Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) announces retirement after nearly three decades in Congress

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) announced on May 4 that he would retire at the end of his term in 2020. Enzi was first elected to the Senate in 1996 and previously served in the U.S. House (1991-1996) and the Wyoming House of Representatives (1987-1991). He last won re-election in 2014, defeating his Democratic opponent by 54.8 percentage points.
Enzi is the fourth U.S. senator to announce his retirement ahead of the 2020 elections. Democrat Tom Udall (N.M.) and Republicans Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and Pat Roberts (Ks.) are also not seeking re-election. Six U.S. House members—three Democrats and three Republicans—have announced that they will not seek re-election or will run for another office. Fifty-five members of Congress did not seek re-election in 2018—37 Republicans and 18 Democrats.
Election forecasters rated Wyoming “Safe Republican” in the 2018 election cycle. Given the state’s partisan lean, the Republican primary in the race to replace Enzi will be important. During the 2018 cycle, Ballotpedia covered 10 battleground U.S. Senate primaries—two for Democratic-held seats and eight for Republican-held seats. The Republican primaries in Arizona and Utah were for seats where no incumbent was running. Three of the primaries (Delaware Democratic primary, Utah Republican primary, and Virginia Republican primary) were in seats that were not rated competitive in the general election.
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Ten Republicans running in NC-09 special election primary

Ten Republicans are running in the primary for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District special election Tuesday. The election was called in February after the state Board of Elections investigated allegations of absentee ballot fraud in the 2018 general election and declined to certify its results. It is one of four special elections scheduled for the 116th Congress.
Dan McCready (D), who faced Mark Harris (R) in the general election last year, is running for the seat again. He is unopposed in the Democratic primary.
With ten candidates running, it is the largest Republican primary field in the district since 2012. A candidate must receive at least 30 percent support or more to proceed to the general election. If not, a Republican primary runoff will be held on September 10, 2019, between the top two candidates.
In a survey from Public Policy Polling conducted last week, state Sen. Dan Bishop (R) had 31 percent support. Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing (R) and former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour (R) followed with 17 and 9 percent support, respectively. The poll’s margin of error was five percent.
The race has received attention from satellite groups. The National Association of Realtors has been the biggest spender, putting $1.3 million into TV and radio ads to support realtor Leigh Thomas Brown (R). Club for Growth has also entered the race, endorsing Bishop and spending five figures against Rushing.
Six other candidates are running: attorney Chris Anglin (R), real estate agent Kathie Day (R), former Charlotte mayoral candidate Gary Dunn (R), sales manager Stevie Rivenbark (R), former state Sen. Fern Shubert (R), and nuclear engineer Albert Wiley Jr. (R).

President Trump’s total confirmed judges moves past 100

This week, the U.S. Senate confirmed five judicial nominees to U.S. District Courts. The Senate has now confirmed 102 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—63 district court judges, 37 appeals court judges, and two Supreme Court justices—since January 2017. At the end of the 115th Congress in January 2019, the Senate had confirmed 85 of the president’s judicial nominees.
The confirmed nominees are:
  • J. Campbell Barker, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • Andrew Brasher, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama
  • Raúl Arias-Marxuach, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico
  • Joshua Wolson, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • Rodolfo Ruiz, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
Barker and Brasher were confirmed along party lines, with all Republicans voting “yea” and all Democrats voting “nay.” Wolson was confirmed 65-33 with 11 Democrats and independent Angus King voting in favor. Arias-Marxuach and Ruiz were confirmed on bipartisan votes of 95-3 and 90-8, respectively.
The confirmed nominees were part of the first 10 nominees to be confirmed to a U.S. District Court under a new precedent the Senate established. On April 3, 2019, the U.S. Senate voted 51-48 in favor of a change to chamber precedent lowering the maximum time allowed for debate on executive nominees to posts below the Cabinet level and on nominees to district court judgeships from 30 hours after invoking cloture to two.
The change was passed under a procedure which requires 51 votes rather than 60 that is often referred to as the nuclear option. It was the third use of the nuclear option in Senate history. In 2013, it was used to eliminate the 60-vote threshold to confirm presidential nominees, except those to the Supreme Court. In 2017, it was used to eliminate the 60-vote threshold required to confirm Supreme Court nominees.
President Donald Trump inherited 108 lifetime federal judicial vacancies requiring a presidential nomination when he was inaugurated on January 20, 2017. Across 890 federal judicial positions, there was an average of 141 vacancies a month from February 2017 to May 2019.

