Author

Emily Aubert

Emily Aubert is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Vice President Harris casts eighth tie-breaking vote in NLRB confirmation vote

Vice President Kamala Harris (D) cast her eighth tie-breaking vote in the Senate on Wednesday to confirm Jennifer Ann Abruzzo as general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board. The Senate voted 50-50 along party lines.

Harris previously cast tie-breaking votes related to the confirmation processes of Kiran Ahuja for director of the Office of Personnel Management and Colin Kahl for under secretary of defense for policy.

In the past four decades, vice presidents have cast a total of 40 tie-breaking votes. Vice President Mike Pence (R) cast the most during this time period with 13 tie-breaking votes.

John Adams cast the first tie-breaking vote on July 18, 1789. In total, there have been 276 tie-breaking votes from 37 vice presidents. Twelve vice presidents, including Joe Biden (D) and Dan Quayle (R), never cast a tie-breaking vote during their time in office.



Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signs legislation replacing state’s presidential caucus

Earlier this month, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed a bill into law that replaces the state’s presidential caucus with a primary and seeks to make that primary the first presidential nominating event in 2024.

Sisolak said, “This brings me great pride, as the diversity and culture found in the people in the great state of Nevada undoubtedly represent the demographical composition of who we are as a nation.”

Democrats and Republicans in Nevada are not unified in the push. Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael J. McDonald said in a joint statement with Republican leaders from Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, “As the GOP leaders of the four carve out states, we want to make clear that we stand together in protecting the Presidential nominating schedule as it has existed for many years. Our alliance is strong and we will continue to work together to preserve this historic process.”

The Democratic National Committee, which can penalize or reward states through delegate allocation based on when they hold their primaries, has not yet released its plans for the 2024 presidential calendar.

The debate over which state should cast its presidential primary votes first has centered on voter demographics, candidate viability, regional diversity, and structural issues.

After the results of the Iowa Democratic caucus were delayed for several days in 2020, Democratic leaders from Nevada and South Carolina renewed the call for a change to the primary calendar.

Click here to learn more about the arguments for replacing or maintaining Iowa and New Hampshire as the first states to vote during the presidential primary.

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Adams leads Wiley, Garcia in first round of New York City Democratic mayoral primary

New York City held its Democratic and Republican primaries for mayor of New York City on June 22. It was the first time ranked-choice voting (RCV) was used for a mayoral primary in the city’s history. Final RCV tabulations are not expected until the week of July 12, due to the deadlines for voters to submit absentee ballots and fix ballot issues.

With 84% of precincts reporting, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams led 12 other Democrats with 32% support in the first round of voting. Former mayoral counsel Maya Wiley and former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia followed with 22% and 20%, respectively.

Curtis Sliwa defeated Fernando Mateo in the first round of the Republican primary with more than 70% of the vote.

Sliwa and the Democratic nominee will advance to the general election on November 2, 2021. Incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is not running for re-election due to term limits.



New York City primaries for mayor, city comptroller to be held on June 22

Primaries for the mayor and comptroller of New York City will be held on Tuesday, June 22. The winners will advance to the general election on November 2, 2021.

Thirteen Democrats and two Republicans are running in the primaries for mayor of New York City. Incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is not running for re-election due to term limits.

The primary election will feature the first use of ranked-choice voting (RCV) for a mayoral primary in the city’s history. Voters will be able to rank up to five candidates on their ballot in order of preference.

The following six Democratic candidates have received the most media attention and noteworthy endorsements:

• Eric Adams, Brooklyn borough president

• Kathryn Garcia, former New York City sanitation commissioner

• Raymond McGuire, former Wall Street executive

• Scott Stringer, New York City comptroller

• Maya Wiley, former mayoral counsel

• Andrew Yang, entrepreneur

The top issues in this race are crime, policing, affordable housing, jobs, and healthcare.

New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers founder Fernando Mateo and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa are running in the Republican primary.

