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Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a project director at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Want to buy tobacco in NY? You must be 21

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Thursday, November 21, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Age to purchase tobacco in New York increases to 21
  2. Local Roundup
  3. Take our newest Learning Journey — describing American government

Looking for a review of last night’s debate? Click here to instantly sign up for our daily briefing that will fill you in later this morning!


Age to purchase tobacco in New York increases to 21

The United States House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill Tuesday that would ban the sale of flavored tobacco products and increase the minimum age to 21 to buy tobacco nationwide. Meanwhile, 18 states have enacted laws since 2015 to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco. 

New York’s age requirement to buy tobacco increased from 18 to 21 last week when a bill signed in July by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) took effect. This legislation passed the state Assembly by a 120-26 vote and passed the state Senate, 52-9.

New York is among eight states with a Democratic trifecta to pass a tobacco age increase. Four states passed a tobacco age increase under a Republican trifecta, and six passed a tobacco age increase under divided government. Nine Democratic governors—including Cuomo—and eight Republican governors have signed tobacco age increases into law. One state—Maine—passed its tobacco age restriction over a veto by Gov. Paul LePage (R).

The increase means that there are now 16 states where the minimum age to purchase or use tobacco is 21, comprising 49% of the U.S. population. Three states have a minimum age of 19 and the remaining 31 have a minimum age of 18. The next state where the minimum age to buy tobacco will rise is Washington, where the age will increase from 18 to 21 on January 1, 2020.

Five more facts about the history of tobacco age regulations in the United States: 

  • The first age limit to buy tobacco in U.S. history was imposed in 1883 in New Jersey and set a minimum age of 16. 

  • By 1920, 46 states had implemented an age limit for tobacco sales, of which 14 set the limit at 21. 

  • During the 1920s and 30s, many states with age restrictions of 21 lowered the age to buy tobacco, often to 18. 

  • At the turn of the 21st century, three states—Alabama, Alaska, and Utah—had a tobacco age limit of 19 and the remaining 47 had a minimum age of 18. 

  • Hawaii was the first state to raise the age to buy tobacco to 21 this century, enacting its increase in June 2015.

Tobacco age by state

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Local Roundup 

Here’s our weekly summary of the local election results we’re covering…and which you may have missed. And please feel free to email me to suggest some interesting local election coverage in your area—I’d love to hear about it! 

New Orleans ballot measures 

Voters in New Orleans approved three ballot measures and rejected one in the statewide general election Nov. 16. All four measures were referred to the ballot by the New Orleans City Council.

Voters approved:

  • A tax measure that authorized an additional 6.75% tax on the rent or fee charged for short-term rentals to raise revenue for infrastructure improvements and a fund to promote tourism in New Orleans. The funds to promote tourism would be allocated to New Orleans & Company, formerly the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau.

  • A measure that amended the city charter to create a local Human Rights Commission. The city’s Human Relations Commission—created in the early 1990s—did not have the powers granted by the state to local human rights commissions because it wasn’t added to the city charter.

  • A measure that authorized New Orleans to issue up to $500 million in bonds to fund what the measure described as: infrastructure improvements, public buildings, affordable housing, recreational facilities, public safety equipment, and all necessary land and equipment for said improvements.

Voters rejected a measure that would have authorized a special tax of $3.00 per $1,000 of assessed value of all taxable property for twenty years to help fund infrastructure repairs and purchase equipment, software, and technology for the city. City officials estimated the tax would have generated about $10.5 million in revenue each year. Officials from the New Orleans police and fire departments supported the measure.

Colorado local ballot measures

Colorado voters decided eight local ballot measures—in Denver, Colorado Springs, Arapahoe County, and Douglas County—on Nov. 5. Seven were approved and one was defeated.

  • All four Denver measures were approved, including one to create a Department of Transportation and Infrastructure in the city and a measure that establishes residency requirements for elected officials. All of the measures received at least 75% of the vote.

  • In Colorado Springs, Ballot Issue 2B and 2C were both approved. Ballot Issue 2B authorizes the city to retain $7 million in surplus revenue for the improvement of parks and recreational facilities rather than refunding it to taxpayers as required by law. Ballot Issue 2C renewed a sales tax used to fund road repairs and decreases the rate of the tax from 0.62% to 0.57%.

  • Voters in Douglas County approved Ballot Issue 1A that extends a 0.13% sales tax for 15 years to fund transportation infrastructure.

  • Voters in Arapahoe County defeated Ballot Issue 1A. The measure would have authorized an additional property tax of $3.40 per $1,000 in assessed property value to fund public safety services.


Take our newest Learning Journey — describing American government

We’re excited to announce another in our series of Learning Journeys, and this one is about the terms that are often used to describe our system of government. 

Ballotpedia has teamed up with the Center for Free, Fair, and Accountable Democracy for a Learning Journey on “liberal, republican democracy.” When discussing our system of government, the terms “democracy,” “republic,” “republican,” and “liberal” can at times be a source of disagreement and conflict. Understanding these definitions is essential for understanding our form of government. This short Learning Journey will help you sort things out.

If you’ve never taken a Learning Journey, it works like this. Each day, we’ll send you an email with information, examples, and exercises to help you understand the concept. Along the way, you’ll be able to contact us with any questions and comments you may have.

The Center for Free, Fair, and Accountable Democracy provides nonpartisan civic education for adults age 18 and above, focused on the benefits of representative democracy, the foundations of trust in representative democracy, and the role of citizens in defending their democracies.

Get started today→




2019’s election results in two minutes

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Wednesday, November 20, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. A summary of this fall’s top 10 elections
  2. State legislators in California, New York receive the highest salaries
  3. Biden leads Democratic presidential candidates in Ballotpedia pageviews for 4th straight week

A summary of this fall’s top 10 elections 

Before the November elections, Ballotpedia compiled a list of the top 10 races to watch in 2019, including races for state executive and legislative offices, municipal elections, and statewide ballot measures. Here’s a quick summary of what happened in those elections. 

  • Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) defeated Gov. Matt Bevin (R) and John Hicks (L) in the state’s gubernatorial election. Beshear’s victory means that Kentucky will go from a Republican trifecta to divided government.

  • Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) defeated state Attorney General Jim Hood (D), Bob Hickingbottom (Constitution), and David Singletary (I) to become governor of Mississippi. Reeves’ win and Republican victories in the state House and Senate preserved the state’s Republican trifecta.

  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) defeated businessman Eddie Rispone (R) in the general election for governor on Nov. 16. Republicans held onto majorities in the state House and Senate, meaning that the state will remain under divided government. 

