Author

David Luchs

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

Marianne Williamson leads Democratic candidates in pageviews again following second presidential debate

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.
 
Marianne Williamson’s (D) campaign received 7,588 pageviews on Ballotpedia the week of July 28-August 3 when the second round of Democratic presidential debates took place.
 
Williamson’s pageviews represented 8.1% of the pageviews for all Democratic presidential campaigns. Tulsi Gabbard received 7.0% of Democratic candidate pageviews for the week, while Joe Biden received 6.8%.
 
This is Williamson’s second time leading Democratic candidates in pageviews. The first time was the week of the first round of Democratic debates.
 
Gabbard’s campaign page had the largest increase in pageviews over the previous week, jumping 375.27%. Every Democratic candidate except Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris registered a pageview increase of 100% or more.
 
Pete Buttigieg’s campaign still leads Democrats in lifetime pageviews with 97,150. Andrew Yang again has the second-most lifetime pageviews after surpassing Kamala Harris last week. Harris’ lifetime pageviews had surpassed Yang’s the week before. Yang currently has 84,124 pageviews to Harris’ 83,846.
 
On the GOP side, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld had 26,651 pageviews to President Trump’s 2,354.


Eleven contested state executive primaries on Mississippi voters’ ballots Tuesday

Mississippi is holding state executive and legislative primary elections Tuesday. Of the eleven state executive offices on the ballot this year, seven feature a contested Republican primary and four feature a contested Democratic primary.
 
Gov. Phil Bryant (R) is term-limited, leaving his seat open for the first time since 2011. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., and state Rep. Robert Foster are seeking the Republican nomination to succeed Bryant. On the Democratic side, eight candidates including Attorney General Jim Hood and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith are running. Mississippi has elected a Republican governor in every election since 2003.
 
Voters in both primaries will also nominate a candidate for secretary of state, responsible for management and oversight of Mississippi’s elections. In the Democratic primary, Maryra Hunt faces former Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree, while the Republican contest features Sen. Michael Watson and Public Service Commissioner Sam Britton.
 
Republican voters will nominate candidates in the contested primaries for lieutenant governor and attorney general. In the lieutenant gubernatorial primary, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and Shane Quick are running. Meanwhile, state Rep. Mark Baker, state Treasurer Lynn Fitch, and attorney Andy Taggart, a former chief of staff to Gov. Kirk Fordice (R), are running for the Republican nomination for attorney general. No Republican has served as attorney general of Mississippi since 1878.
 
The only downballot statewide race with a contested primary is the Republican primary to succeed Lynn Fitch as treasurer. Former state Sen. Eugene Clark and attorney and businessman David McRae are running in that election.
 
Candidates for the Central and Southern Public Service Commission districts will also be selected. Those offices are responsible for management and oversight of utilities in Mississippi. In the Central district, four candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination and two are seeking the Republican nomination to succeed Cecil Brown (D). In the Southern district, two Democrats and two Republicans are running for the seat currently held by secretary of state candidate Sam Britton (R).
 
In order to win their party’s nomination, candidates must receive a majority of all votes cast. If no candidate wins a majority of votes, the top two finishers will advance to an August 27 runoff. The winners will advance to the November 5 general election.
 


Potential trifecta changes in five states in 2019 elections

Five states are holding gubernatorial or state legislative elections this year: Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia. All five states could see a change in trifecta status as a result.
 
A state government trifecta exists when one party controls a state’s governorship and holds majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. There are currently 22 Republican trifectas and 14 Democratic trifectas. Sixty-three trifectas have been broken or formed in the past 10 years.
 
As part of Ballotpedia’s ongoing coverage of state elections, we assess the vulnerability of each existing trifecta and the chances of new trifectas forming. None of the five states holding 2019 elections shifted in our ratings this month.
 
Kentucky has been under a Republican trifecta since the party gained a majority in the state House in the 2016 elections. This year, only the governorship is up for election, so Democrats cannot gain a trifecta in Kentucky. If Matt Bevin (R) is re-elected, Kentucky’s Republican trifecta will hold, and if he is defeated it will be broken.
 
