Emily Aubert

Emily Aubert is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at

Bennet releases $1T climate change proposal

May 21, 2019: Michael Bennet released his land management-focused climate change proposal. Libertarians call on Justin Amash to leave the Republican Party and run for president.

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

What was the first presidential election where candidates were nominated at party conventions?

  1. 1796→
  2. 1832→
  3. 1880→
  4. 1972→

Notable Quote of the Day

“You have to air these things [White House policy proposals] now. Democrats are taking up all this space because you have so many of them. We have to offer all our plans earlier because the Democrats are otherwise going to be given free rein.”

– Brad Blakeman, former George W. Bush administration senior staffer


  • Michael Bennet released his $1 trillion climate change platform focused on land management and agriculture Monday. He called for investing in biofuels, reaching 100% net zero emissions by 2050, and conserving roughly one-third of U.S. lands and ocean territory. 
  • CNN announced it will hold four more town halls in late May and early June with Bennet, Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, and Eric Swalwell.
  • Joe Biden campaigned in Nashville, Tennessee, where he framed his campaign as an effort to restore the soul of America.
  • Bill de Blasio discussed his presidential campaign and Trump on CNN’s New Day.
  • Steve Bullock said he could win in red states and that Citizens United was preventing Washington, D.C., from working properly.
  • Pete Buttigieg held a fundraiser at Wynwood Walls in Miami, Florida, Monday.
  • KUT News profiled Julián Castro and his “People First” immigration platform.
  • The Independent Journal Review launched its new “The 2020 Twenty” series by asking John Delaney 20 questions about his policy priorities, North Korea, marijuana, artificial intelligence, and other issues.
  • Tulsi Gabbard continued to criticize the Trump administration on its Iran policy and said she had not seen sufficient intelligence information on a potential threat.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand discussed abortion access during an interview on The Daily Show Monday night.
  • Forward profiled David Oks, the high school senior managing Mike Gravel’s campaign.
  • Kamala Harris said she believed fatal police shootings and alleged police brutality incidents should have independent investigations, marking a shift from her previous opposition to taking investigatory discretion from district attorneys.
  • John Hickenlooper gave his first foreign policy speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Monday, where he discussed U.S. relations with China, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, and North Korea. He said he would use an “activist, not a pacifist” approach to foreign policy.
  • Jay Inslee explained how a public healthcare option will work in Washington in an interview with Vox.
  • Amy Klobuchar discussed Alzheimer’s disease research and caregiving and shared her experience of having a parent in a memory care community.
  • Wayne Messam will campaign in New Hampshire Tuesday, holding a meet and greet with the New Hampshire Young Democrats.
  • Beto O’Rourke said he would participate in a town hall on Fox News. He is scheduled to appear in a CNN town hall Tuesday from Iowa.
  • The New York Times profiled Bernie Sanders and his time as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont. 
  • Elizabeth Warren joined Inslee in calling for a debate focused entirely on climate change.
  • Marianne Williamson discussed abortion and moral leadership in the White House on ABC News’ The Briefing Room and Bloomberg’s Balance of Power.
  • Andrew Yang will join SEIU Local 199 President Cathy Gleeson at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, Tuesday.


  • Donald Trump held a rally in Pennsylvania to support Fred Keller (R) against Marc Friedenberg (D) in the special election in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District. While discussing the 2020 election, Trump focused on Pennsylvania-born Joe Biden, saying he deserted the state by representing Delaware in the U.S. Senate.
  • Bill Weld will speak at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Massachusetts about his presidential campaign.

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

  • Libertarian National Committee Chairman Nicholas Sarwark said there was an organized recruitment effort to encourage Justin Amash to switch to the Libertarian Party and run for president after Amash became the first Republican to say he supported impeachment proceedings against Trump based on the Mueller report.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: May 21, 2015

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Donald Trump discussed Chinese currency manipulation and said he would not cut Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security.

