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Ellen Morrissey

Ellen Morrissey is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Kwanza Hall defeats Robert Franklin in Georgia’s 5th Congressional District special election runoff

Kwanza Hall (D) defeated Robert Franklin (D) in a special runoff election for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District on December 1, 2020. Hall received 54% of the vote to Franklin’s 46%. 

Hall will serve the remainder of John Lewis’ (D) congressional term through January 3, 2021. Lewis died on July 17, 2020. Since the runoff took place on December 1, 2020, Hall’s tenure in Congress will last 33 days. Nikema Williams (D) will be sworn in to represent the district in the 177th Congress. Williams won the November general election.

Hall and Franklin were the top-two finishers among a field of seven candidates in the September special general election. Hall received 32% of the vote and Franklin received 28%. The two candidates running in the 5th Congressional District’s regularly scheduled general election, Williams and Angela Stanton King (R), did not run in the special election.

Hall previously served on the Atlanta School Board from 2003 to 2006 and the Atlanta City Council from 2006 to 2017. Leading up to the election, he worked as a managing director at Entrepreneurial Endeavors.



Winners certified in Arizona Senate and Iowa’s 2nd, legal challenges developing in New York’s 22nd

Image of several stickers with the words "I voted"

A total of 470 seats in the U.S. Congress (35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats) were up for election on November 3, 2020, including two special elections for U.S. Senate. Below are recent developments in four battleground races—one for U.S. Senate and three for the U.S. House.

U.S. Senate special election in Arizona: The state of Arizona certified Mark Kelly’s (D) win over Sen. Martha McSally (R) on Nov. 30. Because this is a special election, the winner may be sworn in once the state certifies results. Kelly’s campaign announced that his swearing-in would take place at noon on December 2nd. He will fill the rest of the 2017-2022 term former Sen. John McCain (R) won in 2016.

California’s 21st Congressional District: On Nov. 27, the Associated Press projected that David Valadao (R) defeated incumbent TJ Cox (D). Unofficial results showed Valadao ahead by 1,754 votes. Valadao declared victory in the race on November 25, while Cox had not conceded as of November 30. The legal deadline for results certification in the district is December 3rd. 

Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District: On Nov. 28, Iowa completed a recount in the race between Rita Hart (D) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R). Hart requested a full recount on Nov. 13 when unofficial results showed Miller-Meeks leading by 47 votes. Following the recount, Miller-Meeks reportedly led by six votes out of more than 394,400 cast, making it the closest congressional race in the district since at least 1920. A state canvassing board was set to meet on Nov. 30 to certify the results.

New York’s 22nd Congressional District: The result in the race between incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D) and Claudia Tenney remains too close to call. Brindisi held an apparent 12-vote lead before the Thanksgiving holiday. On Nov. 30, Tenney’s campaign said correction of an error in Herkimer County gave her a 13-vote lead. There are more than 2,000 outstanding disputed absentee or affidavit ballots, and the state Supreme Court is expected to rule on their fate.

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Donald Trump wins 20 states with trifectas, Joe Biden wins 18

After the 2020 elections, Republicans had 23 trifectas, Democrats had 15 trifectas, and 11 states had divided governments. Trifecta status in Alaska is pending. A trifecta occurs when one political party holds the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Two divided government states gained Republican trifecta status following the 2020 elections. Joe Biden (D) won New Hampshire, which gained a Republican trifecta when Republicans won majorities in the state legislature. Donald Trump (R) won Montana, which gained a Republican trifecta when Greg Gianforte (R) won the governorship.

Besides New Hampshire, Biden also carried the Republican trifecta states of Arizona and Georgia. Republicans have had a trifecta in Arizona since 2009 and in Georgia since 2005.

In total, Trump won 20 Republican trifectas and Biden won three. Biden won the statewide vote in all 15 Democratic trifecta states.

Biden won three states Donald Trump (R) won in 2016 that now have divided governments. Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania all went to Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020. All three states previously had Republican trifectas; Michigan’s and Wisconsin’s were broken in the 2018 elections, while Pennsylvania’s was broken in the 2014 election.

Biden also won the presidential vote in four other divided government states: Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Vermont. Hillary Clinton (D) won these states in 2016. 

Trump won four divided government states that he also won in 2016: Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and North Carolina. These states all gained divided trifecta status after electing Democratic governors. Louisiana elected a Democratic governor in 2015, followed by North Carolina in 2016, Kansas in 2018, and Kentucky in 2019.



Legislative control of redistricting changed in New Hampshire, Vermont following Nov. 3 elections

Following the 2020 elections, two states saw changes to the partisan makeup of their state legislatures that could affect redistricting, which is set to begin in 2021 following the publication of the U.S. Census.

Republicans in New Hampshire gained control of the Congressional and state legislative redistricting process after the 2020 elections. Republicans won new majorities in both chambers of the state legislature, forming a Republican state government trifecta with Gov. Chris Sununu (R). New Hampshire’s legislature will draw Congressional and state legislative district lines in 2021, and they are subject to a possible gubernatorial veto.

Vermont’s redistricting process will fall under divided party control in 2021.

Heading into the election, Democrats and third-party representatives who caucus with Democrats held supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature. This coalition lost its supermajority status in the state House. The Democratic-majority legislature will create redistricting plans in 2021, but will not have the two-thirds supermajority votes in each chamber necessary to override a possible veto from Republican Governor Phil Scott.

