Author

Jaclyn Beran

Jackie Beran is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at jaclyn.beran@ballotpedia.org

Michigan House recall effort rejected due to typo

The Michigan Bureau of Elections announced on November 29 that it had rejected a recall effort targeting state Rep. Larry Inman (R) due to a typo. In the original petition language approved in July 2019, the group had described one of Inman’s charges as “Attempted extortion under color of official right.” The word “right” was omitted from the signed petitions submitted in November 2019.
 
In a letter to the recall organizers, Director of Elections Sally Williams wrote, “While the omission of one word may seem inconsequential and the rejection of a recall petition on such grounds as excessively technical and harsh, the recall statute does not authorize the bureau to excuse differences between the reasons for recall approved by the board and those printed on the recall petitions.”
 
Recall organizer Kaitlin Flynn said that supporters are “in shock and deeply disappointed” and that the recall group was evaluating all of its options. Recall supporters had submitted 13,991 signatures on November 22, which was more than the 12,201 signatures needed to force a recall election.
 
According to the petition language, recall supporters tried to recall Inman due to his indictment on three felony counts and missing more than 80 votes during the 2019 legislative session. Federal prosecutors charged Inman with extortion, lying to the FBI, and lying to investigators about texts soliciting contributions. His trial is expected to begin on December 3. In August 2019, the state House passed a resolution by a 98-8 vote urging him to resign.
 
In September 2019, Inman responded to the recall petition by saying, “I can’t really measure the public and their wishes, but people right now that I [run] into in Traverse City, in the grocery store and gas stations, they all shake my hand and give me words of encouragement.” Inman was elected to District 104 in the state House in 2014. He was re-elected in 2018 with 50.4% of the vote. His seat is on the ballot in 2020 for a two-year term.
 
Since 2011, 85 recall petitions have been filed against state lawmakers. Nine recalls were successful, nine were defeated at the ballot, 64 did not go to a vote, and three are still ongoing. California state Sen. Josh Newman (D) was recalled in 2018. Two Colorado state senators were successfully recalled in 2013.
 
Michigan is under a divided government. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 22-16 margin and the state House by a 58-51 margin with one vacancy. Democrat Gretchen Whitmer was elected to the governor’s office in 2018.
 


Two Republicans running in Georgia House runoff

A special election runoff is scheduled to take place on December 3 in District 152 of the Georgia House of Representatives. Jim Quinn (R) and Bill Yearta (R) are competing in the runoff election; they both advanced from the November 5 general election after defeating Mary Egler (D) and Tyler Johnson (R). The runoff election was called since no general election candidate received more than 50 percent of the overall vote.
 
The seat became vacant after Ed Rynders (R) resigned on September 5, 2019, citing health concerns. Rynders had represented the district since 2003. He was re-elected to the seat in 2018 with 74% of the vote.
 
Heading into the election, Republicans have a 104-75 majority in the Georgia state House with one vacancy. Georgia has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.
 
As of November, 77 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 24 states this year. Six special elections have been scheduled for 2020 in five states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 


Friday deadline to submit signatures in Michigan state house recall effort

Supporters of the effort to recall Michigan state Rep. Larry Inman (R) have until November 22 to submit 12,201 signatures to force a recall election. The recall effort was submitted to the Michigan Board of State Canvassers on July 19, 2019, and it was approved on August 1.
 
According to the petition language, recall supporters are trying to recall Inman due to his indictment on three felony counts and missing more than 80 votes during the 2019 legislative session. Federal prosecutors charged Inman with extortion, lying to the FBI, and lying to investigators about texts soliciting contributions. His trial is expected to begin on December 3. In August 2019, the state House passed a resolution by a 98-8 vote urging him to resign.
 
In September 2019, Inman responded to the recall petition by saying, “I can’t really measure the public and their wishes, but people right now that I [run] into in Traverse City, in the grocery store and gas stations, they all shake my hand and give me words of encouragement.”
 
Inman was elected to District 104 in the state House in 2014. He was re-elected in 2018 with 50.4% of the vote. His seat is on the ballot in 2020 for a two-year term.
 
Since 2011, 85 recall petitions have been filed against state lawmakers. Nine recalls were successful, nine were defeated at the ballot, 63 did not go to a vote, and four are still ongoing. California state Sen. Josh Newman (D) was recalled in 2018. Two Colorado state senators were successfully recalled in 2013.
 
Michigan is under a divided government. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 22-16 margin and the state House by a 58-51 margin with one vacancy. Democrat Gretchen Whitmer was elected to the governor’s office in 2018.
 


Filing deadline passes for congressional candidates in Alabama

Candidates interested in running for one of Alabama’s U.S. Senate seats and seven U.S. House seats had until November 8 to file. The primary is scheduled for March 3, 2020. A primary runoff, if necessary, will be held on March 31. The general election is on November 3.
 