State Sen. Dan Bishop (R) will face Dan McCready (D) in the NC-09 special election

State Sen. Dan Bishop (R) won the Republican primary in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District special election with 48 percent of the vote in a field of 10 candidates. It was the largest Republican primary field in the district since 2012.
With Bishop receiving more than 30 percent support, a Republican primary runoff is unnecessary and the general election will be held on September 10.
Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing (R) came in second with 20 percent of the vote. Club for Growth, which endorsed Bishop, spent more than $78,000 on ads against Rushing.
The National Association of Realtors was the biggest spender in the race, putting $1.3 million into TV and radio ads supporting realtor Leigh Thomas Brown (R). She came fourth in the race behind former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour (R) with 9 percent support.
Bishop will face Dan McCready (D) in the general election. McCready, the Democratic nominee in 2018, ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.
The special election was called following an investigation by the state Board of Elections into alleged absentee voter fraud in the 2018 election.

What happens if more than 20 Democrats qualify for the first presidential primary debate?

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced that the first set of Democratic presidential primary debates will be held in the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami on June 26 and 27, 2019.
Author Marianne Williamson (D) announced last week that she had met the fundraising threshold to qualify for the first debates by having more than 65,000 unique contributors. A candidate can also qualify for the debates by reaching 1 percent support or more in three national or early voting state polls.
A maximum of 20 candidates—10 per night of the debate—will be able to participate, according to the DNC. With Williamson being the 18th Democratic candidate to qualify, there are two places left on the debate stage and four more notable Democratic candidates competing for a spot.
If more than 20 candidates qualify, the DNC will use the following three tiebreakers, in order, to determine who will participate:
  • Candidates that meet both the polling and fundraising thresholds
  • Candidates with the highest average poll performance
  • Candidates with the largest number of unique donors
The four Democratic candidates who have not yet qualified are Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam (D), and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.).
Candidates have until June 12 to meet the qualifying thresholds for the first set of debates.

Ten Republicans running in NC-09 special election primary

Ten Republicans are running in the primary for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District special election Tuesday. The election was called in February after the state Board of Elections investigated allegations of absentee ballot fraud in the 2018 general election and declined to certify its results. It is one of four special elections scheduled for the 116th Congress.
Dan McCready (D), who faced Mark Harris (R) in the general election last year, is running for the seat again. He is unopposed in the Democratic primary.
With ten candidates running, it is the largest Republican primary field in the district since 2012. A candidate must receive at least 30 percent support or more to proceed to the general election. If not, a Republican primary runoff will be held on September 10, 2019, between the top two candidates.
In a survey from Public Policy Polling conducted last week, state Sen. Dan Bishop (R) had 31 percent support. Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing (R) and former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour (R) followed with 17 and 9 percent support, respectively. The poll’s margin of error was five percent.
The race has received attention from satellite groups. The National Association of Realtors has been the biggest spender, putting $1.3 million into TV and radio ads to support realtor Leigh Thomas Brown (R). Club for Growth has also entered the race, endorsing Bishop and spending five figures against Rushing.
Six other candidates are running: attorney Chris Anglin (R), real estate agent Kathie Day (R), former Charlotte mayoral candidate Gary Dunn (R), sales manager Stevie Rivenbark (R), former state Sen. Fern Shubert (R), and nuclear engineer Albert Wiley Jr. (R).

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) launches third presidential bid

Joe Biden (D) announced Thursday that he was running for president of the United States, marking the third presidential bid by the former vice president. He joins a crowded primary field with 20 other notable Democratic elected officials and public figures running.
Biden framed his campaign as a direct challenge to President Donald Trump (R). “I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time. But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation—who we are—and I cannot stand by and watch that happen,” he said in his announcement video.
Greg Schultz, who served as Ohio state director for former President Barack Obama (D), will manage Biden’s campaign. Other senior advisers include Kate Bedingfield as communications director, Pete Kavanaugh as deputy campaign manager, Erin Wilson as national political director, and Olympian Michelle Kwan as surrogates director.
Fourteen vice presidents have reached the Oval Office in U.S. history, nine by succession and five by election.

What happens next in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race?

With 100 percents of precincts reporting in the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court, Appeals Judge Brian Hagedorn leads Appeals Chief Judge Lisa Neubauer by 5,960 votes or 0.5 percent.
Hagedorn declared victory early Wednesday morning. Neubauer had not conceded as of Wednesday. She said in a video statement, “We need to make sure that every last vote is counted and that’s going to take a little time.”
Under Wisconsin state law, a losing candidate may request a recount if the margin is 1 percent of the total votes cast or less.
The partisan balance of the court for the next four years could be determined by the result of this election. Although state Supreme Court elections in Wisconsin are officially nonpartisan, liberal and conservative groups typically coalesce around specific candidates. Conservatives, who currently have a 4-3 majority on the court, back Hagedorn. Liberals support Neubauer.
If Hagedorn wins, conservatives will expand their majority on the court to 5-2 and keep control until at least 2023. If a recount results in a Neubauer win, liberals have a chance to flip the court in 2020, when Justice Dan Kelly, who was appointed to the court by Gov. Scott Walker (R), will stand for election for the first time that year.

