Author

Mandy Gillip

Mandy Gillip is a project director at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

President Trump announces judicial nominee

On October 1, President Donald Trump (R) announced the nomination of Joseph Dawson to the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, which is an Article III federal judicial position. Article III judges are appointed by the president, confirmed by the Senate, and serve for life.

Since assuming office in January 2017, Trump has nominated 271 individuals to federal judgeships, 218 of whom have been confirmed. The president nominated 69 judicial nominees in 2017, 92 in 2018, and 77 in 2019.

Since January 2017, the Senate has confirmed 218 of Trump’s judicial nominees—161 district court judges, 53 appeals court judges, two Court of International Trade judges, and two Supreme Court justices.

Additional reading:



Did COVID-19 affect the number of candidates who filed for election in 2020?

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, states have changed election dates, voting procedures, and candidate filing deadlines. We took a look at the potential effect these changes had on candidate filing ratios (the number of candidates who filed compared to the number of seats up for election).

We chose the date of comparison as March 13, 2020—the date the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) urged countries to take a comprehensive approach to fight COVID-19. The data shows that the number of candidates who filed in 2020 and in 2018 is similar.

In 2020, 0.13 more candidates filed for election on or before March 13 than those who filed on or before the same date in 2018.

In 2020, 0.21 more candidates filed for election after March 13 than filed for election after March 13 in 2018.

In 2018, 2,294 candidates filed to run for the U.S. House. For this year’s elections, the number is 2,378. In both years, all 435 U.S. House seats were up for election.

The five states with the largest changes in candidate filing ratios—calculated by dividing the number of candidates who filed for election by the number of seats up for election—(positive or negative) from 2018 to 2020 are:

New Hampshire: -7.00
Utah: +6.25
Hawaii: +4.00
Idaho: -4.00
South Carolina: -3.15

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, 25 states have changed election dates at the state or local level and 40 states have made changes to voting procedures. Nineteen states have made changes to candidate filing deadlines.

Additional reading:



U.S. Senate confirms six U.S. District Court nominees

The U.S. Senate confirmed six nominees to U.S. District Court judgeships. The 94 U.S. District Courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal courts. The Senate has confirmed 214 of President Trump’s Article III judicial nominees—two Supreme Court justices, 53 appellate court judges, 157 district court judges, and two U.S. Court of International Trade judges—since January 2017.

The confirmed nominees are:

Stephen McGlynn and David Dugan, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. When they assume office (after receiving their judicial commission and taking their judicial oath), the court will have:
• No vacancies.
• Two Democrat-appointed judges and two Republican-appointed judges.

Stanley Blumenfeld, Mark Scarsi, and John Holcomb, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. When they assume office, the court will have:
• Seven vacancies.
• Nine Democrat-appointed judges and 12 Republican-appointed judges.

Todd Robinson, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. After Robinson assumes office, the court will have:
• Four vacancies.
• Four Democrat-appointed judges and five Republican-appointed judges.

Blumenfeld, Scarsi, Holcomb, and Robinson are the first four District Court nominees to be confirmed to a California court since Trump took office.

Additional reading:


Voters to decide Massachusetts’ congressional primaries

The statewide primary election for Massachusetts is on September 1, 2020. The filing deadline to run passed on June 2. Candidates are running in elections for the following congressional offices:
• One Class II seat in the United States Senate

• Nine seats in the United States House of Representatives

Candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020.

In the Democratic primary race for the Class II U.S. Senate seat, incumbent Edward Markey—first elected in 2013—faces challenger Joseph Kennedy III, while the Republican primary features candidates Shiva Ayyadurai and Kevin O’Connor.

Across the nine U.S. House district races in Massachusetts, eight incumbents filed for re-election. Only District 4 incumbent Joseph Kennedy III is not seeking re-election, opting instead to run for the U.S. Senate seat. The open District 4 seat has drawn a field of nine Democratic primary candidates and two Republican primary candidates.

In Districts 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and 9, the Democratic incumbents are running unopposed. In District 8, the Democratic incumbent faces one challenger. In Districts 2, 5, 6, and 9, the Republican candidates are uncontested, while the Republican primaries in districts 1, 3, 7, and 8 were canceled after no candidate either filed or qualified for the ballot.

The next congressional primaries will be held on September 8 in New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Additional reading:


Three states to hold primary elections on August 18

Primary elections for state legislative chambers in Alaska, Florida, and Wyoming are on August 18, 2020.

In Alaska, the filing deadline to run passed on June 1. Candidates are running in elections for the following offices:
• 10 seats in the Alaska State Senate—100% of incumbents filed for re-election, leaving no open seats.

• 40 seats in the Alaska House of Representatives—four (10%) of the seats are open, while incumbents filed for re-election to 36 seats (90%).

In Florida, the filing deadline to run passed on June 12. Candidates are running in elections for the following offices:
• 20 seats in the Florida State Senate—eight (40%) of the seats are open, while incumbents filed for re-election to 12 seats (60%).

• 120 seats in the Florida House of Representatives—31 (26%) of the seats are open, while incumbents filed for re-election to 89 seats (74%).

In Wyoming, the filing deadline to run passed on May 29. Candidates are running in elections for the following offices:
• 15 seats in the Wyoming State Senate—four (27%) of the seats are open, while incumbents filed for re-election to 11 seats (73%).

• 60 seats in the Wyoming House of Representatives—11 (18%) of the seats are open, while incumbents filed for re-election to 49 seats (82%).

Candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020.

These primaries will be the 43rd through the 45th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide primary will be held on September 1 in Massachusetts.

Additional reading:


Hawaii to hold congressional primaries August 8

The statewide primary election for Hawaii is on August 8, 2020. The filing deadline to run passed on June 2. Voters will elect one candidate from each of the state’s two congressional districts to serve in the U.S. House.

Candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Hawaii’s primary is the 38th statewide primary to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide primaries will be held on August 11 in the following states:
• Connecticut
• Minnesota
• Vermont

• Wisconsin



Alaska State Rep. killed in airplane crash

Alaska House of Representatives District 30 member Gary Knopp (R) died in a plane crash near the city of Soldatna, Alaska, on August 1. The Juneau Empire reported that a plane piloted by Knopp collided with another plane just outside of the Soldatna airport.

Knopp was running for re-election in 2020, and his name will still appear on the ballot in the Republican primary on August 18. According to the Anchorage Daily News, if Knopp wins the primary election, Alaska Republican Party officials will name a replacement candidate in the general election scheduled on November 3, 2020. Knopp was first elected to represent District 30 in 2016.

Additional reading:


Four congressional races in Georgia move to runoffs on August 11

Four primary runoff elections are scheduled in three of Georgia’s congressional districts on August 11, 2020. Primary runoffs in Georgia were originally scheduled to be held on July 21 but were postponed to August 11 amid concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. The statewide primary election was held on June 9, 2020.

To avoid a runoff, candidates for select federal and state offices in Georgia must receive a majority (50% +1) of the votes cast in the election. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, a runoff between the top two candidates is required. The filing deadline to run in the primary election passed on March 6, 2020, and the general election is scheduled on November 3, 2020.

Candidates are in primary runoff elections in the following congressional districts:

U.S. House District 1

• Democrats Joyce Marie Griggs and Lisa Ring are facing off to determine who will challenge incumbent Earl Carter (R) in the general election.

U.S. House District 9
• The seat is open after incumbent Doug Collins (R), who was first elected in 2012, opted not to run for re-election this cycle. He has instead filed to run in a special election to the U.S. Senate to represent Georgia. Primary runoffs are being held for both the Democratic and Republican parties.
• Democratic primary runoff: Devin Pandy and Brooke Siskin are facing off to determine who will advance to the general election.

• Republican primary runoff: Andrew Clyde and Matt Gurtler are facing off for a spot in the general election.

U.S. House District 14
• The seat is open after incumbent Tom Graves (R), first elected in 2010, announced he would not seek re-election in 2020.

• Republicans John Cown and Marjorie Taylor Greene are running in the runoff to secure a spot in the general election where the winner will face Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal.

Ballotpedia is also covering Georgia elections in the following areas:
• U.S. Senate
• Public Service Commission
• State Senate
• State House
• State supreme court
• State court of appeals
• Local elections in DeKalb County and Fulton County
Additional reading:


Voters decide primaries in Maine, primary runoffs in Alabama, Texas

The primary election for Maine’s congressional seats took place on July 14, 2020. The filing deadline to run passed on March 16. Candidates competed to advance to the general election scheduled on November 3.

The following races were decided, meaning one or more candidates advanced to the general election, on primary election night:
• U.S. Senate – one seat

• U.S. House of Representatives – two seats

Maine uses a ranked-choice voting system (RCV), in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, and the second-preference choices on those ballots are then tallied. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.

As of July 2020, Maine was the only state that had adopted RCV at the state level, although other states have adopted RCV at the municipal level or have adopted RCV but not yet implemented it.

Maine’s primary election was the 31st to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next primary is on August 4 in Arizona.

Alabama and Texas held statewide primary runoffs on July 14.

The filing deadline to run in Alabama passed on November 8, 2019. To avoid a primary runoff in Alabama, a candidate had to win a majority of votes cast in the primary election. If no candidate won a majority of votes, the top two candidates advanced to the primary runoff. Alabama’s primary election was held on March 3, 2020. Three congressional seats advanced to primary runoffs in Alabama, including one race for the U.S. Senate and two for the U.S. House. All three of these races were decided on election night.

In Texas, the filing deadline to run for office passed on December 9, 2019. To avoid a primary runoff in Texas, a candidate had to win a majority of the votes in the primary election. If no candidate won a majority of votes, the top two candidates advanced to the primary runoff. Texas’ primary was held on March 3, 2020. Fifteen congressional offices—one U.S. Senate seat and 14 U.S. House seats—advanced to primary runoffs in Texas. All but two of those races were decided on election night.

Additional reading:


Voters to decide congressional primaries in Maine, and primary runoffs in Alabama, Texas

The statewide primary election for Maine is on July 14, 2020. The filing deadline passed on March 16. Candidates are running in elections for the following offices:

  • 1 member of the U.S. Senate
  • 2 members of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • 35 state Senate seats
  • 151 state House seats

Candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020. Maine uses a ranked-choice voting system (RCV), in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority. As of July 2020, Maine was the only state that had adopted RCV at the state level, although other states have adopted RCV at the municipal level or have adopted RCV but not yet implemented it.

Maine’s primary election is the 31st to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next primary is on August 4 in Arizona.

Alabama and Texas are holding statewide primary runoffs on July 14. The filing deadline to run in Alabama passed on November 8, 2019. To avoid a primary runoff in Alabama, a candidate must win a majority of votes cast in the primary election. If no candidate wins a majority of votes, the top two candidates advance to the primary runoff election. Alabama’s primary election was held on March 3, 2020. Eight offices advanced to primary runoffs in Alabama, including races for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, the state court of criminal appeals, the Alabama State Board of Education, and several municipal-level races.

In Texas, the filing deadline to run for office passed on December 9, 2019. To avoid a primary runoff in Texas, a candidate must win a majority of the votes in the primary election. If no candidate wins a majority of votes, the top two candidates advance to the primary runoff election. Texas’ primary was held on March 3, 2020. Seventy-four offices advanced to primary runoffs in Texas including races for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, the state legislature, the state court of appeals, and the state railroad commission. Multiple municipal-level races also advanced to primary runoffs.

Additional reading:


Bitnami