Author

David Luchs

David Luchs is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

RNC outraises DNC for first time since March

The Republican National Committee (RNC) outraised the Democratic National Committee (DNC) last month for the first time since March, according to July 2021 campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on July 20.

Last month, the RNC raised $16.3 million and spent $13.4 million, while the DNC raised $11.2 million and spent $8.0 million. This was the first set of reports since the April 2021 reports (which cover the month of March), to show the RNC leading the DNC in fundraising. So far in the 2022 cycle, the DNC has raised 2.4% more than the RNC ($87.1 million to $85.0 million), down from a 9.9% fundraising advantage last month.

Republicans also led in fundraising between the U.S. House campaign committees. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $20.1 million and spent $7.3 million while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $14.4 million and spent $6.3 million. So far this cycle, the NRCC has raised 11.5% more than the DCCC ($79.3 million to $70.7 million). The NRCC’s 11.5% fundraising advantage is up from 5.0% last month.

On the Senate side, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $10.5 million and spent $6.2 million last month, while the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $10.1 million and spent $11.2 million. So far this cycle, the NRSC has raised 9.5% more than the DSCC ($51.2 million to $46.6 million).

Since the beginning of the campaign cycle, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC have raised 5.3% more than the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC ($215.5 million to $204.3 million). The Republican committees’ fundraising advantage is up from 0.03% last month.

Additional reading



How much did your governor make last year?

Eighteen states paid their governor more last year than in 2019, according to the Council of State Governments’ Book of the States. Gubernatorial salaries in 2020 ranged from a low of $70,000 in Maine to a high of $225,000 in New York, with the average governor making $145,370. In the 18 states where a governor’s salary increased, the average increase was $6,604, or 4.3%. Washington was the only state to decrease its governor’s salary, registering a 0.5% decrease over the 2019 rate.

The states with the five highest gubernatorial salaries in 2020 were New York ($225,000), California ($209,747), Pennsylvania ($201,729), Tennessee ($198,780), and Massachusetts ($185,000). The states with the five lowest gubernatorial salaries were Maine ($70,000), Colorado ($92,700), Arizona ($95,000), Oregon ($98,600), and Nebraska ($105,000). Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Oregon have been in the bottom five states for gubernatorial compensation since at least 2010. Only New York has been in the top five in every year since 2010. New York was also the state with the largest increase in gubernatorial salary in 2020, with a $25,000 increase relative to 2019.

Gubernatorial salaries are typically determined either by a state’s constitution or by statute. Most often, the salary portion of a governor’s compensation is defined by law, but additional benefits (insurance, official residence, and other work-related equipment) may be established by state agencies, custom, or other factors. For instance, 45 states subsidize the governor’s travel and 45 states have official gubernatorial residences.

In some cases, salaries automatically increase each year either at the rate of inflation or by another percentage chosen by the legislature. In other states, the legislature must pass salary increases for the governor.

Additional reading:



Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) will not seek re-election in 2022

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) announced on March 12 that she would not run for re-election in 2022. Kirkpatrick was first elected to the U.S. House in 2008 before losing her bid for re-election in 2010. She was elected back to the U.S. House in 2012 and re-elected in 2014, but she made an unsuccessful run for U.S. Senate in 2016 rather than campaign for re-election. She was elected back to the U.S. House in 2018 and re-elected in 2020 with 55% of the general election vote.

Kirkpatrick is the first member of the U.S. House to announce that she would not run for re-election in 2022. Five members of the U.S. Senate, all Republicans, have announced they will not run for re-election.

Thirty-six members of the U.S. House did not run for re-election in 2020—26 Republicans, nine Democrats, and one Libertarian. In 2018, 52 members of the U.S. House did not run for re-election, including 34 Republicans and 18 Democrats.

All 435 U.S. House seats will be up for election next year. Democrats currently have a 220-211 majority with four vacant seats.

Additional Reading:



Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) will not seek re-election in 2022

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) announced on March 8 that he would not run for re-election in 2022. First elected to the Senate in 2010, Blunt is the top Republican on the Committee on Rules and Administration and one of 20 members of Congress to sit on the Select Committee on Intelligence. He was last elected in 2016, defeating challenger Jason Kander (D), 49% to 46%.

