Author

David Luchs

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

Your questions answered via Ballotpedia’s candidate survey

Welcome to the Thursday, October 21, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection Expansion Project brings your questions to candidates in six cities
  2. How many state legislative vacancies have opened this year? Ballotpedia has the numbers
  3. San Francisco school board recall elections scheduled for Feb. 15

Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection Expansion Project brings your questions to candidates in six cities

Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey offers candidates the opportunity to connect with voters by answering questions that speak to who they are as a person and what their motivations are for seeking political office as well as questions about their message and policies. In 2020, 4,745 candidates completed the Candidate Connection survey.

This year, Ballotpedia launched the Candidate Connection Expansion Project to give voters a more direct connection to the candidates they elect. Our readers in six pilot cities submitted custom questions for their candidates. An advisory board selected between three to five questions in each city to be incorporated into our candidate survey.

As of Oct. 20, 2021, 52 candidates running for office in all six cities have answered the questions submitted by Ballotpedia readers like you. The respondents include five mayoral candidates—four in Minneapolis and one in Atlanta.

In Atlanta, both candidates for city council District 9—Devin Barrington-Ward and Dustin Hillis—answered community questions in their Candidate Connection surveys. Selected responses from both are reproduced below:

What do you think about the transit options currently available in Atlanta? Would you make any changes?

Barrington-Ward: Transit options overwhelmingly favor bus service and the rail service that is available favors communities with high incomes and more access. I would shift our transit expansion projects to prioritize northwest, west, and southwest Atlanta communities and ensure that low income communities are afforded opportunities to work on these projects to help increase household incomes.

Hillis: I believe bus routes should be modified to go more places, more frequently – with the priority being areas where residents need and rely on public transportation the most. I supported the More MARTA plan, which will bring a new and full-sized Bankhead MARTA station to District 9 and more light rail lines.

What plans do you have regarding infrastructure?

Barrington-Ward: Use large public infrastructure projects to address issues around transportation, housing, and climate change while also putting people to work as a means of reducing poverty, income disparities, and crime throughout District 9 and Atlanta.

Hillis: I support the city going to voters in May 2022 to approve the Renew Atlanta Bonds and TSPLOST 2.0 in order to fund hundreds of millions of dollars more in much-needed infrastructure improvements.

What question would you have for a candidate running for political office in your local elections? Let us know—maybe your nomination could make it into a future survey!

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How many state legislative vacancies have opened this year? Ballotpedia has the numbers

A vacancy opening in Congress, as last happened with Rep. Steve Stivers’ (R) resignation in May to serve as president of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, often invites national media coverage and attention. However, vacancies opening in state legislative chambers tend to draw less attention. Starting in 2019, Ballotpedia has published publicly available articles summarizing each state legislative vacancy that opened in a given year, how and when it was filled, and whether control of the seat changed as a result.

So far in 2021, there have been 113 state legislative vacancies opening in 41 states. A plurality (52) were opened when the legislator resigned, with another 20 opening when a legislator died. The remaining vacancies include 37 that opened when the legislator took a different office and four that opened when a legislator was removed from office.

Seventy-two of the 113 vacancies opened this year (64%) have been filled. Forty-two of those vacancies were filled via appointment and 30 were filled via special election. This year, there have been three seats where a legislator of a different party filled a vacancy—two where a Republican legislator succeeded a Democrat and one where a Democrat succeeded a Republican.

In 2019, the last odd-numbered year, 177 state legislative vacancies opened across 45 states. Republicans lost a net two seats owing to vacancies opening in 2019, while Democrats and independents each gained a net one seat.

Keep reading 

San Francisco school board recall elections scheduled for Feb. 15

Recall elections against three of the seven members of the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education in California have been scheduled for Feb. 15, 2022. Petitions to recall board members Gabriela López, Alison Collins, and Faauuga Moliga were certified in October 2021.

Recall sponsor Siva Raj said the effort was “a campaign to get politics out of education…What we saw consistently was a pattern where the school board leadership focused on a lot of political stunts and symbolic gestures like trying to rename schools, and doing that ultimately badly.”

In response to the recall effort, López said, “The people who are behind this don’t know us, they don’t know our work, they don’t know what we’ve been doing, they don’t know what we are dedicated to…They hear what’s out there and they recognize this is an opportunity to bring down someone who is me.”