  • Democrats flipped control of the Virginia state legislature. After new members are sworn in, Democrats will have a 21-19 majority in the state Senate and a 55-45 majority in the House of Delegates. Heading into the election, Republicans held a majority in both chambers. Democrats will have a state government trifecta in Virginia, as Gov. Ralph Northam (D) was not up for election.

  • Seattle voters elected city council members in seven districts. Three incumbents ran for re-election, and all three won. Five of the seven council races were won by candidates supported by two political action committees—Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE) and UNITE HERE!, which is affiliated with labor groups. 

  • Colorado voters defeated Proposition CC, which would have allowed the state to retain revenue it was, at the time of the election, required to refund under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). 

  • A majority of Pennsylvania electors voted to approve the Pennsylvania Marsy’s Law Crime Victims Rights Amendment. This was a measure to amend the state Constitution to guarantee victims of crimes 15 specific rights. However, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court enjoined the secretary of state from certifying election results, pending a court ruling on whether the amendment violates the state constitution’s requirement that separate amendments receive separate votes.

  • Texas voters approved Proposition 4—a measure to amend the Texas Constitution to prohibit the state from levying an income tax. 

  • Incumbent Mayor Sylvester Turner and former Texas A&M Board of Regents member Tony Buzbee advanced to a Dec. 14 runoff election for mayor of Houston.

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State legislators in California, New York receive the highest salaries 

There are 7,383 state legislators across all 50 states and the amount each is paid varies from state to state. 

State legislators in California earn the highest base salary among legislators in all 50 states—making $110,459 per year. New Mexico state legislators do not earn a base salary. The March 2019 figures come from survey data collected by the National Conference of State Legislators.

The states with the highest base salaries for state legislators are:

  • California: $110,459

  • New York: $110,000

  • Pennsylvania: $87,180

  • Michigan: $71,685

  • Illinois: $67,836

The states with the lowest base salaries for state legislators are:

  • New Mexico: $0 per year

  • New Hampshire: $200 per two-year term

  • Texas: $7,200 per year

  • South Carolina: $10,400 per year

  • South Dakota: $11,379 per year

The legislators in the five highest-paying states work approximately full-time, while legislators in the lowest-paying states work part-time, or in-between part-time and full-time. Forty-three states also pay legislators a per diem or reimburse certain expenses on days the legislature is in session. Many states tie per diem pay to the federal rate set by the U.S. General Services Administration.

Nineteen states use a commission of some kind to determine the salary of legislators. The powers of these commissions vary from non-binding recommendations to reports that are implemented unless either voted down by the legislature, not approved by the governor, or overturned by citizen referenda. Some states tie legislators’ salaries to those of other state employees while other states allow the legislators themselves to set their own salaries.

Biden leads Democratic presidential candidates in Ballotpedia pageviews for 4th straight week

As we previewed yesterday, 10 Democratic presidential candidates will debate tonight in Atlanta. MSNBC and The Washington Post are hosting the debate beginning at 9 p.m. ET. It will be broadcast by MSNBC and streamed on MSNBC.com, washingtonpost.com, and NBC News’ and The Washington Post’s mobile apps.

We track and report the number of views candidates’ 2020 presidential campaign pages receive to show who is getting our readers’ attention. 

For the week ending Nov. 16, Joe Biden’s campaign page on Ballotpedia received 2,448 views, more than any other Democratic candidate. This was the fourth consecutive week Biden’s page received the most pageviews among the Democratic field. Andrew Yang’s page had the second-most pageviews during this week and Elizabeth Warren’s page was third.

The only Democratic candidate to receive more pageviews last week than the week before was Tom Steyer, whose pageviews increased by 11.2%.

Yang remains the leader in overall pageviews among Democratic presidential candidates in 2019 with 141,319. He is followed by Pete Buttigieg, Biden, Kamala Harris, and Warren.

See the full data on all presidential candidates by clicking the link below.



Triplex Tuesdays

The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Tuesday, Nov. 19, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Republicans gain one state government triplex in 2019 elections
  2. Democrats to hold 5th presidential debate in Atlanta tomorrow
  3. Two-thirds of Brew readers who responded to our survey say they have donated to a candidate’s political campaign

Republicans gain one state government triplex in 2019 elections

Three states—Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi—held elections for governor, secretary of state, and attorney general in 2019. When one party holds those three positions in a state’s government, we describe that party as having a state government triplex. 

Heading into 2019, 18 states had a Republican triplex, 17 states had a Democratic triplex, and 15 states were under divided control. One state—Mississippi—went from divided control to a Republican triplex as a result of the 2019 elections. Once the newly-elected officials are sworn in, the new count will be 19 Republican triplexes, 17 Democratic triplexes, and 14 divided states.

Mississippi became a Republican triplex as a result of the 2019 elections. Tate Reeves (R) defeated Jim Hood (D) to become the state’s governor. Lynn Fitch (R) was elected attorney general and Michael Watson (R) was elected secretary of state. Mississippi was most recently a triplex in 2004 when Democrats held all three positions.

Both Kentucky and Louisiana remained divided triplexes. In both states, Republicans won the elections for attorney general and secretary of state, while a Democrat won the gubernatorial contest. 

Kentucky was most recently a triplex in 2015 when Democrats held all three positions. On Nov. 5, Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) defeated Gov. Matt Bevin (R) in the gubernatorial election, Daniel Cameron (R) was elected attorney general and Michael Adams (R) was elected secretary of state. 

Louisiana was most recently a triplex in 2015 when Republicans held all three positions. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) won a second term, defeating Eddie Rispone (R) in the Nov. 16 general election. In the secretary of state election, incumbent Kyle Ardoin (R) defeated Gwen Collins-Greenup (D). State Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) won re-election in the primary Oct. 12. 

Thirteen states—Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia—will hold elections in 2020 for at least one office which could result in a change in triplex status. These states are 4 Republican triplexes, 3 Democratic triplexes, and 6 divided states.

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Democrats to hold 5th presidential debate in Atlanta tomorrow 

The Louisiana general election held Saturday—Nov. 16—was the final statewide contest this year. This week, the 2020 presidential race will take center stage.

Ten candidates will participate in the fifth Democratic presidential primary debate on Nov. 20: 

  • Joe Biden

  • Cory Booker

  • Pete Buttigieg

  • Tulsi Gabbard

  • Kamala Harris

  • Amy Klobuchar

  • Bernie Sanders

  • Tom Steyer

  • Elizabeth Warren

  • Andrew Yang

All 10 candidates participated in the Oct. 15 debate. Wednesday’s debate will take place at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. MSNBC and The Washington Post are hosting the event with Andrea Mitchell, Rachel Maddow, Kristen Welker, and Ashley Parker moderating.

Each candidate had to receive 3% support or more in at least four national or early state polls or 5% support or more in at least two single state polls to meet the debate’s polling threshold. The four early states are Iowa (Feb. 3), New Hampshire (Feb. 11), Nevada (Feb. 22), and South Carolina (Feb. 29). Candidates also had to meet a fundraising threshold with 165,000 unique donors and a minimum of 600 donors in at least 20 states.

Julián Castro—who was in the Oct. 15 debate—failed to meet the polling threshold for this debate. The other October debate participant—Beto O’Rourke—dropped out of the race on Nov. 1.

So far, six candidates have already met increased polling and fundraising thresholds for the sixth Democratic debate on Dec. 19—Biden, Buttigieg, Harris, Klobuchar, Sanders, and Warren. Candidates have until Dec. 12 to qualify.

Two-thirds of Brew readers who responded to our survey say they have donated to a candidate’s political campaign

Our What’s the Tea? questions have been part of a series asking Brew readers whether they’ve ever participated or done certain things related to government, politics, and policy. This includes attending or speaking at government meetings, voting in special elections, or serving on a jury. 

Last week’s question asked whether our readers had donated to a political campaign. We received many responses, so thanks very much for participating!

What's the tea?

 



Florida $15 Minimum Wage Initiative to appear on 2020 ballot

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Monday, November 18, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Florida $15 Minimum Wage Initiative to appear on 2020 ballo
  2. 35 candidates file for Congress in Alabama
  3. Join us tomorrow for our Ballotpedia Insights on American democracy

Florida $15 Minimum Wage Initiative to appear on 2020 ballot

Florida voters will decide in 2020 whether to raise the state’s minimum wage from $8.46 to $15 per hour. The measure, which will appear on the ballot as Amendment 2, would increase the minimum wage to $10 per hour on September 30, 2021, and raise it by $1 per year until reaching $15 per hour on September 30, 2026. Thereafter, the minimum wage would be adjusted each year based on changes in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).

To qualify a citizen initiative for the 2020 ballot in Florida, 766,200 valid signatures are required. In July 2019, initiative sponsor John Morgan reported having collected more than 1 million signatures for Amendment 2. Earlier this month, the Florida Division of Elections showed that proponents had submitted 768,478 valid signatures and met the state’s distribution requirement, which requires that signatures equaling at least 8% of the district-wide vote in the last presidential election be collected from at least half (14) of the state’s 27 congressional districts.

Excluding Washington D.C., which has a minimum wage of $14.00 per hour, the average state minimum wage is around $8.68. The highest statewide minimum wages based on state law are $12.00 in California, Massachusetts, and Washington. In metropolitan Portland, Oregon, the minimum wage is $12.50. In New York City, the minimum wage is $15.00 for certain employers. 

Georgia and Wyoming are the two states in the U.S. that have minimum wages of $5.15 per hour, which is lower than the federal government’s requirement of $7.25 per hour. Therefore, the federal requirement supersedes state law for most types of employees.

Minimum wageVoters throughout the country have decided 27 statewide ballot measures concerning the minimum wage since 1988, all but one of which reached the ballot through initiative signature petitions. The last time voters rejected a minimum wage increase at the ballot was in Missouri and Montana in 1996. The Missouri measure (rejected by a vote of 71% to 29%) would have required all employers to pay employees an hourly minimum wage of $6.25, with a $0.15 annual increase. The Montana measure (rejected by a vote of 56% to 44%) would have re-established a state minimum wage that would have gradually increased from $4.25 an hour to $6.25 an hour by the year 2000.

From 1996 to 2018, an average of between seven and eight measures appeared on the ballot during even-numbered years in Florida. Of all 91 measures on the ballot between 1996 and 2018, 76% were approved and 24% were defeated.

Forty-three statewide ballot measures have been certified for the 2020 ballot so far in 20 states. That number includes three other minimum wage measures in ArizonaIdaho, and Missouri.

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35 candidates file for Congress in Alabama

Alabama’s Nov. 8 Congressional filing deadline was the first of the 2020 election cycle. After it passed, 35 candidates had filed to run for the U.S. Senate or House.

Nine candidates, including incumbent Doug Jones (D), filed for the U.S. Senate election. Jones is unopposed in the Democratic primary, while eight candidates are running in the Republican primary. They include Roy Moore, who lost to Jones by 1.7% in the 2017 special election for the seat, and former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who held the seat prior to Jones. The other six candidates are Stanley Adair, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, state Rep. Arnold Mooney, Ruth Page Nelson, and Tommy Tuberville.

Twenty-six candidates filed for the state’s seven U.S. House seats. Five of the seven incumbents are running for re-election. Of those, two incumbents are facing primary challenges while three are running unopposed in the primary. Two other incumbents are not seeking re-election, leaving their seats open. All seven U.S. House incumbents ran for re-election successfully in both 2018 and 2016.

The Republican Party holds seven of the nine congressional seats from Alabama. In the 2020 election, 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election. Of those Senate seats, 33 are regularly scheduled elections, one is a special election in Arizona, and another is an expected special election in Georgia. Twelve are Democratic-held seats and 23 are Republican-held seats. In the House, where all the seats are up for election, Democrats currently hold a 233-seat majority.

The Alabama primary is March 3, 2020, and a primary runoff will be March 31 for any candidates who do not win a majority of the vote (more than 50%) in the primary. The general election is November 3.

Join us tomorrow for our Ballotpedia Insights on American democracy

I hope you’ll be able to join us tomorrow, Nov. 19, for the Ballotpedia Insights session hosted by our Director of Outreach, Sarah Rosier, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. She’ll be talking to authors Morgan Marietta and David Barker to discuss their book One Nation, Two Realities: Dueling Facts in American Democracy.

The topic is something we talk about frequently among the Ballotpedia staff. Employing several years of original survey data and experiments, Marietta and Barker reach a number of enlightening and provocative conclusions: dueling fact perceptions are not so much a product of hyper-partisanship or media propaganda as they are of simple value differences and deepening distrust of authorities.

Ballotpedia Insights is a Q&A series with political and legal scholars, researchers, reporters, authors, and subject matter experts. Each installment features a new speaker and we ask them tailored questions designed to gain in-depth insight into their work. They’re a great opportunity to learn from some leading professionals involved in politics and policy. They’re free to register and attend.

