Joel Williams

Joel Williams is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at

Kentucky gubernatorial candidates square off at forum

Governor Matt Bevin (R) and Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) attended a gubernatorial candidate forum hosted by the Kentucky Farm Bureau on July 17. The two discussed agricultural issues, the state budget, public pensions, and taxes during the hour-long forum.
Bevin told the audience that the 2019 election has national implications, saying he was actively working to support President Donald Trump’s (R) agenda and citing Beshear’s support of Hillary Clinton (D) in 2016. Beshear, meanwhile, questioned Bevin’s temperament and told the crowd Bevin would “attack, bully, and demean your employees.”
Beshear, Bevin, and John Hicks (L) are running in the gubernatorial election on November 5. Heading into the election, Kentucky is 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.

Murphy wins NC-3 Republican runoff

State Rep. Greg Murphy defeated Dr. Joan Perry to win the Republican primary runoff for North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District. Murphy received 59.7% of the vote while Perry received 40.3%. In the April 30 Republican primary, Murphy received 22.5% of the vote and Perry received 15.4%.
Murphy will face Allen Thomas (D) and Tim Harris (L) in the September 10 special election. That special election will fill the vacancy left by Walter Jones (R), who died on February 10, 2019.
Murphy and Perry split support from outside groups and members of Congress. Murphy received the support of Rep. Mark Meadows, the House Freedom Caucus, and the National Rifle Association. Perry received the support of all 13 Republican women in Congress, Winning for Women Action Fund, and FreedomWorks for America. Earlier this week, Rudy Giuliani recorded robocalls on behalf of Murphy, and Newt Gingrich recorded robocalls on behalf of Perry.

Republican primary runoff takes place June 9 in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District

North Carolina state Rep. Greg Murphy and Dr. Joan Perry are running in the Republican primary runoff for North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District on Tuesday, July 9.
Murphy was endorsed by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the House Freedom Caucus, and the National Rifle Association. Perry received the support of all 13 Republican women in Congress, Winning for Women Action Fund, and FreedomWorks for America.
Murphy has raised $544,000 and spent $449,000 on the race through June 19, which is more than Perry’s $374,000 and $319,000, respectively. However, outside groups have spent more in support of Perry. Satellite spending supporting her has totaled $879,000 and groups backing Murphy have spent $589,000.
The winner of the runoff will face Allen Thomas (D) and Tim Harris (L) in a special election September 10. This election will fill the vacancy left by Walter Jones (R), who died on February 10. In 2018, Jones won a three-way Republican primary and was unopposed in the general election. He received 67% and 68% of the vote in the 2016 and 2014 general elections, respectively. Inside Elections rates the special election “Solid Republican.”  
Four special elections have been called during the 116th Congress. Three of those are for seats in the U.S. House, and one is for a seat in the U.S. Senate—which will occur in 2020. Fred Keller (R) won the special election in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District on May 21. The special election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District will be held September 10.

Trump’s 123 judicial appointments through July 1 gives him third-most at this point since T. Roosevelt

Through July 1, 2019, President Donald Trump (R) made two Supreme Court appointments, 41 appeals court appointments, and 80 district court appointments. His 123 appointments at this point in his presidency is the third-most of the last 20 presidents dating back to Theodore Roosevelt. Only Bill Clinton (154) and George W. Bush (132) had appointed more judges by this point in their presidencies.
Trump’s 41 appeals court appointments are the most of the last 20 presidents at this point in their presidencies. Richard Nixon (29) and George W. Bush (26) had made the next-most appeals court appointments. The average of the last 20 presidents was 16 appointments.
Trump’s 80 district court appointments are fifth-most among the last 20 presidents. Bill Clinton (128), George W. Bush (105), John Kennedy (96), and Richard Nixon (85) had more at this point of their presidencies. The average across this set of presidents was 55 appointments.
Article III judges are appointed by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in accordance with Article III of the United States Constitution.
Article III judges include:
  • Supreme Court of the United States: 9 justices,
  • United States court of appeals: 179 judgeships,
  • United States district court: 677 judgeships, and,
  • United States Court of International Trade: 9 judgeships.

Additional reading:

Supreme Court overturned lower court rulings at lowest rate since 2015 term

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) concluded its October 2018 term in June. The court reversed lower court decisions at a rate of 64.9 percent, the lowest rate since the October 2015 term (63.2 percent). The rate was 5 percent lower than the court’s total reversal rate since 2007 (69.8 percent).
The court decided 74 cases. It affirmed a lower court’s decision in 26 cases and reversed a lower court’s decision in 48 cases.
Since 2007, SCOTUS has released opinions in 923 cases. In that time, it reversed a lower court decision 644 times (69.8 percent) and affirmed a lower court decision 261 times (28.3 percent).
More SCOTUS cases originated in the Ninth Circuit (14) than any other, and the court reversed more Ninth Circuit rulings (12) than any other circuit’s.
SCOTUS has decided more cases originating from the Ninth Circuit (181) than from any other since 2017. The second-most cases (66) originated in the Sixth Circuit. The Sixth Circuit (55 of 66 cases, or 83.3 percent) had the highest rate of reversed cases since 2007.
The Supreme Court hears and reaches decisions in 70 to 90 cases each year. There are two major possible outcomes in a SCOTUS case—it can affirm a lower court’s ruling or reverse it. The vast majority of SCOTUS cases originate in a lower court—either one of the 13 appeals circuits, state-level courts, or U.S. district courts. Original jurisdiction cases cannot be considered affirmed or reversed since SCOTUS is the first and only court that rules in the case.
Additional reading:

Keller outraised Friedenberg 3:1 in PA-12 special election

Based on final figures released by the Federal Election Commission, Fred Keller raised more than $600,000 to Marc Friedenberg’s $200,000 in the special election for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District. Keller won the election with 68 percent of the vote to Friedenberg’s 32 percent.
Keller was sworn in on June 3, 2019, and will serve the remainder of former Rep. Tom Marino’s (R) term. Marino resigned from office on January 23, 2019, to take a job in the private sector. Of the 18-member congressional delegation from Pennsylvania, there are nine Democrats and nine Republicans.
So far, four special elections have been called during the 116th Congress. Three of those are for seats in the U.S. House, and one is for a seat in the U.S. Senate. From the 113th Congress to the 115th Congress, a total of 40 special elections were held.

Trump announces 2020 bid, says he will Keep America Great

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

June 19, 2019: President Donald Trump kicked off his re-election campaign last night, featuring the slogan Keep America GreatThe New York Times released a series of interviews where it asked 21 Democratic candidates the same 18 questions.

Notable Quotes of the Day

“It is clear that the inherently dubious nature of [the debates] has been exacerbated by the party’s new rules. A real debate would provide a substantive back and forth between candidates on major issues; but despite the considerable build-up, that’s not what these nationally televised sessions deliver.”

—Elizabeth Drew, Daily Beast

“The field will winnow. And I don’t think that it’s worth it for the DNC to be involved in the winnowing. I don’t find it concerning or alarming to have 20 people running for president. I think it’s great.”

—U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Politico


  • The New York Times released a video interview series with 21 of the Democratic candidates, where it asked each candidate the same 18 questions. The three candidates to not participate were Joe Biden, Mike Gravel, and Wayne Messam.
  • Joe Biden visited Stonewall Inn in New York City to celebrate Pride Month.
  • Bill de Blasio expressed support for New York’s new law allowing immigrants residing in the country without legal permission to obtain driver’s licenses.
  • Cory Booker will testify before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties at a hearing on paying reparations to descendants of slaves.
  • Steve Bullock met the polling threshold to qualify for the second Democratic debate in July.
  • Jay Inslee announced the hiring of a number of campaign staff, including press secretary Katie Rodihan and operations director Molly Keenan.
  • Seth Moulton participated in a virtual town hall for Business Insider. Moulton discussed his National Service Guarantee plan and the Green New Deal.
  • Beto O’Rourke released his voting policy plan, which called for a new Voting Rights Act that allows for same-day and automatic voter registration and limits gerrymandering.
  • Bernie Sanders discussed the Trump administration’s Iran policy on MSNBC.
  • Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate that would implement her universal child care plan.
  • Marianne Williamson spoke at the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire, where she said that the U.S. should re-enter the Paris climate accords and the Iran nuclear deal.
  • Andrew Yang appeared on MSNBC’s Meet the Press Daily, where he discussed his campaign and told viewers he would not be running in 2020 if Trump had not won in 2016.


  • Donald Trump announced his re-election bid in Orlando, Florida. His 2020 campaign slogan will be Keep America Great.
  • The Independent Journal Review published an interview with Bill Weld.

General Election Updates

  • The Bridge Project released an ad in opposition to Trump that highlights audio from last year related to family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border. The ad played on the radio in Orlando prior to Trump’s re-election announcement. According to the group’s website, The Bridge Project “is dedicated to opposing the conservative movement’s extreme ideology and exposing its dishonest tactics.”

What We’re Reading

Flashback: June 19, 2015

Time released an article highlighting Hillary Clinton’s plan to live stream house parties across the country in order to build grassroots support.


Trump expected to announce re-election campaign tonight

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

June 18, 2019: President Donald Trump is expected to announce his re-election campaign in Orlando tonight. Joe Biden told supporters he would win five southern states in the general election.

 How many incumbent vice presidents have won a presidential election?

Notable Quote of the Day

“Even as much of the Democratic Party moves to his left, Obama remains extremely well-liked among liberal voters. Progressive activists and operatives eager to knock down Biden from his frontrunner perch admit it could be a serious problem that eight years of Biden’s political career is effectively off-limits. And for Biden, who is explicitly running as Obama’s heir, it’s been a godsend.”

—Holly Otterbein, Politico


  • Ten candidates spoke at the Poor People’s Campaign Presidential Forum in Washington, D.C.:Michael BennetJoe BidenJulián CastroKamala HarrisWayne MessamBernie SandersEric SwalwellElizabeth WarrenMarianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang.

  • Biden predicted in Washington, D.C., that if he were the Democratic nominee, he would win Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and that he believed he could win in Texas and Florida.

  • Steve Bullock will campaign in New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday, with six stops across the state.

  • Pete Buttigieg canceled several fundraising events across California this week. He announced that he was staying in South Bend, Indiana, following an officer-involved shooting on Sunday night.

  • Castro called for a federal guarantee of housing for the poor and said that housing was a human right. “Especially in the wealthiest nation on Earth, I don’t think there’s anybody who should go without a safe, decent place to live,” he said.

  • U.S. Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) endorsed Harris. In his endorsement, Costa highlighted Harris’ plan for Dreamers as a reason he was supporting her campaign.

  • Amy Klobuchar released a list of actions she would take in her first 100 days if elected president. The list included addressing voting registration, prescription drugs, and antitrust enforcement.

  • Seth Moulton attended a town hall in Merrimack, New Hampshire, where he discussed Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in the state.

  • Beto O’Rourke campaigned in South Carolina on Monday, including stops in Spartanburg and Greenville. He discussed equality and the environment.

  • Swalwell released his firearms policy that included an assault rifle ban and buyback program and additional requirements for gun ownership.

  • Yang appeared on WMUR’s The Trail podcast, where he discussed his stance on impeachment.


  • Donald Trump is expected to announce his re-election bid tonight at a rally in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday night. 

Flashback: June 18, 2015

On Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough considered the appeal of Donald Trump as a candidate and his potential impact on the presidential race.


De Blasio, Klobuchar call for impeachment

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

June 17, 2019: Bill de Blasio and Amy Klobuchar called for President Trump’s impeachment. Weld predicted he will beat Trump in Utah on Super Tuesday.

There are 12 new candidates running since last week, including six Democrats and two Republicans. In total, 745 individuals are currently filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Day

“Most candidates, if not all, had hoped to draw a lectern alongside Biden or Sanders, eager to draft off the early front-runners’ stature — and to emphasize their own contrasts with them. Harris and Buttigieg will get them both.”

—David Siders and Christopher Cadelago, Politico


  • Yahoo! Finance profiled Michael Bennet, highlighting his health care policy.
  • Bill de Blasio and Amy Klobuchar called for Donald Trump’s impeachment, both citing Trump’s ABC interview response to a question about accepting campaign information from foreign governments.
  • Cory Booker joined protesting fast-food workers in Charleston, South Carolina, Saturday. Booker called the strike for a $15/hour wage “an American fight.”
  • New York Magazine released an interview with Steve Bullock where they discussed his exclusion from the first round of Democratic debates.
  • Pete Buttigieg appeared on Meet the Press Sunday, where he discussed U.S-Iranian relations, Joe Biden’s age, and foreign interference in elections.
  • Kamala Harris campaigned in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, where she discussed the criminal justice system.
  • John Hickenlooper appeared on CNN’s Smerconish Saturday, where he discussed his presidential campaign and how being a governor has prepared him to be president.
  • Wayne Messam said he would continue campaigning despite missing the cut for the first round of Democratic debates while campaigning in Las Vegas.
  • Beto O’Rourke campaigned in Charleston, South Carolina, where he spoke with a group of African-American community leaders.
  • Tim Ryan discussed Trump’s policy on Iran and his appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor on MSNBC.
  • Bernie Sanders appeared on Fox News Sunday, where he told host Chris Wallace that to see real change the United States would “need a political revolution.”
  • Eric Swalwell spoke at a rally in San Francisco on Friday night, where he discussed guns, student debt, and impeachment.
  • The Ezra Klein Show interviewed Elizabeth Warren, where she discussed income inequality and corruption.


  • Donald Trump called into Fox and Friends on Friday to celebrate his 73rd birthday and spoke with the hosts for 50 minutes.
  • Bill Weld predicted he would beat Trump in Utah’s Super Tuesday primary next year during an appearance on CNN Saturday. 

What We’re Reading

Flashback: June 17, 2015

The Washington Post published an article detailing the relationship between Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi.


Quinton Lucas wins Kansas City mayoral election

City council member Quinton Lucas defeated fellow council member Jolie Justus to become mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, succeeding term-limited Mayor Sly James. Based on unofficial returns with 90 percent of precincts reporting, Lucas received more than 58 percent of the vote.
The two candidates advanced from a primary election field that had 11 candidates. In the April 2 primary, Justus received 22.8 percent of the vote and Lucas received 18.4 percent of the vote.
Although elections in Kansas City are nonpartisan, James was known to be a member of the Democratic Party. Ballotpedia was unable to find information on Lucas’ political affiliation.
In 2019, elections are being held in 59 of America’s 100 largest cities by population in 2019. That includes elections for mayor in 31 of the 100 largest cities. In 20 of those cities, the incumbent was Democratic at the start of 2019. Seven incumbents were Republican, three were independent, and the affiliation of one was unknown.
Kansas City uses a council-manager system. In this form of municipal government, an elected city council—which includes the mayor and serves as the city’s primary legislative body—appoints a chief executive called a city manager to oversee day-to-day municipal operations and implement the council’s policy and legislative initiatives. The mayor’s primary responsibilities are to preside over city council meetings and official city ceremonies, and to represent the city on the state, national, and international levels.