Author

Joel Williams

Joel Williams is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

How vacancies are filled on state supreme courts

The most common reasons for a vacancy on a state supreme court include reaching the mandatory retirement age, retiring before the end of a term, death, or appointment to another office. The process for filling vacancies on state supreme courts varies among states. In most states, the governor appointments a replacement justice, either outright or with assistance from a nominating commission. There are five primary methods used:

  • Eighteen states fill vacancies on the state supreme court through direct gubernatorial appointment.
  • Twenty-eight states fill vacancies through a gubernatorial appointment with assistance from a nominating commission.
  • Two states (South Carolina and Virginia) fill vacancies through legislative appointments.
  • In Illinois, the state supreme court nominates a replacement justice.
  • In Louisiana, voters elect a replacement in a special election.

The methods that courts use to fill vacancies do not necessarily line up with how they regularly select judges. For example, only one state uses elections to fill vacancies, while 20 states use them to regularly select judges.



Early voting in Newsom recall ends on Sept. 10

Early voting centers opened in 15 counties in California for the recall election targeting Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will close on Sept. 10. The election is on Sept. 14.

The counties holding early voting are participating in the Voter’s Choice Act (VCA), which Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed in 2016. The VCA replaced traditional polling places with vote centers offering additional in-person services. Five counties participated in the VCA in 2018 and all California counties were able to opt in to the VCA beginning in 2020.

According to the secretary of state’s office, these early voting centers offer voter registration, replacement ballots, accessible voting machines, and language assistance. The map below highlights the counties participating in this system. To find early voting and ballot drop locations, click here.

The recall election will present voters with two questions. The first will ask whether Newsom should be recalled from the office of governor. The second will ask who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled. A majority vote is required on the first question for the governor to be recalled. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election, no majority required.

Forty-six candidates, including nine Democrats and 24 Republicans, are running in the election. The candidates to receive the most media attention and perform best in polls so far are YouTuber Kevin Paffrath (D), 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), radio host Larry Elder (R), former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), California State Board of Equalization member Ted Gaines (R), former Olympian and television personality Caitlyn Jenner (R), and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R).



Fifteen California counties to open early voting in Newsom recall on Sept. 4

Fifteen counties in California will open early voting centers in the recall election targeting Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Sept. 4. Early voting will run through Sept. 10. The election is on Sept. 14.

The counties holding early voting are participating in the Voter’s Choice Act (VCA), which Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed in 2016. The VCA replaced traditional polling places with vote centers offering additional in-person services. Five counties participated in the VCA in 2018 and all California counties were able to opt in to the VCA beginning in 2020.

According to the secretary of state’s office, these early voting centers will offer voter registration, replacement ballots, accessible voting machines, and language assistance. The map below highlights the counties participating in this system. To find early voting and ballot drop locations, click here.

The recall election will present voters with two questions. The first will ask whether Newsom should be recalled from the office of governor. The second will ask who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled. A majority vote is required on the first question for the governor to be recalled. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election, no majority required.

Forty-six candidates, including nine Democrats and 24 Republicans, are running in the election. The candidates to receive the most media attention and perform best in polls so far are YouTuber Kevin Paffrath (D), 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), radio host Larry Elder (R), former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), California State Board of Equalization member Ted Gaines (R), former Olympian and television personality Caitlyn Jenner (R), and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R).



Who’s raising the most money so far this year? We’ve got that data in eight states

Campaign finance requirements govern the raising and spending of money for political campaigns. While not the only factor in an election’s outcome, successful fundraising can provide a candidate with advantages, such as the ability to boost name recognition and promote a message. In addition, fundraising can indicate enthusiasm for candidates and parties.

The articles below list the top individual fundraisers in each state by their party affiliation. It is based on campaign finance reports that active candidate political action committees (candidate PACs) submitted to their respective states. It includes activity between January 1, 2021, and June 30, 2021. Candidate PACs represent individuals who have run for state or local office at any point, including past and present officeholders. These articles do not include non-candidate PACs.

These articles were published in partnership with Transparency USA. Click here to learn more about that partnership.

Arizona

Seats up in 2022: U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Senate, State House

Florida

Seats up in 2022: U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Governor, Attorney General, State Senate, State House

Michigan

Seats up in 2022: U.S. House, Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Senate, State House

North Carolina

Seats up in 2022: U.S. Senate, U.S. House, State Senate, State House

Ohio

Seats up in 2022: U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Senate, State House

Texas

Seats up in 2022: U.S. House, Governor, Attorney General, State Senate, State House

Virginia

Seats up in 2021: Governor, Attorney General, State House

Seats up in 2022: U.S. House

Wisconsin

Seats up in 2022: U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Senate, State House



Campaign finance update: Top fundraisers in North Carolina

Campaign finance requirements govern the raising and spending of money for political campaigns. While not the only factor in an election’s outcome, successful fundraising can provide a candidate with advantages, such as the ability to boost name recognition and promote a message. In addition, fundraising can indicate enthusiasm for candidates and parties.

This article lists the top individual fundraisers in North Carolina by their party affiliation as well as the top ten fundraisers overall. It is based on campaign finance reports that active North Carolina candidate political action committees (candidate PACs) submitted to the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE). It includes activity between Jan. 1, 2021, and June 30, 2021. Candidate PACs represent individuals who have run for state or local office at any point, including past and present officeholders. This article does not include non-candidate PACs.

Top North Carolina Fundraisers

The top fundraisers in North Carolina elections are shown below. For the purpose of this article, fundraisers may include individuals who are on the ballot this election cycle as well as those not currently running for office but who have received contributions during this reporting period. Individuals are listed with the office that they held at the time of publication, if applicable.

In the Democratic party, the top fundraisers in the most recent semiannual reporting period were:

In the Republican party, the top fundraisers in the most recent semiannual reporting period were:

Fundraising Totals

Overall, the top North Carolina Democratic candidate PACs raised $1.70 million in this period. The top Republican candidate PACs raised $961,124. North Carolina candidate PACs in the Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021, filing period raised a total of $5.42 million. Combined, these North Carolina candidates account for 49% of total fundraising.

Contributions to the top five Democratic candidates made up 69% of the total amount reported by their party’s campaigns. Contributions to the top five Republican fundraisers comprised 41% of the total amount reported by Republican campaigns.

The table below provides additional data from the campaign finance reports from the top ten fundraisers. For more information on fundraising and spending for North Carolina races on the 2022 ballot, click here.

NameParty AffiliationRaised this periodSpent this period
Josh SteinDemocratic Party$875,809$126,325
Phil BergerRepublican Party$384,827$74,684
Sam SearcyDemocratic Party$381,210$3,383
Mary-Ann BaldwinNonpartisan$302,791$31,879
Timothy K. MooreRepublican Party$193,440$67,792
Robert C. ErvinDemocratic Party$185,292$25,119
Roy CooperDemocratic Party$176,658$197,130
Donnie HarrisonRepublican Party$146,092$37,101
Brent JacksonRepublican Party$130,011$27,043
Richard DietzRepublican Party$106,753$13,778

Campaign Finance Reporting Periods

The reports filed with the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) cover Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021. Candidate PACs in North Carolina must file semiannual financial reports of their fundraising and campaign spending. During election years, candidate PACs also file additional financial reports before primary and general elections.

The next semiannual campaign finance reporting deadline for North Carolina legislators and candidates will include activity between July 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021.

This article was published in partnership with Transparency USA. Click here to learn more about that partnership.



Campaign finance update: Top fundraisers in Michigan

Campaign finance requirements govern the raising and spending of money for political campaigns. While not the only factor in an election’s outcome, successful fundraising can provide a candidate with advantages, such as the ability to boost name recognition and promote a message. In addition, fundraising can indicate enthusiasm for candidates and parties.

This article lists the top individual fundraisers in Michigan by their party affiliation as well as the top ten fundraisers overall. It is based on campaign finance reports that active Michigan candidate political action committees (candidate PACs) submitted to the Michigan Secretary of State. It includes activity between Jan. 1, 2021, and June 30, 2021. Candidate PACs represent individuals who have run for state or local office at any point, including past and present officeholders. This article does not include non-candidate PACs.

Top Michigan Fundraisers

The top fundraisers in Michigan elections are shown below. For the purpose of this article, fundraisers may include individuals who are on the ballot this election cycle as well as those not currently running for office but who have received contributions during this reporting period. Individuals are listed with the office that they held at the time of publication, if applicable.

In the Democratic party, the top fundraisers in the most recent semiannual reporting period were:

In the Republican party, the top fundraisers in the most recent semiannual reporting period were:

Fundraising Totals

Overall, the top Michigan Democratic candidate PACs raised $8.47 million in this period. The top Republican candidate PACs raised $990,870. Michigan candidate PACs in the Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021, filing period raised a total of $12.36 million. Combined, these Michigan candidates account for 77% of total fundraising.

Contributions to the top five Democratic candidates made up 90% of the total amount reported by their party’s campaigns. Contributions to the top five Republican fundraisers comprised 36% of the total amount reported by Republican campaigns.

The table below provides additional data from the campaign finance reports from the top ten fundraisers. For more information on fundraising and spending for Michigan races on the 2022 ballot, click here.

NameParty AffiliationRaised this periodSpent this period
Gretchen WhitmerDemocratic Party$6,893,245$1,518,563
Dana NesselDemocratic Party$948,129$131,424
Jocelyn BensonDemocratic Party$494,146$59,145
Garrett SoldanoRepublican Party$427,288$218,528
Jason WentworthRepublican Party$178,775$187,849
Aric NesbittRepublican Party$176,408$52,743
Mark HuizengaRepublican Party$104,225$88,762
Ralph RebandtRepublican Party$104,175$102,356
Pamela HornbergerRepublican Party$96,094$95,557
Curt VanderWallRepublican Party$89,800$60,229

Campaign Finance Reporting Periods

The reports filed with the Michigan Secretary of State cover Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021. Candidate PACs in Michigan must file semiannual financial reports of their fundraising and campaign spending. During election years, candidate PACs also file additional financial reports before primary and general elections.

The next semiannual campaign finance reporting deadline for Michigan legislators and candidates will include activity between July 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021.

This article was published in partnership with Transparency USA. Click here to learn more about that partnership.



Campaign finance update: Top fundraisers in Ohio

Campaign finance requirements govern the raising and spending of money for political campaigns. While not the only factor in an election’s outcome, successful fundraising can provide a candidate with advantages, such as the ability to boost name recognition and promote a message. In addition, fundraising can indicate enthusiasm for candidates and parties.

This article lists the top individual fundraisers in Ohio by their party affiliation as well as the top ten fundraisers overall. It is based on campaign finance reports that active Ohio candidate political action committees (candidate PACs) submitted to the Ohio Secretary of State. It includes activity between Jan. 1, 2021, and June 30, 2021. Candidate PACs represent individuals who have run for state or local office at any point, including past and present officeholders. This article does not include non-candidate PACs.

Top Ohio Fundraisers

The top fundraisers in Ohio elections are shown below. For the purpose of this article, fundraisers may include individuals who are on the ballot this election cycle as well as those not currently running for office but who have received contributions during this reporting period. Individuals are listed with the office that they held at the time of publication, if applicable.

In the Democratic party, the top fundraisers in the most recent semiannual reporting period were:

In the Republican party, the top fundraisers in the most recent semiannual reporting period were:

Fundraising Totals

Overall, the top Ohio Democratic candidate PACs raised $2.35 million in this period. The top Republican candidate PACs raised $4.83 million. Ohio candidate PACs in the Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021, filing period raised a total of $10.60 million. Combined, these Ohio candidates account for 68% of total fundraising.

Contributions to the top five Democratic candidates made up 85% of the total amount reported by their party’s campaigns. Contributions to the top five Republican fundraisers comprised 62% of the total amount reported by Republican campaigns.

The table below provides additional data from the campaign finance reports from the top ten fundraisers. For more information on fundraising and spending for Ohio races on the 2022 ballot, click here.

NameParty AffiliationRaised this periodSpent this period
Richard Michael DeWineRepublican Party$2,261,657$150,866
Nan WhaleyDemocratic Party$1,193,508$479,016
Jim RenacciRepublican Party$1,102,608$14,409
John CranleyDemocratic Party$998,075$204,252
Dave YostRepublican Party$790,556$29,983
Matt HuffmanRepublican Party$359,614$25,117
Frank LaRoseRepublican Party$317,181$148,671
Joe BlystoneRepublican Party$286,086$123,927
Keith FaberRepublican Party$254,010$22,795
Robert SpragueRepublican Party$230,184$36,187

Campaign Finance Reporting Periods

The reports filed with the Ohio Secretary of State cover Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021. Candidate PACs in Ohio must file semiannual financial reports of their fundraising and campaign spending. During election years, candidate PACs also file additional financial reports before primary and general elections.

The next semiannual campaign finance reporting deadline for Ohio legislators and candidates will include activity between July 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021.

This article was published in partnership with Transparency USA. Click here to learn more about that partnership.



Campaign finance update: Top fundraisers in Texas

Campaign finance requirements govern the raising and spending of money for political campaigns. While not the only factor in an election’s outcome, successful fundraising can provide a candidate with advantages, such as the ability to boost name recognition and promote a message. In addition, fundraising can indicate enthusiasm for candidates and parties.

This article lists the top individual fundraisers in Texas by their party affiliation as well as the top ten fundraisers overall. It is based on campaign finance reports that active Texas candidate political action committees (candidate PACs) submitted to the Texas Ethics Commission. It includes activity between Jan. 1, 2021, and June 30, 2021. Candidate PACs represent individuals who have run for state or local office at any point, including past and present officeholders. This article does not include non-candidate PACs.

Top Texas Fundraisers

The top fundraisers in Texas elections are shown below. For the purpose of this article, fundraisers may include individuals who are on the ballot this election cycle as well as those not currently running for office but who have received contributions during this reporting period. Individuals are listed with the office that they held at the time of publication, if applicable.

In the Democratic party, the top fundraisers in the most recent semiannual reporting period were:

In the Republican party, the top fundraisers in the most recent semiannual reporting period were:

Fundraising Totals

Overall, the top Texas Democratic candidate PACs raised $1.91 million in this period. The top Republican candidate PACs raised $34.10 million. Texas candidate PACs in the Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021, filing period raised a total of $168.82 million. Combined, these Texas candidates account for 21% of total fundraising.

Contributions to the top five Democratic candidates made up 2% of the total amount reported by their party’s campaigns. Contributions to the top five Republican fundraisers comprised 57% of the total amount reported by Republican campaigns.

The table below provides additional data from the campaign finance reports from the top ten fundraisers. For more information on fundraising and spending for Texas races on the 2022 ballot, click here.

NameParty AffiliationRaised this periodSpent this period
Greg AbbottRepublican Party$20,872,440$8,866,677
Dan PatrickRepublican Party$5,025,624$827,206
Donald HuffinesRepublican Party$4,123,108$1,386,026
George P. BushRepublican Party$2,264,138$883,852
Ken PaxtonRepublican Party$1,819,469$263,713
Eva GuzmanRepublican Party$1,051,723$50,755
Dade PhelanRepublican Party$1,040,018$833,007
Glenn HegarRepublican Party$853,050$763,007
Mike CollierDemocratic Party$757,110$508,361
Dawn BuckinghamRepublican Party$587,780$155,187

Campaign Finance Reporting Periods

The reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission cover Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021. Candidate PACs in Texas must file semiannual financial reports of their fundraising and campaign spending. During election years, candidate PACs also file additional financial reports before primary and general elections.

The next semiannual campaign finance reporting deadline for Texas legislators and candidates will include activity between July 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021.

This article was published in partnership with Transparency USA. Click here to learn more about that partnership.



Campaign finance update: Top fundraisers in Virginia

Campaign finance requirements govern the raising and spending of money for political campaigns. While not the only factor in an election’s outcome, successful fundraising can provide a candidate with advantages, such as the ability to boost name recognition and promote a message. In addition, fundraising can indicate enthusiasm for candidates and parties.

This article lists the top individual fundraisers in Virginia by their party affiliation as well as the top ten fundraisers overall. It is based on campaign finance reports that active Virginia candidate political action committees (candidate PACs) submitted to the Virginia Department of Elections. It includes activity between Jan. 1, 2021, and June 30, 2021. Candidate PACs represent individuals who have run for state or local office at any point, including past and present officeholders. This article does not include non-candidate PACs.

Top Virginia Fundraisers

The top fundraisers in Virginia elections are shown below. For the purpose of this article, fundraisers may include individuals who are on the ballot this election cycle as well as those not currently running for office but who have received contributions during this reporting period. Individuals are listed with the office that they held at the time of publication, if applicable.

In the Democratic party, the top fundraisers in the most recent semiannual reporting period were:

In the Republican party, the top fundraisers in the most recent semiannual reporting period were:

Fundraising Totals

Overall, the top Virginia Democratic candidate PACs raised $23.43 million in this period. The top Republican candidate PACs raised $12.22 million. Virginia candidate PACs in the Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021, filing period raised a total of $67.51 million. Combined, these Virginia candidates account for 53% of total fundraising.

Contributions to the top five Democratic candidates made up 54% of the total amount reported by their party’s campaigns. Contributions to the top five Republican fundraisers comprised 59% of the total amount reported by Republican campaigns.

The table below provides additional data from the campaign finance reports from the top ten fundraisers. For more information on fundraising and spending for Virginia races on the 2022 ballot, click here.

NameParty AffiliationRaised this periodSpent this period
Terry McAuliffeDemocratic Party$14,533,842$10,861,811
Glenn YoungkinRepublican Party$7,559,517$16,651,994
Jennifer D. Carroll FoyDemocratic Party$3,165,715$4,038,851
Mark HerringDemocratic Party$2,470,520$2,240,487
Jennifer McClellanDemocratic Party$1,900,651$1,592,850
Pete SnyderRepublican Party$1,836,891$7,423,876
S. RasoulDemocratic Party$1,363,459$1,836,946
Jerrauld JonesDemocratic Party$1,303,124$1,942,452
Hala AyalaDemocratic Party$1,142,895$847,828
Kirk CoxRepublican Party$1,093,890$1,725,601

Campaign Finance Reporting Periods

The reports filed with the Virginia Department of Elections cover Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021. Candidate PACs in Virginia must file semiannual financial reports of their fundraising and campaign spending. During election years, candidate PACs also file additional financial reports before primary and general elections.

The next semiannual campaign finance reporting deadline for Virginia legislators and candidates will include activity between July 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021.

This article was published in partnership with Transparency USA. Click here to learn more about that partnership.



Campaign finance update: Top fundraisers in Wisconsin

Campaign finance requirements govern the raising and spending of money for political campaigns. While not the only factor in an election’s outcome, successful fundraising can provide a candidate with advantages, such as the ability to boost name recognition and promote a message. In addition, fundraising can indicate enthusiasm for candidates and parties.

This article lists the top individual fundraisers in Wisconsin by their party affiliation as well as the top ten fundraisers overall. It is based on campaign finance reports that active Wisconsin candidate political action committees (candidate PACs) submitted to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. It includes activity between Jan. 1, 2021, and June 30, 2021. Candidate PACs represent individuals who have run for state or local office at any point, including past and present officeholders. This article does not include non-candidate PACs.

Top Wisconsin Fundraisers

The top fundraisers in Wisconsin elections are shown below. For the purpose of this article, fundraisers may include individuals who are on the ballot this election cycle as well as those not currently running for office but who have received contributions during this reporting period. Individuals are listed with the office that they held at the time of publication, if applicable.

In the Democratic party, the top fundraisers in the most recent semiannual reporting period were:

In the Republican party, the top fundraisers in the most recent semiannual reporting period were:

Fundraising Totals

Overall, the top Wisconsin Democratic candidate PACs raised $5.72 million in this period. The top Republican candidate PACs raised $752,716. Wisconsin candidate PACs in the Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021, filing period raised a total of $12.04 million. Combined, these Wisconsin candidates account for 54% of total fundraising.

Contributions to the top five Democratic candidates made up 93% of the total amount reported by their party’s campaigns. Contributions to the top five Republican fundraisers comprised 45% of the total amount reported by Republican campaigns.

The table below provides additional data from the campaign finance reports from the top ten fundraisers. For more information on fundraising and spending for Wisconsin races on the 2022 ballot, click here.

NameParty AffiliationRaised this periodSpent this period
Tony EversDemocratic Party$5,015,693$1,081,156
Jill UnderlyNonpartisan$1,501,254$1,510,522
Jeffrey DavisNonpartisan$1,039,463$1,146,602
Josh KaulDemocratic Party$410,924$107,816
Shelley GroganNonpartisan$381,467$361,231
Ryan OwensRepublican Party$308,741$59,125
John JaglerRepublican Party$197,432$225,493
Deborah KerrNonpartisan$190,451$249,548
Melissa WinkerDemocratic Party$154,692$122,731
Andrew ChristensonNonpartisan$150,684$155,434

Campaign Finance Reporting Periods

The reports filed with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission cover Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021. Candidate PACs in Wisconsin must file semiannual financial reports of their fundraising and campaign spending. During election years, candidate PACs also file additional financial reports before primary and general elections.

The next semiannual campaign finance reporting deadline for Wisconsin legislators and candidates will include activity between July 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021.

This article was published in partnership with Transparency USA. Click here to learn more about that partnership.