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Joel Williams

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

Peter King announces 2020 retirement

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) announced that he would not seek re-election to Congress in 2020. King was first elected to the U.S. House in 1992 representing New York’s 3rd Congressional District. He has represented New York’s 2nd Congressional District since 2012.
 
King is the 20th Republican member of the U.S. House to announce he would not be seeking re-election in 2020. There are also 8 Democratic members of the U.S. House to announce 2020 retirements so far. In the 2018 election cycle, 52 members of the U.S. House—18 Democrats and 34 Republicans—did not seek re-election.
 
Currently, Democrats hold a 234-197 majority in the U.S. House with one independent member of the chamber. In November 2020, all 435 seats will be up for election.
 
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Two 2020 Congressional retirements announced last week; 1,884 major party candidates filed for 2020 Congressional races

In the past week, two members of the 116th Congress announced that they would not seek re-election in 2020. Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) announced his retirement on November 6 and Peter King (R-N.Y.) announced his retirement on November 11. To date, four Senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) and 28 Representatives (20 Republicans and eight Democrats) are not running for re-election. In 2018, 55 total members of Congress—18 Democrats and 37 Republicans—did not seek re-election.
 
As of November 11, 2019, 286 candidates are filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate in 2020. Of those, 251—133 Democrats and 118 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.
 
1,738 candidates are filed with the FEC to run for U.S. House in 2020. Of those, 1,633—816 Democrats and 817 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, 2020, 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 234-seat majority.
 
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Peter Visclosky announces 2020 retirement

Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) announced that he would not seek re-election to Congress in 2020. Visclosky was first elected to represent Indiana’s 1st Congressional District in 1984 and he won re-election in 2018 by a 30-point margin. There are currently no declared candidates in the district.
 
Upon the announcement, Visclosky became the eighth Democratic member of the U.S. House to announce he would not be seeking re-election in 2020. There were also 19 Republican members of the U.S. House to announce 2020 retirements so far. In the 2018 election cycle, 52 members of the U.S. House—18 Democrats and 34 Republicans—did not seek re-election.
 
Currently, Democrats hold a 234-197 majority in the U.S. House with one independent member of the chamber. In November 2020, all 435 seats will be up for election.
 
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Democrats win majority in Virginia House of Delegates, four Republican incumbents defeated

On November 5, Democrats flipped six Republican-held seats to win a 54-45 majority in the Virginia House of Delegates, while one race was too close to call. Heading into the election, Republicans held a 51-48 majority with one vacancy. The next legislative session will be the first where Democrats have a majority since 1997. Democrats also gained a majority in the state Senate which, alongside Democratic governor Ralph Northam, will give Democrats trifecta control of Virginia for the first time since 1993.
 
Democrats defeated four Republican incumbents: Tim Hugo (HD-40), Chris Jones (HD-76), Christopher Stolle (HD-83), and David Yancey (HD-94). The other two seats picked up by Democrats were in open races for seats held by Robert Thomas Jr. (HD-28) and Gordon Helsel (HD-91).
 
One of the defeated incumbents, David Yancey in District 94, was defeated by Shelly Simonds (D) 58% to 40%. In 2017, Yancey beat Simonds in the same district by a coin flip after recounts found the election was a tie.
 
All six of the seats that Democrats picked up were won by Gov. Ralph Northam (D) in 2017. Hillary Clinton (D) won all but one of the seats in the 2016 presidential election.
 
In District 30, Del. Nick Freitas (R) won a write-in campaign against Ann Ridgeway (D). Freitas ran as a write-in candidate after he failed to qualify for the ballot.


Democrats flip two seats to win majority in Virginia State Senate

On November 5, Democrats gained a 21-19 majority in the Virginia State Senate. Heading into the election, Republicans held a 21-19 majority. The next legislative session will be the first where Democrats have a majority since 2014. Democrats also gained a majority in the House of Delegates which, alongside Democratic governor Ralph Northam, will give Democrats trifecta control of Virginia for the first time since 1993.
 
Two districts flipped from Republican to Democratic control. Both districts had been won by Northam in 2017 and Hillary Clinton (D) in 2016.
 
In District 10, Ghazala Hashmi (D) defeated incumbent Sen. Glen Sturtevant (R) 54% to 46%. Sturtevant was elected to the seat in 2015 by a 50-47 margin. The candidates together raised $2.34 million, more than any other Senate race this cycle. Hashmi raised $1.14 million and Sturtevant raised $1.2 million.
 
In District 13, Del. John Bell (D) defeated Geary Higgins (R) 55% to 45%. The candidates together raised $2.01 million, second highest in the chamber only to the candidates in District 10. Bell raised $1.2 million and Higgins raised $809,000. The seat was open because Sen. Richard Black (R) did not run for re-election. Black last won re-election in 2015 by a 52% to 48%.


Beshear wins 21 counties that voted for Trump in 2016

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) state Attorney General Andy Beshear (D), and John Hicks (L) ran in Kentucky’s gubernatorial election. With 100 percent of precincts reporting at midnight EST, Beshear had received 49.2% of the vote, Bevin 48.9%, and Hicks 2.0%, though the race was too close to call.
 
