Joel Williams

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Diana Harshbarger wins 16-candidate TN-01 Republican primary

Diana Harshbarger defeated 15 other candidates in Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District’s Republican Party primary on August 6, 2020. Incumbent Rep. Phil Roe (R), first elected in 2008, is not running for re-election.

Harshbarger received 19.2% of the vote, followed by Timothy Hill with 16.8%, Rusty Crowe with 16.1%, Josh Gapp with 14.2%, and Steve Darden with 12.4%.


Harshbarger will face Blair Walsingham (D) and Steve Holder (I) in the general election. Three race-tracking outlets rate the general election as Safe/Solid Republican. In the 2016 presidential election in the district, Donald Trump (R) received 77% of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s (D) 20%.


Elections to the U.S. House will be held on November 3 and coincide with the 2020 presidential election. All 435 House districts will be up for election, and the results will determine the partisan balance of the U.S. House in the 117th Congress. As of July 2020, Democrats had a 232-198 advantage over Republicans. There was one Libertarian member, and there were four vacancies.

Rep. Jim Cooper defeats two challengers in TN-05 Democratic primary

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D) defeated Keeda Haynes and Joshua Rawlings in Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District Democratic primary on August 6, 2020. With 52% of precincts reporting, Cooper received 56.6% of the vote to Haynes’ 40.8% and Rawlings’ 2.6%.

No Republican candidate filed to run for the seat, so Cooper will appear on the November 3 general election ballot unopposed. Cooper has served in the U.S. House since 2003.

Elections to the U.S. House will be held on November 3, 2020, and coincide with the 2020 presidential election. All 435 House districts will be up for election, and the results will determine the partisan balance of the U.S. House in the 117th Congress. As of July 2020, Democrats had a 232-198 advantage over Republicans. There was one Libertarian member, and there were four vacancies.

Hagerty wins Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Tennessee

Bill Hagerty won the 15-candidate Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Tennessee. With 31% of the vote reporting, Hagerty had received 52.5% of the vote and Manny Sethi had received 37.9%. George Flinn Jr. was the only candidate with more than 3% of the vote.

Incumbent Sen. Lamar Alexander (R), first elected in 2002, did not run for re-election.

Hagerty received endorsements from Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and U.S. President Donald Trump (R), whose administration he previously served in as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Sethi, an orthopedic surgeon, received endorsements from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), founder of the Senate Conservatives Fund and the former president of the Heritage Foundation.

According to pre-primary campaign finance reports, Hagerty raised $12.3 million, the second-highest total among all non-incumbent Republicans in 2020 U.S. Senate primaries at the time. He reported $2.7 million cash on hand. Sethi raised $4.6 million with $386,000 on hand. Satellite spending totaled over $4 million primarily in the form of campaign ads. Standing With Conservatives spent $110,000 on ads supporting Hagerty and $1.2 million opposing Sethi. America One spent $375,000 opposing Sethi. Conservative Outsider PAC and Protect Freedom PAC spent $1 million opposing Hagerty and $1.5 million supporting Sethi, respectively.

Hagerty will face the winner of the Democratic primary on November 3, 2020. Three race forecasters rate the general election as Safe/Solid Republican.

Republicans currently control 53 seats in the Senate. Democrats control 45. There are two Independents who caucus with the Democrats.

Thirty-five elections will take place for the U.S. Senate in November, including special elections in Arizona for the seat that John McCain (R) won in 2016 and in Georgia for the seat that Johnny Isakson (R) won in 2016.


Coronavirus weekly updates: July 2, 2020

Ballotpedia, The Encyclopedia of American Politics: Coronavirus Weekly Updates
From March 18 to June 10, Coronavirus Daily Update provided a daily summary of major changes due to the coronavirus pandemic in politics, government, and elections. Now, we cover those same stories in a weekly format sent out on Thursday afternoons.

Today, you will find updates on the following topics, with comparisons to our previous edition released on June 25:

  • Stay-at-home orders
  • Federal responses
  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies
  • Election changes
  • Ballot measure changes
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Travel restrictions
  • State legislation
  • State legislative sessions
  • State courts
  • Prison policies
  • Eviction and foreclosure policies
  • Diagnosed or quarantined public officials

We're tracking states' reopenings — subscribe to Documenting America's Path to Recovery to learn more
For daily news on state reopening plans and which industries and activities are permitted across the country, subscribe to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery.

