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Joel Williams

Joel Williams is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at joel.williams@ballotpedia.org

1,548 major party candidates filed with FEC for 2020 Congressional races; no new Congressional retirements last week

No members of the U.S. Senate or U.S. House announced 2020 retirements in the past week. To date, four Senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) and 19 Representatives (15 Republicans and four Democrats) are not running for re-election.
 
As of September 16, 2019, 240 candidates are filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate in 2020. Of those, 215—112 Democrats and 103 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 527 candidates filed with the FEC to run for U.S. Senate, including 137 Democrats and 240 Republicans.
 
1,420 candidates are filed with the FEC to run for U.S. House in 2020. Of those, 1,333—699 Democrats and 634 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 3,244 candidates filed with the FEC, including 1,566 Democrats and 1,155 Republicans.
 
On November 3, 2012, 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election. Thirty-three Senate races 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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Four U.S. Reps. announced 2020 retirements in the last week; 1,507 major party candidates filed for 2020 Congressional races

In the last week, four U.S. Representatives—three Republicans and one Democrat—announced they would not seek re-election in 2020. Bill Flores (TX-17), Susan Davis (CA-53), and Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-5) are retiring from political office, while Roger Marshall (KS-1) is running for U.S. Senate. To date, four Senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) and 19 Representatives (15 Republicans and four Democrats) are not running for re-election.
 
As of Sept. 9, 232 candidates are filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate in 2020. Of those, 206—108 Democrats and 98 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 527 candidates filed with the FEC to run for U.S. Senate, including 137 Democrats and 240 Republicans.
 
1,385 candidates are filed with the FEC to run for U.S. House in 2020. Of those, 1,301—686 Democrats and 615 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 3,244 candidates filed with the FEC, including 1,566 Democrats and 1,155 Republicans.
 
On November 3, 20120, 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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56 percent of state legislative races do not have major party competition, according to 2019 competitiveness report

Fifty-six percent of the 538 state legislative elections taking place in November 2019 do not feature major party competition, according to our 9th Annual State Legislative Competitiveness Report. These 299 races feature a candidate from either the Democratic or Republican Parties, but not both.
 
On the other hand, 44 percent of the November 2019 state legislative elections in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia feature candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties.
 
By this metric, 2019’s state legislative elections are more competitive than in 2015 (the last time the same seats were up for election) when 61 percent of races did not feature major party competition. This year’s races are less competitive than in 2011 when 43 percent of races did not feature major party competition.
 
More incumbents faced primary challengers in 2019 than in the past two odd-year election cycles. This year, 129 of 435 incumbents seeking re-election (30.1 percent) faced primary challenges. In 2017, 16 percent of incumbents faced primary challengers, and in 2015, 21.8 percent of incumbents faced primary challengers.
 
Only four states hold elections during odd-numbered years: Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia. This year, both chambers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia are up for election, along with the New Jersey General Assembly.


Ducey picks Bill Montgomery for Arizona Supreme Court

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) appointed Bill Montgomery (R) to the Arizona Supreme Court on September 4, 2019. Montgomery replaces former Chief Justice Scott Bales, who retired on July 31, 2019. Montgomery was Ducey’s fifth appointment to the seven-member court.
 
Before being appointed to the state Supreme Court, Montgomery was Maricopa County Attorney. He was first elected to the position in a 2010 special election and was re-elected in 2012 and 2016. Montgomery also previously served as Deputy County Attorney and was a prosecutor before holding elected office. Montgomery earned his bachelor’s from West Point and his J.D. from the Arizona State University College of Law. He is a veteran of the Gulf War.
 
Including Montgomery, all seven members of the Arizona Supreme Court have been appointed by Republican governors Jan Brewer or Ducey.
 
In 2019, there have been 18 supreme court vacancies across 12 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. Of those 18 vacancies, 12 are in states where a Republican governor appoints the replacement. Five vacancies occurred in a state where a Democratic governor fills vacancies, while another occurred in a state where a Republican-controlled legislature appoints replacements.


Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) announces 2020 retirement

Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) announced that she would not seek re-election in 2020. She was first elected to represent California’s 53rd Congressional District in 2000, and she won re-election in 2018 by a margin of 38 points. In a statement announcing her retirement, she said she had “a desire to live and work ‘at home’ in San Diego.”
 
As of Thursday, Davis is the fourth Democratic member of the U.S. House to announce they would not be seeking re-election in 2020, joining Jose Serrano (NY-15), Ben Ray Lujan (NM-3), and Dave Loebsack (IA-2). There are also 14 Republican members of the U.S. House to announce 2020 retirements so far.
 
