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Heart of the Primaries 2020, Republicans-Issue 14 (April 15, 2020)

This week: Kobach releases ad featuring Trump in KS Senate primary, League of Conservation Voters endorses Fitzpatrick in PA-01, and Woody Thrasher outraises Jim Justice in West Virginia gubernatorial election.

On the news

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

“It is clear that the time is approaching that will be absolutely decisive for this presidency and for the country’s near-term future. The president will have to decide on an economic relaunch plan, and this will make or break him and his opponents. … 

Obviously, if the country strangles itself into a profound and lengthy recession, the Democrats’ electoral chances improve. The longer such a state of affairs continues, the harder and less relevant it will be to recall President Trump’s achievement in generating an immense economic boom and one that profoundly bettered the lot of the lower half of American income-earners, whose real income had stalled for over 15 years. …

If the president acts carefully and puts the issues squarely, he will succeed, the economy will recover quickly, and he will be invincible in November. He knows the gravity of what he must do. If he does it right, the exaggerated fears of disaster that will be expressed by his opponents, one more time and for the greatest stakes of all, will not occur.”

Conrad Black, American Greatness, April 13, 2020

“With some signs that the ‘curve is flattening,’ and growing concern about the impact of the epidemic on the economy, there is increasing pressure on President Trump and many governors to relax ‘stay-at-home’ orders, enabling more businesses to reopen and people to return to their jobs. President Trump describes himself as a wartime president, and I’d argue, that, like other wartime presidents, he should focus on the battlefield and not the politics. …

Whatever decision he makes in the coming days will not be judged until September or October, at the earliest. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, people know why the economy is tanking — and it’s neither party’s fault. Rather they want to see what happens during and after this crisis — and only then will voters make their decisions.

Just like other wartime presidents, he’s not going to be judged by the initial popularity of the war, but by its effectiveness. … 

The lesson for Trump: Beware of polls or pundits telling you in which direction to go: If you choose to reopen the country, and there’s a huge second wave of infection in September, the same folks will blame you — for following their advice. And if you choose to keep the country shut, and other economies start to boom, the same will occur.”

 Arnon Mishkin, Fox News, April 14, 2020

U.S. Congress

Kobach releases ad featuring Trump in Senate primary in KS 

Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach released his first TV ad of the Senate primary in Kansas. Politico reported the ad cost at least $48,000 to run on cable for two weeks.

The ad features footage of President Donald Trump speaking in support of Kobach at a rally in October 2018, when Kobach was the Republican nominee for governor. In the ad, Kobach says he’ll help get a border wall built if elected.

The president endorsed Kobach ahead of the 2018 Republican primary against incumbent Jeff Colyer. Kobach won the primary 40.6% to 40.5% and lost the general election to Laura Kelly (D) 43% to 48%.

The president has not endorsed in the 2020 Senate primary.

The current eight-candidate primary field includes U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, who Colyer endorsed

The Club for Growth has not endorsed in the race but spent $33,000 on newspaper and digital ads featuring criticisms of Marshall from women who said they were his patients when he was a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist. Marshall’s campaign called the ads “amateur garbage from a D.C. office.”

In 2019, The Associated Press’s John Hanna reported, “Many Republicans fear a repeat of last year, when Kobach narrowly won a crowded GOP primary only to lose the governor’s race to Democrat Laura Kelly,” and, “Some Republicans question whether Marshall can win over the hard right and even described him as a moderate in the weeks before he entered the race.”

The filing deadline is June 1. The primary is Aug. 4.

Incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts is not seeking re-election. Three forecasters rate the general election Lean or Likely Republican.

League of Conservation Voters endorses Fitzpatrick in PA-01

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund endorsed incumbent Brian Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District, saying he has a “strong record addressing climate change, fighting PFAS pollution, advocating for public lands and so much more.”

Roll Call wrote that Fitzpatrick is the only Republican the LCV has endorsed this cycle.

Fitzpatrick said, “Climate change and the irresponsible management of our resources put a strain on the health of our communities – and our children. Clean air and clean water are essential to the health, safety, and development of the next generation of Americans. That is why I have been fighting hard for these priorities during my time in Congress.”

Fitzpatrick is one of two Republican House incumbents seeking re-election in a district Hillary Clinton won in 2016. Financial advisor Andrew Meehan is challenging him in the June 2 primary.

On his campaign website, Meehan calls Fitzpatrick “the Anti-Trump RINO Congressman” and says, “Unlike the incumbent, Andy will go to Washington DC to stand up and fight for our Republican values, our President and his America First agenda.”

Fitzpatrick was first elected to represent the state’s 8th District in the House in 2016. Following redistricting, he was elected to the 1st District in 2018 with 51.3% of the vote to Scott Wallace’s (D) 48.7%.

Super PAC releases ad opposing Herrell in NM-02

The super PAC Citizens for a United New Mexico released a TV ad saying former state Rep. Yvette Herrell “worked to undermine Trump’s campaign for president” in 2016 and attended an anti-Trump gathering. The group spent $55,000 on the ad.

The Associated Press’s Russell Contreras reported, “All of the Republican candidates have tried to position themselves as Trump’s most reliable ally and have accused each other of not backing Trump enough.”

Claire Chase, director of government relations at Mack Energy Corporation, and Mathys Properties owner Chris Mathys are also running in the June 2 primary.

Herrell said the ad contained “false attacks from Claire’s desperate Super PAC should be immediately pulled from the airwaves.”

Chase’s campaign manager Mike Berg said the campaign “can’t control what outside groups do” and, “It looks like some folks got sick and tired of Yvette’s sleazy attack ads against Claire and decided to expose her for what she is: a lying never-Trumper hiding in the closet.”

Herrell has criticized Chase for social media posts she made criticizing Trump during his 2016 presidential bid. Chase said, “I’m going to say something politicians rarely say. I was wrong. … And I’ve been very pleased with President Trump and what he has done.”

Herrell was the district’s Republican nominee in 2018. Xochitl Torres Small (D) defeated Herrell 50.9-49.1%.

New Mexico’s 2nd is one of 31 House districts the president carried in 2016 and a Democratic House candidate won in 2018.

VA-05 GOP Convention delayed

We recently reported that Republican conventions to determine the party’s nominees in Virginia’s 5th and 7th Districts were up in the air because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 5th Congressional District Republican Committee has decided to delay their convention, originally scheduled for April 25. The Roanoke Times’s Amy Friedenberger reported, “The committee hasn’t selected a new date, but members said the end of May would be the earliest possible time it would hold a convention.”

State executives

Utah gubernatorial candidate Jon Huntsman qualifies for primary ballot

Jon Huntsman qualified as a gubernatorial candidate for the June 30 primary hours before Monday’s 5:00 p.m. deadline. He joined Spencer Cox and Thomas Wright as the third candidate to qualify for the ballot via signature collection. Jan Garbett was the other Republican candidate seeking to qualify by petition, but she did not submit the required 28,000 signatures by the deadline. 

U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) endorsed Huntsman last week. In a statement, Lee said, “I have seen firsthand what a remarkable leader and a true conservative Jon Huntsman really is.”

In addition to the three candidates who qualified via petition, four candidates have focused on winning a spot on the primary ballot at their party’s nominating convention. Republican delegates can place up to two candidates on the primary ballot. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Republicans will hold a virtual convention on April 25.

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.

Woody Thrasher outraises Jim Justice in West Virginia gubernatorial election

Campaign finance reports for the first quarter of the year show West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Woody Thrasher leading incumbent Jim Justice in receipts, while Justice finished with a cash-on-hand advantage. 

Thrasher raised $84,242 and loaned his campaign $1,045,000. He spent $1,193,184 and finished the period with $42,272 on hand. Justice raised $94,228, loaned his campaign $526,000, and spent $619,104 to finish Q1 with $68,306 on hand.

Justice’s campaign spokesman said the Governor was focused on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and instructed his campaign to cease fundraising. Thrasher said his campaign would focus on helping West Virginians through the pandemic.

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

Oklahoma Republicans pick up Democratic House seat at the filing deadline

The filing deadline to run in Oklahoma’s state legislative races passed on April 10 and Republicans are already set to gain one seat currently held by a Democrat. 

House District 7’s current representative, Ben Loring (D), did not seek re-election. The only candidate filed to run in District 7 at the deadline was Steve Bashore (R). As the only candidate running for the seat, Bashore will likely be elected in November.

At the deadline, 46 of the legislature’s 147 incumbents have no opponents in either the primary or general elections, likely guaranteeing they will win re-election. Of those 46 incumbents, 41 are Republicans and 5 are Democrats. Republicans currently hold supermajorities in both the House (77-22) and Senate (38-9).

Two county commissioners will meet in WA state Senate primary

Washington’s state Senate District 19 will have a Republican primary between two commissioners—Wes Cormier (R) and Jeff Wilson (R)—after Wilson announced he would challenge Cormier in the Aug. 4 primary.

Cormier has been a Grays Harbor County commissioner since 2012. Before his election, he worked as a real estate appraiser. As a county commissioner, Cormier said he opposed the use of eminent domain and supported relief for flood victims. Cormier said, “I will continue to advocate for access to public lands and protect your property rights.”

Wilson was elected to the Port of Longview Commission in 2015 and currently serves as its vice president. Wilson said he led efforts to reduce taxes, bring jobs to southwest Washington, and eliminate fees. Wilson’s website says, “Jobs and an economy that is stable and sure are critical components to Jeff’s goals for the district.”

The winner of the Republican primary will likely face the incumbent, Sen. Dean Takko (D). Takko was appointed to the seat in 2015 and elected to a full four-year term in 2016. The filing deadline is May 15.

Special election set to fill vacancy in GA Senate District 4

On Monday, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) announced that a special election to fill the vacant 4th Senate District seat will be held on June 9. The District’s former incumbent, Sen. Jack Hill (R) died April 6. Candidates were given until Wednesday to pay the filing fee necessary to appear on the special election ballot.

So far, three candidates—Scott Bohlke (R), Billy Hickman (R), and Kathy Palmer (R)—have qualified for the special election.

Hill was first elected in 1990 as a Democrat before switching parties following his 2002 re-election. He was serving his fifteenth two-year term, making him the state’s longest-serving state Senator at the time of his death.

The winner of the special election will serve the remainder of Hill’s term. A separate regularly scheduled general election for a full, two-year term will be held Nov. 3.

Power players

“VIEW PAC strives to support credible, electable Republican women running for federal office and encourages others to do the same.  What began as a way to raise money and contribute money now also serves as a network of people who care about helping other women succeed.  More women are taking the leap to run for federal office, in part because they believe they will have the support they need to be successful.” – VIEW PAC website 

Founded in 1997, the Value In Electing Women Political Action Committee (VIEW PAC) says its mission is “to raise money for direct financial contributions to viable Republican women candidates for Congress.” According to the VIEW PAC website, the group has raised over $8.5 million for candidates since its founding. The organization says, “Our singular goal is to strategically provide financial support where and when it is needed most; whether it be for a vulnerable incumbent or a competitive candidate.”

VIEW PAC says it does not have a litmus test for the candidates it supports. Click here to see the 50 congressional candidates currently supported by the organization.



Heart of the Primaries 2020, Democrats-Issue 14 (April 15, 2020)

This week: Chamber of Commerce to support Caruso-Cabrera against Ocasio-Cortez, Plame releases ads highlighting CIA background in NM-03, and Tennessee Democratic Party removes incumbent representative from the ballot. 

On the news

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

“There have been a number of sneering columns accusing liberal feminists of hypocrisy for not championing [Tara Reade] as fervently as they did Christine Blasey Ford, who claimed, during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination fight, that he’d sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school. It’s a sly rhetorical move that dares feminists to violate their own ideals by publicly weighing one woman’s credibility against another.

The truth is, if Blasey had been so inconsistent in telling her story, feminists might still have believed her, but they likely wouldn’t have made her a cause célèbre, and Democrats on Capitol Hill never would have invited her to testify publicly. Advocates for victims of sexual harassment and assault would worry that using such an ambiguous case as a political weapon would undermine their cause.”

Michelle Goldberg, The New York Times, April 13, 2020

“It’s fair to say that Tara Reade has been treated unlike any high-profile accuser of the past three years.

While previous accusers of powerful men were widely covered in mainstream print, digital, and TV media, only a handful of outlets trickled out stories on Reade’s allegation. While widespread coverage greeted past accusers almost instantly, it has taken nearly three weeks for Reade’s mere existence to be acknowledged by a single major newspaper. And while there was no shortage of articles fiercely criticizing the media’s underplaying of another survivor’s story, those same critics have now taken to justifying the even more egregious media silence over Reade’s.

Defenders of this particular media silence are right to insist on vetting accusers’ claims, no matter how long it takes. Yet Reade’s story started out with as much corroboration as previous claims that saw no similar delay in reporting — in fact, it had more than several key cases.”

Branko Marcetic, Jacobin, April 14, 2020

U.S. Congress

Chamber of Commerce to support Caruso-Cabrera against Ocasio-Cortez 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce plans to fundraise for former CNBC anchor Michelle    Caruso-Cabrera in her bid against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York’s 14th Congressional District. Five candidates are running in the June 23 primary.

The Chamber typically endorses Republicans, though it endorsed Henry Cuellar in Texas’ 28th District Democratic primary earlier this year. 

Scott Reed, senior political strategist for the Chamber, said Caruso-Cabrera’s “communication skills on jobs and growth will create a clear contrast with AOC.”

Caruso-Cabrera said she decided to join the race after Ocasio-Cortez opposed an Amazon campus in Queens over $3 billion in incentives the company would have received in exchange for creating an estimated 25,000 jobs. Amazon canceled plans to build the campus last year.

Caruso-Cabrera raised $1 million in the first quarter of 2020. Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign did not release figures ahead of the April 15 deadline. Ocasio-Cortez reported raising $5.4 million and having $2.9 million on hand at the end of 2019.

Ocasio-Cortez defeated incumbent Joseph Crowley, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, in the District’s 2018 Democratic primary.

Plame releases ads highlighting CIA background in NM-03

Valerie Plame released two TV ads highlighting her background as a former CIA officer. 

In one ad, Plame’s brother says her national security experience prepares her to address such issues as the coronavirus. The other ad discusses President Donald Trump’s pardoning of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who was convicted in 2007 of perjury and obstruction of justice related to leaking Plame’s identity. 

Seven candidates are running in New Mexico’s 3rd District Democratic primary.

The Sante Fe New Mexican’s Milan Simonich reported Plame is “the only nationally recognized figure in the race, something that will not change in a campaign season where a disease gets most of the headlines.” She led in fundraising with $1.1 million at the end of 2019.

Second in fundraising was Teresa Leger Fernandez with $685,000. Fernandez leads the primary in prominent endorsements—including EMILY’s List, the Working Families Party, and the Latino Victory Fund—and she received a plurality of the vote at the state’s Democratic Party Convention on March 7. 

Two candidates reached the 20% threshold to qualify for the ballot via the convention vote as opposed to gathering petition signatures: Fernandez (42%) and Sandoval County Treasurer Laura Montoya (20%). Plame received 5% support at the convention.

The primary is Aug. 4. Three forecasters rate the general election as Safe/Solid Democratic.

State executives

Retiring incumbent Cyrus Habib endorses Marko Liias in Washington lieutenant gubernatorial election

Retiring Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib (D-Wash.) endorsed Marko Liias in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. In a statement, Habib said, “Marko understands the role of Lieutenant Governor better than any other legislator. As Majority Floor Leader, he has worked very closely with me in my capacity as Senate President to ensure that key progressive legislation makes it to the Governor’s desk. His understanding of parliamentary procedure is second to none.”

Four other candidates are running in the primary, including Denny Heck (D), Steve Hobbs (D), and Joseph Brumbles (R). Candidates have until May 15 to file for the Aug. 4 primary

Under Washington’s top-two primary system, all candidates appear on the same primary ballot. The top two finishers, regardless of partisan affiliation, advance to the general election. No Republican has served as lieutenant governor of Washington since Joel Pritchard left office in 1997.

Montana Federation of Public Employees endorses Mike Cooney in Montana governor race

The Montana Federation of Public Employees endorsed Mike Cooney’s gubernatorial campaign. In a statement, the group’s president, Eric Feaver, said of Cooney, “We have worked with him throughout his long, distinguished career in public service, from the legislature, to Secretary of State, to the Montana Historical Society, to the Montana Labor Department, and now as Lieutenant Governor. Mike knows Montana. Mike knows good government.” 

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D) and incumbent Gov. Steve Bullock (D) have also endorsed Cooney. Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) and EMILY’s List have endorsed Whitney Williams (D).

Cooney and Williams are the only two Democrats running in the June 2 primary, which is open to all registered voters. Incumbent Steve Bullock (D) is term-limited, leaving the office open. The last Republican to win a gubernatorial election in Montana was Judy Martz in 2000.

Feltes receives sixth union endorsement in race for New Hampshire governor

Dan Feltes received his sixth union endorsement in his bid for New Hampshire Governor from the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 131. In a statement, the group’s business manager, David Pelletier, said, “Throughout his career, Senator Feltes has been standing up for working families. He understands what real people care about and the urgent challenges impacting Granite Staters.”

Andru Volinsky is the only other candidate running in the Democratic primary so far. The filing deadline is June 12. The Sept. 8 Democratic primary is open to registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters. Incumbent Chris Sununu (R) is running for re-election.

Legislatures

Tennessee Democratic Party removes incumbent representative from the ballot

On April 8, the Tennessee Democratic Party executive committee voted 41-18 to remove thirteen-term incumbent Rep. John DeBerry’s (D-90) name from the Democratic primary ballot in District 90. 

The complaint that led to his removal cited DeBerry’s stances opposing abortion and supporting school vouchers. It also mentioned DeBerry’s vote to elect Glen Casada (R) Speaker of the House over Karen Camper (D) in 2019. DeBerry was one of three Democrats who supported Casada.

Tennessee Democratic Party chair, Mary Mancini (D), voted in favor of DeBerry’s removal. She said the vote stemmed from “a longstanding series of actions in which [DeBerry] demonstrated more loyalty to the Republican Party than to the Democratic Party.”

Jackson city councilman and executive committeeman, Ernest Brooks (D), voted against DeBerry’s removal. He said District 90 voters should make that decision, saying, “We’ve taken that power from them … If they wanted to reelect him, they cannot.”

On April 9, DeBerry said he would appeal the decision. The deadline to submit the completed appeal is April 16. If DeBerry does not submit an appeal or fails to appeal the decision, he cannot file to run as a Republican or third-party candidate. The filing deadline to appear on the primary ballot in Tennessee passed on April 2. DeBerry was first elected to represent District 90 in 1994 and has been re-elected twelve times. Three Democrats—Torrey Harris, Anya Parker, and Catrina Smith—remain on the ballot. No Republicans filed to run for the seat.

At the same meeting, the executive committee also removed the names of the following four non-incumbent Democratic candidates from other races: Tharon Chandler (U.S. Senate), LaTroy Alexandria-Williams (TN-09), William Frazier (HD-84), and Michael Minnis (HD-93).

Eight-term New Mexico state senator faces primary from former state Democratic Party vice-chair

Sen. John Arthur Smith (D-35) announced he would run for re-election to the District 35 Senate seat, setting up a primary against Neomi Martinez-Parra (D), who announced her candidacy in July 2019.

Smith was first elected to the state Senate in 1988 and has won re-election eight times. He currently chairs the Senate Finance Committee and said he has “deep experience crafting equitable budgets that maximize every dollar.” 

Martinez-Parra is a special education teacher who was vice-chair for the Democratic Party of New Mexico from 2017 to 2019. She said, “It is time for our Senate to work for the people of New Mexico … especially in rural communities like my own.”

The most recent contested Democratic primary in District 35 was in 2012 when Larry Martinez (D) challenged Smith. Smith defeated Martinez 56-44%.

The Democratic primary is currently scheduled for June 2, 2020. The winner will likely face Crystal Diamond (R) in the general election. Diamond is the only Republican filed to run in the race.

Power players

“We are veterans, law enforcement officers, and gun owners standing together for safer laws. We are students and activists speaking up in communities across the nation. We are faith leaders, business leaders, lawyers, parents, and educators fighting for a safer future. Together we will save lives.” – Giffords website

Giffords is a nonprofit organization that says, “We fight for stronger gun laws, hold the gun lobby accountable, and support candidates who stand for safer schools & communities.” Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) and her husband Mark Kelly founded the organization, originally called Americans for Responsible Solutions, after Giffords was critically wounded in a shooting at a constituent meeting and in response to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. 

The group’s website says, “Since 2013, Giffords has helped write, pass, and enact legislation that is reducing gun violence and saving lives. Against fierce opposition, we have helped pass more than 290 new gun safety laws in 45 states and Washington DC … Our political program has helped elevate gun safety from a third rail to a top electoral issue in some of the nation’s most competitive campaigns.”

Giffords publishes stances on a series of issues related to firearms, including universal background checks, gun violence research, concealed carry reciprocity, and others. 

Click here to view a list of candidates endorsed by the organization.



Obama endorses Biden, calls for structural change

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
April 15, 2020: Barack Obama endorsed Joe Biden on Tuesday. Donald Trump halted funding to the World Health Organization until a review could be conducted. blank    blankblank   


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


Notable Quote of the Day

“A turnout surge among Democratic voters does appear to have helped Karofsky win [the Wisconsin Supreme Court race]. She outperformed Hillary Clinton in the red counties surrounding Milwaukee, but also in numerous rural ones across the state. Karofsky also outperformed in the southwest corner, flipping several counties from red to blue.

As such, Karofsky’s map in Wisconsin was far more akin to the one that got Tammy Baldwin reelected to the Senate in 2018 than to Clinton’s map in 2016, Wikler pointed out.

On the other hand, with Trump on the ballot in a presidential race, he may drive far larger turnout and vote share in many of those rural counties. The total number of votes may be twice as high, so all bets are off.”

– Greg Sargent, The Washington Post

Democrats

  • Former President Barack Obama endorsed Joe Biden in a video statement on Tuesday. He said Biden had the leadership required to handle the coronavirus pandemic. Obama also acknowledged Sen. Bernie Sanders in the clip and said the country needed real structural change.

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren also endorsed Biden on Wednesday morning. “Among all the other candidates I competed with in the Democratic primary, there’s no one I’ve agreed with 100% of the time over the years. But one thing I appreciate about Joe Biden is he will always tell you where he stands,” she said in an endorsement video.

  • Biden will appear remotely on Showtime’s Desu & Mero on Wednesday.

Republicans

  • Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones (D) endorsed Donald Trump on Tuesday. Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported he was the first state-elected Democrat in Georgia to back Trump.

  • Trump said on Tuesday that he was halting funding to the World Health Organization until a review could be conducted into the organization’s management of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Trump also said he would soon issue guidelines for reopening the economy but would leave it to governors to determine the individualized plan for their state. He said he believed some states could open before May 1.

Flashback: April 15, 2016

In a CNN interview, John Kasich discussed the Republican primary, sexual assault, small businesses, and religious liberty laws.blank

Click here to learn more.



Sanders endorses Biden, announces joint working groups on policy

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
April 14, 2020: Bernie Sanders endorsed Joe Biden on Monday. Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) said he was considering an independent presidential run.        

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

Poll Spotlight

Notable Quote of the Day

“Mr. Biden also holds the expected wide advantage among nonwhite voters, though here there is consistent evidence of a small yet discernible shift in the president’s direction, including in the large series of New York Times/Siena College polls from last November. Mr. Trump, in contrast, seems to do a tick worse among white voters than he did four years ago, whether because of a slight decrease in his standing among college-educated white voters or the growing share of white voters who possess a four-year degree.

As a result, Mr. Trump appears to retain his relative advantage in the disproportionately white working-class battleground states that decided the 2016 presidential election. Mr. Biden leads in polls of registered voters in these states, but by a narrower margin than he leads nationwide. It raises the possibility that Democrats could win the most votes and lose the White House for the third time in six presidential elections.”

– Nate Cohn, The New York Times

Democrats

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed Joe Biden during a joint livestream on Monday. “We need you in the White House. And I will do all that I can to see that that happens,” Sanders said to Biden. They agreed to form six working groups on the economy, education, criminal justice, immigration, climate change, and health care.
  • Biden won the Wisconsin Democratic primary with approximately 63% of the vote. He will receive at least 50 of the state’s 84 pledged delegates.

Republicans

  • During his daily press briefing on Monday, Donald Trump said he had total authority over reopening the economy. “When somebody is president of the United States, the authority is total. The governors know that,” he said. Trump also said the number of daily new infections had flattened nationwide and that the U.S. was signing contracts with four new companies to produce more ventilators.
  • Trump won the Wisconsin Republican primary with approximately 98% of the vote. He will receive all 52 of the state’s delegates.

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

  • Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) said he was considering an independent presidential run following comments Trump made about executive authority. Amash tweeted, “Americans who believe in limited government deserve another option.”

What We’re Reading

Flashback: April 14, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debated in Brooklyn, New York. It was the final Democratic primary debate of the election cycle.

Click here to learn more.



Trump, RNC raise $212 million in first quarter of 2020

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
April 13, 2020: Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee together raised $212 million in the first quarter of 2020. Joe Biden wrote an op-ed in The New York Times titled “My Plan to Safely Reopen America.”  blank    blankblank   


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


In the past century, which presidential election had the lowest estimated voter turnout?

Notable Quote of the Day

“A politically inexperienced and highly divisive president, a presidential campaign waged under the shadow of a deadly pandemic, and an establishment candidate from the opposing party who promises to restore the country to a less turbulent time.

Those were the elements of the U.S. presidential election exactly 100 years ago that swept Warren G. Harding into office. The similarities to the 2020 race and Joe Biden‘s quest to unseat Donald Trump in November are unmissable.”

– Ryan Teague Beckwith, Bloomberg

Democrats

  • Joe Biden won the Alaska Democratic primary, which was moved to April 10 from April 4 and made a vote-by-mail election. More than 71,000 ballots were sent to registered Democrats; more than 19,000 were returned on time. This was double the participation the 2016 caucus saw.

  • Biden wrote an op-ed in The New York Times titled “My Plan to Safely Reopen America.” First, he said social distancing should continue, frontline workers should receive the supplies and equipment they need, and the federal government should be more responsive. Second, he said there should be widespread testing and a contact tracing strategy. Third, Biden said the healthcare system should be ready for flare-ups.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee together raised $212 million in the first quarter of 2020. Their fundraising total for March alone was $63 million, down from a record high for the campaign of $86 million in February.

  • The Trump campaign is attacking Biden on his position on China, including releasing a digital ad that presents Biden as friendly towards the country.

Flashback: April 13, 2016

Hillary Clinton proposed establishing an Office of Immigrant Affairs, which would coordinate immigration policies across federal, state, and local governments.blank

Click here to learn more.



Missouri Supreme Court strikes down state law barring public-sector workers from picketing

On March 31, the Missouri Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s decision striking down a state law barring public-sector workers from picketing. Picketing encompasses any form of protest against an employer, including, but not limited to, striking. Neither court’s decision had any bearing on Missouri’s prohibition against public-sector worker strikes.

Who were the parties to the suit?

Rebecca Karney and Johnny Miller, dispatchers for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Communication Workers of America, were the plaintiffs. The defendants were the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations; Todd Smith, chairman of the Missouri Board of Mediation; the government of Jackson County, Missouri, and Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forté.

What was at issue?

Section 105.585(2) of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, enacted in 2018, requires any labor agreement negotiated between a public entity and a union to prohibit employees from striking and picketing. At the time of enactment, Missouri was a Republican trifecta, meaning Republicans held the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. The text of the statute reads as follows:

Every labor agreement shall expressly prohibit all strikes and picketing of any kind. A strike shall include any refusal to perform services, walkout, sick-out, sit-in, or any other form of interference with the operations of any public body. Every labor agreement shall include a provision acknowledging that any public employee who engages in any strike or concerted refusal to work, or who pickets over any personnel matter, shall be subject to immediate termination of employment[.][1]

The plaintiffs alleged Section 105.585(2) violated the following sections of the Missouri Constitution:

The plaintiffs filed suit in the Jackson County Circuit Court on Aug. 23, 2018. On March 12, 2019, Judge Jim Kanatzar ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and enjoined the state from prohibiting picketing. The decision was appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on Jan. 14, 2020.

How did the high court rule?

The Missouri Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the circuit court’s ruling. Judge Zel Fischer wrote the following in the court’s opinion:

Section 105.585(2)’s prohibition against ‘picketing of any kind’ fails to recognize there are matters of public concern about which public employees retain their constitutional right to comment on so long as their speech does not impede the efficiency of the state services performed through state employees. However, the remainder of § 105.585(2) is in accord with constitutional limitations on public employee speech. Severance of the phrase ‘and picketing of any kind’ is appropriate and renders the provision constitutional.[1]

About the Missouri Supreme Court: There are seven seats on the Missouri Supreme Court. When a seat on the court becomes vacant, the Missouri Appellate Judicial Commission submits three names to the governor who in turn selects a replacement. If the governor does not make a selection, the responsibility falls to the commission. After one year on the court, an appointed judge must run in the next general election to retain the seat. Supreme court judges serve 12-year terms and must win their retention elections to remain on the court. Retention elections are nonpartisan. The bench currently includes four judges who were initially appointed by Democratic governors and three who were initially appointed by Republicans.

Case information

The case name and number are Karney v. Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (SC97833).

What we’ve been reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 93 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. 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.

Union Station map April 10, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart April 10, 2020.png

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

Union Station partisan chart April 10, 2020.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state, then by bill number. The partisan affiliation of bill sponsor(s) is also provided.

  • Vermont S0254: This bill would require public employers to provide unions with employee contact information. It would provide for the automatic deduction of union dues from members’ paychecks, and it would permit unions to meet with new employees to provide them with information regarding union membership.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs reported favorably with amendments April 9.


Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: April 4-10, 2020

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

       

Notable Quotes of the Week

“One timeline in play is how long it will take before infections subside. Another is the political calendar. The two are entwined. In this new era of social distancing, Trump can’t hold rallies as a way to mobilize his base and diminish his rivals. But he’s embraced the bully pulpit, and in his hands—and at this jarring moment in the nation’s history—it’s potentially more valuable than routine campaigning.”

– Peter NicholasThe Atlantic

“The [Sanders] campaign made three fateful, incorrect assumptions. The one that fell apart the fastest: that Sanders’s landslide losses with black voters would not be repeated, because he finally had time to introduce himself and because Biden, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris would be competing for their support. Booker and Harris did not make it to South Carolina, the first primary dominated by black voters, and Sanders never made inroads beyond the younger black voters who he’d won in 2016. Five years after chastising Democrats for not ‘engaging’ in Mississippi, he would cancel his one 2020 rally in the state to campaign in Michigan.”

– David WeigelThe Washington Post

Week in Review

Sanders ends presidential campaign

Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign on Wednesday. He said in a video statement to supporters, “I wish I could give you better news, but I think you know the truth. We are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden and the path toward victory is virtually impossible.”

Sanders said he would remain on upcoming primary ballots to win more delegates to influence the party platform at the Democratic National Convention.

With a plurality of pledged delegatesJoe Biden has become the presumptive Democratic nominee. To officially win the nomination, a candidate needs to secure 1,991 pledged delegates.

Satellite groups launch coronavirus-focused ad campaigns 

Priorities USA released seven digital ads on Wednesday that criticize Donald Trump for his response to the pandemic. They include news clips, medical professionals, and statements from Trump. Win the West also released a digital ad targeting Trump that contrasts his statements with immunologist Anthony Fauci.

The Republican National Committee is airing a seven-figure ad campaign from April 13 through May 4 praising Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. One clip features two Democratic governors—Gavin Newsom (Calif.) and Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.)—discussing Trump’s responsiveness.

The Democratic National Committee also announced it was spending $22 million on YouTube ads in 14 battleground states. The ads are set to begin airing in September.

Wisconsin presidential primary takes place as originally scheduled, results held until April 13

After several court decisions, Wisconsin held its primary on Tuesday as originally scheduled. On Monday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court blocked Gov. Tony Evers’ executive order postponing in-person voting until June 9. The U.S. Supreme Court also stayed a district court order that had extended the absentee voting deadline. Absentee ballots must have been postmarked by April 7. Election results will not be made public until April 13, the deadline for those ballots to be received.

Read more about changes to Wisconsin’s election procedures here.

New Jersey, Georgia primaries postponed to summer

Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order on Wednesday postponing the New Jersey statewide primary from June 2 to July 7.

Georgia’s statewide and presidential primaries were postponed until June 9. The state had previously postponed its presidential primary to May 19, the original date of the statewide primary.

Biden proposes lowering Medicare eligibility age, offering student loan forgiveness

Joe Biden published two new healthcare and student loan debt policy proposals in a Medium post on Thursday.

The first would lower the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60. Biden said, “This would make Medicare available to a set of Americans who work hard and retire before they turn 65, or who would prefer to leave their employer plans, the public option, or other plans they access through the Affordable Care Act before they retire.”

The second would “forgive all undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt from two- and four-year public colleges and universities for debt-holders earning up to $125,000, with appropriate phase-outs to avoid a cliff.”

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Brandon English is a Democratic staffer with experience in political communication and organizing. He graduated from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and modern culture and media in 2006.

Experience:

  • 2018-2019: GPS IMPACT, senior advisor
  • 2006-2015: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
    • 2015: Deputy executive director
    • 2011-2014: Digital director
    • 2009-2010: Deputy new media director
    • 2007-2008: Online communications manager
    • 2006: Online projects manager

What We’re Reading

Flashback: April 6-10, 2016

  • April 6, 2016: Donald Trump held a rally on Long Island with 15,000 attendees.
  • April 7, 2016: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani announced that he planned to vote for Donald Trump in the New York state primary but would not formally endorse him.
  • April 8, 2016: Bernie Sanders announced that he would visit Vatican City four days before the New York state primary.
  • April 9, 2016: Bernie Sanders won the Wyoming caucuses with 55.7 percent of the vote, defeating Hillary Clinton by 11 points.
  • April 10, 2016: For the first time since November 2015, Donald Trump did not participate in a single Sunday morning interview on television.

How long was the shortest presidential nominating convention in U.S. history?

Click here to learn more.



RNC launches seven-figure ad campaign praising Trump’s handling of coronavirus pandemic

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
April 10, 2020: The Republican National Committee is airing a seven-figure ad campaign from April 13 through May 4 praising Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Joe Biden published two new healthcare and student loan debt policy proposals in a Medium post.         

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:

  • Georgia: Georgia’s statewide and presidential primary were postponed until June 9. The state had previously postponed its presidential primary to May 19, the original date of the statewide primary.

Each Friday, we highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.

Brandon English is a Democratic staffer with experience in political communication and organizing. He graduated from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and modern culture and media in 2006.

Experience:

  • 2018-2019: GPS IMPACT, senior advisor
  • 2006-2015: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
    • 2015: Deputy executive director
    • 2011-2014: Digital director
    • 2009-2010: Deputy new media director
    • 2007-2008: Online communications manager
    • 2006: Online projects manager

Notable Quote of the Day

“The [Sanders] campaign made three fateful, incorrect assumptions. The one that fell apart the fastest: that Sanders’s landslide losses with black voters would not be repeated, because he finally had time to introduce himself and because Biden, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris would be competing for their support. Booker and Harris did not make it to South Carolina, the first primary dominated by black voters, and Sanders never made inroads beyond the younger black voters who he’d won in 2016. Five years after chastising Democrats for not ‘engaging’ in Mississippi, he would cancel his one 2020 rally in the state to campaign in Michigan.”

– David Weigel, The Washington Post

Democrats

  • Joe Biden published two new healthcare and student loan debt policy proposals in a Medium post on Thursday. The first would lower the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60. The second would “forgive all undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt from two- and four-year public colleges and universities for debt-holders earning up to $125,000, with appropriate phase-outs to avoid a cliff.”
  • Biden called for the CDC and other agencies to release data on the income and race, in addition to age, of individuals affected by COVID-19. He said in a Medium post, “The challenge for us as leaders is ensuring support gets to those who need it immediately, and doing the necessary work to rip out the structural racism that creates these inequalities wherever we find it.”
  • Eight progressive organizations, including Justice Democrats, Sunrise Movement, and NextGen Action, signed an open letter advising Biden on how he could appeal to young, progressive voters on climate change, gun violence prevention, immigration, healthcare, criminal justice, and other issues. The groups also requested that he appoint elected officials to his transition team that endorsed Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.
  • Win the West released a digital ad targeting Donald Trump on his response to the coronavirus pandemic. It contrasts his statements with immunologist Anthony Fauci.

Republicans

  • The Republican National Committee is airing a seven-figure ad campaign from April 13 through May 4 praising Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. One clip features two Democratic governors—Gavin Newsom (Calif.) and Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.)—saying Trump was responsive.
  • The Trump campaign is renting its email list through the vendor Excelsior Strategies. Pro-Trump super PAC, America First Action, is one of the groups paying for the list. The campaign said it was paying fair market value.
  • Trump communications manager Tim Murtaugh spoke with Daily Caller about the four ways the campaign has changed its strategy in response to coronavirus.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: April 10, 2016

For the first time since November 2015, Donald Trump did not participate in a single Sunday morning interview on television.

Click here to learn more.



Utah, West Virginia enact bills barring public agencies from disclosing personal information about 501(c) donors

Last month, Utah and West Virginia enacted legislation restricting public agencies from disclosing identifying information about donors to select nonprofit groups.

Utah SB171

SB171 prohibits a public agency from:

  • Requiring an individual to provide the agency with personal information
  • Requiring a tax-exempt entity under Section 501(c) of the federal Internal Revenue Code to provide the agency with personal information about its donors
  • Releasing or otherwise publicly disclosing any personal information the agency might possess
  • Requiring a current or prospective contractor to provide the agency with a list of 501(c) groups to which the contractor has provided financial or non-financial support

Any person who knowingly violates any provision of this law is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to 90 days, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both.

The Utah State Senate voted 26-0 in favor of SB171 on March 2. Three senators did not vote. The Utah House of Representatives approved an amended version of the bill 68-0, with seven members not voting, on March 12. The Senate concurred in the House amendments by a vote of 27-0, with two members not voting, on March 12. Governor Gary Herbert (R) signed SB171 into law on March 30.

West Virginia SB16

SB16 prohibits a public agency from:

  • Requiring a tax-exempt entity under Section 501(c) of the federal Internal Revenue Code to provide the agency with donor or membership information
  • Releasing any information that identifies an individuals’ association with, or financial or non-financial support of, a 501(c) group without the express written consent of the group and the individual, or at the individual’s request

The West Virginia State Senate voted 34-0 in favor of SB16 on Jan. 20. The West Virginia House of Delegates voted 75-22 in favor of the bill on Feb. 13. Three members did not vote. Governor Jim Justice (R) signed the SB16 into law on March 2.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 47 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 April 7, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Disclosure Digest status chart April 7, 2020.png

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

Disclosure Digest partisan chart April 7, 2020.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken on relevant bills since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number.

  • Utah SB0171: This bill would prohibit public agencies from disclosing identifying information about donors to 501(c) groups.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Signed into law March 30.
  • Virginia HB849: This bill would subject political campaign communications made via online platforms to the same disclosure requirements currently applied to print media, television, and radio advertisements.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Signed into law March 31.


Sanders suspends campaign, Biden becomes presumptive Democratic nominee

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
April 9, 2020: Bernie Sanders suspends his presidential campaign. New Jersey postpones its primary from June 2 to July 7. 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:

  • New Jersey: Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order on Wednesday postponing the statewide primary from June 2 to July 7.


Notable Quote of the Day

“In Biden and Trump, voters will choose between two white septuagenarians with dramatically different prescriptions for health care, climate change, foreign policy and leadership in an era of extreme partisanship.

At 77, Biden becomes the oldest major party presidential nominee in modern history. And having spent most of his life as an elected official in Washington, no nominee has had more experience in government.

But in Trump, Biden is up against an adversary the likes of which he has never faced in his decadeslong political career. The 73-year-old Republican president opens with a massive cash advantage and a well-established willingness to win at any cost.”

– Steve Peoples, Associated Press

Democrats

  • Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign on Wednesday. He said in a video statement to supporters, “I wish I could give you better news, but I think you know the truth. We are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden and the path toward victory is virtually impossible.” Sanders said he would remain on upcoming primary ballots to win more delegates to influence the party platform at the Democratic National Convention.

  • With a plurality of pledged delegatesJoe Biden has become the presumptive Democratic nominee. To officially win the nomination, a candidate needs to secure 1,991 pledged delegates.

  • The Lincoln Project, a group of anti-Trump Republicans, endorsed Biden on Wednesday. Sen. Tom Udall (N.M.) and Rep. Katie Porter (Calif.) also endorsed him.

  • The Democratic National Committee is beginning to discuss a joint fundraising agreement with the Biden campaign, CNBC reported.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump tweeted that Sanders supporters should join the Republican Party. He also said Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the reason Sanders lost several Super Tuesday states.

Flashback: April 9, 2016

Bernie Sanders won the Wyoming caucuses with 55.7 percent of the vote, defeating Hillary Clinton by 11 points.blank

Click here to learn more.