State stay-at-home orders

Read more: States with lockdown and stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


As of July 2, stay-at-home orders have ended in 41 states. Nineteen of those states have Republican governors and 22 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order).

The two states with active stay-at-home orders have Democratic governors. They are (with expiration date):

  • New Mexico (July 15)
  • California (no set expiration date)


  • New Mexico – On July 1, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office announced the health order was extended on June 30 through July 15. The order was initially set to expire on June 30

1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

Read more: 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

The United States held midterm elections as scheduled during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. More than 50 million people perished from the disease worldwide, including about 675,000 in the U.S., making it one of the deadliest pandemics in recorded history. Each week, we’ll look back at a story from the 1918 elections to see how America met the challenges of holding elections during a national health emergency.

On Nov. 5, 1918, the Toledo News – Bee reported that while orders closing businesses were beginning to lift, saloons and entertainment would remain closed on Election Day.  Officials believed lack of crowding on election night would slow the spread of the influenza.

“The gradual abatement of the flu and the gradual resumption of business thru the suspension of the influenza quarantine are moving along together…

“On Thursday the closing order is lifted from everything except schools, which open Monday morning, and except for ‘airing’ houses for movies and theaters some time between shows.

“The order of Mayor [Cornell] Schreiber and Health Commissioner Waggoner, to close all eating places between 8 and 11 on Tuesday night will be obeyed generally.

“There will be no places of amusement or entertainment open, and consequently no great reason for election night crowds, officials say, a fact which they believe will give further aid to the elimination of the flu through nonassemblage.”

Click here to read the original article, courtesy of the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing’s Influenza Encyclopedia.

Federal responses

Read more: Political responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • On July 1, the U.S. Department of the Interior released public health guidance for the Independence Day celebrations on the National Mall on July 4. The Department recommends people who are not members of the same household keep six feet apart and asks people to wear masks. The Department is providing 300,000 cloth masks at the event.
  • On June 30, the Treasury Department and the IRS announced that the tax deadline would not be extended beyond July 15. The deadline was postponed from April 15 to July 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • On June 29, the Defense Department announced it had lifted travel restrictions on military installations in ten more states, allowing service members to resume recreational travel and change-of-station moves. Restrictions were also lifted on troops in Guam, Puerto Rico, and South Korea.

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 320 lawsuits, across 45 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 121 of those lawsuits.
    • Since June 25, we have added 42 lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional 28 court orders and/or settlements.
  • Ballotpedia has separately followed another 119 lawsuits, in 36 states, dealing with election issues during the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 59 of those lawsuits.

Here are three recently tracked lawsuits that have either garnered significant national media attention or involve major advocacy groups.

