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Ellen Morrissey

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

Major party campaign committee fundraising nears $600 million in 2022 cycle

Six party committees have raised a combined $599 million over the first nine months of the 2022 election cycle. In September, the committees raised $68 million, according to recent filings with the Federal Election Commission.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $14.5 million and spent $5.1 million in September, while the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $12.2 million and spent $5.8 million. So far in the 2022 election cycle, the DCCC has raised 1.4% more than the NRCC ($106.5 million to $105.1 million). September was the third consecutive month where the DCCC outraised the NRCC.

The senatorial committees raised less than their house counterparts last month, with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raising $9.5 million and spending $7.0 million in August and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raising $8.0 million and spending $5.1 million. The NRSC has raised 12.5% more than the DSCC so far in the 2022 election cycle ($66.7 million to $59.2 million). August was the sixth consecutive month where the NRCC outraised the DSCC.

At this point in the 2020 election cycle, the NRSC also led the DSCC in total fundraising by a 7.1% margin ($47.7 million to $44.5 million). The DCCC led the NRCC in total fundraising by a 38.4% margin ($89.1 million to $60.1 million).

Between the national committees, the Republican National Committee (RNC) raised and spent more than the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in September. The RNC raised $12.7 million and spent $16.6 million, while the DNC raised $11.4 million and spent $9.5 million. So far in the 2022 election cycle, the RNC has raised 1.1% more than the DNC ($122.9 million to $121.5 million).

At this time in the 2020 election cycle, the RNC led the DNC in fundraising by a larger 88.2% margin ($168.7 million to $65.4 million).

So far in the 2022 election cycle, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC have raised 3.0% more than the  DNC, DSCC, and DCCC ($304.1 million to $295.3 million). The Republican committees’ fundraising advantage is down slightly from 3.1% last month.

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Redistricting update: Virginia redistricting commission’s legislative map deadline passes, Arkansas congressional redistricting veto referendum campaign announced

Here’s a summary of recent redistricting updates from Virginia and Arkansas.

In Virginia, the Redistricting Commission did not meet the Oct. 10 deadline to submit state legislative maps to the General Assembly. Under state law, the commission is given a 14 day extension to submit maps after “its initial failure to submit a plan to the General Assembly.” If the commission does not reconvene to draft maps, the authority to create new districts passes to the Virginia Supreme Court, which as of October 2021 was made up of a majority of justices appointed by a Republican-controlled legislature.

The Virginia Redistricting Commission is made up of four Democratic state legislators, four Republican legislators, and eight citizen members. The commission is also tasked with drawing a new congressional map, with an Oct. 25 deadline to submit maps to the legislature.

In Arkansas, an organization called Arkansans for a Unified Natural State announced on Oct. 9 that it would attempt to place both proposed congressional district map bills on the November 2022 general election ballot as veto referendums. On Oct. 13, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said he would neither sign nor veto the map bills, meaning they are set to become law 90 days after Oct. 13. The two map bills, submitted to the governor by the Arkansas General Assembly as HB 1982 and SB 743, are identical.

In order to qualify for the ballot, supporters of the veto referendums would need to gather 53,491 signatures from registered voters across at least 15 of the state’s counties within 90 days after the end of the special legislative session during which the bills were passed. Supporters of the referendums announced they would need to gather the required 53,491 signatures for each of the identical map bills.

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New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice selects Philip Carchman as Legislative Reapportionment Commission tiebreaker

On Oct. 7, New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner named Philip Carchman as the tiebreaker member of the Legislative Reapportionment Commission. Carchman is a former state appellate court judge of the New Jersey Superior Court.

In July, Rabner requested tiebreaker proposals from the Democratic and Republican members of the commission, saying: “If there is a match, I would be favorably inclined to appoint the individual.” The members submitted lists of candidates in August, but no names matched between the lists. Carchman did not appear on either party’s list of recommended candidates.

The New Jersey Supreme Court also selected the tiebreaker for the Congressional Redistricting Commission. A majority of the court voted to select John Wallace, a retired New Jersey Supreme Court justice, to act as a tiebreaker after the commission members were unable to agree on a candidate.

The state constitution gives the chief justice authority to choose an 11th member of the commission to break a tie in the event that the commission cannot reach agreement on state legislative district maps. The redistricting process will officially begin in New Jersey on Oct. 23. Legislative redistricting maps must be approved by March 1, 2022.



