Author

Mandy Gillip

Mandy Gillip is a project director at Ballotpedia and can be reached at mandy.gillip@ballotpedia.org

Voters decide Oregon’s state executive, legislative, judicial, and municipal primaries

The statewide primary for Oregon was held on May 19, 2020. Candidates competed to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020. Due to Oregon’s vote-by-mail system, vote totals are continuing to be reported. Candidates ran in elections for the following offices:

Secretary of State, Treasurer, and Attorney General
• Secretary of State: Incumbent Bev Clarno (R) did not file for re-election. Kim Thatcher (R) advanced from the Republican primary to the general election. The Democratic primary remained too close to call based on the unofficial results as of May 21. The candidates on the ballot included Shemia Fagan, Mark Hass, and Jamie McLeod-Skinner.
• Treasurer: Incumbent Tobias Read (D) and Jeff Gudman (R) advanced from the primary to the general election.
• Attorney General: Incumbent Ellen Rosenblum (D) and Michael Cross (R) advanced from the primary to the general election.

Sixteen seats in the Oregon State Senate
• Each incumbent who filed for re-election advanced from the primary to the general election. In Districts 18, 21, 22, and 23 no Republican candidates filed in the primary. All Democratic primaries saw at least one candidate file and advance to the general election.

All 60 seats in the Oregon House of Representatives
• Each incumbent who filed for re-election advanced from the primary to the general election. In Districts 34, 42, 43, 45, 46, and 48 no Republican candidates filed in the primary election. All Democratic primaries saw at least one candidate file and advance to the general election.

Three Oregon Supreme Court justices
• Position 1: Incumbent Thomas Balmer won re-election outright in the nonpartisan primary after winning 71.5% of the vote. He defeated Van Pounds.
• Position 4: Incumbent Chris Garrett was the only candidate to file in the primary. The election was canceled, and Garrett automatically advanced to the general election.
• Position 7: Incumbent Martha L. Walters was the only candidate to file in the primary. The election was canceled, and Walters automatically advanced to the general election.

Four Oregon Court of Appeals justices
• Position 1: Incumbent Josephine H. Mooney was the only candidate to file in the nonpartisan primary. The election was canceled, and Mooney automatically advanced to the general election.
• Position 9 (special election): Incumbent Jacqueline Kamins was the only candidate to file in the primary. The election was canceled, and Kamins automatically advanced to the general election.
• Position 11: This race remained too close to call based on the unofficial results as of May 21. The primary race included incumbent Joel S. DeVore and Kyle Krohn.
• Position 12: Incumbent Erin C. Lagesen was the only candidate to file in the primary. The election was canceled, and Lagesen automatically advanced to the general election.
• Position 13: Incumbent Douglas L. Tookey was the only candidate to file in the primary. The election was canceled, and Tookey automatically advanced to the general election.

Ballotpedia also covered local elections in the following areas:
• Portland: The primary for mayor could not be called based on the unofficial results as of May 21.
• Multnomah County: The primary for Multnomah County Commission Districts 1, 3, and 4 could not be called based on the unofficial results as of May 21.

Oregon exclusively uses a vote-by-mail system. Voters may return their ballots to the office of the county clerk by mail or in person. Because of this system, there is no need for explicit absentee or early voting procedures.

Oregon’s primary was the 10th statewide primary to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide primaries will be held on June 2 in the following states:
• Idaho
• Indiana
• Iowa
• Maryland
• Montana
• New Mexico
• Pennsylvania
• South Dakota

Additional reading:



Voters to decide state executive, legislative, and judicial primaries in Oregon

The statewide primary election for Oregon is on May 19, 2020. The filing deadline to run passed on March 10. Candidates are running in elections for the following offices:
• Secretary of State
• Treasurer
• Attorney General
• 16 seats in the Oregon State Senate
• All 60 seats in the Oregon House of Representatives
• Three Oregon Supreme Court justices
• Four Oregon Court of Appeals justices
• Ballotpedia is also covering local elections in Portland and Multnomah County.

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

Oregon exclusively uses a vote-by-mail system. Voters may return their ballots to the office of the county clerk by mail or in person. Because of this system, there is no need for explicit absentee or early voting procedures.

Oregon’s primary is the 10th statewide primary to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide primaries will be held on June 2 in the following states:
• Idaho
• Indiana
• Iowa
• Maryland
• Montana
• New Mexico
• Pennsylvania
• South Dakota

Additional reading:



Deadline passes for Massachusetts candidates to file nomination petitions with local officials

On May 5, the local filing deadline passed to run for statewide elected offices in Massachusetts. Candidates filed for the following offices:

  • One U.S. Senate seat
  • Nine U.S. House seats
  • Eight seats on the Massachusetts Governor’s Council
  • All 40 seats in the Massachusetts State Senate
  • All 160 seats in the Massachusetts House of Representatives

Ballotpedia is also covering local elections in Suffolk County.

