Author

Dave Beaudoin

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

The Daily Brew: 7 states allow all residents 16+ to get coronavirus vaccine

Welcome to the Friday, March 26, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. All residents 16+ now eligible for coronavirus vaccine in 7 states
  2. 2021’s only state superintendent election is on April 6
  3. Oklahoma school board elections have lowest unopposed rate in 8 years

All residents 16+ now eligible for coronavirus vaccine in 7 states

Note: In some states, vaccine eligibility varies by county. The data in the map above shows the loosest restrictions in each state and may not reflect statewide accessibility.

When we kicked off our weekly Brew update on coronavirus vaccine eligibility last week, all residents 16 and older were eligible for a vaccine in two states: Alaska and Mississippi. Arizona, Georgia, Ohio, Utah, and West Virginia have joined that list for a total of seven states. Here’s where things stood as of Thursday, March 25.

At least one county in each state allowed the following age groups to receive a vaccine:

  • 13 states allowed vaccinations for anyone 16+
  • Two states allowed vaccinations for anyone 18+
  • Five states allowed vaccinations for anyone 40+ or 45+
  • 10 states allowed vaccinations for anyone 50+ or 55+
  • Twenty states and Washington, D.C. allowed vaccinations for anyone 60+ or 65+

The seven states allowing everyone 16+ to get a vaccine have Republican governors.

Latest changes

  • On March 25, all Georgia residents 16 and older became eligible for a coronavirus vaccine. Previously, the state limited vaccinations to people 55 and older, essential workers, and people with underlying health conditions. Georgia is the seventh state to allow vaccinations for anyone over the age of 16 statewide.
  • On March 24, all Utah residents 16 and older became eligible for a coronavirus vaccine. Residents aged 50 and older have been eligible since March 4. 
  • State-operated vaccination sites in Arizona also started administering vaccines to residents 16 and older on March 24. Previously, people 55 and older could make appointments at state sites. 
  • On March 22, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) authorized healthcare providers to allow people 16 and older to register for a vaccine when appointments are available. Previously, people 16 and older were scheduled to become eligible on March 29. Residents 40 and older became eligible for vaccination on March 19.
  • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced people 16 and older were eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on March 22. Previously, state-defined essential workers, people with certain comorbidities, and everyone 50 and older were eligible for vaccinations.

Governors and state health officials in the following states announced residents 16 and older will be eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on the following dates:

  • Louisiana: March 29
  • Oklahoma: March 29
  • Texas: March 29
  • Indiana: March 31
  • Florida: April 5
  • Idaho: April 5
  • Tennessee: April 5
  • Illinois: April 12
  • Maine: April 19
  • Vermont: April 19
  • Maryland: April 27
  • Oregon: May 1
  • Washington: May 1

Vaccine eligibility is changing rapidly across the country. Our daily newsletter Documenting America’s Path to Recovery delivers the latest coronavirus-related updates to subscribers’ inboxes each weekday. Click here to subscribe.

Read on

2021’s only state superintendent election is on April 6

Wisconsin holds an election for state superintendent of public instruction on April 6. Wisconsin is the only state to hold odd-year elections for the office. Here’s a little background about that race.

Deborah Kerr and Jill Underly are running in the April 6 race. Underly and Kerr advanced from the Feb. 16 primary with 27.3% and 26.5% of the vote, respectively. Kerr is a former school district superintendent, and Underly is a current school district superintendent. 

In her own words, Kerr said she is a “pragmatic Democrat with conservative values.” She has endorsements from several local school board members and state Sen. Alberta Darling (R). Underly’s endorsers include two former Wisconsin state superintendents, four Democratic members of Congress, and 25 Democratic members of the state legislature. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D), who served as superintendent from 2009 to 2019, has not endorsed in the race.

Kerr supports publicly funded school vouchers and reopening schools statewide. Underly opposes publicly funded school vouchers and supports allowing local school districts to decide when they reopen.

Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor, whom Evers appointed as his replacement, did not run for a full term. 

The primary had the second-highest turnout for state superintendent primaries in the past 20 years—326,074 people voted in the 2021 primary, compared to 368,096 people in 2017. In the February 2020 state supreme court election, 705,138 people voted. Click here for turnout data for state supreme court elections from 2000-2019.

The position of superintendent is elected in 12 states and appointed in the remaining 38. It is a nonpartisan position in 42 states. Eight of the 12 states where the office is elected hold partisan elections.

Read on 

Oklahoma school board elections have lowest unopposed rate in 8 years

On April 6, local school districts in Oklahoma will hold general elections. Elections were scheduled for 35 seats across 26 school districts within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope this year, but 17 of those seats will not be on the ballot due to lack of opposition. The 48.6% unopposed rate is the lowest since Ballotpedia began tracking this figure in 2014. 

From 2014-2020, 67.6% of Oklahoma school board races were canceled. The 48.6% in 2021 is 19 percentage points lower.

Across eight years of tracking, the highest unopposed rate for Oklahoma school board elections occurred in 2015, when 85.7% of races had an unopposed candidate. The chart below shows unopposed rates from 2014 to 2021.

For races that had more than two candidates file, primary elections were held Feb. 9. Candidates were able to win the primary outright if they received more than 50% of the vote.

Fourteen districts will hold a general election on April 6. These 14 districts served a total of 190,878 students during the 2016-17 school year:

• Banner

• Crooked Oak 

• Deer Creek 

• Edmond 

• Midwest 

• Mustang

• Oklahoma City 

• Owasso 

• Piedmont

• Putnam 

• Tulsa 

• Union 

• Western Heights 

• Yukon 

Eight other states besides Oklahoma are holding local and special state legislative elections on April 6: Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. See our elections calendar for a list of elections within our coverage scope and links to more information.

Read on 



The Daily Brew: Where things stand with the recall effort against Newsom

Welcome to the Thursday, March 25, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Some updates on the recall effort against Gov. Gavin Newsom 
  2. New Mexico voters to decide early childhood education funding measure
  3. What’s the Tea?

Some updates on the recall effort against Gov. Gavin Newsom 

On March 17, the signature filing deadline passed for the recall effort against California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). I recently wrote about the arguments for and against the recall and the signature requirements for a successful recall. I want to follow up with where signature verification stands, news about an opposition campaign, and more.

On March 19, the California Secretary of State’s office released a signature verification update. The office had processed 1,454,710 signatures and deemed 1,188,073 valid through March 11. Another 380,060 signatures remained unprocessed. At least 1,495,709 signatures must be deemed valid to trigger a recall election.

Recall organizers said they turned in more than 2.1 million signatures by the March 17 deadline. At the current verification rate of about 82%, that would amount to 1.722 million valid signatures, which would be enough to trigger a recall election.

On March 15, Stop the Republican Recall of Governor Newsom—the official opposition committee for the recall—filed a statement of organization. The California Democratic Party has contributed $550,000 to the committee. Recall organizers reported raising $1.6 million throughout 2020—the most recent total available on the California Secretary of State website.

