Author

Samuel Wonacott

Samuel Wonacott is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Funk defeats Myers, Nellis in Nashville District Attorney Democratic primary

Incumbent Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk defeated Sara Beth Myers and P. Danielle Nellis in the May 3 Democratic primary for that position. Funk received 43.4% of the vote, while Sara Beth Myers and P. Danielle Nellis received 40% and 16.6%, respectively. No Republicans filed to run in the Republican primary, leaving Funk without a challenger in the Aug. 4 general election. 

Funk was elected to an eight-year term in 2014. If he wins in the general election, his term will last through 2030. 

During the campaign, Funk said he was “the only candidate in this race that has a record to run on, and I’m proud of the record that I’ve run on.” Funk said his record included prosecuting domestic violence cases and offering better support for victims, declining to prosecute cases involving small amounts of marijuana, and declining to enforce a state law he said restricts abortion. 

Myers, who worked as a prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice, campaigned on crime prevention, civil rights advances, and restorative justice. Nellis, who clerked for a Nashville judge and worked as an assistant district attorney in Funk’s office, campaigned on criminal justice reform and public safety. Myers and Nellis ran on changing the criminal justice system and stopping what they said had been a rise in crime. 

Myers and Nellis criticized Funk for how he handled the prosecution of Andrew Delke in a case that received national attention. Delke was a Nashville police officer who, on July 26, 2018, shot Daniel Hambrick, a Black man, during a traffic stop. Funk charged Delke with criminal homicide, making Delke the first Nashville police officer to be charged with an on-duty murder. Shortly before the case was set to go to trial, Delke pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in return for a reduced sentence. Funk said he accepted the plea deal because he did not believe he could get a conviction in a trial. Nellis said she would have taken the case to trial, while Myers said Funk mishandled the entire case.

Nashville, Tennessee’s largest city, is the county seat of Davidson County, Tennessee.



The Indiana, Ohio primary aftermath

Welcome to the Wednesday, May 4, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. We’ve got Indiana, Ohio election results
  2. Thirty-eight announced upcoming Article III vacancies  
  3. The Heart of the Primaries is your one-stop shop for primary election news

We’ve got Indiana, Ohio election results

On Tuesday, voters in Indiana and Ohio went to the polls and kicked off the May/June primary bonanza (60% of this year’s statewide primaries occur in May and June!), and our team stayed up late into the night collecting results and monitoring the most significant developments. In tomorrow’s edition of this newsletter, we’ll take a closer look at the biggest storylines to emerge from Tuesday’s elections and help you make sense of what the results mean for midterm races in November

In the meanwhile, check out our May 3 election hub to see all the latest results from Indiana, Ohio, and other states that held elections. You can also subscribe to The Heart of the Primaries, our weekly dive into key congressional, legislative, and executive races. The next edition comes out Thursday. You can read more about The Heart of the Primaries below. 

If you’re interested in seeing updated results from our key battleground races, click on the links below:

Indiana

Ohio

Tennessee

On May 10, Nebraska and West Virginia are holding statewide primaries, followed by Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania on May 17. You can see a full list of upcoming primary dates here.  

Keep reading

Thirty-eight upcoming federal court vacancies  

According to the latest vacancy data from the U.S. Courts, there were 38 total announced upcoming vacancies for Article III judgeships. These positions are not yet vacant but will be at some point. The vacancies will result from judges choosing to retire or assume senior status. In the meantime, these judges continue to serve in their current positions.

Article III judgeships refer to federal judges who serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of International Trade, the 13 U.S. courts of appeal, or the 94 U.S. district courts. The president makes these lifetime appointments, all of which are subject to Senate approval.

The president and Senate do not need to wait for a position to become vacant before they can start the confirmation process for a successor. For example, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has already been confirmed to the Supreme Court seat that will become vacant when Justice Stephen Breyer retires this summer. There are seven nominees pending for upcoming vacancies.

Twenty-five judges have not announced when they will leave the bench. The next scheduled vacancy occurs on May 17, when U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Judge Edward Chen assumes senior status.

In addition to these 38 upcoming vacancies, there are 75 current Article III vacancies in the federal judiciary out of the 870 total Article III judgeships. 

President Biden has nominated 93 individuals to federal judgeships on Article III courts, and 60 have been confirmed. Of the 33 nominees going through the confirmation process, 15 are awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate, five are awaiting a committee vote, and 13 are awaiting a committee hearing.

Keep reading 

The Heart of the Primaries is your one-stop shop for primary election news

Did we mention it’s primary season? Thirty states are holding Republican and Democratic primaries for hundreds of offices at all levels of government in May and June. We know it’s a lot to keep up with, which is why we’ve devoted an entire weekly newsletter to covering the most interesting and significant primary stories. 

First launched in January 2018, The Heart of the Primaries takes you to the front lines of key congressional, legislative, and state executive primary battles. We send two versions each week—one for Democratic primaries and one for Republican primaries. In each issue, we shed light on candidate policy differences, keep tabs on where PACs and other donor groups are putting their money (and why!), and bring you the latest polling numbers, election results, and endorsements. 

