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Jane Scharl

Jane Scharl is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at jane.scharl@ballotpedia.org

Parties select nominees for Maine House special election

Two candidates are competing in a special election for the Maine House of Representatives District 52 seat. The filing deadline for candidates to appear on the ballot was February 22, 2019. The special election is set for April 2, 2019.
 
The seat became vacant on February 1, 2019, when incumbent Jennifer DeChant (D) resigned to take a job in the private sector. DeChant was first elected in 2012 and was most recently re-elected on November 6, 2018.
 
Democrats selected Sean Paulhus as their candidate, and Republicans selected Kenneth Sener. Paulhus currently serves as vice chairman of the Bath City Council. Sener is a retired Navy captain who has not held public office before.
 
A third candidate, Christopher Hallowell, was nominated prior to the filing deadline but will not appear on the ballot. Hallowell was nominated to run as a Libertarian; however, the Libertarian Party in Maine does not currently have enough registered voters to retain its standing as a qualified party.
 
To qualify as an official political party in Maine, 10,000 voters enrolled as members of that party must cast ballots in a general election. Currently, the three official parties in Maine are the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and the Green Independent Party. As of November 7, 2018, the Libertarian Party in Maine only had 6,168 registered voters. The Libertarian Party has filed to regain its official status and has until January 2, 2020, to gain at least 5,000 enrollees.
 
Non-party state House of Representatives candidates in Maine must submit 50 signatures from the district they are seeking to represent in order to appear on the ballot. Hallowell did not submit the signatures, and he, therefore, will not appear on the ballot. The deadline for write-in candidates was on March 1, and no write-in candidates filed.
 
Maine is currently a Democratic trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.


Harris (R) elects not to run in North Carolina election do-over

Mark Harris (R), who ran in last year’s invalidated election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, announced on February 26 that he would not participate in the do-over election ordered for the seat. Harris cited health reasons for not competing in the new race. “Given my health situation, the need to regain full strength, and the timing of this surgery the last week of March, I have decided not to file in the new election,” Harris said.
 
According to election night returns on November 6, 2018, Harris led opponent Dan McCready (D) by 905 votes. However, the North Carolina State Board of Elections declined to certify the results after reports of ballot fraud. On February 21, 2019, the board called for a new election in the 9th Congressional District and invalidated the 2018 contest.
 
Harris has endorsed Stony Rushing (R), a county commissioner in Union County, for the seat. Rushing was first elected to a four-year term on the commission in 2002 and most recently won election again in 2018.
 
Rushing is the only declared Republican candidate so far. Dan McCready, who ran against Harris in the 2018 race, is currently the only declared Democratic candidate.
 
On February 27, the North Carolina Board of Elections announced it will set the schedule for the special election on March 4.


Governor calls special election for Wisconsin Assembly district

On February 14, Gov. Tony Evers (D) called a special election for District 64 in the Wisconsin State Assembly. The primary is scheduled for April 2, and the general election is on April 30. The filing deadline for candidates to run is March 5.
 
The District 64 seat has been vacant since January 2019. Incumbent Peter Barca (D) stepped down after Evers nominated him to serve as secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Barca represented the district from 2008 until January 4, 2019. He served as Assembly Minority leader from 2011 to 2017.
 
The election in District 64 is currently the only state legislative special election scheduled for Wisconsin in 2019.
 
Currently, Republicans control the Wisconsin State Assembly by a margin of 63-36. Republicans also control the Wisconsin State Senate, but they do not have a trifecta because the governor is a Democrat. A trifecta exists when one political party holds the governorship and majorities in both state legislative chambers.


Three candidates qualify for Florida special election

Two Republicans and one Democrat qualified to run in an upcoming special election for the District 38 seat of the Florida House of Representatives.
 
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) ordered the special election on January 25, 2019, after he appointed state Rep. Danny Burgess (R) as executive director of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Burgess was first elected to the District 38 seat in 2014.
 
Randy Maggard and David McCallister are competing in the Republican primary on April 9, 2019. The winner of that contest will face Kelly Smith (D) in the general election on June 18, 2019.
 
Two other Florida districts will also hold special elections in June: District 7, where incumbent Halsey Beshears (R) was appointed as Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and District 97, where incumbent Jared Moskowitz (D) was appointed Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
 
Florida is currently a Republican trifecta, which occurs when a single party has control of the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature. Following the November 2018 general election, Republicans held a 73-47 majority in the Florida House of Representatives.


Parties select candidates for Pennsylvania special election

Two candidates were selected by their political parties to run in the special election for Pennsylvania State Senate District 37. The special election was called to fill the vacancy in District 37 after incumbent Guy Reschenthaler (R) was elected on November 6, 2018, to the United States House of Representatives to represent Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District. The special election is set for April 2, 2019.

In Pennsylvania, the political parties select candidates for special elections directly rather than using a primary process. The Democratic Party selected Pam Iovino, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, to run in the special election. Iovino previously sought election to the United States House of Representatives in 2018 in the special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, but was not selected as the Democratic nominee.

