Author

Mandy Gillip

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

Pennsylvania statewide filing deadline passes on February 18

The filing deadline to run for elected office in Pennsylvania is on February 18, 2020. In Pennsylvania, prospective candidates may file for the following federal and state offices:

• 18 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives
• State auditor general, attorney general, and treasurer
• 25 seats in the Pennsylvania State Senate and 203 seats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives

The primary is scheduled for April 28, and the general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Pennsylvania’s filing deadline is the 13th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on March 2 in Nebraska.

Pennsylvania has a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.

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January 2020 breakdown of state legislative party membership: 52.2% Republicans, 46.8% Democrats

January’s partisan count of the 7,383 state legislators across the United States shows 52.2% of all state legislators are Republicans and 46.8% are Democrats, which is consistent with December 2019.

Also as of the end of January, Republicans hold a majority in 59 state legislative 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 1,085 state senate seats—up seven seats from December—and 2,771 state house seats—up three seats from last month. Democrats held 3,452 of the 7,383 state legislative seats—874 state Senate seats (down two seats) and 2,568 state House seats (the same as last month). Independent or third-party legislators held 34 seats. There were 41 vacant seats—a decrease of 16 vacancies since December.

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.

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Filing deadline passes for Ohio candidates

On December 18, the major-party filing deadline passed to run for elected office in Ohio. Candidates filed for:

  • 16 seats for the U.S. House of Representatives;
  • Six seats on the State Board of Education’
  • 16 seats in the Ohio State Senate;
  • 99 seats in the Ohio State House;
  • Two Ohio Supreme Court justices; and
  • 21 Ohio District Courts of Appeals justices.
  • Ballotpedia is also covering local elections in the following areas:
    • Franklin County
    • Cuyahoga County
    • Lucas County
    • Columbus
    • Cleveland
    • Cincinnati
    • Toledo
    • Multiple local school board elections

The primary is scheduled for March 17, and the general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Ohio’s statewide filing deadline was the sixth filing deadline to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline was on December 20 in North Carolina.

Entering the 2020 election, the state Senate has 9 Democrats, 23 Republicans, and one vacancy. A majority in the chamber requires 17 seats. The state House has 38 Democrats and 60 Republicans. A majority in the chamber requires 50 seats.

Ohio has a Republican trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:
United States House of Representatives elections in Ohio, 2020
Voting in Ohio



Oklahoma governor appoints supreme court judge in wake of resignation

Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Patrick Wyrick vacated his seat on the court on April 10, 2019, when he received commission to become an Article III federal judge on the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. On November 20, 2019, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) appointed Dustin Rowe to succeed Wyrick on the state supreme court. Rowe was Stitt’s second nominee to the nine-member supreme court.
 
Selection of state supreme court justices in Oklahoma following a resignation occurs through gubernatorial appointment. The governor appoints a justice from a list of three candidates provided by the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission (OJNC). The appointed justice must come from the appropriate Supreme Court judicial district. The appointee serves until the next general election, when he or she must stand for retention. At that time, a replacement is retained for a full six-year term or to serve out the unexpired term of his or her predecessor. If the governor does not choose a replacement within 60 days of the vacancy, the chief justice is responsible for appointing a successor.
 
The OJNC is a commission that chooses potential nominees for appointment by the governor to judicial positions on Oklahoma’s appellate courts. It consists of 15 members who join the board by election through the Oklahoma Bar Association, appointment by the governor, appointment by the president pro tempore of the state Senate and the speaker of the House, or selection by an eight-member majority of the other appointed and elected commission members.
 
When a vacancy is announced, interested individuals may apply to fill it. The OJNC evaluates those individuals to determine if the applicant is qualified to serve as a judge in the state. When the commission is done with its evaluation, it submits in writing a list of the three top applicants to both the governor and the chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
 
Rowe will serve until the next general election, which will be held in 2021. According to The Oklahoman, the three applicants for the position were Judge Mark Campbell, attorney Dustin Rowe, and Judge Jonathan Sullivan.
 