To appear on the ballot in Massachusetts, prospective candidates must submit nomination papers for certification to the registrars of the cities or towns in which signatures were collected and to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. The local filing deadline must occur four weeks prior to the candidate’s second filing deadline with the Secretary of the Commonwealth. In 2020, the local-level filing deadline was May 5, and the state-level filing deadline is June 2.

The primary is scheduled for September 1, and the general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Massachusetts’ statewide filing deadline was the 37th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on May 8 in Michigan.

Massachusetts has a divided government, with no trifecta status for either major party. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.

Additional reading:


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

Donald Trump has appointed and the Senate has confirmed 194 Article III federal judges through May 1, 2020, his fourth year in office. This is the second-most Article III judicial appointments made through this point in all presidencies since Jimmy Carter (D). The Senate had confirmed 208 of Carter’s appointees at this point in his term.

The average number of federal judges appointed by a president through May 1 of their fourth year in office is 170.

The median number of Supreme Court justices appointed is two. Along with President Trump, Presidents Barack Obama (D), Bill Clinton (D), and George H.W. Bush (R) had each appointed two Supreme Court justices at this point in their first terms. Ronald Reagan (R) had appointed one, while Carter and George W. Bush (R) had not appointed any.

The median number of United States Court of Appeals appointees is 30. Trump appointed the most with 51, while Reagan appointed the least with 25. Trump’s 51 appointments make up 28% of the total 179 judgeships across the courts of appeal.

The median number of United States District Court appointees is 138. Carter appointed the most with 158, and Reagan appointed the fewest with 109. Trump has appointed 139 district court judges so far. Those appointments make up 21% of the 677 judgeships across the district courts.

Article III federal judges are appointed for life terms by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate per Article III of the United States Constitution. Article III judges include judges on the: Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. courts of appeal, U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade.

To read more about the comparison of Article III federal judicial appointments by president, click here.


President Trump announces two judicial nominees

On April 29, President Donald Trump (R) announced two nominees to Article III federal judicial positions. Article III federal judges are appointed by the president, confirmed by the Senate, and serve for life. The nominees include:

  • Aileen Mercedes Cannon, nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • James Wesley Hendrix, nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
  • Dirk B. Paloutzian, nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

Since assuming office in January 2017, Trump has nominated 255 individuals to serve as Article III federal judges. The president nominated 69 judicial nominees in 2017, 92 in 2018, and 77 in 2019.

Since January 2017, the Senate has confirmed 194 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—139 district court judges, 51 appeals court judges, two Court of International Trade judges, and two Supreme Court justices.



Iowa Governor appoints fourth supreme court justice

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R) appointed attorney Matthew McDermott to the Iowa Supreme Court on April 3, 2020. McDermott succeeded Acting Chief Justice David Wiggins, who retired on March 13, 2020. McDermott was the governor’s fourth nominee to the seven-member supreme court.

At the time of his appointment to the state supreme court, McDermott practiced law with Belin McCormick, P.C. in Des Moines, Iowa. He was also serving as president of the board of directors of Iowa Legal Aid. McDermott received his undergraduate degree, with distinction and honors, from the University of Iowa in 2000. He obtained his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 2003. During his legal studies, McDermott was the executive editor of the California Law Review.

Under Iowa law, the governor appoints supreme court justices with help from a nominating commission. Within 60 days of receiving notice of the vacancy from the secretary of state, a commission submits the names of three nominees to the governor, who appoints one nominee to the court.

The Iowa Judicial Nominating Commission is composed of 17 members: one chairperson (the senior associate justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, other than the chief justice), eight lawyers selected by licensed Iowa lawyers, and eight non-lawyers appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Iowa State Senate.

Newly appointed judges serve for one year. They must compete in a yes-no retention election (occurring during the regularly scheduled general election) if they wish to continue serving.

Founded in 1846, the Iowa Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort and has seven judgeships. As of McDermott’s appointment, the other six members of the court were:
• Brent Appel – appointed by Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) in 2006
• Thomas Waterman – appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad (R) in 2011
• Edward Mansfield – appointed by Gov. Branstad in 2011
• Susan Christensen – appointed by Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) 2018
• Christopher McDonald – appointed by Gov. Reynolds in 2019
• Dana Oxley – appointed by Gov. Reynolds in 2020

In 2020, there have been 11 supreme court vacancies in eight of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. The vacancies were all caused by retirements.