Louisiana is under divided government, meaning that neither party has a trifecta, as a result of John Bel Edwards’ (D) victory in the 2015 gubernatorial election. Edwards is up for re-election this year along with all 144 state legislative seats. To gain a trifecta, Democrats would need to hold the governorship and gain majorities in both legislative chambers while Republicans would need to hold their legislative majorities and win the governorship.
 
Republicans have held a trifecta in Mississippi since winning control of the state House in 2011. This year, the governorship and all 174 state legislative seats are up for election. In order to hold their trifecta, Republicans would need to hold the governorship and majorities in both legislative chambers, while Democrats would only need to win the governorship or gain a majority in one chamber to break the Republican trifecta.
 
New Jersey has been a Democratic trifecta since Phil Murphy (D) won the 2017 gubernatorial election. This year, all 80 seats in the state Assembly are up for election. Because the governorship and the state Senate are not up for election, Republicans cannot gain a trifecta in New Jersey this year. To hold their trifecta, Democrats would need to hold their majority in the state Assembly while Republicans would need to gain a majority to break the Democratic trifecta.
 
Virginia has been under divided government since Mark Warner (D) won the 2001 gubernatorial election. This year, all 140 seats in the state legislature are up for election. Because the governorship is not up for election, Republicans cannot gain a trifecta in Virginia this year. In order to gain a trifecta, Democrats would need to flip both chambers, while Republicans would need to hold at least one chamber to prevent Democrats from gaining a trifecta. Democrats would need to flip two seats in each chamber to win control.
 


Joe Biden led Democratic presidential candidates in pageviews last week, Kamala Harris rose to second in 2019 pageviews

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 3,185 pageviews for the week of July 21-27. Biden’s pageview figure represents 9.5% of the pageviews for all Democratic candidates during the week. Kamala Harris had 8.3% of the Democratic campaign pageviews for the week while Elizabeth Warren had 6.8%.
 
Every Democratic campaign’s pageviews decreased by 8% or more relative to the week of July 14-20. Tulsi Gabbard’s 8.0% was the smallest decrease among all Democratic candidates, followed by Jay Inslee’s 9.3% decrease and Tim Ryan’s 11.0% decrease.
 
Last week, Harris surpassed Andrew Yang in lifetime pageviews with 78,429 pageviews to Yang’s 78,004. The only Democratic campaign page with more lifetime views than Harris’ is Pete Buttigieg’s page, which has recorded 92,483 views since launch.
 
On the GOP side, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld had 7,900 pageviews to President Trump’s 1,095.


One week until Mississippi gubernatorial primaries

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) is term-limited, leaving his seat open in this year’s gubernatorial election. Republican and Democratic party primaries will take place Tuesday, August 6, to select gubernatorial nominees.
 
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., and state Rep. Robert Foster will appear on the Republican primary ballot. Each have identified different policy priorities. Reeves, who local media outlets have identified as a frontrunner based on his fundraising advantage and endorsement from Bryant, says he has a record of experience in state government and will oppose tax increases. Waller, whose endorsers include four former state party chairmen, says he would focus on repairing the state’s roads and bridges. Foster emphasizes his status as a political outsider and says he would focus on agricultural policy.
 
In the Democratic primary, state Attorney General Jim Hood, Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, and six other candidates will be on the ballot. No Democratic candidate has won election as governor of Mississippi since 1999. Hood says that he can win statewide elections as a Democrat, citing his four victories in statewide attorney general races since 2003. Smith says that one of the reasons for his run is that Hood wrongfully tried him on criminal charges based on his race three times between 2016 and 2018. If no candidate wins a majority in either primary, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff on August 27. The winners will appear on the November 5 general election ballot. In order to win outright, a candidate must win a majority of the statewide vote and carry a majority of state House districts.
 
Additional reading:


President Trump vetoes three resolutions related to arms sales, bringing his veto total to five

President Donald Trump (R) vetoed three congressional resolutions limiting sales and export of Paveway laser-guided bombs July 24.
 
Senate Joint Resolutions 36, 37, and 38 were introduced by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) on June 5, 2019. They prohibited elements of a June 3 proposal involving export of the Paveway II and Paveway IV laser-guided bomb system to six countries, including the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.
 
All three resolutions passed the U.S. Senate on June 20 and the U.S. House on July 17. None received two-thirds support, which would be required for a veto override, in either chamber.
 
In his veto messages, President Trump said that the three resolutions would limit U.S. security capabilities, prolong the war in Yemen, threaten the safety of U.S. citizens living in Saudi Arabia, and “damage the credibility of the United States as a reliable partner by signaling that we are willing to abandon our partners and allies at the very moment when threats to them are increasing.”
 
President Trump has issued five vetoes since taking office. During their two terms in office, Presidents Barack Obama (D) and George W. Bush (R) each issued 12 vetoes, while Bill Clinton (D) issued 37 vetoes.
 


Tobacco age increased to 21 in Delaware, New York governor signs bill to do the same

A Delaware law increasing the tobacco age restriction from 18 to 21 took effect Tuesday, making Delaware the ninth state to raise the age restriction to 21 since 2015. Gov. John Carney (D) signed the increase into law on April 17 after it passed the state House by a 25-16 vote and the state Senate by a 14-6 vote.
 
Also Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a bill to raise New York’s tobacco age restriction from 18 to 21. The bill, which passed the state Assembly by a 120-26 vote and the state Senate by a 52-9 vote, is set to take effect November 13, 120 days after its signing.
 
Since June 2015, when Hawaii became the first state in the 21st century to raise its tobacco age restriction to 21, such laws have taken effect in eight other states, including Delaware. Three states have a tobacco age restriction of 19 and the remaining 38 states have a tobacco age restriction of 18. There are eight states, including New York, with a tobacco age increase to 21 set to take effect.
 


Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens dies at the age of 99

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died Tuesday at the age of 99.
 
Stevens was appointed to the court by President Gerald Ford (R) in 1975 to succeed Justice William O. Douglas. He was Ford’s only appointment to the court. Stevens served until assuming senior status in June 2010, after which President Barack Obama (D) appointed Justice Elena Kagan to succeed him. During his tenure, Stevens served on the Burger Court, the Rehnquist Court, and the Roberts Court.
 
Before his appointment to the Supreme Court, Stevens served on the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. He was appointed to that post by President Richard Nixon (R) in 1970. He earlier worked in private practice in Chicago and served as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy during World War II.


Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announces resignation

U.S. Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta announced he would resign from his cabinet position, effective July 19.
 
President Trump nominated Acosta to serve as Secretary of Labor on February 16, 2017. Acosta was confirmed by the Senate on April 27, 2017, and sworn in the following day. Deputy Secretary of Labor Pattrick Pizzella will succeed Acosta as acting secretary.
 
Acosta said that he didn’t want his approval of a non-prosecution agreement with financier Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 to overshadow the achievements of the President and the Department of Labor. While serving as a U.S. attorney in Florida, Acosta agreed to the agreement under which Epstein served 13 months in county jail. On July 6, Epstein was arrested and charged with sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors from 2002 to 2005.
 
Acosta said he had struck the agreement after a state grand jury recommended a charge which would bring a more lenient sentence for Epstein and added that the full extent of Epstein’s alleged crimes was not known at the time. A district court judge ruled in February 2019 that the agreement had violated the Crime Victims Rights Act since Epstein’s alleged victims had not been informed in advance.
 


Last week, Kamala Harris led Democratic candidates in Ballotpedia pageviews for the first time

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.
 
Kamala Harris’ campaign page on Ballotpedia received 4,678 pageviews for the week of June 30 – July 6. Harris’ pageview figure represents 9.1% of the pageviews for all Democratic candidates during the week. Pete Buttigieg had 7.1% of the Democratic campaign pageviews for the week while Marianne Williamson had 6.8%.
 
Every Democratic campaign’s pageviews decreased by 50% or more relative to the week of June 23-29, when the first Democratic debate took place. Harris’ 52.7% decrease was the smallest among all Democratic candidates, followed by 56.7% for Elizabeth Warren and 57.4% for Joe Biden. Marianne Williamson, who led in pageviews last week, registered the fourth-largest decline this week at 71.4%.
 
The top three candidates in lifetime pageviews are Buttigieg with 85,128, Andrew Yang with 71,129, and Harris with 68,255.
 
On the GOP side, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld had 10,608 pageviews to President Trump’s 1,308.


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