Democrat Pam Iovino wins PA State Senate District 37, flips seat

Pam Iovino (D) defeated D. Raja (R) in the special election for Pennsylvania State Senate District 37. With 93 percent of precincts reporting, Iovino led Raja 54 percent to 46 percent.
This is the first state legislative seat to flip from Republican to Democrat as a result of a special election this year. Previously, four flipped from Democrat to Republican in Minnesota, Connecticut, and Kentucky, and one flipped from Republican to Independent in Louisiana.
The seat has changed partisan control in recent years. Matthew Smith (D) was elected to the seat in 2012 to replace retiring incumbent John Pippy (R).
Smith resigned in 2015 to become president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. Guy Reschenthaler (R) then won a November 2015 special election by 10 percentage points to replace Smith and was then elected to a full term in 2016 by more than 20 percentage points.
In the 2016 presidential election, this district voted for Donald Trump (R) over Hillary Clinton (D) by 5.8 percentage points.

Miami will host first set of Democratic presidential primary debates in June

The Democratic National Committee announced on March 28 that the first set of Democratic primary debates will be held in Miami, Florida, on June 26 and 27. The debates will be broadcast by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo.
A candidate can qualify for these debates by polling performance or fundraising from individual donors. Under the first option, a candidate must receive 1 percent support or more in three national or early state polls from a select list of organizations and institutions. Under the second option, a candidate must receive donations from at least 65,000 unique individual donors. Additionally, they must have a minimum of 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 states.
No more than 20 candidates—10 candidates on stage each night—will be able to participate.
Wayne Messam, the mayor of Miramar, Florida, brought the number of notable Democratic candidates in the race to 16 on March 28. He formally announced that he was running for president, having launched a presidential exploratory committee two weeks ago.

What does it take to make the Democratic presidential primary debate stage?

Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, and Andrew Yang have all reportedly qualified for the first Democratic presidential primary debate this past week.
With 16 notable Democratic candidates running so far, what does it take to reach the debate stage?
The Democratic National Committee announced last month that a candidate can qualify for the first debate in June by either polling performance or grassroots fundraising.
Under the first option, the candidate must receive 1 percent support or more in three national or early state polls from a select list of organizations and institutions.
Under the second option, candidates must receive donations from at least 65,000 unique donors. Additionally, they must have a minimum of 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 states.
Some candidates have been openly sharing their progress. Marianne Williamson, who is halfway to qualifying, called on her supporters to ask their friends to donate, writing, “You yourself giving me another dollar would not help in this process, but if you make a personal commitment to asking at least one other person to contribute at least one dollar, that will get us over the finish line.”
John Delaney has agreed to donate $2 to charity for every new donor that contributes at least $1 to his campaign.
To follow who else makes it to the debate stage and all the latest news in the 2020 presidential election, sign up for Ballotpedia’s Daily Presidential News Briefing.

Gallego defeats Valenzuela in Phoenix mayoral runoff

Former Phoenix City Council member Kate Gallego defeated Daniel Valenzuela in the nonpartisan mayoral runoff election in Phoenix, Arizona. She led Valenzuela with over 58 percent of the votes according to early returns.

Public safety and sports facility funding were critical issues in the final weeks of the race, with satellite groups Revitalize Arizona and Moving Phoenix Forward releasing negative ads against Valenzuela and Gallego, respectively.

Gallego said her top three priorities in office would be public safety, infrastructure investments, and job growth. She said she had a proven track record on infrastructure issues, pointing to her work on the campaign to pass Proposition 104, an infrastructure measure seeking to bring $31.5 billion of infrastructure investment over the next 35 years through a transportation sales tax increase.

She is the first woman elected to the office in more than three decades.

The election was called after former Mayor Greg Stanton resigned his seat in 2018 to run for Congress. Gallego will serve the remainder of Stanton’s term until 2021.