Author

James McAllister

James McAllister is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Massachusetts enters second phase of reopening

Massachusetts is entering its second phase of reopening on June 8, allowing retail stores and outdoor dining to reopen with capacity and distancing restrictions. Phase Two also allows hotels, amateur and professional sports, personal services (like house cleaning and tutoring services), driving and flight schools, outdoor historical attractions; funeral homes, warehouses, outdoor recreation facilities (like playgrounds and pools), post-secondary schools, day camps, and public libraries to reopen. Businesses like barbershops and salons will remain closed.

The state started reopening on May 18 by allowing manufacturing facilities, construction sites, and places of worship to resume operations.



Garcia (R) defeats Smith (D) in special election for California’s 25th Congressional District

Mike Garcia (R) won the May 12, 2020, special election for California’s 25th Congressional District after Christy Smith (D) conceded on May 13.

He will fill the U.S. House vacancy left by Katie Hill (D), who resigned the seat on November 1, 2019, amid allegations of extramarital relationships with staffers. The remainder of the term will expire on January 3, 2021.

Smith and Garcia will run again in a regular general election on November 3, 2020, for a full, two-year term. At the time Smith conceded, Garcia had 56% of the vote to Smith’s 44%.

Six special elections have been held during the 116th U.S. Congress—the current meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives. Three such elections were held in 2019, and three more are scheduled during the rest of this year.

Voters decided 136 congressional special elections between 1985 and 2012—19 in the Senate and 117 in the House of Representatives. In those elections, nine seats changed partisan hands, with Republicans gaining six seats and Democrats gaining three.



Eastman (D) advances to general election rematch against Bacon (R) in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District

Kara Eastman defeated Ann Ashford and Gladys Harrison in the Democratic primary for Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District on May 12, 2020. Eastman received 61.8% of the vote, followed by Ashford with 31.6% and Harrison with 6.6%. She faces incumbent Don Bacon (R) in the November 3 general election, as she did in 2018. In 2018, Bacon defeated Eastman 51% to 49%.

Democrats have a 233-196 advantage over Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. There is one Libertarian member, and there are five vacancies. Currently, if Republicans win 19 Democratic-controlled districts in the November general elections, they will win control of the House. If Democrats hold as many districts, they will maintain their control of the chamber.

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Mfume (D) defeats Klacik (R) in special general election for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District

Kweisi Mfume (D) defeated Kimberly Klacik (R) in the special general election for Mayland’s 7th Congressional District. He will fill the vacancy left by Elijah Cummings (D), who died in October 2019. As of Wednesday morning, Mfume led with 72.5% of the vote to Klacik’s 26.5%. Mfume cannot be sworn into office until after results are certified by the Maryland Board of Elections, which could happen as early as May 8.

Four special elections have been held during the 116th U.S. Congress—the current meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives. Three such elections were held in 2019, and five more are scheduled during the rest of this year.

Voters decided 136 congressional special elections between 1985 and 2012—19 in the Senate and 117 in the House of Representatives. In those elections, nine seats changed partisan hands, with Republicans gaining six seats and Democrats gaining three.


Ashford, Eastman, and Harrison competing in May 12 Democratic primary for Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District

Ann Ashford, Kara Eastman, and Gladys Harrison are running in the Democratic primary for Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District on May 12, 2020. Eastman and Ashford have launched television ads and lead in fundraising and endorsements, but Harrison has shared in the race’s media coverage.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, every eligible primary voter will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail. In-person voting locations are expected to remain open as planned.

Health care is a distinguishing issue in the race. Eastman says a Medicare-for-All healthcare plan “would increase efficiencies, reduce overhead costs, allow individuals to choose their provider instead of having to stay in network, eliminate premiums and deductibles, and free employers from having to administer healthcare plans.” Ashford criticized Eastman’s healthcare policy and said it could not pass in a divided Congress. She says she supports strengthening the Affordable Care Act and offering Medicare on the market as a public option. Harrison said Medicare for All might detract from union-negotiated benefits and also supports a public Medicare option.

Former Nebraska governors and U.S. senators Ben Nelson and Bob Kerrey endorsed Ashford. In a statement, Nelson said Ashford would take a “realistic approach when working for the benefit of all of us.” Groups like Justice Democrats and Democracy for America endorsed Eastman. Justice Democrats Executive Director Alexandra Rojas said Eastman was “part of a new generation of Democrats who will fight for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, free college, and ending mass incarceration and deportation.”

Eastman was the 2018 Democratic nominee. In the general election, Eastman lost to incumbent Don Bacon (R) 51% to 49%. In 2016, Bacon defeated then-incumbent Brad Ashford (D) 48.9% to 47.7%.

