Tricia Zunker defeats Lawrence Dale in WI-07 Democratic primary

Tricia Zunker defeated Lawrence Dale in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for the special election to fill the seat representing Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House. With 84% of precincts reporting, Zunker received 88.8% of the vote to Dale’s 11.2%. Zunker advanced to the district’s special general election on May 12. The 7th District seat was vacated by Sean Duffy (R) in September 2019.

Zunker said that she would be a voice in Washington for local farmers and work to improve public education. She said she was “in favor of Medicare for All for those who want it.” Dale campaigned on transitioning the area’s timber pulp industry to hemp pulp, growing the local farming industry, and passing Medicare for All.

Endorsements in the race focused on Zunker, who was endorsed by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and Wisconsin 7th Congressional District Democratic Party, as well as Citizen Action of Wisconsin and Wisconsin AFL-CIO.

The special general election will be held on May 12. Duffy, who was first elected in 2010, won his last election in 2018 by a margin of about 22 percentage points.

Click here to learn more.

Tom Tiffany defeats Jason Church in WI-07 Republican primary

Tom Tiffany defeated Jason Church in Tuesday’s special Republican primary for Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District. With 84% of precincts reporting, Tiffany received 57.3% of the vote to Church’s 42.7%. Tiffany advanced to the district’s special general election on May 12. The 7th District seat was vacated by Sean Duffy (R) in September 2019.

Church and Tiffany agreed on most policy positions but highlighted their different backgrounds. Tiffany, a state senator, described himself as a proven conservative who would “provide the leadership to get things done.” Church described himself as an outsider and a “combat veteran looking to continue my service on behalf of the people of Wisconsin’s 7th district.”

Duffy, U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), former Wisconsin Govs. Scott Walker (R) and Tommy Thompson (R), and organizations including the Club for Growth PAC and Americans for Prosperity Action endorsed Tiffany. U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), U.S. Reps. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), and organizations including SEAL PAC and Combat Veterans for Congress endorsed Church.

Satellite spending in the Republican primary came from Americans for Prosperity Action, Club for Growth, House Freedom Action, and United States Chamber of Commerce supporting Tiffany, and With Honor Fund and Americans 4 Security PAC supporting Church.

Michael Opela Sr. was disqualified from the Republican primary and ran as a write-in candidate. As of writing, write-in votes had not been reported.

The special general election will be held on May 12. Duffy, who was first elected in 2010, won his last election in 2018 by a margin of about 22 percentage points.

Click here to learn more.

Bloomberg leads in weekly pageviews for the first time; lifetime Democratic leader Yang ends campaign

Photo by Gage Skidmore

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, Michael Bloomberg led all Democratic campaigns in pageviews. His campaign page was viewed 8,849 times, equaling 20.8% of pageviews for all Democratic campaigns. He was followed by Pete Buttigieg with 18.2% of pageviews and Bernie Sanders with 17.9%. This was the first week that Bloomberg led all Democratic candidates in pageviews since his page on Ballotpedia was published the week of November 30.

Three Democratic candidates received more pageviews this week relative to the last: Amy Klobuchar, Bloomberg, and Sanders. Klobuchar had the largest increase of 50.6 percent. Elizabeth Warren saw the largest decrease in pageviews relative to last week among Democratic candidates with 16.1 percent.

The top three current Democratic presidential candidates in lifetime pageviews are Buttigieg with 173,550, Joe Biden with 161,665, and Sanders with 146,596. Three candidates ended their campaigns last week: Michael Bennet, Deval Patrick, and Andrew Yang. Bennet’s campaign received 86,706 pageviews since publication, accounting for 7.2 percent of all Democratic presidential campaign pageviews. Patrick’s campaign received 11,929 pageviews (0.99 percent of the total) and Yang’s campaign received 172,329 pageviews (14.3 percent of the total).

Donald Trump ranked second of the three Republican candidates in pageviews last week. Trump received 6,586 pageviews, while Roque de la Fuente received 8,285 and Bill Weld received 6,479.

Click here to learn more.

2,557 major party candidates filed for 2020 Congress elections, no new retirements last week

As of February 17, 2020, 2,557 major party candidates have filed to run for the Senate and House of Representatives in 2020.

So far, 360 candidates are filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate in 2020. Of those, 307—163 Democrats and 144 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, 2,472 candidates are filed with the FEC to run in 2020. Of those, 2,250—1,070 Democrats and 1,180 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.

No new congressional retirements were announced last week. Thirty-six representatives are not seeking re-election in 2020. 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.

Click here to read more about the U.S. Senate elections in 2020.
Click here to read more about the U.S. House of Representatives elections in 2020.
Click here for a list of U.S. Congress incumbents who are not running for re-election in 2020.

Federal Register weekly update; 11 significant final rules published so far in 2020

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity.

From February 10 to February 14, the Federal Register grew by 1,526 pages for a year-to-date total of 8,716 pages. Over the same period in 2019 and 2018, the Federal Register reached 4,676 pages and 7,106 pages, respectively. As of February 14, the 2020 total led the 2019 total by 4,040 pages and the 2018 total by 1,610 pages.

The Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016. After President Donald Trump (R) took office in 2017, the Federal Register’s year-end page total decreased by 36.1% for a total of 61,950 pages. The page total has since increased by 9.7% in 2018 for a total of 68,082 pages and by 6.2% in 2019 for a total of 72,564 pages. It is common for the Federal Register’s annual page total to decrease during a president’s first year in office and fluctuate in subsequent years. For example, President Barack Obama’s (D) first-year page total decreased by 13.6% from the previous year, President George W. Bush’s (R) first-year page total decreased by 13.2%, and President Ronald Reagan’s (R) first-year page total decreased by 21.2%.