Our next edition goes out May 5. Here are some of the stories we’re working on:

  • Indiana and Ohio: Summaries and media analysis of the biggest storylines coming out of the May 3 Republican and Democratic primaries. 
  • West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District Republican primary: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) endorses Rep. David McKinley over Trump-backed Rep. Alexander Mooney in a race between two incumbent Republican congressmen. 
  • Texas’ 28th Congressional District Democratic primary runoff: Jessica Cisneros runs a new ad highlighting Rep. Henry Cuellar’s stance on abortion, while Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) prepares for an upcoming rally with Cuellar. 

Click below to subscribe to one or both editions!

Keep reading



April showers bring May primaries

By: Samuel Wonacott

We accidentally sent Friday’s version of The Brew to you this morning. We apologize about that! Today’s edition of The Brew is below.

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. April showers bring May primaries
  2. Election preview—six Republicans running in primary for Alabama’s open U.S. Senate seat 
  3. Number of contested legislative primaries in Nevada most since 2014


April showers bring May primaries

Ohio is holding statewide primaries for congressional and state legislative offices on May 3. Here’s what’s on the ballot and a look at how primaries work in Ohio.

At the federal level, Ohio is holding major party primaries for U.S. Senate and all 15 of the state’s U.S. House districts. The Ohio Senate Republican primary is one of the most watched races this election cycle. Incumbent Rob Portman (R) is not seeking re-election, leaving the seat open. Seven candidates are running in the primary to replace Portman, including Matt Dolan, Mike Gibbons, Josh Mandel, Jane Timken, and J.D. Vance. Three candidates are running in the Democratic primary

In U.S. House primaries, 67 Republican and Democratic candidates—including eight incumbents—filed to run across the 15 districts up for election. There are eight contested Democratic primaries and 10 contested Republican primaries. Going into the primary election, Republicans represent 12 of the state’s U.S. House districts, while Democrats represent four of them. Following the 2020 census, Ohio was apportioned 15 representatives in the U.S. House, one less than it received after the 2010 census. The Ohio Redistricting Commission approved a redrawn congressional map on March 2. 

Speaking of redistricting, state legislative elections are not on the May 3 ballot following the Ohio Supreme Court’s April 14 decision to reject the Ohio Redistricting Commission’s state legislative maps. A new date for state legislative primaries has not yet been set. Voters in Ohio will have two distinct state primary dates in 2022. In 2018, New York had separate dates for state and congressional primaries. In 2016, North Carolina had separate dates for presidential/state and congressional primaries. 

The Ohio Supreme Court ordered the commission to redraw the maps by May 6. Read more about redistricting in Ohio here

Ohio is also holding May 3 primary elections for governor and lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and other state executive offices. Additionally, three seats on the Ohio Supreme Court are up for election. This is the first time that state supreme court elections are fully partisan

In Ohio, the primary candidate with the most votes wins—even if that candidate receives less than 50% of the total votes. Ohio is one of 40 states that does not hold primary election runoffs. Ohio does not cancel uncontested primaries, but primaries with no candidates are canceled so long as a write-in candidate has not filed to enter the race. The state uses an open primary system, meaning that a voter does not have to register with a political party beforehand in order to vote in that party’s primary. 

If you’re an Ohio voter, use Ballotpedia’s Sample Ballot Lookup to see what’s on your ballot and bring your choices to the polls with our My Vote app!

Keep reading



Election preview—six Republicans running in primary for Alabama’s open U.S. Senate seat 

Twelve states are holding statewide primaries in May. Having looked at Ohio’s May 3 primaries above, let’s skip ahead a few weeks on the calendar—and south a few states on the map—to Alabama, which is holding statewide primaries on May 24.   

Six candidates are running in the Republican Senate primary. Senator Richard Shelby (R), first elected in 1986, is not running for re-election. The candidates who’ve led in recent polling and have the most noteworthy endorsements are Katie Britt, Mo Brooks, and Michael Durant.

Brooks was elected to represent Alabama’s 5th Congressional District since 2010. Brooks’ campaign ads have highlighted the speech he gave at Trump’s rally on Jan. 6, 2021, which preceded the U.S. Capitol breach. Brooks’ endorsements include Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Although former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Brooks in 2021, he withdrew the endorsement in March 2022 after Brooks said the 2020 election results were final. 

Britt was chief of staff to Sen. Shelby was president and CEO of the Alabama Business Council. Britt’s campaign website described her as an “advocate for smaller government, modern job growth, constitutional liberties and greater opportunity.” Sen. Shelby, Maggie’s List, the Value In Electing Women PAC, and Winning for Women, Inc. PAC endorsed Britt.

Durant served in the U.S. Army for 22 years before founding an engineering firm. Durant was the pilot of a helicopter shot down in Somalia in 1993, depicted in the book and movie Black Hawk Down. Durant’s website says he “is 100% Pro-Trump. He voted for President Trump twice, and he supports the America First agenda.” Former candidate Jessica Taylor, who dropped out of the primary in January 2022, and Gen. Michael Flynn endorsed Durant.

Also running in the primary are Lillie Boddie, Karla DuPriest, and Jake Schafer.

Three independent race forecasters view the general election as either Sold or Safe Republican. Before Doug Jones’ (D) tenure from 2018-2021, the last Democrat to represent the state in the U.S. Senate was Howell T. Heflin, who left office in 1997. Trump won the state with 62% of the vote in the 2020 presidential election.

Keep reading 


Number of contested legislative primaries in Nevada most since 2014

There will be more contested state legislative primaries in Nevada this year than at any point since at least 2014. Of the 106 possible primaries, 48 (45%) will be contested by more than one candidate.

Contested Republican primaries, in particular, more than doubled this year compared to 2020 from 15 to 31. Contested Democratic primaries also increased from 14 to 17. These numbers represent the most contested primaries for each party since at least 2014.

Thirteen incumbents face contested primaries, representing 38% of those incumbents seeking re-election, the most since 2016, when 41% of incumbents faced contested primaries.

The filing deadline for candidates running for state or federal office in Nevada this year was March 18. Candidates filed to run for all of the state’s 42 state Assembly districts and 11 of the 21 Senate districts.

Nineteen of those districts were left open, meaning no incumbents filed to run, the most since at least 2014. That represents more than one-third (36%) of the districts holding elections this year, all of which are guaranteed to be won by newcomers.

Overall, 180 major party candidates filed to run this year: 66 Democrats and 114 Republicans. That’s 3.4 candidates per district, an increase from the 2.5 candidates per district in 2020 and 2.7 in 2018.

Nevada has been a Democratic trifecta since 2018 when Steve Sisolak (D) won the governorship. Democrats currently hold an 11-9 majority in the Senate and a 26-16 majority in the Assembly.

Between 1992 and 2020, majority control of the state Assembly changed four times. Democrats have controlled the chamber since 2016.

Between 1992 and 2020, majority control of the state Senate changed three times. As with the Assembly, Democrats have controlled the Senate since 2016.

Nevada’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for June 14, making them the 21st in the nation.

Keep reading



Five Missourian candidates complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey in last two weeks

Below are a selection of responses from the candidates who filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey since April 12. To read each candidate’s full responses, click their name at the bottom of the article.

Randi McCallian is running for Missouri’s 8th Congressional District and the Democratic primary is on Aug. 2. Here’s how McCallian responded to the question “What qualities do you possess that you believe would make you a successful officeholder?”

“I have empathy and I can listen. We need to remember that representatives should represent us – to do that they need to be good at listening to, and empathizing with, what their constituents experience. I am also very organized, driven to accomplish important tasks, and I enjoy working with other passionate people.”

Click here to read the rest of McCallian’s answers. 

C.W. Gardner is running for U.S. Senate and the Republican primary is on Aug. 2. Here’s how Gardner responded to the question “What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?”

“[I am] committed to legalizing marijuana at the federal level, eradicating potholes, banning single-ply toilet paper, building high-speed rail across Missouri, abolishing the undemocratic Electoral College/Voting rights, universal healthcare, renewable energy (wind, water, and solar), carbon tax/carbon dividends, teaching Critical Race Theory (traditional and Dale Earnhardt Sr. versions), legalizing sports betting across the U.S., unions and working-class folks, $20 federal minimum wage, pro-housing policies (YIMBY), full governmental disclosure of UFO existence and extraterrestrial presence, expanding access to legal immigration, [and] vitalizing the River des Peres.”

Click here to read the rest of Gardner’s answers.

If you’re a Missouri candidate or incumbent, click here to take the survey. The survey contains over 30 questions, and you can choose the ones you feel will best represent your views to voters. If you complete the survey, a box with your answers will display on your Ballotpedia profile. Your responses will also populate the information that appears in our mobile app, My Vote Ballotpedia.

If you’re not running for office but you would like to know more about candidates in Missouri, share the link and urge them to take the survey!

Additional reading:



Three candidates are running in the May 3 Democratic primary for Nashville District Attorney

Three candidates are running in the May 3 Democratic primary for Davidson County District Attorney: incumbent Glenn Funk, Sara Beth Myers, and P. Danielle Nellis. Funk was elected to an eight-year term in 2014.

Nashville, Tennessee’s largest city, is the county seat of Davidson County.

Funk has said he is “the only candidate in this race that has a record to run on, and I’m proud of the record that I’ve run on.” Myers and Nellis have run on changing the criminal justice system and stopping what they say has been a rise in crime. Myers has said, “[t]he DA’s office has to change and be proactive instead of reactive.” Nellis has said, “[w]e have not seen sufficient change in the last eight years to justify another eight.”