According to election night returns, Beshear won 23 counties and Bevin won 97. Beshear’s 23 counties won were the most by a Democratic gubernatorial candidate since his father Steve Beshear (D) won in 2011.
 
Beshear won 21 counties that President Donald Trump (R) won in the 2016 presidential election.
 
Seventeen counties were won by a different party this cycle than they were won by in the 2015 gubernatorial election. Thirteen of those counties flipped from Bevin (R) in 2015 to Beshear (D) in 2019. The other four counties flipped from Jack Conway (D) in 2015 to Bevin (R) in 2019.
 
 


Trump has appointed fourth-most federal judges through November 1 of a president’s third year

Donald Trump has appointed, with Senate confirmation, 157 Article III federal judges through November 1, 2019, his third year in office. This is the fourth-most Article III judicial appointments through this point in a presidency of all presidents dating back to Theodore Roosevelt. Only Jimmy Carter (177), George W. Bush (167), and Bill Clinton (166) had more.
 
The average number of federal judges appointed by a president through November 1 of their third year in office is 91.
 
The median number of Supreme Court justices appointed is two. William Taft’s (R) five appointments were the most among this set. Presidents Franklin Roosevelt (D), Jimmy Carter (D), and George W. Bush (R) did not appoint any justices through November 1 of their third years in office. Trump has appointed 2 justices so far.
 
The median number of United States Court of Appeals appointees is 18. Trump and Carter appointed the most with 43 each, and Presidents Theodore Roosevelt (R) and Woodrow Wilson (D) appointed the fewest with five each. Trump’s 43 appointments make up 24 percent of the total 179 judgeships in the courts of appeal.
 
The median number of United States District Court appointees is 66. W. Bush appointed the most with 137, and T. Roosevelt appointed the fewest with 10. Trump has appointed 110 district court judges so far. Those appointments make up 16 percent of the 677 judgeships in the district courts.
 
Article III federal judges are appointed for life terms by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate per Article III of the United States Constitution. Article III judges include judges on the: Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. courts of appeal, U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade.


One 2020 Congressional retirement announced last week; 1,842 major party candidates filed for 2020 Congressional races

In the past week, one member of the 116th Congress announced that he would not seek re-election in 2020. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) announced his retirement on October 28. To date, four Senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) and 26 Representatives (19 Republicans and seven Democrats) are not running for re-election. In 2018, 55 total members of Congress—18 Democrats and 37 Republicans—did not seek re-election.
 
As of November 4, 2019, 278 candidates are filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate in 2020. Of those, 244—130 Democrats and 114 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.
 
1,701 candidates are filed with the FEC to run for U.S. House in 2020. Of those, 1,598—801 Democrats and 797 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, 2020, 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 234-seat majority.
 
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Kentucky election preview

Gov. Matt Bevin (R), state Attorney General Andy Beshear (D), and John Hicks (L) are running in Kentucky’s gubernatorial election on November 5. This election follows nearly four years of conflict between Bevin and Beshear, which began when each was elected to his current position.
 
Between Bevin, Beshear, and groups affiliated with the Republican Governors Association and Democratic Governors Association, radio and television ad spending has broken $20 million. In the past week, those four groups have accounted for $5 million in spending.
 
Bevin has received endorsements from several elected officials, including President Donald Trump (R), Vice President Mike Pence (R), and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R). Beshear’s endorsers include 2019 gubernatorial primary candidates state Rep. Rocky Adkins (D) and state Rep. William Woods (R), in addition to Republican state Sen. Dan Seum. The Lexington Herald-Leader was the only major newspaper in the state to make an endorsement, and they endorsed Beshear.
 
Bevin and Beshear met in a series of five debates in October. The candidates discussed issues including education, job creation, healthcare, and casino gaming. Local sources described several of the debates as combative. In addition to the October debates, the candidates both participated in the Fancy Farm Picnic in August and a July forum held by the Kentucky Farm Bureau.
 
Both The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections rate the race a Toss-Up, while Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball rates it as Lean Republican. Inside Elections changed their rating from Lean Republican to Toss-Up in July. Poll results have varied, showing either Bevin or Beshear ahead or both in a tie.
 
This race will decide the state’s trifecta status until at least the 2020 state legislative elections. Kentucky is currently a Republican trifecta. 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. Before Bevin’s 2015 victory, Democrats held the governorship for 16 of the previous 20 years.
 


Katie Hill announces resignation amid ethics investigation

Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.) announced that she would resign from her position representing California’s 25th Congressional District. Hill did not initially announce the effective date of her resignation. The announcement followed Hill’s acknowledgment that she had been involved in an intimate relationship with a campaign staffer.
 
Once her resignation becomes effective, Hill will be the seventh member of the 116th Congress to leave office prior to the end of their term. Of those seven, six were members of the U.S. House (two Democrats and four Republicans), and the other was a Republican U.S. Senator.
 
Currently, Democrats hold a 235-199 majority in the U.S. House with one independent member of the chamber. In November 2020, all 435 seats will be up for election.
 
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