Author

David Luchs

David Luchs is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at david.luchs@ballotpedia.org

Mississippi Republican gubernatorial runoff between Tate Reeves and Bill Waller Jr. takes place Tuesday

The Republican nomination for governor of Mississippi will be decided by a primary runoff between Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. Tuesday. Reeves and Waller were the top two finishers in the August 6 primary but neither won the majority of the vote necessary to win outright.
 
Reeves, who is in his second term as lieutenant governor after serving two terms as state treasurer, says that his experience in state government would make him an effective chief executive. He says that he is the more conservative of the two, and has criticized Waller for supporting Medicaid expansion and an increase in the state gas tax.
 
Waller calls himself a conservative Republican but says that he would win more support from Democratic and independent voters than Reeves would in the general election. He has criticized the tone of Reeves’ campaign, saying that Reeves is more focused on attacking him than on proposing policies to address the problems Mississippi faces.
 
Both candidates have secured new endorsements since the August 6 primary. Reeves, who already had the endorsement of term-limited incumbent Phil Bryant (R), was endorsed by a series of state officials including former Gov. Haley Barbour (R) and state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R). Waller was endorsed by third-place primary finisher Robert Foster (R). Foster and Waller received a combined 51.1% of the primary vote to Reeves’ 48.9%.
 
Campaign finance reports filed Tuesday show that Reeves spent $1.9 million and Waller spent $315,000 between July 28 and August 17. During the same period, Waller raised $550,000 to Reeves’ $300,000. The two met for a final debate Wednesday night.
 
Mississippi has open primaries, so the runoff is open to registered Democrats and independents who did not vote in the Democratic primary on August 6. The winner will face Attorney General Jim Hood (D) in the November 5 general election. In order to win the general election, a candidate must both win the statewide vote and carry a majority of the 122 state House districts. If no candidate does both, the state House will decide the winner. No Democrat has won election as governor of Mississippi since Ronnie Musgrove (D) in 1999.
 


RNC outraises DNC by more than two-to-one for a fourth month, DSCC outraises NRSC for first time this year

The Republican National Committee (RNC) outraised its Democratic counterpart by more than two-to-one for the fourth consecutive month in July. At the same time, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) outraised its Republican counterpart for the first time this year, according to campaign finance reports filed with the FEC.
 
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $4.8 million and spent $2.6 million, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $4.3 million and spent $5.2 million. This is the first time the DSCC has outraised the NRSC during the 2020 cycle. So far in the 2020 cycle, the NRSC has raised 16.6% more than the DSCC ($38.9 million to $33.0 million). The NRSC’s fundraising advantage narrowed since the last campaign finance reports when it had raised 20.5% more.
 
On the House side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $7.3 million and spent $4.0 million last month, while the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $4.1 million and spent $5.4 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the DCCC has raised 34.6% more than the NRCC ($69.0 million to $48.6 million). The DCCC’s fundraising advantage has widened since the last campaign finance reports, when it had raised 32.3% more.
 
At this point in the 2018 campaign cycle, Democrats led in both Senate and House fundraising, although they had a smaller advantage in House fundraising than this cycle. The DSCC had raised 7.2% more than the NRSC ($32.2 million to $30.0 million), while the DCCC had raised 3.6% more than the NRCC ($66.2 million to $63.9 million).
 
The Republican National Committee (RNC) raised $20.8 million last month and spent $17.7 million while the Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised $7.7 million and spent $7.9 million. The RNC’s fundraising figure is its largest this year. So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC has raised 80.0% more than the DNC ($117.9 million to $50.5 million). The RNC’s fundraising advantage has widened relative to the last fundraising reports, when it had raised 77.5% more.
 
At this point in the 2016 campaign cycle (the most recent presidential election cycle) the RNC had a smaller 53.5% fundraising advantage over the DNC ($63.1 million to $36.5 million).
 
So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC have raised 29.6% more than the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC ($205.5 million to $152.5 million).
 


Triplex status at stake in three states in 2019

A state government triplex occurs when a state’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all members of the same political party. In states where these officers are not all from the same party, differing political views can bring them into direct conflict with one another.   
 
Three states—Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi—are holding elections in 2019 for all three triplex offices—governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. Currently, none of these three states has a triplex.
 
In Kentucky, Democrats hold the attorney general and secretary of state offices while Republican Matt Bevin (R) is governor. Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) is running against Bevin in the gubernatorial election, leaving his seat open, while Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) is term-limited. Bevin’s election as governor in 2015 broke a Democratic triplex which had existed since 2011.
 
In Louisiana, Republicans hold the attorney general and secretary of state offices while Democrat John Bel Edwards (D) is the governor. Edwards, Attorney General Jeff Landry (R), and Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R) are all running for re-election this year. Edwards’ election as governor broke a Republican triplex which had been in place since 2011.
 
In Mississippi, Republicans hold the governorship and secretary of state’s office while Democrat Jim Hood (D) is attorney general. All three seats are open. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) is term-limited, while Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (R) is running for lieutenant governor and Hood is running for governor. No party has held a triplex in Mississippi since Haley Barbour (R) was elected governor in 2003, breaking a Democratic triplex which had existed since the 1999 elections. 
 
The last time these three states held elections where none of them had a triplex was in 2007. No triplexes formed as a result of elections that year. 
 
Currently, there are 18 states with a Republican triplex, 17 states with a Democratic triplex, and 15 states that are under divided control. Heading into the 2018 elections, Republicans had 22 triplexes to Democrats’ 12. Democratic triplexes were formed in four states—Colorado, Illinois, Maine, New Mexico, and Wisconsin—while Republican triplexes were broken in Arizona, Kansas, Nevada, and North Dakota.
 


Last week, Andrew Yang led in Ballotpedia pageviews for the first time since March

Each week, we report the number of pageviews received by 2020 presidential campaigns on Ballotpedia. These numbers show which candidates are getting our readers’ attention.
 
Andrew Yang’s campaign page on Ballotpedia received 5,656 pageviews for the week of August 11-17. Yang’s pageview figure represents 10.2% of the pageviews for all Democratic candidates during the week. Joe Biden had 8.2% of pageviews for the week, followed by Elizabeth Warren with 6.7%.
 
Of the 23 noteworthy Democratic candidates, all but seven had fewer Ballotpedia pageviews last week than the week before. The three largest week-over-week increases were Tom Steyer (13.30%), Wayne Messam (7.89%), and Andrew Yang (5.78%).
 
The leader in overall pageviews this year is Pete Buttigieg with 102,790, followed by Yang with 95,127 and Kamala Harris with 90,653.
 
On the GOP side, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld had 16,895 pageviews to President Trump’s 1,844.


Third-place finisher endorses runner-up in Mississippi’s Republican primary runoff

State Rep. Robert Foster endorsed former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. in the Aug. 27 Republican gubernatorial runoff primary for governor of Mississippi.
 
Foster finished third in the Aug. 6 primary, winning with 18% of the vote. Waller finished second with 33%. First-place finisher Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves won 49% of the vote.  
 
Because no candidate received a majority, Reeves and Waller advanced to the Aug. 27 runoff.
 
At a news conference announcing his endorsement, Foster said, “In the end, we each just have one vote, or we can stay home. But if you don’t want to see Jim Hood win in November, I encourage you to join me in voting for Bill Waller.” 
 
Reeves and Waller both began airing new ads this week. Reeves’ ad criticized Waller for supporting Medicaid expansion in Mississippi and backing an increase in the state gas tax. Waller’s ad said that while Reeves was focused on attacking him, Waller was focused on proposing solutions to the challenges facing Mississippi.
 
The most recent campaign finance reports show Reeves with $5 million cash on hand to Waller’s $118,000. The next campaign finance reporting deadline is Aug. 20—one week before the runoff.
 
The winner of the Aug. 27 primary runoff will face the Democratic nominee, Attorney General Jim Hood, in the Nov. 5 general election. Inside Elections and Sabato’s Crystal Ball rate the general election as “Leans Republican” and Cook Political Report rates the contest as “Likely Republican.” Ronnie Musgrove was the last Democrat elected governor of Mississippi. He defeated Rep. Mike Parker (R) 49.6-48.5% in 1999.
 


Biden leads in Ballotpedia pageviews for the week, Buttigieg passes 100,000 pageview mark

Each week, we report the number of pageviews received by 2020 presidential campaigns on Ballotpedia. These numbers show which candidates are getting our readers’ attention.
 
Joe Biden’s campaign page on Ballotpedia received 5,493 pageviews for the week of August 4-10. Biden’s pageview figure represents 9.0% of the pageviews for all Democratic candidates during the week. Andrew Yang had 8.8% of pageviews for the week, followed by Elizabeth Warren with 6.1%.
 
Every Democratic campaign other than Beto O’Rourke’s experienced a decline in pageviews of 12% or more relative to the week of July 28-August 3, when the second Democratic debate took place. Marianne Williamson, who led in pageviews that week, registered the largest week-over-week decline at 57.9%. O’Rourke’s pageviews increased by 12.6%, bringing him from 17th-most pageviews among Democrats the week of the debate to ninth-most this past week.
 
The leader in overall pageviews this year is Pete Buttigieg with 100,087, followed by Andrew Yang with 89,471 and Kamala Harris with 87,236.
 
On the GOP side, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld had 17,841 pageviews to President Trump’s 1,988.


Since 2015, 18 states have raised their tobacco age to 21

In June 2015 Hawaii enacted a law increasing the minimum age to use tobacco products to 21, making it the first state to do so in the 21st century. Seventeen other states that, including Hawaii contain 50.7% of the U.S. population, have done the same in the four years since.
 
The first tobacco age limit in U.S. history was imposed in New Jersey in 1883 and set a minimum age of 16. By 1920, 14 states had a minimum tobacco age of 21. However, over the course of the 1920s and 1930s, many states with age restrictions over 21 lowered their tobacco age limit, often to 18. At the turn of the 21st century, Alabama, Alaska, and Utah had a tobacco age of 19 and the remaining 47 states had a tobacco age of 18.
 
Of the 18 states to recently raise their tobacco age to 21, eight did so under a Democratic trifecta, six under divided government, and four under a Republican trifecta. Nine Democratic governors and eight Republicans have signed increases in tobacco age restrictions. Maine’s legislature passed a tobacco age increase over the veto of Gov. Paul LePage (R).
 
As of August 9, the tobacco age was 18 in 37 states (including seven where a law increasing the tobacco age has been signed but is yet to take effect), 19 in three states (including Utah, where an increase to 21 is pending), and 21 in the remaining 10. The next states where a tobacco age increase will take effect are Arkansas, Texas, and Vermont, where the tobacco age will increase to 21 on September 1.


Tiffany Caban concedes Democratic primary for Queens district attorney

Public defender Tiffany Caban conceded the Democratic primary for Queens, New York, district attorney to Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D) Tuesday, ending a six-week-long dispute over the election’s outcome.
 
The primary to succeed Richard Brown, who died in May 2019 after 28 years in office, drew national attention when presidential candidates Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) endorsed Caban. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Ny.) also endorsed Caban, while former Rep. Joseph Crowley, whom Ocasio-Cortez defeated in a primary election last year, fundraised for Katz.
 
Caban appeared to win on election night with a lead of 1,100 votes over Katz. Katz, however, had a 20-vote lead after absentee and provisional ballots were certified on July 3. The city’s Board of Elections completed a full manual recount on July 29 which found Katz ahead by 60 votes.
 
Caban challenged the results of the recount before the Kings County Supreme Court, saying that the Board had invalidated a number of ballots which should have been counted. In his ruling Tuesday, Judge John G. Ingram found that most of the ballots named in Caban’s challenge were not valid, meaning that there were not enough ballots remaining in question to change the election’s result.
 
Katz will face attorney Daniel Kogan (R) in the November 5 general election.
 


Reeves, Waller advance to runoff in Republican primary for governor of Mississippi

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. advanced to an August 27 runoff in the Republican primary for governor of Mississippi.
 
With 97% of precincts reporting, Reeves received 48.9% of the vote (short of the 50% needed to win outright) and Waller received 33.4%. State Rep. Robert Foster finished third with 17.8 percent of the vote.
 
The winner will face Attorney General Jim Hood (D) in the November 5 general election to succeed term-limited Gov. Phil Bryant (R).
 
To win election as governor of Mississippi, a candidate must win both a majority of the statewide vote and a majority of state House districts. If no candidate meets both requirements, the state House decides the winner.
 
Elections for all 52 seats in the state Senate and all 122 seats in the state House of Representatives will also take place on November 5.
 
Mississippi is one of 22 Republican state government trifectas, a term that describes when one party controls the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature. It has been a Republican trifecta since 2012.


Jim Hood wins Democratic nomination for governor of Mississippi

Attorney General Jim Hood won the Democratic nomination for governor of Mississippi, according to the Associated Press. As of 10:30 p.m. Central Time, Hood had received 70.1% of the vote with 40% of precincts reporting. Hood was followed by Michael Brown at 9.9% of the vote and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith at 7.6%.

Hood has served as state attorney general since 2004. He says that he will focus on the state economy and public education system and would expand Medicaid if elected. Smith has said that his candidacy was based in part on Hood’s office having brought him to trial on criminal charges three times between 2016 and 2018. Smith said the charges had a racial motivation. His policy priorities included expanding access to healthcare and raising the minimum wage.

Hood will face the winner of the Republican primary in the November 5 general election. In order to win election as governor of Mississippi, a candidate must win both a majority of the statewide vote and a majority of state House districts. If no candidate meets both requirements, the state House decides the winner. No Democrat has won election as governor of Mississippi since Ronnie Musgrove in 1999.



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