A recall election would present voters with two questions. The first would ask whether Newsom should be recalled. The second would ask who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled. A majority vote is required on the first question. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election without needing a majority. 

Here’s a look at recent polls about the recall:

Several individuals have announced campaigns or received media mentions as possible candidates if the recall makes the ballot. Among those are 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), former acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell (R), and former state Sen. John Moorlach (R).

Since 1911, there have been 55 attempts to recall a sitting California governor. The only successful recall campaign was in 2003 when voters recalled then-Gov. Gray Davis (D). Out of 135 candidates, Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was elected as Davis’ replacement with 48.6% of the vote.

Read on 

New Mexico voters to decide early childhood education funding measure

Earlier this week, we looked at two of the 10 measures already certified for the 2022 ballot. Here’s another—this time, out of New Mexico.

The measure would allocate 1.25% of the five-year average of year-end market values of the money in the Land Grant Permanent Fund (LGPF) to early childhood education and the public school permanent fund. Let’s unpack that a bit:

  • Revenue in the LGPF comes from leases and royalties on non-renewable natural resources, such as oil and gas, and returns on invested capital. It is currently valued at more than $20 billion.
  • Of the total increased allocation, 60% would go towards early childhood education and 40% would go toward the public school permanent fund. 
  • The amendment defines early childhood education as “nonsectarian and nondenominational education for children until they are eligible for kindergarten.” 
  • The Legislative Finance Committee estimated that the additional allocation would be about $245.7 million in fiscal year 2023.

The amendment would also provide that the allocation would not occur if the balance of the LGPF drops below $17 billion. 

The measure will appear on the ballot in November 2022 unless a special election is called for an earlier date.

In New Mexico, both chambers of the state legislature need to approve a constitutional amendment by a simple majority during one legislative session to refer the amendment to the ballot. 

Similar amendments were introduced during the last six legislative sessions but did not pass both chambers of the state legislature. The Albuquerque Journal wrote earlier this year that “new leadership in the Senate – with broad changes in the chamber’s makeup – is giving supporters renewed hope that this is the year the proposal will pass the full Legislature.” Former state Senate Finance Chair John Arthur Smith (D) opposed similar amendments. Smith sought re-election last year and lost in the primary.

On Feb. 12, the state House voted 44-23 to pass this amendment. On March 18, the state Senate passed an amended version of it 26-16 and the House concurred. Votes in both chambers were largely along party lines, with most Democrats supporting and most Republicans opposing. In addition to being approved by a majority of voters, the amendment would also have to be approved by Congress because the LGPF was established by federal law, and early childhood education is not specified.

Read on 

Thursday Trivia

Yesterday’s Brew went over the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 population estimates and how they compare to 2010. According to that data, which state is projected to have the largest increase in population?

  1. Arizona
  2. Utah
  3. West Virginia
  4. Ohio

Read on 



The Daily Brew: 2020 population estimates compared to 2010

Welcome to the Wednesday, March 24, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Looking at 2020 population estimates compared to 2010
  2. Four more House incumbents not seeking re-election
  3. Indiana governor appoints secretary of state

Looking at 2020 population estimates compared to 2010

You may have heard that results from the 2020 census have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on data collection last year. I want to give an update on where things stand, along with some population estimates the Census Bureau released last December. 

First, a bit of background: Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution mandates a census be conducted every 10 years. The 2020 census was the 24th conducted—there’s been a census every decade since 1790.

Census data is used to determine how many members of the U.S. House each state has (also known as congressional apportionment). States also use census data for redistricting.

The Bureau was originally scheduled to deliver apportionment counts to the president by Dec. 31 of last year and redistricting data to the states by March 30 of this year. On Jan. 27, Census Bureau Chief of Decennial Communications and Stakeholder Relations Kathleen Styles said the Bureau plans to deliver its final apportionment report by April 30. The Bureau later said it would deliver redistricting data to the states by Sept. 30

For now, we can look at population estimates for July 1, 2020. The Bureau released that data in December. The Bureau releases annual estimates, in addition to the decennial census. The map below shows changes between 2010 census counts and 2020 population estimates in each state.

Washington, D.C. (not shown above) had the highest estimated gain in population between 2010 and 2020 at 18.46%. The five states with the highest estimated gains were:

  • Utah: 17.58%
  • Texas: 16.76%
  • Idaho: 16.54%
  • Nevada: 16.21%
  • Arizona: 16.10%

The Bureau estimated that six states lost population:

  • West Virginia: -3.68%
  • Illinois: -1.89%
  • Connecticut: -0.48%
  • Vermont: -0.38%
  • New York: -0.21%
  • Mississippi: -0.02%

According to Roll Call, the Census Bureau’s estimates would result in Texas gaining up to three U.S. House seats, Florida could gain two, and Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon could gain one each. New York could lose two U.S. House seats and the following eight states could lose one seat each—California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

Ten states lost seats and eight states gained seats in the House following the 2010 census. Click below to see which ones and for more information on the 2020 Census.

Read on

Four more House incumbents not seeking re-election

Last week, we reported that Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) was the first House member to announce a 2022 retirement. Within the past few days, four more members have announced they won’t seek re-election next year. That includes two announced retirements and two representatives planning to run for other offices.

The following House members announced retirements:

  • Tom Reed (R-N.Y.)
  • Filemon Vela (D-Texas) 

And the following announced candidacies for other offices:

  • Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), running for U.S. Senate
  • Jody Hice (R-Ga.), running for secretary of state

By the end of March 2019, three incumbents announced they would retire in 2020. Six incumbents had done so by the end of March 2017 in the 2018 cycle. 

In 2020, 36 House members did not seek re-election—26 Republicans, nine Democrats, and one Libertarian. In 2018, 52 members—34 Republicans and 18 Democrats—didn’t run for re-election.

You might remember the chart below from last week, showing how many representatives had announced they weren’t seeking re-election by the number of months away from the general election. We updated our March 2021 figure (20 months away from the 2022 election) below.

Read on 

Indiana governor appoints secretary of state

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) appointed Holli Sullivan (R) secretary of state on Feb. 16. Sullivan succeeds Connie Lawson (R), who announced earlier this year that she would resign for health and family reasons. Sullivan will serve until the office’s next scheduled election in November 2022. 

Lawson’s tenure of nine years is the second-longest in the history of the office. Indiana’s first secretary of state, Robert New, served for nine years and one month from 1816 to 1825. Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) appointed Lawson in March 2012 to fill the vacancy created when Charlie White (R) resigned. Lawson was elected to the position in 2014 and 2018.

Sullivan served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 2014 until her recent appointment. She was originally appointed to the state House after Gov. Mike Pence (R) appointed the district’s previous representative, Suzanne Crouch (R), as state auditor. Sullivan was subsequently elected to the legislature four times. 

