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James McAllister

James McAllister is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at james.mcallister@ballotpedia.org

Twelve candidates face off in Houston mayoral race

Incumbent Sylvester Turner and 11 challengers will compete in the November 5, 2019, general election for mayor of Houston, Texas. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two finishers will participate in a runoff election on December 14, 2019.
 
Of the 11 candidates running against Turner, local media outlets have identified five major challengers: Kendall Baker, Dwight Boykins, Tony Buzbee, Bill King, and Sue Lovell.
 
Policy debate in the race has centered on Turner’s record during his first term, especially regarding his handling of the city’s budget and spending priorities. Turner has said his accomplishments in office include balancing the city’s budget, leading the recovery effort after Hurricane Harvey, reforming the city’s pension system, improving infrastructure, and strengthening the economy. His opponents have criticized him, saying he has not done enough to combat flooding, crime, and infrastructure deterioration.
 
Throughout the race, Baker, Boykins, and Lovell also criticized Turner’s budgetary opposition to Proposition B, a ballot referendum passed in 2018 requiring equal pay between firefighters and police officers, while Buzbee and King have repeatedly accused Turner’s administration of corruption.
 
Houston’s mayor serves as the city’s chief executive and is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors, and overseeing the city’s day-to-day operations. He or she also presides over the city council with voting privileges.
 
Mayor Turner is affiliated with the Democratic party. Sixty-two mayors in the largest 100 cities by population are affiliated with the Democratic Party, 29 are affiliated with the Republican Party, four are independents, and five identify as nonpartisan or unaffiliated. While most mayoral elections in the 100 largest cities are nonpartisan, most officeholders are affiliated with a political party.
 
 


Cameron, Stumbo face off in Kentucky attorney general race

Kentucky voters will choose a new attorney general Nov. 5, with Daniel Cameron (R) and Gregory Stumbo (D) vying for the office. 

Democrats have controlled the AG office in Kentucky since 1952. The state’s election history suggests this year’s contest will be competitive.

The AG position is open, as incumbent Andy Beshear is the Democratic nominee challenging incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin (R) in the gubernatorial race.

The 2015 attorney general race was decided by a margin of 0.2 percentage points—50.1% to 49.9%. Beshear defeated Whitney Westerfield (R) by 2,194 votes. In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump (R) won Kentucky with 62.5% of the vote. Trump endorsed Cameron on July 29, 2019.

The race has attracted at least $5.75 million in spending from satellite groups—$3.25 million from the Republican Attorneys General Association supporting Cameron, and $2.5 million from the Democratic Attorneys General Association supporting Stumbo.

The attorney general election is occurring alongside Kentucky’s gubernatorial and secretary of state elections, meaning either party could gain triplex control in 2019. Kentucky is one of nine states where the governor and the attorney general are not from the same party, creating divided triplex control among Kentucky’s executives.

Additional reading:


Daniel Cameron (R) outraises Gregory Stumbo (D) in Kentucky attorney general election

Daniel Cameron (R) outraised Gregory Stumbo (D) $140,333 to $101,153 in Kentucky’s attorney general election, according to the most recent reports covering the period from September 6 through October 6.
 
At the end of the period, Cameron had $423,852 cash on hand to Stumbo’s $294,408 on hand. Cameron started the period with $480,476 cash on hand; Stumbo started with $240,015.
 
In total, Cameron’s campaign has raised $1,107,958 and spent $684,103 since the first report of the primary election. Stumbo’s campaign has raised $518,248 and spent $223,841.
 
The next campaign finance filing deadline for Kentucky state races is October 28. The reports will cover receipts and expenditures through October 21 (15 days before the general election).
 
Democrats have held Kentucky’s Attorney General office since 1952, but Kentucky’s election history suggests that the attorney general’s race will be competitive. Pre-election incumbent Andy Beshear (D) defeated his opponent by a margin of 50.1% to 49.9% in 2015. Beshear is challenging Governor Matt Bevin (R) in Kentucky’s 2019 race for governor, leaving the attorney general position open. In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump (R) won Kentucky with 62.5 percent of the vote. Trump endorsed Cameron on July 29, 2019.
 
Three states are holding attorney general elections in 2019: Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Of those, Democrats hold two seats and Republicans hold one. Kentucky is also holding state executive elections for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, agriculture commissioner, auditor, and treasurer in 2019.
 


Houston mayoral candidates report total cash on hand exceeding $6 million ahead of November 5 election

Tony Buzbee topped Houston’s mayoral candidate field in total receipts during the July 1 through October 6 reporting period, contributing $2.5 million to his campaign.
 
In comparison:
  • Incumbent Sylvester Turner raised $733,324.
  • Bill King raised $281,829 and loaned his campaign $200,000.
  • Dwight Boykins raised $130,105.
  • Kendall Baker contributed $20,000 to his campaign.
 
The candidates finished the period with the following cash on hand totals:
  • Buzbee had $4,167,503.
  • Turner had $1,618,015.
  • King had $263,448.
  • Boykins had $58,103.
  • Baker had $3,919.
 
Houston does not require candidates to file electronic finance reports if their total receipts in a calendar year total less than $20,000 at the time of the filing deadline. Candidates Derrick Broze, Naoufal Houjami, Sue Lovell, Victoria Romero, Demetria Smith, Johnny Taylor, and Roy Vasquez did not file electronic reports with the city.
 
The final reporting deadline before the general election is on October 28, 2019.
 
Incumbent Sylvester Turner and 11 challengers will compete in the November 5, 2019, general election for mayor of Houston, Texas. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two general election candidates will participate in a runoff election on December 14, 2019.
 
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States by population. Of the 100 largest cities in America, 31 are holding mayoral elections in 2019.