Republicans head to primary runoff in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District

Greg Murphy and Joan Perry advanced from a field of 17 candidates in Tuesday night’s Republican primary. A runoff election will take place on July 9. The winner of that runoff will run in the general election on September 10. The election will fill the vacancy left by Walter Jones (R), who died on February 10, 2019.
Murphy received 22.5 percent of the vote, which was short of the 30 percent needed to avoid a runoff election. Perry received 15.4 percent of the vote. Murphy led the field in primary fundraising, while Perry received the endorsement of Susan B. Anthony List.
The winner of the July runoff will face Allen Thomas (D) and Tim Harris (L) in the general election. Thomas won the Democratic primary outright with 49.9 percent of the vote, while Harris won the Libertarian primary with 56.4 percent of the vote.

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) launches third presidential bid

Joe Biden (D) announced Thursday that he was running for president of the United States, marking the third presidential bid by the former vice president. He joins a crowded primary field with 20 other notable Democratic elected officials and public figures running.
Biden framed his campaign as a direct challenge to President Donald Trump (R). “I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time. But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation—who we are—and I cannot stand by and watch that happen,” he said in his announcement video.
Greg Schultz, who served as Ohio state director for former President Barack Obama (D), will manage Biden’s campaign. Other senior advisers include Kate Bedingfield as communications director, Pete Kavanaugh as deputy campaign manager, Erin Wilson as national political director, and Olympian Michelle Kwan as surrogates director.
Fourteen vice presidents have reached the Oval Office in U.S. history, nine by succession and five by election.

25 candidates running in primaries for North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District special election

Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian primaries in the special election for North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District will take place on Tuesday, April 30.
Twenty-five candidates are running in the two primaries. The winner of the special election will succeed former Rep. Walter Jones (R), who died in February 2019. Jones had held the seat since 1995 and never received less than 60 percent of the vote dating back to 2000.
There are 17 Republican candidates, including six elected officials and six candidates with backgrounds in politics or notable endorsements. State Rep. Greg Murphy leads the field in fundraising at $320,000. Two notable outside groups have issued endorsements in the race: Club for Growth PAC backs Celeste Cairns and Susan B. Anthony List backs Joan Perry. Both groups have made ad buys on behalf of their preferred candidate, with Cairns also getting an ad buy from Awake Carolina and Perry getting one from Winning for Women.
There are six Democratic candidates. Two have raised more than $100,000: Allen Thomas ($255,000) and Richard Bew ($125,000). Thomas is the former mayor of Greenville, and Bew is a retired Marine colonel. 
The date of the general election is dependent on the outcome of the primary elections. If no candidate receives more than 30 percent of the vote in either primary, a primary runoff will take place on July 9. The general election would then take place on September 30. If primary runoffs are not necessary, the general election will be July 9.
The 2018 Cook Partisan Voter Index for this district was R+12, meaning that in the previous two presidential elections, this district’s results were 12 percentage points more Republican than the national average. This made North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District the 111th-most Republican nationally. No Democratic candidate ran against Jones in 2018.
As of April 25, 2019, there have been four special elections called during the 116th Congress. Three of those are for seats in the U.S. House, and one is for a seat in the U.S. Senate. From the 113th Congress to the 115th Congress, a total of 40 special elections were held. During the 115th Congress, four of the 17 special elections resulted in a seat changing partisan hands. All of those seats flipped from Republicans to Democrats.
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9th Circuit panel unanimously upholds California law on federal immigration enforcement compliance