There’s still time to register and attend by clicking the link below. And if you can’t make it, don’t worry. We’ll post a recording of it and email it to you after its conclusion.

 



The last statewide election of 2019

 The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Friday, November 15, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Louisiana voters to decide governor, state legislative races Saturday
  2. Patrick joins 17 Democrats running for President
  3. What’s the Tea?

Louisiana voters to decide governor, state legislative races Saturday

The last statewide elections of 2019 take place Saturday, Nov. 16, as Louisiana holds general elections for offices where no candidate received a majority of votes in the primary elections held Oct. 12. Louisiana voters will elect a governor and secretary of state, as well as five state Senators and 24 members of the state House.

There has been significant satellite spending by both parties in the weeks leading up to the election. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) contributed $100,000 to the House Democratic Campaign Committee of Louisiana, the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee of Louisiana, and Louisiana Democrats at the end of October. The NDRC is a 527 group chaired by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that aims to position Democrats favorably for the round of redistricting following the 2020 census. Politico reported that the Republican National Committee spent $1 million on get-out-the-vote efforts in the days leading up to the election, bringing their contributions to $2 million.

Republicans secured a supermajority in the state Senate in the October 12 primary. Heading into Saturday’s election, Republicans are seven seats shy of a 70-seat supermajority in the Louisiana House of Representatives. Party control of eight state House seats will be decided in the general election. Republican candidates need to win all seven races in which they are facing a Democratic or independent candidate in order to win a veto-proof House majority. The other 16 races feature two candidates from the same party.

These are the last legislative elections before the state government redraws congressional and state legislative districts following the 2020 census. If Republicans win veto-proof majorities in both legislative chambers, they will have control over Louisiana’s redistricting process, regardless of the gubernatorial election’s outcome.

Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and businessman Eddie Rispone (R) will face off in the state’s gubernatorial general election. In the Oct. 12 primary, Edwards finished first with 46.6% of the vote, Rispone was second with 27.4% and U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R) was third with 23.6%.

In-person early voting for the general election took place November 2-9. The total number of early votes cast broke a record for a non-presidential election in Louisiana, with 489,649 people voting early in person (451,171) or by absentee ballot (38,478). Here are the total number of early votes cast by year:

In the previous four Louisiana gubernatorial races decided in a general election, the total votes cast increased—from between 3.3% and 11.5%—from the primary to the general, as shown in the chart below:

*—There is no figure listed in the “Total votes – General election” column in 1999, 2007, and 2011 as the  gubernatorial race in those years was decided in the primary election when one candidate received a majority of the votes cast.

Learn more

Patrick joins 17 Democrats running for President 

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) announced Thursday he would seek the Democratic presidential nomination. He filed as a candidate for the New Hampshire state primary ahead of its deadline today. Patrick did not file for the Democratic primary in Alabama and Arkansas—which had filing deadlines on Nov. 8 and Nov. 12, respectively.

Patrick joins 17 other notable candidates in the Democratic primary. That number could increase as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D) has filed for several state primaries without formally announcing his candidacy.

In the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, the last notable candidate to enter the race was law professor Larry Lessig in September 2015. At this point in the 2016 cycle, there were three Democratic candidates—former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former Gov. Martin O’Malley.

There were fifteen Republican candidates for president on this date four years ago. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal suspended his campaign on Nov. 17, 2015.

Learn more→

We took a week off from our What’s the Tea? segment last week so that we could provide as much election coverage as possible. But our survey question is back this week, and we’re continuing with asking readers about how they’ve participated in our political process.

This week’s question is, Have you ever donated to a candidate’s political campaign?

  1. Yes
  2. No


Checking in on trifectas

 The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Thursday, November 14, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Checking in on trifectas
  2. Local Elections Roundup
  3. Two state legislative seats flip party control in Nov. 5 special elections

Checking in on trifectas

Five states—Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia—held elections for either governor or one or more state legislative chambers that could have resulted in a change in trifecta control of state government. A state government trifecta exists when the governor’s party holds majorities in both houses of a state’s legislature. 

Heading into 2019, Mississippi and Kentucky were Republican trifectas, New Jersey was a Democratic trifecta, and Louisiana and Virginia were under divided government. Nationally, there were 22 Republican trifectas, 14 Democratic trifectas, and 14 states under divided government.

Kentucky and Louisiana’s post-election trifecta status has not yet been determined. Kentucky’s gubernatorial election remains uncalled. A recanvass of the statewide election results is scheduled to be completed today. Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) leads Gov. Matt Bevin (R), 49.2% to 48.8%. If Beshear wins, Kentucky will have divided government. If Bevin wins, the state’s Republican trifecta will be maintained. 

Louisiana will hold a general election for governor on Saturday, Nov. 16. Republicans won enough legislative seats in October’s all-party primaries to maintain their control of both chambers of the state legislature, so the gubernatorial election alone will determine Louisiana’s trifecta status. If Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) wins, Louisiana will remain under divided government, and if challenger Eddie Rispone (R) wins, Republicans will gain a trifecta.

New Jersey and Mississippi each retained their trifectas. In New Jersey, Democrats held their majority in the General Assembly. In Mississippi, Tate Reeves (R) was elected governor, succeeding term-limited Phil Bryant (R), and Republicans held both legislative chambers.

Democrats gained a trifecta in Virginia by winning majorities in both the state Senate and the House of Delegates. Alongside Gov. Ralph Northam (D)—who was not up for election this year—Democrats will hold a trifecta once the new legislators are seated. This is Virginia’s first Democratic trifecta since 1993.

Excluding Louisiana and Kentucky, after the 2019 elections there will be 21 Republican trifectas, 15 Democratic trifectas, and 12 states under divided government.

Learn more   

Local Elections Roundup 

Here are results updates from local elections held last week

Seattle

Voters in Seattle decided seats in seven city council districts Nov. 5. The city’s two at-large council seats were not up for election in 2019. Three incumbents ran for re-election, and all three won. The other four races were open seats.

Five of the seven council races were won by candidates supported by two political action committees—Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE) and UNITE HERE!, which is affiliated with labor groups. This included two incumbents, Lisa Herbold and Kshama Sawant. 

Two races were won by candidates endorsed by the local chamber of commerce’s PAC—Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE)—including incumbent Debora Juarez. Amazon contributed $1.5 million to CASE, which endorsed candidates in each race, including challengers to Herbold and Sawant. A 2018 head tax proposal, which the council passed and subsequently repealed, met with opposition from the chamber of commerce and Amazon. New York Times technology correspondent Karen Weise wrote, “Four years ago, Amazon gave just $25,000 to the PAC.” GeekWire’s Monica Nickelsburg wrote, “It’s a sign that local politics can have a big impact on this global corporation and an example of Amazon’s newfound appetite for civic engagement at all levels of government.”