De Blasio was first elected in 2013 and won re-election in 2017 with 66% of the vote. Including de Blasio, four of the previous six mayors were Democrats.

The Democratic primary for New York City comptroller is also being held on June 22. Ten candidates are running for the office, whose duties include performing audits of city agencies and managing five public pension funds. As of March 2021, the funds totaled $253 billion in assets.

The following seven candidates are leading in endorsements and fundraising:

• Brian Benjamin, state senator

• Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, former CNBC financial analyst

• Zachary Iscol, former Marine and nonprofit founder

• Corey Johnson, New York City Council speaker

• Brad Lander, New York City Council member

• Kevin Parker, state senator

• David Weprin, state assemblyman

The Republican primary was canceled, and Daby Carreras advanced as the Republican nominee for New York City comptroller.

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Sen. Ron Johnson temporarily suspended from YouTube for violating platform’s medical misinformation policy

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) was suspended from YouTube for seven days on June 11, 2021, for promoting hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 during a virtual event hosted by the Milwaukee Press Club.

A YouTube spokesperson said in a statement, “We removed the video in accordance with our COVID-19 medical misinformation policies, which don’t allow content that encourages people to use Hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus.”

Johnson responded: “Big Tech and mainstream media believe they are smarter than medical doctors who have devoted their lives to science and use their skills to save lives. They have decided there is only one medical viewpoint allowed and it is the viewpoint dictated by government agencies.”

Ballotpedia has tracked five federal and state officials suspended or banned from social media platforms while in office since 2019.



Early voting begins in NYC mayoral primary on June 12

Thirteen candidates are running in the Democratic primary for mayor of New York City on June 22, 2021. Early voting began on June 12.

This election features the first use of ranked-choice voting for a mayoral primary in the city’s history. Under this system, voters will be able to rank up to five candidates on their ballot in order of preference. A candidate must receive a majority of votes cast to win the election, and votes for eliminated candidates are redistributed based on the next preference on the ballot.

On June 10, five Democrats discussed gun violence, policing, legal marijuana, and historical landmarks in the final primary debate before early voting:

* Eric Adams, Brooklyn borough president

* Kathryn Garcia, former New York City Sanitation Commissioner

* Scott Stringer, New York City comptroller

* Maya Wiley, former mayoral counsel

* Andrew Yang, entrepreneur and 2020 presidential candidate

Adams led in an Emerson College poll released this week with 23% support in the first round of voting. Wiley, whose candidacy was boosted by the endorsement of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on June 5, came in second with 17%.

Yang, Garcia, and Stringer followed with 15%, 12%, and 9% respectively. Yang received an endorsement from the Uniformed Firefighters Association last week, while Garcia was backed by Citizens Union (CU). Adams and Stringer were the second and third choices for CU.

Two candidates are running in the Republican primary: New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers founder Fernando Mateo and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa.

Incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is not running for re-election due to term limits. De Blasio was first elected in 2013 and won re-election in 2017 with 66% of the vote. Including de Blasio, four of the previous six mayors were Democrats.



Eight Democratic mayoral candidates debate on June 2—three weeks before NYC primary

Eight Democratic candidates for mayor of New York City participated in their first in-person debate on June 2, 2021: Eric Adams, Shaun Donovan, Kathryn Garcia, Ray McGuire, Dianne Morales, Scott Stringer, Maya Wiley, and Andrew Yang.

They discussed gun violence, hate crimes, policing, the city budget, public education, and the economy.

Heading into the debate, Garcia topped an Emerson College poll of 570 likely voters conducted May 23-24 with 21% support in the first round and 55% support in the eleventh and final round of ranked-choice voting. The margin of error was 4.1%. Adams and Yang, who led in earlier polls, rounded out the final three.

Garcia’s performance in polling has improved following endorsements from The New York Times and the New York Daily News. Other recent key endorsements in the race include Rep. John Liu (D-N.Y.) for Yang, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) for Wiley, and Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) for Adams.