All three board members named in the recall petitions were first elected to the board on Nov. 6, 2018. They received the most votes in an at-large election, defeating 16 other candidates. The other four members of the board were not eligible for recall at the same time as López, Collins, and Moliga as they had not served in their current terms for six months. They were elected or re-elected to the board on Nov. 3, 2020.

To get the recall on the ballot, recall supporters had 160 days to collect signatures from 10% of registered voters in the city. The total number of signatures needed was 51,325 per board member, and the deadline to submit them was Sept. 7. If a majority of voters cast ballots in favor of the recall on Feb. 15, the mayor of San Francisco will appoint replacements.

Ballotpedia has tracked 81 school board recall efforts against 209 board members so far in 2021—the highest number of school board recall efforts we have tracked in one year. The next-highest year was in 2010 with 38 recall efforts against 91 school board members.

In the first half of 2021, Ballotpedia tracked 164 recall efforts against 262 officials. This was the most recall efforts for this point in the year since the first half of 2016, when we tracked 189 recall efforts against 265 officials. In comparison, we tracked between 72 and 155 efforts by the midpoints of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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The latest on redistricting: Final deadlines approaching in California and Connecticut

Welcome to the Wednesday, October 20, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. California and Connecticut set final deadlines for redistricting
  2. U.S. Reps. David Price (D), Michael Doyle (D), announce retirements
  3. SCOTUS accepts two cases to 2021-2022 merits docket

California and Connecticut set final redistricting deadlines

As of Oct. 19, 2021, four states have adopted new congressional district maps following the 2020 census and six states have adopted new state legislative district maps. As of Oct. 19, 2011, 22 states had adopted new congressional district maps and 24 had adopted new state legislative district maps.

Here’s a summary of recent redistricting updates from California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Nevada, and Washington.

California: On Sept. 22, the California Supreme Court set a Nov. 15, 2021, deadline for the California Citizens Redistricting Commission to release initial draft district plans. The court also set a Dec. 27, 2021, deadline for the delivery of final district plans to the secretary of state.

Connecticut: According to the Connecticut Constitution, the Reapportionment Committee was required to select a map, which needed two-thirds approval from both chambers of the Connecticut General Assembly, by Sept. 15. The committee did not meet this deadline due to delays in the release of census data. Under state law, the committee was disbanded because it did not meet the Sept. 15 deadline and was replaced by a Reapportionment Commission. The majority and minority leaders of both chambers of the state legislature each selected two members to serve on the commission. The eight commissioners will select a ninth member. The commission’s final deadline is Nov. 30.

New Jersey: On Oct. 5, the New Jersey Congressional Redistricting Commission announced it would hold 10 public hearings—five in-person and five virtual. The first virtual hearing will be held on Oct. 23 at 10 a.m. The first in-person hearing will be held on Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. The second virtual hearing will be held at 10 a.m. on Oct. 30.

Nevada: The Nevada Committee to Conduct an Investigation into Matters Relating to Reapportionment and Redistricting held its first public meeting on Oct. 7. Committee Chairwoman Brittney Miller (D) said there will be at least three public hearings. One will be held in the Reno metro area, one in the Las Vegas metro area, and another in Carson City.

Washington: In an Oct. 14 press release, the Washington State Redistricting Commission said third-party maps should be submitted by Oct. 22 in order to receive full consideration. Maps can be sent until Nov. 15, but the commission said “we notify the public of the suggested deadline only to ensure that Commissioners have the time to properly consider public submissions.”

Keep reading

U.S. Reps. David Price (D), Michael Doyle (D) to retire in 2022

Reps. David Price (D-N.C.) and Michael Doyle (D-Penn.) announced Monday they would not run for re-election next year, bringing the number of outgoing members of Congress to 27.

Price, who was first elected in 1986, is one of five Democrats in North Carolina’s 13-member U.S. House delegation. Price defeated Robert Thomas (R) 67-33% in 2020. Price’s win was within a single percentage point of Joe Biden’s (D) performance in the district. 

Doyle, who represents a district in the Pittsburgh metro area, was first elected in 1994 and is one of nine Democrats in Pennsylvania’s 18-member delegation. In 2020, Doyle won re-election 69% to 31% over Luke Negron (R). That year, Joe Biden (D) defeated Donald Trump (R) 65% to 34% in the district.

Of the 27 members not seeking re-election, five are U.S. senators—all of them Republican. The 22 outgoing House members include 13 Democrats and nine Republicans. Eleven of them—eight Democrats and three Republicans—are retiring from public office. The other six Republicans and five Democrats are running for a different office.

At this point in the 2020 cycle, 28 members of Congress had announced they would not run for re-election. That number included 21 Republicans and seven Democrats. All but six of the outgoing members (four Republicans and two Democrats) were retiring from public office.

Keep reading 

SCOTUS accepts two cases to 2021-2022 merits docket

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on Oct. 18 accepted two cases for argument during the 2021-2022 term:

  1. Ysleta del Sur Pueblo v. Texas, originating from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
  2. Denezpi v. United States, originating from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

Both cases concern the sovereign powers of Native American tribal nations. Ysleta del Sur Pueblo involves the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama and Coushatta Indian Tribes of Texas Restoration Act (1987), the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) (1988), and gaming regulation on tribal lands. Denezpi involves the Court of Indian Offenses’ jurisdiction and the Fifth Amendment’s double jeopardy clause, which prohibits an individual from being prosecuted for the same crime twice.

To date, the court has agreed to hear 41 cases during the term. Three cases were dismissed, and one case was removed from the argument calendar. Ten cases have yet to be scheduled for arguments.

Keep reading



State race spotlight: Virginia House of Delegates District 66

The Virginia House of Delegates is one of three state legislative chambers holding general elections this year. All 100 seats are up for election, with Democrats defending a majority for the first time in more than two decades. Today,

Ballotpedia identified 22 battleground districts based on four criteria. Sixteen battleground districts met one of those criteria and five met two. The only district to meet three of the criteria was District 66, located in between Richmond and Petersburg. The district is currently represented by Kirk Cox (R), who was first elected in 1989 and last re-elected in 2019, defeating Sheila Bynum-Coleman (D) 51.7% to 47.0%. Cox, who served as speaker of the House before control of the chamber flipped, ran for governor this year rather than seeking re-election. In 2020, Joe Biden (D) defeated Donald Trump (R) 54.5% to 44.2% in the district.

This year, Katie Sponsler (D) and Mike Cherry (R) are running for the seat. Both filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey; see their profile pages on Ballotpedia for the complete survey responses.

Who are you? Tell us about yourself.

Cherry:

Mike Cherry is an educator, veteran, pastor, and patriot. From the flight line to the classroom to City Council, Mike has proven he will work with anyone and everyone to support and protect our community. Mike’s deep belief in Faith, Family, and Freedom drives his commitment to protect the American Dream for all Virginians. Mike was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and graduated from Roanoke Rapids High School in 1990. After graduation, Mike joined the United States Air Force as a Loadmaster on C-141B and C-17A aircraft. He is a decorated veteran with many Commendations, Achievements, and Meritorious Service medals to his credit. Mike traveled around the world defending our values and our freedom — visiting 6 of the 7 continents and more than 75 different countries. That exposure to different parts of the world strengthened his love for our country and his dedication to protecting our values. He is married to Teresa. They have two children, Jonathan and Madison, a daughter-in-law, Mikala, and the most precious granddaughter, Jovie. Mike is a Staff Pastor at Life Church and is Head of School at Life Christian Academy, a growing, thriving, a fully accredited school in South Chesterfield and Colonial Heights.

Sponsler:

I am a veteran of the US Air Force, a former Park Ranger with the National Park Service and a mother to 2 children on the autism spectrum. I am running to bring a working class voice to the GA.

Please list below 3 key messages of your campaign. What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?

Cherry:

When Mike entered the USAF, he took an oath to protect our constitutional rights. He believes all Americans have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Mike believes a strong and safe Virginia is only possible with a strong police system.

As an educator, Mike has a very clear understanding of what is going on in today’s education system.

Sponsler:

Education should be public, equitable, and fully funded to serve the needs of diverse communities and a wide range of abilities

Economic Justice is central in every American family’s needs. Without reliable, fair, and safe employment our communities and families can not thrive.

Our environment is not just climate change, it is the landfills and factories in our our backyards. We must address the air, water and soil pollution in our district.

What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

Cherry:

Preservation of constitutional rights and individual liberties. Support for law enforcement and allowing the flexibility to do their jobs and preserving qualified immunity.

Sponsler:

Labor, Education, Gun Violence Prevention, Healthcare, Disability and Mental Health Advocacy

What characteristics or principles are most important for an elected official?

Cherry:

Honesty. Integrity.

Sponsler:

Integrity, and compassion. The ability to listen and process the stories and requests of your constituents into effective policy that makes real differences in the lives of those you serve is the most important ability anyone should bring to this office.

What qualities do you possess that you believe would make you a successful officeholder?

Cherry:

Honest, caring, integrity, personable.

Sponsler:

I have a knowledge of policy and how it actually impacts those on the ground. This is my reality and has been for most of my life. When I look at policy I know how it impacts many communities because I’ve lived in them, but I also know what I don’t know. I can listen and integrate the stories of others.

What legacy would you like to leave?

Cherry:

Change in the direction of returning this state back to its conservative values.

Sponsler:

That the Commonwealth and the 66th District are a little bit less painful for people on the margins.

What is your favorite book? Why?

Cherry:

The Bible. It is the most impactful book in the history of mankind. It is the instructions for a successful life.

Sponsler:

The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

It’s discussion of the human experience and how that forms us in different ways causing a deep internal look no matter how many times I read it and that is what I think all the best books do.

Do you believe that it’s beneficial for state legislators to have previous experience in government or politics?

Cherry:

Yes. It gives the citizens a real representation of how you will vote and represent them in the legislature.

Sponsler:

I believe networks, knowledge, and connections matter but that those can be built through many means. Too much experience often creates a complacency and a withdrawal from the real life experiences of the people within the district they represent.

Do you believe it’s beneficial to build relationships with other legislators? Please explain your answer.

Cherry:

Yes. You are more likely to get a positive response if you know them and they know you.

Sponsler:

Relationships are always valuable. Those relationships should be based in values that align and should not override the needs of the people you represent or the values that you represented on the campaign trail, however. Bipartisanship for the sake of bipartisanship or personal relationships that distance you from what you have set out to do should never be acceptable.

Both sitting legislators and candidates for office hear many personal stories from the residents of their district. Is there a story that you’ve heard that you found particularly touching, memorable, or impactful?

Cherry:

Recently there was a young man who ran 100 miles to raise money for a new police dog. That is the kind of community togetherness that I love and appreciate.

Sponsler:

After my first run in a district in which the partisan shift was severe and in opposition to my party I was wondering if a run to move the needle had been worth the exhaustion I was feeling . A young couple in one of the reddest part of the district reached out. I had never met them in person, but had knocked on their door a few times, each time leaving a note with my literature. They reached out to tell me that they were queer and had been both kicked out of their homes at the age of 16. They asked me to officiate their wedding in 3 months, saying simply that they had felt that all they had in the world since being shunned by their families was each other, until they started receiving my notes. Knowing that I lived around the corner made them feel like they were seen. The request was too beautiful to be ignored and watching this quirky, wonderful couple celebrate their love and getting to be a part of it, made me certain that not only was running worth it, but that I would never stop advocating for people like them.



Ultra-local race spotlight: Sequim, Wash., city council

Welcome to the Wednesday, October 13, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Three city council candidates in Sequim, Wash., complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey
  2. Redistricting updates: Arkansas Legislature approves new congressional district maps, plus developments in Iowa, Ohio, and Virginia
  3. Two months remain until the first filing deadline of 2022

Three city council candidates in Sequim, Wash., complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Three city council candidates in Sequim, Wash., completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey in recent weeks. Sequim is located in Clallam County, in the northwestern corner of the state. Clallam County voted for the nationwide winner in every presidential election dating back to 1980—a longer ongoing streak than any other county.

Ballotpedia is covering municipal elections on Nov. 2 in Clallam County’s three cities—Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks. In Sequim, 11 offices are up for nonpartisan election, including seats on the city council, the school board, and the water district.

Here are some excerpts from three candidates who recently completed the Ballotpedia survey.