Nine candidates, including incumbent Doug Jones (D), filed for the U.S. Senate election. Jones is unopposed the Democratic primary. The following candidates are competing in the March 3 Republican primary: Stanley Adair, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, state Rep. Arnold Mooney, former U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, Ruth Page Nelson, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Tommy Tuberville.
 
Twenty-six candidates have filed to run for the state’s seven U.S. House seats. The following candidates are running in each race:
 
  • District 1: Incumbent Bradley Byrne (R) is running for the U.S. Senate in 2020. James Averhart, Rick Collins, and Kiani Gardner are running in the Democratic primary. Jerry Carl, John Castorani, former state Sen. Bill Hightower, Wes Lambert, and state Rep. Chris Pringle are running in the Republican primary.
  • District 2: Incumbent Martha Roby (R), who was first elected in 2010, announced in July 2019 that she would not seek re-election in 2020. Phyllis Harvey-Hall and Nathan Mathis are competing in the Democratic primary. Thomas Brown Jr., Jeff Coleman, Terri Hasdorff, former Alabama Attorney General Troy King, former state Rep. Barry Moore, Robert Rogers, and Jessica Taylor are running in the Republican primary.
  • District 3: Incumbent Mike Rogers and Thomas “Sick of D.C.” Casson are running in the Republican primary. Adia Winfrey is unopposed in the Democratic primary.
  • District 4: Incumbent Robert Aderholt is unopposed in the Republican primary. Rick Neighbors is unopposed in the Democratic primary.
  • District 5: Incumbent Mo Brooks and Chris Lewis are running in the Republican primary. No Democratic candidates filed for the seat.
  • District 6: Incumbent Gary Palmer is unopposed in the Republican primary. No Democratic candidates filed for the seat. Kaynen Pellegrino has declared his intention to run for the seat as an independent in 2020.
  • District 7: Incumbent Terri Sewell is unopposed in the Democratic primary. No Republican candidates filed for the seat.
 
Heading into the 2020 election, the Republican Party holds seven of the nine congressional seats from Alabama. In the 2020 election, 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election. Of those Senate seats, 33 are regularly-scheduled elections, one is a special election in Arizona, and another is an expected special election in Georgia. Twelve are Democratic-held seats and 23 are Republican-held seats. In the House, where all the seats are up for election, Democrats currently hold a 235-seat majority.
 
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Alaska attorney general rejects recall petition against the governor

Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson (R) had until November 4 to determine if the recall petition targeting Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) presented a legitimate case for recall. Clarkson said on November 4 that the allegations against the governor “fail to meet any of the listed grounds for recall — neglect of duty, incompetence, or lack of fitness.” Citing Clarkson’s legal opinion, the state Division of Elections then rejected the recall petition. Recall Dunleavy spokeswoman Claire Pywell said that the group plans to file an appeal in the state’s Superior Court.
 
Recall supporters claim that Dunleavy authorized state funds to be used for partisan advertisements, failed to appoint a judge to the Palmer Superior Court within the required statutory timeframe, and made accounting errors in budget vetoes which they allege could have cost the state millions in Medicare funding.
 
Dunleavy’s deputy communications director, Jeff Turner, provided a statement via email regarding the Clarkson decision. Dunleavy said, “Today’s opinion by the attorney general appears to be well reasoned. As I have always said, the allegations by the recall group are not legitimate reasons to overturn the outcome of the statewide election held barely a year ago.”
 
If the petition is upheld by the state court, supporters will need an additional 71,252 signatures to force a recall election. Supporters would then have until June 8, 2022, to turn in the required signatures to the Division of Elections. After the petition was rejected, recall attorney Jahna Lindemuth said in a written statement, “Without question, the recall application submitted to the Division of Elections meets the standard under Alaska law. This rejection is without basis, and we will now turn to the courts for a remedy. We do so with confidence that we will receive fair treatment and we will prevail.”
 
Alaska is under a divided government. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 12-7 margin with one vacancy. Although Republicans also won a majority in the state House in the 2018 elections, a coalition of 15 Democrats, four Republicans, and two independents elected Bryce Edgmon (undeclared) as the state House’s speaker on February 14, 2019. This resulted in the parties having split control of key leadership positions in a power-sharing agreement. Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) won the governor’s office in 2018.
 
This recall effort is one of seven gubernatorial recalls Ballotpedia has tracked in 2019. Three others are currently underway in California and New Jersey; two different recall campaigns are currently targeting the California governor.
 
From 2003 to 2018, Ballotpedia tracked 17 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two made the ballot and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003; Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) won the election to replace him. In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) was the only other governor removed from office through a recall election, which happened in 1921.
 