Additional reading:
State supreme court vacancies, 2020
Matthew McDermott (Iowa)
Iowa Supreme Court
Judicial selection in Iowa



SCOTUS takes up case concerning Federal Tort Claims Act

The Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear a case in its October 2020-2021 term concerning the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The case, Brownback v. King, came on a writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

In 2014, James King violently resisted arrest after being stopped by FBI Special Agent Douglas Brownback and Grand Rapids Police Department Detective Todd Allen. King was tried and acquitted of charges of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, aggravated assault of a police officer, and resisting arrest. He then sued the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics (1971). The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan held Brownback and Allen had not violated King’s constitutional rights under Bivens. The district court also decided against King’s FTCA claims. On appeal, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s ruling.

SCOTUS will consider the following issue:
  • Whether a final judgment in favor of the United States in an action brought under Section 1346(b)(1), on the ground that a private person would not be liable to the claimant under state tort law for the injuries alleged, bars a claim under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), that is brought by the same claimant, based on the same injuries, and against the same governmental employees whose acts gave rise to the claimant’s FTCA claim.
Additional reading:


Kansas governor announces supreme court appointment

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly (D) appointed Judge Kenyen Wall to succeed Justice Lawton Nuss on the Kansas Supreme Court. Nuss retired on December 17, 2019. Wall is Kelly’s second nominee to the seven-member supreme court.

Kenyen J. “K.J.” Wall was a partner at the Forbes Law Group when he was appointed to the Kansas Supreme Court. He previously worked as deputy general counsel for Chief Justice Lawton Nuss (2013-2015), as senior legal counsel at Federated Insurance (2008-2013), as an attorney in private practice (2004-2008), and as a law clerk to Judge John Lungstrum of the United States District Court for the District of Kansas (2002-2004). Wall received his undergraduate degree in communications from Kansas State University in 1993 and a master’s degree in rhetoric from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He earned his J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law in 2001.

In the event of a vacancy on the Kansas Supreme Court, the governor selects a replacement from a list of three individuals submitted by the Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Commission. Newly appointed justices serve for at least one year, after which they must run for retention in the next general election. Subsequent terms last for six years.

The Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Commission is a nine-member independent body created by the Kansas Constitution. The commission has nine members: four non-attorneys appointed by the governor and four attorneys selected by members of the bar in each of the state’s four congressional districts. The chair of the commission, the ninth member, is a lawyer chosen in a statewide vote of attorneys who are members of the Kansas Bar Association.

Founded in 1861, the Kansas Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort and has seven judgeships. As of March 2020, five judges on the court were appointed by a Democratic governor and three judges were appointed by a Republican governor. There are no vacancies on the court.

In 2020, there have been nine supreme court vacancies in eight of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. The vacancies were caused by retirements.

Additional reading:


February 2020 breakdown of state legislative party membership: 52.3% Republicans, 46.8% Democrats

February’s partisan count of the 7,383 state legislators across the United States shows 52.3% of all state legislators are Republicans and 46.8% are Democrats, which is consistent with January 2020.

Ballotpedia tallies the partisan balance of state legislatures at the end of every month. This refers to which political party holds the majority of seats in each chamber. Republicans hold a majority in 59 chambers, and Democrats hold the majority in 39 chambers. One chamber (Alaska’s state House) has a power-sharing agreement between the two parties.

Altogether, there are 1,972 state senate and 5,411 state house offices. Republicans held 3,859 state legislative seats—1,084 state senate seats (down one seat from January) and 2,775 state house seats (up four seats from last month). Democrats held 3,455 legislative seats—874 state Senate seats (consistent with January) and 2,581 state House seats (up three from last month). Independent or third-party legislators held 34 seats. There were 35 vacant seats—a decrease of six vacancies since January.

At the time of the 2018 elections, 7,280 state legislators were affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties. There were 3,257 Democratic state legislators, 4,023 Republican state legislators, 35 independent or third-party state legislators, and 68 vacancies.

Additional reading:



Filing deadline passes for special election in New York’s 27th Congressional District

Candidates interested in running in the special election for New York’s 27th Congressional District had until February 20, 2020, to file. The special general election is scheduled for April 28, 2020. Ballotpedia will provide a full candidate list once the state has released the official candidate filings.

The special election was called after Chris Collins (R) resigned on October 1, 2019, after pleading guilty to conspiracy and false statement charges. Collins served in the district from 2013 until his resignation.

As of February 20, 2020, nine special elections had been called during the 116th Congress. Seven of those were called for seats in the U.S. House, and two were called for seats in the U.S. Senate. From the 113th Congress to the 115th Congress, 40 special elections were held.

Entering the 2020 election, the U.S. House has 232 Democrats, 197 Republicans, one independent member, and five vacancies. All 435 seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.

Click here to read more.

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