Myers and Nellis have criticized Funk for how he handled the prosecution of Andrew Delke in a case that received national attention. Delke was a Nashville police officer who, on July 26, 2018, shot Daniel Hambrick, a Black man, during a traffic stop. Funk charged Delke with criminal homicide, making Delke the first Nashville police officer to be charged with an on-duty murder. Shortly before the case was set to go to trial, Delke pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in return for a reduced sentence. Funk said he accepted the plea deal because he did not believe he could get a conviction in a trial. Nellis said she would have taken the case to trial, while Myers said Funk mishandled the entire case.

Funk said he’s helped “restore public confidence in the criminal justice system by effectively prosecuting violent crime while focusing on treatment and rehabilitation for low-level, nonviolent offenders.” Funk said his record includes prosecuting domestic violence cases and offering better support for victims, declining to prosecute cases involving small amounts of marijuana, and declining to enforce a state law he said restricts abortion.

Myers, who worked as a prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice, has campaigned on crime prevention, civil rights advances, and restorative justice. Myers proposes breaking the district attorney’s office “into precincts and assign[ing] assistant DAs to precincts so that they get to know the communities that they’re serving.”

Nellis, who clerked for a Nashville judge and worked as an assistant district attorney in Funk’s office, has campaigned on criminal justice reform and public safety. Nellis’ campaign released a 15-page policy handbook that includes policies like expanding pre-trial services, diversity, equity, and inclusion training for prosecutors, and creating what Nellis calls neighborhood courts. Nellis said: “We know that most criminal behavior is trauma response. So how are we addressing whatever the underlying trauma is, including poverty, which has been studied and determined to be a traumatic experience? How are we addressing that as a community and the way you do that?”

No Republicans filed in the Republican primary.



Redistricting news from Florida and Kansas

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Redistricting news from Florida and Kansas
  2. Arizona Supreme Court rules against veto referendum challenging state income law
  3. No Democrats file for South Dakota’s U.S. House seat for second election cycle 


Redistricting news from Florida and Kansas

We’re back with another rundown of the latest redistricting news, this time with updates from Florida and Kansas. First, a reminder of where redistricting stands in the final week of April.

Congressional redistricting has been completed for 89.4% of U.S. House districts. State legislative redistricting has been completed for 94.6% of Senate seats and 96.3% of House seats.

Florida 

On April 22, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed Florida’s new congressional map into law. The Florida Senate passed the map in a 24-15 vote on April 20. The House approved the map 68-34 on April 21. 

This was the second congressional map the state legislature approved. DeSantis vetoed the first version on March 29. Republican leaders said on April 11 they would wait to receive a map from DeSantis, which he proposed April 13.

Florida Politics’s Jacob Ogles wrote, “The most controversial change DeSantis made in his map, this new CD 4 really stands in as the replacement to the Lawson seat. […] The Black population in Jacksonville gets cleaved in half by the St. Johns River after DeSantis vetoed a map drawn by the Florida House that created a Duval-only Black seat.” When DeSantis vetoed the initial map bill, he wrote, “Congressional District 5 [Lawson’s district] in both the primary and secondary maps enacted by the Legislature violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it assigns voters primarily on the basis of race but is not narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling state interest.”

Florida was apportioned 28 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, one more than it received after the 2010 census. This map will take effect for Florida’s 2022 congressional elections.

Kansas

On April 25, Wyandotte County District Court Judge Bill Klapper overturned Kansas’ enacted congressional map. Klapper ruled the map was racially and politically gerrymandered, violating the state constitution. 

Klapper’s said, “The Court has no difficulty finding, as a factual matter, that Ad Astra 2 is an intentional, effective pro-Republican gerrymander that systemically dilutes the votes of Democratic Kansans.” Klapper also said the state’s new district boundaries “intentionally and effectively dilutes minority votes in violation of the Kansas Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.”

Gov. Laura Kelly (D) vetoed the legislature’s original congressional map on Feb. 3, only for the House and Senate to vote to override her veto. The House overrode Kelly’s veto 85-37. Eighty-five Republicans voted to override the veto. Thirty-six Democrats and one Republican voted to sustain the veto. The Senate voted along party lines, overriding the veto 27-11.. In addition to Kansas, state legislatures have also overridden gubernatorial vetoes of redistricting maps in Kentucky and Maryland. There are 24 state legislatures where one party has a veto-proof majority in both chambers. 

On April 26, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R) said he would appeal Klapper’s ruling to the Kansas Supreme Court. Schmidt said, “Today’s Wyandotte County District Court decision may be the first redistricting case ever to make use of folk-song lyrics, the Buddha, and personal memories from the judge’s childhood. The state is promptly appealing.” The Kansas City Star’s Jonathan Shorman and Katie Bernard wrote, “The Supreme Court’s review is likely to occur on a highly accelerated timeline. While lawsuits can often last years, Kansas faces multiple looming election-related deadlines, including the June 1 candidate filing cutoff and the Aug. 2 primary election.”

Kansas was apportioned four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, the same number it received after the 2010 census.