California has country’s highest paid governor, Maine the lowest. How much does your state’s governor earn?

In 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown (D) was the highest paid of the 50 state governors. Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) was the lowest paid. The average gubernatorial salary across all states was $143,270 in 2018, a 2.4% increase over 2017. These updated figures were published in the Council of State Governments’ 2019 Book of States.
 
The five governors with the highest base salaries were:
  1. California Governor Jerry Brown: $201,680
  2. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: $200,000
  3. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf: $194,850
  4. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee: $194,112
  5. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker: $185,000
 
The five governors with the lowest base salaries were:
  1. Maine Governor Paul LePage: $70,000
  2. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper: $90,000
  3. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey: $95,500
  4. Oregon Governor Kate Brown: $98,600
  5. Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer: $99,636
 
Gubernatorial salaries increased in 17 states by, on average, $9,993, or 6.6%: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. Georgia had the largest salary increase, 25.6%.
 
Gubernatorial salaries in the remaining 33 states remained the same.
 
Gubernatorial salaries are typically determined by a state’s constitution or statute. Most often, the salary portion of a governor’s compensation is defined by law, but additional benefits, such as insurance, official residence, and other work-related equipment, may be established by state agencies, custom, or other methods.
 


D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds net neutrality repeal while striking down preemption of state and local regulations

In an opinion delivered on October 1, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the FCC’s 2018 net neutrality repeal but struck down the agency’s preemption of state and local net neutrality regulations. The court also directed the agency to consider how the repeal would affect public safety, broadband subsidies, and the regulation of cable pole attachments.
 
The case arose when attorneys general from 22 states and the District of Columbia filed a brief with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on August 20, 2018, asking the court to reinstate the Obama administration’s net neutrality regulations. In the brief, the attorneys general said the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality would harm consumers, public safety, and existing regulations. They also claimed the FCC was not authorized to preempt state and local laws.
 
During the 2019 legislative session, 29 states introduced net neutrality legislation, but the measures failed in four states. Despite the FCC’s preemption, six states—California, Colorado, Maine, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington—have passed legislation relating to net neutrality. Further, the governors of six states—Montana, New York, Hawaii, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont—issued executive orders requiring internet service providers that do business with the state to comply with net neutrality rules.
 
This case is one of at least 47 multistate lawsuits that have been filed against the federal government since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.
 


Four battleground elections may determine the triplex status of three states in 2019

A state government triplex describes when one political party holds the following the positions of governor, attorney general, and secretary of state within a state. Three divided triplex states, or states where no party holds a triplex, are holding state executive elections in 2019: Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Key races within those states have the potential to change the states’ triplex status.
 
In Kentucky, Sabato’s Crystal Ball rates the race for governor between incumbent Matt Bevin (R) and attorney general Andy Beshear (D) as Lean Republican, while Cook Political Report and Inside Elections call the race a toss-up. Daniel Cameron (R) and Gregory Stumbo (D) are competing for the open attorney general’s seat, which Beshear won by a margin of 50.1% to 49.9% in 2015. Donald Trump (R) carried Kentucky with 62.5% of the vote in 2016.
 
The race for Louisiana governor is also expected to be competitive. Incumbent John Bel Edwards (D), who is being challenged by five other candidates in the October 12 primary election, is the only Democrat holding statewide office in Louisiana. He won the seat 56% to 44% in 2015. Trump won 58% of the vote in Louisiana the following year. The Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball rate the race as Lean Democratic, while Inside Elections rates it a toss-up.
 
In Mississippi, Attorney General Jim Hood (D) and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves are competing for the governorship, leaving the attorney general’s race open. Incumbent governor Phil Bryant (R), who won election to the position with 66% of the vote in 2015, is prevented by term limits from seeking re-election. Trump won Mississippi with 58% of the vote in 2016. Inside Elections and Sabato’s Crystal Ball have rated the gubernatorial competition as Lean Republican, while the Cook Political Report rated the contest as Likely Republican.
 
Heading into the 2019 election, 18 states are controlled by a Republican triplex, 17 states are controlled by a Democratic triplex, and 15 states are under divided triplex control, meaning that its governor, attorney general, and secretary of state do not belong to a single political party.
 
Additional reading:


Daniel Cameron (R) outraises Gregory Stumbo (D) in Kentucky attorney general election

Daniel Cameron (R) outraised Gregory Stumbo (D) $569,197 to $227,915 in Kentucky’s attorney general election, according to the most recent reports covering the period from July 20 through September 6.
 
At the end of the period, Cameron had $480,479 cash on hand to Stumbo’s $240,015 on hand. Cameron started the period with no cash on hand; Stumbo started with $152,136. 
 
In total, Cameron’s campaign has raised $967,625 and spent $487,146 since the first report of the primary election. Stumbo’s campaign has raised $417,095 and spent $177,080.
 
The next campaign finance filing deadline for Kentucky state races is October 13. The reports will cover receipts and expenditures through October 6 (30 days before the general election).
 
Democrats have held Kentucky’s Attorney General office since 1952, but Kentucky’s election history suggests that the attorney general’s race will be competitive. Pre-election incumbent Andy Beshear (D) defeated his opponent by a margin of 50.1% to 49.9% in 2015. Beshear is challenging Governor Matt Bevin (R) in Kentucky’s 2019 race for governor, leaving the attorney general position open. In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump (R) won Kentucky with 62.5 percent of the vote. Trump endorsed Cameron on July 29, 2019.
 
Three states are holding attorney general elections in 2019: Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Of those, Democrats hold two seats and Republicans hold one. Kentucky is also holding state executive elections for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, agriculture commissioner, auditor, and treasurer in 2019.
 


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