 


Alaska governor recall deadline on Monday

Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson (R) has until November 4 to determine if the recall petition targeting Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) presents a legitimate case for recall. Alaskan state laws require recall campaigns to submit a statement of no more than 200 words providing the grounds for recall, which include “misconduct in office, incompetence, or failure to perform prescribed duties.”
 
If Clarkson approves the recall petition language, supporters will need an additional 71,252 signatures to force a recall election. The recall campaign had to initially submit 28,501 signatures to request a recall petition from the Division of Elections; it submitted 49,006 signatures on September 4. If Clarkson rejects the recall, Recall Dunleavy spokeswoman Claire Pywell said that the group is prepared to appeal the decision in the state’s Superior Court.
 
Recall supporters claim that Dunleavy authorized state funds to be used for partisan advertisements, failed to appoint a judge to the Palmer Superior Court within the required statutory timeframe, and made accounting errors in budget vetoes which they allege could have cost the state millions in Medicare funding.
 
In response to the recall effort, President Donald Trump (R) wrote on Twitter on October 30, “My friend Mike @GovDunleavy of the Great State of Alaska, is being treated very unfairly by the Democrats because he is doing an unbelievable job and fulfilling every one of his promises. Now they are trying to Recall him because his agenda is the Economy, Jobs, and protecting our Military, 2nd Amendment, Energy, and so many other things that the Democrats don’t care about. Please stop the Dems from hurting a very good and hard-working man!”
 
Pywell criticized Trump’s allegation that the recall effort is led by Democrats. She said, “We’re not surprised that Dunleavy, and now national folks, are lying about our makeup and mischaracterizing our support. I mean, tell that to people like Joe Usibelli Sr. –– folks who are absolutely on the train not only because it’s a nonpartisan issue but because it’s an issue for all Alaskans.”
 
Alaska is under a divided government. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 12-7 margin with one vacancy. Although Republicans also won a majority in the state House in the 2018 elections, a coalition of 15 Democrats, four Republicans, and two independents elected Bryce Edgmon (undeclared) as the state House’s speaker on February 14, 2019. This resulted in the parties having split control of key leadership positions in a power-sharing agreement. Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) won the governor’s office in 2018.
 
This recall effort is one of seven gubernatorial recalls Ballotpedia has tracked in 2019. Three others are currently underway in California and New Jersey; two different recall campaigns are currently targeting the California governor.
 
From 2003 to 2018, Ballotpedia tracked 17 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two made the ballot and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003; Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) won the election to replace him. In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) was the only other governor removed from office through a recall election, which happened in 1921.
 


Efforts to recall Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) fall short of ballot qualification

Two recall campaigns did not collect enough signatures to trigger a recall election that, if successful, would have removed Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) from office. Supporters of each recall effort had until Oct. 14 to turn in 280,050 signatures.

  • The first recall petition, which was supported by the Oregon Republican Party, criticized Brown because she supported legislation during the 2019 legislative session related to a cap-and-trade program and a bill that grants driver’s licenses to immigrants residing in the country without legal permission.
  • The second recall petition, which was headed by Oregon First! PAC and the Flush Down Kate Brown group, criticized Brown over raising taxes, the state’s Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) program, Oregon’s sanctuary state status, and for the same driver’s license bill as the other recall petition.

These recall efforts were two of the six gubernatorial recalls Ballotpedia has tracked in 2019. Four others are currently underway in Alaska, California, Colorado, and New Jersey. From 2003 to 2018, Ballotpedia tracked 17 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two made the ballot and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003; Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) won the election to replace him. In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) was the only other governor removed from office through a recall election. That happened in 1921.

Oregon became a Democratic trifecta in 2013. Democrats control the state House 38-22 and the state Senate 18-12. Brown was appointed governor in 2015, and she won a special election in 2016 with 50.7% of the vote. Brown was re-elected in 2018 with 50.1% of the vote. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.

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Friday deadline to submit signatures in Colorado state senator recall effort

Supporters of the effort to recall Colorado state Sen. Leroy Garcia (D) have until October 18 to submit 13,506 signatures in order to force a recall election. The recall effort was approved for circulation on August 19, and it is being led by Susan Carr, Victor Head, and Ernest Mascarenas.
 
According to the recall petition, supporters are trying to recall Garcia because he voted for legislation related to oil and gas regulation. The oil and gas bill gives local governments more control over regulating the industry and also mandates that the state emphasize safety over promoting oil and gas production. The bill was signed by Gov. Jared Polis (D) in April 2019. The petition also argues that Garcia has been involved with multiple lawsuits that have cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.
 
Another recall petition targeting Sen. Garcia was introduced by Marjorie and Tammy Klein in April 2019. As of October 2019, that recall had not been approved for circulation by the secretary of state.
 