On April 18, 2019, Judges Milan Smith, Paul Watford, and Andrew Hurwitz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit unanimously ruled that Senate Bill (SB) 54, California’s sanctuary state law, did not conflict with federal law.
Writing for the panel, Smith wrote that SB 54 “makes the jobs of federal immigration authorities more difficult” but “does not directly conflict with any obligation” that federal law imposes on state or local governments. Smith also wrote against a provision in AB 103. “Only those provisions that impose an additional economic burden exclusively on the federal government are invalid,” he said.
Smith was appointed to the court by President George W. Bush (R). Watford and Hurwitz were appointed by President Barack Obama (D).
The decision upheld U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California Judge John Mendez’s July 2018 ruling.
The Trump administration brought the lawsuit in March 2018. The lawsuit challenged three California statutes: SB 54, AB 450, and AB 103.
As passed, SB 54 established the following provisions:
  • Exempting state prisons from provisions prohibiting state law enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal immigration agents.
  • Permitting law enforcement officials to notify ICE of the release of certain individuals and share database information with immigration agents.
  • Allowing federal immigration agents to interview jailed individuals suspected of violating federal immigration law.
AB 103 established restrictions on state and local agencies, preventing them from contracting with the federal government to detain immigrants. AB 450 included a provision requiring employers to notify employees about immigration inspections.
The U.S. Department of Justice did not respond to the ruling. The government could seek en banc review from an 11-member panel of 9th Circuit judges or petition the Supreme Court of the United States for review.

Nine of 17 Republican primary candidates in NC-03 special election file financial reports

The Federal Election Commission released campaign financial data for the first quarter of 2019 in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District Republican primary. Of the 17 candidates, nine filed financial reports.
Four candidates in the race have received more than $100,000 in contributions, with state Rep. Gregory Murphy raising the most at $318,000. The other candidates above that threshold are Joan Perry, Francis De Luca, and Chimer Davis Clark Jr.
Murphy also spent the most at $204,000. No other candidate reported spending more than $76,000 so far.
The 17 candidate field includes six elected officials, of which Murphy was the only one to file a financial report. There are also six candidates with political backgrounds or noteworthy endorsements, of which five filed financial reports.
The special election will fill the vacancy left by Walter Jones (R), who died on February 10, 2019. Primaries are scheduled for April 30, 2019. If a primary runoff is necessary, it will be held on July 9, 2019, and the general election will be moved to September 10, 2019. If no runoff is necessary, the general election will take place on July 9.
As of April 19, 2019, there have been four special elections scheduled for the 116th Congress. Three of those are for seats in the U.S. House, and one is for a seat in the U.S. Senate. From the 113th Congress to the 115th Congress, a total of 40 special elections were held.

All in one place: 2020 presidential campaign logos

Twenty-one notable elected officials and public figures—19 Democrats and two Republicans—have entered the 2020 presidential race or formed an exploratory committee as of April 18.
From now through the November 3, 2020, presidential election, Americans will see each campaign’s logo in television ads, on yard signs, in mailers, and more. Campaign logos are the visual centerpiece of a presidential candidate’s branding strategy.
We’ve compiled each notable campaign’s logo in one place.
Of the 21:
  • Nine feature only the candidate’s first name.
  • Nine feature only the candidate’s last name.
  • Three feature both the candidate’s first and last name.

President Donald Trump issues second veto of his presidency

President Donald Trump (R) vetoed a Congressional resolution directing the removal of U.S. troops from Yemen Tuesday. It was his second veto since taking office.
The measure, which had been proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), passed 54-46 in the Senate, with seven Republicans joining Democrats to vote in favor. It passed the House 247-175 with 16 Republicans in favor. It would require 67 votes in the Senate and 290 in the House to override the President’s veto.
This marked the second veto of Trump’s presidency. The first was issued on March 15, 2019, of a resolution overriding his declaration of a national emergency on the border with Mexico.
At this point in their first terms, both Barack Obama (D) and Bill Clinton (D) had issued two vetoes. George H.W. Bush (R) had issued 20 vetoes while Ronald Reagan (R) had issued 16. George W. Bush (R) did not issue any vetoes until his second term.
Barack Obama (D) and George W. Bush (R) each issued 12 vetoes over the course of their two terms—the least of any president since World War II. The record for number of vetoes issued is 635, held by Franklin D. Roosevelt (D).
In U.S. history, 2,576 vetoes have been issued and 111 of those have been overridden by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress. Seven presidents issued no vetoes during their time in office. The most recent was James Garfield (R), who served until his assassination in 1881.