Incumbent Rachel Anderson is running for Sequim City Council Position No. 4 against challenger Daryl Ness. Anderson listed the following three key campaign messages:

  1. “I believe I’m the best choice for City Council seat 4 because I have shown my dedication and commitment to the community. My time as Head Start Policy Council Chairperson, an Olympic Community Action Programs Board Member, a Sequim Education Foundation Board Member, a Sequim Farmers and Artisans Market Board Member and Interim Board President, and as an appointed City Council Member have taught me valuable leadership lessons. It is so critical to the well-being of our community that we come together as team, despite our differences, in order to help the people in our community thrive!
  2. “My top priority is doing everything we can in order to bring more affordable housing to Sequim. Action items I would promote include: applying for grants and building partnerships federally, state-wide, and locally in order to build affordable housing for the workforce within our community.
  3. “I promote trust and civility between Council members and the Sequim community by doing everything I can to role model the necessary skills of a council member. Since being appointed, trust and civility have been priorities for my role as a council member, considering all of the controversy and negative attitude toward Sequim and its leadership over the past couple of years. It’s so important that each council member does their part: actively listening, asking questions, and actively respecting the decisions of local agencies and organizations in order to keep our community safe. Great and trustworthy leaders take responsibility, are dependable, and match their actions to their words.”

Incumbent Brandon Janisse is running for Sequim City Council Position No. 5 against challenger Patrick Day. Janisse listed the following three key campaign messages:

  1. “Committing to a city government that is efficient, effective, responsible and transparent
  2. “Remaining Non-Partisan in a Non-Partisan position
  3. “Supporting Individuals and families who are healing from drug addiction and mental health issues”

Lowell Rathbun is running for the open seat on Sequim City Council Position No. 6. against Keith A. Larkin. Rathbun listed the following three key campaign messages:

  1. “We must bring transparency, trust, and civil discourse back to our city council.
  2. “Sequim is in an urgent housing crisis. Tackling this challenge is a top priority.
  3. “Our city must respond to our homeless, addicted and/or mentally neighbors in a compassionate manner.”

Keep reading

Redistricting updates: Arkansas Legislature approves new congressional district maps, plus developments in Iowa, Ohio, and Virginia

As of Oct. 12, 2021, six states have adopted new state legislative district maps and four have adopted new congressional district maps. As of this date in 2011, 23 states had enacted new state legislative district maps and 21 had adopted new congressional district maps.

Arkansas Legislature approves new maps

The Arkansas General Assembly approved two identical congressional redistricting plans on Oct. 7—one from the House and one from the Senate—and sent them to Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) who may either sign, veto, or take no action on the legislation. If Hutchinson does not act, the maps will be adopted on Oct. 27. Under the proposed maps, two of the state’s counties would be split between multiple congressional districts: Sebastian County, which is split into two districts, and Pulaski County—the state’s most populous county—which is split between three districts. 

Opponents of the proposal said the division of Pulaski County, where less than half the population identifies as white alone, was conducted along partisan and racial lines. The map’s supporters say Pulaski’s central location requires it to be split in order to avoid splitting more counties elsewhere.

Gov. Hutchinson, who is not seeking re-election in 2022, said he would review the proposal this week. While he did not indicate whether he supports the new districts, Hutchinson said, “I would urge [legislators] that you do not want to dilute minority representation or influence in congressional races.”

Both chambers of the General Assembly have Republican majorities.

Iowa Legislature rejects first map proposal

The Iowa Senate rejected the Legislative Services Agency’s (LSA) first proposed congressional and state legislative district boundaries on Oct. 5. The vote was 32-18 along party lines with all Republicans voting against the plan and all Democrats for it. Since this was the LSA’s first proposal, lawmakers could only vote to approve or reject the maps and could not make any amendments. 

After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver (R) said: “Senate Republicans believe LSA can improve the compactness and population deviation of several districts by developing a second redistricting plan. My colleagues and I look forward to reviewing that plan and its compliance with the criteria established in Iowa Code.” Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls (D) said: “This was a fair map drawn by the nonpartisan, independent commission. It met all the requirements laid out in state law. This is an outrageous use of political power to rig elections in their favor.”

Under state law, the LSA must send a second redistricting plan to the Legislature within 35 days. On Oct. 6, the LSA said it would submit its next proposal by Oct. 21. On Sept. 14, the Iowa Supreme Court extended the state’s deadline to complete legislative redistricting to Dec. 1.

Virginia misses initial redistricting deadline

The Virginia Redistricting Commission did not meet its initial Oct. 10 deadline to complete a legislative redistricting plan as specified in state law. The commission now has an additional 14 days to submit a legislative redistricting proposal which the General Assembly can only approve or reject without making amendments. 

If the commission does not reconvene to draft legislative maps, or if the maps they submit to the General Assembly are rejected, the Virginia Supreme Court will redraw the districts. Currently, a majority of the court’s members are Republican gubernatorial appointees. Virginia is conducting redistricting this year under a new process that state voters approved in 2020 which established a 16-member commission of eight legislators and eight citizens. Virginia’s new legislative maps are scheduled to go into effect for the 2023 election cycle.