The Republican Party selected D. Raja, a small business owner. Raja previously sought election to the Pennsylvania State Senate to represent District 37 in the 2012 general election. He won the Republican primary but was defeated in the general election by former incumbent Matthew Smith (D).

Entering the special election, the Pennsylvania State Senate consists of 29 Republicans and 21 Democrats. Prior to the general election in 2018, Republicans held 33 seats, Democrats held 16, and there was one vacancy.



Third time’s the charm? Judge orders another special election in Georgia House District 28

On February 1, 2019, a judge ordered a third election for Georgia House of Representatives District 28, ruling that the second primary election in December 2018 was invalid.

Chris Erwin (R) challenged Rep. Dan Gasaway (R) in the original Republican primary for the seat on May 22, 2018. No Democratic candidate filed. Erwin won that election by a margin of 67 votes, but the election was deemed inconclusive due to a mapping error in which dozens of voters—more than the margin of victory—received the wrong ballots.

Erwin and Gasaway faced off again in a repeat primary on December 4, 2018, which Erwin won by two votes. However, Gasaway challenged the election results.

In the February 1 decision, Senior Superior Court Judge David Sweat ruled that a third election was necessary because four votes—double the margin of victory—were improperly cast. Three voters had moved out of District 28 before casting their votes, and one voter cast two votes in the December do-over.

Erwin was sworn into office on January 14, 2019, but he was ordered to step down on February 8.

The third election is set for April 9, 2019. Because no Democratic candidate has filed in the district, the winner of the Republican primary will represent the district in the Georgia House of Representatives.



Barton wins special runoff election for Georgia House seat

Former Calhoun Councilman Matt Barton (R) defeated attorney Jesse Vaughn (R) for the Georgia House District 5 seat in a special election runoff on February 5. The runoff came about after none of the six candidates in the special election on January 8 won more than 50 percent of the vote. Vaughn, who earned the most votes on January 8, and Barton, who placed second, advanced to the February runoff.
 
The special election was called in November 2018 after the death of Rep. John Meadows (R). Meadows had represented House District 5 since 2004. He died on November 12, 2018, at the age of 74, just a few days after winning re-election.
 
Georgia will also hold a state legislative special election on February 12 to fill the House District 176 seat. Former Rep. Jason Shaw (R), who represented the district from 2011 to 2018, was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal (R) as the District 1 member of the Georgia Public Service Commission, beginning January 1, 2019. Four candidates–Barbara Griffin (D), Barbara Seidman (D), James Burchett (R), and Franklin Patten (R)–will face off in the special election. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getting candidates will advance to a runoff.


Four states holding state legislative elections in 2019

In 2019, four states are holding regular state legislative elections: Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia. Seven chambers will be up for election. Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia are holding elections for both state house and state senate, but New Jersey is only holding its General Assembly elections. The next New Jersey State Senate general election will take place in 2021.
 
The state legislative elections in Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia will take place on November 5, and the state legislative elections in Louisiana will take place on November 16.
 
Entering 2019, New Jersey has a Democratic trifecta and Mississippi has a Republican trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Louisiana and Virginia both have divided governments with a Democratic governor and a Republican-controlled Senate and House.
 
Check with Ballotpedia regularly for updates on state legislative elections across the county and information on which races to watch. Also, click here for more information about state legislative special elections on the ballot in 2019.


Three Florida special elections set for June 2019

On January 25, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced special elections to fill three state House seats left vacant after the previous occupants joined his gubernatorial administration. A special primary is set for April 9, and the special general election is on June 18. The filing deadline for candidates is February 8.
 
The three seats on the ballot are District 7, District 38, and District 97. The former representatives resigned in January 2019 to fill positions in the governor’s administration. Rep. Halsey Beshears (R) of House District 7 became Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Rep. Danny Burgess (R) of House District 38 became Executive Director of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D) of House District 97 became Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
 
As of November 7, 2018, Republicans held 73 seats in the Florida House of Representatives to Democrats’ 47. All 120 seats were up for election last November.
 
Under Florida law, the governor is responsible for calling a special election to fill vacant seats in the state legislature. If the special primary on April 9 is conclusive, the special general election on June 18 will be canceled.


Filing deadline passed for Tennessee special election

The filing deadline passed on January 24 for a special election to fill the District 22 seat in the Tennessee State Senate. Seven candidates filed to run in the special election.
 
The District 22 seat was left vacant when Rep. Mark Green (R) was elected to represent Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District on November 6, 2018. Green represented District 22 from 2012 to 2018 and succeeded Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) in Congress.
Rosalind Kurita (I) was appointed by the Montgomery County Commission to fill the seat until the special election. Kurita previously represented District 22 from 1996 to 2008.
 
One Democratic candidate, four Republican candidates, and two independent candidates filed to run in the special election: Juanita Charles (D), Betty Burchett (R), Jeff Burkhart (R), Jason Knight (R), Bill Powers (R), Doyle Clark (I), and David Cutting (I). The four Republican candidates are set to face off in the primary on March 7. The special general election is on April 23.


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