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 539 documents:
  • 414 notices
  • Two presidential documents
  • 65 proposed rules
  • 66 final rules

Two final rules were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—meaning that they could have large impacts on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules. The Trump administration in 2020 has issued three significant proposed rules and 11 significant final rules as of February 14.

Not all rules issued by the Trump administration are regulatory actions. Some rules are deregulatory actions pursuant to President Trump’s (R) Executive Order 13771, which requires federal agencies to eliminate two old significant regulations for each new significant regulation issued.

Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.

Click here to find more information about weekly additions to the Federal Register in 2018 and 2017.

Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2016.

Senate confirms four district court nominees; Trump appointments reach 192

The U.S. Senate confirmed four nominees to U.S. District Court judgeships. The Senate has confirmed 192 of President Trump’s Article III judicial nominees—two Supreme Court justices, 51 appellate court judges, 137 district court judges, and two U.S. Court of International Trade judges—since January 2017.

The confirmed nominees are:

  • Philip Halpern, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Halpern was confirmed on a 77-19 vote. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), one of Halpern’s home-state senators, voted against his confirmation. After Halpern receives his judicial commission and takes his judicial oath, the court will have three vacancies, 19 Democrat-appointed judges, and six Republican-appointed judges.
  • John Kness, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Kness was confirmed on an 81-12 vote. After he receives his judicial commission and takes his judicial oath, the court will have two vacancies, 13 Democrat-appointed judges, and seven Republican-appointed judges.
  • Matthew Schelp, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Schelp was confirmed on a vote of 72-23. After he receives his judicial commission and takes his judicial oath, the court will have no vacancies, five Democrat-appointed judges, and four Republican-appointed judges.
  • Joshua Kindred, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska. Kindred was confirmed on a 54-41 vote where Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona joined 52 Republicans to confirm the nominee. After he receives his judicial commission and takes his judicial oath, the court will have no vacancies, one Democrat-appointed judge, and two Republican-appointed judges.

There are 94 U.S. District Courts. They are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:

Five Democratic candidates will debate in Las Vegas on Wednesday

The Democratic Party will hold its ninth presidential primary debate on Feb. 19 in Las Vegas, Nevada, three days before the state’s presidential caucuses take place.

Five candidates have already qualified for the debate: former Vice President Joe Biden, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. All five received at least one delegate following the Iowa caucuses.

Candidates can also qualify for the debate by receiving 10% support or more in four national, Nevada, and/or South Carolina polls. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg has three of the necessary four polls.

Neither Rep. Tulsi Gabbard nor investor Tom Steyer has passed 3% in any eligible poll released between Jan. 15 and Feb. 18, the qualifying period for the event.

The debate, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC, will be held at the Paris Theater. Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Hallie Jackson, Vanessa Hauc, and Jon Ralston will moderate the event.

Democratic primary voters will have one last chance to see the candidates debate before the Super Tuesday primaries. The tenth debate will be held on Feb. 25 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Click here to learn more.


President Trump announces intent to nominate two Article III judgeships in New York

On February 12, 2020, President Donald Trump (R) announced his intent to nominate Jennifer Rearden to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and Saritha Komatireddy to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Following nomination by the president, a federal judicial nominee completes a questionnaire that is reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee then holds a hearing to question the nominee regarding their judicial philosophy and their previous rulings. The committee also sends the nominee’s home state senators a blue slip, permitting them to express their approval or disapproval of the nominee.

After the hearing, the committee votes to approve or return the nominee. If approved, the nominee is reported to the full Senate for a vote. If returned, the president may renominate the person. If the Senate confirms the nomination, the individual receives commission to serve as a federal judge for a life term. If the individual is not confirmed, they do not become a judge.

The U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York are two of 94 U.S. District Courts. They are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system.

The president has announced 245 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on January 20, 2017. The president named 69 judicial nominees in 2017 and 92 in 2018.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:


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.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:

New York sues federal agencies over new travel restrictions

The state of New York on February 10 filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York arguing that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when they blocked New York residents from participating in Trusted Traveler programs (TTPs). The lawsuit claims in part that the agencies did not follow the rulemaking procedures required by the APA when they excluded New York residents from the programs.

DHS informed New York officials on February 5 that residents of New York were no longer eligible to participate in TTPs, which allow travelers to use faster screening lanes at airports and at international borders. The federal agencies acted in response to a 2019 New York law, known as the Green Light Law, that allows people in the United States without legal permission to apply for New York drivers licenses. The legislation “restricts CBP’s access to certain criminal history information maintained by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles,” according to a CBP press release.

New York Attorney General Letitia James argues in the lawsuit that the “new policy is a punitive measure intended to single out New York and coerce the state into changing its policies to compel conformity with preferred federal policies,” according to a press release. The lawsuit further claims that the policy is a rule that should have had a public notice and comment period before going into effect.

The APA specifies procedures for agencies to follow when they issue a new rule. Under the APA’s informal rulemaking process, agencies must publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the _Federal Register_, provide a comment period to allow interested members of the public to weigh in on the new rule, and publish a final rule in the _Federal Register_ 30 days before it goes into effect.

To learn more about the Administrative Procedure Act and informal rulemaking, see here:

Additional reading:
Comment period
Federal Register
Final rule
Formal rulemaking
Administrative state


CBP Press Release:

New York Attorney General Press Release: