Author

David Luchs

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

Democrats, Republicans each defending eight vulnerable trifectas this year

Sixteen state trifectas are vulnerable in 2020, according to Ballotpedia’s trifecta vulnerability rating system. Both major parties will be defending eight trifectas.

A state government trifecta occurs when one party holds the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. There are currently 21 Republican trifectas and 15 Democratic trifectas. The remaining 14 states have divided governments.

Ballotpedia calculates the chances of trifectas breaking and forming by assessing the chances of each individual component changing control. We assess gubernatorial races with ratings from The Cook Political ReportInside Elections, and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball. We assess state legislatures according to the absolute number of seats up for election and the proportion of seats that would need to flip for partisan control to change. Both chambers in a state’s legislature are evaluated individually.

Ballotpedia classifies the Democratic trifectas in five states as moderately vulnerable—Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Nevada, and Oregon. Three Democratic trifectas—Delaware, Illinois, and New Mexico—are considered somewhat vulnerable.
The Republican trifecta in Florida is the only trifecta Ballotpedia rated as highly vulnerable this year. Four Republican trifectas—in Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, and West Virginia are classified as moderately vulnerable. The Republican trifectas in Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas are somewhat vulnerable.

Ballotpedia also assessed the chances of new trifectas forming in states that are currently under divided government. States that qualified as a possible Democratic trifecta pickup according to our methodology are Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, while Republicans have pickup chances in Alaska and New Hampshire. In Montana and North Carolina, both parties qualify for a pickup opportunity.

For more details and the full report, click here:
https://ballotpedia.org/Trifecta_vulnerability_in_the_2020_elections

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Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Jon Ossoff completes Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connections survey

Jon Ossoff, the Democratic nominee in the regularly-scheduled U.S. Senate election in Georgia, recently completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connections survey. Ossoff faces incumbent David Perdue (R) and Shane Hazel (L) in the general election for U.S. Senate.

Ballotpedia asks all federal, state, and local candidates to complete a survey so voters can discover what motivates them on political and personal levels.

Select responses from Ossoff’s survey are below. Ballotpedia’s questions are in bold.

Who are you? Tell us about yourself.

“I run a small business that exposes corruption, organized crime, and war crimes for news organizations worldwide. My wife Alisha is an OB/GYN physician, and we both grew up in Atlanta. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a Master’s of Science from the London School of Economics. Before embarking upon my career in journalism and media production, I worked as a national security aide for Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson, handling defense and economic policy. Since 2013, I have been the CEO of Insight TWI, a 30-year old media production company that produces investigations of corruption, organized crime, and war crimes that are broadcast internationally to a global television audience of hundreds of millions. In recent years, we have investigated and exposed sexual slavery of women and girls by ISIS, crooked judges, foreign officials who steal U.S-funded food and medical aid, contract killers, human traffickers, war crimes, and bribery.”

What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

“I am passionate about delivering a historic infrastructure & clean energy package to create millions of new, good-paying jobs & make the U.S. the world leader in renewable energy and sustainability. I’ll push for big, overdue investments in transportation & transit, clean energy, energy efficiency, public health, communications, research & development, emergency response, & environmental cleanup. These investments will create job training & employment opportunities for millions of American workers & demand for products made by American businesses. They will revitalize our economy & lay the foundations for decades of prosperity, environmental sustainability, & health. Upgraded infrastructure will make life safer & more convenient, support commerce, attract investment, protect our environment, & improve our health. Money spent on infrastructure is truly an investment in America with positive returns across the economy & dramatic improvements to our quality of life.”

In 2018, 1,957 candidates completed a Candidate Connection survey. This number represents 6.9% of all 28,315 candidates Ballotpedia covered during that cycle. Out of the 1,957 respondents, 477 (24.4%) won their elections.

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To read more about Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey or if you are a candidate who would like to submit a survey, click here.



New York Times, CNN report Trump selects Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court

President Trump (R) will nominate appellate judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court Saturday to fill the vacancy opened by the death of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, according to CNN and the New York Times.

Barrett is currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, the federal appellate court with jurisdiction over Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, where she has served since 2017. Her earlier legal experience includes 15 years on the faculty of Notre Dame Law School and a clerkship with then-Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. President Trump considered Barrett to fill the vacancy opened by Anthony Kennedy’s 2018 retirement before nominating Brett Kavanaugh for the spot.

The vacancy was opened by the death of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Sept. 18. Ginsburg, 87, died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. She was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton (D) in 1993 to fill the vacancy opened by Byron White’s retirement. At the time of her death, Ginsburg was among four members of the nine-member court appointed by a Democratic president.

