David Luchs

David Luchs is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at

Presidential pageviews update: Buttigieg receives most Ballotpedia pageviews, followed by Biden and Yang

Each week, we report the number of pageviews received by 2020 presidential candidates on Ballotpedia. These numbers show which candidates are getting our readers’ attention.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg racked up 3,771 pageviews for the week of June 9-15. That represents 8.1 percent of the pageviews for all Democratic campaigns during the week. Former Vice President Joe Biden had 7.2 percent of the campaign pageviews for the week, while entrepreneur Andrew Yang had 7.1 percent.
Former Sen. Mike Gravel (Alaska) had the largest increase of all the campaigns last week, increasing 3.8% over his previous total.
The top three campaigns in lifetime pageviews are Buttigieg with 68,395, Yang with 55,707, and Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) with 49,969.
On the GOP side, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld had 8,102 pageviews to President Trump’s 1,393.

A new way to look at the presidential field


Long before candidates such as Donald Trump (R) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) won their elections, they had bested their opponents in pageviews on Ballotpedia.
What trends might emerge from this year’s political contests? As part of our 2020 election coverage, we will be publishing our weekly pageview statistics for presidential campaigns. These numbers help indicate which candidates are getting our readers’ attention.
Overall, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s Ballotpedia campaign article has received 65,000 pageviews since it launched — the most of any Democratic candidate. Andrew Yang is second with 52,000 and Kamala Harris third with 47,000. Buttigieg and Harris’ pages were published February 21, while Yang’s was published February 25.
We’ll be updating this page throughout the campaign with new data and features, including an analysis of pageviews following the Democratic presidential debates. We hope you enjoy exploring and finding trends in the data.
Now, here’s a look at the numbers from last week:
  • Former vice president Joe Biden had 4,916 Ballotpedia pageviews for the week of June 2 through June 8. Biden’s pageview figure represents 9.6 percent of the pageviews for all Democratic candidates during the week.
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg had 7.2 percent of the candidate pageviews for the week, while Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) had 6.7 percent.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pageviews had the largest increase of all the candidates last week, increasing 97.8 percent over his previous total. No other candidate’s pageviews on Ballotpedia increased more than 30 percent last week.
  • On the GOP side, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld had 7,466 Ballotpedia pageviews to President Trump’s 1,413.
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Five Senate and 44 House races in 2018 were decided by less than 5 percent

The average margin of victory in the 2018 elections was the smallest it had been in even-year congressional races since 2012.
Margin of victory—or MOV—is the difference between the share of votes cast for the winning candidate and the share cast for the losing one.
Since it is June, the sixth month of the year, here are six more quick facts from our research:
  • Sixty-nine percent of 2018’s congressional races were decided by a margin of more than 15 percentage points.
  • In 2018’s 33 regularly-scheduled U.S. Senate elections, the average MOV was 16.8%. This was the smallest average since 2012 when that year’s Senate races averaged a 20% MOV.
  • Republican candidates who won Senate races had an average MOV of 14.3%, compared to an MOV of 16.8% in races won by Democratic candidates. Seventeen Senate races (more than half) were decided by a margin of victory greater than 15%.
  • The closest Senate race was in Florida, where then-Gov. Rick Scott (R) defeated incumbent Bill Nelson (D) by a margin of 0.12%—10,003 votes out of 8.2 million cast. The largest MOV was in Hawaii, where incumbent Mazie Hirono (D) won by 42.3%.
  • In 434 U.S. House elections, the average margin of victory was 30.2%. This was the smallest average since 2012 when the average MOV was 31.8%. Republican candidates who won did so by an average margin of 22.8%. The average margin in House races won by Democrats was 36.6%.
  • The closest House race was in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District where incumbent Rob Woodall (R) defeated Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) by 433 votes—a margin of 0.15%.
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Incumbent Michael Hancock defeats development consultant Jamie Giellis in Denver mayoral runoff