  • Flores v. Barr: On June 26, Judge Dolly Gee of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to transfer migrant children held at ICE Family Residential Centers (FRCs) to their families or sponsors by July 17. The order is the result of a complaint filed on March 26, in which plaintiffs, representing detained minors in a longstanding class action, alleged that continued detention of the minors “in congregate detention facilities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and public health national emergency” violated the Flores settlement. The Flores settlement is a 1997 court-supervised stipulated settlement agreement which governs the detention conditions and treatment of noncitizen migrant children held in federal custody. Gee’s order is limited to minors held at FRCs for more than 20 days. It provides that removal “shall be undertaken with all deliberate speed.” The order goes on to state that before removal, “ICE shall urgently enforce its existing COVID-19 protocols,” including social distancing, masking, and enhanced testing at all detention centers. On April 24, Gee ordered the federal government to “continue to make every effort to promptly and safely release” the minors, an order ICE appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on June 23. Gee was appointed to the court by President Barack Obama (D).
  • In re: American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations: On June 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied an emergency petition filed by the AFL-CIO. The labor union had sought a court order (a writ of mandamus) to compel the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard for Infectious Diseases (ETS) to protect working people from occupational exposure to COVID-19. On March 6, the union petitioned Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia to issue the ETS, but Scalia did not act on the petition, prompting the AFL-CIO to take the matter before the D.C. Circuit. The union cited a federal law requiring the issuance of an ETS when “employees are exposed to grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards.” The D.C. Circuit refused to compel action, saying OSHA is “entitled to considerable deference” and the agency had “reasonably determined that an ETS is not necessary at this time.” Judges Karen Henderson, an appointee of George H.W. Bush (R), Robert Wilkins, an appointee of Barack Obama (D), and Neomi Rao, an appointee of Donald J. Trump (R), made the per curiam decision. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued a statement the day of the decision, saying, “the court’s action today fell woefully short of fulfilling its duty to ensure that the Occupational Safety and Health Act is enforced.”
  • League of Independent Fitness Facilities and Trainers, Inc. v. Whitmer: On June 24, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted an emergency stay in favor of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), barring indoor gyms from reopening due to continued risks associated with COVID-19. Whitmer had appealed Judge Paul Maloney’s June 19 preliminary injunction, which barred enforcement of Executive Order 2020-110, Section 12(b). The executive order closed “indoor gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, sports facilities, exercise facilities, exercise studios, and the like” in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. While Maloney prevented the order from taking effect, saying  Whitmer had offered “nothing in support of the restriction” nor “any set of facts on which the gym restriction has a rational relation to public health.” The Sixth Circuit ruled Whitmer used “rational speculation” that “heavy breathing and sweating in an enclosed space containing many shared surfaces creates conditions likely to spread the virus.” The Sixth Circuit found that the “public interest weighs in favor of a stay” of Maloney’s injunction. The unanimous three-judge panel, comprised Judges Julia Gibbons and Deborah Cook, both appointed by George W. Bush (R), and Chad Readler, who was appointed by Donald Trump (R). Following the Sixth Circuit’s ruling, Whitmer’s office said: “In the fight against a global pandemic, courts must give governors broad latitude to make quick, difficult decisions.” An attorney for the plaintiffs said they were exploring their options regarding an appeal.

Election changes

Read more: Changes to election dates, procedures, and administration in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


  • Twenty states have postponed state-level primary or special elections.
    • No new states have postponed elections since June 25.
  • Eighteen states have modified their candidate filing requirements.
    • No new states have made modifications since June 25.
  • Thirty-six states have made modifications to their voting procedures.
    • One new state has made modifications since June 25.
  • Political parties in 19 states have made modifications to party events on a statewide basis.
    • No state parties have made modifications to party events since June 25.


  • New Mexico – On June 26, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed SB4 into law, authorizing county clerks to automatically mail absentee ballot applications to registered, mailable voters in the Nov. 3 general election.
  • Texas – On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to reinstate a district court order that had expanded absentee voting eligibility in Texas. An appeals court stayed the district court’s order, a decision that was allowed to stand as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision not to intervene.

Ballot measure changes

Read more: Changes to ballot measure campaigns, procedures, and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


  • At least 15 lawsuits were filed in 12 states seeking court orders suspending or changing signature requirements and deadlines.
  • Rulings or settlements have been issued in 14 cases.
    • Last week, at least one appeal was filed, and two rulings were issued in cases previously appealed.
  • Ballotpedia has tracked 25 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  • Seven states and D.C. changed ballot measure procedures through executive orders or legislative action.
  • At least three initiative campaigns initially targeting 2020 reported they would shift their focus to 2022.


School closures

Read more: School closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


  • In March and April, 48 states closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. Those states accounted for 99.4% of the nation’s 50.6 million public school students. Montana and Wyoming did not require in-person instruction for the year. Montana schools were allowed to reopen on May 7 and Wyoming schools were allowed to reopen on May 15.
  • Seven states (Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Wyoming) have reopened their campuses for students and staff.
    • Two new states have reopened campuses since June 25.
  • Ten states have released reopening guidance and also announced a scheduled reopening.
    • Five new states have done so since June 25.
  • Three states have announced schools will reopen in the fall but have not released reopening guidance.
    • One new state has made a reopening announcement since June 25.
  • Officials in 13 other states have released guidance for reopening schools to in-person instruction, but have not indicated when or whether they plan to do so.

The map below details states that have released guidance for school reopenings, announced the future reopening of schools to in-person instruction, or have allowed schools to reopen to in-person instruction. States are categorized in the following manner.

  • No announcements – Ballotpedia has not identified a key state official that has made an announcement about reopening schools or released reopening guidance.
  • Reopening guidance released – A key state official has released reopening guidance for schools but not made a statement on when schools would reopen.
  • Reopening announcement made – A key state official has announced when schools would reopen but there had not been any reopening guidance released.
  • Guidance and announcement – Reopening guidance for schools has been released and a key government official has announced when schools would reopen.
  • Schools allowed to reopen – Schools in the state are currently allowed to reopen.
  • Local decision – State officials are delegating reopening decisions to local officials.


  • Alabama – On June 26, Superintendent of Education Eric Mackey released reopening guidance for schools. The guidance allows local school officials to determine face-covering requirements and physical distancing protocols.
  • Connecticut – On June 25, Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said his department was proposing all schools reopen to students in the fall.
  • Hawaii – The Department of Education announced public schools would begin reopening starting Aug. 4.
  • Indiana – Schools in the state were allowed to reopen beginning July 1. The reopening was announced on June 5.
  • Iowa – The Iowa Department of Education announced schools would be allowed to reopen beginning July 1. Officials announced there would be no requirement for students or staff to wear face coverings, undergo health checks, or social distance.
  • Michigan – On June 30, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) released the “MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap,” a set of guidelines local districts can use to draft their own reopening plans for the fall. The guidelines, which include both requirements and recommendations, are tiered to the phases in the state’s broader reopening plan. The state is currently in Phase 4 of its reopening plan. Full details on requirements and recommendations by reopening phase can be accessed here.
  • New Jersey – On June 26, the New Jersey Department of Education released a 104-page reopening plan that includes social distancing guidelines and a face-covering requirement for teachers and staff. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said schools would reopen to in-person instruction this fall.
  • Ohio – On July 2, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) released guidelines for reopening schools in the state. The guidelines include a requirement that all staff wear masks and a recommendation that students in third grade or higher wear masks.
  • Utah – On June 29, Gov. Gary Herbert (R) approved a Utah State Board of Education plan for reopening schools in the fall. The Board is requiring all public schools to create and post a reopening plan online by August 1.
  • Wyoming – On July 1, the Wyoming Department of Education released guidance for reopening schools in the state. The state’s 48 school districts are responsible for developing reopening plans in accordance with the guidance and submitting those plans for state approval. Each plan must account for three scenarios: traditional learning, hybrid learning (a mix of in-person and distance learning), and distance-only learning. Schools were allowed to reopen facilities on May 15.

Travel restrictions

Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


  • Governors or state agencies in 24 states issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 12 of those orders have been rescinded.
    • Since June 25, no new states have implemented travel restrictions.  Eight states altered their existing travel restrictions.


  • Kansas – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment updated its travel-related quarantine guidelines to include South Carolina and Florida. Travelers to Kansas, as well as Kansas residents who have recently traveled to South Carolina and Florida will need to self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York – Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that eight more states had been added to a joint travel advisory requiring out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days. The governors announced the travel advisory June 24 and originally included Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. The list was expanded to include California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, and Tennessee.
  • Maine – Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced she was lifting the quarantine requirement on travelers from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Restrictions remain in place for travelers from Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
  • Massachusetts – Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that visitors to Massachusetts from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, and New Jersey will no longer need to self-quarantine for 14 days. The advisory to self-quarantine remains in effect for visitors from other parts of the country.
  • Rhode Island – Out-of-state visitors and Rhode Island residents traveling to Rhode Island from parts of the country with a positive coronavirus test rate of 5% or higher will need to provide a negative test result or quarantine for 14 days.
  • Vermont – Beginning July 1, out-of-state visitors arriving from low-risk counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, and West Virginia in a personal vehicle will no longer need to quarantine for 14-days after arriving in Vermont. Vermont residents who visit those counties and then return home will also no longer need to quarantine.

State legislation

Read more: Changes to state legislative session dates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


  • Seven state legislatures have suspended their sessions. Six of those have since reconvened.
    • Four legislatures that had suspended their sessions have adjourned since June 25.
  • Thirty-seven legislatures have either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
    • Four legislatures have adjourned since June 25.
  • Five state legislatures are in regular session.
  • One state legislature is in special session.


