Warren and Sanders set to share debate stage

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 19, 2019: The lineup for the July 30-31, 2019, debate in Detroit was announced Thursday night. Beto O’Rourke released his Social Security policy proposal.

Each Friday, we’ll highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.
Daily Presidential News Briefing - Staffer Spotlight - Maya Rupert

Maya Rupert is a Democratic staffer and policy director who worked under Castro at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She has no prior campaign management experience.

Other experience:

  • 2017-2018: Center for Reproductive Rights, senior director for policy and D.C. managing director
  • 2016-2017: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, senior policy advisor
  • 2015: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, chief of staff to the general counsel
  • 2010-2015: National Center for Lesbian Rights, policy director
  • 2007-2010: Sidley Austin LLP, associate

What she says about Castro:

“Every day we talk to more people who are having the exact same reaction: They like these ideas, and they want to make sure that his ideas are the ones getting talked about.”

Notable Quote of the Day

“I don’t think [candidates] decide to get out: It’s decided for them: when their money dries up, when they can’t pay their staff, they can’t pay for travel.

If they’re wealthy like Tom Steyer, I guess that doesn’t matter. But we’re not even there yet, because we haven’t even had the second debate. They’re looking for their moment that they are ‘made’—and then, when that’s over, reality is going to sink in with them, their staffers and their donors.

That’s what creates the psychology that the press and the pundits and the donors ‘don’t know what I know. I know how to win. I’ve done it before. They were all wrong before.’ And it’s hard to argue with that. So they continue running until they run out of fuel.”

– Larry Sabato, University of Virginia Center for Politics

Debate Lineup

CNN announced the lineup for each night of the second presidential primary debatein Detroit, Michigan.

CNN used a random drawing to distribute the 20 presidential candidates who qualified across the two debate segments. 

Here are the candidates for Tuesday, July 30:

The other 10 candidates will debate Wednesday, July 31:


  • The Des Moines Register and AARP are hosting a series of five forums in Iowa this week. Beto O’RourkeElizabeth WarrenMarianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang will participate in Friday’s event in Sioux City, Iowa.
  • In an interview on Slate’s The GistMichael Bennet discussed his family plan, the filibuster, and how centrism is represented in politics.
  • Joe BidenPete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris received more contributions from Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s top bundlers than any other Democratic candidates, according to a Politico analysis.
  • Bill de Blasio will remain in New York City over the weekend due to an expected heatwave.
  • In a Washington Post Live interviewCory Booker discussed impeachment proceedings, his campaigning style, and Biden’s statements on busing.
  • Steve Bullock will campaign across Iowa Friday and Saturday.
  • Julián Castro will campaign in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Iowa over the weekend. He said he planned to hire more staff in New Hampshire.
  • Politico interviewed John Delaney about the upcoming debate, social media, government experience, climate change, healthcare, the 2016 presidential election, and other topics.
  • In an interview with The National InterestMike Gravel discussed his presidential campaign, foreign policy, and the debate qualifications. He said his campaign would “make an investigation whether or not the DNC turned my name into these various polls that were being taken.”
  • Bustle interviewed Amy Klobuchar about gun violence and domestic violence, college affordability, abortion, and the Democratic primary.
  • Wayne Messam appeared in Jackson, Mississippi, for the annual National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials.
  • In an interview on WBUR’s Here & NowSeth Moulton spoke about veterans’ advocacy, House leadership, national security, and healthcare.
  • O’Rourke announced a Social Security policy proposal that would give credits to caregivers to children under 12 and family members with health conditions. The credits, available for up to five years, would be equal to half of the average earnings of a fulltime worker. Fulltime students aged 22 or younger would also be allowed to collect a deceased parent’s Social Security benefits.
  • Some members of the Bernie Sanders campaign, which unionized in March, are lobbying for a $15 hourly wage.
  • Tom Steyer campaigned Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio, where he said he had the experience to confront corporations.


What We’re Reading

Flashback: July 19, 2015

Bernie Sanders held a rally in Dallas, Texas. Donald Trump led the Republican primary field in an ABC News/Washington Post poll with 24 percent support.

Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Lineup set for second Democratic presidential debate

Today’s Brew highlights which candidates will appear on each night of the next Democratic debate + the status of three veto referendums in Maine  
The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Friday, July 19, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Candidate lineup determined for second Democratic presidential debate
  2. Three veto referendum efforts underway in Maine
  3. Delaware, New York raise age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21

Candidate lineup determined for second Democratic presidential debate

The candidate lineup for the second Democratic presidential debate July 30 and 31 in Detroit, Michigan. Host network CNN determined the participants in a live, on-air drawing. 

Twenty candidates qualified for the debate, with 10 scheduled to participate each night. Here is the lineup of candidates for each night of the debate.

Here are the candidates for Tuesday, July 30:

  • Steve Bullock

  • Pete Buttigieg

  • John Delaney

  • John Hickenlooper

  • Amy Klobuchar

  • Beto O’Rourke

  • Tim Ryan

  • Bernie Sanders 

  • Elizabeth Warren

  • Marianne Williamson

The other half of the candidates will debate Wednesday, July 31:

  • Michael Bennet

  • Joe Biden

  • Bill de Blasio 

  • Cory Booker

  • Julián Castro

  • Tulsi Gabbard

  • Kirsten Gillibrand

  • Kamala Harris

  • Jay Inslee

  • Andrew Yang

Wayne Messam, Seth Moulton, Joe Sestak, and Tom Steyer did not reach the polling or fundraising qualification requirements for this debate. Mike Gravel achieved the fundraising threshold but did not make the debate stage because tiebreaker rules favored candidates who qualified via polling.

All 25 Democratic candidates will have to meet a new set of debate criteria to appear in the third presidential primary debate in September in Houston.