The 2017 Cook Partisan Voter Index for this district was R+4, meaning that in the previous two presidential elections, this district’s results were four percentage points more Republican than the national average.

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Smith (D) and Garcia (R) competing in May 12 special election for California’s 25th Congressional District

Christy Smith (D) and Mike Garcia (R) are running in a special general election on May 12, 2020, for California’s 25th Congressional District. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order providing for all-mail ballots for special election voters. The election will fill the vacancy left by Katie Hill (D), who resigned the seat on November 1, 2019. Smith received 35.8% of the vote to Garcia’s 25.1% in the March 3 top-two primary.

In the 2018 general election, Hill defeated incumbent Steve Knight (R) 54% to 46%. In 2016, Knight defeated Bryan Caforio (D) 53% to 47%. The 2017 Cook Partisan Voter Index for this district was even, meaning that in the previous two presidential elections, this district’s results were within one percentage point of the national average.

As of April 7, 2020, nine special elections have been called during the 116th Congress. Seven of those were called for seats in the U.S. House, and two were called for seats in the U.S. Senate. From the 113th Congress to the 115th Congress, 40 special elections were held.

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Seigel and Gandhi competing in July 14 Democratic runoff in Texas’ 10th Congressional District

Mike Siegel and Pritesh Gandhi will compete in the Democratic primary runoff for Texas’ 10th Congressional District on July 14, 2020. The runoff was originally scheduled for May 26, 2020, but Governor Greg Abbott (R) postponed the election due to the coronavirus pandemic. The winner will advance to the general election on November 3. Siegel received 44.0% of the vote to Gandhi’s 33.1% in the March 3 primary election.

Gandhi was endorsed by the Austin American-Statesman editorial board, which said, “District 10 Democrats have a tough choice, but in our view Gandhi has the greatest potential to move the needle in Congress.” The Austin Chronicle and The Houston Chronicle endorsed Siegel. The Houston Chronicle’s editorial board cited Siegel’s 2018 campaign, his environmental platform, and his experience as a teacher and assistant city attorney in Austin as the reasons for their endorsement.

In the 2018 general election, incumbent Michael McCaul (R) defeated Siegel (D) 51% to 47%. In 2016, McCaul defeated Tawana Cadien (D) 57% to 38%. The 2017 Cook Partisan Voter Index for this district was R+9, meaning that in the previous two presidential elections, this district’s results were nine percentage points more Republican than the national average.

Additional reading:


Jacobs (D) and Gomez (D) advance to general in California’s 53rd Congressional District

Sara Jacobs (D) and Georgette Gomez (D) advanced from a top-two primary election in California’s 53rd Congressional District after Chris Stoddard (R) conceded. The candidates will compete in the November 3 general election. The election marks the first time two Democratic candidates advanced to a general election in the district since California began using top-two primaries in 2012. At the time the election was called, Jacobs led with 29.1% of the vote, followed by Gomez with 20.4% and Stoddard with 13.5%.

Democrats have a 232-197 advantage over Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. There is one independent member, and there are five vacancies. Currently, if Republicans win 18 Democratic-controlled districts in the Nov. general, they will win control of the House. If Democrats hold as many districts, they will maintain their control of the chamber.



Campa-Najjar (D) and Issa (R) advance to general in California’s 50th Congressional District

Ammar Campa-Najjar (D) and Darrell Issa (R) advanced from a top-two primary election in California’s 50th Congressional District after third-place finisher Carl DeMaio (R) conceded. The candidates will face off in the November 3 general election. As of DeMaio’s concession, Campa-Najjar led the field with 35.9% of the vote, followed by Issa with 23.8%, Carl DeMaio (R) with 20.4%, and Brian Jones (R) with 10.9%.

Democrats have a 232-197 advantage over Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. There is one independent member, and there are five vacancies. Currently, if Republicans win 18 Democratic-controlled districts in the November general, they will win control of the House. If Democrats hold as many districts, they will maintain their control of the chamber.



Lewis Holley (D) advances to general election in race for North Carolina lieutenant governor


Yvonne Lewis Holley advanced from a field of six candidates in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor of North Carolina. In North Carolina, primary runoffs occur if no candidate wins more than 30% of the vote and the second-place finisher calls for a runoff. Second place finisher Terry Van Duyn announced March 10 she would not request a runoff, making Lewis Holley the Democratic nominee. Lewis Holley received 26.6% of the vote to Van Duyn’s 20.4%. Lewis Holley will face Mark Robinson (R) in the November general election.

North Carolina is one of 17 states where the lieutenant governor is elected independently of the governor. Going into the 2020 election, North Carolina is one of three states where the governor and the lieutenant governor do not share a party affiliation, along with Louisiana and Vermont. That status is at stake in the North Carolina general, as Democrats and Republicans are competing for both offices.



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