  • Delaware – The Delaware legislature adjourned on June 30.
  • Georgia – The Georgia legislature adjourned on June 26.
  • Louisiana – The Louisiana legislature adjourned on June 30.
  • New Hampshire – The New Hampshire legislature adjourned on June 30.

State court changes

Read more: State court closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


  • Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide.
    • Since June 25, one court has extended restrictions on in-person proceedings and the suspension of jury trials.
  • 16 states suspended in-person proceedings at the local level


  • Texas – The Texas Supreme Court extended the prohibition on jury trials through Sept. 1. The Southern District of Texas courthouse and the federal courthouse in Galveston County closed on Friday, June 26 through July 10. The Laredo Division of the Southern District of Texas extended an order that closed the courthouse to the public through Aug. 3.

Prison inmate responses

Read more: State and local governments that released prison inmates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


  • Twenty-one states have released inmates at the state level.
    • No states have released inmates at the state level since June 25.
  • Twelve states have released inmates on the local level.
  • Eleven states have not released inmates due to coronavirus.
  • Two states have prohibited the release of certain inmate populations.
  • Four states have temporarily released certain populations of inmates.


  • California – On June 29, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that officials had identified 3,500 inmates who could potentially be released from prison. The inmates meet the same criteria as 3,500 other inmates released earlier this year. Each is within 150 days of release and considered medically vulnerable to coronavirus.

Eviction and foreclosure policies

Read more: Changes to rent, mortgage, eviction, and foreclosure policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


  • Twenty-six states have current moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
    • New Hampshire ended one moratorium on evictions.
  • Sixteen states have ended moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • California has current local moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • Seven states did not issue a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures on the state or local level.


  • California – Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) extended an authorization allowing local governments to stop evictions through Sept. 30.
  • Florida – Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) extended a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through Aug. 1.
  • Nevada – Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed an order that allows residential summary evictions to resume for actions that do not include the non-payment of rent, including violations of controlled substance laws and nuisance, on July 1. Evictions for non-payment of rent will resume Sept. 1. The order allows landlords and lenders to begin eviction actions on commercial tenancies and mortgages beginning July 1.
  • New Hampshire – Gov. Chris Sununu’s (R) moratorium on evictions ended July 1. Sununu said he would use CARES Act funds to help people who were struggling to pay rent or make payments on a mortgage.
  • Oregon – The Oregon Legislature voted to extend the state’s moratorium on commercial and residential evictions Sept. 30. The bill also gives renters until March 31, 2021, to pay back nonpayment balances. Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed the bill on June 30.

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • Federal
    • Seven members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty federal officials quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Four state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • Forty-three state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Seventy-four state-level incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least two local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 16 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since June 25, two state politicians have tested positive for coronavirus.


  • Florida State Rep. Shevrin Jones (D), who represents District 101, announced on June 30 that he tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Oklahoma State Rep. Cynthia Roe (R), who represents District 42, announced on June 26 that she had tested positive for COVID-19.

Learn more

Mace wins Republican nomination in South Carolina’s First Congressional District

State Rep. Nancy Mace won the Republican primary in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, defeating Chris Cox, Kathy Landing, and Brad Mole. With 39% of precincts reporting, Mace had received 59% of the vote. Landing was in second place with 26%.
Mace faces incumbent Rep. Joe Cunningham (D) in the November general election. Cunningham defeated Katie Arrington (R) in 2018, 50.6% to 49.2%. The 2018 general election in South Carolina’s 1st District was decided by the 12th smallest margin of victory of all U.S. House races that year.
In the 2016 presidential race, Donald Trump (R) defeated Hillary Clinton (D) in the district, 53.5% to 40.4% The 1st District is one of 30 House Districts represented by a Democrat in 2020 that voted for Trump in 2016. Until Cunningham’s election in 2018, it had been represented by Republicans since 1981.

Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #31: June 9, 2020

Ballotpedia, The Encyclopedia of American Politics
 blank    blankblank   blank

Each day, we:

  • Track the status of reopening in all 50 states.