These elections saw record-breaking satellite spending of more than $4 million, which was more than 5 times the amount spent in 2015, the last time the same seven council seats were up for election.

California Local Ballot Measures

Voters in California decided 45 local ballot measures Nov. 5. According to unofficial election results, 35 of those measures were approved, eight were defeated, and two measures are still undecided.

The two measures that are too close to call—San Francisco Proposition D and Redwood City School District Proposition H—are tax measures that require a two-thirds supermajority vote to pass. San Francisco Proposition D would enact a tax on ride-share companies. Current results show it being favored by 67.7% of voters. Redwood City School District Proposition H would authorize a parcel tax in the district for 12 years. Current results show it being favored by 66.2% of voters. In both instances, provisional ballots have not been fully counted.

Below is a breakdown by topic of these 45 local measures:

  • 14 parcel tax measures — 10 approved and three defeated and one for which the outcome has not been determined,
  • nine sales tax measures — eight approved and one defeated,
  • four local hotel tax measures, all approved,
  • four measures that would make city clerks, city treasurers, or both appointed instead of elected — three approved and one defeated,
  • two marijuana tax measures — both approved,
  • two local spending limit increases — both approved,
  • two measures concerning development and land use — both approved,
  • two local business taxes, including a tax on ride-share companies in San Francisco — one approved and one for which the outcome has not been determined,
  • two measures concerning affordable housing (bonds and zoning/development regulations) — both approved,
  • a campaign finance limits and disclosure requirements measure in San Francisco — approved,
  • a vaping authorization and regulation measure in San Francisco — defeated,
  • a charter amendment in San Francisco concerning the city’s disability and aging services commission — approved,
  • a measure to increase the minimum wage for hospitality workers in Rancho Palos Verdes —  defeated.

An average of 64 local measures appeared on November ballots in the previous three odd-numbered years in California. In November 2017, voters decided 62 ballot measures that took place across 20 counties. Forty measures were approved and 22 were defeated.

Two state legislative seats flip party control in Nov. 5 special elections

In addition to statewide elections held Nov. 5, special general elections were held in 19 state legislative districts across 10 states. These races were to fill vacancies for state legislators who resigned or otherwise left office before the end of their terms in states that fill such openings using elections rather than appointment. 

Thirteen of the 19 special general elections saw no change in partisan control and two seats flipped parties—one to Democrats and one to Republicans.  In Missouri, state House District 99 was won by a Democrat after being previously held by a Republican. The special election in New Jersey state Senate District 1 was won by a Republican after being previously held by U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D), who was elected to Congress in November 2018.

One special election for a seat in the Georgia state House advanced to a Dec. 3 runoff. That seat will not change partisan control as two Republicans will meet in the runoff for a seat previously held by a Republican. Elections for three Texas state House seats advanced to runoff elections for which a date has not yet been set by Gov. Greg Abbott (R). Partisan primary elections were also held Nov. 5 for a seat in the Tennessee state House. The general election for the seat will take place December 19. 

In 2019, special elections have been held for 71 seats. Heading into those races, Democrats had previously controlled 37 of the seats while Republicans previously controlled 34. Five seats flipped from Democratic control to Republican control. Two seats flipped from Republican control to Democratic control. One seat flipped from Republican control to an independent officeholder.

In special elections between 2011 and 2018, one party (either Republicans or Democrats) saw an average net gain of four seats nationally each year. An average of 91 seats were filled through special elections in each of the past four odd-numbered years. Thirty-four state legislative special elections took place on November 7, 2017, and 20 state legislative special elections were held on November 3, 2015.

Two state legislative special elections will take place in December—in Arkansas and Tennessee. Three such elections have been scheduled so far in 2020 in three states—Arkansas, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Learn more→



Trump has appointed the 4th-most federal judges as of Nov. 1

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

  1. Trump has appointed the fourth-most federal judges at this point in his presidency in the last 100 years
  2. Ten candidates have qualified for the next Democratic presidential primary debate
  3. Boudin wins San Francisco District Attorney election

Trump has appointed the third-most federal judges at this point in his presidency in the last 100 years

Donald Trump appointed—and the Senate confirmed—157 Article III federal judges through November 1, 2019, his third year in office. This is the fourth-most federal judicial appointments through this point in a presidency of all presidents dating back to Theodore Roosevelt. Jimmy Carter (177), George W. Bush (167), and Bill Clinton (166) made more appointments.

The average number of federal judges appointed by a president through November 1 of their third year in office is 91.

Article III federal judges are appointed for life terms by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate per Article III of the United States Constitution. Article III judges are those on the Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. courts of appeal, U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade.

The median number of Supreme Court justices appointed by each of the last 20 presidents at this point in a presidency is two—the number appointed by Trump. William Taft’s (R) five Supreme Court appointments were the most among this group of presidents. Franklin Roosevelt (D), Carter (D), and George W. Bush (R) did not appoint any SCOTUS justices through November 1 of their third year in office.

The median number of U.S. Court of Appeals justices appointed by this point in a presidency is 18. Trump and Carter appointed the most among the last 20 presidents with 43 each. Trump’s 43 U.S. Court of Appeals appointments represent 24% of the 179 federal appeals court judgeships. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt (R) and Woodrow Wilson (D) appointed the fewest, five each.

The median number of U.S. District Court appointees is 66. George W. Bush appointed the most with 137 and Theodore Roosevelt appointed the fewest with 10. Trump has appointed 110 federal district court judges so far—16% of the 677 judgeships in the district courts.

Learn more

       

 

Ten candidates have qualified for the next Democratic presidential primary debate

Today—Nov. 13—is the deadline for presidential candidates to qualify for the fifth Democratic primary debate, which takes place at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta on Nov. 20. The debate will be hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post.

Ten candidates have qualified: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang. All ten participated in the previous debate Oct. 15 in Westerville, Ohio.

Julián Castro—who also appeared in the last debate—has failed to meet the polling threshold to qualify. The other candidate who participated in the Oct. 15 debate—Beto O’Rourke—dropped out of the race on Nov. 1.

A candidate has two ways to meet the polling threshold to qualify for the Nov. 20 debate:

  • Receive 3 percent support or more in at least four national or early state polls—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada. The four polls must be sponsored by different organizations or be of different geographical areas if they have the same poll sponsor, or
  • Receive 5 percent support or more in at least two single state polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada. The two polls may be from the same geographical area and poll sponsor.