Ohio Redistricting Commission has until Oct. 31 to develop congressional map

The Ohio Legislature did not complete the state’s congressional redistricting plan by the Sept. 30 deadline, which means that the Ohio Redistricting Commission has until Oct. 31 to adopt such a plan. That seven-member commission is composed of Gov. Mike DeWine (R), State Auditor Keith Faber (R), Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R), and two legislators from each party. A majority of the commission’s members, including two members belonging to the minority party, must agree on a map. If the commission is unable to adopt a map, state legislators will have a second chance to adopt a congressional redistricting plan by Nov. 30. That map would have to be approved by three-fifths of the legislature’s total membership, including one-third of the minority party’s members, to be valid until the next census.

Keep reading 

Two months remain until the first filing deadline of 2022

Only two months remain until the first filing deadline of the 2022 election cycle. Candidates running on a party ballot for state-level office in Texas next year have until Dec. 13, 2021, to file their candidacy

The only other state with a 2022 filing deadline taking place this year is North Carolina. Candidates for state office have until Dec. 17, 2021, to file there. The next filing deadline is not until Jan. 7, 2022, for candidates running for state-level office in Kentucky.

Texas and North Carolina hold the earliest primaries next year. Texas’ primary is set for March 1 and North Carolina’s is scheduled for March 8. The next states holding primaries are Indiana and Ohio, with primaries scheduled for May 3.

In all, two states are holding primaries in March next year, with 11 holding primaries in May, 18 in June, 14 in August, four in September, and one in November. 

Two dates in 2022 each have three state filing deadlines taking place—March 11 (California, Georgia, and Idaho) and June 1 (Alaska, Kansas, and Wisconsin).

In 2020, there were six states with filing deadlines in 2019, with the earliest being Arkansas’ Nov. 11, 2019, deadline. In 2018, the most recent midterm election year, there were two states (Illinois and Texas) with 2017 filing deadlines.

Keep reading



Tracking state vaccine mandates for healthcare workers

Welcome to the Wednesday, October 6, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. A look at statewide COVID vaccine mandates for healthcare workers
  2. An update on the Cincinnati city council’s emergency ordinance changing the text of Issue 3
  3. A preview of Ballotpedia’s state-level Virginia campaign finance analysis

Fifteen states have issued a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers

Since August, 15 states have announced COVID-19 vaccine requirements for healthcare workers.

Thirteen of those states have a Democratic trifecta. In Maryland and Massachusetts, the governor is a Republican but Democrats control the state legislature.

Twelve of the 15 states do not allow healthcare workers to choose between getting a vaccine and getting regularly tested. Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey, however, allow healthcare workers to undergo regular testing in lieu of a vaccine.

New Mexico imposed the earliest deadline—Aug. 27—for workers to get at least one dose of a vaccine. However, New Jersey required healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated or undergo regular testing no later than Sept. 7. Nevada’s Nov. 1 deadline is the latest of the 15 states with vaccine requirements.

As of Oct. 8, the deadline to have received at least one dose of a vaccine had passed in 10 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York.

Keep reading

Cincinnati city council fixes error that would have made Issue 3 increase city council salaries instead of decrease them

On Sept. 30, the Cincinnati City Council passed an emergency ordinance to fix an error in the legal text of Issue 3 on the Nov. 2 ballot. Here’s how we got here: 

  • Issue 3, a citizen initiative, was designed to decrease city council pay to the median household income ($46,260 in 2021), among six other changes to provisions governing the city council and mayor. As of the beginning of 2021, the salary of a city council member was $60,000. 
  • After proponents submitted enough valid signatures for the initiative, the city council approved an ordinance on Sept. 1 officially putting Issue 3 on the ballot that said median family income ($62,941 in 2021) instead of median household income.  
  • The error would have made Issue 3 increase city council pay instead of decreasing it.

According to City Solicitor Andrew Garth, the error occurred when a draft of the initiative text sent to his office had the word family instead of household. City staff wrote the initial ordinance based on that draft of the initiative text. However, initiative proponents had edited the petition text to change the word “family” to “household” before collecting signatures for the initiative. Initiative sponsors, city staff, and the board of elections did not notice the one-word difference until after the language was approved for the ballot on Sept. 16. A proposal to send a mailer out to voters explaining the discrepancy was voted down Oct. 4.