When a vacancy occurs in the Indiana General Assembly, the party that last held the seat must appoint a replacement, with the approval of the state party chair. The 78th District Republican precinct committeemen will select Sullivan’s successor.

The office of secretary of state exists in 47 states. It does not exist in Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah. Voters elect the secretary of state in 35 states. The governor or state legislature appoints the secretary of state in 12 states. There are currently 25 Republican, 20 Democratic, and one independent secretaries of state. Pennsylvania’s acting secretary—Veronica Degraffenreid—is not affiliated with either party. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) appointed Degraffenreid on Feb. 1.

No states are holding secretary of state elections this year. In 2022, there will be 26 elections for the office.

Read on 



The Daily Brew: A way-too-early-look at 2022 ballot measures

Welcome to the Tuesday, March 23, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Nevada voters to decide tax measures in 2022
  2. Louisiana special election results
  3. House Administration Committee to consider IA-02 results challenge

Nevada voters to decide tax measures in 2022

So far, 10 statewide ballot measures have been certified for the 2022 ballot in eight states. How does that compare to the number certified at this point in previous election cycles?

Between 2013 and 2021, the average number of measures certified by March 22 in odd-number years for the next year’s ballot was 11.6. 

Our newsletter State Ballot Measure Monthly tracks ballot measure certifications and news. Each edition shows the measures certified in the month of the report. Click here to subscribe.

Now, let’s take a look at two of the 10 measures currently certified for the 2022 ballot—both in Nevada. One would increase the tax on gaming facilities‘ monthly revenue above $250,000. The other would increase a sales tax that goes to public schools.

Here’s a rundown of each measure:

Gaming tax 

Currently, the Nevada Gaming Commission collects a tax on monthly gross revenue from nonrestricted licensed gaming facilities. There are three tiers:

  • 3.5% on gross revenue up to $50,000 per month,
  • 4.5% on gross revenue above $50,000 up to $134,000 per month, and
  • 6.75% on gross revenue above $134,000.

This measure would add another tier for gross revenue above $250,000 at a rate of 9.75%.

In 2019, the gross gaming tax generated $783.5 million in revenue for Nevada. The Nevada Gaming Control Board estimated the additional tax would have generated another $317.6 million had it been in effect in 2019.

Local School Support Tax 

Currently, Nevada’s Local School Support Tax—a sales tax—is 2.25%. An additional 0.35% sales and use tax was imposed in 2015. The total Local School Support sales and use tax rate is 2.6%. 

This measure would increase the state’s Local School Support Tax 1.5 percentage points from 2.25% to 3.75%. The initiative would increase Nevada’s combined statewide sales tax to a range of 8.35% to 9.875%.

The committees sponsoring the two tax initiatives have received all their funding from the Clark County Education Association.

Process

Campaigns surpassed the 97,598 valid signatures required for each measure. The initiatives then went to the state legislature. In Nevada, the legislature has 40 days from the start of the session to act on what are known as indirect initiatives. The legislature did not enact the measures by the March 12 deadline, which sent them to the ballot in November 2022. 

Read on

Louisiana special election results

As regular Brew readers know, two special congressional elections occurred on Saturday—March 20—in Louisiana. These were the first special elections of the 117th Congress. ICYMI, here’s what happened:

  • In Louisiana’s 2nd District, none of the 15 candidates received more than 50% of the vote. Troy Carter (D) and Karen Peterson (D) were the top two vote recipients, and they head to a runoff election on April 24. Carter received 36% of the vote and Peterson received 23%. Gary Chambers (D) was third with 21%. The previous 2nd District incumbent was Democrat Cedric Richmond.
  • In Louisiana’s 5th District, Julia Letlow (R) won the election outright with 65% of the vote. Candy Christophe (D) was second with 27%. Twelve candidates ran. Letlow’s husband, Luke Letlow, won the 5th District election in November and died in December before being sworn into office. The previous incumbent was Ralph Abraham (R).

No partisan changes will take place as a result of these special elections. Looking back at special elections to the House since the 113th Congress, the highest number of partisan changes—three—occurred during the 115th Congress in 2017 and 2018. That included two seats in Pennsylvania that Democrats won after court-ordered redistricting.

Ballotpedia covered other special elections in Louisiana that voters will decide in runoffs on April 24:

  • Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education District 4: Cassie Williams (D) received 29% to Michael Melerine’s (R) 28%. Tony Davis (R) previously held the seat. 
  • Louisiana 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal 1st District: Marcus Hunter (D) and J. Garland Smith (D) advanced to a runoff with 44% and 32% of the vote, respectively. Judge Felicia Toney Williams (D) last held the seat.
  • Louisiana House of Representatives District 82: Edwin Connick (R) received 40% and Laurie Schlegel (R) received 36%. The most recent incumbent was Charles Henry (R).

Three other special elections so far are scheduled for the 117th Congress: Texas’ 6th District on May 1, New Mexico’s 1st District on June 1, and Ohio’s 11th District primary on Aug. 3.

Read on 

House Administration Committee to consider IA-02 results challenge

The House Administration Committee voted on March 10 to consider Rita Hart’s (D) challenge of last November’s election results in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. Certified results showed Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) defeated Hart by six votes. The committee tabled Miller-Meeks’ motion to dismiss Hart’s appeal. The decision will allow Hart to present evidence in support of her petition to the committee, which will then present a full report to the House recommending who should take the seat.

After the decision to move forward with the investigation was announced, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) said that Democrats are “literally trying to overturn a state-certified election here in Congress.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) said, “It’s an election of six votes out of 400,000 votes cast. This is not unique. This has happened maybe when you were in the Capitol before, when races have been close one side or the other saying, ‘Let’s take it to the house.'” Some Democrats, such as Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips (D), said overturning the results would be a mistake. “Overturning it in the House would be even more painful for America. Just because a majority can, does not mean a majority should,” Phillips said.

Last year’s general election in Iowa’s 2nd District had the narrowest margin of victory in a U.S. House race since 1984. That year, Francis McCloskey (D) defeated Richard McIntyre (R) by four votes in Indiana’s 8th Congressional District.

Hart’s and Miller-Meeks’ lawyers have until March 29 to provide written answers to a series of questions from the committee. If the committee recommends the matter to the full House, the chamber will decide the outcome by a majority vote as provided for in Article I, Section 5, of the U.S. Constitution. Click the link below for a full timeline of events leading up to this.

The House Administration Committee has dismissed most contested election cases that come before it. According to a 2016 Congressional Research Service report, out of 107 contested election cases filed between 1933 and 2009, the candidate who contested the election won three times. 

Read on 



The Daily Brew: One year ago – how state governments responded to COVID

Welcome to the Monday, March 22, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. COVID-19 policy changes – one year ago this week
  2. Register for our election systems briefing on Wednesday 
  3. Three challenge Pittsburgh mayor in Democratic primary

COVID-19 policy changes – one year ago this week

One year ago tomorrow—March 23—Oregon became the fifth state to issue a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic. California was the first state to do so on March 19. At the federal level, President Donald Trump signed the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27. That was the first of now three aid packages Congress passed and presidents Trump or Biden have signed.

Throughout March and April 2020, many states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Several of those policies are still in place. We’ll be periodically looking back on those events of one year ago. Today let’s explore a sampling of the events that happened one year ago this week.

Stay-at-home orders:

The specifics of each stay-at-home order varied from state to state, but they all closed certain categories of businesses and required people to stay home unless doing activities designated as essential. 

  • On March 23, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) issued Executive Order No. 20-12, directing individuals to stay at home unless performing essential activities and placing restrictions on non-essential businesses. Also, the stay-at-home order Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton issued on March 22 went into effect.
  • On March 24, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) issued stay-at-home orders.

Travel restrictions

  • On March 24, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) ordered travelers flying into Florida from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to self-quarantine for two weeks.
  • On March 26, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order requiring people flying to Texas from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or New Orleans to self-quarantine for two weeks.

School closures:

  • On March 23, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) extended the statewide school closure, scheduled to end March 31, through April 20. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) extended the statewide school closure, scheduled to end March 31, to May 1.
  • On March 24, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced that schools would remain closed through April 23. The Hawaii Department of Education announced that the statewide school closure, scheduled to end April 6, would last through April 30.

Election changes:

  • On March 23, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) signed a law authorizing municipalities to postpone any elections originally scheduled to occur prior to May 30, 2020, to any date on or before June 30, 2020. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) announced that absentee voting in the June 2, 2020, primary election would open on April 23, 2020—40 days before the primary election.
  • On March 24, Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske (R) announced plans to conduct all voting in the June 9, 2020, primary election by mail.

Federal government responses:

  • On March 24, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced it would use the Defense Production Act to acquire 60,000 coronavirus testing kits.
  • On March 25, the U.S. Senate voted 96-0 to pass the CARES Act, which included individual payments of $1,200 for individuals making up to $75,000 annually.
  • On March 27, the House passed the CARES Act on an unrecorded voice vote and Trump signed it.

For a list of policy changes Ballotpedia covered on other days one year ago this week, click here.

For the most recent coronavirus news, including the latest on vaccines and mask mandates, subscribe to our daily newsletter, Documenting America’s Path to Recovery

Register for our election systems briefing on Wednesday 

Last year, Alaska became the second state in the country (along with Maine) to pass ranked-choice voting statewide. Earlier this month, St. Louis became the second city in the U.S. to use approval voting, where voters select any number of candidates they want on their ballots. In June, New York City voters will use ranked-choice voting in mayoral primaries for the first time. 

Voters approved all these changes and more through ballot measures in recent years.

The landscape of election systems has changed quite a bit in the past year. On Wednesday, March 24, Ballot Measures Project Director Josh Altic and staff writer Amée LaTour will hold a briefing on recent ballot measures that have changed how people vote in certain states and cities around the country

They’ll discuss the measures I mentioned in Alaska, New York City, and St. Louis, as well as those in several cities in California, Colorado, Minnesota, and Vermont. They’ll also highlight interesting primaries using new election systems this year. 

The briefing is at 11 a.m. Central Time on Wednesday. And if you can’t attend the presentation live, we’ll send you a link to the recording when it’s available so you can watch it on your schedule. I hope you’ll join us!

Register here

Three challenge Pittsburgh mayor in Democratic primary 

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto will face three challengers—state Rep. Edward Gainey, Tony Moreno, and Michael Thompson—in the city’s Democratic primary on May 18, according to an unofficial list issued by Allegheny County as of March 18. No Republican candidates filed to run. The filing deadline was March 9. 

Peduto was first elected in 2013 with 84% support to Republican Joshua Wander’s 12%. Peduto won the Democratic primary that year with 52% of the vote against three other candidates. In 2017, Peduto won the Democratic primary against two other candidates with 69% of the vote and was unopposed in the general election.

The primary winner will advance to the city’s mayoral general election on Nov. 2. Independent candidates have until Aug. 2 to file. If no independent candidate files, the May 18 Democratic primary winner will be unopposed in the general election.

As of January, 64 mayors in the nation’s 100 largest cities were Democrats, 25 were Republican, and 11 were independent or nonpartisan. Between 2014 and 2020, 68.2% of incumbent mayors sought re-election; of these, 17.6% were defeated in their bids for re-election.

Read on 



The Daily Brew: Comparing votes on Trump, Biden Cabinet nominees

Welcome to the Thursday, March 18, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. How senators from the opposite party voted on Trump, Biden Cabinet nominees
  2. Roundup of measures on the May 1 ballot in Austin, Texas
  3. Minnesota GOP chair candidates allege conflicts of interest

How senators from the opposite party voted on Trump, Biden Cabinet nominees

The Senate has confirmed 18 of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominees. Twenty-three Cabinet-rank positions in Biden’s administration require Senate confirmation. Let’s take a look at how the minority party (Democrats in 2017 and Republicans in 2021) has voted on the confirmation of each president’s nominees.

In 2017, 22 members of President Donald Trump’s (R) Cabinet required Senate confirmation.

Here are some facts about which members of the opposite party voted to confirm Cabinet nominees

Seven Republican senators have voted to confirm more than 80% of Biden’s 18 nominees so far:

  • TwoSusan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)—supported all 18 (100%)
  • TwoRob Portman (Ohio) and Mitt Romney (Utah)—supported 17 (94%)
  • ThreeMitch McConnell (Ky.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), and Mike Rounds (S.D.)—supported 15 (83%)


One Democratic senator voted to confirm more than 80% of Trump’s 22 nominees

  • Joe Manchin (W.V.) supported 18 (82%)

Here are some facts about which members of the opposite party voted against confirming Cabinet nominees

Four Republican senators have voted against confirming more than 80% of Biden’s 18 nominees:

  • Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.) voted against 17 (94%) 
  • Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rick Scott (Fla.) voted against 16 (89%)
  • Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) voted against 15 (83%)

Five members of the Democratic caucus in the Senate voted against more than 80% of Trump’s 22 nominees:

  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) voted against 20 (91%)
  • Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) voted against 19 (86%)
  • Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) voted against 18 (82%)

Read on 

Roundup of measures on the May 1 ballot in Austin, Texas

Yesterday, we looked at a ballot measure in San Antonio that would repeal local authority for collective bargaining with the San Antonio Police Officers Association. Today we’ll look at eight ballot measures Austin voters will decide on May 1, with topics ranging from ranked-choice voting, police oversight, and adding a city council district. 

Seven of the eight measures were placed on the ballot through citizen-initiated petitions. Petitioners needed to submit at least 20,000 valid signatures to put the measures on the ballot. The city council voted to put the eighth measure—Proposition C—on the ballot. 

