Nine candidates running in California’s 50th Congressional District top-two primary

Nine candidates are running in the primary election for California’s 50th Congressional District in the U.S. House on March 3, 2020.

Duncan Hunter (R), who had represented the district since 2013, resigned Jan. 13, 2020, after pleading guilty to misusing campaign funds.

The top two finishers in the primary will advance to the Nov. 3, 2020, general election. One Democrat and one Republican have advanced from the primary in every election since the state began using top-two primaries in 2012.

Media coverage and endorsements have focused on three Republicans and one Democrat: Ammar Campa-Najjar (D), Carl DeMaio (R), Darrell Issa (R), and Brian Jones (R).

San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond and Former San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock have endorsed DeMaio. U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R) endorsed Issa, who retired from representing the 49th Congressional District in 2019. The California Republican Assembly, the San Diego Police Officers Association, and the Peace Officers Research Association of California endorsed Jones.

Campa-Najjar advanced to the general election in 2018 and lost to Hunter 52% to 48%. He was endorsed by Reps. Susan Davis (D), Eric Swalwell (D), and Adam Schiff (D).

Also running in the primary are Jose Cortes (Peace and Freedom Party of California), Helen Horvath (I), Lucinda Jahn (I), Henry Ota (I), and Nathan Wilkins (R). Marisa Calderon (D) suspended her campaign on Jan. 31, 2020, but her name will still appear on the ballot.

The Cook Partisan Voter Index for this district was R+11, meaning that in the previous two presidential elections, this district’s results were 11 percentage points more Republican than the national average. Race raters have given Republicans an edge in the general election. All three major race rating outlets view the general as Safe/Solid Republican.

California’s 50th Congressional District is located in the southern portion of the state and includes much of San Diego County and portions of Riverside County.

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Previewing the Democratic primary for Texas’ 28th Congressional District

The March 3 Democratic primary in Texas’ 28th Congressional District features incumbent Henry Cuellar, who describes himself as a moderate-centrist, against self-described progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros.

Cuellar was first elected in 2004 and has been endorsed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairwoman Cheri Bustos, and others. He has received satellite spending support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and LIBRE Initiative Action. He has called Cisnernos an outsider backed by special interests who does not understand the desires of the district’s constituency.

Cisneros, a 26-year-old immigration lawyer, is backed by several members of the party’s progressive wing, including Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Pramila Jayapal. She says Cuellar has voted with President Donald Trump 70% of the time. Her campaign material has called Cuellar “Trump’s favorite Democrat.”

According to FEC reports ending on February 12, 2020, Cuellar has outraised Cisneros $1.8 million to $1.3 million. Cuellar has more than doubled Cisneros’ spending, $2.3 million to $1 million.

The winner of the primary will face Sandra Whitten (R) and Bekah Congdon (L) in the general election. The 28th District has a Partisan Voter Index score of D+9, meaning this district’s results were 9 percentage points more Democratic than the national average in the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections. All three major race rating outlets rate the race as solid Democratic.

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With three presidential nominating contests behind us, where does the Democratic race for delegates stand?

Bernie Sanders leads the Democratic delegate race with an estimated 45 pledged delegates. Pete Buttigieg is in second with an estimated 25 delegates, followed by Joe Biden with 15 delegates, Elizabeth Warren with eight, and Amy Klobuchar with seven. These estimated totals reflect projections as of February 25, 2020, following the Nevada caucuses.

To win the nomination, a candidate needs the support of at least 1,991 pledged delegates on the first ballot at the Democratic National Convention, scheduled for July 13-16 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

There will be 4,750 delegates in attendance: 3,979 pledged delegates and 771 automatic delegates (often referred to as super-delegates). Automatic delegates will not be permitted to vote on the first ballot.

If no candidate wins a majority of pledged delegates on the first ballot, a second vote will take place. At this point, automatic delegates will be able to vote. A candidate must then win a majority all delegates in order to win the nomination. Because some automatic delegates can cast only half-votes, which are not rounded up, the majority figure required for the second and any subsequent ballots is 2,375.5.

Pledged delegates are allocated proportionally based on the outcome of each state’s nominating contest. A candidate is typically only eligible to receive a share of the pledged delegates at stake if he or she wins at least 15% of votes cast in a primary or caucus. Party rules require that pledged delegates “shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them.” Pledged delegates are selected in several ways: direct election in primaries or caucuses, local or district party conventions, and state party conventions.