  • Compare the status of one industry or activity across the country.

  • Provide in-depth summaries of the latest reopening plans.

  • Give you the latest stories on other reopening plans and ideas.

Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.

The next two days

What is reopening in the next two days? Which stay-at-home orders will expire?

June 10

  • Minnesota (divided government): Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that gyms can reopen June 10 at 25% capacity. Minnesota will be the 37th state to allow gyms to reopen.

  • New York (Democratic trifecta): The Long Island region is on track to become the ninth of New York’s 10 regions to enter Phase II of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) reopening plan, “NY Forward,” on June 10. The Mid-Hudson region moved into that phase on June 9. Under Phase II, the following businesses and activities are permitted to resume: offices (50% occupancy), real estate, in-store retail (50% occupancy), vehicle sales, leases and rentals, retail rental, repair and cleaning, commercial building management (50% occupancy), and salons and barbershops (50% occupancy). On June 8, Cuomo released plans for in-restaurant dining, which include operating at half capacity and tables spaced six feet apart. In-restaurant dining is slated to resume in Phase III of Cuomo’s reopening plan. Cuomo also announced that in-person special education classes could resume for the summer term.

  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On June 10, the following businesses and activities may resume: aquariums, art galleries, country clubs, ice skating rinks, indoor family entertainment centers, indoor sports facilities, laser tag facilities, indoor movie theaters, museums, playgrounds, public recreation centers, roller skating rinks, social clubs, trampoline parks, and zoos.  Gov. Mike DeWine announced that casinos, amusement parks, and water parks may reopen on June 19. On June 5, Ohio Director of Health Dr. Amy Acton revised a public health order for bars and restaurants to include wedding receptions and banquet halls.  As part of the order, dance halls, billiard tables, and other games were allowed to reopen, provided social distancing and sanitation measures are followed.

June 11

  • Kentucky (divided government): The Kentucky Horse Park and Kentucky state park campgrounds will be allowed to reopen starting June 11.

  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): Effective June 11, cabins and lodges at state parks can reopen to overnight guests. There will be a 24-hour period between check-outs and check-ins to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

Since our last edition

Have any states opened? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here. For our last edition, click here.

  • California (Democratic trifecta): The California Department of Education released a 55-page guidance document for reopening schools to public instruction. The guidance includes temperature checks before entering schools or buses, face coverings for staff and students, and physical distancing requirements.

  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Gov. David Ige (D) announced that passive beach activities (such as sunbathing) are now allowed at all state park beaches. Ige also said camping and lodging at state parks would begin reopening in phases, in compliance with local orders.

  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced out-of-state visitors with proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test would not have to comply with Maine’s 14-day self-quarantine requirement. Mills’ plan also included improving symptom checks at popular tourist destinations (like visitors’ centers and beach parking lot entrances) and funding for local prevention efforts.

  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): On June 9, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that he was lifting the stay-at-home order, effective immediately. Murphy’s stay at home order was issued on March 21 and did not have a set expiration date before being lifted.  New Jersey was the third state to issue a stay-at-home order and the 37th to lift it. Murphy also raised the limit on indoor gatherings to 25% occupancy or up to 50 people, whichever is less. The cap on outdoor gatherings was raised from 25 people to 100 people.  Murphy announced that places of worship could reopen indoor services under the new capacity limits, but parishioners must wear face coverings and be seated six feet apart. The state is expected to move into Phase 2 of Murphy’s reopening plan on June 15.  On June 8, New Jersey’s Health Department issued guidelines for Summer Youth camps, including social distancing and sanitation measures.  Summer youth camps are expected to reopen on July 6.

  • New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Public swimming pools reopened on June 8.  Pools can operate at 50% capacity and social distancing must be enforced.

  • North Carolina (divided government): The state released guidance for reopening schools to in-person instruction. The guidance includes more frequent cleanings, a temperature check for all individuals entering buildings or buses, and physical distancing guidelines.  On June 8, the North Carolina state Senate was expected to vote on House Bill 594, which would allow gyms, health clubs, and fitness centers to reopen. However, the vote was delayed until June 9, so that Senate leaders could add language that would allow bars to reopen in outdoor spaces and allow restaurants to temporarily move dining outside, despite Cooper’s veto. If passed, the bill would be sent to the state House. North Carolina is one of seven states where a three-fifths vote of both chambers is required to override a gubernatorial veto. Republicans control 29 of the 30 seats required to override a veto in the state Senate and 65 of the 72 seats required in the state House.

  • Tennessee (Republican trifecta): The Tennessee Department of Education released guidance for reopening schools in August. The document does not require Tennessee school districts to adopt any particular approach but provides suggestions and best practices for safely reopening, including requiring students and staff to wear masks and setting staggered schedules.

Update on stay-at-home orders

Forty-three states issued orders directing residents to stay home except for essential activities and the closure or curtailment of businesses each state deemed nonessential. Seven states did not.

As of June 9, stay-at-home orders have ended in 37 states. Eighteen of those states have Republican governors and 19 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order).

Of the six states with active stay-at-home orders, five have Democratic governors and one has a Republican governor. They are (with expiration date):

  • New Hampshire (June 15, Republican governor)

  • New York (June 27, Democratic governor)

  • New Mexico (June 30, Democratic governor)

  • California (no set expiration date, Democratic governor)

  • Kentucky (no set expiration date, Democratic governor)

  • Oregon (no set expiration date, Democratic governor)

Here’s which stay-at-home orders have expired.

Tracking industries: Child care facilities

All 50 states are reopening in some way. Here, we give the status of one industry or activity across the states. Today’s question: in which states are child care facilities open? This does not include facilities that are only open to serving what the state defines as essential workers. 

This is an in-depth summary of one of the latest reopening plans. Is there a plan you’d like us to feature? Reply to this email and let us know. Click a state below to read a previous Featured Plan.




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New Jersey



New Hampshire


On May 15, Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced that he was changing the statewide “Stay Home/Stay Safe” order and replacing it with a reopening initiative called “Be Smart, Stay Safe.” The initiative encouraged, but did not require, residents to stay at home.

Vermont’s stay-at-home order first went into effect March 24 and was originally scheduled to expire on April 15. On April 10, Scott extended the order through May 15. Vermont was the 19th state to end its stay-at-home order.

Scott said, “Vermonters have stepped up in a time of crisis, following guidance from the beginning to quickly slow the spread and keep our health care system from being overwhelmed. These efforts have saved hundreds and hundreds of lives and given us time to build the testing and tracing capacity we need to contain future outbreaks. The important thing to remember is that the smarter we are about our individual actions, and the more disciplined everyone can be during each step forward, the more steps we’ll be able to take to safely restart Vermont.”

Scott presented four metrics his administration was watching as the state reopened:

  • Syndromic surveillance: The percentage of visits to emergency care with either COVID-19-like illness or flu diagnosis.

  • Viral growth and reproductive rates: Case growth measured by daily, 3-day, 7-day, and effective reproductive rate.

  • Percentage of new positive tests: Percent of tests resulting in a new positive case.

  • ICU and critical care beds: Number of occupied and unoccupied medical-surgical and ICU beds.

Before May 15, Scott had signed several addendums to the stay-at-home order that authorized the authorizing limited resumption of some industries, primarily construction and manufacturing, while the stay-at-home order remained in effect.


  • Between March 13 and March 24, Scott took incremental steps to close or restrict businesses and place limits on gatherings.

  • On March 24, Scott issued a stay-at-home order directing individuals to stay home unless performing critical services. The order was originally scheduled to expire on April 15. On April 10, Scott extended the order through May 15.

  • As of June 8, Vermont had reported 1,075 cases of COVID-19 and 55 deaths. Vermont’s estimated population as of July 2019 was 623,989. For every 100,000 residents, the state had 172.2 cases and 8.8 deaths.

  • Vermont has a divided government. The governor is a Republican, and Democrats have a majority of seats in the House and Senate.

Plan details

April 24

  • Scott issued Addendum 11 to Executive Order 01-20, authorizing up to five workers to perform outdoor and construction work in unoccupied structures. The order also allowed manufacturing to resume with up to five employees and in-person shopping at garden centers and greenhouses to resume with no more than 10 people including customers and staff.

May 1

  • Scott issued Addendum 12 to Executive Order 01-20, authorizing up to 10 workers to perform outdoor and construction work in unoccupied structures. Manufacturing businesses were permitted to operate with up to 10 employees.

May 4

  • Elective medical procedures were permitted to resume.

May 6

  • Scott issued Addendum 13 to Executive Order 01-20, authorizing residents to leave home to participate in outdoor recreation or fitness. Social interaction was limited to 10 people or fewer. Businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government entities that supported or offered outdoor recreation, including parks, trail networks, and golf courses, were permitted to reopen subject to restrictions.

May 15

  • Scott issued Addendum 14 to Executive Order 01-20, authorizing “Be Smart, Stay Safe” to replace the statewide stay-at-home order. The order encouraged, but did not require, public mask use, and permitted lodging operations to reopen with restrictions.

May 22

  • Scott issued Addendum 15 to Executive Order 01-20, authorizing restaurants and bars to offer outdoor seating. The addendum also permitted hair salons and barbershops to reopen by appointment with limits on occupancy effective May 29.

May 29

  • Scott issued Addendum 16 to Executive Order 01-20, authorizing social gatherings of 25 or fewer people effective June 1. Also on that day, close contact businesses like gyms, spas, and tattoo parlors were permitted to reopen with restrictions.

June 5

  • Scott issued Addendum 17 to Executive Order 01-20, authorizing restaurants and bars to offer limited indoor dining beginning June 8, so long as occupancy is limited to 25% of the legal capacity. Addendum 17 also removed the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers from counties in New York and New England with 400 or fewer COVID-19 cases per million. Lodging occupancy limits were increased to 50% or 25 total guests, whichever is greater.

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Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of activities by other federal, state, and local governments and influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic. 

  • Twin Rivers Casino in Rhode Island reopened on June 8.

  • Disney released guidance for its resort hotels reopening on June 22. Face coverings must be worn by guests older than 2 except when dining or swimming. The guidelines also include increased frequency of cleaning high-traffic areas.

  • Big Horn County, Montana announced a new health order that is more restrictive than Montana’s Phase Two guidelines. It requires all employees of businesses in the county to have their temperatures checked before work and limits dine-in establishments to 50% capacity.

  • Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma announced that the park would reopen on June 19. Safety measures include contactless infrared thermal imaging to screen guest temperatures and requiring everyone to wear face masks (except on water slides and attractions).

Click here to learn more.

Three states release guidance for reopening schools

Officials in three states—California, Massachusetts, and North Carolina—released guidance for reopening schools for the 2020-2021 year. Schools in all three states have been closed to in-person instruction since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So far, schools in four states (Alabama, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming) have reopened to in-person instruction after closing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Three other states have announced they will reopen schools, and officials in four states have released guidance for reopening schools for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Florida to open bars, bowling alleys, and movie theaters

Today, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced that starting June 5, bars will be able to reopen at 50% capacity inside and full capacity outside, with service only for seated patrons. Movie theaters and bowling alleys will also be permitted reopen at 50% capacity the same day. These new rules will apply to all counties in the state except Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach.

Florida began its phased reopening in late April, with the above three South Florida counties excluded due to heightened positive coronavirus case rates and hospitalizations. Each of those counties has since been granted permission by the governor to reopen at a slower rate than the rest of the state.

Arizona schools set to reopen in the fall

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced that schools in the state would reopen for in-person instruction in the fall. No firm start date was provided, but Ducey said the state would release guidelines for schools on June 1. Schools in the state have been closed to in-person instruction since March 15.

Forty-eight states were closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year. Those states account for 99.4% of the 50.6 million public school students in the country. The two states to not close schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year are Montana and Wyoming.

Wyoming’s statewide school closure expires today

Schools in Wyoming may begin reopening to in-person instruction on Monday after a statewide order expired today. The decision to reopen will be left up to local school authorities. Laramie County School District #1, the state’s largest, already announced it would continue distance learning. The school year is scheduled to end in Wyoming on May 28, and schools have been closed to in-person instruction since March 23.

Forty-eight states have closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year. Those states account for 99.4% of the 50.6 million public school students in the country. The two states to not close schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year are Montana and Wyoming.