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock defeated development consultant Jamie Giellis to win a third term Tuesday. At the time of Giellis’ concession, Hancock had received 55.6% of the vote to Giellis’ 44.4%. Giellis and Hancock were the top two finishers among a six-candidate field on the May 7 general election ballot. Since neither received a majority of the vote, the two advanced to a runoff.
A central issue in the election was the city government’s response to a decade of rapid population growth and large-scale development. Hancock said that he supported the Denveright plan, which charted a path forward for Denver to continue growing at its current rate through 2040. Giellis, on the other hand, said that Denver had not taken residents’ needs into account when planning new development and said she would increase neighborhood-level control over development.
Hancock was first elected in 2011 after serving seven years on the city council. He won re-election in 2015 with just over 80% of the vote. He said that his third-term policy objectives would include establishing a municipal department of transportation and increasing the minimum wage for city employees to $15 per hour. Hancock was endorsed by The Denver Post, former mayors Wellington Webb and Bill Vidal, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D), and presidential candidates Michael Bennet (D), Pete Buttigieg (D), and John Hickenlooper (D).
Giellis is a former board member of the International Downtown Association and served as president of the River North Art District before launching her campaign. She said that her masters’ degree in public administration and her experience with urban design made her more qualified to manage growth. She supported opening a municipal planning office in every neighborhood and increasing city spending on affordable housing to $1 billion over the course of the next decade. Her endorsers included former Gov. Dick Lamm (D) and general election candidates Lisa Calderón and Penfield Tate. Giellis, Calderón, and Tate received a combined 58.1% of the vote to Hancock’s 38.7% in the first round of voting.
Although the election was officially nonpartisan, both Hancock and Giellis are members of the Democratic Party.

What is the minimum age to use tobacco in your state?

On May 20, 2019, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced a bill which would increase the minimum age to purchase or use tobacco from 18 to 21 at the federal level. Less than four years have passed since Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) signed a similar law in Hawaii, making it the first state in the 21st century to limit tobacco consumption to those 21 and older.
Since then, five other states have increased their smoking age to 21. A further eight states have enacted legislation raising the smoking age to 21 that has not yet taken effect.
In all, the minimum age to purchase or use of tobacco in the states it set at the following levels:
  • 21 in six states: California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon.
  • 19 in three states: Alabama, Alaska, Utah.
  • 18 in 41 states.
New Jersey was the first state to restrict the sale and use of tobacco by age, setting a minimum age of 16 in 1883. By 1920, 46 of the 48 states had an age requirement for tobacco sales, including 14 with a minimum age of 21. During the interwar period, though, state laws trended towards a minimum age of 18, which was eventually adopted as the federal standard. Every state with a minimum tobacco use age of 21 reduced the limit to 18 or 19.
To see what the minimum tobacco use age is in your state and whether it is set to change, click the link below.

May 2019 Democrat and Republican party committee fundraising update

The Democrat and Republican Party Senate and House committees, as well as the Democratic National Committee, reported raising less money from April 20 through May 20 than they did in the month period before. The Republican National Committee (RNC) was the only of the major party campaign committees to raise more in May than in April: $15.9 million, up from the $15.5 million.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised $6.6 million—down from the $8.2 million it raised in April.
The National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) raised $5.5 million in May, compared to $13.0 million raised in April. It spent $4.3 million, down from $11.5 million in April. Its Democratic counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), raised $7.8 million in May, compared to $13.5 million raised in April. The DCCC spent $10.1 million in May, including on paying off all $6 million of the debt it reported in April.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $4.5 million in May, compared to $7.5 million in April. It spent $5.3 million, including on paying off $1.5 million of the $9 million in debt it reported in April. Its Democratic counterpart, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), raised $4.4 million in May compared to $5.9 million in April.
So far this year, the DCCC, DSCC, and DNC have raised a combined $85.9 million and spent a combined $72.2 million. The NRCC, NRSC, and RNC have raised a combined $116.4 million and spent a combined $97.8 million.

Incumbent James Kenney wins Philadelphia Democratic mayoral primary

Incumbent James Kenney (D) defeated former City Controller Alan Butkovitz (D) and state Sen. Anthony Williams (D) in the Democratic primary for mayor of Philadelphia. As of 9:30 p.m. ET, Kenney had received 66.4% of the vote to Williams’ 22.9% with 53.5% of precincts reporting.
Kenney, who served 23 years on the city council before his election as mayor in 2015, said that he had demonstrated a progressive record during his first term by increasing the minimum wage for city employees, declaring Philadelphia a sanctuary city, and pledging to abide by the terms of the Paris Climate Agreement. His endorsers included the Philadelphia Inquirer, Gov. Tom Wolf (D), Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D), and all three of Philadelphia’s representatives in the U.S. House.
Butkovitz, who served three terms as city controller before he was unseated by former Kenney administration official Rebecca Rhynhart (D) in the 2017 primary, said that Kenney had not done enough to address poverty and violent crime during his first term.
Williams, who was the runner-up to Kenney in the 2015 Democratic mayoral primary, also criticized Kenney’s response to crime and poverty. As he did in 2015, Williams supported expanding charter schools to every Philadelphia neighborhood. He was endorsed by Philadelphia Magazine and former Mayor John Street (D).
Both Butkovitz and Williams criticized a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on soda and other sugary drinks that Kenney implemented in his first term. While Kenney said the measure provided funding for education and infrastructure spending, both challengers promised to repeal the tax and find the money elsewhere in the city’s budget.
Supporters and opponents of soda taxes from outside Philadelphia spent on the race, with the American Beverage Association spending over $600,000 to run an ad opposing Kenney and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D) donating $1,000,000 to a political group supporting him.
Kenney will face attorney Billy Ciancaglini (R) and any independent or third-party candidates in the November 5 general election. Since 1951, no incumbent Philadelphia mayor has lost a re-election bid, and no Republican has won a Philadelphia mayoral election since 1947.

Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) defeats three other candidates in Kentucky gubernatorial primary

State Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) defeated state House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins (D), former state Auditor Adam Edelen (D), and retired engineer Geoff Young (D) in Kentucky’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. As of 9:00 p.m. ET, Beshear had received 37.9% of the vote to Adkins’ 32.4% with 95% of precincts reporting.
Beshear, the son of former Gov. Steve Beshear (D), focused his campaign on responding to the opioid crisis, increasing wages, and increasing funding for public schools. His endorsers included former Lt. Govs. Crit Luallen (D) and Jerry Abramson (D), who both served under Beshear’s father.
Adkins, a 16-term member of the state House and the chamber’s Democratic leader, promised to secure funding for Kentucky’s pension and retirement systems as well as increased spending on infrastructure. His endorsers included former Gov. Paul Patton (D).
Edelen, who was elected as state auditor in 2011 and defeated for re-election in 2015, said he would focus on increasing spending on healthcare, encouraging the renewable energy industry to expand in Kentucky, and eliminating what he described as gender-based pay disparities. The Louisville Courier-Journal endorsed him.
Beshear will face incumbent Matt Bevin (R), who defeated three challengers in the Republican primary, in the November general election. Since Beshear and Bevin were elected to their respective offices in 2015, the two have often clashed, with Beshear launching a series of lawsuits against what he contended were unlawful modifications to state education boards Bevin had made.

Matt Bevin defeats three challengers in Kentucky gubernatorial primary

Incumbent Matt Bevin (R) defeated state Rep. Robert Goforth (R), developer Ike Lawrence (R), and bus driver and realtor William Woods (R) in Kentucky’s gubernatorial primary. As of 8:10 p.m. ET Tuesday, Bevin had received 51.5% of the vote to Goforth’s 39.1% with 68% of precincts reporting.
Bevin, who was first elected in 2015, said that he would focus his second term on healthcare policy and increasing the state’s investment in charter schools. He selected state Sen. Ralph Alvarado (R) as his running mate, becoming the third consecutive governor of Kentucky to choose a new running mate when seeking re-election.
Goforth, who was first elected to the state house in a special election in 2018, challenged the tone of Bevin’s first term, particularly Bevin’s status as a non-native Kentuckian. He said that he would focus his policymaking on working families, seniors, and small business owners.
Bevin will face the winner of the Democratic gubernatorial primary in the November general election.

Glen Casada resigns as speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives

Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada (R) announced Tuesday that he would resign his leadership role at a yet-to-be-determined date. On May 20, 2019, the House Republican Caucus approved a resolution of no confidence in Casada by a 45-24 vote. Casada said that he would not be resigning his seat in the house.
The announcement followed revelations that Casada’s chief of staff Cade Cothren had engaged in professional misconduct. Cothren was accused of inappropriate treatment of female lobbyists and interns and use of cocaine in the legislative office building. Casada and Cothren were also accused of exchanging text messages containing sexually explicit comments.
Casada was first elected speaker in January 2019. He said that he would set a date for his resignation after meeting with other legislative leaders on June 3.
Speaker pro tempore Bill Dunn (R) will succeed Casada on an interim basis. Republicans hold a 73-26 majority in the chamber.
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