Stringer, who lost endorsements following allegations of sexual misconduct that Stringer denied, received a boost from the United Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers in May through a $4 million television and digital ad campaign.

Additional key spending in the race includes $500,000 from investor George Soros to a pro-Wiley super PAC and $1 million from oil executive John Hess to a pro-McGuire group.

The primary election will take place on June 22, 2021. It will be the first mayoral primary in New York City to use ranked-choice voting. Voters will be able to rank up to five candidates on their ballot in order of preference. 

Incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) did not run for re-election because of term limits.



Comparing 2020 presidential and senatorial vote share by party

Image of donkey and elephant to symbolize the Democratic and Republican parties.

Ballotpedia compared the performance of Joe Biden (D) and Donald Trump (R) in the 2020 presidential election to Democratic and Republican Senate candidates in each state.

Thirty-five U.S. Senate elections were held in the general election. Biden outperformed Chris Janicek (D) in Nebraska, Sara Gideon (D) in Maine, and the cumulative vote total for Democratic Senate candidates in Louisiana by the largest margins with a percentage difference of 27.0%, 22.5%, and 15.8%, respectively.

Biden underperformed Steve Bullock (D) in Montana, Doug Jones (D) in Alabama, and Mike Espy (D) in Mississippi by the largest margins with a percentage difference of 10.7%, 8.0%, and 7.0%, respectively.

The following map shows the percentage difference between Biden and Democratic Senate candidates in all states that held Senate elections. Positive numbers indicate Biden overperformed. Negative numbers indicate Biden underperformed. 

Trump outperformed Allen Water (R) in Rhode Island, Bryant Messer (R) in New Hampshire, and Lauren Witzke (R) in Delaware, by the largest margins with a percentage difference of 19.2%, 11.4%, and 7.5%, respectively.

Trump underperformed Susan Collins (R) in Maine, Mike Rounds (R) in South Dakota, and Ben Sasse (R) in Nebraska, by the largest margins with a percentage difference of 14.6%, 5.7%, and 4.7%, respectively.

The following map shows the percentage difference between Trump and Republican Senate candidates in all states that held Senate elections. Positive numbers indicate Trump overperformed. Negative numbers indicate Trump underperformed.

Additional reading:



Senate Commerce Committee advances Lander nomination for OSTP director

On May 20, 2021, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation favorably reported by voice vote the nomination of Eric Lander for director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Lander advances to the Senate for a confirmation vote.

President Joe Biden (D) elevated the office of the OSTP director to his Cabinet, marking the first time this position was made Cabinet-level. 

Lander, a geneticist, molecular biologist, and mathematician, served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2017. He is the final announced Biden Cabinet nominee awaiting confirmation. 

One other Cabinet position—director of the Office of Management and Budget—currently remains unfilled. Neera Tanden, Biden’s original nominee for the position, withdrew from consideration on Mar. 2 following bipartisan opposition to her nomination. Biden has not yet named a replacement nominee.

Additional reading:



Stefanik replaces Cheney as Republican conference chair

On May 14, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) was elected the new Republican conference chair by a vote of 134-46. She succeeds Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who was removed from the position on May 12.

Cheney was one of 10 House Republicans to support the second impeachment of President Donald Trump (R) following the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol. Republicans had previously held an unsuccessful vote to recall Cheney in February.

Cheney said in an interview after her removal, “Right now, I am very focused on making sure that our party becomes again a party that stands for truth and stands for fundamental principles that are conservative and mostly stands for the Constitution, and I won’t let a former president or anybody else unravel the democracy.”

During a press conference after Stefanik was elected, the House Republican leadership team said the conference was unified. Stefanik also thanked Trump, who endorsed her for the position. She said, “I believe that voters determine the leader of the Republican Party and President Trump is the leader that they look to.”

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