Barrett would be President Trump’s third appointment to the court. He earlier appointed Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy caused by Antonin Scalia’s death in 2016 and Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy caused by Anthony Kennedy’s retirement in 2018.

The nomination will advance to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will conduct an investigation involving background checks, one-on-one interviews with committee members, and a final confirmation hearing. Should the committee approve of the nominee, she will advance to a vote before the full Senate. Recent nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court have been confirmed by narrow margins. Neil Gorsuch won confirmation by a 54-45 vote, while Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by a 50-48 vote.

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DNC outraises RNC for the first time since March

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) outraised the Republican National Committee (RNC) for the first time since March last month, according to September 2020 campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission Sunday.

Last month, the RNC raised $67.6 million and spent $62.6 million, while the DNC raised $78.4 million and spent $26.7 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC has raised 61.9% more than the DNC ($532.7 million to $281.0 million). The RNC’s 61.9% fundraising advantage is down from 78.6% in August and 75.0% in July.

At this point in the 2016 campaign cycle (the most recent presidential cycle), the RNC had a smaller 24.2% fundraising advantage over the DNC ($231.3 million to $181.4 million).

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $26.9 million and spent $26.0 million last month, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $19.0 million and spent $21.8 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the NRSC has raised 1.5% more than the DSCC ($167.7 million to $165.2 million). The NRSC’s 1.5% fundraising advantage is down from 7.3% in August and 6.5% in July.

On the House side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $22.7 million and spent $15.8 million, while the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $17.3 million and spent $15.6 million. So far in the cycle, the DCCC has raised 26.3% more than the NRCC ($248.8 million to $191.0 million). The DCCC’s 26.3% advantage is up from 26.2% in August and 25.9% in July.

At this point in the 2018 campaign cycle, Democrats led in both Senate and House fundraising. The DSCC had raised 7.8% more than the NRSC ($98.2 million to $90.9 million), while the DCCC had raised 31.3% more than the NRCC ($206.4 million to $150.5 million).

So far in the 2020 campaign cycle, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC have raised 24.8% more than the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC ($891.4 million versus $695.0 million). The Republican fundraising advantage is down from 32.6% in August and 30.1% in July.

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Nearly three in four of this year’s federal races will not be competitive, election forecasters say

Five hundred and twenty-one federal elections are taking place this November, including elections for president in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, elections for 35 seats in the U.S. Senate, and elections for all 435 voting seats in the U.S. House. A Ballotpedia review of election forecasts found forecasters project 137 of those races (26.3%) will be competitive, with the remaining 384 all but certain to be won by one of the two major parties.

Ballotpedia’s 2020 election forecasts hub contains an overview of presidential and congressional race ratings from major forecasters as of Sept. 1, 2020. This review looked at race ratings from the Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and the Bitecofer model as of Sept. 1, 2020.

As of Sept. 1, election forecasters saw President Donald Trump (R) as all but certain to win 13 states in his bid for re-election, with challenger Joe Biden (D) all but certain to win 13 states plus the District of Columbia. Forecasters identified eight states as battlegrounds where both Biden and Trump have a substantial chance of winning, including three toss-ups: Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina.

In the U.S. Senate, 35 seats are up this year, including 23 held by Republicans and 12 held by Democrats. Forecasters projected 10 seats are all but certain to go to Republicans and eight are all but certain to go to Democrats, leaving 17 competitive races. Two of those—Iowa and North Carolina—are toss-ups. Forecasters also identified two seats that tilt towards each party, with Montana and the regularly-scheduled election in Georgia tilting towards Republicans and the races in Colorado and Maine tilting towards Democrats. All six toss-up and tilt seats are currently held by Republicans.

In the U.S. House, all 435 voting seats are up for election. Forecasters projected that 339 are all but guaranteed to one of the two major parties—186 seats to Democrats and 153 to Republicans. Ten seats were identified as toss-ups where neither party has a clear advantage, including seven seats currently held by Democrats and three currently held by Republicans. There were five U.S. House races where forecasters differed on which party was ahead: Illinois’ 13th, Indiana’s 5th, North Carolina’s 11th, Texas’ 3rd, and Texas’ 21st.