Candidates must reach 2 percent support or more in four qualifying national or early state polls and receive donations from at least 130,000 unique donors and a minimum of 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 states. Five candidates have qualified so far—Biden, Buttigieg, Harris, Sanders, and Warren.

Subscribers to our Daily Presidential News Briefing got a special email with this information last night. You can be a part of that group—click here to become a subscriber to this free newsletter.

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Upcoming Event

Three veto referendum efforts underway in Maine 

Three organizations have launched veto referendums in Maine since the legislature adjourned on June 20. A veto referendum is a type of citizen-initiated ballot measure that asks voters whether to uphold or repeal a law passed by the state legislature. Twenty-three states currently have a process for veto referendums at the statewide level. 

  • Mainers for Health and Parental Rights is leading the campaign to overturn Legislative Document 798 (LD 798). LD 798 eliminates religious and philosophical, but not medical, exemptions from vaccination requirements for students to attend schools and colleges and employees of health care facilities. 

    The Maine House of Representatives passed LD 798 by a vote of 79-62.  The state Senate passed it 19-16. Most Democrats—74 out of 88 in the House and 18 of 21 in the Senate—voted in favor. Most Republicans—51 of 56 in the House and 13 of 14 in the Senate—voted against it. 

  • Concerned Women for America of Maine is leading the campaign to overturn Legislative Document 820 (LD 820). LD 820 requires MaineCare—Maine’s Medicaid program—and private insurance companies that provide coverage for maternity services to also cover abortion services. LD 820 also allows religious employers to request an exemption from providing a health care plan that covers abortion services, except to preserve the life or health of the mother.

    The Maine House of Representatives passed LD 1313 by a vote of 82-59 with 79 Democrats and three independents voting in favor and 51 Republicans, six Democrats and 2 independents voting against. The Senate approved the legislation 19-16, with all votes in support coming from Democrats and all 14 Republicans joining two Democrats to oppose it. 

  • The Maine Hospice Council filed a veto referendum against a law that legalized physician-assisted death in the state. Legislative Document 1313 (LD 1313) allows adults suffering from a terminal illness to request medications that can be self-administered to end his or her life. 

    LD 1313 passed by a 73-72 vote in the House. Sixty-eight Democrats joined one Republican and four independents to pass the measure. Fifty-three Republicans joined 17 Democrats and two independents voted against.  The Senate approved the law 19-16, with 18 Democrats and one Republican supporting it, and 13 Republicans and three Democrats opposing the measure.

    Maine became the eighth state to enact a law providing for physician-assisted death. Three of those states—Colorado (2016), Oregon (1994), and Washington (2008)—authorized physician-assisted death through citizen-initiated ballot measures. Voters in Maine rejected a physician-assisted death ballot initiative in 2000, 51.3% to 48.7%. 

The referendum campaigns have until September 18 to collect the 63,067 valid signatures required to earn a spot on the ballot. If the measures are certified, they could appear on the ballot either on November 5, 2019, or June 9, 2020, depending on when signatures are submitted and verified.

Since Maine adopted the referendum process in 1908, there have been 30 veto referendums on the ballot. Voters overturned 18 pieces of legislation and upheld 12. The last veto referendum was in 2018 when voters overturned legislation that would have postponed and repealed ranked-choice voting.

Delaware, New York raise age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21

A Delaware law increasing the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21 took effect July 16, becoming the 9th state to raise the age restriction since 2015.  

Gov. John Carney (D) signed the law April 17 after it passed the state House by a 25-16 vote and the state Senate by a 14-6 vote. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed legislation—also on July 16—to raise that state’s minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. The bill, which passed the state Assembly by a 120-26 vote and the state Senate by a 52-9 vote, takes effect November 13.

The minimum age to purchase or use tobacco is 18 in 38 states, 19 in three states, and 21 in the remaining nine. Eight states—including New York—that currently have a minimum age of 18 or 19 have enacted legislation that will raise the minimum age to 21. 

Tobacco ages

Tobacco age restrictions can take the form of limits on the sale of tobacco by age, limits on tobacco possession by age, or a combination of the two. New Jersey passed the first law regulating the sale of tobacco by age in 1883, setting a minimum age of 16. By 1920, 46 states had implemented an age limit for tobacco sales, of which 14 set the limit at 21. During the interwar period, state laws trended toward a limit of 18 years, and all states with a minimum age to purchase tobacco of 21 decreased it.



Trump holds campaign rally in North Carolina


Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 18, 2019: Donald Trump held a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina. Top Democratic advisers Jess O’Connell and Sonal Shah joined Pete Buttigieg’s campaign.


Poll Spotlight

Notable Quote of the Day

“The Rust Belt bus tours and campaign cattle calls are far more about lingering post-traumatic stress from the Democrats’ 2016 loss than any current electoral strategy. While the traditionally blue states are likely to be crucial to Democrats in a general election, none of the three are scheduled to hold their primary vote before Super Tuesday, the dozen-state primary that’s widely expected to winnow the field in early March.”

– Lisa Lerer and Reid J. Epstein, The New York Times


  • The lineup for the July 30-31, 2019, Democratic primary debate will be determined Thursday night during a live drawing on CNN.

  • D.C. statehood group 51 for 51 announced it was spending six figures on digital and print ads criticizing Michael Bennet for his support of the filibuster, which the group believes is preventing Washington, D.C., from gaining statehood.

  • In an interview on Recode Decode with Kara SwisherBennet spoke about education, tech companies, and privacy.

  • Joe Biden campaigned in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Wednesday.

  • In a radio interview, Bill de Blasio said that the decision to fire Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner, was not his. He called for due process in the matter.

  • Cory Booker wrote an op-ed in Essence titled “On Trump’s Racist Attacks and How We Fail Women of Color.”