Wisconsin General Assembly passes resolution to preserve core of existing districts in redistricting process

On Sept. 28, the Wisconsin General Assembly voted to approve a resolution that called for keeping “as much as possible the core of existing districts, thus maintaining 11 existing communities of interest, and promoting the equal opportunity to vote by minimizing disenfranchisement.” The Senate approved the resolution in a 19-12 vote along party lines, and the Assembly approved it in a 60-38 vote. 

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R) said the resolution was “about continuity of representation. The parameters of reapportionment have always been the same, trying to keep districts compact, contiguous, keep communities of like interest together.”

Gov. Tony Evers (D) said it was unlikely he would approve any maps that maintained the current districts, saying “The current maps are inadequate, and to base our decision-making on that inadequacy would not be doing the people’s work.”

In Wisconsin, both congressional and state legislative district boundaries are drawn by the Wisconsin State Legislature. These lines are subject to veto by the governor. The state legislature has not yet announced a date to begin the redistricting process.



Nebraska enacts congressional and state legislative district maps

On Sept. 30, the Nebraska State Legislature approved new congressional and state legislative district maps. Shortly after the legislature’s approval, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) signed the maps into law.

The congressional map was approved by a 35-11 vote, with all dissenting votes coming from Democratic members of the legislature. All Republicans in attendance voted in favor of the map, along with four Democrats. 

The state legislative map was approved by a 37-7 vote. Twenty-nine Republicans and eight Democrats voted in favor of the map. Five Democrats and two Republicans voted against it.

Following the approval of the maps, Sen. Justin Wayne (D) said: “It was a very frustrating process, but we got to a good result.” Sen. Lou Ann Linehan (R), chairwoman of the redistricting committee, expressed approval of the maps and said she was “constantly reminded how capable Sen. Wayne is” during the negotiations.

These maps will take effect for the 2022 congressional and state legislative elections.



Oregon is first state to enact congressional maps after 2020 census

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed new congressional and state legislative maps into law on Sept. 27, making Oregon the first state to enact congressional maps in the current redistricting cycle. If the maps are not changed by the Oregon Supreme Court as a result of possible legal challenges, this would become the third time since 1910 that Oregon enacted redistricting maps drawn by the legislature.

The congressional maps were approved by the Oregon State Senate 18-6, and the Oregon House of Representatives 33-16. The state legislative maps were approved by the Oregon State Senate 18-11, and the Oregon House of Representatives 31-18.

​​After signing the maps, Gov. Brown released a statement saying: “My office reviewed the maps contained in the bills passed by the Legislature after they were proposed this weekend. Redistricting is a process that necessarily involves compromise, and I appreciate the Legislature working to balance the various interests of all Oregonians.” The House Special Committee On Congressional Redistricting amended the congressional map after Republican legislators criticized the initial Democratic proposal.

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R) criticized the maps, saying: “This is by no means over. The illegal congressional map adopted today, clearly drawn for partisan benefit, will not survive legal challenge. Political gerrymandering in Oregon is illegal and drawing congressional lines to ensure five out of six seats for your party long-term is gerrymandering.”

During the special session on redistricting, which began Sept. 20, House Speaker Tina Kotek (D) made alterations to the redistricting process. Rather than have one house committee made up of three Democrats and three Republicans handle both state legislative and congressional redistricting, she created two new committees to handle the maps. The committee handling congressional maps had two Democratic members and one Republican member, and the committee handling state legislative redistricting had four Democratic members and four Republican members. In a statement, Kotek said: “Ultimately, we are bound to do our constitutional duty and the job Oregonians elected us to do. Separate committees are the only path the House now has to fulfill its responsibilities.”

In response to the procedural change and the proposed maps, all but one Republican member of the house did not attend the special session on Sept. 25. Sixteen of the 23 House Republicans returned when the session resumed on Sept. 27, meaning the House was able to reach a quorum and move forward with the redistricting votes. Rep. Suzanne Weber (R) said “Many of us [Republicans] are only here because we don’t trust the secretary of state [Shemia Fagan (D)] to draw these maps.”

Possible challenges to the congressional map must be filed by Oct. 12, and challenges to the state legislative maps must be filed by Oct. 25. To read more about the redistricting process in Oregon after the 2020 census, click here.



Major party committees have raised $531 million in 2021

Six party committees have raised a combined $531 million over the first eight months of the 2022 election cycle. In August, the committees raised $58 million, according to recent filings with the Federal Election Commission.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $8.0 million and spent $6.9 million in August, while the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $6.2 million and spent $5.9 million. The NRSC has raised 11.9% more than the DSCC so far in the 2022 election cycle ($66.7 million to $59.2 million). August was the fifth consecutive month that the NRCC outraised the DSCC.