Candidates also need to meet a fundraising threshold of 165,000 unique donors with a minimum of 600 donors per state in at least 20 states.

So far, six candidates have already met increased polling and fundraising thresholds for the sixth Democratic debate in Los Angeles Dec. 19: Biden, Buttigieg, Harris, Klobuchar, Sanders, and Warren. Candidates have until Dec. 12 to qualify.

And there’s still time to register for today’s quarterly briefing to catch you up on all the happenings in the 2020 presidential race. That webinar—which I’ll host with Emily Aubert, the primary author of our daily and weekly Presidential News Briefing newsletters—takes place at 11 a.m. Central time. Click here to snag a spot.
 

Learn more→

Boudin wins San Francisco District Attorney election

Chesa Boudin has been declared the winner of the Nov. 5 nonpartisan election for San Francisco District Attorney. He was endorsed by Bernie Sanders and the city’s Green party affiliate. Boudin defeated Suzy Loftus, Leif Dautch, and Nancy Tung in the first open-seat election for that office since 1909.

Under San Francisco’s system of ranked-choice voting, voters rank their preference for up to 10 candidates for each office. Votes are initially allocated to each voter’s first-place candidate. If no candidate wins a majority of the first-place vote, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated and their votes are reassigned to their next preferred candidate.

As of Monday—Nov. 11—Boudin had received 35.7% of the first-place votes to Loftus’ 31.1%. Loftus conceded the race Saturday after mail-in ballots tallied over the past week indicated Boudin would win.

A projection released by the city department of elections indicated that Dautch would be eliminated in the first round, followed by Tung in the second. The report projected a Boudin victory over Loftus in the third round by a margin of 1.66 percentage points, or 2,825 votes.

Incumbent George Gascón announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election. After Gascón resigned Oct. 4, San Francisco Mayor London Breed appointed Loftus to the office on an interim basis. Loftus was endorsed by Breed, the city branch of the Democratic Party, Sens. Kamala Harris (D) and Dianne Feinstein (D), and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D).

Ballotpedia readers were able to learn more about these candidates before the election through our Candidate Conversations project—developed in conjunction with EnCiv—to help voters get to know candidates as people. Candidate Conversations is an online video portal where candidates can answer questions, and voters can watch those answers, anytime, for free, to learn more about the

m.
 

Learn more→

 



Another 2020 filing deadline today

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Tuesday, November 12, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
  1. Arkansas’ 2020 filing deadline is today, Nov. 12
  2. Colorado voters split on two statewide ballot measures in 2019
  3. Register for tomorrow’s quarterly briefing on the presidential race

Arkansas’ 2020 filing deadline is today, Nov. 12

One week has passed since Election Day 2019 and already the second candidate filing deadline for 2020’s federal and state elections passes at noon today in Arkansas. Alabama’s candidate filing deadline was last week—on Nov. 8—and the filing deadlines for California, North Carolina, and Texas are in December. Here are the offices to be decided next year in Arkansas:

  • One U.S. Senate seat

  • All four U.S. House seats

  • Seventeen of the 35 seats in the state Senate

  • All 100 seats in the state House

  • One of seven seats on the state Supreme Court

  • Five of 12 seats on the Arkansas Court of Appeals—the state’s intermediate appellate court

  • Three statewide ballot measures

Partisan primaries for the federal and state legislative seats—along with nonpartisan general elections for the judicial seats—will be held on March 3, 2020. Runoff primaries for legislative seats will take place on March 31 if no candidate receives a majority of the vote. The state uses an open primary system, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party’s primary.

Alabama, California, North Carolina, and Texas are also holding primaries on March 3.

Arkansas’ filing deadline for independent candidates running for the U.S. Senate or U.S. House seats is May 1, 2020. General elections for legislative seats—and runoff elections for the judicial seats—will take place on November 3, 2020. Voters will also decide statewide ballot measures on that date.

In order to appear on the ballot for a state or federal office, a candidate must meet a variety of state-specific filing requirements and deadlines. Partisan candidates for the U.S. Senate or House must pay a filing fee that ranges from $10,000 to $20,000 depending on the party and office. You can read more about candidate requirements here

The next five statewide filing deadlines—all in 2019—are: Illinois (12/2), California (12/6), Texas (12/9), Ohio (12/18), and North Carolina (12/20). You can view the full list of filing deadlines for the 2020 election cycle here.

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Colorado voters split on two statewide ballot measures in 2019 

Colorado voters approved one and rejected one statewide ballot measure last week. Both measures were required to go before voters in accordance with the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), passed in 1992. TABOR limits the amount of money the state of Colorado can take in and spend and it requires the state to refund revenue above a spending cap to taxpayers.

Colorado voters rejected Proposition CC, 54% to 46%. It would have allowed the state to keep revenue above the state spending cap to provide funding for transportation and education. The Colorado Legislative Council Staff estimated that the measure would have allowed the state to retain about $310 million in additional revenue in 2019-2020 and $342 million in 2020-2021. It would have required the state auditor to hire a private entity to conduct an annual financial audit regarding use of funds as provided under the measure. 

The Colorado State Legislature placed Proposition CC on the ballot along party lines. Legislative Democrats voted for the bill referring the measure to voters, while legislative Republicans voted against the bill. Gov. Jared Polis (D) supported Proposition CC. Supporters raised $4.45 million and opponents raised $1.75 million. 

Colorado voters approved Proposition DD, 51% to 49%. The measure legalizes sports betting in the state and authorizes the legislature to levy a tax of 10% on those conducting sports betting operations to fund state water projects. It required voter approval under TABOR since it proposed to implement a new tax. Colorado becomes the 14th state with an active sports betting industry. 

According to the legislature’s fiscal impact statement, the 10% tax on sports betting proceeds is expected to generate around $10 million in revenue for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020-21 and between $13.5 to $15.2 million for FY 2021-22. Revenue from the tax was designed to create and fund the Water Plan Implementation Cash Fund and to fund expenses related to the administration and regulation of sports betting in Colorado.  

Register for tomorrow’s quarterly briefing on the presidential race

I hope you enjoyed last week’s briefings that discussed Tuesday’s key election and ballot measure results. 

We’re hosting another webinar tomorrow—Nov. 13 at 11 a.m. Central time—which is our quarterly look at the presidential race. This is one of my favorite presentations every quarter as we take a step back from the daily news to discuss the upcoming primary debates, trends in support among the leading candidates, and early state nominating contests. 