  • Steve Bullock said he opposed providing healthcare to immigrants residing in the U.S. without legal permission in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

  • Military Times interviewed Pete Buttigieg about his experience as a veteran and military priorities.

  • Jess O’Connell and Sonal Shah are joining Buttigieg’s campaign as senior adviser and national policy director, respectively. O’Connell was the CEO of the Democratic National Committee in 2017 and Shah was the founding executive director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation.

  • Julián Castro will campaign in New Hampshire Thursday and Friday, marking his first visit to the state since May.

  • Kirsten Gillibrand unsuccessfully requested unanimous consent to pass a bill funding the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Wednesday.

  • The Kamala Harris campaign opened her Nevada state headquarters in Las Vegas Wednesday.

  • In an interview with The Keene Sentinel editorial board, John Hickenlooperdiscussed climate change, healthcare, and artificial intelligence.

  • The Seth Moulton campaign criticized the Democratic National Committee’s criteria for qualifying for the debates and submitted 12 polls where Moulton received 1 percent support that were not on the eligible poll list.

  • Moulton and Tim Ryan voted to table an impeachment resolution against Trump Wednesday. Tulsi Gabbard did not vote.

  • Beto O’Rourke opened a field office in El Paso, Texas.

  • In a speech at George Washington University, Bernie Sanders defended Medicare for All and called on other 2020 Democrats to reject donations from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industry.

  • Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Al Lawson introduced the College Student Hunger Act of 2019, which would make low-income college students eligible for Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

  • In an interview on KCRW’s Press PlayMarianne Williamson said she was not the Democratic version of Trump and discussed asylum and immigration laws.

  • Andrew Yang participated in the “20 Questions for 2020” series hosted by NowThisNews. He spoke about Martin Luther King, Jr., Alaska, and tech companies.


  • Donald Trump held a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, on Wednesday night. He discussed the economy, unemployment rates, border security, and his criticism of four progressive congresswomen. 

  • Bill Weld will campaign Thursday in Derry, New Hampshire.

General Election Updates

  • Mark Sanford said that if he ran for president, he did not believe that “winning necessarily has to be a goal in this kind of thing.” He said he would want to bring a debate forward on the economy.

Flashback: July 18, 2015

While speaking at the Iowa Family Leadership Summit, Donald Trump criticized John McCain and questioned whether he was a war hero.



Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: How often do state legislative recalls actually make it to the ballot?

Today’s Brew highlights the status of recalls against Colorado state legislators + an appeals court panel reverses a lower court ruling that blocked three presidential executive orders  
 The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Thursday, July 18, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Colorado state Senator becomes eighth legislator targeted for recall in that state this year
  2. D.C. Appeals panel reverses district court ruling that blocked Trump’s civil service executive orders
  3. Quiz: How many retired Supreme Court justices are still alive

Colorado state Senator becomes eighth legislator targeted for recall in that state this year

Recall efforts are always underway somewhere and that has been particularly true in Colorado in 2019. As described in our Mid-Year Report, Colorado has had the second-most officials targeted for recall through the end of June.

Here’s a recent example. An effort to recall a Colorado state Senator—Pete Lee (D)—was approved for circulation July 12. Supporters have until September 10 to collect 11,304 signatures to force a recall election. Another recall petition targeting another state Senator—Brittany Pettersen (D)—was also approved by the secretary of state July 12 but was withdrawn by petitioners days later. According to The Denver Post, supporters plan to resubmit it.

Recall supporters are targeting Lee because he supported legislation related to firearms, oil and gas, the national popular vote, and sex education during the 2019 legislative session, according to the recall petition.  All four bills were signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis (D) in 2019. Polis himself is facing a recall effort regarding the same legislation. According to The Gazette, both recalls are being supported by the Resist Polis political action committee.

Two other Colorado state representatives—Tom Sullivan (D) and Rochelle Galindo (D)—were targeted by recall campaigns earlier this year over the same legislation. The recall targeting Rep. Galindo (D) ended when she resigned her seat in May 2019. The recall targeting state Rep. Sullivan (D) ended in June 2019 after recall supporters halted the effort. 

Since 2011, 83 recall petitions—13 in Colorado—have been filed against state lawmakers. Nine recalls were successful, nine were defeated at the ballot, 57 did not go to a vote, and eight are still ongoing. California state Sen. Josh Newman (D) was recalled in 2018. Two Colorado state Senators were successfully recalled in 2013.

Colorado became a Democratic trifecta in 2019 after Democrats gained control of the state Senate in 2018. Democrats control the state House by a 41-24 margin and the state Senate by a 19-16 margin.

Learn more


We are excited to guide you on a path of discovery around judicial review. Join us on this three-part series discussing how the judicial branch interprets the law and has the power to overturn government actions.

D.C. Appeals panel reverses district court ruling that blocked Trump’s civil service executive orders 

A three-judge panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals unanimously reversed and vacated a lower court decision that had blocked provisions of three civil service executive orders issued by President Trump (R). The judges held in their July 16 ruling that the lower court did not have jurisdiction and that the plaintiffs should have brought the case before the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) as required by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (FSLMRS).

Trump issued the civil service executive orders in May 2018. They included proposals aimed at facilitating the removal of poor-performing federal employees and streamlining collective bargaining procedures.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and 16 other federal labor unions challenged the executive orders in four consolidated lawsuits. The unions argued that:

  • the president does not have the authority to issue executive orders impacting labor relations, 
  • the executive orders violate the Constitution’s Take Care Clause and the First Amendment right to freedom of association, and 
  • the executive orders violate provisions of the FSLMRS.

The lower court ruled in August 2018 that it had jurisdiction over the case. It upheld the president’s authority to issue executive orders in the field of labor relations but enjoined Trump administration officials from implementing nine provisions of the executive orders that the judge claimed unlawfully restricted the use of union official time in violation of the FSLMRS.