The House committees raised more than their Senate counterparts last month. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $10.1 million and spent $6.0 million. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $6.5 million and spent $4.7 million. So far in the 2022 election cycle, the NRCC has raised 0.9% more than the DCCC ($92.8 million to $92.0 million).

At this point in the 2020 election cycle, the NRSC also led the DSCC in fundraising by a 12.3% margin ($42.7 million to $37.7 million). The DCCC led the NRCC in fundraising by a 36.6% margin ($76.2 million to $52.6 million).

Between the national committees, the Republican National Committee (RNC) raised and spent more than the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The RNC raised $12.2 million and spent $16.7 million, while the DNC raised $9.9 million and spent $10.0 million. So far in the 2022 election cycle, the RNC has raised 0.06% more than the DNC ($110.2 million to $110.1 million).

At this time in the 2020 election cycle, the RNC led the DNC in fundraising by an 83% margin ($141.4 million to $58.5 million).

So far in the 2022 election cycle, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC have raised 3.1% more than the  DNC, DSCC, and DCCC ($269.7 million to $261.3 million). The Republican committees’ fundraising advantage is down slightly from 3.2% last month.

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Redistricting proposals rejected in Nebraska; legal challenges expected to enacted maps in Ohio

Here’s a summary of the week’s noteworthy redistricting news out of Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin:

Nebraska: On Sept. 17, the Nebraska legislature rejected Sen. Lou Ann Linehan’s (R) proposed congressional redistricting map (LB1). The legislature voted 29-17 in support of advancing the map, which was four votes short of the 33 needed to advance. Sixteen Democrats and Sen. John McCollister (R) voted against advancing the map. On Sept. 20, the Nebraska legislature also rejected Linehan’s proposed map (LB3) for legislative redistricting. The map received 27 of the 33 vote needed to advance. Seventeen Democratic legislators voted against the bill, along with McCollister.

The Lincoln Journal-Star reported on Sept. 21 that Senate Speaker Mike Hilgers (R) said he may adjourn the legislature’s special redistricting session, which is expected to end by Sept. 30, without enacting new maps. Hilgers said if new maps are not approved this month, the legislature would take up redrawing congressional and legislative district boundaries during the Senate’s regular session in January, which could force the state to delay next year’s primary elections.

Ohio: Following the enactment of state legislative maps, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R), who are members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission, said they expected legal action to challenge the maps. DeWine (R) said: “Along with the secretary of state I will vote to send this matter forward but it will not be the end of it. We know that this matter will be in court. […] What I am sure in my heart is that this committee could have come up with a bill that was much more clearly constitutional.” The commission voted to approve state legislative maps along party lines shortly after midnight on Sept. 16. Since the maps were only approved by Republican members of the commission, they will only last for four years rather than ten.

Oregon: Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D) announced the creation of two special legislative committees to review congressional and state legislative maps during the first day of the legislature’s special redistricting session on Sept. 20. Kotek appointed two Democrats and one Republican to the House Special Committee on Congressional Redistricting, and four Democrats and four Republicans to the House Special Committee on State Legislative Redistricting. Previously a single committee, the House Special Committee on Redistricting had the responsibility of considering both the legislative and congressional maps

Also, the Oregon Senate approved the Senate Redistricting Committee’s legislative and congressional redistricting proposals 18-11 on Sept. 20 along party lines. All 18 Democratic legislators voted to approve the maps, and 10 Republicans and one independent legislator voted against.

Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission said on Sept. 21 it would only count incarcerated individuals whose sentences expire in less than ten years at their last residence, rather than at their place of incarceration, for the purposes of redistricting. On Aug. 23, the commission voted to approve a measure that would count all incarcerated individuals at their last known address, rather than at their place of incarceration.

Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Supreme Court decided 4-3 on Sept. 22 to hear a redistricting case filed by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty asking the court to establish a timeline for the legislature and Gov. Tony Evers (D) to agree on new maps, and for the court draw the maps should the legislature and governor be unable to. The state supreme court said that lawsuits concerning the state’s district maps should be heard in state, rather than federal, courts, stating, “This court has long deemed redistricting challenges a proper subject for the court’s exercise of its original jurisdiction.”

