Welcome to the Thursday, June 13, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
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:
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).
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.
Welcome to the Wednesday, June 12, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
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!
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:
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:
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!
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.
Welcome to the Monday, June 10, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
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 incumbents—80%—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).
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:
Click the link below for more findings from that analysis.
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.
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
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.
Welcome to the Friday, June 7, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
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 do—from 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…
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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.
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.
Welcome to the Thursday, June 6, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
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:
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.
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 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.
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:
Welcome to the Wednesday, June 5, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
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:
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.
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 Assembly—one Democrat and three Republicans—did not seek re-election. Twenty-five incumbents faced at least one primary challenger. Twenty-four incumbents—from 13 districts—won 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.
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!