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September 2020 breakdown of state legislative party membership: 52.0% Republicans, 46.8% Democrats

According to Ballotpedia’s September partisan count of the 7,383 state legislators across the United States, 52.01% of all state legislators are Republicans and 46.77% are Democrats.

Ballotpedia tallies the partisan balance of state legislatures at the end of every month. This refers to which political party holds the majority of seats in each chamber. Republicans hold a majority in 59 chambers and Democrats hold a majority in 39 chambers. Alaska’s chamber is the only one to have a power-sharing agreement between the two parties.

Nationally, the state legislatures include 1,972 state senators and 5,411 state representatives. Republicans hold 1,081 state Senate seats—remaining the same since August — and 2,759 state House seats — up one from last month. Democrats hold 3,453 of the 7,383 state legislative seats—874 state Senate seats (down one seat) and 2,579 state House seats (the same as last month). Independent or third-party legislators hold 34 seats, of which 30 are state House seats and four state Senate seats. There are 56 vacant seats.

In the September prior to the 2016 general election, Democrats held 821 state Senate seats (53 fewer than today) and 2,334 state House seats (a decrease of 245), while Republicans held 1,087 state Senate seats (an additional six when compared to today) and 3,017 state House seats (an increase of 258).

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Barack Obama releases second list of 2020 endorsements

 

Former President Barack Obama (D) released his final slate of endorsements for the 2020 elections Friday. The list includes 111 Democratic candidates for federal and state offices. The new endorsements are for seven U.S. Senate seats, 29 U.S. House seats, two gubernatorial offices, and 73 state legislative seats.

Obama has endorsed 230 candidates in 2020. In August, he released an initial slate of 118 endorsed candidates. He also endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who served as vice president under Obama.

Obama has endorsed 12 U.S. Senate candidates in 2020. Some of his most recent endorsees include Raphael Warnock in Georgia’s special election, Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s regular election, and Mark Kelly in Arizona’s special election. All three are challenging Republican incumbents.

Obama has endorsed 80 House candidates, nine state executive candidates, and 128 state legislative candidates.

Ballotpedia has tracked 140 endorsements by President Donald Trump (R) in the 2020 elections, including 23 candidates who competed in battleground primaries. Five candidates Trump endorsed lost in primaries or conventions, leaving 135 endorsed candidates heading to general elections as of September 18.

https://ballotpedia.org/Endorsements_by_Barack_Obama
https://ballotpedia.org/Endorsements_by_Donald_Trump



Michigan school board recall approved to circulate petitions after earlier rejection this year

A petition seeking to recall Margaret Weertz and Chris Lee from their positions as members of the Grosse Pointe Public Schools Board of Education in Michigan was approved for circulation by the Wayne County Election Commission at a clarity hearing on September 16, 2020. This approval came after an earlier petition against the same two board members had been rejected on June 30 at another clarity hearing.

Both recall petitions were filed by Monica Palmer, a resident of Grosse Pointe Woods. On the new petition, the reasons for recall included the two board members voting in favor of the district’s reconfiguration plan, voting to approve a $2.1 million construction contract for the district’s Rocket Fiber project, and voting in favor of extending Superintendent Gary Niehaus’ contract. The reasons for recall listed on the prior petition had included the same votes. Palmer said, “There’s a handful of people that feel enough is enough. There’s a lot of them in the community feeling like they’re not being heard. They’re not liking the way the administration is taking the school system. That is the Board of Education’s job. They are supposed to be directing the administration.”

In reaction to the new recall effort, Lee said he had no intention of giving up his seat and planned to run in the recall election if it went that far. “There’s a group out there that are doing everything they can to bring down the school system. They get some delight in making trouble. This is not right,” Lee said.

Weertz said, “I never met Mrs. Palmer, and I don’t know what she has against me. It would be common courtesy if she called and told me her grievances. I actually believe this is a well-funded group that wants to undo the democratic process.”

Weertz was elected to the board in 2014 and re-elected in 2018, and Lee was first elected to the board in 2018. To get the recall on the ballot, supporters must collect 7,646 signatures.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

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Four temporary city council members selected in Toledo, Ohio 

On Sept. 18, Lucas County Probate Judge Jack Puffenberger selected John Hobbs III, Vanice Williams, Tiffany Preston Whitman, and Cerssandra McPherson to fill vacancies on the Toledo City Council. Each will hold their position in a temporary capacity while legal proceedings continue for four previous council members.

On July 21, council members Tyrone Riley, Yvonne Harper, Larry Sykes, and Gary Johnson were suspended from office after being charged with bribery, extortion, and conspiracy. According to an FBI investigation, the four members are alleged to have accepted $34,000 in bribes in return for votes on zoning requests. All four voluntarily stepped down from their council positions in July.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) stated: “Until allegations of public corruption are resolved in court, a suspension is the proper remedy to balance the accused’s right of a presumption of innocence with the public’s interest to have a functioning city council.”

Hobbs, Williams, Whitman, and McPherson assumed office on Sept. 22. Though the position is non-partisan, the Toledo Blade identified all four as Democrats. Each council member will hold their position in a temporary capacity until their predecessor’s term ends or until the suspended council member resigns or is found innocent.

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Signatures submitted for mayoral recall in Oregon City, Oregon

A recall effort has been underway since June 2020 in Oregon City, Oregon, to recall Mayor Dan Holladay over restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Recall organizers had until September 21 to submit 2,400 valid signatures to put the recall election on the ballot. They submitted signatures in two batches, with the total number coming to 3,451.

City Recorder Kattie Riggs said the signature verification process would be complete by October 1. If enough signatures are verified, the recall election would likely take place on November 10. If voters remove Holladay from office, a special election would take place in March 2021 to fill the seat.

On June 22, Adam Marl, the campaign manager for the Committee to Recall Dan Holladay, issued the following statement on the recall effort: “The mayor’s dismissive responses to current events have put the spotlight on his past actions in office that have not received the scrutiny they deserve. When the citizens voiced their concerns, he deliberately limited constructive dialogue between his colleagues and constituents. Since then, issues of corrupt business dealings and multi-million dollar lawsuits have come to light, which prompted his fellow commissioners to censure him on two counts and order an independent investigation. Mayor Holladay has lost the faith of the city that he is attempting to lead, with even his fellow commissioners calling for his resignation. His refusal to resign for the good of the city has prompted this nonpartisan grassroots campaign to lead the concerted efforts of those who believe in a better future for Oregon City. We will fight with resolve, and will fight to win.”

The number of valid signatures required to force a recall election in Oregon is 15% of the total number of votes cast in the public officer’s electoral district for all candidates for governor at the last election at which a candidate for governor was elected to a full term. Signatures are required to be turned in no later than 90 days after the petition is filed.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

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Washington sheriff files appeal against recall effort with state supreme court

A petition seeking to recall John Snaza from his position as sheriff of Thurston County, Washington was approved for circulation by Superior Court Judge Jeanette Dalton on July 29, 2020. Snaza filed an appeal against that decision with the Washington Supreme Court. The court will review the appeal in December 2020, according to The Olympian.

The recall effort started after the sheriff’s office released a statement on June 24, 2020, saying “it would be inappropriate for deputies to criminally enforce” the state’s mandate to wear a mask in public places. Recall supporters said the sheriff’s statement was impeding the efforts of state and city governments to protect the public. Snaza said it was his intent to educate people about the law rather than arrest them.

If Snaza’s appeal is rejected, recall supporters will have 180 days to collect 23,027 signatures in order to get the recall on the ballot.

Two other sheriff recall efforts have been appealed with the Washington Supreme Court in 2020. The court ruled that a recall effort against Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney could begin circulating petitions on September 10, and it is scheduled to hear the appeal of Benton County Sheriff Jerry Hatcher on November 5.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

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U.S. Senate confirms six U.S. District Court nominees

The U.S. Senate confirmed six nominees to U.S. District Court judgeships. The 94 U.S. District Courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal courts. The Senate has confirmed 214 of President Trump’s Article III judicial nominees—two Supreme Court justices, 53 appellate court judges, 157 district court judges, and two U.S. Court of International Trade judges—since January 2017.

The confirmed nominees are:

Stephen McGlynn and David Dugan, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. When they assume office (after receiving their judicial commission and taking their judicial oath), the court will have:
• No vacancies.
• Two Democrat-appointed judges and two Republican-appointed judges.

Stanley Blumenfeld, Mark Scarsi, and John Holcomb, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. When they assume office, the court will have:
• Seven vacancies.
• Nine Democrat-appointed judges and 12 Republican-appointed judges.

Todd Robinson, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. After Robinson assumes office, the court will have:
• Four vacancies.
• Four Democrat-appointed judges and five Republican-appointed judges.

Blumenfeld, Scarsi, Holcomb, and Robinson are the first four District Court nominees to be confirmed to a California court since Trump took office.

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Washington Supreme Court to review county sheriff recall petition on November 5

The Washington Supreme Court agreed to review a petition seeking to recall Jerry Hatcher from his position as Benton County Sheriff. Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Scott Wolfram initially approved the recall petition on August 20, but Hatcher filed an appeal against that decision with the state supreme court. Hatcher’s appeal will be considered by the court on November 5, 2020.
 
The Benton County Sheriff’s Guild is leading the recall effort. They said Hatcher had performed his duties in an improper manner, committed illegal acts, and violated his oath of office. Hatcher said the guild was refusing to hold deputies accountable for their actions. He said the guild would not let him take disciplinary action against employees who committed wrongdoing.
 
If the appeal is rejected, recall supporters will be able to circulate petitions. Recall supporters must collect 14,000 signatures to get the recall on the ballot.
 
In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

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Recall campaigns in Washington
Political recall efforts, 2020
County official recalls



Ballot deadline for November election passes in Boise recall effort

Efforts in Boise, Idaho, to recall Mayor Lauren McLean and Councilmember Lisa Sanchez were initiated in July 2020. The deadline to put the recalls on the November 2020 ballot was August 28. Recall organizers did not meet that deadline but said they were not trying to get the recalls on the November ballot. The earliest the recall elections can be on the ballot is now March 2021. The deadline to submit signatures in the recall against McLean is September 30, and the deadline for the recall against Sanchez is October 5.

The recall efforts are being organized by Karene Alton and Joe Filicetti. Alton and Filicetti have accused McLean of being dishonest in the way she campaigned for election. Filicetti also cited COVID-19 shutdown orders, failure to support police, and the contents of a report from the mayor’s transition team after she was elected as reasons to recall McLean. The effort to recall Sanchez was initiated in response to statements she made about an 18-year-old who was arrested for firing his rifle in city limits while counter-protesting Black Lives Matter in June 2020.

McLean responded to the recall campaign against her when the recall effort was still unofficial. She said, “That’s an information collecting effort that everybody has a right to do. I remain focused on ensuring that I am working with an economic recovery task force, that we are partnering with businesses and other agencies to support our community as we recover. We are focused on ensuring that Boise remains Boise. Now, and into the future.”

A recall election for a city official requires valid signatures equal to at least 20 percent of the number of electors registered to vote at the last general city election held in the city for the election of officers. Circulation of the recall petition must be completed within 75 days after the form of the recall petition is approved for circulation. Recall organizers are required to submit 26,108 valid signatures for the recalls against McLean and Sanchez.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

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Washington sheriff files appeal against recall petition with state supreme court

An effort to recall Jerry Hatcher from his position as Benton County Sheriff in Washington began in July 2020. The Benton County Sheriff’s Guild is leading the recall effort. They allege that Hatcher performed his duties in an improper manner, committed illegal acts, and violated his oath of office. Hatcher said the guild was refusing to hold deputies accountable. He said the guild would not let him take disciplinary action against employees who committed wrongdoing.

Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Scott Wolfram approved the recall petition on August 20, 2020. Hatcher filed an appeal against that decision with the Washington Supreme Court. If his appeal is rejected, recall supporters will be able to circulate petitions. Recall supporters must collect 14,000 signatures to get the recall on the ballot.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

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