On Sept. 21, a three-judge federal district court panel asked all parties to a lawsuit associated with the state’s redistricting process to submit a proposed schedule to complete a trial by the end of January so that district maps can be finalized by March 1, 2022. The lawsuit was filed by a group of plaintiffs on Aug. 13 and asks the court to set a deadline for legislators to redraw district maps. The suit also asks the court to intervene and draw maps if the deadline is not met. The panel’s opinion stated, “If history is any guide, to put it mildly, there’s at least a substantial likelihood that divided government in the state of Wisconsin will have trouble, as it has in the past, drawing its own maps.”

Federal law requires that a three-judge panel hear constitutional challenges to congressional or state legislative redistricting plans. The judges on the panel are appeals court justice Amy St. Eve, James Peterson, and Edmond Chang. St. Eve was nominated to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals by Donald Trump (R) and Chang and Peterson were nominated to the district court by Barack Obama (D).

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Ohio Redistricting Commission approves new state legislative maps along party lines

The Ohio Redistricting Commission approved new state legislative district maps by a 5-2 vote early in the morning on Sept. 16. The two Democratic members of the commission, state Rep. Emilia Sykes (D) and state Sen. Vernon Sykes (D), were the two dissenting votes. Since the map was approved along partisan lines, it will only last for four years, rather than ten, as outlined in the 2015 constitutional amendment creating the commission.

Senate President Matt Huffman (R), a member of the commission, estimated that the new maps would create 62 Republican seats and 37 Democratic seats in the House, and 23 Republican seats and 10 Democratic seats in the Senate. Cleveland.com reported that Democrats on the commission agreed with the Senate estimates, but said the new House map would create 65 Republican seats and 34 Democratic seats.

A statement from the commission explaining the manner by which districts were allocated said: “The Commission considered statewide state and federal partisan general election results during the last ten years. There were sixteen such contests. When considering the results of each of those elections, the Commission determined that Republican candidates won thirteen out of sixteen of those elections. […] Accordingly, the statewide proportion of districts whose voters favor each political party corresponds closely to the statewide preferences of the voters of Ohio.”

Following the enactment of the maps, Huffman released a statement saying: “These house and senate maps will be in place for the next four years, and represent an important first step towards approving the next map that will complete the decade. […] I’m convinced we could’ve reached a ten-year map. However, special interests pressured democrats to not support it, asking voters to extend the deadline to accomplish that.”

Leading up to the vote, Emilia Sykes disapproved of the maps as overly partisan, saying she would “call it offensive and plain wrong to move forward this map […] to put forth something that so arrogantly flies in the face of what people, our voters, asked us to do, not once, but twice.”

Commission members Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) expressed disapproval of the maps and said they expected court challenges to follow their vote. DeWine said: “Along with the secretary of state I will vote to send this matter forward but it will not be the end of it. We know that this matter will be in court. […] What I am sure in my heart is that this committee could have come up with a bill that was much more clearly constitutional.”

Click here to view images of the maps and read more about redistricting in Ohio following the 2020 census.

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Recent state court actions suspend state-level universal school mask requirement bans in Florida and Tennessee, uphold a ban in South Carolina

As schools have begun reopening for the 2021-2022 academic year, several states have enacted policies on mask requirements in schools. As of Sept. 9, four states banned school mask requirements, seventeen states required masks in schools, and twenty-nine states left school mask decisions up to local authorities.

Recent legal actions have affected these policies in Florida, Tennessee, and South Carolina. In Florida, Second Circuit Court Judge John Cooper ruled on Sept. 8 that the state Department of Education could not enforce Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) order prohibiting mask requirements without an opt-out option for parents in public schools. Cooper had ruled against DeSantis’ order on Aug. 27, but the ruling had not gone into effect as DeSantis appealed the decision. Following a Sept. 8 hearing on the status of the order pending appeal, Cooper said the government did not present a compelling case for blocking his order. The ban on enforcement will remain in effect until the First District Court of Appeals hears DeSantis’ appeal.

In Tennessee, United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee Judge Sheryl H. Lipman ruled on Sept. 3 in favor of two students who sued Gov. Bill Lee (R) after he issued an order requiring schools to allow students to opt-out of school mask mandates. Lipman ruled Lee’s order violated the students’ rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

In South Carolina, the state Supreme Court rejected the city of Columbia’s challenge to the state’s school mask requirement ban. The court found that the mask requirement ban, which was established in an amendment to the state’s budget, was related to budgetary concerns and therefore did not violate a South Carolina rule requiring state laws address a single primary subject.

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