Blunt is the fifth U.S. Senator to announce that he would not run for re-election in 2022, joining Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). Four U.S. Senators did not run for re-election in 2020—three Republicans and one Democrat. Three Republican U.S. Senators did not run for re-election in 2018.

Thirty-four U.S. Senate seats will be 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.

Additional Reading:



Six national party committees raised a combined $2.65 billion in 2019 and 2020

Six committees associated with the Democratic and Republican parties raised a combined $2.65 billion in 2019 and 2020.

Democrats and Republicans each have three major national committees: an overall national party committee, one dedicated to U.S. Senate elections, and one dedicated to U.S. House elections. The six committees were each among the top 15 spenders nationally in the 2019-20 campaign cycle.

The top fundraiser among the six committees in the 2019-20 campaign cycle was the Republican National Committee (RNC), which reported raising $890 million and spending $833 million. The RNC’s $890 million in fundraising represents a 174% increase over its $325 million raised during the 2018 cycle, when it was also the top fundraiser among the six.

On the Democratic side, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) reported raising $490 million and spending $462 million, the second-highest sum of any of the six committees. The DNC’s $490 million in fundraising was a 179% increase over the committee’s $176 million in fundraising during the 2018 cycle, the largest proportional increase among the six committees.

On the Senate side, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) led in fundraising with $338 million raised and $331 million spent. The NRSC raised 123% more than its 2018 total of $152 million. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $304 million and spent $300 million, a 104% increase over its $149 million in fundraising in 2018.

Both parties’ House committees reported smaller increases in fundraising relative to 2018. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $346 million and spent $330 million, up 17% from its $296 million in fundraising in 2018. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $281 million and spent $285 million, up 37% from its $206 million in fundraising in 2018.

The three Republican committees’ overall fundraising total of $1.510 billion was 27.9% more than the Democratic committees’ overall fundraising of $1.140 billion. Across the 2019-20 campaign cycle, the RNC raised 58.0% more than the DNC and the NRSC raised 10.7% more than the DSCC. Democrats led in House fundraising, with the DCCC raising 20.7% more than the NRSC.

Additional Reading:



Seventy-seven third party candidates received more votes than the margin of victory in their races on Nov. 3

Image of several stickers with the words "I voted"

In 2020, there were 77 third party or independent candidates who received more votes than the margin of victory in their election. These included eight running for Congress, 23 running for a statewide state-level office, 43 running for a non-statewide state-level office, and three running for a local office within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope.

The eight Congressional candidates included two who ran for U.S. Senate. Kevin O’Connor of the Legal Marijuana Now Party received 5.77% of the vote in Minnesota’s election for U.S. Senate, which Tina Smith (D) won by a margin of 5.25 percentage points. In North Carolina, Shannon Bray (L) received 3.13% of the vote, while incumbent Thom Tillis (R) won re-election by a 1.75 percentage point margin.

The third party candidate in this group who won the largest share of the vote in 2020 was Maine state Rep. Norman Higgins (I). Higgins, who had represented Maine’s 120th state House district since 2014, won 30.9% of the vote in 2020 but lost his bid for re-election to Richard Evans (D).

Just over one-third of the 77 third party candidates who received more votes than the margin of victory in their race (26) were members of the Libertarian Party. The only other parties with five or more of such candidates were the Green Party with nine, the U.S. Taxpayer’s Party (the Michigan affiliate of the Constitution Party) with six, and the Legal Marijuana Now Party with five. There were 20 such candidates who ran as independents.

In 2018, Ballotpedia identified 99 third party candidates who received more votes than the margin of victor in their election. Those 99 included five candidates for Congress, 21 running for a statewide state-level office, 69 running for a non-statewide state-level office, and four running for a local office within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope.

Libertarians made up a greater proportion of such candidates (43) in 2018 than in 2020. That year, the only other party to run five or more such third party candidates was the Green Party, with five. There were also 30 candidates who ran as independents.

Additional Reading:



Average margin of victory in U.S. House races reaches decade-long low

The average margin of victory in the 2020 elections for U.S. House was lower than at any point since at least 2012.

A margin of victory refers to the difference between the share of the vote received by the winning candidate and the share of the vote received by the runner-up. For example, suppose Candidate A wins an election with 55% of the vote, and Candidate B is the runner-up with 45%. In that scenario, the margin of victory would be 10 percentage points. Margins of victory can be used to measure electoral competitiveness, political party or candidate strength, and, indirectly, the popularity of a particular policy or set of policies.

In the 35 U.S. Senate elections that took place in 2020, the average margin of victory was 18.1%. This is a larger margin than the 16.8% average in the 2018 U.S. Senate elections but smaller than in any other year since 2012. Republicans had a larger average MOV in U.S. Senate elections; the average Republican election winner had a lead of 22.0 percentage points over the runner-up, compared to 12.8 percentage points for the average Democrat.

Democrats won four of the five closest U.S. Senate elections in 2020, with the closest being Jon Ossoff’s (D) 0.83 percentage point margin over incumbent David Perdue (R) in the regularly-scheduled Georgia Senate election. The closest U.S. Senate election won by a Republican was incumbent Thom Tillis’ (R) 1.75 percentage point win over Cal Cunningham (D) in North Carolina.

Republicans won four of the five elections with the widest margins of victory, with the widest margin being Cynthia Lummis’ (R) 46.09 percentage point win over Merav Ben-David (D) in Wyoming. The largest margin for a Democratic senator was incumbent Jack Reed’s (D) 33.12 percentage point win over Allen Waters (R) in Rhode Island.

In the 435 U.S. House elections that took place in 2020, the average margin of victory was 28.8%. This is down from 31.8 percentage points in 2018 and is the narrowest average margin in U.S. House elections since at least 2012. Reversing the pattern in the Senate, Democrats had a larger average margin in House elections. The average Democratic election winner had a margin of 31.5 percentage points, compared to 26.0 percentage points for the average Republican.

There were three U.S. House elections decided by margins of 500 votes or fewer. The narrowest was Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ (R) six-vote win over Rita Hart (D) in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, the closest U.S. House election since 1984. As of Jan. 15, a winner had not been declared in New York’s 22nd Congressional District, but Claudia Tenney (R) led incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D) by 29 votes. Finally, incumbent Mike Garcia (R) defeated Christy Smith (D) by 333 votes in California’s 25th Congressional District. In 2018, the closest U.S. House election was incumbent Rob Woodall’s (R) 433-vote win over Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District.

Leaving out the results of New York’s 22nd Congressional District (which is all but certain to be among the top 10 closest U.S. House elections regardless of which candidate wins), the nine other closest U.S. House races include seven Republican wins and two Democratic wins. The narrowest win by a Democrat was incumbent Tom Malinowski’s (D) 1.22 percentage point margin over Thomas Kean, Jr. (R) in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District.

Not counting elections where a candidate ran unopposed or faced only write-ins, Democrats won each of the 10 least close U.S. House elections. The widest margin in such a race was incumbent Adriano Espaillat’s (D) 83.02 percentage point margin over Lovelynn Gwinn (R) in New York’s 13th Congressional District. The widest margin of victory for a Republican member of the House was incumbent Hal Rogers’ (R) 68.42 percentage point margin over Matthew Ryan Best (D) in Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District.

For more details, including a complete table of Congressional MOVs in 2020, click here: https://ballotpedia.org/Election_results,_2020:_Congressional_margin_of_victory_analysis

Additional reading:



President Trump signs Consolidated Appropriations Act, approves second round of direct payments

President Donald Trump (R) signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act into law December 27, approving a $900 billion legislative package that included a second round of direct stimulus payments in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The act, which was introduced as a series of amendments to the United States-Mexico Economic Partnership Act, passed both chambers of Congress on Dec. 21. It is the fifth-longest bill ever to have passed Congress, according to GovTrack.

Among the act’s provisions is a second round of direct stimulus payments. The act calls for individuals who reported an income of $75,000 or less in tax year 2019 to receive a direct payment of $600. The size of the payment decreases as 2019 income increases, with individuals who reported an income of $99,000 or greater in 2019 receiving no direct payment.

President Trump (R) signed a first round of direct stimulus payments of up to $1,200 into law in March.

The act extends several existing federal policies enacted in response to the pandemic, including a moratorium on evictions, federal unemployment assistance, and the Paycheck Protection Program. The act also includes $20 billion in funding for coronavirus testing and $28 billion towards acquiring and distributing doses of the vaccine.

Additional reading:



Incumbent governors had a 100% re-election rate in 2020

Eleven states held elections for governor this year, including nine where the incumbent ran for re-election. All nine governors up for re-election won another term this year.

Republicans had greater partisan risk in 2020; the eleven states electing a governor included seven with Republican governors and four with Democratic governors. Republicans won eight of those races to Democrats’ three. The only state where control of the governorship changed was Montana, where Greg Gianforte (R) was elected to succeed Steve Bullock (D).

Gianforte is the first Republican to win election as governor of Montana since 2000. His election gives the Republican Party its first trifecta (unified control of the governorship and legislature) in the state since Democrats flipped the governorship in 2004. Montana’s 16 years without a state government trifecta is the longest among any state currently without one.

Outgoing Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) was the only governor prevented from running for re-election by term limits this year. The other outgoing governor, Gary Herbert (R-Utah), chose not to run for a third full term. Herbert, who took office in 2009, is the nation’s longest-serving governor currently in office.

Both parties were defending the governorship in two states where the other party’s presidential candidate won in 2016. Republican governors won re-election in New Hampshire and Vermont, which both went to Hillary Clinton (D) in 2016 and Joe Biden (D) in 2020. Democrats were defending governorships in both Montana and North Carolina, which President Trump (R) carried in both elections. While Republicans flipped the governorship in Montana, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) won a second term.

After Governor-elect Gianforte is sworn in Jan. 4, Republicans will hold 27 governorships nationwide to Democrats’ 23; the same totals both parties held after the 2018 election (Democrats flipped the Kentucky governorship in 2019). Democrats last held a majority of governorships nationwide in 2010.

In 2016, the same eleven states (and Oregon) held gubernatorial elections. That year, Republicans gained three governorships (in Missouri, New Hampshire, and Vermont), while Democrats gained one, in North Carolina.

Additional reading:



Republican and Democrat national party committees raised $467 million between October 15 and November 23

Six party committees raised a combined $467 million between October 15 and November 23 this year, according to post-general election campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on December 3. One more campaign finance report is due this cycle, covering fundraising and spending through December 31.

Democrats and Republicans each have three party committees; a national committee to coordinate overall party objectives and one committee each dedicated to electing members to the Senate and House. The latter two are referred to as Hill committees. During the 2018 campaign cycle, the six committees spent a combined $1.3 billion. So far in the 2020 cycle, they have spent a combined $2.37 billion out of $2.49 billion in fundraising.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) raised $202.5 million and spent $217.3 million during the five-and-a-half-week reporting period, while the Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised $61.0 million and spent $113.8 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC has raised 59.9% more than the DNC ($845.2 million to $455.4 million). The RNC’s 59.9% advantage is up from 47.9% as of the pre-general campaign finance reports and 51.5% at the end of September.

At this point in the 2016 election cycle (the most recent presidential cycle), the DNC had a 7.2% fundraising advantage over the RNC ($351.9 million to $327.2 million).

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $75.5 million and spent $57.1 million during the reporting period, while the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $35.6 million and spent $49.9 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the NRSC has raised 5.3% more than the DSCC ($295.2 million to $279.9 million). The NRSC’s 5.3% fundraising advantage is up from a 10.6% fundraising advantage for the DSCC as of the pre-general election campaign finance reports and a 4.2% advantage for the DSCC as of the end of September.

On the House side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $48.0 million and spent $51.0 million, while the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $44.8 million and spent $57.8 million. So far in the 2020 campaign cycle, the DCCC has raised 22.3% more than the NRCC ($338.6 million to $270.5 million). The DCCC’s 22.3% fundraising advantage is down from 25.1% as of the pre-general election reports and 26.1% as of the end of September.

At this point in the 2018 campaign cycle, Republicans had a narrower lead in Senate fundraising and Democrats had a wider lead in House fundraising. The NRSC had raised 1.5% more than the DSCC ($148.8 million to $146.7 million), while the DCCC had raised 35.8% more than the NRCC ($291.3 million to $202.8 million).

So far in the 2020 campaign cycle, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC have raised 27.1% more than the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC ($1.411 billion to $1.074 billion). Republicans’ 27.1% fundraising advantage is up from 15.7% as of the pre-general election reports and 18.7% as of the end of September.

Additional reading: