a $3 million personal loan to his campaign. Next was Figlesthaler with $1.3 million, including $1.1 million he loaned his campaign. Eagle raised $552,495 from contributions and was third in fundraising.

The primary is Aug. 18.

State executives

In Vermont lieutenant gubernatorial race, Milne leads in spring fundraising while Hansen retains overall advantage

Scott Milne was the top fundraiser in the five-candidate Republican field for lieutenant governor of Vermont this spring. But according to reports filed July 1 with the Vermont Secretary of State, Meg Hansen has raised the most money overall.

Milne reported raising $5,300 since launching his campaign May 28. He was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 2016 and for governor in 2014.

Hansen reported raising $3,800 since the March 15 reporting cycle, bringing her overall fundraising to date to just under $26,000. She is an entrepreneur and health policy writer.

Dana Colson reported raising $1,300, bringing his overall fundraising to $1,500. He owns a welding supply business. 

Two other candidates did not file campaign finance reports.

Vermont is one of 17 states where the governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately and one of three where the offices are currently held by different parties. Incumbent David Zuckerman (D) is running to challenge Gov. Phil Scott (R) rather than seeking re-election as lieutenant governor, leaving the office open.

The Aug. 11 primary is open to all registered voters. Since 2000, Republicans have won seven lieutenant gubernatorial elections to Democrats’ three.

Race recap: Montana Secretary of State

In this series, we look back at recent state executive primaries to see what they can tell us about the November elections.

Montana’s current Secretary of State, Corey Stapleton (R), ran for U.S. House this year rather than seeking re-election, leaving the office open. The secretary of state is responsible for keeping Montana’s state seal, serving as Montana’s chief elections officer, and sitting on the Montana Board of Land Commissioners, which administers school trust funds.

Deputy Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen defeated five other candidates in the Republican primary on June 2 to win the nomination to succeed Stapleton. She received 29% of the vote, followed by Scott Sales with 25%, Brad Johnson with 23%, and Forrest Mandeville with 10%. Each of the candidates said they had the most experience with the job.

Jacobsen said she had the most firsthand experience with the secretary of state’s responsibilities and that she had Stapleton’s endorsement. 

Sales, the president of the Montana state Senate and a former state House speaker, said he had the most private sector and agricultural experience of any candidate. 

Johnson, a former Secretary of State who currently chairs the Montana Public Service Commission, said he was the candidate with the most experience in election security.

Mandeville, a member of the state House, said he would encourage natural resource development and bring a new generation of leadership to Montana.

Jacobsen will face state Sen. Bryce Bennett (D), who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, in the general election. Elections for Montana secretary of state tend to be competitive; Democrats and Republicans have each won five of the past 10 elections.

Election forecasters project that Montana’s statewide races will be competitive this year. Two ratings agencies say the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Steve Daines (R) and Gov. Steve Bullock (D) leans towards Republicans, while a third calls it a toss-up. All three forecasters say the gubernatorial race is a toss-up.

As of the June campaign finance reports, Bennett had outraised Jacobsen, with $200,000 in overall fundraising and $140,000 in cash on hand to Jacobsen’s $160,000 in fundraising and $20,000 cash on hand.

Legislatures

*The number of incumbents who did seek re-election is provided for the 40 states whose 2020 filing deadlines have already passed. The number of incumbents defeated in primaries is provided for the 24 states that have already held state legislative primaries in 2020.

TN Gov. Bill Lee endorses first-term incumbent facing primary challenge in Senate District 22

On July 2, state Sen. Bill Powers (R-22) announced an endorsement from Gov. Bill Lee (R-Tenn.) in the Senate District 22 primary. Powers, first elected in 2018, faces Doug Englen (R) in the primary.

Powers is a managing partner at Wyatt Johnson Automotive Group. He represented Ward 11 on the Clarksville City Council from 2015 to 2019. Gov. Lee recently appointed Powers to serve on the Tennessee Economic Recovery Group. On his campaign website, Powers lists job growth, career readiness, and veterans’ issues as three priorities.

Englen is a retired senior warrant officer with the U.S. Army. Discussing his decision to challenge Powers, Englen said, “I need something to problem-solve. If there is a mission that doesn’t have a clear objective then that is perfect.” The Tennessee Star’s Chris Butler wrote that Englen said he “would make Tennessee’s gun laws more clear … [and also] protect the unborn and work hard on veterans’ affairs.”

The winner of the primary will face Ronnie Glynn (D). In 2018, Powers defeated Juanita Charles (D) in the general election, receiving 54 percent of the vote to Charles’ 44 percent.

FL House Speaker accused of funding opposition ads against possible future speaker

Some Florida Republicans have accused state House Speaker Jose Oliva (R) of funding opposition ads against Rep. Daniel Perez (R). Perez represents Florida’s 116th District and faces a primary challenge from Gabriel Garcia. 

Perez won a leadership race to become House Republican leader in 2024, meaning he is in line to be the future House speaker if Republicans hold a majority in the chamber that year. The Miami Herald‘s David Smiley and Bianca Padro Ocasio wrote, “The [primary] challenge is unusual: it’s been eight years since a Republican in line to become Florida House speaker was forced to run a primary campaign.”

Politico‘s Matt Dixon wrote

In the past week, Perez was hit with online and direct-mail ads from Citizens for Ethical & Effective Leadership, a committee chaired by Zavier Garcia. Garcia is a vice president for David R. Custin Associates, a firm run by David Custin, an Oliva adviser. …

The Citizens committee has received $400,000 over the past two months from Conservative Principles for Florida, which is run by Oliva. Expenditure reports show that some of that money was spent on the Miami-Dade mayor’s race, but line items for other expenses are generic and don’t identify a specific race. Custin’s firm managed the spending.

Dixon further reported Oliva’s statement about the $400,000:

Oliva did not address questions about whether he was trying to knock Perez out of the race. He said he sent the money to Custin’s committee to oppose Alex Penelas, a Democratic candidate for Miami-Dade County mayor.

“If you follow the dollars, I put in to Custin’s [political committee] you will see them deployed in an effort to educate the voters of Miami-Dade about Alex Penelas,” Oliva said in a text message.

Citizens for Ethical & Effective Leadership sent out mailers and ran digital ads criticizing Perez. One mailer called him a “disgrace to Republicans and our exile community” for taking engagement photos in Cuba. Perez said he and his then-fiancee were in Cuba to visit her uncle and that he opposes the Cuban government. 

Perez was first elected to represent the 116th in a special election in 2017. He was re-elected in 2018. Garcia is a retired Army captain who opened a construction business. The primary is Aug. 18.

Power players

“With our rapidly expanding membership of 4.5 million grassroots activists, the National Association for Gun Rights has led the charge to halt the radical anti-gun agenda across the nation. Accepting NO COMPROMISE on the issue of gun control, NAGR works tirelessly to hold politicians accountable for their anti-gun views, and has made great strides in protecting and preserving the Second Amendment.” – National Association for Gun Rights website

Founded in 2005, the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) is a 501(c)(4) organization that says its mission is “[e]mpowering Americans to stand for freedom and defend their inalienable right to keep and bear arms.” NAGR describes itself as the “nation’s largest no-compromise defenders of the Second Amendment” and says it “works to defeat the radical anti-gun agenda through grassroots activism.”

NAGR lists its two key issues as opposing ‘red flag’ gun confiscation bills, which it describes as bills that “call for legally owned firearms to be forcibly confiscated from law-abiding Americans without due process, based on unsubstantiated accusations …” and supporting constitutional carry, which it defines as “the basic principle that if you are legally eligible to purchase a firearm, you should be able to carry that weapon, concealed, for self-defense without government ‘permission.’”

NAGR is affiliated with the political action committee NAGR-PAC, which endorses candidates for political office and recently endorsed Tommy Tuberville in the Alabama Senate primary runoff, and the super PAC Gun Rights America, which aired its first ad in June attacking Todd McMurtry and supporting Thomas Massie in Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District.



Heart of the Primaries 2020, Democrats-Issue 26 (July 8, 2020)

This week: Kennedy wins NJ-2 primary, Texas Working Families Party endorses West in Senate runoff, and Tlaib and Jones completed Ballotpedia’s candidate survey.

Click here to follow developments on the Republican side. Have a tip or see something we missed? Email us at geoff@ballotpedia.org. And please share this newsletter with your colleagues!

Election results

This section includes election results for each July 7 battleground Democratic primary we followed, as well as the results from those June 23 battleground primaries in New York that were too close to call at the time we published last week’s edition.

July 7

New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District: Amy Kennedy defeated Brigid Callahan Harrison and three other candidates to win the Democratic nomination in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District. As of 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time on July 8, Kennedy had received 59% of the vote to Harrison’s 26%. Local political observers described the race as part of a larger battle among state Democrats. Harrison’s supporters included Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, and six of the district’s eight county Democratic parties. Kennedy had support from Gov. Phil Murphy and the Atlantic County Democratic Party, which is the district’s largest. Kennedy will face incumbent Jeff Van Drew (R), who was elected as a Democrat in 2018 and joined the GOP the following year.

June 23

New York’s 9th Congressional District: Incumbent Yvette Clarke defeated Adem Bunkeddeko and three other challengers to win the Democratic nomination in New York’s 9th Congressional District. The Associated Press called the race for Clarke on July 1 based on an analysis of absentee ballots that concluded there were not enough votes remaining for Bunkeddeko to win. At the time the race was called, Clarke led Bunkeddeko 62% to 18%. Election forecasters say Clarke, who was first elected in 2006, is a solid bet to win re-election.

New York’s 10th Congressional District: Incumbent Jerry Nadler defeated Lindsey Boylan and Jonathan Herzog to win the Democratic nomination for New York’s 10th Congressional District. The Associated Press called the race for Nadler on July 1 based on an analysis of absentee ballots that concluded there were not enough votes remaining for Boylan to win. At the time the race was called, Nadler led with 62% of the vote to Boylan’s 25% and Herzog’s 12%. Election forecasters call this a safe Democratic district.

On the news

Where do Democratic and progressive pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

On Hamilton and Black Lives Matter

“One way we compliment art is by calling it either timely or timeless, praising it for capturing a moment in a way conventional political language can’t, or for lifting us out of our surroundings entirely. But there is a third category: work that is timely over and over again without ever seeming generic or insubstantial.

 

“‘Hamilton,’ the musical biography of both Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and the country he helped invent, is such a work. And as Disney Plus starts streaming a filmed version of the ‘Hamilton’ stage show, the source of the work’s power is clear. ‘Hamilton’ is a show for every moment because it’s about the uneven progress of personal and social change. You can watch ‘Hamilton’ in exultation and in despair, or — now that a pandemic has put much of daily life on hold even as a movement against racism promises sweeping change — both. …

 

“… however urgent the demands of the Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the nation and the world, that vision won’t be recognized overnight. Change is going to come. And ‘Hamilton’ will endure because it can teach us how to alternately seize the moment and savor it.”

Alyssa Rosenberg, The Washington Post, July 3, 2020

“… to reassess ‘Hamilton’ now is to note a crucial incompatibility with our current moment: Its hero and its message are essentially ambivalent while today’s politics around America’s racial sins requires taking a strong stance. … 

 

“While the play ‘Hamilton’ has certainly acted as a positive vehicle for the exposure and success of people of color on Broadway, their subversive casting as white founders effectively erases the 14% of late 18th-century Black residents who were mostly enslaved in New York and for whom such vaunted positions were unimaginable.

 

“One could argue that ‘Hamilton’ does not seek to fundamentally alter society with its feel-good version of the Revolution, especially since the values and triumphs it celebrates are drawn entirely from founding fathers who mainly did not consider people of color to be human.”

Ed Morales, CNN Opinion, July 7, 2020

U.S. Congress

Texas Working Families Party endorses West in Senate runoff 

The Texas Working Families Party endorsed Royce West in the U.S. Senate primary runoff. West has served in the state Senate since 1992. Responding to the endorsement, West said, “Together, we can raise the minimum wage to $15/hr and enact more reforms to help working families.” 

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) also endorsed West last week. Both Castro and the Texas Working Families Party had endorsed Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez ahead of the primary. Ramirez finished third and endorsed West in the runoff.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed his opponent, MJ Hegar, ahead of the March 3 primary. She is a former U.S. Army search and rescue and medevac pilot. Hegar ran for Texas’ 31st Congressional District in 2018, losing to incumbent Rep. John Carter (R) 51% to 48%. Hegar says she supports raising the minimum wage.

Meanwhile, incumbent Sen. John Cornyn (R) released a radio ad in which a narrator says, “Royce West is far too liberal for Texas, and no one has a clue what MJ Hegar even stands for. Nice choice.”

The July 14 runoff winner will face Cornyn in November. Three election forecasters rate the general election Likely Republican.

Rashida Tlaib, Brenda Jones completed Ballotpedia’s candidate survey

Rep. Rashida Tlaib and primary challenger Brenda Jones, president of the Detroit City Council, completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. The survey questions are designed to elicit insightful and thoughtful responses from candidates on what they care about, what they stand for, and what they hope to achieve. 

Tlaib and Jones are running in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District Democratic primary on Aug. 4. In August 2018, Tlaib defeated Jones in the regular primary election 31.2% to 30.2%, while Jones defeated Tlaib in a special primary the same day 37.7% to 35.9%. Jones completed the term to which John Conyers Jr. had been elected in 2016. Tlaib assumed office in January 2019.

Select survey responses are below, with questions in bold. 

What do you perceive to be the United States’ greatest challenges as a nation over the next decade?

Tlaib:

The fact that we haven’t truly addressed the economic inequity in our country. It has led to so many broken systems and injustices, many of which are rooted in structural racism. 

We must make the decision as a country that we will center the most vulnerable and marginalized. We continue to center wealthy individuals, corporations, and profit. We have so many crises happening across the country because of misplaced priorities.

Jones:

Post COVID-19, the greatest challenge for our nation will be the balance of equity, opportunity and resources for people of color and those from impoverished neighborhoods. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed significant disparities in access to health care, funding for hospitals in minority and impoverished neighborhoods, small business resources, educational resources in minority and impoverished communities and fair employment policies for essential workers such as vacation, sick time and a high quality living wage. Elected officials must work collaboratively over the next decade to address disparities and inequality to ensure everyone across America has access to a quality standard of living.

Tlaib and Jones each also answered featured local questions from The Detroit News, including: How would you foster a more bipartisan, cooperative atmosphere in Congress?

Tlaib:

I would ask members to walk into a room, not as a Republican or Democrat, but as a son, mom, daughter or whatever family role they play. I would ask that they function from that place so that their decisions would remain focused on the people they love, and on real change for the better. The system now is so tainted with special interest groups and others who aren’t thinking about our residents, but how they can make more money.

Jones:

My ability to work across the aisle to create coalitions, develop partnerships and work collaboratively to reach a common goal. I will remain professional, listen to the position of everyone and remain dedicated to developing policies, passing legislation and bringing resources to those in the 13th District, the State and the United States.

Read Tlaib’s full responses here. Read Jones’ full responses here.

To find out more about Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, or if you are a candidate who would like to complete a survey, click here.

State executives

In Vermont gubernatorial race, Zuckerman leads in spring fundraising, Holcombe leads overall

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman (D) was the top fundraiser in Vermont Democrats’ gubernatorial primary this spring. But according to reports filed July 1 with the Vermont Secretary of State, Rebecca Holcombe (D) has raised the most money overall.

Zuckerman reported raising $130,000 since the March 15 campaign finance reports, bringing his overall fundraising to $290,000. He is in his second term as lieutenant governor after serving 20 years in the state legislature.

Holcombe reported raising $100,000 since March, bringing her cumulative total to $480,000. She served four years as Vermont’s secretary of education.

Attorney Pat Winburn raised $88,000, bringing his cumulative total to $195,000.

A fourth candidate, Ralph Corbo, had not filed a July campaign finance report as of July 7.

The Aug. 11 primary is open to all registered voters. Since 2000, Republicans have won six Vermont gubernatorial elections to Democrats’ four.

Terry McAuliffe raises $1.7 million, fueling speculation over potential 2021 gubernatorial run

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) reported raising $1.7 million for his leadership PAC for what local political observers suggest could be a run to return to the governor’s mansion in 2021. McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was elected governor in 2013.

Virginia is the only state where governors may not serve consecutive terms. Although former governors are eligible to seek re-election after a single term out of office, the only governor to do so successfully in the past century was Mills Godwin, who was elected in 1965 as a Democrat and in 1973 as a Republican.

Should he choose to run again, McAuliffe’s $1.7 million would put him at the head of the Democratic field in fundraising. State Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy (D) has raised $780,000 to date, while state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D) has raised $275,000.

Other potential Democratic candidates include Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring.

Virginia is currently a Democratic trifecta, where a Democrat is governor and Democrats hold majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. Except for the 2013 election, every Virginia gubernatorial race since 1973 has been won by the party that lost the previous year’s presidential election.

Legislatures

*The number of incumbents who did seek re-election is provided for the 40 states whose 2020 filing deadlines have already passed. The number of incumbents defeated in primaries is provided for the 24 states that have already held state legislative primaries in 2020.

Incumbent criticizes Planned Parenthood’s use of Spanish word for dirty in oppositional materials in Texas’ Senate District 27 runoff 

Planned Parenthood Texas has created a website and other materials opposing Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-27) in the July 14 primary runoff. The group has used a Spanish word for dirty—sucio—to describe the senator. The group’s PAC funds the website suciolucio.org. One ad said, “For 30 years, Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. has done the dirty work of extremist politicians like Dan Patrick and Greg Abbott.” The ad mentions Lucio’s positions on a bathroom bill and on abortion. 

Lucio, who was first elected in 1990, is running against Sara Stapleton-Barrera (D).

On July 2, Lucio issued a press release criticizing Planned Parenthood Texas for using the term “Sucio Lucio” in direct mail the group sent opposing him. 

Lucio’s son, Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D-38) said, “These big special-interests groups from outside our border community should comprehend the deeper connotations behind the word ‘sucio’ (‘dirty Mexican’) and the association with a person of Hispanic descent.”

The Dallas Morning News’ Allie Morris wrote, “A devout Catholic, [Sen. Lucio] is often the lone Democrat to side with ruling Republicans on contentious social issues, including abortion.”

Lucio’s challenger, constitutional lawyer Stapleton-Barrera, said she “has seen firsthand how the system is rigged against working families, women, immigrants, our LGBT community, and all other minorities,” adding, “I’m running for office because I believe South Texas deserves a senator who truly represents our people.”

During the March 3 primary, Lucio received 49.8% of the vote to Stapleton-Barrera’s 35.6%. In Texas, a candidate must receive more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary to avoid a runoff.

South Florida Sun Sentinel endorses former legislator in Florida’s House District 81 

On July 2, the South Florida Sun Sentinel editorial board endorsed former legislator Kelly Skidmore (D) over first-time candidate and criminal defense attorney Michael Weinstein (D). 

The board wrote, “Democrats in Florida House District 81 are lucky. They get to choose between two very good candidates in the Aug. 18 primary.” The board said Skidmore has “an admirable understanding of how politics works in Tallahassee.” Skidmore previously represented House District 90 from 2006 to 2010. Before that, she was a legislative aid for Ron Klein, a former state senator and representative, from 1996 to 2005. 

Weinstein operates a private practice as a criminal defense attorney. He was the assistant state attorney in Broward County from 1998 to 2002. Weinstein says he is “a proven litigator and negotiator who will bring effective representation that works for our community.”

Incumbent Rep. Tina Polsky (D-81) is not seeking re-election, leaving the seat open. The winner of the primary will face either Saulis Banionis (R) or Silmo Moura (R), the two candidates running for the Republican nomination. The last Republican to run for the 81st District was James Ryan O’Hara in 2012. Kevin Rader (D) defeated O’Hara 64-36%. 

Power players

“Everytown is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities. Gun violence touches every town in America. For too long, change has been thwarted by the Washington gun lobby and by leaders who refuse to take common-sense steps that will save lives.” – Everytown for Gun Safety website

Founded in 2012, Everytown for Gun Safety is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that describes itself as “a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities.”

The group’s website lists the following issues:

  1. BACKGROUND CHECKS: “We want to close the loopholes that allow criminals and other dangerous people to buy guns without background checks.”
  2. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: “We support laws that save lives by keeping guns away from domestic abusers.”
  3. PREVENTABLE DEATHS: “We can save lives by educating parents about safe storage and responsible gun ownership.”
  4. GUN TRAFFICKING: “We need stronger trafficking laws to give law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on criminals.”

To view a list of candidates the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund endorsed in June, click here.