At the time of his supreme court appointment, Rowe was district judge of the Chickasaw Nation District Court, a position he assumed in 2011. From 2005 to 2011, Rowe was special judge of the Chickasaw Nation District Court. He began practicing law as an attorney in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, in 2001. Rowe was elected mayor of Tishomingo at the age of 18, becoming one of the youngest mayors in the country. At the age of 22, he became district director for the newly elected U.S. Rep. Wes Watkins.
 
In 2019, there have been 22 supreme court vacancies across 14 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. Retirements caused 14 of the vacancies. Two former justices took jobs in the private sector. One vacancy occurred when a justice was elevated to chief justice of the court, and four vacancies occurred when the justices were elevated to federal judicial positions.
 
 


Ballotpedia covering 2,983 seats up for election on November 5

On Tuesday, 27 states are holding elections for 2,983 seats within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope. Regular elections are being held for 2,894 seats, and special elections are being held for 89 seats. Here is a breakdown of the type and number of elections Ballotpedia is covering on November 5:
 
  • There are no congressional seats up for election.
  • Two states—Kentucky and Mississippi—are holding elections for 21 state executive positions, including governor and lieutenant governor.
  • 12 states are holding elections for 413 state legislative seats. The majority of these races are being held in Mississippi and Virginia with 174 state legislative seats and 140 state legislative seats up in each state, respectively.
  • Three states are holding elections for seven state court judgeships.
  • Five states are holding elections for 81 local court judgeships.
  • 19 states are holding elections for 2,201 municipal positions.
  • 16 states are holding elections for 260 school board seats.
 
Many of the municipal elections covered by Ballotpedia in 2019 are taking place in North Carolina. This year, Ballotpedia expanded its coverage of North Carolina in order to provide voters with a comprehensive statewide sample ballot. This coverage includes elections spanning 503 cities, towns, and villages, nine school districts, and 17 special districts across the state. No North Carolina counties are holding elections in 2019. Most North Carolina localities are holding nonpartisan general elections on November 5, although 32 held either nonpartisan primaries or general elections on October 8.
 


Mississippi State House elections to take place Nov. 5

This year, all 122 seats in the Mississippi House are on the ballot. The primary was held on August 6, and the general election is scheduled for November 5. A primary runoff was held on August 27 for those districts where no candidate received at least 50 percent of the vote in the primary. The candidate filing deadline passed on March 1, 2019.
 
Heading into the election, the Republican Party holds a majority in the Mississippi House. Democrats occupy 44 seats, Republicans occupy 74 seats, independents occupy two seats, and the final two seats are vacant.
 
After the filing deadline, 224 candidates ran in the primary. Of these, 99 were Democrats, 124 were Republicans, and one was a Libertarian. Overall, 45% of incumbents filed for re-election, and 56 of the 122 races are uncontested after only one candidate filed.
 
Mississippi last held elections for its House of Representatives on November 3, 2015. Republicans gained seven seats and maintained control of the chamber. At the time, House Republicans went from a 67-55 majority to a 74-48 majority.
 
The Mississippi House of Representatives is one of seven state legislative chambers holding elections in 2019. The remaining states holding regular legislative elections are: Louisiana, New Jersey, and Virginia. There are 99 legislative chambers throughout the country.
 
 


Fulton County Commissioner seat won by Carn in special runoff

Fulton County, Georgia, held a special runoff election for District 6 of the county’s board of commissioners on Tuesday. Joe Carn defeated Gordon Joyner after the two advanced from the special general election on September 17. Nine candidates ran in that race, but no candidate won at least 50% of the vote, which caused the runoff election to be held. The filing deadline for this election passed on June 28, 2019.
 
Ballotpedia provides comprehensive coverage of the 100 largest cities in America by population. This encompasses all city, county, and special district elections appearing on the ballot within those cities. Fulton County is part of that coverage scope. The Fulton County population was 996,319 in 2014, according to the United States Census Bureau, and its county seat is Atlanta.
 