In reversing the lower court decision, the D.C. Circuit panel stated that “the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The unions must pursue their claims through the scheme established by the Statute, which provides for administrative review by the FLRA followed by judicial review in the courts of appeals.” 

Thomas Griffith—who was appointed to the D.C. Court of Appeals by George W. Bush in 2005—wrote the panel’s opinion. He was joined by Justice Srikanth Srinivasan—who was appointed by Barack Obama in 2013—and Senior Justice Arthur Randolph—who was appointed by George H.W. Bush in 1990.

The National Federation of Federal Employees, one of the plaintiffs in the case, responded that the ruling on the merits “did not give the Trump administration a stamp of approval.” The plaintiffs can choose to seek a rehearing before the full D.C. Circuit or appeal the case to the United States Supreme Court.

Learn more→



How many retired Supreme Court justices are still alive?

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died Tuesday at the age of 99. He was appointed by Gerald Ford (R) in 1975 to succeed Justice William O. Douglas and was Ford’s only appointment to the court. He served for more than 34 years until assuming senior status in June 2010. Barack Obama (D) appointed Justice Elena Kagan to succeed Stevens. 

With Stevens’ death, how many retired U.S. Supreme Court Justices are still alive?

A.  1 
C.  3


Roundtable: 3 experts on SCOTUS’ gerrymandering ruling

Welcome to The Ballot Bulletin, where we track developments in election policy at the federal, state, and local levels. Each issue includes an in-depth feature—such as an interview or legislative analysis—and discussions of recent events relating to electoral and primary systems, redistricting, and voting provisions.

SCOTUS finds partisan gerrymandering claims fall beyond jursidiction of federal courts

On June 27, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5-4 in both Rucho v. Common Cause (North Carolina) and Lamone v. Benisek (Maryland) that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions that fall beyond the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary. The high court combined the cases and issued a single joint decision covering both.

  • How did the majority rule? Chief Justice John Roberts penned the majority opinion, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh. In the court’s opinion, Roberts noted that the Framers, “aware of electoral districting problems … [assigned] the issue to the state legislatures, expressly checked and balanced by the Federal Congress, with no suggestion that the federal courts had a role to play.” He went on to say, “To hold that legislators cannot take their partisan interests into account when drawing district lines would essentially countermand the Framers’ decision to entrust districting to political entities.”
    • Roberts addressed the assumptions underlying partisan gerrymandering claims: “Partisan gerrymandering claims rest on an instinct that groups with a certain level of political support should enjoy a commensurate level of political power and influence. Explicitly or implicitly, a districting map is alleged to be unconstitutional because it makes it too difficult for one party to translate statewide support into seats in the legislature. But such a claim is based on a ‘norm that does not exist’ in our electoral system—’statewide elections for representatives along party lines.'” Roberts also wrote, “[Federal] courts are not equipped to apportion political power as a matter of fairness, nor is there any basis for concluding that they were authorized to do so.”
  • Who dissented? Justice Elena Kagan penned a dissent, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor. Kagan wrote the following in her dissent: “The partisan gerrymanders in these cases deprived citizens of the most fundamental of their constitutional rights: the rights to participate equally in the political process, to join with others to advance political beliefs, and to choose their political representatives. In so doing, the partisan gerrymanders here debased and dishonored our democracy, turning upside-down the core American idea that all governmental power derives from the people.”
  • What happens next? The high court remanded both cases to their respective lower courts with instructions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. The lower court decisions had thrown out existing congressional district plans as impermissible partisan gerrymanders. As a result of the high court’s ruling, those district plans will remain in place heading into 2020. Earlier this year, a federal district court struck down Michigan’s congressional and state legislative district plans as partisan gerrymanders. That decision, which had been stayed by the Supreme Court pending resolution of Rucho and Lamone, will likely be vacated and remanded in light of the high court’s ruling.
  • Commentary: Ballotpedia spoke with three election policy experts, all from different sides of the debate, to get their takes on what comes next now that the Supreme Court has weighed in on the justiciability of partisan gerrymandering claims.
    • Logan Churchwell (Communications and Research Director of the Public Interest Legal Foundation): The moral of the story from Rucho is simple: federal claims of partisan gerrymandering are henceforth and forever dead as doornails. For-ev-er. Activists won’t stop though. Expect to see renewed pushes to strip state legislatures still vested with redistricting powers in favor of commission-based approaches. California will serve as the gold standard for states to model themselves. California’s system ensconced partisan actors and support staff and helped to fundamentally transform the once politically vibrant state into a one-party regime.
      • Logan Churchwell is Communications and Research Director of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, which is a law firm that, according to its website, “exists to assist states and others to aid in the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections.”
    • Walter Olson (Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute): To begin with, Congress can act on House gerrymandering. The Constitution’s Elections Clause provides that “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations,” and in fact Congress has in the past prescribed to the states standards for districting. Here, overly ambitious and prescriptive measures, such as those that would impose volunteer-commission formats on all 50 states whether their electorates favor that idea or not, should yield to simple and readily enforceable rules aimed at curtailing the worst abuses. In particular, strong standards on compactness, a vital principle of good districting, would all by themselves disallow many of the worst maps by which U.S. House members currently reach the Capitol.

      Addressing the gerrymandering of state legislatures is a tougher challenge, since there is lacking an enumerated federal power by which this might be accomplished in a uniform way nationwide. But many states have a process for ballot initiatives, and even where that is lacking, this is a natural issue for reformist governors and other officials who run statewide.