Thirty-four states task their legislatures with Congressional redistricting (not including states with a single at-large U.S. House district), and 35 with state legislative redistricting.

Republican legislatures will control 20 Congressional redistricting processes and 20 state legislative redistricting processes. Democratic legislatures will control 10 Congressional redistricting processes and 11 state legislative redistricting processes.

Four Congressional redistricting and state legislative redistricting processes, respectively, are under divided party control. These include Minnesota, where Republicans maintained control of the state Senate and Democrats maintained control of the state House. Other states—like Louisiana, Wisconsin, Vermont (state legislative only), and Pennsylvania (Congressional only)—have single-party majorities in the legislature and a governor of another party. Vermont has a Democratic legislature and a Republican governor, while the other three states have a Republican legislature and a Democratic governor.

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Burgess Owens defeats incumbent Ben McAdams in Utah’s 4th Congressional District

Burgess Owens (R) defeated incumbent Rep. Ben McAdams (D) and John Molnar (L) in Utah’s 4th Congressional District. 

McAdams was first elected in 2018, defeating incumbent Mia Love (R) 50.1% to 49.9%—a margin of 694 votes. His 2018 election made the 4th District one of 30 House Districts that voted for Donald Trump (R) in 2016 and that a Democrat represented in 2020.

Owens played professional football with the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders, including as part of the Raiders’ 1981 Super Bowl Championship team. Owens later founded Second Chance 4 Youth, a nonprofit supporting incarcerated juveniles.

Heading into the election, Democrats had a 232-197 majority in the House. Democrats were projected to maintain their majority after the 2020 elections. We’ve called 421 races so far. Democrats have won 213 seats and Republicans have won 203. So far, 13 seats have changed party hands. Republicans won nine seats currently held by Democrats and one held by a Libertarian. Democrats won three seats held by Republicans. 



Van Duyne declared winner in Texas’ 24th Congressional District

Beth Van Duyne (R) defeated Candace Valenzuela (D) and three other candidates in the general election for Texas’ 24th Congressional District. Incumbent Rep. Kenny Marchant (R), who was first elected in 2004, did not run for re-election.

Van Duyne worked as a regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Trump administration. She was the Mayor of Irving from 2011-2017.

Heading into the election, Democrats had a 232-197 majority in the House. Republicans need to win a net 21 seats to win control of the chamber.

Outlets have called 415 races so far. Democrats won 215 seats and Republicans won 200. So far, 11 seats have changed party hands. Republicans won seven seats currently held by Democrats and one held by a Libertarian. Democrats won three seats held by Republicans.



Carolyn Bourdeaux defeats Rich McCormick in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District

Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) defeated Rich McCormick (R) in the general election for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District. Incumbent Rep. Rob Woodall (R), first elected in 2010, did not run for re-election.

This was the second time Bourdeaux ran in the district. In 2018, she lost the election to Woodall by 433 votes—50.1% to 49.9%. Bordeaux is a professor at the Andrew Young School of Public Policy and a former Director of Georgia’s Senate Budget and Evaluation Office.

Heading into the election, Democrats had a 232-197 majority in the House. Republicans need to win a net 21 seats to win control of the chamber. We’ve called 408 races so far. Democrats won 212 seats and Republicans won 196. So far, 11 seats have changed party hands. Republicans won seven seats currently held by Democrats and one held by a Libertarian. Democrats won three seats held by Republicans. 



Perry wins re-election in Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District

Incumbent Rep. Scott Perry (R) defeated Eugene DePasquale (D) in the general election for Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District. 

Perry was first elected to represent Pennsylvania’s 4th Congressional District in 2012. Following court-ordered redistricting in 2018, he was elected to the 10th District. In 2018, Perry defeated George Scott (D) 51.3% to 48.7%.

Heading into the election, Democrats had a 232-197 majority in the House.



Incumbent Mayor Ted Wheeler wins re-election in Portland, Oregon

Image of City Hall in Portland, Oregon.

Incumbent Ted Wheeler defeated Sarah Iannarone and write-in candidate Teressa Raiford in the general election for mayor of Portland, Oregon. Wheeler was first elected in 2016.

Nineteen candidates ran in the May 19 primary. Wheeler received 49.1%, Iannarone received 24%, and Raiford received 8.5%. In 2016, Wheeler won during the primary with 55% of the vote.

This race drew media attention following protests in Portland over law enforcement’s use of force and the death of George Floyd. During his campaign, Wheeler said he led on police reform and the city’s COVID-19 response.



Schweikert wins re-election in Arizona’s 6th Congressional District

Incumbent Rep. David Schweikert (R) defeated Hiral Tipirneni (D) in Arizona’s 6th Congressional District election.

Schweikert was first elected in 2010. He was re-elected in 2018 with 55% to Anita Malik’s (D) 45%. Tipirneni was the Democratic nominee in the special and regular elections for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District in 2018. She lost to incumbent Debbie Lesko (R) 48% to 52% and 44.5% to 55.5%, respectively.

Heading into the election, Democrats had a 232-197 majority in the House. Republicans need to win a net 21 seats to win control of the chamber.



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