Currently, Democrats hold a 235-197 majority in the U.S. House. There is also one independent member and two vacant seats in the chamber. In November 2020, all 435 seats will be up for election. Ballotpedia has identified 71 U.S. House races as general election battlegrounds. Of the 71 seats, 43 are held by Democrats and 28 are held by Republicans heading into the election.
 
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Bill Flores announces 2020 retirement

Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) announced that he would not seek re-election in 2020. He was first elected to represent Texas’ 17th Congressional District in 2010, and he won re-election in 2018 by more than 15 points. In a statement announcing his retirement, he cited a desire to spend more time with his family.
 
Flores is the 13th Republican member of the U.S. House and the fifth representative from Texas to announce he would not be seeking re-election in 2020. There are also three Democratic members of the U.S. House to announce 2020 retirements so far.
 
Currently, Democrats hold a 235-197 majority in the U.S. House. There is also one independent member and two vacant seats in the chamber. In November 2020, all 435 seats will be up for election. Ballotpedia has identified 71 U.S. House races as general election battlegrounds. Of the 71 seats, 43 are held by Democrats and 28 are held by Republicans heading into the election.
 
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Johnny Isakson announces 2019 retirement

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) announced his resignation effective December 31, 2019. He cited his health as a reason for the resignation. He is the first senator to announce an early retirement from the 116th Congress and the fifth senator not to run for re-election in 2020. Three other Republicans and one Democratic senator are also not seeking re-election.
 
Isakson was first elected to the Senate in 2004 to replace retiring incumbent Zell Miller (D). He won re-election campaigns in 2010 and 2016. His seat would have been up for election in 2022.
 
Under Georgia law, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) will appoint a replacement for Isakson until the next general election (November 2020). A special election will be held at that time to fill the remainder of Isakson’s term. Georgia will have two U.S. Senate elections next November because Sen. David Perdue’s (R) seat is also up for its regularly-scheduled election.
 
Republicans currently hold a 53-member majority in the U.S. Senate. In 2020, Republicans are defending 23 seats while Democrats are defending only 12. Each party is defending two seats that the opposing party’s presidential candidate won in 2016.
 
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Abbott fills vacancy on Texas Supreme Court

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) appointed Jane Bland to Place 6 on the Texas Supreme Court, filling the vacancy left by Justice Jeff Brown. Brown was confirmed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas in late July. Bland previously served on the Texas First District Court of Appeals from 2003 to 2018.
 
Typically, the Texas State Senate must confirm appointments to the state Supreme Court. The legislature is out of session, however, so the Senate did not have to confirm Bland’s appointment. Bland must stand for re-election in 2020 to remain on the court.
 
The Texas Supreme Court has nine justices. Of those, four were appointed by Gov. Rick Perry (R) and three were appointed by Gov. Abbott. The other two justices were initially chosen by voters in partisan elections.
 
This year, there have been 18 state supreme court vacancies across 12 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. Thirteen of the vacancies were caused by retirements. Two former justices took jobs in the private sector. One vacancy occurred when a justice was elevated to chief justice of the court and two others occurred when the justices were elevated to federal judicial positions.


Seth Moulton suspends his presidential campaign

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) suspended his presidential campaign on Friday, August 23, making him the sixth notable Democrat to do so. “I think it’s evident that this is now a three-way race between Biden, Warren and Sanders, and really it’s a debate about how far left the party should go,” he said in an interview with The New York Times.
 
His campaign suspension left 23 notable candidates—21 Democrats and two Republicans—actively campaigning for president in 2020. Moulton’s exit left two U.S. Reps. in the Democratic field, along with seven U.S. Senators, two mayors, and one governor.
 
President Donald Trump (R) is seeking re-election. He defeated Hillary Clinton (D) in 2016 with 304 electoral votes to Clinton’s 227. Clinton received 48.3 percent of the popular vote while Trump received 46.2 percent of the popular vote.


Trump campaigns for Bevin in Kentucky gubernatorial race

Last night, President Donald Trump (R) headlined a fundraiser in Louisville for Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s (R) re-election campaign. He also spoke at the American Veterans convention earlier in the day, where he told an audience, “We’ll get [Bevin and Sen. Mitch McConnell] both back in.”
 
Bevin, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear (D), and John Hicks (L) are running in the the state’s gubernatorial general election on November 5. The race will decide the state’s trifecta status until at least the 2020 state legislative elections. If Bevin wins, Republicans will maintain their trifecta control of the state, while a Beshear or Hicks victory would result in neither party having trifecta control.
 
A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. As of August 2019, there were 22 Republican trifectas, 14 Democratic trifectas, and 14 divided governments where neither party holds trifecta control.


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