Here’s a summary of each measure:

  • Proposition A: The Austin Firefighters Association, Local 975 sponsored the measure, which would amend the city’s charter to require the city and firefighters association to participate in binding arbitration when an agreement cannot be reached through collective bargaining regarding working conditions. 
  • Proposition B: This measure would make sitting, lying down, or camping in public areas criminal offenses and prohibit the solicitation of money or other things of value at specific hours and locations. The measure is in response to the Austin City Council’s unanimous vote in 2019 to repeal an ordinance that prohibited sitting, lying, or panhandling in the downtown area.
  • Proposition C: The Austin City Council referred this measure to the ballot in a 10-1 vote. Proposition C would amend the city’s charter to authorize the city council to determine through a city ordinance how the director of the Office of Police Oversight is appointed or removed. Currently, the city manager appoints the director.

Austinites for Progressive Reform sponsored five initiatives related to elections and local governance: 

  • Proposition D would align mayoral elections with presidential election years instead of gubernatorial elections years beginning in 2024.
  • Proposition E would enact ranked-choice voting provided state law allows it.
  • Proposition F would change city governance from a council-manager system to a mayor-council system. (Of the 100 largest cities by population in the U.S., 48 have mayor-council systems, 45 have council-manager systems, and seven have other forms of government.)
  • Proposition G would add an additional city council district, thereby increasing the total number of city council members from 10 to 11.
  • Proposition H would adopt a public campaign finance program that provides $25 vouchers to registered voters to contribute to qualifying candidates’ campaigns.

We’re covering five other local ballot measures that voters in three other Texas cities will decide on May 1—two in San Antonio, two in Dallas, and one in Lubbock. 

Read on 

Minnesota GOP chair candidates allege conflicts of interest

Earlier this week, we brought you a story about factional conflict within the Democratic Party of Nevada. Today, we turn to conflict unfolding in Minnesota’s Republican Party.

Next month, the Republican Party of Minnesota will hold an election for party chair. Two-term incumbent Jennifer Carnahan is seeking a third term against state Sen. Mark Koran. Approximately 340 party members from around the state will meet in a virtual convention to vote for the next chair. These party members were selected at 121 local conventions, also known as basic political operating units (BPOUs). Carnahan and state party staffers directly managed 60 BPOUs. 

Carnahan and Koran have been critical of one another, alleging each individual has a conflict of interest. 

  • Koran alleged that this constitutes a conflict of interest: “It’s a massive conflict of interest. Free, fair, open and transparent elections have to be the basic foundation of what we do. If you have distrust in the process, it’s difficult to get people to accept the results of those conventions.” 
  • Carnahan denied the allegation, and she alleged Koran has a conflict of interest: “There was no impropriety. … The real conflict of interest here is [Koran] trying to serve in the state Legislature and trying to run the party at the same time.”

The Star Tribune‘s Briana Bierschbach described the race for chair as a step in shaping the party’s direction in 2022: “Whoever wins the party leadership race in April will have to immediately focus on 2022, when the governor’s office will be on the ballot, along with all 201 legislative seats. DFL Gov. Tim Walz is expected to run for a second term, but no front runner has emerged on the GOP side.”

Read on 



The Daily Brew: 2022’s first U.S. House retirement

Welcome to the Wednesday, March 17, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. First House incumbent announces 2022 retirement
  2. San Antonio voters to decide police union collective bargaining repeal
  3. Register for our March 24 briefing on election systems

First House incumbent announces 2022 retirement

Last week, we looked at announced retirements from the U.S. Senate. Today, we’re turning to the House. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) announced on March 12 that she won’t seek re-election next year. Kirkpatrick is the first U.S. representative to announce a 2022 retirement

The chart below shows how many U.S. House members didn’t seek re-election in previous election cycles:

The chart below shows how many months before the November general election representatives have announced their retirements during the current and previous two election cycles. The chart begins with the November of the previous cycle, or two years before the general election. For example, a retirement announcement in March 2021 would be 20 months before the Nov. 2022 election. By the end of March 2019, three incumbents announced they would retire in 2020. Six incumbents had done so by that point in the 2018 cycle. 

The 43 states with more than one congressional district will redraw district lines following the 2020 census. State legislatures and/or commissions are responsible for redistricting in each state. New district lines could lead to retirements where incumbents’ districts become less favorable to them. 

Redistricting could also lead to incumbent vs. incumbent primary and general elections. In the 2012 House elections—which used district lines drawn after the 2010 census—there were 10 incumbent v. incumbent primaries. In general elections, incumbents ran against one another in California’s 30th, California’s 44th, Iowa’s 3rd, Ohio’s 16th, and Louisiana’s 3rd.

Read on 

San Antonio voters to decide police union collective bargaining repeal

In 2020, we identified 20 police-related measures that voters decided in 10 cities and four counties within seven states. These measures concerned police oversight, reductions in or restrictions on law enforcement budgets, body and dashboard camera footage, and more. All 20 were approved. Let’s take a look at what’s happening this year.

On May 1, voters in San Antonio, Texas, will decide whether to repeal local authority for collective bargaining with the San Antonio Police Officers Association. Under state law, cities are allowed to negotiate with police and firefighter unions through collective bargaining to determine compensation, hours, and other conditions of employment. State law also prohibits strikes and lockouts and authorizes penalties for such activity. Proposition B would repeal local authority for bargaining with the city police association.

In San Antonio, citizens can place a measure on the ballot through an indirect initiative petition if at least 10% of the city’s qualified voters as of the last regular election sign it. The city council can either enact the measure or put it on the ballot. Supporters submitted more than the required 20,282 signatures, and the city council voted to certify the initiative for the ballot.

Thirteen of the 100 largest U.S. cities by population are in Texas. Four—Corpus Christi, El Paso, Laredo, and San Antonio—use collective bargaining in police negotiations. Five—Lubbock, Garland, Arlington, Irving, and Plano—do not have contracts with police unions. Four Texas cities—Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston—use meet and confer, in which there is no requirement that a city and police union reach an agreement on wages, benefits, and other working conditions.

Also on May 1, Austin voters will decide a measure that would establish the position of director of police oversight in the city charter with the “responsibility to ensure transparency and accountability as it relates to policing.” The city council would determine details about the selection of the director and staff if the measure is approved. (We’ll have more on Austin’s other ballot measures tomorrow.)

Two additional police- and criminal justice-related measures may make the ballot in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, on May 18.

Read on 

Register for our March 24 briefing on election systems

St. Louis used approval voting for the first time this spring, and New York City will debut ranked-choice voting in its upcoming mayoral primaries. What better time for a briefing on recent changes to how people vote across the United States? Join Ballot Measures Project Director Josh Altic and staff writer Amée LaTour for a discussion of recent ballot measures on election systems. Josh will walk us through:

  • Alaska’s top four ranked-choice voting initiative,
  • Mississippi Ballot Measure 2,
  • New York City’s 2019 ranked-choice voting measure,
  • St. Louis’ 2020 approval voting measure, and
  • 5 other local ranked-choice voting measures

They’ll also look at what unfolded in St. Louis’ mayoral primary earlier this month and preview New York City’s mayoral election. 

The briefing is at 11 a.m. Central Time on Wednesday, March 24. I hope you’ll join us!

Register here



The Daily Brew: COVID-aftermath – emergency powers amendments on the ballot

Welcome to the Tuesday, March 16, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Constitutional amendments related to emergency powers on the ballot
  2. Partisan majority to change on NJ Supreme Court
  3. Milwaukee school board incumbent not on ballot due to signature shortfall

Constitutional amendments related to emergency powers on the ballot

Governors and state legislatures have used emergency powers in a variety of ways to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Three constitutional amendments increasing the legislature’s or decreasing the governor’s emergency powers have been certified for the ballot in two states—Pennsylvania and Utah. 

Pennsylvania voters will decide two ballot measures on May 18.

Both measures arose from conflicts between Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf (D) and the Republican-controlled General Assembly over the governor’s emergency powers and the legislature’s role in emergency orders.

  • One proposal would limit a governor’s emergency declaration to 21 days unless the legislature votes to extend the order. 
  • The other would allow the legislature to pass a resolution, which the governor cannot veto, to terminate the governor’s emergency declaration.

Background: In June 2020, the General Assembly passed a concurrent resolution to end Wolf’s coronavirus emergency declaration. On July 1, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that Wolf could veto it, which he did on July 14. A two-thirds vote would have been required to overturn the veto.

In Pennsylvania, a simple majority vote is required in two successive sessions of the state legislature to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot. The two amendments noted above were combined with the Equal Rights Regardless of Race or Ethnicity Amendment in a bill the House and Senate passed on July 14 and 15, respectively. The House passed the bill, 115-86, with 86 Democrats opposing and seven supporting. The Senate passed it, 33-17, with 17 Democrats opposing and four supporting. The Senate passed the bill again in January, 28-20, with 20 Democrats opposed and one supporting. The House passed it in February, 116-86, with 86 Democrats opposing and four supporting. 

Utah voters will decide an amendment on Nov. 8, 2022, that would:

  • Increase the limit on appropriations the legislature can make in an emergency session from 1% to 5% of the total amount the legislature appropriated for the immediately preceding completed fiscal year 
  • Exempt emergency federal funding from the limit
  • Eliminate the limit on how much spending the legislature could cut during a special session 

In Utah, both chambers of the state legislature need to pass a constitutional amendment by a two-thirds vote during one legislative session to refer it to the ballot. The House approved this amendment on Feb. 25 by a vote of 68 to 5. The Senate passed the measure unanimously on March 5.

Voters approved an amendment in 2018 that allowed the legislature to call a special session and put the 1% limit on appropriations and cuts. In 2020, the Utah Legislature convened for four special sessions to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor called two sessions, meaning the appropriation limit didn’t apply. The legislature called the other two sessions under the 2018 amendment’s provisions. Those sessions were subject to the appropriations limit.

Five other states have proposed amendments related to emergency powers that could make the ballot: Arizona, California, Idaho, Maine, and Michigan. 

Read on 

Partisan majority to change on NJ Supreme Court

New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Jaynee LaVecchia scheduled her retirement for Aug. 31, 2021. Governor Phil Murphy (D) will nominate her replacement on the seven-member court. The court will switch from a 4-3 majority of justices appointed by Republican governors to a 4-3 majority of justices appointed by Democratic governors.

Under New Jersey law, governors nominate replacements to fill supreme court vacancies. The state Senate confirms nominees. Newly appointed judges serve for seven years, after which they may be reappointed to serve until age 70, the mandatory retirement age.

Governor Christine Todd Whitman (R) appointed Justice LaVecchia in 2000. Gov. Chris Christie (R) appointed three judges on the court. Democratic Govs. Jon Corzine, James McGreevey, and Phil Murphy each appointed one current justice.

Twenty-six state supreme courts have Republican majorities, 16 have Democratic majorities, and eight have split or indeterminate majorities. Michigan’s court shifted from a Republican to a Democratic majority in the 2020 elections. Click here for Ballotpedia’s state court partisanship study.

Read on

Milwaukee school board incumbent not on ballot due to signature shortfall

On April 6, voters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will select four new members of the nine-member school board. Three incumbents did not file for re-election and the fourth, Annie Woodward (District 4), did not submit the required number of signatures to appear on the ballot.

Milwaukee Election Commission executive director Claire Woodall-Vogg said Woodward submitted 461 signatures, of which 283 were valid and 178 were invalid, dropping Woodward below the 400 signatures required. Woodall-Vogg said the invalid signatures came from voters who either did not live in District 4 or who did not sign with a full name.

Two of the four elections—Districts 4 and 5—are contested, with two candidates running in each. 

Milwaukee is also holding an election for municipal judge on April 6. Milwaukee County is holding elections for circuit court judges and a special election for the county board of supervisors. Other elections in Wisconsin that day include the superintendent of public instruction election, two state legislative special elections, and three intermediate appellate court elections.

Read on 



The Daily Brew: COVID-related ballot access changes in 2021

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

  1. Candidate ballot access changes in 2021
  2. 5 Idaho school board members retain seats in March 9 recalls
  3. DSA-backed candidates sweep Nevada Democratic Party leadership elections

Candidate ballot access changes in 2021

At least 20 states made changes to candidate ballot access procedures in 2020. Now that we’re in 2021, let’s take a look at changes that will affect this year’s elections.

New Jersey and Virginia—the two states holding regular state-level elections this year—have both made temporary changes to their candidate ballot access procedures due to COVID-19. Ballot access procedures dictate what a candidate has to do to appear on an election ballot. 

  • Changes in New Jersey allow campaigns to collect and submit signatures electronically. 
  • Changes in Virginia decreased the signatures required from statewide candidates to qualify for the ballot.

New Jersey is holding elections for governor, lieutenant governor, all 40 state Senate seats, and all 80 state Assembly seats, in addition to local elections. Virginia is holding elections for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and all 100 state House seats, in addition to local and special state legislative elections. 

Both states hold their statewide primaries on June 8. The filing deadline for statewide and state legislative primary candidates is March 25 in Virginia and April 5 in New Jersey. Candidates must submit signature petitions and pay fees, if applicable, by those dates.

The Virginia Republican Party will hold conventions for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general on May 8.

Here are the details of the changes in the two states.

  • New Jersey: In January, Governor Phil Murphy (D) issued an executive order allowing for “any candidate, delegate, recall, initiative, referendum, or other petition required to be filed prior to an election to be submitted by hand delivery and electronically.” The order allows campaigns to collect as well as submit petition signatures electronically.
  • In 2020, Murphy allowed primary and general election candidates to collect and submit signatures electronically. He also postponed the petition deadline for unaffiliated candidates for non-presidential elections to July 7, 2020, from June 2, 2020 (the original primary date, which was moved to July 7).
  • In 2020, at least 11 states allowed candidates or campaigns to collect and/or submit signatures electronically.
  • Virginia: In January, the Virginia Department of Elections settled a lawsuit over ballot access requirements for statewide candidates in 2021. As a result, the signature requirement for statewide candidate petitions decreased from 10,000 to 2,000, with at least 50 signatures from each U.S. House District (down from 400). The settlement also allows petition signers to submit their signatures electronically.
  • In 2020, Federal Judge John A. Gibney reduced petition signature requirements for unaffiliated and minor-party general election candidates for federal office in Virginia as follows: from 5,000 to 2,500 signatures for presidential candidates; from 10,000 to 3,500 signatures for U.S. Senate candidates; and from 1,000 to 350 signatures for U.S. House candidates. 
  • In 2020, at least 10 states reduced petition signature requirements for some candidates.

The 20 states that changed ballot access procedures in 2020 included eight Democratic trifectas (meaning Democrats controlled the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature), five Republican trifectas, and seven states with divided government control.

Read on 

5 Idaho school board members retain seats in March 9 recalls

From time to time, we let you know about local recall elections. Here’s a look at some recent ones in Idaho.

Three Idaho school districts—Pocatello-Chubbuck, Idaho Falls, and Nampa—held recall elections on March 9. A majority of voters in all three school districts voted against recalling a total of five board members. Thus, the board members retain their positions.

In each case, recall supporters initiated the efforts in response to board member decisions related to COVID-19.

Three of five school board members—Jackie Cranor (Zone 1), Janie Gebhardt (Zone 2), and Dave Mattson (Zone 5)—were on the ballot in Pocatello-Chubbuck School District No. 25. The recall effort began in September 2020 after the board unanimously voted to continue using a hybrid teaching model for middle school and high school students for the remainder of the school year’s first trimester. 

  • Recall supporters said the board was not fully representing the electorate on the issue of hybrid learning as well as other issues. 
  • The school district said in a statement that the board weighs a number of factors when making decisions and that majority opinion does not always rule.

In Idaho Falls School District 91, Zone 4 representative Elizabeth Cogliati was on the ballot. The recall effort began after the board of trustees voted 3-2 in September 2020 to move the district’s high schools to a mix of in-person and online instruction. Cogliati voted in favor of the change. Recall efforts against the two other board members who supported the change did not make the March 9 ballot. 

  • Recall supporters said the district’s online classes were low quality and putting students at a disadvantage.
  • Superintendent George Boland said the goal of the change was to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases and related quarantines and absences at the high schools. 

In the Nampa School District, Zone 2 representative Mike Kipp was on the ballot. The recall effort started after Kipp cast the sole dissenting vote against allowing sports to resume during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Recall supporters said that they were not being represented on the board and that their voices had not been heard at board meetings on multiple occasions. 
  • Kipp said, “I have done my best to listen well to all input from teachers, students, patrons, our superintendent, other district leaders and all relevant experts. I then seek to utilize that information in determining my vote.”

In order for the recall efforts to have been successful, two things would have had to happen: 1) a majority of voters would have had to vote in favor of the recall, and 2) the total number of votes cast in favor of recall would have had to be equal or greater than the number of votes that first put the board member in office.

The above are among 12 school board recall efforts, targeting 28 officials, that Ballotpedia is covering so far in 2021. We tracked 26 school board recall efforts against 55 board members in 2020. Four recall elections were held. The school board recall success rate was 9.1%. The 2019 recall success rate was 6.4%.

Read on 

DSA-backed candidates sweep Nevada Democratic Party leadership elections

The two major parties have affiliates in all 50 states. State parties elect leadership, and a recent leadership election in Nevada got some attention for the factional conflict it presented.

On March 6, the Democratic Party of Nevada held elections for its five leadership positions. Democratic Socialists of America-endorsed candidates won all five posts: Judith Whitmer as chairwoman, Jacob Allen as first vice chairman, Zaffar Iqbal as second vice chairman, Ahmad Adé as secretary, and Howard Beckerman as treasurer. 

Shortly thereafter, the party’s executive director, Alana Mounce, informed Whitmer that she and the remaining staff and consultants were resigning.

The Washington Post‘s Matt Viser wrote, “At a minimum, the discord is expected to lead longtime allies of Harry M. Reid, the former Senate majority leader and the state’s most important political power broker, to build a political organization outside the state party structure. And it is fueling excitement among liberals nationwide who are pressing to increase the federal minimum wage, expand health coverage and combat climate change.” 

Democrats control most federal and statewide offices in Nevada. 

  • Both of Nevada’s U.S. senators and three of four U.S. representatives are Democrats. 
  • Democrats have a state government trifecta. 
  • The state has divided triplex control—the governor and attorney general are Democrats and the secretary of state is Republican. 
  • Democratic candidates have won each presidential election in the state since 2008.

Read on



The Daily Brew: Politicians who’ve been on the silver screen

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

  1. Politicians who were actors or musicians
  2. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) is 5th senator to announce 2022 retirement
  3. More than 70 people vying to be the next lieutenant governor of Rhode Island

Politicians who were actors or musicians

In February, before this year’s Super Bowl, we shared a list of political figures who had played in the big game. With the GRAMMY Awards presentation this weekend and the announcement of this year’s Oscar nominees on Monday, I thought we’d look at some candidates and officeholders who were also actors and musicians.

We sent our staff hunting the web to see what they could dig up. 

  • Our list includes 12 current and former officeholders who acted in TV shows or movies—two presidents, two U.S. senators, three U.S. representatives, two governors, and three local officials. 
    • Those officeholders come from eight states, with four from California and two from Minnesota. Among them are six Republicans, three Democrats, one Reform Party member, and two who were nonpartisan.
  • We also identified eight unsuccessful candidates for office who were also actors—four from California, three from New York, and one from Michigan. Seven of them ran for U.S. House districts and one for governor of New York.
  • Two U.S. House members and three candidates are or were musicians, each from a different state

These lists aren’t exhaustive. We focused mainly on recent officeholders and candidates whom we have covered on Ballotpedia, though there are a few additional names on the list. We reviewed a variety of sources in putting these lists together, including Backstage, Business Insider, Billboard, Rolling Stone, and IMDb

From Fred Thompson and Cynthia Nixon to Sonny Bono and Clay Aiken, it’s a star-studded report.