Automatic delegates are not obligated to pledge their support to any candidate. Automatic delegates include Democratic members of Congress, governors, and other party leaders, including former presidents and vice-presidents.

In the three states that have conducted nominating contests so far, 101 total pledged delegates have been at stake, or 2.5% of all pledged delegates.

In the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29, 54 pledged delegates will be at stake, bringing the cumulative total to 155 (3.9%). On March 3, or Super Tuesday, 14 states and one territory will conduct nominating contests to allocate 1,344 pledged delegates. That will bring the cumulative total to 1,499 (37.7%). By month’s end, 2,603 delegates will have been allocated, 65.4% of the cumulative total.

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U.S. Supreme Court releases April argument calendar

The U.S. Supreme Court has released its April argument calendar for the 2019-2020 term. The court will hear eight hours of oral argument in 11 cases between April 20 and April 29. The cases are as follows:

April 20, 2020

  • City of Chicago, Illinois v. Fulton

April 21, 2020

  • McGirt v. Oklahoma
  • Texas v. New Mexico

April 22, 2020

  • Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants Inc.

April 27, 2020

  • Ford Motor Company v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court (consolidated with Ford Motor Company v. Bandemer)
  • Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association

April 28, 2020

  • Chiafalo v. Washington (consolidated with Colorado Department of State v. Baca)

April 29, 2020

  • Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania (consolidated with Trump v. Pennsylvania)

As of February 2020, the court had agreed to hear 74 cases and had issued decisions in four cases during its 2019-2020 term. Between 2007 and 2018, SCOTUS released opinions in 850 cases, averaging between 70 and 90 cases per year.

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Eleven presidential candidates raised a combined $390 million in January

Michael Bloomberg (D) led presidential candidates in fundraising for January 2020, according to financial reports filed with the Federal Election Commission Thursday. Bloomberg raised $263.8 million in January, including $263.7 million in self-funding. He was followed by Tom Steyer (D), who raised $65.3 million, including $64.7 million in self-funding. Bernie Sanders ($25.2 million) and Elizabeth Warren ($11.0 million) were the only other candidates to raise more than $10 million

As of the January 31, 2020, reporting cutoff, President Donald Trump (R) had $92.6 million in cash on hand, the most of all presidential candidates. Bloomberg followed with $55.1 million, then Steyer with $17.9 million. Sanders had $16.8 million, and no other candidates had more than $10 million on hand.

President Trump’s $217.7 million raised to date is 27.0% more than the inflation-adjusted $166.0 million President Barack Obama (D) had raised at this point in his 2012 re-election campaign. According to Republican National Committee (RNC) finance reports filed Thursday, Trump and the RNC have raised a combined $810.9 million. At this point in the 2012 campaign cycle, Obama and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) had raised a combined inflation-adjusted $563.9 million.

The eight remaining noteworthy Democratic candidates have collectively raised $1.164 billion this cycle, while the three noteworthy Republicans have collectively raised $233.5 million. The eight Democrats had a combined $110.7 million in cash on hand to the three Republicans’ combined $97.5 million.

Since the start of the election cycle, the top five Democratic fundraisers are Bloomberg ($464.1 million), Steyer ($271.6 million), Sanders ($134.3 million), Warren ($93.0 million), and Pete Buttigieg ($83.0 million). The 11 noteworthy Democratic and Republican candidates have raised a combined $1.398 billion since the start of the election cycle.

Click here to learn more about 2020 Presidential election campaign finance.

Additional reading:
Presidential election, 2020
Presidential candidates, 2020
Democratic presidential nomination, 2020
Republican presidential nomination, 2020

House Republicans’ campaign arm outraises Democrats for the first time this cycle, RNC outraises DNC for ninth consecutive month

The Republican National Committee (RNC) outraised its Democratic counterpart by more than two-to-one for a ninth consecutive month, according to February 2020 campaign finance reports filed with the FEC Thursday. Republican House and Senate committees also outraised their Democratic counterparts.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $10.1 million and spent $4.8 million last month, while the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $8.5 million and spent $7.5 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the NRSC has raised 8.4% more than the DSCC ($77.7 million to $71.5 million). The NRSC’s 8.4% fundraising advantage is up from 7.3% in January but down from 8.7% in December.

