CategoryNewsletters

Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: March 28-April 3, 2020

Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News Briefing
Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the news, events, and results of the 2020 presidential election.        

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

Notable Quotes of the Week

“With the coronavirus injecting upheaval into a primary contest that was finally starting to appear more settled, the earliest Biden, the delegate leader, could now win the nomination is on the night of the June 2 primaries, if he nabs about 60% of the outstanding delegates.

In order for Sanders to clinch the nomination under that same timeframe he would need to net roughly 83% of the remaining delegates—a much higher portion of the delegate pool than the 39% he’s collected thus far.”

– Rick Klein and MaryAlice Parks, ABC News

“When you’ve got governors with stratospheric approval ratings for their handling of the crisis and ratings that are 20 and 30 points higher than the president’s and you have governors from states like California and New York and Illinois leading the crisis response — all big-name, major-league governors — you’re going to see that leadership reflected in polls for the presidency in future election years. This is the kind of stuff that gets forged and built into your resume.”

– Doug Herman, Democratic strategist

Week in Review

More states postpone primaries in response to the coronavirus

Ballotpedia is monitoring changes made to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are the presidential primary updates you need to know:

  • New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo postponed the state’s presidential primary from April 23 to June 23.
  • Ohio: Gov. Mike DeWine signed HB 197 into law, rescheduling the state’s March 17 primary for April 28.
  • Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation postponing the state’s primary from April 28 to June 2.
  • KansasThe Kansas Democratic Party announced its party-administered presidential primary, scheduled for May 2, would be conducted entirely by mail.
  • West Virginia: Gov. Jim Justice announced on Wednesday that West Virginia’s primary will be postponed from May 12 to June 9.
  • Puerto Rico: After being initially postponed from March 29 to April 26, the Democratic primary was postponed a second time to an unspecified date.
  • Wisconsin: Federal judge William Conley ordered the final day to receive absentee ballots be extended from April 7 to April 13. The primary remains scheduled for April 7.

Democratic National Convention postponed until August

The Democratic Party postponed its presidential nominating convention to the week of August 17 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Organizers pushed back the event, which was originally scheduled for July 13-16, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“After a great deal of scenario planning and giving thought to how it is this event can have the greatest impact in the electoral process and the greatest impact in terms of what we can bring to Milwaukee, we felt the best decision, not knowing all the answers, was to delay this,” said convention chief executive Joe Solmonese. “More than anything we continue to monitor the public health landscape.”

Coronavirus task forces projects at least 100,000 deaths

Donald Trump and the White House’s coronavirus task force discussed testing, mortality rates, and supply chain issues for masks, ventilators, and other medical supplies in briefings this week.

Trump said more than 1 million Americans have been tested for the coronavirus. Social distancing guidelines, which were set to expire on Monday, have been extended until April 30.

The task force also estimated 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus compared to 2.2 million without any countermeasures. Trump also tested negative for the coronavirus for a second time.

The administration said on Tuesday that it would not reopen HealthCare.gov for a special enrollment period.

Protect Our Care, America First Action, and Biden release campaign ads

The Democratic-aligned group, Protect Our Care, made a five-figure ad buy in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania that criticizes Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus.

The pro-Trump America First Action is spending $10 million to target Joe Biden in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin with television and digital ads and a mail campaign.

Biden released a new digital ad that will play on Facebook and Instagram in battleground states. Calling medical professionals fighting coronavirus soldiers, Biden says in the clip, “As President, I wouldn’t send an American soldier anywhere in the world without all the equipment and protection they need.”

Unite the Country, American Bridge partner to back Biden’s campaign

Unite the Country—a super PAC formed in 2019 to support Joe Biden’s presidential campaign—and Democratic opposition research group American Bridge are partnering on research, polling, fundraising, and digital and television ads.

Their joint goal is to raise $175 million to support Biden. Combined, they have already raised more than $70 million this election cycle. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm are co-chairing the partnership.

Trump campaign, RNC prepare to fight procedural changes to general election

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee are preparing for litigation to prevent major procedural changes to the general election in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “Trump advisers say they are open to certain changes, such as automatically sending absentee ballot applications to voters over age 65. But they’re opposed to other moves Democrats are pushing, such as sending every voter a ballot regardless of whether they ask for one, which Republicans argue would open the door to fraud,” Politico reported.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Kimberly Guilfoyle is a Republican staffer with experience as a journalist and media personality. Guilfoyle received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco in 1994.

Experience:

  • 2018-2019: America First Action, vice chairwoman
  • 2006-2018: Fox News
    • Outnumbered host
    • The Five co-host
    • The Lineup host
    • Legal analyst
  • 2004-2006: Court TV, Both Sides co-host
  • 2004-2006: CNN, legal analyst
  • 2000-2004: City of San Francisco, assistant district attorney

What We’re Reading

Flashback: March 30-April 3, 2016

  • March 30, 2016: The National Border Patrol Council endorsed Donald Trump in the Republican presidential primary.
  • March 31, 2016: Donald Trump met with Reince Priebus, then the chair of the Republican National Committee, to discuss convention rules.
  • April 1, 2016: The first Libertarian Party debate, featuring Gary Johnson, John McAfee, and Austin Petersen, aired on Fox Business News.
  • April 2, 2016: Reuters reported that the State Department suspended its plans for an internal investigation of how classified information was handled on Hillary Clinton’s private email server at the request of the FBI.
  • April 3, 2016: Approximately 2,000 Bernie Sanders supporters demonstrated outside of CNN’s Los Angeles bureau to protest against media bias.

What is the highest number of rounds of balloting in presidential convention history?



DNC postpones national convention until August

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
April 3, 2020: The Democratic National Convention was postponed from July to August. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders called for Iran sanctions relief.        

Ballotpedia is monitoring changes made to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic

Here are the presidential primary updates you need to know:

  • Democratic National Convention: The Democratic Party postponed its presidential nominating convention to the week of August 17 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Organizers pushed back the event, which was originally scheduled for July 13-16, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    “After a great deal of scenario planning and giving thought to how it is this event can have the greatest impact in the electoral process and the greatest impact in terms of what we can bring to Milwaukee, we felt the best decision, not knowing all the answers, was to delay this,” said convention chief executive Joe Solmones. “More than anything we continue to monitor the public health landscape.”

  • Puerto Rico: After being initially postponed from March 29 to April 26, the Democratic primary was postponed a second time to an unspecified date.
  • Wisconsin: Federal judge William Conley ordered the final day to submit absentee ballots be extended from April 7 to April 13. The primary remains scheduled for April 7.

Each Friday, we highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.
Kimberly Guilfoyle is a Republican staffer with experience as a journalist and media personality. Guilfoyle received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco in 1994.

Experience:

  • 2018-2019: America First Action, vice chairwoman
  • 2006-2018: Fox News
    • Outnumbered host
    • The Five co-host
    • The Lineup host
    • Legal analyst
  • 2004-2006: Court TV, Both Sides co-host
  • 2004-2006: CNN, legal analyst
  • 2000-2004: City of San Francisco, assistant district attorney

Notable Quote of the Day

“When you’ve got governors with stratospheric approval ratings for their handling of the crisis and ratings that are 20 and 30 points higher than the president’s and you have governors from states like California and New York and Illinois leading the crisis response — all big-name, major-league governors — you’re going to see that leadership reflected in polls for the presidency in future election years. This is the kind of stuff that gets forged and built into your resume.”

– Doug Herman, Democratic strategist

Democrats

  • During a virtual fundraiser on Thursday, Joe Biden said Bernie Sanders should not be pushed out of the race. He said, “Now’s not the time for me or anyone to call for him to drop out. I know firsthand what a personal decision that is.”
  • Biden called for the Trump administration to ease economic sanctions against Iran on Thursday. He said in a statement, “In times of global crisis, America should lead. We should be the first to offer help to people who are hurting or in danger. That’s who we are. That’s who we’ve always been. And, in the midst of this deadly pandemic that respects no borders, the United States should take steps to offer what relief we can to those nations hardest hit by this virus — including Iran — even as we prioritize the health of the American people.”
  • Sanders co-signed a letter to Secretaries Mike Pompeo and Steve Mnuchin earlier this week calling for the U.S. to suspend sanctions on Iran during the coronavirus pandemic. “Rather than continue to invoke new sanctions in the Iranian people’s hour of need, we urge you to substantially suspend sanctions on Iran during this global public health emergency in a humanitarian gesture to the Iranian people to better enable them to fight the virus,” the letter said.
  • Sanders called for airline grants in the coronavirus relief bill to be approved to fund the paychecks and benefits of 2 million airline workers.

Republicans

  • During the daily coronavirus task force daily briefing, Donald Trump and his team discussed supply chain issues for masks, ventilators, and other medical supplies. Trump also tested negative for the coronavirus for a second time.

General Election Updates

  • The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee are preparing for litigation to prevent major procedural changes to the general election in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “Trump advisers say they are open to certain changes, such as automatically sending absentee ballot applications to voters over age 65. But they’re opposed to other moves Democrats are pushing, such as sending every voter a ballot regardless of whether they ask for one, which Republicans argue would open the door to fraud,” Politico reported.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: April 3, 2016

Approximately 2,000 Bernie Sanders supporters demonstrated outside of CNN’s Los Angeles bureau to protest against media bias.

Click here to learn more.



America First Action launches $10 million ad campaign against Biden

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
April 2, 2020: America First Action is spending $10 million to target Joe Biden in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Biden expects the Democratic National Convention to be postponed from July to August. blank    blankblank   


Ballotpedia is monitoring changes made to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic

Here are the presidential primary updates you need to know:

  • West Virginia: Gov. Jim Justice announced on Wednesday that West Virginia’s primary will be postponed from May 12 to June 9.


Notable Quote of the Day

“Voters in swing states with larger coronavirus outbreaks could behave differently than other swing states on Election Day due to the effects from the outbreak. An extended order to shut down businesses, for instance, could keep more people out of work and strain local businesses. Those in states with a higher death toll could be more critical of Trump’s leadership.”

– Emily Larsen, Washington Examiner

Democrats

  • Joe Biden said he believed the Democratic National Convention would have to be postponed from July to August due to the coronavirus. “And then, even then, the Republican and Democratic conventions are going to have to…be prepared for the alternative.” He said it would be easier to move since the Olympics Games were postponed until 2021.

  • Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said the campaign would communicate with Donald Trump’s team to arrange a phone call between Biden and Trump on the coronavirus.

  • In an interview on ABC’s The ViewBernie Sanders defended his decision to remain in the race. “Last I heard, people in a Democracy have a right to vote and have a right to vote for the agenda that they think can work for America,” he said.

  • Sanders also called for Wisconsin to postpone its April 7 primary due to concerns with the coronavirus. He said early voting should be extended and the election should move to be entirely vote-by-mail.

  • The Democratic-aligned group, Protect Our Care, made a five-figure ad buy in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania that criticizes Trump’s response to the coronavirus.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump campaign director of communications Tim Murtaugh discussed campaign strategy with surrogates on Wednesday. According to NBC News, Murtaugh said, “This is the bottom line: President Trump is leading the nation in this war against the coronavirus, and Joe Biden, the Democrats and the media have decided to be the opposition in that war.”

  • The pro-Trump America First Action is spending $10 million to target Biden in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin with television and digital ads and a mail campaign

Flashback: April 2, 2016

Reuters reported that the State Department suspended its plans for an internal investigation of how classified information was handled on Hillary Clinton’s private email server at the request of the FBI. “The internal review is on hold, pending completion of the FBI’s work. We’ll reassess next steps after the FBI’s work is complete,” said State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau.blank

Click here to learn more.



Heart of the Primaries 2020, Republicans-Issue 12 (April 1, 2020)

This week: Nearly half of Jon Huntsman’s petitions rejected, Massie’s coronavirus bill procedural move becomes focus in primary, and we profile Senate Conservatives Fund.

Click here to follow developments on the Democratic side. Have a tip or see something we missed? Email us at geoff@ballotpedia.org. And please share this newsletter with your colleagues!

On the news

Where do Republican and conservative pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

“In the middle of the 20th century, conservatism went from being dismissed as a set of ‘irritable mental gestures’ to having several competing ideological frameworks—some more ‘libertarian,’ some more religious. These all found common cause in the fight against Soviet communism—but it is now clear, in retrospect, that in the absence of such a defined enemy (radical Islam served the role briefly), conservatism is falling apart. Not only is it losing whatever unity it had. It is losing its own sense of self-definition and instead is degrading back to the level of irritable mental gestures.

Nothing exposes this like the right’s response to the coronavirus. Conservatives have been almost comically prone to grasping at quack pseudo-science and wild speculation on social media, anything that will help them cast doubt on the real and evident epidemiology of a disease. Why? Simply to poke a finger in the eye of the mainstream media, the experts, the ‘Deep State,’ the ‘elites.’ All that is left of conservatism is ‘own the libs’: If their partisan enemies are for it, the conservatives are against it, and there is no other, deeper reality to consider.”

Robert Tracinski, The Bulwark, March 30, 2020

“Both the crude and sophisticated efforts [to psychologize the partisan divide] tended to agree, though, that the supposed conservative mind is more attuned to external threat and internal contamination, more inclined to support authority and hierarchy, and fear subversion and dissent. And so the political responses to the pandemic have put these psychological theories to a very interesting test. …

So one might say that the pandemic illustrates the power of partisan mood affiliation over any kind of deeper ideological mind-set. Or relatedly, it illustrates the ways in which under the right circumstances, people can easily swing between different moral intuitions. …

But the right’s varying responses to the pandemic also illustrate two further points. The first point is that what we call ‘American conservatism’ is probably more ideologically and psychologically heterogeneous than the conservative mind-set that social scientists aspire to measure and pin down.”

Ross Douthat, The New York Times, March 31, 2020

U.S. Congress

Massie’s coronavirus bill procedural move becomes focus in primary

Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District last week requested a roll call vote on the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, which was ultimately passed by voice vote. News of Massie’s plan, which would have required a majority of House members to be present to vote on the bill, led several House members to travel to D.C. amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Massie said that “if we’re going to pass the biggest spending bill in the history of mankind … people should go on record for this.” He also said, “If this is truly a national emergency, and you’re being paid $174,000 a year to work, and you haven’t been to work in, you know, 10 days, I think you can go to work for this.”

Todd McMurtry, who is challenging Massie in the June 23 primary, tweeted, “People’s livelihoods are at stake while he’s playing political games. His top priority is to make himself the purest Libertarian politician in the House while failing to deliver results for Kentuckians.”

President Donald Trump tweeted Massie should be thrown out of the Republican Party, saying, “Looks like a third rate Grandstander named @RepThomasMassie, a Congressman from, unfortunately, a truly GREAT State, Kentucky, wants to vote against the new Save Our Workers Bill in Congress. He just wants the publicity. He can’t stop it, only delay, which is both dangerous & costly.”

Massie said he hoped to patch things up with Trump. 

Massie was first elected to the House in 2012. McMurtry is an attorney. He recently represented a Covington Catholic High School student who settled a defamation lawsuit with CNN regarding its coverage of a confrontation between the student and an activist.

VA-05, VA-07 Republican conventions up in the air

Republicans in Virginia’s 5th and 7th Congressional Districts are scheduled to select their party’s nominees for the general elections at conventions, as opposed to primaries, on April 25. Amid the coronavirus outbreak and prohibitions on large gatherings, Republican leaders are considering contingency plans.

Fifth District incumbent Rep. Denver Riggleman told Roll Call that prohibitions on gatherings could limit the convention vote to members of the 5th District Republican Committee. Roll Call‘s Stephanie Akin wrote the following: 

“That could shrink the number of eligible voters from about 3,000 registered delegates to less than 40 committee members, a potential political death sentence for Riggleman, who was censured by one county committee — the district includes all or part of 21 counties and two cities — last summer after he officiated a gay wedding. The larger district committee debated censuring him at the time as well. And the National Journal reported last month that at least four district committee members had donated to Good’s campaign.” 

Riggleman was first elected in 2018, defeating Leslie Cockburn (D) 53% to 47%. His 2020 challenger, Bob Good, said that “Republican voters within the 5th District want to choose a bright-red conservative over a purple, progressive Republican.”

In the 7th District, nine candidates are running for a chance to face freshman Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) in November. Before Spanberger took office in 2019, a Republican had represented the 7th District since 1971. Spanberger defeated Dave Brat in 2018. Brat defeated then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the district’s 2014 Republican primary.

Brat endorsed Nick Freitas, a member of the state House of Delegates, for the 7th District Republican nomination. Freitas also has support from the Club for Growth PAC.  Former Trump administration Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Andrew Knaggs, House of Delegates Member John McGuire, and nonprofit founder Tina Ramirez are among the nine candidates.

NY-27 special election, regular primary to be held same day

New York’s 27th District special election was originally scheduled for April 28, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo changed the date of the state’s special elections and presidential primaries to June 23 because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Republican state Sen. Chris Jacobs is running in the special election and is one of four regular primary election candidates. Eight county Republican Party chairs selected Jacobs as the party’s special election nominee. Trump endorsed Jacobs in the special election.

The Buffalo News‘ Mary B. Pasciak wrote that, because the elections will be held on the same day, there is no chance Jacobs could enter the regular primary election as an incumbent.

The state Conservative Party and several county Conservative parties endorsed Beth Parlato in the regular primary election. Regarding the date change, Parlato said, “The people of NY-27 will be able to choose who they want to represent them. I have always felt confident going into the primary. (Jacobs’) voting record is too liberal for the voters in NY-27.”

Primary candidate Stefan Mychajliw Jr. said, “My opponent was banking on running as an incumbent. Now that potential strength has evaporated.” 

The special election will fill the vacancy left when Chris Collins (R) resigned Oct. 1, the same day he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements.

State executives

Nearly half of Jon Huntsman’s petitions rejected

Utah’s elections agency announced Thursday it had rejected nearly 20,000 signatures submitted by Jon Huntsman’s gubernatorial campaign. Huntsman must submit an additional 11,500 valid signatures before April 10 in order to earn a guaranteed spot on the primary ballot.

More than half of the 36,112 signatures the Huntsman campaign submitted—19,653—were rejected. According to UtahPolicy.com, Huntsman’s rejection rate is nearly twice that of the two campaigns that have submitted signatures so far. More than half of the rejected signatures were found to be from individuals who were not registered Republicans.

Candidates running for governor of Utah may qualify for the ballot by either submitting signatures from 28,000 registered party members or by winning a spot on the primary ballot at their party’s nominating convention. No more than two candidates can win a spot on the ballot at the convention.

Incumbent Gary Herbert (R), who is not seeking re-election, signed an executive order allowing campaigns to collect signatures online. Herbert said the measures were implemented to aid in social distancing. Huntsman and Jan Garbett are the only primary candidates yet to submit their signatures. Spencer Cox and Thomas Wright have already qualified for the ballot via signature. The other four candidates are focusing entirely on the nominating convention.

A Dan Jones & Associates poll of likely primary voters conducted on behalf of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce found Huntsman leading Cox 34% to 23%. No other candidate received more than 10% of the vote. The poll had a margin of error of 3.5%.

The June 30 primary will be open to registered Republicans only. The winner of the primary is likely to also win the general election—no Democrat has won election as governor of Utah since 1980.

Jim Justice, Woody Thrasher launch ad buys

West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Woody Thrasher launched his tenth ad of the campaign season on March 26. The spot, titled “Leadership”, called for policy changes in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Thrasher outlined his support for expanding unemployment benefits, providing loans to small businesses, and allowing deferment of mortgage payments.

Incumbent Jim Justice launched his first television ad on March 18. It contains footage of Justice on stage with President Trump at a rally and says Justice has helped grow West Virginia’s economy while opposing regulations on firearms, supporting restrictions on abortion, and appointing conservative justices to the state supreme court.

The May 12 primary will be open to registered Republicans and unaffiliated voters only. No Republican has won election as governor of West Virginia since Cecil Underwood in 1996. In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton 69% to 27%. Justice was elected as a Democrat in 2016 before joining the Republican Party on August 3, 2017.

Legislatures

New York Senate Minority Leader will not seek re-election

State Sen. John Flanagan (R-02), once the state’s top Republican elected official, announced he would not seek re-election this November. Flanagan was elected to the state Assembly in 1986 and moved to the Senate in 2002. He became the highest-ranking Republican in New York in 2015 when he was elected Senate Majority Leader. After Democrats took control of the senate in 2018, he became Senate Minority Leader.

The Suffolk County GOP had already endorsed Flanagan for re-election. On March 30, the county party announced it had selected Mario Mattera, a member of the Suffolk County Water Authority Board, to replace Flanagan on the ballot. Democrat Mike Siderakis has also announced his intention to run.

Republicans currently hold 22 of the 63 seats in the New York state Senate. Flanagan is the eighth Republican senator not to seek re-election. The filing deadline for party-affiliated state legislative candidates in New York is April 2.

Term-limited South Dakota House Majority Leader faces first primary in bid for state Senate seat

State Rep. Lee Qualm (R-21) will run in a contested primary for the first time since winning election in 2012 as he attempts to switch chambers by running for state Senate.

Qualm is unable to run for another term in the House due to term limits. First-term state Sen. Rocky Blare (R-21) filed to run for one of the district’s two House seats. In February, Qualm filed to run for the Senate seat held by Blare, setting up the possibility of Qualm and Blare switching seats.

Later in March, Erin Tobin, a healthcare provider from Winner, also filed petitions to run for the state Senate seat. As a result, Qualm will face a contested primary for the first time since being elected to the state House in 2012. Qualm became Majority Leader in 2017.

Two candidates intend to run in primary after incumbent Tennessee representative announces his retirement

State Rep. Martin Daniel (R-18) announced he will not seek re-election this year. Following his March 24 announcement, two candidates—James Corcoran and Eddie Mannis—indicated their intentions to run for the Republican nomination.

Corcoran previously challenged Rep. Daniel in District 18’s 2016 Republican primary, placing third with 25% of the vote. Mannis ran for mayor of Knoxville in 2019 but lost to Indya Kincannon. Democrat Virginia Couch also intends to run for the seat. 

Daniel was first elected to represent District 18 in 2014 after defeating incumbent Rep. Steve Hall (R-18) in the Republican primary. The deadline to submit petitions to appear on the primary ballot is April 2.

Power players

“SCF seeks to bring bold conservative leadership to Washington by supporting candidates who have the courage to fight for limited government, a strong national defense, and traditional family values.” – Senate Conservatives Fund website 

Founded in 2008 by former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) is a political action committee that says it “helps candidates by bundling contributions for them from thousands of freedom-loving Americans across the country, and by running hard-hitting radio and television ads to promote their conservative campaigns.”

The SCF website lists policy goals in the following areas: “Stop Spending,” “Healthcare Freedom,” “Enforce Immigration,” “Term Limits,” “Ban Bailouts,” “End Earmarks,” “Protect Life,” and “2nd Amendment.”

SCF has endorsed seven Republican candidates in 2020 congressional races. Senate endorsements include incumbent Steve Daines (Mont.), challengers John James (Mich.) and Don Bolduc (N.H.), and Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), who is running for an open seat.  

The group says it supports “a select group of House candidates each cycle to bolster our farm team for future Senate races and to help take back the House.” In 2020 races, SCF endorsed incumbent Reps. Chip Roy (Texas) and Scott Perry (Pa.), and Lynda Bennett, who is running for the open seat previously held by Mark Meadows in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District.



Heart of the Primaries 2020, Democrats-Issue 12 (April 1, 2020)

This week: Tlaib, Jones rematch in MI-13, LaJeunesse withdraws from Senate primary in ME and endorses Gideon, and we profile Planned Parenthood Action Fund

On the news

Where do Democratic and progressive pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

“Though Biden has all but officially reached the position of the presumptive Democratic Party nominee, he continues to face overlying challenges that will make his path to the White House increasingly difficult. The first issue here is the impact of the pandemic on his strategy. For a politician whose greatest strength is his ability to connect with voters, which is traditionally done by traveling all around the country, speaking to voters at rallies, and of course shaking hands, Biden has been struggling to keep his campaign afloat during such untraditional and unprecedented times. …

While Biden holds a critical statistical advantage over Trump at this point, leading Trump by 9 points in the most recent Fox News poll with 49 percent of the vote, compared to 40 percent for Trump, the job approval ratings of the president both generally and regarding his handling of the coronavirus crisis have actually been rising.

The other problem is Sanders. Now that he plans to stay in the race, and both campaigns have effectively stalled because of the coronavirus, the momentum for Biden has come to a near halt. In a campaign that already lacked enthusiasm and the ability to draw in younger voters, Biden now faces the difficult task of seeking to do so from the confines of his house through pixelated online messages. This is hardly a way to win over more progressive voters, especially with Sanders still in the race.”

Douglas Schoen, The Hill, March 29, 2020

“It’s been a momentous few weeks, but one thing has not changed: Biden is still overwhelmingly likely to become the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, and he’s still better positioned than any other candidate to defeat President Trump in November. …

[Biden’s] perceived vulnerabilities are leading Sanders to stay in the race through this extended lull in the voting, ready to pounce as soon as Biden implodes, and also encouraging fantasies of some mysterious alternative mainstream candidate magically swooping in to take Biden’s place. …

It may well be true that Biden himself inspires only mild levels of enthusiasm among voters when pollsters ask them about it in the abstract. But in reality, when faced with a choice between Biden and Sanders, voters have showed up in states across the country to express their support for the former vice president. That’s a very good sign that they will do the same when his opponent is the far more widely loathed Republican in the White House.”

Damon Linker, The Week, March 30, 2020

U.S. Congress

LaJeunesse withdraws from Senate primary in ME, endorses Gideon

Ross LaJeunesse withdrew from the Democratic primary for Senate in Maine and endorsed the state’s House speaker, Sara Gideon. In a Medium post, he said the following:

“I cannot ask my supporters to continue working hard, to continue making financial contributions, to continue volunteering, to continue advocating for my campaign when the country is focused on an unprecedented health and economic crisis, and when the type of campaign I planned, meeting voters where they live and work and speaking person to person, is impossible.”

LaJeunesse, whom the LGBTQ Victory Fund endorsed, ran on a 10-point tech policy agenda and criticized Gideon by saying she received special interest money.

Gideon had raised $7.8 million by the end of 2019. LaJeunesse was second in fundraising with $600,000. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, EMILY’s List, and NARAL Pro-Choice America endorsed Gideon early in her bid. 

Bre Kidman and Betsy Sweet are also running in the June 9 primary.

Majority Forward, a not-for-profit affiliated with the Senate Majority PAC, recently announced a six-figure ad campaign praising Gideon’s work on a coronavirus relief bill in the state legislature. The PAC also spent six figures on an ad campaign in November criticizing incumbent Sen. Susan Collins’ (R) votes related to Medicare and saying she hadn’t held a town hall in 20 years.

Three election forecasters rate the general election Toss-up, Tilt Republican, or Lean Republican. 

Tlaib, Jones rematch in MI-13

Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones entered Michigan’s 13th Congressional District Democratic primary, setting up a rematch against Rep. Rashida Tlaib. 

In August 2018, Tlaib defeated Jones in the regular primary election 31.2% to 30.2%, while Jones defeated Tlaib in a special primary the same day 37.7% to 35.9%. Jones completed the term to which John Conyers Jr. had been elected in 2016 until Tlaib took the seat in January 2019.

The Detroit Metro Times wrote,

“In the last election, Jones had the backing of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s formidable political machine.

But since Tlaib was elected, she has become a household name nationwide — thanks, in part, to her promise to ‘impeach the mother******’ on her first day in office — and raised $1.6 million this cycle, bringing her campaign chest total to $2.8 million.”

The primary is Aug. 4, and April 21 is the filing deadline.  

Sunrise Movement endorses Bowman in NY-16, Morse in MA-01

Sunrise Movement endorsed two challengers to longtime House incumbents last week: Jamaal Bowman in New York’s 16th District and Alex Morse in Massachusetts’ 1st District. The incumbents in both districts—Eliot Engel in New York and Richard Neal in Massachusetts—were first elected in 1988.

Sunrise Movement is a nonprofit organization that describes itself as “a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.” 

In New York’s 16th, six candidates are running, including Bowman and Engel. Engel chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Bowman is a middle school principal. He is running to Engel’s left and received the Working Families Party endorsement. The Working Families Party endorsed Engel in previous elections. The primary is June 23. 

Rep. Neal chairs the House Ways and Means Committee. Morse was elected mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts at age 22 and is running to Neal’s left. Neal and Morse are currently the only candidates running in the Sept. 1 primary.

Find our previous story on New York’s 16th District primary and our “Power Players” feature on the Sunrise Movement here.

State executives

Salango, Smith, Stollings participate in first debate

Three of the leading Democratic candidates for governor of West Virginia participated in the campaign’s first debate on March 24. Ben Salango, Stephen Smith, and Ron Stollings each discussed their platforms while criticizing incumbent Jim Justice’s (R) response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Salango, a Kanawha County commissioner, said he would prioritize workforce training and small business. Salango added that because different parts of the state face different challenges, he would be more inclined to support region-specific policies rather than trying the same programs throughout. Salango said he supported shifting the ideological balance of the state Democratic Party to expand its base.

Smith said West Virginia is wealthier now than at any point in its history but that large out-of-state businesses held too much of that wealth. Smith said he supports legalizing marijuana and ensuring that every resident has access to broadband. He said he was the only candidate to have published a plan to eliminate corporate tax breaks.

Stollings said his economic plan put small businesses and entrepreneurs first while encouraging growth in the state’s technology sector. He proposed opening an executive office focused on issuing grants and seeking partnerships to boost the post-coronavirus recovery. Stollings said his experience in the state Senate and relationships with key legislators in both parties made him the candidate best-positioned to implement his agenda.

The May 12 primary will be open to registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters only. No Republican has won election as governor of West Virginia since Cecil Underwood in 1996. In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton 69% to 27%. Justice was elected as a Democrat in 2016 before joining the Republican Party during his first term.

Former Kansas City Councilwoman Alissia Canady to run for lieutenant governor of Missouri

Former Kansas City Councilwoman Alissia Canady is laying the groundwork to run for lieutenant governor of Missouri, according to The Kansas City Star.

Canady was first elected to the city council in 2015 and served a single term. Rather than running for re-election in 2019, she ran for the city’s open mayoral office. Canady did not advance to the general election but was the third-place finisher in the nonpartisan primary with 13.6% of the vote.

So far, the only other Democrat in the running is venue owner Gregory Upchurch. Upchurch ran for a Republican-held state house seat in 2018, losing the Democratic primary 65% to 22%. The filing deadline was March 31.

Missouri is one of 17 states where the lieutenant governor is elected separately from the governor. Missouri’s lieutenant governor presides over the state senate and casts tie-breaking votes. Additional powers may be delegated by the governor. The last Democrat to serve as lieutenant governor of Missouri was Joe Maxwell in 2005.

2021 race preview: Jennifer McClellan weighs run for governor of Virginia

In this year’s run of Heart of the Primaries, our coverage of state executive races will include stories on emerging state executive candidate fields in the 2021 and 2022 elections as well as the most recent news from this year’s races.

Virginia voters will choose a new governor in 2021 to replace term-limited Ralph Northam (D).

Among the possible contenders for the race is state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Va.), who has been a state legislator since 2005.

Richmond Times-Dispatch‘s Mel Leonor wrote,

“Before Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, McClellan was among Democrats mentioned as a potential replacement for U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a close mentor, if he was elected vice president as Hillary Clinton’s running mate.”

Other potential gubernatorial candidates include Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D), former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, and state Attorney General Mark Herring.

Legislatures

Six-term former South Dakota representative files to challenge incumbent in primary bid for his old seat

Former State Rep. Dean Schrempp (D) submitted petitions to run for South Dakota’s House District 28A last week, setting up a primary with incumbent Rep. Oren Lesmeister (D-28A), who filed his petitions earlier this year.

Schrempp served two separate two-year terms representing District 28A in the 1990s: 1992-1994 and 1996-1998. He later represented the district from 2008-2016, serving four consecutive two-year terms. Schrempp could not run for re-election in 2016 due to term limits. 

Lesmeister was first elected to represent District 28A in 2016 after running for Schrempp’s open seat and was re-elected in 2018. He ran unopposed in both races.

Unlike most districts in the state House of Representatives, District 28A elects only one representative. The filing deadline to appear on the primary ballot was March 31. At the time of publication, no Republican candidate had filed to run for the seat, meaning the winner of the primary will likely be the district’s next representative.

Former congressional candidate files to run for Kansas state senate seat

Tobias Schlingensiepen (D) announced on Wednesday he will run for District 18 of the Kansas State Senate. The incumbent, Sen. Vic Miller (D-18), has not yet announced if he will seek re-election. In May 2019, Miller was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in a case that is currently pending.

In 2012, Schlingensiepen challenged incumbent U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R) in a race for Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District. Jenkins defeated Tobias 57-39%.

Miller was appointed to District 18 in 2019 to replace outgoing Sen. Laura Kelly (D), who was elected governor in 2018. 

No Republican candidates have filed to run in District 18. The filing deadline to appear on the August 4 primary ballot is June 1.

Longest-serving state legislator in U.S. history to retire

Wisconsin State Sen. Fred Risser (D-26) announced Thursday he will not run for re-election in November. Risser was first elected to the Wisconsin state Assembly in 1956. He has represented District 26 in the state Senate since 1962. With 64 years as a state legislator, Risser is the longest-serving legislator in United States history. He is also the only remaining World War II veteran serving in a state legislature. He will be 94 at the time of his retirement.

Power players

“Planned Parenthood was founded over 100 years ago on the revolutionary idea that women have the right to access the information and care they need to live strong, healthy lives. Today, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF) fights to protect that right — often in the face of extreme politicians trying to take it away.” – Planned Parenthood Action Fund website

Founded in 1989, Planned Parenthood Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that says it “works to advance access to sexual health care and defend reproductive rights.” The organization is affiliated with the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the super PAC Planned Parenthood Votes.

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund website lists policy goals in the following areas: “Abortion Access,” “Birth Control,” “Health Care Equity,” “Attacks on Planned Parenthood,” “Judicial Nominees,” “Sex Education,” “Sexual Assault,” “State Attacks,” and “Voting Rights.”

Politico reported on March 26 that Planned Parenthood Action Fund recently endorsed the following candidates: Al Gross (AK-Sen), M.J. Hegar (TX-Sen), Phil Arballo (CA-22), Pritesh Gandhi (TX-10), and Hillary Scholten (MI-03). For a full list of over 200 federal candidates endorsed by Planned Parenthood Action Fund, click here.



Trump administration projects at least 100,000 deaths from coronavirus

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
April 1, 2020: Donald Trump and the White House’s coronavirus task force discussed the projected mortality rate during a daily press conference on Tuesday. Joe Biden endorsed two Wisconsin school referendums in Milwaukee and Racine. blank    blankblank   

Ballotpedia is monitoring changes made to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are the presidential primary updates you need to know:

Kansas: The Kansas Democratic Party announced its party-administered presidential primary election, scheduled for May 2, would be conducted entirely by mail.


Notable Quote of the Day

“With the coronavirus injecting upheaval into a primary contest that was finally starting to appear more settled, the earliest Biden, the delegate leader, could now win the nomination is on the night of the June 2 primaries, if he nabs about 60% of the outstanding delegates.

In order for Sanders to clinch the nomination under that same timeframe he would need to net roughly 83% of the remaining delegates—a much higher portion of the delegate pool than the 39% he’s collected thus far.”

– Rick Klein and MaryAlice Parks

Democrats

  • Joe Biden released a new digital ad that will play on Facebook and Instagram in battleground states. Calling medical professionals fighting coronavirus soldiers, Biden said, “As President, I wouldn’t send an American soldier anywhere in the world without all the equipment and protection they need. We should not do any less for the heroes on the frontlines in this battle we’re in now.”

  • Biden endorsed two Wisconsin school referendums in Milwaukee and Racine on Tuesday. The $87 million referendum in Milwaukee would support operational expenses, and the $1 billion referendum in Racine would fund the renovation and construction of facilities.

  • Bernie Sanders sent a letter to the United States Postal Service on Tuesday requesting information on how the agency is protecting letter carriers, instituting social distancing measures, and prioritizing the delivery of emergency supplies.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump and the White House’s coronavirus task force discussed medical supplies and the projected mortality rate during a daily press conference on Tuesday. The task force said an estimated 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus compared to 2.2 million without any countermeasures.

  • The Trump administration said on Tuesday that it would not reopen HealthCare.gov for a special enrollment period. Politico reported that the administration was reviewing other options. The Trump administration also announced on Tuesday that it was lowering annual increases for fuel economy and emission standards from 5% to 1.5%.

Flashback: April 1, 2016

The first Libertarian Party debate, featuring Gary Johnson, John McAfee, and Austin Petersen, aired on Fox Business News.

Click here to learn more.



Policy under review: donor disclosure requirements on independent expenditure and electioneering communication disclaimers

Last month, we explored donor disclosure requirements for non-PAC entities making independent expenditures. This week, we examine donor disclosure requirements on independent expenditure and electioneering communication disclaimers.

An independent expenditure is an advertisement that explicitly advocates for the election or defeat of a clearly identified political candidate. An independent expenditure originates outside of a candidate’s own election organization and is not coordinated with that candidate’s campaign, authorized candidate committee, or political party committee. Because these advertisements explicitly advocate for or against a candidate, they are a form of express advocacy.

An electioneering communication is any broadcast, cable, or satellite transmission that refers to a clearly identified candidate within a specified time period preceding a primary or general election. Although electioneering communications refer to a specific candidate, they do not explicitly advocate for that candidate’s election or defeat. This makes an electioneering communication a form of issue advocacy.

Individuals, corporations, labor unions, and select nonprofits (such as 501(c)(4) groups) can make both independent expenditures and electioneering communications.

Independent expenditures and electioneering communications must generally include a disclaimer identifying the individual or entity sponsoring the advertisement. Seven states establish donor disclosure requirements for these disclaimers. This means that, under select circumstances, the entities sponsoring independent expenditures and/or electioneering communications must disclose identifying information about their donors. These states are shaded in green on the map below. Further details about the requirements in each are provided below the map.

DyLGb-are-entities-making-independent-expenditures-or-electioneering-communications-required-to-disclose-donor-information-on-advertisement-disclaimers-.png
  • California: Identification of donors who gave $50,000 or more to the sponsor.
  • Connecticut: Identification of the top five donors who made the largest aggregate covered transfers to the sponsor in the 12-month period immediately preceding the primary or election (applies to independent expenditures made during the 90-day period immediately preceding a primary or election).
    • A covered transfer is defined as “any donation, transfer, or payment of funds by a person to another person if the person receiving the donation, transfer, or payment makes independent expenditures or transfers funds to another person who makes independent expenditures.”
    • Statutory citation: General Statutes of Connecticut, Section 9-621(h)(1)
  • Hawaii: Identification of the top three donors who gave $10,000 or more to the sponsor for the purpose of funding the communication.
  • Maine: Identification of the top three donors who gave $1,000 or more to the sponsor since the most recent general election (applies to all independent expenditures costing more than $250).
  • Rhode Island: Identification of the top five donors who made the largest total donations in the 12-month period preceding the date of the advertisement (applies to 501(c) entities).
  • South Dakota: Identification of the top five donors who made the largest total donations to the sponsor in the 12-month period preceding the advertisement.
  • Washington: Identification of the top five donors who made the largest total contributions exceeding $700 in the 12-month period preceding the advertisement.

Political context: Six of these seven states are Democratic trifectas. The seventh, South Dakota, is a Republican trifecta.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 45 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Disclosure Digest map March 31, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Disclosure Digest status chart March 31, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Disclosure Digest partisan chart March 31, 2020.png

Recent legislative actions

No legislative actions have been taken on relevant bills since our last issue.



Unite the Country, American Bridge partner to support Biden

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
March 31, 2020: Unite the Country and American Bridge are partnering on research, polling, fundraising, and digital and television ads to support Joe Biden. Donald Trump announced more than 1 million Americans have been tested for the coronavirus.

 Poll Spotlight

Notable Quote of the Day

“That Thursday night speech by our nominee [at the Democratic National Convention] could be seen by 50 to 60 million Americans, most of them who haven’t paid a minute of attention to the primary. That’s the conversation that takes us to winning.

If we have to cancel and Trump has a convention with 40,000 people screaming and yelling … that’s an advantage to Trump, because nobody saw us except some text they got, and then they watched Trump.”

– Bob Mulholland, DNC member from California

Democrats

  • Unite the Country—a super PAC formed in 2019 to support Joe Biden’s presidential campaign—and Democratic opposition research group American Bridge are partnering on research, polling, fundraising, and digital and television ads. Their joint goal is to raise $175 million to support Biden. Combined, they have already raised more than $70 million this election cycle. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm are co-chairing the partnership.
  • Biden launched a podcast on Monday called Here’s the Deal. The first episode of the show features Biden’s conversation with Ron Klain, the Obama administration’s Ebola response coordinator.
  • Bernie Sanders discussed Medicare for All and the coronavirus pandemic in a virtual interview on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers. He also hosted a virtual roundtable on the coronavirus with Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.), Rev. William J. Barber II, journalist Sonia Shah, and academic Cornel West.

Republicans

  • During his daily press briefing, Donald Trump said more than 1 million Americans have been tested for the coronavirus. Social distancing guidelines, which were set to expire on Monday, have been extended until April 30.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: March 31, 2016

Donald Trump met with Reince Priebus, then the chair of the Republican National Committee, to discuss convention rules.

Click here to learn more.



Trump signs $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
March 30, 2020: Trump signed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package. Biden and Sanders said they support a moratorium on rent payments for some tenants amid the outbreak. blank    blank


Ballotpedia is monitoring changes made to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are the presidential primary updates you need to know:

  • New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) postponed the state’s presidential preference primary from April 23 to June 23.

  • OhioGov. Mike DeWine (R) signed HB 197 into law, rescheduling the state’s March 17 primary for April 28.

  • Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed legislation postponing the state’s primary from April 28 to June 2.


What is the highest number of rounds of balloting in presidential convention history?

Notable Quote of the Day

“If they decide to make a fourth sequel to Jaws, there are a few elected officials seemingly trying out for the part of the Amity Island mayor who wouldn’t close the island’s beaches on Fourth of July weekend, fearful of hurting those depending upon tourists from the mainland.

But anyone who loses a loved one because of a resurgence in the coronavirus this fall is not likely to accept excuses that economic activity was more important than a life lost.

These are decisions that I wouldn’t want to make.”

– Charlie Cook, The Cook Political Report

Democrats

  • Joe Biden participated in a CNN town hall Friday, where he discussed support for a three-month rent freeze, possibly with conditions, and for the government to cover all healthcare costs related to coronavirus. Dozens of Hawaii and Wisconsin Democrats endorsed Biden, including former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and Hawaii state Senate President Ron Kouchi. Biden’s campaign also responded to sexual assault allegations a former Senate staffer made. Deputy Campaign Manager and Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said, “Women have the right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims.” She said that “these accusations are false.”

  • Bernie Sanders tweeted that “we must place a moratorium on rent payments, especially in states hardest-hit by the coronavirus like New York.” He said he supports New York state Sen. Mike Gianaris’ bill to place a moratorium on rent payments for those whose paychecks have been reduced or eliminated amid the coronavirus. Sanders also co-signed a letter with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and 12 other representatives to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos asking what the company is doing to protect employees from exposure to the coronavirus.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package and invoked the Defense Production Act in ordering General Motors to increase its production of ventilators. Trump also requested that the Centers for Disease Control issue a travel advisory urging residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut not to travel domestically for 14 days unless necessary due to the spread of coronavirus in these states. The CDC issued the advisory Saturday.

Flashback: March 30, 2016

The National Border Patrol Council endorsed Trump in the Republican presidential primary. The group said in a statement, “The NBPC has had a longstanding practice of not endorsing presidential candidates in the primaries. We will not, however, shy away from voicing our opinions as it pertains to border security and the men and women of the United States Border Patrol. As such, we are breaking with our past practice and giving our first-ever endorsement in a presidential primary.”

Click here to learn more.



Coronavirus daily update: March 30, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for March 30, 2020.

Federal responses
Read more: Political responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • On Sunday, President Donald Trump (R) extended his social distancing guidelines through April. Those social distancing guidelines are to limit gatherings to fewer than 10 people, avoid eating and drinking in bars and restaurants, and avoid unnecessary travel. They were first announced on March 16.
  • On Monday, Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general of the Department of Defense, was selected to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, which will oversee the implementation of the third coronavirus relief package. He was selected as chair by the other eight members of the committee, who are all inspectors general of various federal departments and agencies.

Election changes
Read more: Changes to election dates, procedures, and administration in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview to date:

  • Sixteen states and one territory changed state-level primary or general election dates. Six states changed municipal election dates on a statewide basis.
  • Seven states adjusted their candidate filing procedures.
  • Eighteen states implemented changes to their voting procedures. In 17 of those states, the changes involve absentee voting.
  • Political parties in nine states made changes to party events on a statewide basis.

Details:

  • Massachusetts – Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed S2608 into law, authorizing municipalities to postpone any elections originally scheduled to take place prior to May 30 to any date on or before June 30. The legislation also extended absentee voting eligibility to “any person taking precaution related to COVID-19” in elections taking place on or before June 30.
  • Nebraska – Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) and Secretary of State Bob Evnen (R) announced that the state’s May 12 primary election would proceed as scheduled, with every eligible voter receiving an absentee ballot application by mail. In-person locations were expected to remain open as planned.
  • North Dakota – Gov. Doug Burgum (R) issued an executive order authorizing counties to conduct the June 9 primary election entirely by mail. The order also directed the secretary of state to send absentee ballot applications to all of the individuals listed in the state’s central voter file.
    North Dakota – The North Dakota Republican Party canceled its in-person state convention, originally scheduled for March 27-28. In lieu of the convention, the party opted to elect delegates to the national nominating convention via mail voting on the part of registered state convention delegates.
  • West Virginia – Secretary of State Mac Warner announced he had directed counties to mail every registered voter in the state an absentee ballot application in advance of the May 12 primary election.
  • New York – Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced the postponement of New York’s presidential preference primary to June 23. It was originally scheduled for April 28. The presidential preference primary will now coincide with the primary for state and congressional offices. The postponement also applied to five special elections originally scheduled for April 28: 27th Congressional District, State Senate District 50, State Assembly District 12, State Assembly District 31, State Assembly District 136.

Ballot measure changes
Read more: Changes to ballot measure campaigns, procedures, and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview to date:

  • Ballotpedia tracked 13 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  • Three states changed ballot measure procedures.

Details:

  • No updates today.

State legislative responses
Read more: State legislative responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview to date:

  • To date, 268 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  • Forty-two significant bills have been enacted into law, about 16 percent of the total number that have been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.

State legislative session changes
Read more: Changes to state legislative session dates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview to date:

  • Twenty-three state legislatures suspended their sessions. Two of those (New York and Vermont) have since reconvened.
  • Eighteen legislatures have either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
    Seven state legislatures are in regular session. One state (Arkansas) has convened a special session.
  • One state (Minnesota) has partially suspended legislative activity.

Details:

  • Illinois – The Illinois legislature extended its suspension through April 21, at which time lawmakers are set to return from a scheduled break. The suspension had originally been set to expire the week of March 23. It was then extended through March 30.
  • Mississippi – The Mississippi legislature extended its suspension indefinitely. The suspension had initially been set to expire April 1.
  • Missouri – The state Senate suspended activity through at least April 3. The state House is currently set to reconvene on April 7.
  • Oklahoma – The Oklahoma legislature extended its suspension through April 3. The suspension had originally been set to continue through March 27.

State court changes
Read more: State court closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview to date:

  • Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide.
  • Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings on the local level.

Details:

  • New Jersey – The New Jersey Supreme Court extended their suspensions of jury trials and other deadlines through April 26.
  • Oregon– The Oregon Supreme Court extended their previous order and suspended non-essential in-person proceedings and most jury trials through June 1.

State stay-at-home orders
Read more: States with shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders in response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview to date:

  • So far, 27 states issued statewide stay-at-home orders. Six of those orders are set to last until modified or rescinded by the governor, while the other 21 announced end dates.

Details:

  • Maryland – Gov. Larry Hogan (R) issued a stay-at-home order effective immediately and lasting until the end of the declared state of emergency. Schools are currently scheduled to be closed through April 24 and were not addressed as part of the order.
  • North Carolina – On Friday, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) issued a stay-at-home order effective from March 30 until April 29. This does not impact the statewide school closure, which is set to continue through May 15.
  • Pennsylvania – Gov. Tom Wolf (D) extended any existing county stay-at-home orders and issued orders for four new counties. Twenty-six of the state’s 67 counties are currently under a stay-at-home order.
  • Virginia – Gov. Ralph Northam (D) issued a stay-at-home order effectively immediately and lasting until June 10. Schools were not affected by this order—Northam closed schools for the rest of the year on March 23.

School closures
Read more: School closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview to date

  • Forty-seven states ordered a statewide school closure. The remaining states are leaving school closures up to local officials. Those 47 states served 49.6 million students during the 2016-2017 school year, accounting for 98% of the 50.6 million public school students in the United States.
  • Seven states closed schools for the remainder of the academic year: Alabama, Arizona, Kansas,
  • New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Virginia.

Details:

  • Arizona – Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced that schools would be closed for the remainder of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were scheduled to reopen on April 13.
  • Ohio – Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced that the statewide school closure, initially scheduled to end April 3, was extended through May 1.
  • Pennsylvania – Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that the statewide school closure would last indefinitely. It was previously scheduled to end on April 8.
  • Vermont – On Friday night, Gov. Phil Scott (R) closed schools for the remainder of the year. Prior to the announcement, schools were scheduled to reopen April 6.

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia in the last 24 hours
Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Federal officials who tested positive for coronavirus

  • Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA)

Federal officials who quarantined for coronavirus

  • Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)

Federal officials who tested negative for coronavirus

  • Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA)
  • Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)
  • Sen. John Thune (R-SD)

State officials who tested positive for coronavirus

  • State Rep. Brian Miller (R-NY)
  • State Sen. James Seward (R-NY)

Local officials who tested positive for coronavirus

  • Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz (D-NY)
  • Jersey City Councilman Rolando R. Lavarro Jr. (NJ)
  • Jersey City Councilman Michael Yun (NJ)
  • Louisville City Councilwoman Paula McCraney (D-KY)

Local officials who tested negative for coronavirus

  • Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (CO)


Bitnami