Keep reading



Arizona Supreme Court rules against veto referendum challenging state income law 

Eighty-four statewide ballot measures have been certified for the ballot in 32 states for elections in 2022. Today, let’s look at one measure that, as of last week, won’t appear on the ballot in Arizona.

On April 21, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled against a veto referendum to repeal two sections of a June 2021 omnibus appropriations bill that Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed into law. Sections 13 and 15 of Senate Bill 1828 would reduce the number of income tax brackets from four (ranging from 2.59% to 4.50%) to two (2.55% and 2.98%), and would create a single 2.50% rate if state revenue exceeds a certain amount. 

The group Invest In Arizona filed the veto referendum in July  2021, shortly after SB1828 was signed into law. The Arizona Education Association and Stand for Children both backed the campaign. In July, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club challenged the veto referendum as unconstitutional in the Maricopa County Superior Court.

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club argued the Arizona Constitution prohibited veto referendums against bills that provide for support and maintenance of state government and that tax bills fall under this umbrella. Lawyers for the initiative campaign argued that tax decreases do not provide for support and maintenance of state government and so can’t be referred to voters through the veto referendum process.

On Dec. 22, 2021, Maricopa Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper ruled the veto referendum was constitutional. Cooper said that because the veto referendum would leave the state with additional funds, rather than less, it would not hinder the support and maintenance of state government.

On April 21, 2022, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled voters cannot determine the flat tax proposal through the ballot, reversing Cooper’s ruling. The court found that sections 13 and 15 of SB1828 do fall in the support and maintenance exception of the Arizona Constitution. As a result, the referendum has been taken off the ballot, and SB1828 will go into effect in January 2025.

Scot Mussi, the president of Arizona Free Enterprise Club, said the ruling was a “big win for taxpayers in our state”. David Lujan, executive director and CEO of the Arizona Children’s Action Alliance, argued that the flat tax would devastate Arizona’s future, and that it takes away the voice of voters. 

There are currently four measures certified for the Arizona ballot.

Keep reading 


No Democrats file for South Dakota’s U.S. House seat for second election cycle

Two candidates filed to run for South Dakota’s one U.S. House seat in 2022. The filing deadline was March 29. This is the fewest number of candidates to file for the seat since 2016, when there were also two candidates. Three candidates ran for the seat in 2020, and six candidates ran in 2018.

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • This is the second election cycle in a row with no Democratic House candidate on the ballot.
  • Because it has only one U.S. House seat, South Dakota did not need to redistrict after the 2020 census.
  • Rep. Dusty Johnson (R) is running for re-election. He was elected in 2018 when Kristi Noem (R) retired to run for governor.

The primary election will take place on June 7, making South Dakota the 20th state to hold a primary election in 2022. The winner of the Republican primary will face no Democratic Party opposition in the general election, so the seat will not change party hands.

Keep reading



Millions raised to support ranked-choice voting initiatives in Missouri, Nevada

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Millions raised to support ranked-choice voting initiatives in Missouri, Nevada
  2. Two incumbents among candidates in Republican primary for West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District 
  3. Across 11 states, the top PACs collectively raised $197 million


Millions raised to support ranked-choice voting initiatives in Missouri, Nevada

Last week, we looked at the 84 statewide measures that’ve been certified for the ballot. That number isn’t final, though. Across the country, groups are working to get measures certified for the November ballot. Let’s take a look at two of those campaigns in Missouri and Nevada dealing with ranked-choice voting (RCV).

The Missouri and Nevada ballot initiatives would use open primaries in which the top candidates, regardless of partisan affiliations, advance to the general election. In Missouri, the top four vote recipients would advance to the general election. In Nevada, the top five vote recipients would advance. In Missouri and Nevada, voters would then use ranked-choice voting to determine who among the four or five candidates wins the election.

Campaigns that support the initiatives in Missouri and Nevada have received millions in contributions in the weeks ahead of their signature deadlines. Let’s take a look at the numbers.  

Nevada

The Nevada Voters First PAC is leading the campaign and signature drive for the Nevada Top-Five Ranked Choice Voting Initiative. Through March 31, the PAC received $2.26 million. Katherine Gehl, founder of the Institute for Political Innovation and former CEO of Gehl Foods, Inc., contributed $1 million. The Final Five Fund, Inc., which the Institute for Political Innovation lists as a 501(c)(4) counterpart, contributed $488,000. The Nevada Association of Realtors and Strategic Horizons, a committee associated with the Clark County Education Association, each donated $250,000. Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, contributed $100,000, as did the organization Unite America. 

June 21 is the deadline to file signatures. At least 135,561 valid signatures are required for the initiative to make the ballot. In Nevada, initiated constitutional amendments need to be approved at two successive general elections.

Missouri 

In Missouri, the Better Elections PAC is leading the campaign behind the top-four RCV ballot initiative. Better Elections received $4.3 million through March 31. More than 98% of the PAC’s funding came from the organization Article IV, a nonprofit organization based in Virginia. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Article IV is associated with John and Laura Arnold, whose organization Action Now Initiative contributed to RCV-related ballot initiatives in previous years.

The signature deadline is May 8. The number of signatures required is equal to 8% of the votes cast for governor in the previous gubernatorial election in six of the state’s eight congressional districts. The smallest number of valid signatures required is 160,199. The actual number required depends on the districts from which the signatures were gathered.

Two states—Alaska and Maine—have implemented ranked-choice voting for congressional and/or state-level elections. As of January, localities in eight other states have adopted RCV. In five additional states, local jurisdictions have adopted, but not implemented, RCV.

Three states have voted on RCV ballot measures. Should the ballot initiatives in Missouri and Nevada make the ballot, the two would be the fourth and fifth states to vote on RCV measures.

In 2016, Maine became the first state to adopt RCV for some statewide elections when voters approved Question 5. PACs raised $2.94 million to support Question 5. Action Now Initiative contributed  $470,000, the largest contribution.

In Nov. 2020, Alaska and Massachusetts voted on RCV ballot initiatives. Massachusetts Question 2 was defeated, with 54.78% of voters rejecting the proposal. The campaign behind Question 2 raised $10.18 million, including contributions from Action Now Initiative, Unite America, and Katherine Gehl. Voters in Alaska approved Ballot Measure 2, which received 50.55% of the vote. Ballot Measure 2 replaced partisan primaries with open top-four primaries and established ranked-choice voting for general elections. The campaign raised $6.84 million, with Unite America and Action Now Initiative as top donors.

Keep reading



Two incumbents among candidates in Republican primary for West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District 

Twelve states are holding primaries in May. Today, we’re taking another look at one of those battleground primaries, this time in West Virginia on May 10.

Five candidates are running in the Republican primary election for West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. As a result of redistricting, U.S. Reps. David McKinley (District 1) and Alexander Mooney (District 2) are running for re-election in the same district. These two candidates have received the most media attention and noteworthy endorsements.

McKinley was elected to represent District 1 in 2010. Gov. Jim Justice (R) and 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang (D) endorsed McKinley. McKinley told MetroNews in an October 2021 interview that his campaign was focused on proving to voters in the new district that he can deliver tangible results. According to his campaign website, McKinley’s key issues are the U.S.-Mexico border, economic revitalization including investing in coal and natural gas, and U.S. relations with China.

Mooney was elected to represent District 2 in 2014. Former President Donald Trump (R), the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, and the House Freedom Fund endorsed Mooney. In an October 2021 interview with MetroNews, Mooney highlighted what he called his conservative record and said that’s what should appeal to voters in the district. According to his campaign website, Mooney’s key issues are the 2nd Amendment, the state’s opioid epidemic, and reducing regulation of the state’s energy industry.

McKinley has criticized Mooney for previously holding office in Maryland and running unsuccessful campaigns in both Maryland and New Hampshire. Mooney said he became a West Virginian by choice and that his eight years in the U.S. House representing the state should matter more than his past campaigns.

Mooney calls McKinley a Republican in name only, citing McKinley’s votes in favor of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and the creation of a January 6 commission. McKinley said his infrastructure vote reflected what was best for his constituents and that he only supported the initial creation of a bicameral January 6 commission and not the final House-only committee.

Also running in the primary are Susan Buchser-Lochocki, Rhonda Hercules, and Mike Seckman.

Five U.S. House races have two incumbents running for the same congressional district in the 2022 elections. After the 2010 census, there were 13 districts where multiple incumbents ran against each other in the 2012 primary or general elections.

Keep reading 


Across 11 states, the top PACs collectively raised $197 million

In 2021, the state-level PAC to raise the most money in each of 11 states collectively raised more than $197 million. Florida Voters in Charge, which backed an unsuccessful signature drive for a Casino Gaming Expansion Initiative, raised the most of those 11 with $75.56 million. They were followed by ActBlue Virginia ($38.86 million), ActBlue Texas ($25.63 million), and Pennsylvania’s DNC Services Corporation ($24.99 million).

A PAC, which corporations, labor unions, membership organizations, or trade associations may establish, is broadly defined as a group that spends money on elections

Click on the links below to take a deeper dive into these fundraising numbers:

This year, we plan to publish several hundred articles breaking down campaign finance numbers in the 11 states covered by Transparency USA: Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. To learn more about our partnership with Transparency USA, click the link below.

Keep reading



Four candidates running in North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District Democratic primary

Four candidates are running in the Democratic primary for North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District. Incumbent G.K. Butterfield (D), who has held the seat since 2004, did not file to run for re-election.

Donald Davis and Erica Smith have raised the most money and received the most media attention.

Davis has held a seat in the state Senate since 2013. Davis was first elected to the state Senate in 2008 but lost his re-election bid in the 2010 general election to Republican Louis Pate. Davis ran unopposed in the 2012 state Senate primary and general elections. Davis said, “As a veteran, a minister, and a state senator, I’ve rolled up my sleeves and gone to work for our neighbors and families. When I am sworn in as our next congressman, we will focus on the fight ahead — transforming the future of our region and rural America.” He has campaigned on rebuilding the rural economy and has said he will “continue to fight for affordable healthcare, voting rights and protect a woman’s right to choose” in Congress.

Smith served in the North Carolina Senate from 2015 to 2020. Smith filed to run for U.S. Senate in 2022, but switched her candidacy to the U.S. House following Butterfield’s retirement announcement in November 2021. Smith has campaigned on what she calls a platform for progress, including raising the minimum wage, strengthening unions, supporting small family farms, and investing in fisheries and wind energy. Smith said, “For three terms as a State Senator I fought for a more progressive, democratic North Carolina. I fought to raise the minimum wage, legalize marijuana, make it easier to vote, secure a woman’s right to choose, provide rural broadband, expand Medicaid, and more. Now I’m running for Congress, because I’ve seen enough of the state and the country to know that the problems I originally identified in my own rural county are everywhere.”

Jullian Bishop Sr. and Jason Spriggs are also running in the election.



One month until the next statewide filing deadline

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. One month until the next statewide filing deadline  
  2. Texas Attorney General Democratic primary runoff election preview
  3. Nebraska legislature sends constitutional amendment to voters to authorize local governments to develop commercial air travel


One month until the next statewide filing deadline

The flurry of March/April filing deadlines concluded Tuesday, when the deadline passed in Michigan. In total, 28 states had filing deadlines in March and April and 35 have passed so far in this election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on May 20 in Washington.

Fifteen statewide filing deadlines are in May, June, and July.

Statewide filing season may be winding down, but primary season is getting started—30 states are holding primaries in the next two months! Ohio and Indiana are up first on May 3. 

Click the link below to keep track of which states are holding filing deadlines and primaries in the next few months.

Keep reading 



Election preview: Texas Attorney General election Democratic primary runoff

As we mentioned above, May will be a busy month for primaries. Today, we’re skipping ahead a few weeks to May 24, when Texas will hold its primary runoffs. Here’s a look at the Democratic primary runoff for Texas attorney general.

Rochelle Garza and Joe Jaworski are running in the election. Both candidates completed our Candidate Connection survey.

Garza is a former attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. Jaworski is an attorney and the former mayor of Galveston.

In the March 1 primary, Garza received 43.0% of the vote and Jaworski received 19.7%. Both candidates advanced to a runoff because no candidate received more than 50% of the vote. Three other candidates ran in the Democratic primary: civil rights attorney Lee Merritt finished third with 19.4%, Mike Fields was fourth with 12.3% and S. T-Bone Raynor finished fifth with 5.5%. Merritt endorsed Garza on March 10.

Texas Monthly’s Michael Hardy called the two candidates “a study in contrasts.” Hardy wrote, “Garza is a 37-year-old Brownsville native and daughter of two public school teachers who, as an ACLU staff attorney, successfully sued the Trump administration on behalf of a seventeen-year-old ICE detainee seeking an abortion. Her run for attorney general is her first political race. Jaworski, 60, is a third-generation trial lawyer and the grandson of Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski. He is a seasoned politician, having served three terms on the Galveston City Council and one term as mayor.”

Here’s how Garza and Jaworski answered the following question from our Candidate Connection survey: “What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?”

Garza: “Voting Rights – I will use the power of the TX AG office to ensure that voting rights are protected in the courts if there are further attempts to make it harder for any Texan, especially people of color, to cast a ballot.

Reproductive Rights – Abortion care is health care, and health care is a human right. Reproductive choice is a moral imperative and an issue of racial, economic, and gender justice. I’m committed to restoring abortion access in Texas and defending the rights of women and pregnant people whenever they’re threatened.

Consumer protection – As Texas Attorney General, I will make consumer protection a top priority during my administration and investigate what went wrong with our power grid and ensure it never happens again.”

Jaworski: “Legalize adult-use Cannabis in Texas.

Enhance, not suppress, legal voting for all Texans.

Promote and support local officials’ decision-making authority.”

You can learn more about our survey here. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

The incumbent attorney general is Ken Paxton, who face George P. Bush in the Republican primary runoff election on the same day. We’ll take a look at that race in an upcoming edition of the Brew.

Keep reading 


Nebraska Legislature sends constitutional amendment to voters to authorize local governments to develop commercial air travel

On April 12, the Nebraska Legislature voted to send a constitutional amendment to the ballot authorizing any city, county, or other political subdivision that operates an airport to spend revenue to develop commercial air travel at the local airport. 

To put a legislatively referred constitutional amendment before voters, a 60% vote is required in the Nebraska Senate. This amendment was introduced as Legislative Resolution 283CA (LR283CA) on Jan. 22. On March 2, the Senate voted 42-1 to send the measure to review. On April 12, the Senate voted 47-0 to put the amendment on the ballot.

Amendment sponsor Sen. Eliot Bosar (D-Lincoln) said: “Especially for small to medium-sized airports across the country, this is essentially the tool that is used to attract and expand passenger air service. I know of no other state where this cannot be utilized or isn’t being utilized.”

The amendment is the first measure to be placed on the November ballot. Between 1996 and 2020, an average of six measures appeared on Nebraska’s general election ballot. Voters approved 56.96% (45 of 79) and rejected 43.04% (34 of 79) of the ballot measures appearing on statewide ballots during that time.

The Nebraska Legislature is set to adjourn on April 20.

Keep reading



87% of Americans live in a county that has voted for the same party in the past three presidential elections

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 87% of Americans live in a county that has voted for the same party in the past three presidential elections
  2. Number of open U.S. House districts in Oregon reaches decade high 
  3. Placentia-Yorba Linda School District votes to bar critical race theory from classrooms


87% of Americans live in a county that has voted for the same party in the past three presidential elections

Almost nine in 10 Americans live in a county that has voted for the same party in the past three presidential elections. We describe these counties as either Solid Democratic or Solid Republican.

After the 2020 presidential election, 288 million Americans lived in either a Solid Democratic or Republican county, 87.2% of the 330 million covered in this analysis.

We identified three other types of counties, in addition to Solid Democratic or Republican ones.

  • Trending counties have voted for the same party in the two most recent presidential elections, after backing the other three cycles ago.
  • Battleground counties have changed parties in each of the last three presidential elections.
  • New Democratic or Republican counties changed parties in the most recent presidential election after two elections backing the opposite party.

A majority of Americans live in a Solid Democratic county. There were 459 of these counties after the 2020 presidential election, home to 171 million people (52%). There were 2,368 Solid Republican counties, home to 118 million people (36%).

The next largest category by population was New Democratic counties, which voted for Joe Biden (D) in 2020 after voting for Mitt Romney (R) in 2012 and Donald Trump (R) in 2016. There are 34 New Democratic counties, which include cities like Fort Worth and Phoenix, with a combined population of 14 million people.

After New Democratic counties are the 191 Trending Republican counties, which voted for Barack Obama (D) in 2012 before supporting Trump in 2016 and 2020. More than 12 million people live in these counties, many of which are clustered in the Upper Midwest and the Northeast.

The table below shows a further population breakdown of these counties.

Two states—Hawaii and Massachusetts—are made up entirely of Solid Democratic counties. In Oklahoma, every county is Solid Republican.

Click below to see a list of all counties in this analysis, including the 30 battleground counties and 48 new counties.

Keep reading



Number of open U.S. House districts in Oregon reaches decade high 

The filing deadline for candidates running for state or federal office in Oregon was March 8. This year, 46 candidates are running in Oregon’s six U.S. House districts, including 26 Democrats, 19 Republicans, and one independent. That’s 7.7 candidates per district, down from 9.2 candidates per district in 2020 and 8.4 in 2018.

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • This is the first election to take place under new district lines following the 2020 census. Oregon was apportioned six House districts following the 2020 census, one more than the five the state was apportioned after the 2010 census.
  • Two of Oregon’s six U.S. House districts are open this year—including the new 6th District and the 4th District. Peter DeFazio (D), who has represented the 4th District since 1987, is retiring.
  • Oregon’s two open districts this year is the most since at least 2012. The only other election year since 2012 with an open districts was 2020. That year, one districts was open.
  • All four incumbents running for re-election will face at least one primary challenger this year.
  • At least one Democrat and one Republican filed in all six districts, meaning there are no districts where one major party is all but guaranteed to win because no candidates from the other party filed.
  • Sixteen candidates filed to run in the new 6th District, more than any other. This number includes nine Democrats and seven Republicans.

Keep reading 


Placentia-Yorba Linda School District votes to bar critical race theory from classrooms

And now for a story about school boards and curriculum. Be sure to subscribe to Hall Pass, our weekly newsletter designed to keep you plugged into the conversations driving school board politics and education policy, for more stories like this one.

On April 15, the trustees of the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District in California voted 3-2 to pass a resolution prohibiting the teaching of critical race theory in schools. 

The resolution states that the school district “supports efforts in education to promote equity, respect, diversity; celebrate the contributions of all; and encourage culturally relevant and inclusive teaching practices, but will not allow the use of Critical Race Theory as a framework to guide such efforts.”

School board member Leandra Blades voted in favor of the resolution, saying, “I do believe in teaching kids to think critically. But there are so many classes … there are so many things you could teach your kids at home. If you really are passionate about these subjects, then teach them.”

Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression and education at the literary advocacy group PEN America, said the proposal is “misguided and dangerous” in an open letter to the school district trustees. “By shutting off students from even being exposed to a particular academic framework analyzing race and racism, ideological bans like the one proposed by this Resolution essentially guarantee that these students will be worse-equipped to engage in societal conversations about race and racism in their lives,” Friedman wrote.

To read more about trends in curriculum development, click the link below.

Keep reading