Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a project director at Ballotpedia and can be reached at

Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Special pre-debate edition of the Daily Presidential News Briefing

Catch up on the 2020 presidential race one week before the first debate, from Ballotpedia’s Daily Presidential News Briefing  
The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Wednesday, June 19, Brew. I’m replacing today’s Daily Brew with a special edition of Ballotpedia’s Daily Presidential News Briefing. We’ll resume our regular Daily Brew tomorrow morning! 

The nation will see 20 Democratic presidential candidates take the stage June 26 and 27 in Miami, Florida, for the first debates of the 2020 primary season.

Keeping track of a massive Democratic field, an incumbent president seeking re-election, and the issues both sides see as critical to their political success is tough.

We’ve got you covered — with our Daily Presidential News Briefing.
The Daily Briefing gives you the news you need, delivered right to your inbox. It’s the kind of coverage you expect from Ballotpedia — just the facts, none of the spin.
You can see for yourself in this sample issue how we are approaching the 2020 election season. 
We hope you will become a subscriber. To do so, just click below.

Subscribe now

Oh, and best of all? The Daily Presidential News Briefing is free.

So please — read, share, and don’t forget to subscribe. And if you have feedback on the newsletter, please drop us a line at

Now let’s dive in!

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Notable Quotes of the Day

“It is clear that the inherently dubious nature of [the debates] has been exacerbated by the party’s new rules. A real debate would provide a substantive back and forth between candidates on major issues; but despite the considerable build-up, that’s not what these nationally televised sessions deliver.”

—Elizabeth Drew, Daily Beast

“The field will winnow. And I don’t think that it’s worth it for the DNC to be involved in the winnowing. I don’t find it concerning or alarming to have 20 people running for president. I think it’s great.”

—U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Politico

Number of candidates

With 24 candidates running, the 2020 Democratic field has surpassed the number of Democratic and Republican candidates combined in 2016

Only 20 could make the debate stage—10 per night—next week. Here’s a breakdown of who made the cut and how they have been campaigning in recent weeks.

Wednesday, June 26 Democratic debate

  • Cory Booker issued his housing platform, which would include a tax credit for renters filling the gap between 30 percent of the renter’s income and fair-market rent in their neighborhood. He also called for the creation of a White House Office of Reproductive Freedom focused on “coordinating and affirmatively advancing abortion rights and access to reproductive health care” at the federal level.

  • Julián Castro was the first candidate to release an immigration platform. His plan would provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million individuals residing in the U.S. without legal permission and repeal Section 1325, a law which makes it a federal crime to illegally cross the border. Castro said he believed his path to the White House ran through Texas and Nevada.

  • Bill de Blasio was the last candidate to enter the field. While de Blasio has a net favorability rating of negative 24 percent, the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council endorsed him earlier this month and said it would send members to campaign for him in New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina, and Nevada.

  • John Delaney wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post calling Medicare for All “political suicide for Democrats.” He issued a $2 trillion infrastructure platform and $4 trillion climate action proposal that would introduce a carbon tax and attempt to reduce carbon emissions by 90 percent by 2050.

  • Tulsi Gabbard has highlighted her noninterventionist foreign policy and military experience as an Iraq War veteran. In May, Gabbard co-founded the bipartisan Servicewomen and Women Veterans Congressional Caucus and criticized Trump on his foreign policy in Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela.

  • Jay Inslee, who calls his presidential campaign a “climate movement,” proposed manufacturing zero-emission vehicles, eliminating the carbon footprint of all new buildings, shutting down coal-fired power plants, and requiring utility companies to become 100 percent carbon neutral by 2035. The DNC declined his request for a debate focused exclusively on climate change.

  • Amy Klobuchar opened her campaign headquarters in Minneapolis in May and issued a series of farm policy proposals, including changing rules that allow small refineries to be exempted from biofuel laws. She has also promoted her Secure Elections Act and Honest Ads Act designed to protect U.S. elections from foreign influence.

  • Beto O’Rourke has made policy statements on immigrationvoting access, and LGBT policy in the past month. After initially sidestepping national media, O’Rourke began doing more television appearances, including a town hall on CNN.

  • While campaigning in New Hampshire, Tim Ryan said he would “be the education president.” He advocated for social and emotional programs and more mental health counselors in public schools.

  • Elizabeth Warren said she would sign a moratorium on both offshore drilling and new mining on federal lands on her first day in office. Her next policy priorities: setting anti-corruption rules for elected officials and passing a two percent wealth tax on assets exceeding $50 million and three percent on those exceeding $1 billion.

Thursday, June 27 Democratic debate

  • Michael Bennet released a $1 trillion climate change platform focused on land management and agriculture. He challenged the direction of the party, saying, “I don’t think the base of the Democratic Party is anywhere near where the Twitter base of the Democratic Party is.”

  • Joe Biden entered the race in April as the frontrunner, raising $6.3 million in the first 24 hours of his campaign and topping national and early state polls before he had declared. He has been running what The Washington Post called a “limited exposure” campaign to focus on fundraising, policy development, and campaign infrastructure rather than public activities.

  • Pete Buttigieg received a polling boost after his CNN town hall appearance in March. He has since participated in town halls on Fox News and MSNBC. In his first list of policy priorities, Buttigieg said he wants to create a “Medicare for All Who Want It” as a precursor to Medicare for All, implement a Green New Deal, and establish independent redistricting commissions to end gerrymandering.

  • Kirsten Gillibrand released a “Family Bill of Rights” proposal that would address several medical, educational, and tax policies. Among the proposals is requiring insurance companies to cover fertility treatments like IVF and providing refundable tax credits for adoption. Gillibrand has spoken against anti-abortion laws in Georgia on the campaign trail.

  • Kamala Harris proposed addressing gender pay equity by fining corporations who fail to receive a newly created Equal Pay Certification from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Harris says her career as a prosecutor would be her greatest asset in a general election against Trump.