On the House side, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $12.7 million and spent $7.5 million last month, while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $12.1 million and spent $7.0 million. This is the first time the NRCC has outraised the DCCC during the 2020 campaign cycle. So far in the cycle, the DCCC has raised 33.4% more than the NRCC ($137.0 million to $97.8 million). The DCCC’s 33.4% fundraising advantage is down from 37.8% in January and 35.5% in December.

At this point in the 2018 campaign cycle, Democrats led in both Senate and House fundraising, although their advantage in the House was smaller than in this cycle. The DSCC had raised 25.2% more than the NRSC ($59.8 million to $46.4 million), while the DCCC had raised 18.7% more than the NRCC ($114.8 million to $95.1 million).

Republicans continue to lead in national committee fundraising, with the Republican National Committee (RNC) raising $27.2 million and spending $23.2 million while the Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised $10.8 million and spent $11.0 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC has raised 89.8% more than the DNC ($268.3 million to $102.0 million). The RNC’s 89.8% fundraising advantage is down from 90.2% in January but up from 88.9% in December.

At this point in the 2016 campaign cycle (the most recent presidential cycle), the RNC had a smaller 48.2% fundraising advantage over the DNC ($114.8 million to $70.2 million).

So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC have raised 35.3% more than the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC ($443.9 million to $310.5 million). The Republican fundraising advantage is up from 34.1% in January and 34.6% in December.

Click here to learn more about party committee fundraising 2019-2020

Additional reading:
Democratic National Committee
Republican National Committee
Fundraising in Congressional elections, 2018

2,577 major party candidates filed for 2020 Congress elections, no new retirements last week

As of February 24, 2020, 2,577 major party candidates have filed to run for the Senate and House of Representatives in 2020.

So far, 367 candidates are filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate in 2020. Of those, 312—164 Democrats and 148 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 527 candidates filed with the FEC to run for U.S. Senate, including 137 Democrats and 240 Republicans.

For U.S. House, 2,492 candidates are filed with the FEC to run in 2020. Of those, 2,265—1,077 Democrats and 1,188 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 3,244 candidates filed with the FEC, including 1,566 Democrats and 1,155 Republicans.

Thirty-six representatives are not seeking re-election. Of those, 27 are Republican and nine are Democratic. Four senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) are not running for re-election. In 2018, 55 total members of Congress—18 Democrats and 37 Republicans—did not seek re-election.

On November 3, 2020, 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election. Of those Senate seats, 33 are regularly scheduled elections, while the other two are special elections in Arizona and Georgia. Twelve are Democratic-held seats and 23 are Republican-held seats. In the House, Democrats currently hold a majority with 232 seats.

Additional reading
United States Senate elections, 2020
United States House of Representatives elections, 2020
List of U.S. Congress incumbents who are not running for re-election in 2020

Sanders receives most pageviews in past week, followed by Bloomberg and Buttigieg

Each week, we report the number of pageviews received by 2020 presidential campaigns on Ballotpedia. These numbers reflect the time investments of our community of thousands of readers who visit a Ballotpedia because they think the candidate is worth knowing more about, whether they believe the candidate has a strong chance of winning or is an unknown who warrants a closer look.

Last week, Bernie Sanders led all Democratic campaigns in pageviews. His campaign page was viewed 7,351 times, equaling 22.3% of pageviews for all Democratic campaigns this week. He was followed by Michael Bloomberg with 18.1% of pageviews and Pete Buttigieg with 15.9%.

Elizabeth Warren was the only Democratic candidate to receive more pageviews this week relative to last week. Her campaign page received 1.8% more pageviews than the week prior. All other Democratic candidates saw a decrease in pageviews relative to last week. The candidate with the largest decrease among them was Amy Klobuchar with a 34.6% decrease.

The top three Democratic presidential candidates in lifetime pageviews are Buttigieg with 178,783, Joe Biden with 166,119, and Sanders with 153,947.

Donald Trump ranked second of the three Republican candidates in pageviews last week. Trump received 5,501 pageviews, while Roque de la Fuente received 6,155 and Bill Weld received 4,951.

Click here to learn more about Presidential campaign 2020 pageviews on Ballotpedia.

Joaquin Castro endorses Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez in Texas Democratic U.S. Senate primary

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) endorsed Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez (D) for U.S. Senate Tuesday. Tzintzún Ramirez is one of 12 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in a March 3 primary.