      • Walter Olson is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, a public policy research organization that, according to its website, is “dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.” Olson was the Co-Chair of Gov. Larry Hogan’s Maryland Redistricting Reform Commission.
    • David O’Brien (Staff Attorney at FairVote): The path forward lies in Congress and the states. We can safely assume this Congress won’t agree on a solution, so the immediate focus will be on the states. Efforts at the state level will include litigation and legislation. The litigation will be in state courts, using claims grounded in state constitutions. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania redrew its congressional map last year after finding it violated provisions of the Pennsylvania Constitution. A similar challenge to North Carolina’s state legislature’s districts is now wending through courts there. Not all state constitutions have the provisions used in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, however, and not all courts will interpret them in the same way. There will also be efforts to pass redistricting reform legislation. Some legislatures may pass meaningful reforms, but not many. Foxes rarely surrender the opportunity to guard a henhouse. Publicly-initiated ballot measures have been the most reliable method to create independent redistricting processes but only about half the states have a ballot initiative process.

      Even success will bring challenges. Action by state courts risks conflicts with legislatures. Attempts to impeach justices, pack courts, or strip courts of jurisdiction over redistricting challenges could be the next front in the gerrymandering fight. By claiming the Constitution compels it to stand aside, SCOTUS may have saddled the states with years of inter-branch disputes. Some legislatures have responded to successful ballot measures by making it harder to put initiatives on the ballot. And no matter how successful ballot measures are, any progress could be eradicated in an instant if SCOTUS decides to reverse Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

      • David O’Brien is a Staff Attorney at FairVote, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advocate for “electoral reforms that give voters greater choice, a stronger voice, and a representative democracy that works for all Americans.”

New York City considers ranked-choice voting for select municipal elections

On June 12, the New York City Charter Commission voted 13-1 to draft ballot language for a charter amendment that would, if approved by voters, establish ranked-choice voting (RCV) for all municipal primary and special elections beginning in 2021. The commission will meet again on July 24 and vote either to grant or withhold final approval of the ballot measure. Should the commission approve the measure, it will appear before New York City voters on November 5, 2019.

  • How are municipal elections in NYC currently conducted? In most municipal elections, New York City employs a plurality voting system in which the candidate with the most votes wins outright. Plurality voting applies to all municipal general and special elections, as well as primaries for non-citywide offices. In primary elections for the offices of mayor, comptroller, and public advocate, a candidate must receive at least 40 percent of the vote in order to win a nomination outright. If no candidate meets that threshold, a run-off is held between the top two candidates.
  • How would elections change if the charter amendment is approved? The amendment would establish RCV for all municipal primary and special elections beginning in 2021. The amendment would allow voters to rank preferences for up to five candidates per office. RCV would not apply to general elections.
  • History of RCV in NYC: From 1936 to 1947, NYC used a single-transferable vote (STV) system, which is designed to achieve proportional representation. STV is a multi-winner ranked-choice voting system. This system set a minimum threshold of 75,000 votes to be elected. Candidates could affiliate with the party or parties of their choice. A candidate receiving the fewest first-preference choices was eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate were eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. This was continued until the number of candidates that had reached the minimum threshold matched the number of open seats. Voters repealed this system in 1947.

Legislation update: Redistricting, electoral systems, and primary systems bills

The maps below show which states are considering redistricting, electoral systems, and primary systems legislation. A darker shade of red indicates a greater number of relevant bills.

Redistricting legislation as of July 15, 2019

Redistricting July 2019 map.png

Electoral systems legislation as of July 15, 2019

Electoral systems July 2019 map.png

Primary systems legislation as of July 15, 2019

Primary systems July 2019 map.png

Gillibrand releases Social Security platform

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 17, 2019: Kirsten Gillibrand published a Medium post outlining her Social Security and senior policy plan. Cory Booker introduced the Second Look Act on early releases for inmates.
Facebook Ad Spending (July 8 - July 14)

Campaign Finance Spotlight

Monday was the deadline for presidential candidates to file second-quarter financial reports with the Federal Election Commission. Here are three highlights from those reports: 

  • Trump led all presidential candidates with $26.5 million in receipts. Individual contributions accounted for $8.8 million of that total while amounts received from PACs and political committees were $17.6 million.
  • Buttigieg more than tripled the amount he received during the first quarter, reporting $24.9 million in individual contributions. Biden and Warren followed with $22 million and $19.2 million, respectively.
  • Sanders spent $14.1 million during the second quarter—the most expenditures of any candidate. He also ended the quarter with $27.3 million—the most cash among the Democratic candidates. Only two other Democratic candidates—Buttigieg and Warren—reported having about $20 million or more in cash on hand heading into the third quarter.

The following two charts show individual contributions, total receipts, expenditures, and cash on hand for each presidential candidate.


Notable Quote of the Day

“The path to maintaining a majority in the Senate goes through North Carolina and I think the path to the president’s re-elect does as well.”

