David Luchs

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

National Democratic and Republican party committees report March fundraising figures

Campaign committees associated the Democratic and Republican parties reported increased fundraising in March, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission Saturday.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $13.0 million in March, an 86% increase over the $7.0 million it raised in February. It spent $11.5 million, including paying off all $5.75 million in debt it owed at the end of February.
The NRCC’s Democratic counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $13.5 million in March, a 16% increase over February. It spent $9.1 million, including paying off just under half of the $12 million debt it owed at the end of February.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $5.9 million, up 53% from February. It spent $4.3 million, including $1.9 million on its debt. The group reported $19.1 million in debt at the end of March.
The DSCC’s Republican equivalent, the NRSC (National Republican Senatorial Committee), raised $7.5 million, up 18% from February. It spent $5.0 million, $3.0 million of which went towards paying off debts, leaving it with $9.0 million in debt.
As in 2018, the Republican National Committee (RNC) outraised and outspent the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The RNC raised $15.5 million and spent $13.5 million in March. It does not have any debt. The DNC raised $8.2 million and spent $6.3 million in March. The group’s debt increased by $2.0 million to $6.6 million.
So far in 2019, the DNC, DCCC, and DSCC have raised a combined $67.1 million and spent a combined $50.6 million. The RNC, NRCC, and NRSC have raised a combined $90.5 million and spent a combined $73.9 million.

President Donald Trump issues second veto of his presidency

President Donald Trump (R) vetoed a Congressional resolution directing the removal of U.S. troops from Yemen Tuesday. It was his second veto since taking office.
The measure, which had been proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), passed 54-46 in the Senate, with seven Republicans joining Democrats to vote in favor. It passed the House 247-175 with 16 Republicans in favor. It would require 67 votes in the Senate and 290 in the House to override the President’s veto.
This marked the second veto of Trump’s presidency. The first was issued on March 15, 2019, of a resolution overriding his declaration of a national emergency on the border with Mexico.
At this point in their first terms, both Barack Obama (D) and Bill Clinton (D) had issued two vetoes. George H.W. Bush (R) had issued 20 vetoes while Ronald Reagan (R) had issued 16. George W. Bush (R) did not issue any vetoes until his second term.
Barack Obama (D) and George W. Bush (R) each issued 12 vetoes over the course of their two terms—the least of any president since World War II. The record for number of vetoes issued is 635, held by Franklin D. Roosevelt (D).
In U.S. history, 2,576 vetoes have been issued and 111 of those have been overridden by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress. Seven presidents issued no vetoes during their time in office. The most recent was James Garfield (R), who served until his assassination in 1881.

Gov. Tom Wolf (D) and former Mayor John Street (D) endorse in Philadelphia mayoral primary

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D) and challenger Anthony Williams (D) each picked up noteworthy endorsements Thursday in Philadelphia’s Democratic mayoral primary election.
Kenney, who was first elected in 2015, was endorsed by seven political figures including Gov. Tom Wolf (D) and all three of Philadelphia’s representatives to the U.S. House.
Williams, who was the runner-up in the 2015 Democratic primary, was endorsed by former Mayor John Street (D) on the same day. Street was first elected in 1999 and won re-election in 2003.
Williams and former City Controller Alan Butkovitz (D) are Kenney’s only primary challengers.
According to campaign finance reports filed Tuesday, Kenney had $655,000 cash on hand as of April 1, while Williams and Butkovitz each reported $50,000 on hand.
The winner of the May 21 primary will face attorney Billy Ciancaglini (R) and any declared nonpartisan candidates in the November 5 general election. Since Philadelphia adopted its current charter in 1951, no Republican has won a mayoral race and no incumbent seeking re-election has been defeated.
Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and the sixth-largest nationwide by population. Twenty-six of the 100 largest cities by population will be holding mayoral elections in 2019. Five (Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and Dallas) are among the 10 largest cities.
Democrats hold the mayor’s office in 18 of the cities with elections this year. Republicans and independents hold four each.

In 2018, 143 third party candidates received more votes than the margin deciding the election

While third party and independent candidates win fewer elections than members of the two major parties, they can often affect an election, especially if their supporters would have voted for a different candidate had they not been in the race.
In 2018, 143 third party or independent candidates received more votes than the margin between the top two major-party candidates. We’ll refer to them as noteworthy third-party candidates.
This figure includes five candidates for U.S. Congress, 16 candidates for statewide office, 115 candidates for state offices elected by districts (such as the state legislature), and seven candidates in local elections within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope.
These 143 candidates included 54 Libertarians, 41 independent or unaffiliated candidates, and 19 members of the Green Party. Republicans won 27 of the 51 races with at least one noteworthy Libertarian candidate while Democrats won the remaining 24. Of the 15 races with a noteworthy Green Party candidate, Democrats won 11 while Republicans won four.
There were two noteworthy third-party U.S. Senate candidates, both in races Democrats won. In Arizona’s open-seat race, Angela Green (G) received more votes than the margin between Kyrsten Sinema (D) and Martha McSally (R). In West Virginia, Rusty Hollen (L) exceeded the margin between incumbent Joe Manchin (D) and challenger Patrick Morrisey (R). The three noteworthy House candidates, including two Libertarians and one member of the Reform Party, all ran in seats Republicans won.
Three 2018 gubernatorial contests, all for open seats, involved noteworthy third-party candidates. Independent candidates Oz Griebel (Conn.) and Greg Orman (Kan.) contested races Democrats won, while the Republican candidate won the Florida gubernatorial election with noteworthy Reform Party candidate Darcy Richardson.
Five states with 10 or more noteworthy third-party candidates accounted for more than half (83) of all such candidates in 2018. These states were:
  • Vermont: 32 noteworthy candidates including 17 independents, eight members of the Vermont Progressive Party, and four Libertarians
  • New Hampshire: 17 noteworthy candidates including 15 Libertarians and two independents
  • Maryland: 13 noteworthy candidates including 10 Green Party members, two Libertarians, and one independent
  • West Virginia: 11 noteworthy candidates including six independents, four Libertarians, and one member of the state Green Party affiliate
  • Michigan: 10 noteworthy candidates including six Libertarians, two members of the Working Class Party, and two members of the state Constitution Party affiliate
Additional reading:

Party fundraising update: Republican committees raise $54.4 million, Democratic committees raise $39.6 million

Republican Party Congressional party committees outraised their Democratic counterparts in the first two months of 2019 $54.4 million to $39.6 million, in line with trends from the 2018 campaign cycle.
The committees are the Republican National Committee (RNC), National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), and National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), along with the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).
The DCCC was the one Democratic group to raise more money than its Republican counterpart in the first two months of 2019. It raised $19.0 million to the NRCC’s $12.1 million and spent $14.1 million compared to the NRCC’s $11.3 million. However, the NRCC had more cash on hand than the DCCC ($17.4 million to $10.4 million), and less debt ($5.8 million to $12.0 million). The DCCC raised more than the NRCC in 2018, $191.0 million to $120.8 million.
The RNC raised $30.3 million to the DNC’s $12.7 million. The RNC also spent more than the DNC ($22.7 million to $13.8 million) and had nearly five times the cash on hand as the DNC ($31.1 million to $7.5 million). In 2018, the RNC raised $192.4 million to the DNC’s $109.8 million and spent $207.6 million to the DNC’s $107.9 million.
The NRSC raised $12.0 million, while the DSCC raised $7.9 million, and spent $9.9 million to the DSCC’s $2.9 million. The DSCC reported more cash on hand, with $11.2 million to the NRSC’s $9.6 million, and nearly twice as much debt ($21.0 million to the NRSC’s $12.0 million). In 2018, the NRSC raised $109.7 million and spent $117.4 million to the DSCC’s $94.3 million raised and $107.1 million spent.
Additional reading:

Sen. Tom Udall (D) and Rep. Jose Serrano (D) not running for re-election

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) announced Monday that they would not seek re-election in 2020. Udall and Serrano are the fifth and sixth members of the 116th Congress, and the first Democrats, to announce they will not run for re-election.
Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Reps. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) have already announced their intention to not run again. Rep. Tom Marino (R-Penn.) left office early, and Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) died in February.
At this point in the 2018 campaign cycle, more members had left office early but fewer had announced that they would not seek re-election. Five members of Congress—four Republicans and one Democrat—had announced that they were not planning to seek re-election in 2018. Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and Sam Johnson (R-Texas) retired from elected office, while Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), and Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) had launched campaigns for governor.
Six members had left Congress early. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Reps. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), Tom Price (R-Ga.), and Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) had been appointed to positions in the Trump administration. Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) had been appointed California attorney general.
In the 2018 campaign cycle, 55 members of Congress announced that they would not seek re-election while a further 20 members left office early. Both figures were the highest since Ballotpedia began tracking congressional retirements and early departures in 2012.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock maintains fundraising lead

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has raised more money than his five challengers combined, according to pre-election campaign finance reports filed March 17 with the Denver Elections Division.
Hancock reported raising just under $1.6 million between the beginning of the campaign cycle and the March 14 reporting deadline. His five challengers reported raising a combined total of just under $710,000.
Urban development consultant Jamie Giellis reported raising just under $410,000, the most of any challenger. Former state Sen. Penfield Tate followed with $230,000 raised, while criminal justice professor Lisa Calderón reported raising $70,000. Two other candidates each raised under $2,500.
The Giellis campaign reported more cash on hand than Hancock’s, with just over $190,000 to the incumbent’s $150,000.
The nonpartisan election takes place on May 7. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the top two vote-getters will advance to a June 4 runoff.
The city of Denver uses a strong mayor-council system. Under this system, a mayor with a broad range of powers serves as the city’s chief executive while a city council acts as the municipal legislature. All Denver municipal elections are for four-year terms, and no elected official may serve more than three consecutive terms.

Goldberg and Repenning advance to runoff in LAUSD school board special election

Jackie Goldberg and Heather Repenning will compete in a May 14, 2019, runoff election for the District 5 seat on the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education, according to certified election results from a March 5 special election. The runoff will take place because no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote.
On March 5, Goldberg finished first, receiving 48.2 percent of the vote. Repenning was second with 13.1 percent. Repenning defeated Grace Ortiz for the second-place spot by 31 votes.
The election was necessary to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Ref Rodriguez.
School board elections in the district in 2017 flipped the board from a 4-3 majority of members supported by United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) to a 4-3 majority of members supported by the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA). Rodriguez was a member of the latter group, and his resignation left a 3-3 split.
CCSA did not endorse in the March 5 race. The UTLA backed Goldberg.
Goldberg and Repenning have said they support holding charter schools to the same standards as public schools, among other positions.
LAUSD is the largest school district in California and the second-largest in the nation by enrollment. The district had 224 independently operated charter schools in 2017, more than any other school district in the U.S.

Did you know? Five facts about the office of governor

The governorship is the only top-level elected executive office to exist in all 50 states. However, the powers and responsibilities of the office vary from state to state.
Here are five things you may not know about the office of governor:
1. Republicans have held a majority of the nation’s gubernatorial offices since the 2010 elections. There are currently 27 Republican governors and 23 Democratic governors. In the 2018 elections, Democrats gained seven previously-Republican governorships while Republicans gained one previously-independent governorship.
2. Vermont and New Hampshire have two-year gubernatorial terms. The other 48 states use four-year terms. Thirty-five states limit the governor to two terms (or eight years) in office, and eight of those impose a lifetime two-term limit like that on the presidency. Virginia prohibits governors from being elected to two consecutive terms, and the remaining 14 states have no form of term limits.
3. Forty-four states give the governor line-item veto authority, allowing them to veto a specific part of a bill while signing the rest into law. Indiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont do not.
4. Most states have an official governors’ mansion. The five states that do not are Arizona, Idaho, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Michigan is the only state to have two governors’ residences; an official mansion in Lansing and a summer home on Mackinac Island. Pennsylvania is the only state to also have an official lieutenant gubernatorial mansion.
5. Three states are holding elections for governor this year. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R), who were each first elected in 2015, are running for re-election. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) is prevented from running for re-election due to term limits.

Former Rep. Aaron Schock (R) and prosecutors reach agreement

Former Rep. Aaron Schock (R) reached an agreement with federal prosecutors Wednesday bringing an end to a criminal case over alleged misuse of campaign funds. Schock was first elected to represent Illinois’ 18th Congressional District in 2008. He held the seat until resigning in March 2015 following media reports that he had used campaign and office funds to cover personal expenses.
Schock was indicted on 24 counts, including fraud and theft of government property, on November 10, 2016. The case experienced several delays, including a change of venue from the Central to the Northern District of Illinois and the removal of several prosecutors and Judge Colin Bruce in separate instances of misconduct.
Under the terms of the agreement, Schock promised to reimburse his campaign $68,000 and to pay back taxes he had owed between 2010 and 2015. His campaign, which entered a guilty plea for a misdemeanor charge related to maintenance of financial records, was fined just over $26,000. Prosecutors agreed to put the case on hold for six months, at which point all charges against Schock will be dropped if he is found to be in compliance.