As always, I’ll be joined by Emily Aubert, the primary author of our daily and weekly Presidential News Briefing newsletters.

Twenty-two notable elected officials and public figures—17 Democrats and five Republicans—are running for their party’s nomination. The Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary are less than three months away—in early February—so we’ll have lots to talk about. And like our other webinars, if you can’t attend, we’ll send you a link to the recording when it’s available.

Click here to register




Louisiana voters to decide governor and House veto-proof majority next week

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Friday, Nov. 8, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Louisiana voters to decide governor, House veto-proof majority Nov. 16
  2. Alabama’s 2020 filing deadline is today, Nov. 8
  3. You are amazing.

Programming note: We will not be publishing the Brew this Monday, November 11. Happy Veterans Day to all who have served in our armed forces!


Louisiana voters to decide governor, House veto-proof majority Nov. 16

The 2019 election season isn’t over yet! Louisiana voters will head to the polls Nov. 16 to vote in general elections for statewide and local races. The state is holding elections for the following offices, in addition to other elections beyond Ballotpedia’s coverage scope:

  • Governor;

  • Secretary of state;

  • One of 11 seats on the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education;

  • Five of 39 seats in the state Senate;

  • 19 of 105 seats in the state House of Representatives;

  • A special election for Louisiana Supreme Court District 1; and

  • A special election for the 19th Judicial District Court, Section 2, Division L.

Headline races in Louisiana include the gubernatorial election and the state House of Representatives elections. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and businessman Eddie Rispone (R) advanced from the primary with 46.6% and 27.4% of the vote, respectively. Edwards is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South. The Democratic Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association spent more than $5 million combined toward the race as of late September, and President Donald Trump (R) held a rally for Rispone and another Republican candidate ahead of the primary. If Edwards wins, the state will maintain a divided government. If Rispone wins, Louisiana will be a Republican trifecta, meaning the GOP will control the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature.

Republicans secured a majority in the state House in the primaries. The general election will determine whether they also gain a veto-proof majority of 70 seats in the chamber or whether Democrats and independents win enough seats to prevent that. Heading into the general election, Republicans control 63 seats. The seven state House general elections feature one Republican and a candidate of a different affiliation. In the state Senate primaries, Republicans won 27 seats—one more than is needed to override a gubernatorial veto.

Voters in New Orleans will also decide four local ballot measures.

Louisiana held primary elections on Oct. 12 for all candidates, regardless of party affiliation. Candidates who received more than 50 percent of the primary vote won outright. The general election is being held for the top two vote-getters who did not reach that threshold in each race. 

Early in-person voting for Louisiana’s Nov. 16 general elections, which began on Nov. 2, ends Saturday, Nov. 9. Voters wishing to cast an absentee ballot must apply for one by 4:30 p.m. Central Time Nov. 12.

Louisiana voters must have an accepted reason to vote absentee. Examples include working offshore, residing in a nursing home, or being sequestered because of jury duty. You can read the full list here. Voters may fill out an application online or submit a printed application through the mail, in person, or by fax to their parish’s registrar of voters. The registrar must receive completed absentee ballots by 4:30 pm Central Time Nov. 15.

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Alabama’s 2020 filing deadline is today, Nov. 8

Since I’m still riding the high of covering this week’s elections, it’s hard to believe the first filing deadline of 2020 is already here! Even though 2019 isn’t quite over, we’ve officially crossed the starting point for the 2020 cycle. Alabama’s 2020 filing deadline for presidential primary candidates and partisan candidates for U.S. Senate and U.S. House seats is today, Nov. 8. Below you can find a quick rundown of the offices up for election next year:

  • One U.S. Senate seat

  • All seven U.S. Congressional seats

  • Five state executive offices

  • Two seats on the state Supreme Court

  • Four seats on the state’s intermediate appellate courts

  • Five statewide ballot measures

The filing deadline for independent candidates running for the U.S. Senate or U.S. House seats from Alabama is March 3, 2020. Alabama’s primary election will also be held on that day, with a primary runoff election, if needed, on March 31. The state uses an open primary system, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party’s primary.

For a candidate to appear on the ballot for a state or federal office, they must meet a variety of state-specific filing requirements and deadlines. Partisan candidates for the U.S. Senate or House must pay a $3,480 filing fee (2% of base salary). You can read more about candidate requirements here

The next five statewide filing deadlines are Arkansas (11/12), Illinois (12/2), California (12/6), Texas (12/9), and Ohio (12/18). You can view our full list of filing deadlines for the 2020 election cycle here.


You are amazing. 

I just wanted to take a moment to say, “Thank you!”

This has been an exciting week for Ballotpedia. We’re humbled by how many of you and your neighbors came to Ballotpedia to be informed about the 2019 elections.

You know we’re always good for some data, so here are some fun stats to show you what good company you’re in. Over 200,000 voters looked up their sample ballot at Ballotpedia on November 5 alone. All told, in 2019 we’ve seen the sample ballot used over 800,000 times!

If you average the number of website visits we’ve seen over the last month, you’ll find Ballotpedia was in the top 325 most-visited sites in the United States! That means readers have come to Ballotpedia more than the LA Times, Newsweek, the NHL, Nordstrom, Priceline, Apartments.com, Cars.com, Walgreens, or Fandango!

Thank you so much for trusting us to deliver your election information. We don’t take this responsibility lightly, and are striving to continue to help you through 2020 and beyond.

If you have any ideas, questions, feedback, we’re always here for you! Just reply to this email to drop me a line. I read them all. 

Have a great weekend!

Sincerely,
Dave, 
and the rest of the over-caffeinated Ballotpedia team


 

 



We have election results!

The Daily Brew
Welcome to today’s Brew. The caffeine still hasn’t worn off yet from last night’s election results work. We’re bringing you a special edition today—10 things to know about last night. Note: results are current as of 2 am EST.

  1. Join us for a briefing later today discussing yesterday’s results
  2. Three top statewide executive offices may have flipped in Kentucky
  3. Democrats win control of state Senate, House of Delegates in Virginia
  4. New York City approves ranked-choice voting for city primaries
  5. Reeves elected governor of Mississippi
  6. North Carolina mayoral election decided by two votes
  7. Incumbent Turner leads Houston mayoral race
  8. Texas voters reject first constitutional amendment since 2011
  9. Tucson voters reject sanctuary city initiative
  10. New Jersey state Assembly races yet to be called

Join us for a briefing later today discussing yesterday’s results

Want a quick summary of yesterday’s key results? Join me as I sit down with Cory Eucalitto—one of Ballotpedia’s Managing Editors—to discuss the outcome of Tuesday’s elections and their effect on policymaking and redistricting. We’ll cover results from coast to coast starting at 1:30 p.m. Central Time. Register using the link below and if you can’t join us live, we’ll send you a link to the recording when it’s available so you can catch up on your schedule.