– Thom Tillis, U.S. senator from North Carolina


  • The Des Moines Register and AARP are hosting a series of five forums in Iowa this week. Michael BennetJohn DelaneyTulsi Gabbard, and Tim Ryan will participate in Wednesday’s event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
  • Joe Biden unveiled his policy proposal focusing on rural communities Tuesday. Biden called for expanding a microloan program for new farmers, investing in broadband infrastructure, doubling funding for community health centers, and recruiting more doctors to residencies in rural areas.
  • Cory Booker is introducing the Matthew Charles and William Underwood Second Look Act Wednesday, which would establish several early release protocols. Booker proposed allowing people who have served more than a decade in prison to petition a court for early release. Inmates older than 50 would get the presumption of release following a petition.
  • Shondaland and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews interviewed Steve Bullock Tuesday.
  • Pete Buttigieg will speak at the Young Democrats of America convention in Indiana Thursday.
  • Democracy Now! interviewed Julián Castro about immigration, labor issues, and foreign policy.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand published a Medium post outlining her senior policy plan. Gillibrand said she would increase Social Security benefits by $65/month, eliminate a cap on total benefits, and expand eligibility to include surviving spouses and other select family members. Gillibrand would also increase the Social Security payroll tax cap and establish a 3.8 percent investment income tax to keep the program solvent.
  • Kamala Harris released her plan to lower the price of prescription drugs. Under Harris’ proposal, prices would be set by the Department of Health and Human Services. Companies that sell drugs at a higher rate would be taxed on the profits, which would then be turned into rebates for consumers.
  • The Chronicle interviewed John Hickenlooper about climate change, the Senate, and education policy.
  • Amy Klobuchar outlined her first 100 days in office during a policy address in Washington, D.C. She said she would first rejoin the International Climate Change Agreement, preserve insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions, and travel to Canada and Europe to strengthen international relationships.  
  • Beto O’Rourke hired Aisha McClendon to serve as his national director of African American voter outreach.
  • Bernie Sanders said he would try to split apart Facebook, Google, and Amazon, and pursue greater enforcement of antitrust legislation.
  • Joe Sestak wrote an op-ed in Fortune about his military service and the principle of accountable leadership.
  • Elizabeth Warren attended Mark Esper’s confirmation hearing Tuesday, where she questioned the nominee for secretary of defense about his relationship with defense contractor Raytheon.
  • The San Francisco Chronicle profiled Andrew Yang’s campaign and how he is performing better than several politicians in the race.


  • Donald Trump launched the Women for Trump coalition Tuesday at an event near Philadelphia. Leading the effort were Lara Trump, Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel, former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, and others.

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

  • Mark Sanford announced that he was considering running for president. “I think the Republican Party has lost its way on debt, spending and financial matters,” Sanford said.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: July 17, 2015

Politico reported on Elizabeth Warren’s speech at Netroots Nation and her influence on the 2016 Democratic primary.

The Daily Brew: Making sense of the 2nd quarter presidential fundraising

Today’s Brew compiles all the second-quarter presidential financial reports + highlights our upcoming webinar on SCOTUS’ rulings this term affecting the administrative state  
The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Wednesday, July 17, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. President Trump leads 2020 presidential candidates in second-quarter fundraising
  2. One week until our July 24 briefing on the Supreme Court and the administrative state
  3. Twenty candidates are running for six Toledo City Council seats

President Trump leads 2020 presidential candidates in second- quarter fundraising

The deadline for presidential candidates to file second-quarter financial reports with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was Monday. These reports summarize how much money each campaign raised from individual donors, political action committees, and other campaign committees. Candidates also reported how much their campaign spent during the quarter and the amount of money they had at the end of the period—also known as the amount of “cash on hand.”

Here are three highlights from those reports: 

  • President Donald Trump (R) led all presidential candidates with $26.5 million in receipts. Individual contributions accounted for $8.8 million of that total while amounts received from PACs and political committees were $17.6 million.

  • Pete Buttigieg (D) more than tripled the amount he received during the first quarter, reporting $24.9 million in individual contributions. Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren followed with $22 million and $19.2 million, respectively.

  • Bernie Sanders spent $14.1 million during the second quarter—the most expenditures of any candidate. He also ended the quarter with $27.3 million—the most cash among the Democratic candidates. Only two other Democratic candidates—Buttigieg and Warren—reported having about $20 million or more in cash on hand heading into the third quarter.

The following two charts show individual contributions, total receipts, expenditures, and cash on hand for each presidential candidate.



The “Individual Contributions” column represents donations from individuals. The “Total Receipts” column includes individual donations and contributions from other sources, including political committees and loans from the candidate.

Learn more

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One week until our July 24 briefing on the Supreme Court and the administrative state 

As you know from reading the Brew these past few months, I love learning about the U.S. Supreme Court. For example, did you know that of the 68 decisions issued by the Court this past term, there were more 9-0 decisions (22) than 5-4 ones (19)? And that Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the opinion in more of those 9-0 cases—five—than any other justice?

My colleagues and I at Ballotpedia don’t just calculate statistics associated with the current term, we also analyze the effect the Court’s decisions have on public policy. One area of particular interest this term was the administrative state, as the Court heard cases regarding such principles as the nondelegation doctrine, judicial review of agency interpretations of laws, and Auer deference.

We’re hosting a briefing on the Court’s rulings on these issues and how they’re likely to affect policymaking on July 24 at 11:00 am Central time. We’ll cover the decisions in cases such as Gundy v. United States and Kisor v. Wilkie, among others. I can’t wait for what figures to be a really interesting session–click the link below to register and join me.


Twenty candidates are running for six Toledo City Council seats

Sixty of America’s 100 largest cities by population will hold elections in 2019, including contests for mayor, city council, and other city offices like clerk and treasurer. While the numbers vary from year to year due to special elections to fill vacancies, more of these contests take place in odd-numbered years. In the two most-recent odd-numbered years—2015 and 2017—an average of 54 cities held elections for council members for an average of 417 seats per year. In the last two even-numbered years, an average of 46.5 cities held council elections which decided an average of 204.5 seats.

Last week, the filing deadline passed in Toledo, Ohio – the 66th largest city. Twenty candidates filed to run. These races are for council members elected in each of the city’s six districts. The mayor and six at-large council members were elected in 2017. 

Although Toledo’s municipal elections are officially nonpartisan, party affiliations are available for each candidate. Four incumbents—all Democrats—are running for re-election. One Democratic incumbent is not seeking another term while one Republican incumbent is term-limited.

Five of the six districts will hold a primary election September 10 since more than two candidates are running in each. The top two vote recipients will then meet in the general election November 5.



Biden proposes $750 billion healthcare policy

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 16, 2019: Joe Biden proposed expanding the Affordable Care Act. Cory Booker released his long-term care policy.