Additional reading:
Race rating definitions and methods
Presidential election, 2020
United States Senate elections, 2020
United States House of Representatives elections, 2020



Bice defeats Neese to win Republican nomination in Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District

Stephanie Bice defeated Terry Neese to win the Republican nomination in Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District on August 25. As of 9:45 p.m. Central Time on election night, Bice had 53% of the vote to Neese’s 47%. The two advanced to a runoff after no candidate won a majority of the vote in the June 30 primary. Neese led in the primary with 36.5% to Bice’s 25.4%.

Bice, a state senator whose endorsers included former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), said she would be the more effective legislator. Neese, a business owner and the national co-chairwoman of President Trump’s small business advisory council, said she would be the stronger ally to the president.

Incumbent Kendra Horn (D), who was first elected in 2018, advanced from the Democratic primary with 86% of the vote. Election forecasters say the general election between Horn and Bice is a toss-up.

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RNC outraises DNC more than three-to-one in July

The Republican National Committee (RNC) outraised the Democratic National Committee (DNC) by more than three-to-one last month, according to August 2020 campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday. This was the fourth month in a row in which the RNC outraised the DNC.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $14.9 million and spent $29.2 million last month, while the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $13.1 million and spent $10.9 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the NRSC has raised 7.2% more than the DSCC ($148.7 million to $138.3 million). The NRSC’s 7.2% fundraising advantage is up from 6.5% in July and 7.0% in June.

On the House side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $18.4 million and spent $14.6 million, while the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $13.6 million and spent $8.4 million. So far in the cycle, the DCCC has raised 26.2% more than the NRCC. The DCCC’s 26.2% fundraising advantage is up from 25.9% in July and on par with the same metric in June.

At this point in the 2018 campaign cycle, Democrats led in both Senate and House fundraising. The DSCC had raised 10.0% more than the NRSC ($92.5 million to $83.7 million), while the DCCC had raised 27.6% more than the NRCC ($191.0 million to $144.6 million).

Last month, the RNC raised $55.3 million and spent $45.6 million, while the DNC raised $16.3 million and spent $20.3 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC has raised 78.6% more than the DNC ($465.1 million to $202.5 million). The RNC’s 78.6% fundraising advantage is up from 75.0% in July and 72.9% in June.

At this point in the 2016 campaign cycle (the most recent presidential cycle), the RNC had a smaller 31.1% fundraising advantage over the DNC ($207.9 million to $152.0 million).

So far in the 2020 campaign cycle, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC have raised 32.6% more than the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC ($787.4 million versus $567.0 million). The Republican fundraising advantage is up from 30.1% in July and 29.3% in June.

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John Mina wins Democratic nomination for a full term as Orange County Sheriff

Orange County, Florida, Sheriff John Mina (D) defeated four challengers to win the Democratic nomination for his first full term in an August 18 primary. As of 8:00 p.m. on election night, Mina had received 44.4% of the vote, followed by Andrew Darling with 19.2% and Jose Lopez with 15.7%.

Mina, a former Orlando chief of police, was first elected in 2018 to complete the remainder of Jerry Demings’ (D) term as sheriff after Demings won election as mayor of Orange County. He says during his first two years in office, crime rates fell and officers recorded fewer instances of use of force.

Mina faces independent write-in candidates Tim Lucas Adams and Winston Johnson in the November general election. No Republican candidate filed for the office.


Carlos Gimenez wins Republican nomination to challenge Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in FL-26

Carlos Gimenez defeated Omar Blanco to win the Republican nomination in Florida’s 26th Congressional District in a primary on August 18. As of 8:45 p.m. on election night, Gimenez had 60% of the vote to Blanco’s 40%.

Gimenez, who has served as mayor of Miami-Dade County since 2011, says he reduced tax rates and cut spending while increasing the speed of county services. He said he would be the stronger challenger to Mucarsel-Powell.

Blanco, the president of Miami-Dade Firefighters and Paramedics Local 1403, said he had experience with seeking policy change in Washington. He also accused Gimenez of having mismanaged the county’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying his policies had been harmful to local businesses.

Gimenez will face incumbent Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) in the general election. One election forecaster says the race is a toss-up, one says it tilts towards Mucarsel-Powell, and one says it leans towards Mucarsel-Powell.


Monique Worrell wins Democratic nomination for Orange County State Attorney

Monique Worrell won the Democratic nomination for Orange County State Attorney in a primary on August 18. As of 9:00 p.m. on election night, Worrell had received 42% of the vote to Belvin Perry Jr.’s 32% and Deborah Barra’s 20%.

Worrell, an attorney and former law professor, had endorsements from vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris (D) and incumbent Aramis Ayala (D), who is not seeking re-election. Worrell will face independent Jose Torroella in the November general election.


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