 


Baldon wins special runoff for Atlanta school board

A special runoff election was held on Tuesday for the District 2 seat on the Atlanta Public Schools school board. Aretta Baldon won the election with 551 votes over fellow candidate David Huntley’s 405. A nine-candidate general election had previously been held on September 17, and the top two vote recipients, Baldon and Huntley, advanced to the runoff since neither had won at least 50% of the vote.
 
The special election was called after Byron Amos resigned his seat in January 2019 to run for the Atlanta City Council. He was defeated in the runoff election for that position in April. Amos had served on the board from 2011 to 2019, most recently winning re-election in 2017. Baldon will fill the remainder of Amos’ unexpired term, which ends in 2021.
 
In a June 20 article, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote that the vacant seat “could be a critical swing vote on the board.” Due to the unoccupied seat, the board has had at least one vote end in a 4-4 tie, which led to the automatic defeat of a motion.
 
Atlanta Public Schools served 60,133 students during the 2016-2017 school year.
 


Open mayoral seat advances to runoff in Raleigh

In North Carolina, all eight seats on the Raleigh City Council, including the mayor’s seat, were up for nonpartisan general election on Tuesday. Six incumbents ran for re-election, while two seats were open.
 
Mayoral candidates Mary-Ann Baldwin and Charles Francis advanced to a runoff election scheduled for November 5, since no candidate won a majority of the vote. Mayor Nancy McFarlane did not run for re-election in 2019.
 
In the election for city council, the five seats elected by district were all decided on Tuesday night. The two at-large races were still too close to call as of October 10. The Raleigh City Council is made up of eight members, including the mayor. Five members are elected by the city’s five geographic districts, while two other members and the mayor are elected at large.
 
In 2019, Ballotpedia is expanding its coverage of North Carolina in order to provide voters with a comprehensive statewide sample ballot. This coverage includes North Carolina elections spanning 503 cities, towns, and villages, nine school districts, and 17 special districts. No North Carolina counties are holding elections in 2019. Most North Carolina localities are holding nonpartisan general elections on November 5.
 
Raleigh is the second-largest city in North Carolina and the 43rd-largest city in the U.S by population.
 


Recall begins against three Louisiana school board members

In Louisiana, an effort to recall three of the eight members of the Vermilion Parish School District Board of Education was approved for circulation on September 9, 2019.
 
The targeted officeholders are District A member David Dupius, board president and District C member Laura LeBeouf, and District D member Dale Stelly. Vice president and District F member Kibbie Pillette was also considered for recall, but no petition had been filed as of September 24, 2019.
 
According to Lynn Vincent, who chairs the recall committee, the school board’s decision to place district superintendent Jerome Puyau on paid administrative leave for a second time is the cause of the recall effort. Vincent told KLFY News 10 that the superintendent’s suspension was a waste of taxpayer money and politically motivated. The recall petition alleges that the board members “are more concerned about political and/or personal agendas than the concerns of their own constituents and the children of Vermilion Parish.”
 
Puyau was placed on administrative leave in July 2019 after he was accused of failing to put items on agendas as requested by board members, hiring personnel who did not meet board-specified qualifications, and using board funds to pay private attorneys’ fees without the board’s knowledge or approval.
 
All three of the recall targets provided responses to the petition to KLFY News 10:
 
  • David Dupius said, “I work with my constituents. I speak with my constituents. I stand by my constituents. That’s all I have to say about it.”
  • Laura LeBeouf said, “Basically, I think this recall committee is a tactic and aim at board members when you have five board members that are addressing issues to come at us. I see it as a political tactic.”
  • Dale Stelly said, “Everyone has their views and their rights to do what they see fit. In my base, precinct, and those people there by a large margin, basically elected me, and told me when I went house to house that they wanted to elect me to make a change.”
 
Recall supporters have until March 9, 2020—180 days—to collect the signatures of one-third of the total registered voters across the three school board districts represented by the targeted board members.
 
In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.
 


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