Actors

Federal officeholders:

  • Ronald Reagan (R), the 40th president of the United States (1981-1989), was an actor known for his roles in The Killers (1964), The Hasty Heart (1949), and more. Reagan also served as governor of California from 1967-1975.
  • Donald Trump (R) was the 45th president of the United States (2017-2021) from New York and starred in the reality TV series The Apprentice. He also made cameo appearances in Home Alone 2 (1992), Two Weeks Notice (2002), and more. 
  • Al Franken was a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Minnesota (2009-2018). He wrote for and occasionally performed on Saturday Night Live. He was also in Stuart Saves His Family and Trading Places.
  • Fred Thompson, a former Republican member of the U.S. Senate from Tennessee (1994-2003), was in Law and Order, The Hunt for Red October, Days of Thunder, and Die Hard 2. 
  • Sean Duffy is a former Republican U.S. representative from Wisconsin‘s 7th Congressional District (2011-2019) and appeared in the reality TV series The Real World (1997). (Okay, not necessarily acting—but he was on TV!)
  • Fred Grandy, a former Republican U.S. representative from Iowa (1987–1995), was known for his roles in The Love Boat and Maude.
  • Ben Jones, a former Democratic U.S. representative from Georgia (1989–1993), was in The Dukes of Hazzard.

State executive officeholders:

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) served as governor of California from 2003 to 2011. He was in many movies, including Predator (1987), the Terminator series, and The 6th Day (2000).
  • Jesse Ventura (Reform Party) was the governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003. He appeared in Predator (1987).

Local officeholders:

  • Sheila Kuehl, a current member of the nonpartisan Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors who assumed office in 2014, was in The Stu Erwin Show (1950-1955) and The Bob Cummings Show (1955-1959).
  • Steven Quezada (D) is a member of the Bernalillo County Commission, representing District 2 in New Mexico. Quezada assumed office in 2017. He played roles in Breaking Bad (2008-2013) and Better Call Saul (2020).
  • Clint Eastwood was the nonpartisan mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea in California (1986-1988). He has been in many films, including Gran Torino and Dirty Harry.

Actors who ran for office but were not elected:

  • Kimberlin Brown Pelzer (R) ran for U.S. House to represent California‘s 36th Congressional District in 2018. She appeared in The Young and the Restless (1973) and The Bold and the Beautiful (1987).
  • Melissa Gilbert was a 2016 Democratic candidate for U.S. House to represent the 8th Congressional District of Michigan. She was known for her role in Little House on the Prairie (1974).
  • J. G. Hertzler (independent) ran for U.S. House to represent New York‘s 23rd Congressional District in 2018 and was known for his roles in Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993), and Prelude to Axanar (2014).
  • Chris Mitchum was a 2014 Republican candidate for U.S. House to represent the 24th Congressional District of California, known for Summertime Killer (1972) and Rio Lobo (1970).
  • Diane Neal (independent) ran for U.S. House to represent New York‘s 19th Congressional District in 2018. She appeared in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2001-2012) and NCIS (2010-2014).
  • Antonio Sabato Jr. (R) ran for U.S. House to represent California‘s 26th Congressional District in 2018. He was known for roles in The Big Hit (1998), Shark Hunter (2001), and General Hospital (1963). 
  • Stacey Dash (R) ran for U.S. House to represent California‘s 44th Congressional District in 2018 and was known for her role in Clueless (1995). 
  • Cynthia Nixon ran in the Democratic primary for governor of New York and for election to the New York State Assembly as the Working Families Party candidate in 2018. Her most recognizable role is from Sex and the City (1998-2004).

Musicians 

Officeholders

  • Sonny Bono, of the duo Sonny & Cher, (R) was a U.S. representative from California (1995-1998).
  • John Hall (D) of the band Orleans was a U.S. representative from New York (2007-2010).

Musicians who ran for office but were not elected:

  • Kanye West is a music producer and rapper who ran for president of the United States as an independent in 2020. He lives in Wyoming.
  • Clay Aiken was a 2014 Democratic candidate for U.S. House to represent the 2nd Congressional District of North Carolina. He came in second place on American Idol in 2003.
  • Richard “Kinky” Friedman was a Democratic candidate for Texas Agriculture Commissioner in the 2014 elections. He previously ran for governor in 2006 as an independent.

Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) is 5th senator to announce 2022 retirement

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) announced on March 8 that he won’t seek re-election in 2022. Blunt was first elected to the Senate in 2010 and won re-election in 2016 against Jason Kander (D), 49% to 46%.

Blunt is the fifth U.S. senator to announce that he will not run for re-election in 2022, joining Republicans Richard Burr (N.C.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Pat Toomey (Penn.), and Richard Shelby (Ala.). 

Four U.S. senators—three Republicans and one Democrat—did not run for re-election in 2020. Three Republican senators did not run for re-election in 2018.

The chart below shows how many months before the November general election senators have announced their retirement during the current and previous two election cycles. The chart begins with the October of the previous cycle, or two years before the general election. For example, a retirement announcement in Jan. 2021 would be 22 months before the Nov. 2022 election. Sen. Burr announced in July 2016 that he wouldn’t run for another term in 2022. For the purposes of this chart, he’s included in the earliest possible month—Month 25 for the 2022 cycle.

All senators who retired in the 2020 cycle announced their decisions by May 2019 (-18 in the chart above). All senators who retired in the 2018 cycle announced by January of that year (-10 above). 

Thirty-four U.S. Senate seats are up for election next year. Republicans currently hold 20 of those seats, and Democrats hold 14.

The Senate is split 50-50, with 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and two independents who caucus with Democrats. Vice President Kamala Harris (D) has the tie-breaking vote, giving Democrats effective control of the chamber.

Read on

More than 70 people vying to be the next lieutenant governor of Rhode Island

Daniel McKee (D) was sworn in as governor of Rhode Island on March 2. The previous incumbent, Gina Raimondo (D), resigned after she was confirmed as the U.S. secretary of commerce in the Biden administration. McKee was Raimondo’s lieutenant governor.

Under the Rhode Island Constitution, if the incumbent governor resigns, the lieutenant governor fills the office until the next election. Neither the constitution nor state law prescribes how the lieutenant governor’s office is filled if the incumbent resigns. In 1997, when Lt. Gov. Robert Weygand resigned, Gov. Lincoln Almond appointed his replacement. McKee referred to that event when saying that he, as governor, would select the next lieutenant governor.

According to WPRI-TV, more than 75 people have applied, including several state legislators. State Sen. Louis DiPalma (D) and state Reps. Robert Phillips (D), Grace Diaz (D), and Anastasia Williams (D) are among the candidates seeking the position. Several former lawmakers have applied as well.

The initial application deadline—Feb. 2—was extended indefinitely, but The Boston Globe reported that McKee is expected to choose his successor sometime in the next few weeks. The Rhode Island state Senate must confirm McKee’s choice. 

The lieutenant governor is the second-ranking executive official in Rhode Island and the first in line to succeed the governor. The lieutenant governor’s duties include emergency management, intergovernmental relations, and making appointments to boards and commissions. 

Forty-five states have a lieutenant governor. In Hawaii, the lieutenant governor also serves as the secretary of state. In Tennessee and West Virginia, the president of the Senate also serves as lieutenant governor and is elected from within the legislature. The five states without the office are Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Wyoming.

Read on