  • Self-described “pragmatic progressive” John Hickenlooper said Democrats need to distinguish themselves from socialists. “If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals, socialism is not the answer,” he said. Hickenlooper supports a public option similar to Medicare and Medicare Advantage to move toward a single-payer system in one or two decades.

  • In a speech at George Washington University, Bernie Sanders laid out his vision for democratic socialism in the United States. Sanders said that “we must take up the unfinished business of the New Deal and carry it to completion.” He also attended Walmart’s shareholder meeting in Arkansas earlier this month and called on the company to raise its minimum wage to $15.

  • Eric Swalwell said addressing gun violence would be the top priority of his presidency. He has hit the television airwaves early with an ad promoting his proposed gun buyback program in Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire. “I say keep your hunting rifles, keep your pistols, keep your shotguns, but let’s ban and buy back every single assault weapon in America,” he says in the clip.

  • Marianne Williamson said the United States needs a “moral and spiritual awakening.” She has called for the creation of a Department of Childhood and Youthto address chronic trauma among children. In the spring, Williamson moved to Des Moines, Iowa. “It’s been about showing her commitment to the Iowa caucuses,” state director Brent Roske said.

  • Universal basic income is the foundation of Andrew Yang’s campaign. He has selected two families in Iowa and New Hampshire to receive $1,000 per month for a year to showcase his policy proposal.

Did not qualify for the first Democratic debates

  • Mike Gravel, whose campaign is being run by two teenagers, is running to push the field to the left by participating in the primary debates. The campaign said it had nearly 47,500 unique contributors—less than 20,000 away from the threshold to qualify for the July debates.

  • Seth Moulton has spoken about living with PTSD after serving four tours in the Iraq War and called for expanding health services for military members and veterans. Moulton said he will focus on campaigning in New Hampshire over the summer.

  • When announcing his candidacy May 14, Steve Bullock highlighted his 2016 gubernatorial win in Montana, a state which President Trump won by 20 percentage points in 2016.

  • The centerpiece of Wayne Messam’s presidential campaign is canceling $1.5 trillion in student debt. Messam has criticized FEC rules which do not allow him to use leftover campaign funds from his mayoral campaign and the DNC’s debate criteria.


  • Donald Trump and pro-Trump groups have spent more than $10 million on digital advertising in battleground states like Michigan, Florida, and Wisconsin. Trump kicked off his re-election campaign yesterday in Orlando, Florida. At the rally, he discussed the media, Russia, federal judges including Brett Kavanaugh, immigration, and border security, among other issues.

  • Bill Weld is targeting states with open primaries. “I’ll be focusing on the 20 states that permit crossover voting. It’s not just Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, it’s 17 other states,“ Weld said. He is also opening a campaign office in New Hampshire by the end of June.

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

  • Stacey Abrams has not ruled out running for president, saying the nominating process will “winnow out who is actually viable” and that she could enter in the fall. Abrams said, “I will enter this race if I think I can add value to it. I don’t have enough information at this moment to make that decision.”

  • Larry Hogan announced he will not challenge Trump in the Republican primary. Instead, he is launching the advocacy group An America United to “support bipartisan, common-sense solutions to create more and better jobs, cut taxes, protect the environment, build our infrastructure, and improve education.”

  • Howard Schultz announced he was putting his presidential exploration on hiatus for the summer to recover from three back surgeries.

Save the Date

The first presidential primaries are seven months away. Here are some key dates to keep in mind:

  • June 26-27, 2019: The first set of 12 Democratic primary debates are held in Miami, Florida. Tune into NBC News, MSNBC, or Telemundo to watch it live.

  • July 15, 2019: Second quarter financial reports are due to the FEC.

  • July 30-31, 2019: Detroit hosts the second set of Democratic primary debates.

  • Sept. 12-13, 2019: ABC News and Univision are partnering for the third Democratic primary debate.

  • Feb. 3, 2020: Iowa caucuses.

  • Feb. 11, 2020: New Hampshire primary.

  • Feb. 22, 2020: Nevada Democratic caucuses.

  • Feb. 29, 2020: South Carolina Democratic primary.

  • March 3, 2020: Super Tuesday primaries with California included for the first time.

Have more questions about the presidential race? We’ve got answers.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: June 19, 2015

Republican presidential contenders Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, and Rick Santorum spoke at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Philadelphia. Lindsey Graham was scheduled to attend but returned to his home state following the Charleston church shooting two days earlier.

The Daily Brew: One SCOTUS redistricting case decided, two to go

Today’s Brew highlights the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing Virginia’s redrawn state House maps to stand + a new way to learn about Texas’ 10 constitutional amendments in 2019  
The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Tuesday, June 18, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Supreme Court rules Virginia state House lacks standing to appeal gerrymandering ruling
  2. Our next Learning Journey—Texas’ 2019 ballot measures
  3. Ballotpedia’s Summer Camp starts July 1!

Supreme Court rules Virginia state House lacks standing to appeal gerrymandering ruling

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Virginia House of Delegates lacked standing to appeal a lower court order that struck down the state’s legislative district plan as a racial gerrymander. As a result, the state House’s legislative maps which were drawn by a court-appointed special master will stand. Those maps were used in Virginia’s state legislative primary elections held last week.

In Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill, the Court decided that the House of Delegates does not have the authority to represent Virginia’s interests in this matter. Justice Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Thomas, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Gorsuch. She wrote, “the State did not designate the House to represent its interests here. Under Virginia law, authority and responsibility for representing the State’s interests in civil litigation rest exclusively with the State’s Attorney General.”

Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Breyer and Kavanaugh. He wrote that the district court’s decision redrawing the legislative maps harmed the state House so as to give it standing to appeal the case. He wrote, “we must assume that the districting plan enacted by the legislature embodies the House’s judgment regarding the method of selecting members that best enables it to serve the people of the Commonwealth…It therefore follows that discarding that plan and substituting another inflicts injury in fact.”

The legislative maps that were drawn by a court-appointed special master and challenged by the House of Delegates first went into effect in January. They were the result of a sequence of lawsuits that began in 2014.

That year, opponents of Virginia’s legislative map filed suit in federal district court alleging that 12 state legislative districts constituted an illegal racial gerrymander. The district court rejected this argument, and the plaintiffs appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. In 2017, SCOTUS remanded the case in Bethune-Hill v. Virginia Board of Elections, finding that the district court had “employed an incorrect legal standard in determining that race did not predominate in 11 of the 12 districts.”

In 2018, the district court ruled that the 11 districts had been subject to racial gerrymandering. After the state legislature did not adopt a remedial plan, the district court appointed a special master to draft one.

Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in Virginia’s House of Delegates. Under the old maps, Hillary Clinton won 51 districts in 2016 and Donald Trump won 49. Under the new maps, Clinton would have won 56 districts (7 currently held by Republicans) while Trump would have won 44 (none currently held by Democrats).

The Supreme Court has yet to issue opinions in two other redistricting cases heard this term—Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek. The cases concern whether the congressional district maps adopted in North Carolina and Maryland, respectively, constitute an illegal partisan gerrymander. Decisions in both cases are expected by the end of June.

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Join Ballotpedia as we speak with an expert on traumatic stress about how the political environment has changed. Register today!

Upcoming Insights

Our next Learning Journey—Texas’ 2019 ballot measures

Voters in Texas will decide 10 measures on November 5 in a statewide constitutional amendment election. All were referred to the ballot by the Texas legislature and cover topics from education to taxes to law enforcement animals.

My colleagues on our ballot measures team developed a new Learning Journey to guide you through all 10 amendments, including how and why legislators put them on the ballot and what each amendment would do.

Each day, we’ll send you an email with information, examples, and exercises to help you understand this subject. Along the way, you’ll be able to contact us with any questions and comments you may have.

I’ve written about a few of these Texas constitutional amendments earlier this year in the Brew, and I can’t wait to learn about the rest. I hope you’ll join me!

Ballotpedia’s Summer Camp starts July 1!

Last week I introduced you to what we’ll be doing during Fourth of July week—Ballotpedia Summer Camp!

During that time, I’ll hand over the keys to the Brew to other Ballotpedia team members to share their perspectives on the most interesting stories of the year.

We also want to share ideas and stories from our amazing readers. How are you spending your summer? What political story has captured your attention the most so far in 2019? What topic do you think will be most significant in the second half of the year?

Just reply back to this email with an answer to any or all of those questions, and we might share it with other Daily Brew readers that week.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

Click here to send me an email→



The Daily Brew: City of Fountains to elect new mayor tomorrow

Preview of Kansas City mayoral election + webinar on Janus and union membership   
The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Monday, June 17, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Voters in Kansas City, Missouri, will elect a new mayor on Tuesday
  2. Quiz: Which candidate for president has the second most page views on Ballotpedia?
  3. Ballotpedia webinar on union membership one year after Janus on June 26

Preview: Mayoral election in Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City City Council members Jolie Justus and Quinton Lucas compete in a runoff election on June 18 to determine who will become the city’s next mayor. The winner will succeed term-limited Mayor Sly James (D).

The two candidates advanced from a primary election field that had 11 candidates. In the April 2 primary, Justus received 22.8 percent of the vote and Lucas received 18.4 percent of the vote. The mayoral election is nonpartisan, but both Justus and Lucas are Democrats, according to KCUR.

Lucas has led both pre-election polls with 38 percent to Justus’ 30 percent. Each candidate has received the endorsement of one other member of the city council. Justus also has the endorsement of Mayor James, while Lucas was endorsed last week by The Kansas City Star newspaper.

In 2019, elections are being held in 59 of America’s 100 largest cities by population in 2019. That includes elections for mayor in 31 of the 100 largest cities. In 20 of those cities, the incumbent was Democratic at the start of 2019. Seven incumbents were Republican, three were independent, and the affiliation of one was unknown.

Kansas City uses a council-manager system. In this form of municipal government, an elected city council—which includes the mayor and serves as the city’s primary legislative body—appoints a chief executive called a city manager to oversee day-to-day municipal operations and implement the council’s policy and legislative initiatives. The mayor’s primary responsibilities are to preside over city council meetings and official city ceremonies, and to represent the city on the state, national, and international levels.

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Union Station


Which presidential candidate has the second most page views on Ballotpedia?

In Thursday’s Brew, we presented the pageviews various presidential candidates’ pages have received on Ballotpedia. We stated that Pete Buttigieg’s profile has received the most page views since it launched. Which candidate’s page has received the second-most page views?

Sign up for free Ballotpedia webinar to learn about the impact of Janus on union membership

With the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Janus, Ballotpedia is taking a deep dive into how the case has impacted unions across the United States. Janus v. AFSCME overturned the 1977 Abood precedent that allowed unions to require non-member employees to pay fees covering non-political union activities.

On June 26, join Ballotpedia for an exclusive look at how state legislatures have responded and how unions have been impacted. During this conversation, we’ll cover the following:

  • A brief discussion of Janus

  • How states have responded to Janus, including noteworthy legislation

  • How union membership was impacted by the ruling

  • A discussion of the complexities involved in determining the state-specific impacts of Janus

Register for this free, 30-minute webinar and you’ll leave with an understanding of how Janus has impacted unions across the country and how states have responded to the ruling. I hope to see you there!



The Daily Brew: Introducing a new way to look at the presidential field

The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Thursday, June 13, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. How many pageviews have presidential candidate articles received on Ballotpedia?
  2. Two incumbents defeated in Virginia’s state legislative primaries
  3. One week until our next Ballotpedia Insights session

How many pageviews have the presidential candidate articles received on Ballotpedia?

Long before candidates such as Donald Trump (R) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) won their elections, they had bested their opponents in pageviews on Ballotpedia.

What trends might emerge from this year’s political contests? As part of our 2020 election coverage, we will be publishing our weekly pageview statistics for presidential campaigns. These numbers are a way of showing which candidates are getting our readers’ attention.