After the first recall was announced against Sen. Garcia, he said, “As the first Latino president of the Senate, I will not allow special-interest groups from Denver and El Paso County to silence me with threats of a recall.”
 
Gov. Jared Polis (D), state Rep. Rochelle Galindo (D), state Rep. Tom Sullivan (D), state Sen. Pete Lee (D), and state Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D) all faced recall campaigns in 2019 but none of the recall efforts reached the ballot. Signatures were not submitted in either the Polis, Sullivan, Lee, or Pettersen recall efforts. The recall targeting Galindo ended after she resigned her seat in May 2019.
 
Since 2011, 85 recall petitions have been filed against state lawmakers. Nine recalls were successful, nine were defeated at the ballot, 58 did not go to a vote, and nine are still ongoing. California state Sen. Josh Newman (D) was recalled in 2018. Two Colorado state senators were successfully recalled in 2013.
 
Colorado became a Democratic trifecta in 2019 after Democrats flipped the state Senate in the 2018 elections. Democrats control the state House by a 41-24 margin and the state Senate by a 19-16 margin. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
 


October 14 deadline for signatures in Oregon governor recall efforts

Supporters behind the two recall efforts against Gov. Kate Brown (D) have until October 14 to turn in 280,050 signatures to force a recall election. If either recall petition contains the required number of signatures, Gov. Brown will have five days to resign her office. If she declines to resign then a recall election will be called.
 
The first recall petition was filed by Bill Currier, who is the chairman of the Oregon Republican Party. Currier’s recall petition criticizes Brown because she supported legislation during the 2019 legislative session related to a cap-and-trade program and a bill that grants driver’s licenses to immigrants living in the country illegally.
 
The second recall petition, which is headed by Oregon First! PAC and Michael Cross of the Flush Down Kate Brown group, criticizes Brown over raising taxes, the state’s Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) program, Oregon’s sanctuary state status, and for granting driver’s licenses to immigrants living in the country without documentation.
 
In response to the recall efforts, Brown told Huffington Post in August 2019 that, “Not only have I had one election in the last three years, I’ve had two. And I won both of them handily. So what part of the will of the voters are they ignoring?”
 
Oregon became a Democratic trifecta in 2013. Democrats control the state House by a 38-22 margin and the state Senate by a 18-12 margin. Brown was appointed as Oregon’s governor in 2015. She won a special election for the office in 2016 with 50.7% of the vote. She was re-elected to the position in 2018 with 50.1% of the vote. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
 
From 2003 to 2018, Ballotpedia tracked 17 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two recalls made the ballot and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. The only other governor to ever be successfully recalled was former North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) in 1921. Four gubernatorial recall efforts are currently underway in 2019.
 


Second recall petition targeting California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved for circulation

A second recall petition was approved for circulation against Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on September 27 by the California Secretary of State. The petition is being led by La Jolla physician James Veltmeyer (R). Supporters of the recall have until March 5, 2020, to collect 1,495,709 signatures to force a recall election. Veltmeyer ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House in 2016 and 2018.
 
Veltmeyer’s recall petition criticizes Newsom on tax increases, the rate of homelessness in major California cities, sanctuary city policies, and his support for providing healthcare to immigrants living in the country without documentation.
 
In early September, the first recall petition was approved against Gov. Newsom. That recall is being led by Erin Cruz (R). She ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2018 for Dianne Feinstein’s (D) seat. She is also currently a declared candidate for California’s 36th Congressional District in 2020. Supporters of the Cruz recall have until February 13, 2020, to turn in the necessary amount of signatures.
 
Cruz’s recall petition alleges that Newsom mismanaged the state and caused poor school performance, deteriorating infrastructure, high costs for gas and utilities, and increased homelessness and debt. Her recall petition also criticizes Newsom’s support of certain policies, which includes Medicare for All and laws that aid immigrants living in the country without documentation.
 
In response to the recall efforts, Newsom filed a statement with the secretary of state in August 2019. In his statement, Newsom said that the “…recall effort will cost California taxpayers $81 million dollars! It is being pushed by political extremists supporting President Trump’s hateful attacks on California.” For more on Newsom’s response to the recall effort, click here
 
California became a Democratic trifecta in 2011. Democrats control the state House by a 61-18 margin with one vacancy and the state Senate by a 29-11 margin. Newsom succeeded Jerry Brown (D) as governor in 2019. He won the 2018 election with 61.9% of the vote. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
 
From 2003 to 2018, Ballotpedia tracked 17 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two recalls made the ballot and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. The only other governor to ever be successfully recalled was former North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) in 1921. Four gubernatorial recall efforts are currently underway in 2019.
 


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