Which was the most recent presidential election where both parties renominated their candidates from the last election?

Notable Quote of the Day

“Some of these candidates need a miracle. It’s like if you’re a baseball team and you’re 15 games behind in mid-July, the odds are that you’re not making it to the playoffs.

If you don’t have the money, you’re not going to have the infrastructure. And if you don’t have the money or the infrastructure, what are you going to do to break through? At this point, it’s just very, very tough.”

– Mathew Littman, Democratic strategist


  • Michael Bennet discussed agricultural runoff during a campaign stop at the Iowa Flood Center Monday.

  • Joe Biden unveiled his $750 billion healthcare plan Monday. It would build on the Affordable Care Act by adding a public option that resembles Medicare. Biden’s plan would also increase healthcare tax credits to limit healthcare spending to no more than 8.5 percent of a household’s income.

  • Cory Booker released his long-term care policy Monday. Booker proposed increasing Medicaid asset and income limits to cover more people. He also called for expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit for family caregivers and paying long-term care workers a minimum of $15 per hour.

  • In an interview on Recode Decode with Kara SwisherPete Buttigieg discussed systemic racism, tech regulation, and the state of the Democratic Party.

  • The Des Moines Register and AARP are hosting a series of five forums in Iowa this week. Julián CastroKirsten Gillibrand, and Kamala Harris will participate in Tuesday’s event in Davenport, Iowa.

  • John Delaney wrote an op-ed about the opioid crisis in the Concord Monitor.

  • Jay Inslee participated in the “20 Questions for 2020” series by NowThisNews, discussing clean energy, mountain climbing, and campaign strategy.

  • In an interview on the NPR Politics PodcastAmy Klobuchar said she would prioritize nominating federal judges on her first day in office, but would not release any names during her campaign. 

  • Wayne Messam spoke about his presidential campaign and uneven media coverage on The Breakfast Club.

  • In an interview on ABC News’ The Investigation podcast, Seth Moulton called for an impeachment inquiry to begin immediately and criticized the debate over the politics of impeachment.

  • Beto O’Rourke is opening 11 field offices in Iowa and his first field office in Texas.

  • Tim Ryan toured a migrant child detention center in Homestead, Florida, as part of an oversight visit.

  • Bernie Sanders proposed establishing a $20 billion emergency trust fund to enable local governments to purchase for-profit hospitals in financial distress.

  • In an interview with Cheddar PoliticsJoe Sestak spoke about space exploration and his proposal for a two-state solution in Israel.

  • Tom Steyer will campaign in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday.

  • The Washington Post reported on Elizabeth Warren’s legal consulting for Dow Chemical in a case involving women who had become sick from breast implants made by the company’s subsidiary.

  • Marianne Williamson campaigned in Beverly Hills, California, on Monday.


  • Top donors to the Trump Victory Committee, a joint fundraising venture by Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee, include Nebraska donor Marlene Ricketts and former Small Business Administration head Linda McMahon. They each gave the maximum contribution of $360,000. Trump is scheduled to host a fundraiser Friday at his Bedminister golf course.

Flashback: July 16, 2015

Politico reported on the salaries of top 2016 staffers. Marco Rubio campaign manager Terry Sullivan was earning an annual salary of $198,000. Rand Paul’s campaign manager, Chip Englander, followed with $129,000, according to financial reports.

The Daily Brew: Who will be in the next Democratic presidential debate? We’ll know this week

Today’s Brew highlights which candidates have qualified for the second Democratic presidential debates + a summary of new state ballot measures from the past month  
 The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Tuesday, July 16, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Candidates in second Democratic presidential debates will be announced this week
  2. Four statewide ballot measures certified over the past month
  3. Nine candidates running for an open seat on Atlanta’s school board

Candidates in second Democratic presidential debates will be announced this week

Twenty-one Democratic presidential candidates have reached either the polling or fundraising threshold for the party’s second set of debates on July 30 and 31. Since only 20 candidates—10 per night—will participate, the Democratic National Committee will use tiebreaker criteria to determine who will participate. These criteria are, in order:

  1. Candidates who have achieved both the polling and fundraising thresholds,
  2. Candidates with the highest polling average, and
  3. Candidates with the highest number of contributors.

The 14 candidates who have reached both sets of requirements are Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Willamson, and Andrew Yang.

Six other candidates—Michael Bennet, Steve Bullock, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, and Tim Ryan—have met the polling threshold of 1 percent support or more in three eligible national or early state polls.

Over the weekend, Mike Gravel announced he had reached the fundraising threshold of at least 65,000 unique contributors and at least 200 unique contributors from a minimum of 20 U.S. states. Four candidates have not yet met either qualifying criteria—Wayne Messam, Seth Moulton, Joe Sestak, and Tom Steyer.

The lineup for each night of the debates will be announced during a live drawing on CNN July 18. 

These debates—which will be held in Detroit—will be conducted using different rules than the first set of debates on June 26 and 27. According to CNN, candidates will be allowed to make both opening and closing statements and participants who repeatedly interrupt other speakers will be penalized. Unlike last month’s debate, there will be no questions requiring a show of hands or one-word, down-the-line answers. 

The third Democratic presidential debate is scheduled for Sept. 12 in Houston. Candidates will need to receive two percent support or more in four national or early state polls and have received donations from at least 130,000 unique donors to qualify.

Want the lineup in your inbox the morning after it is announced? Click here to sign up for Ballotpedia’s free Daily Presidential News Briefing.

Learn more

Four statewide ballot measures certified over the past month 

In our latest edition of State Ballot Measure Monthly—click here to subscribe—we learned that four new statewide measures have been certified for the 2019 and 2020 ballots. 

Three will go before voters in 2019. Here’s what each measure would do:

  • A state constitutional amendment in Maine would authorize legislation allowing persons with physical disabilities that prevent them from signing their own names to use an alternative signature to sign petitions for citizen-initiated ballot measures. Maine’s constitution currently requires people to sign petitions for citizen-initiated ballot measures with their original signature. 
  • A New Jersey amendment would extend an existing $250 property tax deduction that veterans receive to be sent to continuing care retirement centers on behalf of the veterans living there. It would also require those retirement centers to pass the value of the deduction on to veterans in the form of credits or payments.  
  • A Pennsylvania amendment would add a specific set of rights for crime victims—together known as Marsy’s Law—to the state constitution.

A 2020 measure that would allow state and local governments to pass campaign finance laws was certified in Oregon. The state legislatures referred all four of these amendments to their respective ballots.

Read this month’s issue


Nine candidates running for an open seat on Atlanta’s school board

Nine candidates are running in a special election for a seat on the Atlanta Public Schools board. They include three former school board candidates, a former Atlanta city council candidate, and a former candidate for the Georgia House of Representatives.The election is Sept. 17. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a runoff election will be held Oct. 15.

Former board member Byron Amos resigned the seat in January to run for the Atlanta City Council. Amos had served on the board since 2011 and was re-elected in a 2017 runoff by less than one percentage point. Keisha Carey, who lost to Amos in the 2017 runoff, is one of the nine candidates seeking the open seat. The winner of the special election will serve until 2021 when the entire nine-member board is up for election.

The Atlanta public school district is the sixth-largest in Georgia. It had 51,145 students during the 2014-2015 school year.

Learn more→


Castro, Gillibrand, Inslee, and Warren attend Netroots Nation conference

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 15, 2019: Julián Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jay Inslee, and Elizabeth Warren attended Netroots Nation in Philadelphia. Mike Gravel reached the donor threshold for the second debate.

There are 13 new candidates running since last week, including five Democrats, one Republican, and two Libertarians. In total, 779 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Day

“It’s definitely fear, what else? They’ve known since March that this conference [Netroots Nation] is happening, so don’t give me [expletive] about scheduling. It’s stupid. … If they want to cede the ground to Warren, then great.”

– Markos Moulitsas, DailyKos founder, on candidates who did not go to Netroots Nation


  • Michael Bennet will hold a meet and greet in Iowa City Monday and attend a climate change event Tuesday.
  • The Des Moines Register and AARP are hosting a series of five forums in Iowa this week. Joe BidenCory BookerJohn Hickenlooper, and Amy Klobuchar will participate in Monday’s event in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Bill de Blasio discussed the Trump administration’s planned ICE raids in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union.
  • De Blasio’s son, Dante, is also joining his presidential campaign as a policy analyst.
  • The Washington Post examined Steve Bullock’s campaign messaging and record on campaign finance issues.
  • ABC’s Nightline profiled Pete Buttigieg Sunday, including his handling of a police-involved fatal shooting in South Bend, Indiana.
  • CNN reported that Buttigieg has more than 250 staff members and planned to expand his operations in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, and California.
  • Julián CastroKirsten GillibrandJay Inslee, and Elizabeth Warren attendedNetroots Nation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    • Castro discussed income inequality and advocated housing vouchers and the enforcement of the Fair Housing Act.
    • Gillibrand discussed the loss of manufacturing jobs and the concept of white privilege.
    • Inslee spoke against the filibuster.
    • Warren shared portions of her new immigration plan.
  • In an interview on the PBS show Firing Line with Margaret HooverJohn Delaneydiscussed his plan to only push forward bipartisan bills during his first 100 days in office.
  • Tulsi Gabbard was off the campaign trail to complete her monthly Army National Guard duty.
  • Mike Gravel reached the donor threshold to qualify for the second Democratic presidential debate. The campaign said it had contacted the Democratic National Committee over the polling qualification requirement since Gravel has been excluded from more than half of eligible polls.
  • Kamala Harris appeared on The Breakfast Club radio show Friday morning, where she criticized other presidential candidates for releasing proposals that would be difficult to implement.
  • Hickenlooper hired Peter Cunningham to replace Lauren Hitt as communications director. 
  • Wayne Messam spoke at the Second Nazareth Baptist Church in South Carolina.
  • In an interview with CNBC, Seth Moulton discussed climate change, tech regulation, and federal buyback programs for guns.  
  • In a Medium post, Beto O’Rourke wrote about the generational consequences of slavery and said he was descended from a slave owner. 
  • O’Rourke also protested conditions at immigrant detention centers at a vigil in New Hampshire Friday.
  • Tim Ryan raised $895,000 from more than 13,000 individual donors.
  • Bernie Sanders will hold a campaign rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to protest the closure of the Hanemann University Hospital Monday.
  • Joe Sestak campaigned in Iowa, including stops in Waterloo, Lake Mills, and West Liberty.
  • Tom Steyer made his first campaign stop as a presidential candidate in South Carolina Friday, where he met with community members and local activists in Charleston.
  • Marianne Williamson spoke at the Wild Goose Festival on spirituality and justice in North Carolina.
  • Andrew Yang held a rally in Portland, Oregon, marking his first campaign stop in the city.
  • The New Republic and Gizmodo announced that they planned to hold a summit on climate change in New York City on September 23. Candidates will appear individually on stage to answer questions being drafted, in part, by Columbia University’s Earth Institute. The New Republic withdrew from the event following criticism of its publication of an op-ed focused on Buttigieg’s sexuality.


  • Donald Trump promoted the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement during campaign stops in Wisconsin and Ohio Friday.
  • Bill Weld discussed Robert Mueller’s potential testimony in an interview on CNN.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: July 15, 2015

Including both campaign fundraising and aligned super PAC totals, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry led the fundraising race after the second quarter of 2015.