State Representative and city council candidate Tom Brinkman (R) sponsored the initiative. In addition to the change to city council pay, the measure would: 

  • require the city council to approve any lawsuits filed on behalf of the city;
  • establish a one-year residency requirement for mayoral and city council candidates;
  • make it so the runner-up in the last election fills city council vacancies instead of city council members designating a successor;
  • require the mayor to assign legislative proposals to the relevant committees within 30 days and to put proposals on the city council agenda within 30 days of them being reported out of committee;
  • make the mayor and city council members liable for purposeful or reckless violations of state open meeting laws; and 
  • provide for the removal of the mayor.

Local Ohio voters in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Hamilton County, and Lucas County will decide nine local ballot measures on Nov. 2.

In 2021, Ballotpedia is covering local measures that appear on the ballot for voters within the top 100 largest cities in the U.S. and all state capitals, including those outside of the top 100 largest cities. we’re also covering a selection of notable police-related and election-related measures outside of the top 100 largest cities. We are also covering all local measures in California and all statewide ballot measures.

Keep reading 

Ballotpedia to release article series giving readers a deep-dive into Virginia House campaign finance

Ballotpedia, in partnership with Transparency USA, will publish a series of articles analyzing candidate fundraising in the 2021 Virginia House of Delegates elections. Democrats have a 55-45 majority in the House. There are 93 districts with both a Democratic and Republican candidate on the ballot. This is the first election cycle since 1999 with Democrats defending a majority in the chamber.

Throughout October, Ballotpedia will publish three articles a week analyzing candidate fundraising in the lead-up to the Nov. 2 election. Among the questions we will answer are:

  • What are the five races where the two general election candidates raised the most and least money?
  • Which five candidates who lost in the primary stage raised the most money?
  • Did committee chairs raise more money than the average chamber member?
  • Have incumbents raised more money on average than non-incumbents?
  • What are the most expensive battleground races?
  • How does fundraising this cycle compare to the last cycle?

Keep your eyes open for these stories and more as they appear on a regular basis on both Ballotpedia News and in the Brew. Our first article, covering the districts with the most fundraising, can be found here.

Keep reading



So far this year, 19 members of Congress have announced their retirement, on par with recent odd-numbered years

So far this year, nineteen members of Congress have announced they will not run for re-election in 2022, in line with the average number in other recent odd-numbered years.

The 19 members who have said so far they will not seek re-election include three members of the U.S. Senate and sixteen members of the U.S. House. All three senators and eight of the 16 House members are Republicans and the other eight House members are Democrats. This figure does not include two Republican senators who announced their upcoming retirements before this year.

Ten of the U.S. House members are running for other public office, including seven who are running for the U.S. Senate, two running for governor, and one running for secretary of state. The remaining members are retiring from public office.

Seventeen members of Congress had announced retirements at the end of August 2013 and August 2017. Eighteen members had announced retirements at the end of August 2015 and August 2019. At the end of August 2011, the last Congressional election cycle to take place during ongoing redistricting, 27 members had announced retirements.

March and November are the months with the most congressional retirement announcements in recent odd-numbered years. Since 2011, there have been a total of 24 retirement announcements across odd-numbered years in both months (this includes retirements from March 2021).

When both odd- and even-numbered years are included, January leads in Congressional retirement announcements. Since 2011, 46 members of Congress have announced their retirements in January. June had the fewest retirement announcements during the same period with 10.

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Reps. Billy Long, Conor Lamb announce they will run for Senate next year

U.S. Representatives Conor Lamb (D-Penn.) and Billy Long (R-Mo.) both announced last week that they would run for the U.S. Senate in 2022. Lamb will run for the seat currently held by Sen. Pat Toomey (R). Long will run for the seat currently held by Sen. Roy Blunt (R). Toomey and Blunt are both retiring.

Lamb was first elected in a special election in 2018 and was last re-elected with 51% of the vote to Republican challenger Sean Parnell’s 49%. Long was first elected to the House in 2010 and most recently won re-election with 69% of the vote to Democratic challenger Teresa Montseny’s 27%.

Long and Lamb are the fourteenth and fifteenth members of the House to announce that they will not run for re-election next year. The 15 members of the House who are not running include eight Republicans and seven Democrats. 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 220-212 majority with three vacant seats.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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