Overall, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s Ballotpedia campaign profile has received 65,000 pageviews since it launched — the most of any Democratic candidate. Andrew Yang is second with 52,000 and Kamala Harris third with 47,000. Buttigieg and Harris’ pages were published February 21, while Yang’s was published February 25.

We’ll be updating this page throughout the campaign with new data and features, including an analysis of pageviews following the Democratic presidential debates. We hope you enjoy exploring and finding trends in the data.

Now, here’s a look at four facts from last week:

  • Former vice president Joe Biden had 4,916 Ballotpedia pageviews for the week of June 2 through June 8. Biden’s pageview figure represents 9.6 percent of the pageviews for all Democratic candidates during the week.

  • Buttigieg had 7.2 percent of the candidate pageviews for the week, while Harris had 6.7 percent.

  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pageviews had the largest increase of all the candidates last week, increasing 97.8 percent over his previous total. No other candidate’s pageviews on Ballotpedia increased more than 30 percent last week.

  • On the GOP side, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld had 7,466 Ballotpedia pageviews to President Trump’s 1,413.

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Ballotpedia Insights

Two incumbents defeated in Virginia’s state legislative primaries

Two incumbents—one Democrat and one Republican—lost in Virginia’s primaries Tuesday as voters statewide selected nominees for this year’s state Senate and House of Delegates elections.

Former Del. Joe Morrissey defeated incumbent Sen. Roz Dance (D), 56.4% to 43.6%, in the Democratic primary in state Senate District 16—which includes parts of Richmond. Morrissey resigned from the state House in 2014 following his misdemeanor conviction stemming from his relationship with a 17-year-old girl but won election to his old seat in a special election in March 2015. Morrissey then resigned from that seat later in 2015 to run against Sen. Dance but withdrew prior to the general election citing health concerns. Morrissey faces independent candidate Waylin Ross in the general election.

Paul Milde III defeated Del. Robert Thomas Jr. (R) by 163 votes—51.4% to 48.6%—in the Republican primary for House District 28, which is located south of Washington, D.C. Milde finished second in the 2017 primary to Thomas and will face Democratic nominee Joshua Cole in November. Thomas defeated Cole by 82 votes—50.2% to 49.8%—in the 2017 general election. Ballotpedia identified this district as a battleground in this year’s elections.

According to data from the state Department of Elections and local political parties, there were 16 primaries for state Senate seats and 19 primaries for seats in the state House.  Virginia uses a unique primary system in that local parties can hold party caucuses or nominating conventions in place of primary elections to select their nominees.

Eighty-seven incumbents sought re-election to seats in the state House, which was the lowest number since 2011.

No state House incumbents lost in the primary in 2017. Two state House members and one state Senator was defeated in 2015’s primaries, the most recent year that both legislative chambers were up for election.

Republicans hold a 21-19 majority in the state Senate and a 51-49 majority in the state House. This election will take place using court-ordered state House district maps redrawn by a special master earlier this year, which changed the boundaries of 25 districts. Under the old maps, Hillary Clinton won 51 districts in 2016 while Donald Trump won 49. Under the new maps, Clinton would have won 56 districts (7 currently held by Republicans) while Trump would have won 44 (none currently held by Democrats).

Click here to learn more about Virginia’s Democratic primaries  

Click here to learn more about Virginia’s Republican primaries 

One week until our next Ballotpedia Insights session

In one week—on June 20—we’ll be holding the next edition of our Ballotpedia Insights series where we’ll discuss how the worldwide political environment has changed and what instigated these shifts. Sarah Rosier, my Brew predecessor and our current Director of Outreach, will be hosting Dr. Stevan Hobfoll, the author of Tribalism: The Evolutionary Origins of Fear Politics.

Dr. Hobfoll is a psychologist and the Chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He has spent years researching the impact of traumatic stress on an individual’s health and his latest book is, among other things, intended to explore the tribalist roots of our increasingly polarized and uncompromising political landscape.

April’s Ballotpedia Insights, with Jeff Roe and Jeff Hewitt, discussed the unique challenges of campaigning today. February’s session featured Edgar Bachrach and Austin Berg, authors of The New Chicago Way: Lessons from Other Big Cities, examining the governance of Chicago compared with other large cities.

These Ballotpedia Insights sessions are always fascinating, so I hope you’ll make plans to join me.

Click here to learn more and register for this free webinar.

The Daily Brew: We want you to join our summer fun!

The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Wednesday, June 12, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. How are you spending the summer? We want to know!
  2. Supreme Court to issue 24 opinions by the end of June
  3. Quiz: Which state saw the most close House elections?

How are you spending the summer? We want to know!

Nine days until the official start of summer. Are you enjoying the sunshine on the West coast? Melting in Texas? Poolside in the District? Blessing the rains down in the Midwest?

Wherever you may be, we’re glad you’re tuning into the Daily Brew this summer. We’re having some summer fun here at Ballotpedia, and want to invite you to join us.

Fourth of July week we’ll be bringing you Ballotpedia Summer Camp.

Your Daily Brew will be replaced with Daily Iced Coffees, filled with our favorite stories and analysis of the year so far.

We also want to hear from you! We’ll feature submissions from readers during Summer Camp week.

Respond to this email and let me know your favorite political stories of the year. What are you looking forward to the rest of the year? What are your family’s summer plans?

Share your story and it might be selected to be shared with other Daily Brew readers—And you might even get some sweet Ballotpedia swag out of the deal!

Supreme Court to issue 24 opinions by the end of June

The Supreme Court has issued 45 decisions in the 69 cases for which it’s heard oral arguments. The court’s term ends at the end of June, so that means there are 24 cases still awaiting a ruling.

By this date in 2018, the court had issued opinions in 42 of the 63 cases for which it heard oral arguments and had yet to issue decisions in 21 cases. Last year, the court added several additional, unplanned opinion release dates to account for the backlog. So far this year no additional dates have been announced – but stay tuned!

The listing below shows the month that this term’s opinions were issued:

  • November – 2
  • December  – 1
  • January – 5
  • February – 6
  • March – 11
  • April – 4
  • May – 9
  • June – 7

The table below shows the number of cases in which the court has yet to issue a ruling, organized by the month in which the court heard oral arguments, compared to the previous term: 

2018-2019 term

2017-2018 term

October – 1

November – 2

December – 1

January – 2

February – 3

March – 7

April – 8

October – 1

November – 1

December – 0

January – 2

February – 6

March – 2

April – 9


We cover all things SCOTUS and the federal judiciary in our Bold Justice newsletter, with summaries of Supreme Court opinions and information about nominations of federal judges. The next issue will come out on Monday, June 17—click here to subscribe!

Learn more


Quiz: Which state saw the most close House elections?

In Tuesday’s Brew, I introduced you to the work we did about the margin of victory in 2018’s congressional elections. Those were just the highlights—there’s plenty of great information provided in the full analysis. I hope you had a chance to explore that page further—including the maps and charts—because today, I’ve got a short quiz.

The Daily Brew: So, how close were congressional elections in 2018?

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Tuesday, June 11, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Five Senate and 44 House races in 2018 were decided by less than 5 percent
  2. Voters to decide at least 19 statewide ballot measures in five states this year
  3. Johnson elected Dallas mayor; Mayor Nirenberg wins re-election in San Antonio

Five Senate and 44 House races in 2018 were decided by less than 5 percent

Last year’s elections were held seven months ago. But we all know it is fun to look back and crunch the numbers every now and then. Today, we explore the margin-of-victory figures.

The average margin of victory in the 2018 elections was the smallest it had been in even-year congressional races since 2012.

Margin of victory—or MOV—is the difference between the share of votes cast for the winning candidate and the share cast for the losing one.

The table below shows the number of congressional elections won by each party in three categories—a margin of less than 5%, a margin between 5% and 15%, and a margin of greater than 15%.

Elections by margin of victory

Since it is June, the sixth month of the year, here are six more quick facts from our research:

  • Sixty-nine percent of 2018’s congressional races were decided by a margin of more than 15 percentage points.

  • In 2018’s 33 regularly-scheduled U.S. Senate elections, the average MOV was 16.8%. This was the smallest average since 2012 when that year’s Senate races averaged a 20% MOV.

  • Republican candidates who won Senate races had an average MOV of 14.3%, compared to an MOV of 16.8% in races won by Democratic candidates. Seventeen Senate races (more than half) were decided by a margin of victory greater than 15%.

  • The closest Senate race was in Florida, where then-Gov. Rick Scott (R) defeated incumbent Bill Nelson (D) by a margin of 0.12%—10,003 votes out of 8.2 million cast. The largest MOV was in Hawaii, where incumbent Mazie Hirono (D) won by 42.3%.

  • In 434 U.S. House elections, the average margin of victory was 30.2%. This was the smallest average since 2012 when the average MOV was 31.8%. Republican candidates who won did so by an average margin of 22.8%. The average margin in House races won by Democrats was 36.6%.

  • The closest House race was in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District where incumbent Rob Woodall (R) defeated Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) by 433 votes—a margin of 0.15%.

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Ballotpedia Events

Voters to decide at least 19 statewide ballot measures in five states this year

In the last few months, I’ve brought you stories about individual ballot initiatives that will be decided by voters in 2019. As we near the halfway point in the year, let’s take the temperature of where things stand so far.

19 statewide ballot measures have certified for the 2019 ballot in five states—Colorado (two), Kansas (one), Louisiana (four), Texas (10), and Washington (two). In Louisiana, the measures will appear on the October 12 primary election ballot. The other measures certified so far will be decided by voters on November 5.

Of the 19 measures, 18 were referred to the ballot by state legislatures and one was placed on the ballot via citizen initiative. That initiative, in Washington, seeks to limit annual license fees and taxes on motor vehicles.

Some of the topics which voters will address in these measures include transportation, taxes and tax exemptions, revenue allocation and budgets, the census, education, animal care, bonds, and the administration of government.

In the past four odd-numbered years, the average number of certified statewide measures by this date was between 16 and 17, and the average total number of statewide measures was 30. In 2017, 27 statewide measures were certified.

The Tuesday CountFour states—Colorado, Maine, Ohio, and Washington—allow for citizen-initiated ballot initiatives or veto referendums in elections in odd-numbered years. The next upcoming signature submission deadlines for citizen initiatives in those states are on July 3 (Ohio) and July 5 (Washington). Legislatively referred measures can also be approved in those four states in 2019. Other states that frequently feature statewide measures in odd-numbered years include Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas.

Johnson elected Dallas mayor; Mayor Nirenberg wins re-election in San Antonio

While much of the country was partaking in their usual weekend activities, voters in San Antonio and Dallas were electing new mayors. In case you missed it, here’s a quick rundown of who won the Saturday runoff elections.


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

Johnson was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2010. Although municipal elections in Dallas are officially nonpartisan, Johnson and outgoing Mayor Mike Rawlings are Democrats.

Saturday’s elections also featured runoffs for four seats on the Dallas City Council, whose members are up for election every two years. Of the ten council incumbents who sought re-election in 2019, two were defeated.

San Antonio

Incumbent Ron Nirenberg defeated council member Greg Brockhouse to win a second two-year term as mayor of San Antonio. Nirenberg received 51.1% of the vote and Brockhouse received 48.9%. Nirenberg has said he is not affiliated with any political party.

The total number of votes cast in Saturday’s runoff was 120,723, a 19% increase over the 101,277 votes cast in the May 4 general election. There have been five mayoral runoff elections in San Antonio since 1997, and in all but one, the total votes cast in the runoff exceeded the number cast in the general election.

In San Antonio’s city council elections this year, which concluded with three runoffs on Saturday, all seven incumbents who ran for re-election won another term.

The Daily Brew: Primary day tomorrow in Virginia-margin of control in each chamber is one seat


The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Monday, June 10, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Virginia state legislative primaries take place Tuesday
  2. One of five Kansas school districts covered by Ballotpedia to hold primary elections
  3. Presidential candidates must qualify for first Democratic debate this week
  4. Upcoming events

Virginia state legislative primaries take place Tuesday

A busy period of elections ends Tuesday as Virginia holds legislative primaries for both the state Senate and the House of Delegates.

Virginia has been under divided government since 2002. Gov. Ralph Northam is a Democrat while Republicans hold majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. If Republicans retain control of the Senate or the state House, Virginia will remain under divided government. If Democrats win both chambers of the legislature, they will have a trifecta and full control of the government during redistricting.

Republicans hold a 21-19 majority in the state Senate and a 51-49 majority in the state House. Fifteen incumbents—nine Democrats and six Republicans—face primary challengers.

According to data from the state Department of Elections and local parties, there will be at least 16 primaries for state Senate seats and at least 19 primaries for seats in the state House. Virginia uses a unique primary system in that local parties can hold party caucuses or nominating conventions in place of primary elections to select their nominees. In a caucus or convention, party members or delegates meet and choose a nominee according to defined rules. Ballotpedia has determined that parties in at least 28 districts in Virginia are selecting their state legislative nominee via convention in 2019.

Ballotpedia has identified 12 primaries as battleground races this year—seven seats held by Democrats and five held by Republicans. There are six battleground primaries each in the Senate and House. In all but one race, the incumbent is seeking re-election. 20 incumbents faced at least one primary opponent In the four House of Delegate elections since 2011. Four incumbents lost – meaning 16 incumbents80%—won their primary. In the two state Senate elections since 2011, five incumbents faced at least primary challenger and four of those, or 80%, won the primary.

This election will take place using court-ordered state House district maps redrawn by a special master earlier this year, which changed the boundaries of 25 districts. Under the old maps, Hillary Clinton won 51 districts in 2016 while Donald Trump won 49. Under the new maps, Clinton would have won 56 districts (7 currently held by Republicans) while Trump would have won 44 (none currently held by Democrats).

Click here to learn more about Virginia’s Democratic primaries  

Click here to learn more about Virginia’s Republican primaries

One of five Kansas school districts covered by Ballotpedia to hold primary elections

Primary elections in four Kansas school districts covered by Ballotpedia were canceled because two candidates or less filed to run for election. Of the 17 seats up for election in those districts, the outcome in six has already been decided since only one candidate is running for each seat.

In the school districts we cover in Kansas, one primary election will take place on August 6 for an at-large seat on the Wichita Public Schools Board of Education. School board president Sheril Logan faces three challengers for the at-large seat she has held since 2011.

Of the 20 school district seats in Kansas we’re covering, 14 feature incumbents running for re-election. Four of them are unopposed. General elections will be held on November 5.

Ballotpedia covers the 200 largest school districts in the nation and those districts that overlap with the 100 largest cities by population in the United States. All of the Kansas school districts covered are in the area surrounding Wichita. These five Kansas school districts served a combined total of 71,240 students during the 2016-2017 school year.

From 2014 to 2016, Ballotpedia analyzed school board election statistics in America’s 1,000 largest school districts. We found that:

  • between 32 percent and 36 percent of elections were unopposed each year, and
  • incumbents who sought re-election won between 81 percent and 83 percent of the time.

Click the link below for more findings from that analysis.

Learn more

Presidential candidates must qualify for first Democratic debate this week

Democratic presidential candidates have until June 12 to qualify for the first set of presidential debates held on June 26-27 in Miami, Florida. This will be the first of 12 Democratic primary debates scheduled for the 2020 presidential election.

Thirteen candidates have already qualified under both criteria and seven others have met the polling threshold only. Four notable candidates have not yet announced whether they have met either criterion.

No more than 20 candidates—10 per night—will participate in these debates. The Democratic National Committee announced last month that the candidates will be divided into two groups—those above and those below a polling average of 2 percent. These two groups will be randomly and equally divided between both nights of the debate to avoid one debate being classified as an undercard event.

Candidates can qualify by receiving 1 percent support or more in three national or early state polls—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada—publicly released since January 1, 2019. Any candidate’s three qualifying polls must be conducted by different organizations, or if by the same organization, must be in different geographical areas.

Candidates may also qualify for the debate by providing verifiable evidence that they received donations from at least 65,000 unique donors with a minimum of 200 donors per state in at least 20 states.

In the event that more than 20 candidates qualify, preference will be given to those who have reached both the polling and fundraising thresholds. The following chart shows which Democratic presidential candidates have qualified for the debate and by which method.

Click here to learn more about the first set of Democratic presidential debates—and the link below to subscribe to our free Daily Presidential News Briefing newsletter about the 2020 presidential campaign.

Subscribe to the Daily Presidential News Briefing

Upcoming events

This month Ballotpedia is hosting the following events. I’d love for you to join us!

June 20th: Join us for a discussion about fear in politics with Dr. Stevan Hobfoll as we discuss his new book Tribalism: The Evolutionary Origins of Fear Politics

Grab a spot→

June 26th: With the one year anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Janus, Ballotpedia is taking a deep dive into how the case has impacted unions across the United States.

Register here→

The Daily Brew: Your donation to Ballotpedia today will be matched!

Welcome to the Friday, June 7, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. There’s a special reason to contribute on the final day of our membership drive
  2. Louisiana to decide abortion-related constitutional amendment in 2020
  3. Dallas, San Antonio mayoral runoffs headline Saturday Texas elections

There’s a special reason to become a Ballotpedia supporter today!

Today is the last day of the Ballotpedia Society membership drive! We sincerely appreciate everyone who has already signed up to support Ballotpedia with a monthly membership.

If you haven’t joined yet, there is still time. In fact, today is a really great day to join because a very generous donor will be matching annual pledges today!

Our matching donor will give Ballotpedia a one time gift equal to your monthly contribution…times 12! So if you make a $20 monthly gift, our donor will multiply it by 12 and match it.

Your monthly gift will support everything we dofrom providing the Daily Brew you’re reading right now, to researching and writing the next pages in our ever-expanding encyclopedia of American politics.

So please, click here to get started. And please share this link with your friends and colleagues!

On behalf of the entire Ballotpedia staff, thank you for your support…

…and for helping us continue to be the leading source of unbiased political news and information.

Donate today

Louisiana to decide abortion-related constitutional amendment in 2020

The Louisiana legislature approved a bill last month designed to ban abortion when a fetal heartbeat is present, except in certain medical emergencies. The measure had bipartisan support, as seven Democrats joined all 24 Republicans to pass the bill in the state Senate and 17 Democrats and 59 Republicans voted in favor in the state House. It was signed into law by the state’s Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards.

Next year, voters will decide a state constitutional amendment stating “To protect human life, nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”

The state Senate approved the amendment 33-5. All 25 Senate Republicans and eight Senate Democrats voting in favor of the amendment. Five Democrats voting against it. The state House approved the measure 78-21 with 59 Republicans, 16 Democrats, and three Independents voting in favor and 20 Democrats and one Independent opposed. A two-thirds vote is required in both chambers to refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot.

According to the Louisiana Pro-Life Amendment Coalition, which is campaigning in support of the ballot measure, the constitutional amendment would preclude a state court from ruling that the Louisiana Constitution provides a right to abortion.

Alabama and West Virginia voters approved ballot measures in 2018 declaring their state constitutions did not secure or protect a right to abortion. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed a bill into law May 15 prohibiting all abortions in the state except those necessary to prevent a serious health risk to the woman. A West Virginia law in existence since 1882 that includes jail time for performing or receiving an abortion has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal court.

Learn more

Dallas, San Antonio mayoral runoffs headline June 8 Texas elections

We’re in a busy election period, with statewide elections in New Jersey on June 4 and Virginia’s state legislative primaries June 11. And as a bonus, there are even more elections across Texas on Saturday.

Two cities that are among the 10 largest in the country—Dallas and San Antonio—are holding runoff elections for mayor. Dallas’ runoff is an open-seat race while San Antonio’s incumbent mayor is seeking re-election.

In Dallas, the race is between state Rep. Eric Johnson and city councilmember Scott Griggs, who were the top two finishers among nine candidates in the May 4 general election. Johnson won 20.3% of the vote and Griggs 18.5%. Johnson has served in the state House since 2010 and Griggs was first elected to the Dallas City Council in 2011.

San Antonio’s mayoral runoff election features incumbent Ron Nirenberg and City Councilmember Greg Brockhouse. Nirenberg—who defeated incumbent Mayor Ivy Taylor in 2017—finished first in the May 4 general election with 48.7% of the vote. Brockhouse—who was first elected to the city council in 2017—finished second in the general with 45.5%.

We’re also covering runoff elections in Texas on June 8 for one seat on the Arlington City Council, two seats on the Plano City Council, and one seat on the Dallas Independent School District Board of Trustees.

Click here for more information on Dallas’ mayoral race    

Click here for more information on San Antonio’s mayoral race

The Daily Brew: How district maps shape the way governments run elections

Welcome to the Thursday, June 6, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. How data technology is used in voting
  2. Denver mayor wins re-election in Tuesday’s runoff
  3. Quiz: Which state constitution has been amended more than 800 times?

How data technology is used in voting

Have you ever wondered how your local elections precinct knows which ballot to give you on election day? I never knew the technology behind it until I started working at Ballotpedia.

Earlier this year, Virginia adopted legislation that requires municipal clerks to transmit Geographic Information System (GIS) maps to local election boards and the state when they alter local electoral districts or precincts. GIS is a way of capturing, managing, and storing spatial or geographic data. It’s currently used in everything from mapping to scientific analysis to navigation.

At Ballotpedia, we’re gathering GIS information nationwide to improve our sample ballot tool. I spoke with Margaret Koenig, one of our database specialists, about this measure and how she thinks it will affect this information’s availability.

“This type of legislation is a step forward for increased education and analysis around local politics. It is an opportunity for increased precision in local election practices as well as for observers like Ballotpedia to provide highly specific and accurate voter information. My hope is that Virginia and other states will see the value in making this information readily and freely available online for the good of all citizens. It will be fascinating to watch their process and standards for this work develop.”

When voters use our sample ballot tool, we want them to see the most precise and accurate information as possible. We’re committed to placing each address correctly inside their respective districts using GIS data so we can offer a comprehensive sample ballot for everyone in the country.

Including that Virginia legislation, Ballotpedia has tracked 352 state-level bills regarding redistricting and electoral systems policy in state legislatures this year. Twenty-eight of these measures have become law. Here are some other highlights:

  • The Mississippi legislature revised the boundaries of two state Senate districts after a federal court ruled that one of them constituted an illegal racial gerrymander.
  • Colorado, Delaware, and New Mexico all enacted legislation entering their respective states into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). As I’ve discussed previously, the NPVIC is an interstate agreement to award each member state’s presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote.
  • Utah amended provisions of a pilot project that allows municipalities to conduct municipal elections using ranked-choice voting.

Learn more about stories like this in our Ballot Bulletin, our free newsletter which tracks developments in election policy. Our June issue just came out yesterday.

June’s issue of Ballot Bulletin also discusses the status of the Michigan and Ohio redistricting cases at the Supreme Court in addition to redistricting legislation in Nevada and Washington that adjusts the census data in those states to reflect where prison inmates are counted.

Click here to read this month’s edition.

Denver mayor wins re-election in Tuesday’s runoff

Yesterday’s Brew included the results from New Jersey’s primary elections for the state Assembly. Here are results from other Tuesday elections in Colorado and California that were decided later that evening:


Denver Mayor Michael Hancock defeated development consultant Jamie Giellis to win a third and final term (Denver mayors face term limits of three terms). Giellis and Hancock were the top two finishers among a six-candidate field in the May 7 general election. Hancock received 55.8% of the vote to Giellis’ 44.2%.

Hancock was first elected in 2011 after having served seven years on the city council. A prominent issue during the campaign was the city’s response to population growth and development. Although the election was officially nonpartisan, both Hancock and Giellis are members of the Democratic Party.

Denver voters also approved Initiated Ordinance 302, which prohibits the city and county from using public funds in connection with future Olympic Games unless a majority of voters approve such funds. The measure was proposed during the city’s ultimately unsuccessful bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympic Games. Unofficial results show the initiative was approved by 79 percent of city voters.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified School District voters defeated Measure EE, which would have enacted an annual parcel tax—a kind of property tax based on units of property rather than assessed value—for 12 years to fund educational improvements, instruction, and programs. According to election night results, 54% of voters were against the measure and 46% were in favor. It required a two-thirds supermajority vote to pass.

In 2019, local California voters have approved ten parcel tax measures and defeated three. Since 1983, there have been 708 local parcel tax measures on ballots in California—425 (60%) were approved, and 283 (40%) were defeated.

In another Los Angeles race, John Lee and Loraine Lundquist advanced from a 15-candidate field in the special primary election to fill a vacancy on the Los Angeles City Council. Lee and Lundquist will oppose each other in the general election August 13. Lee was endorsed by a PAC sponsored by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. Lundquist was endorsed by The Los Angeles Times and the Green Party of Los Angeles County.

Learn more

Quiz: Which state constitution has been amended more than 800 times?

In a story from earlier this week, I noted that one particular state constitution had been amended more than 800 times. This state’s constitution is considered the longest constitution in the world.

Name that state:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arizona
  3. Arkansas
  4. California

The Daily Brew: At least one presidential candidate will be excluded from the first debate

Welcome to the Wednesday, June 5, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Bennett meets fundraising threshold, Biden & Warren release climate proposals
  2. New Jersey state Assemblyman loses primary for first time this decade
  3. Approaching the one-year anniversary of Janus 

Bennett meets fundraising threshold, Biden & Warren release climate proposals

Every day in this presidential primary cycle features a new public policy or political battle. Yesterday’s daily presidential briefing covered one of each.

First, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennett announced that he had met the fundraising threshold for the first set of Democratic presidential debates. This means he received campaign donations from at least 65,000 unique donors and a minimum of 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 states.

Bennett’s qualification means that 21 Democratic candidates have met the thresholds to participate in the first set of debates to be held on June 26 and 27 in Miami, Florida. Since the Democratic National Committee has said that only 20 candidates will participate, the following tie-breaking criteria will be applied, in order:

  1. Candidates who have achieved both the polling and fundraising thresholds,
  2. Candidates with the highest polling average in three national or early state polls, and
  3. Candidates with the highest number of contributors.

As we highlighted last week, 13 candidates have met both the polling and fundraising requirements and have therefore satisfied the first tiebreaker. The remaining candidates have until next week—two weeks before the first debate—to achieve the fundraising and polling thresholds.

The other lead story in yesterday’s newsletter was Joe Biden’s release of his climate change platform that sets a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. He joined Elizabeth Warren in issuing climate proposals on Tuesday emphasizing federal spending on research and development to develop clean energy.

Subscribe to our Daily Presidential News Briefing to follow-along with other policy proposals as they are released.

If you sign up in time to get this morning’s edition, you’ll receive one of my favorite weekly features—a look at which candidates made the top five in spending on Facebook advertising the previous week. It’s a great snapshot of one of the campaign tactics these candidates.


Subscribe here

New Jersey state Assemblyman loses primary for first time this decade

New Jersey held statewide primaries yesterday for all 80 seats in the state Assembly. The General Assembly is comprised of 40 multi-member districts, with two representatives from each district. In the primaries, the top two candidates from each party advance to the general election.

Four of the 80 incumbent members of the state Assemblyone Democrat and three Republicansdid not seek re-election. Twenty-five incumbents faced at least one primary challenger. Twenty-four incumbentsfrom 13 districtswon their respective primaries and advanced to the general election.

In District 8, Jean Stanfield won the Republican primary over incumbent Joe Howarth. Howarth, who was initially elected to the Assembly in 2015, is the first incumbent to be defeated in a state Assembly primary this decade.

The New Jersey General Assembly currently has 54 Democrats and 26 Republicans. There are no Assembly districts currently under split party control-that is, represented by one Democrat and one Republican.

Learn more 

Approaching the one-year anniversary of Janus

The one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s issuance of its decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees is later this month. The Court held that public sector unions cannot require non-member employees to pay agency fees covering the costs of non-political union activities, thus overturning the precedent established in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education in 1977.

Typically, when SCOTUS rules on a case, a chain reaction occurs based on the ruling. One aftermath will often be how state legislatures pass legislation in response.

Since Janus, we’ve been closely following the state-level responses. If you subscribe to our Union Station newsletter, you are familiar with that coverage.

Twenty-eight states have adjourned their state legislative sessions in 2019, with legislatures in another six states expected to adjourn in June.

We’re currently tracking 101 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy in our free weekly newsletter, Union Station. Each edition keeps you abreast of legislation, court decisions, and national trends that affect public-sector unions.

For example, the Connecticut state House passed a bill last week that would make several changes to the state’s public-sector labor laws. The measure would, among other things, require public employers to furnish unions with information about newly hired and current employees, who would then have to consent to provide their personal contact information to unions. The bill is awaiting action by the state Senate and governor. The Connecticut legislature is scheduled to adjourn at midnight tonight.

On June 26, join us for a webinar discussing the court case and its effects, including our analysis of how it affected union membership in the past year. It figures to be a really interesting discussion on how the Court’s ruling has impacted a nationwide policy issue. Click the link below to register!

Register now!