Register here
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Three top statewide executive offices may have flipped in Kentucky 

Kentucky’s gubernatorial election was too close to call Tuesday night with 100% of precincts reporting. Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) received 49.2% of the vote to incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin (R)’s 48.9%, according to unofficial results. John Hicks (L) received 2.0%. Beshear declared victory but Bevin had not conceded the race.

Daniel Cameron (R) defeated Gregory Stumbo (D) in Kentucky’s attorney general election Tuesday night, 58% to 42%. The current attorney general is Beshear, who ran for governor, so Cameron’s win is a change in party. Democrats have controlled Kentucky’s Attorney General office since 1948. Republican Michael Adams won the race for secretary of state currently held by term-limited incumbent Alison Lundergan Grimes (D). 

If Beshear’s lead holds, Kentucky will remain under divided triplex control because partisan control of these three offices and the governorship will be split. Kentucky has been under divided triplex control since the 2015 elections. If Bevin wins, Republicans will have triplex control.

Republicans control both chambers of the Kentucky state legislature, which did not hold elections yesterday. If Beshear’s lead holds, Kentucky will have a divided government. It has been a Republican trifecta since the 2016 elections. If Bevin wins, Kentucky will remain a Republican trifecta. 

According to election night returns, Beshear won 23 counties and Bevin won 97. Seventeen counties were won by a different party this cycle than in the 2015 gubernatorial election. Thirteen of those counties flipped from Bevin (R) in 2015 to Beshear (D) in 2019. The other four counties flipped from Jack Conway (D) in 2015 to Bevin (R) in 2019. Beshear won in 21 counties that President Donald Trump (R) carried in the 2016 presidential election.

Democrats win control of state Senate, House of Delegates in Virginia 

Democrats flipped two seats to gain a 21-19 majority in the Virginia State Senate and gained at least five seats to win a 54-45 majority in the Virginia House of Delegates. One House race was too close to call. Heading into the election, Republicans held a 21-19 majority in the state Senate and a 51-49 majority in the House of Delegates. One Republican incumbent was defeated in the state Senate, and four Republican incumbents were defeated in the state House.

The next legislative session will be the first where Democrats have a majority in the House of Delegates since 1997 and in the state Senate since 2014. Along with Gov. Ralph Northam (D), Democrats will have trifecta control in Virginia for the first time since 1993. The House of Delegates elections were the first ones conducted using a remedial map after a federal district court ruled in June 2018 that 11 state legislative districts were an illegal racial gerrymander. The state Senate elections were held using district boundaries enacted in April 2011. 

Democrats will control the redistricting process after the 2020 Census. Virginia’s congressional and state legislative district boundaries are set by the state legislature and subject to veto by the governor. 

Virginia State Senate elections →
Virginia House of Delegates elections


New York City approves ranked-choice voting for city primaries 

New York City became the most populous jurisdiction in the U.S. to approve the use of ranked-choice voting. Seventy-three percent of voters approved Question 1, which provides for ranked-choice voting in primary and special elections for mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, and city council members. Question 1 allows voters to rank up to five candidates—including a write-in candidate—in order of preference and also makes changes to the timing of elections to fill vacancies and city council redistricting.

Reeves elected governor of Mississippi 

Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves defeated state Attorney General Jim Hood (D), Bob Hickingbottom (Constitution), and David Singletary (I) to become Mississippi’s third consecutive Republican governor. Reeves received 52% of the vote to Hood’s 47% with 99% of precincts reporting. Alongside the Republican majorities won in both chambers of the state legislature, Mississippi will remain a Republican trifecta. Mississippi Republicans also held the secretary of state’s office and gained the state attorney general’s office, winning a triplex—control of each of the top three executive offices—for the first time since 1876.

North Carolina mayoral election decided by two votes 

Incumbent Bluferd Eldreth was re-elected mayor of Jefferson, North Carolina, over challenger William Spencer by a margin of two votes, 20 to 18. Jefferson is located in the western part of the state about 85 miles northwest of Winston-Salem. For the first time ever, Ballotpedia covered all local elections across an entire state—North Carolina. This included races in 503 cities, towns, and villages, nine school districts, and 17 special districts—a total of 529 local elections!

Incumbent Turner leads Houston mayoral race 

Incumbent Sylvester Turner leads in Houston’s mayoral race but may fall short of the threshold needed to avoid a runoff election. As of 1 a.m. Central Time, Turner had received 47% of the vote with Tony Buzbee second with 30% of the vote in the 12-candidate field. If no candidate receives a majority, a runoff election will take place December 14. Policy debate in the race centered on Turner’s record during his first term, especially regarding his handling of the city’s budget and spending priorities.

Texas voters reject first constitutional amendment since 2011 

Texas voters rejected Proposition 1, which would have allowed elected municipal judges to hold office in multiple municipalities at the same time. With 99% of precincts reporting, the vote was 66% against and 34% in favor. Proposition 1 is the first constitutional amendment to be rejected in Texas since 2011, when three measures were defeated. It was put on the ballot by the state legislature, where it received unanimous support from Republicans and Democrats in both legislative chambers.

The current Texas Constitution was adopted in 1876. Voters had decided 677 proposed amendments before 2019, approving 74% of them. Ninety-one percent of proposed amendments have been approved since 1995.

Tucson voters reject sanctuary city initiative

Voters in Tucson, Arizona, decided against making their city the first in the state with sanctuary city policies, with over 70% of voters rejecting Proposition 205. The citizen initiative would have:

  • declared in the city code that Tucson was a sanctuary city; 

  • restricted law enforcement officers from actions to determine a person’s immigration status under certain conditions; 

  • prohibited officers from contacting federal law enforcement agencies to determine a person’s immigration status; and

  • prohibited city employees from inquiring about a person’s immigration status, among other policies.

New Jersey state Assembly races yet to be called 

Elections were held for all 80 seats in the New Jersey General Assembly, although media outlets had only declared winners in 52 seats as of 2 a.m. CT. Democrats had won 38 seats and were leading in at least six others. It takes 41 seats to gain partisan control of the chamber. Heading into the election, Democrats had a 54-26 majority. Democrats have held majorities in both houses of the New Jersey state legislature since 2004.

 



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