Castro is the first member of Congress to endorse Tzintzún Ramirez; her other endorsers include The Austin Chronicle, the Center for Popular Democracy, the Latino Victory Fund, and the Working Families Party. Lone Star Forward PAC launched a television ad buy in support of Tzintzún Ramirez Wednesday.

If none of the candidates reaches 50% support in the primary, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff on May 26. Every poll released so far has shown at least 34% of likely primary voters undecided. None of the 12 candidates has received more than 22% support in any one poll, although MJ Hegar (D) has led or tied for the lead in every poll since October.

Support from endorsers has also been spread among the candidates. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D), former Houston Mayor pro tem Gracie Saenz (D), and the Texas Democrats with Disabilities Caucus have endorsed Chris Bell. Amanda Edwards’ endorsers include The Dallas Morning News, the San Antonio Express-News, and the Afro American Police League. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, End Citizens United, Giffords PAC, and VoteVets have endorsed Hegar. Royce West’s endorsers include The Dallas Morning News (which endorsed him alongside Edwards), the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and 20 of his colleagues in the state legislature.

Incumbent John Cornyn (R) faces four challengers in the Republican primary. Two race-raters cal the general election Likely Republican and one rates it Solid Republican. No Democratic candidate has won a statewide election in Texas since 1994. Cornyn was last elected over David Alameel (D) by a margin of 61.6% to 34.4% in 2014.

Click here to learn more about the 2020 Texas United States Senate election’s March 3 Democratic primary

Additional reading:
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez
Joaquin Castro 
U.S. Senate battlegrounds, 2020

Previewing the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Alabama

The March 3 Republican primary for Senate in Alabama will decide who faces Doug Jones (D) in November. Donald Trump won Alabama by 28 percentage points in 2016. Jones won the 2017 special Senate election by 1.7 percentage points. The Republican primary features seven candidates, including several big names.

Former Sen. Jeff Sessions is seeking to win back the seat, from which he resigned in 2017 when President Trump appointed him U.S. attorney general. Roy Moore, the Republican nominee in the 2017 special election against Jones, is running again. U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, state Rep. Arnold Mooney, and former college football coach Tommy Tuberville are also in the race.

Two independent polls from early February showed Sessions and Tuberville leading, tied within margins of error, and Byrne in third. Sessions and Tuberville received around 30% support. To win the primary outright, a candidate needs a majority of the vote; otherwise, a runoff for the top two finishers will be held March 31.

Candidate messaging has largely focused on conservative credentials and who has been most supportive of President Donald Trump.

  • Byrne says he worked to end corruption in the state Department of Postsecondary Education and that his record as a U.S. House member demonstrates his support for the president.
  • Mooney describes himself as a conservative outsider, referring to his record in the state House and his years in the commercial real estate business.
  • Moore says he stood up for religious freedom on the Alabama Supreme Court and that allegations of sexual assault made against him ahead of the 2017 special election were false.
  • Sessions says he committed to the Trump agenda as a U.S. senator and in the Department of Justice.
  • Tuberville calls himself the outsider in the race who can stand with Trump.

Just over two weeks ahead of the primary, Byrne, Sessions, and Tuberville began releasing opposition ads criticizing one another over past conflicts with or comments about the president, among other issues.

  • Byrne and Tuberville criticized Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election during his time as attorney general. Sessions has defended his recusal and emphasized that he was the first senator to endorse Trump’s 2016 presidential bid.
  • Sessions and Tuberville criticized Byrne for saying that Trump was not fit to be president in 2016 following the release of the Access Hollywood recording. Byrne has said the comment was a mistake and that he worked to defend Trump against the impeachment effort in the House.
  • Byrne and Sessions ads said Tuberville supported amnesty for people in the country illegally. Sessions’ ads also featured audio of Tuberville criticizing Trump on veterans’ healthcare. Tuberville has said he does not support amnesty and that Trump has not been able to do everything he’d like due to resistance from others.

Republicans currently hold a majority in the U.S. Senate with 53 seats to Democrats’ 45. In addition, two independents caucus with Democrats. Alabama is one of two states, including Michigan, that Trump won in 2016 where Democrats are defending Senate seats. Republicans are defending seats in two states won by Hillary Clinton (D) in 2016: Colorado and Maine.

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