Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Tucson voters to decide sanctuary city status

Today’s Brew highlights a 2019 ballot measure regarding Tucson’s sanctuary city status + the number of judges appointed by Trump compared with other presidents  
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Friday, Aug. 9, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Tucson, Arizona, voters to decide city’s sanctuary status on Nov. 5
  2. Trump has appointed the second-most federal judges at this point in his presidency in the last 100 years
  3. What’s the tea?

Tucson, Arizona, voters to decide city’s sanctuary status on November 5

Tucson voters head to the polls Nov. 5 to decide a ballot measure that, if approved, would make Tucson Arizona’s first sanctuary city.

The initiative would include a declaration of Tucson’s sanctuary status and add a new section to the city’s code that would:

  • restrict law enforcement officers from actions to determine a person’s immigration status under certain conditions;
  • prohibit officers from contacting federal law enforcement agencies to determine a person’s immigration status; and
  • prohibit city employees from inquiring about a person’s immigration status, among other policies.

The group Tucson Families Free and Together submitted about 18,000 signatures on July 3, two days before the deadline, to qualify the initiative for the November general election ballot. They were required to collect 9,241 valid signatures. The Pima County Recorder reviewed a random sample of petition signatures and determined there were enough valid signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot. This sent the initiative to the city council, which had two options—either approve the initiative and enact it into law without an election, or put it on the ballot. The council voted August 6 to place the measure on the ballot. 

All three of Tucson’s Democratic mayoral candidates—Randi Dorman, Regina Romero, and Steve Farley—and independent mayoral candidate Ed Ackerley oppose the initiative. Tucson will hold partisan primary elections for mayor and three city council seats Aug. 27. The general election is Nov. 5. U.S. Sen. Martha McSally (R) and declared 2020 U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly (D) have also stated that they oppose the measure. 

Ballotpedia’s analysis of municipal immigration policies in August 2017 found that 32 of the nation’s 100 largest cities by population self-identified as sanctuary cities or maintained sanctuary policies. At that time, 30 of the 32 cities that identified as sanctuary jurisdictions had Democratic mayors. The other two had Republican mayors.

Learn more


Beyond the headlines

Currently, there are 22 Republican and 14 Democratic trifectas. With 5 states holding elections this year those totals could change.

Find out how in our latest episode of Beyond the Headlines.???????

Trump has appointed the second-most federal judges at this point in his presidency in the last 100 years 

Three years into his presidency, Donald Trump has appointed 146 Article III federal judges through August 1. Looking back through history to the Theodore Roosevelt administration, only Bill Clinton appointed more judges—156—through the same point during his first term. 

Presidents appoint Article III federal judges for what can be life terms and must be confirmed by the Senate. These include judges on the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeal, U.S. District Courts, and the Court of International Trade. 

From the Theodore Roosevelt administration to the present, the average number of presidential judicial appointments through Aug. 1 of their third year in office is just over 80. 

Here are some other takeaways about presidential judicial appointments through this point:

  • The median number of Supreme Court appointments is two. William Taft (R) appointed the most—five. Trump has appointed 2 justices—Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh—so far.
  • The median number of U.S Court of Appeals appointees is 18. Trump has appointed the most among this group of presidents through Aug. 1 of this third year with 43. His 43 appointments comprise 24% of the 179 judgeships on the appeals courts.
  • The median number of U.S. District Court appointees is 54, with Clinton appointing the most with 128. Trump has appointed 99 district court judges, or 15% of the 677 district court judgeships.

Learn more→

Here’s another weekly edition of our ”What’s the tea?” question so you can tell us what you think.  

Please click on the answer that most closely matches your opinion. 

The August 8th edition of the Brew included two local election stories—from the district attorney primary in Queens, New York, to city council and local ballot races in Seattle. 

Do you feel that news about local politics and government gets covered adequately in your area—not just on Ballotpedia, but from all sources?


2020 Democrats travel to Iowa for state fair

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 8, 2019: The 2020 Democrats converge upon Iowa as the state fair begins Thursday. Kamala Harris made a six-figure ad buy in Iowa.


Notable Quote of the Day

“When we talk about how gender and sexism affect elections, usually what we’re really talking about is how women fare. But gender has always been an important factor on the campaign trail, even when both major-party candidates are the same sex. ‘When two men are running against each other, we end up with a contest between two different versions of masculinity,’ said Jackson Katz, an educator and the author of Man Enough?: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and the Politics of Presidential Masculinity. …

Take the 2004 campaign, for instance. George W. Bush and John Kerry both leaned hard into photo ops that would emphasize their machismo — taking excursions to shooting ranges, posing with veterans and troops, even riding motorcycles. But Republicans, in particular, sought to portray Kerry as effeminate and unpatriotic, like when he was mocked for ‘looking French.’ Meanwhile, Kerry’s running mate, John Edwards (who was later criticized for his expensive haircuts) was infamously dubbed ‘the Breck Girl of politics’ by Republican strategists because of his attention to his coiffure.

So any candidate who runs against Trump will have to grapple with this dynamic — even if the Democrats ultimately nominate a man.”

– Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, FiveThirtyEight senior writer


  • The Iowa State Fair begins today and most of the Democratic field is scheduled to speak at the Soapbox over the next few days. Julián CastroJohn DelaneyTulsi GabbardMarianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang will speak Friday.

  • Michael Bennet appeared on The Daily Show Wednesday night, discussing his legislative record and policy proposals. 

  • Joe Biden opened several campaign offices in Iowa Wednesday and appeared at the launch of the Iowa City office.

  • Cory Booker held his first campaign event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wednesday night.

  • Steve Bullock spoke at the National Press Club about gun violence, racism, and electability.

  • Pete Buttigieg campaigned in Orlando, Florida, attending a private event with members of the Puerto Rican community and a grassroots rally.

  • Buttigieg hired Mike Baccio as his in-house chief information security officer, which Politico called a first for a major 2020 presidential candidate. He also expanded his campaign in New Hampshire, bringing the total number of staffers to 40.

  • Mike Gravel, who suspended his presidential campaign Tuesday, clarified that he was endorsing both Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard.

  • Kamala Harris made her first 2020 ad buy, spending $145,000 on an ad introducing herself to voters that will air in Iowa for a week beginning Thursday.

  • John Hickenlooper wrote an op-ed in The Des Moines Register criticizing the Trump administration’s tariffs.

  • Amy Klobuchar kicked off her Heartland Tour Wednesday. She will campaign across Iowa for four days.

  • The Jamaican Information Service interviewed Wayne Messam about his heritage and U.S. relations with Jamaica.

  • Seth Moulton denied a Washington Post report that said he planned to lay off at least half of his staff, saying his campaign had recently undergone a restructuring that included new hires.

  • Beto O’Rourke will not make a scheduled stop at the Iowa State Fair this weekend, remaining in El Paso to support the community following a mass shooting.

  • Tim Ryan said he would lead a caravan, in coordination with Moms Demand Action, from his congressional district to Kentucky, Mitch McConnell’s home state, to call on Congress to pass gun legislation. 

  • In an interview on PBS NewsHourTom Steyer spoke about climate change, gun violence, and corporate influence in politics.

  • Elizabeth Warren proposed creating an Office of Broadband Access that would administer an $85 billion grant program to guarantee high-speed internet access across the country.


  • Real estate developer Stephen Ross is hosting Donald Trump at a fundraiser Friday. Tickets for a private roundtable discussion with Trump are $250,000.

Flashback: August 8, 2015

Bernie Sanders ended a Seattle campaign event early after two Black Lives Matter activists took control of the podium.

Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Delaney and Williamson most active presidential campaigners in early primary states

Today’s Brew looks at the most active presidential campaigners in the four early primary states + highlights the Seattle, Washington election results  
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Thursday, August 8 Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Delaney and Williamson most active campaigners in early states
  2. Seattle’s election results
  3. Six weeks after election day this race is over – what took so long?

Delaney and Williamson most active campaigners in early states

Ballotpedia has compiled the number of days each Democratic presidential candidate spent in the four early primary states—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada—between January 1 and July 29 this year.

Former Rep. John Delaney was the most active campaigner in Iowa, while author Marianne Williamson spent the most days in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. Where candidates focus their campaigns can hint at primary strategy and where they are trying to fortify coalitions. 

Here are the top states for the candidates who have qualified for the September debate:

Former Vice President
Joe Biden


Sen. Cory Booker

Iowa and South Carolina

South Bend Mayor
Pete Buttigieg


Sen. Kamala Harris

South Carolina

Sen. Amy Klobuchar


Former Rep.
Beto O’Rourke


Sen. Bernie Sanders


Sen. Elizabeth Warren


We will update this data with more analysis next week and will continue to update it as the primary season progresses. See the full details and our methodology at the link below.

Learn more



Seattle’s election results

Preliminary results for Tuesday’s primary for seven seats on the Seattle City Council showed the three incumbents seeking re-election in the lead. Seattle uses a vote-by-mail process and King County Elections will count ballots each day until the primary results are certified on August 20. To advance to the November 5 general election, candidates must win a plurality of the vote. The results below are current as of Wednesday morning.

For the races where incumbents filed for re-election:

  • District 1: Incumbent Lisa Herbold led her two opponents with 48 percent of the vote. Phil Tavel was second with 34 percent.
  • District 3: Incumbent Kshama Sawant led with 33 percent of the vote, and Egan Orion had 24 percent; the nearest challenger of the four others was Pat Murakami with 14 percent.
  • District 5: Incumbent Debora Juarez led with 43 percent and Ann Davison Sattler had 28 percent. In third was John Lombard with 14 percent. Six candidates appeared on the ballot.

For the open races:

  • District 2: Tammy Morales led with 44 percent and Mark Solomon was second with 24 percent in the seven-candidate field.
  • District 4: Alex Pedersen led with 46 percent, and Shaun Scott was second with 20 percent. Ten candidates are running in District 4.
  • District 6: Dan Strauss and Heidi Wills led with 31 percent and 23 percent, respectively, in the 14-candidate field.
  • District 7: Andrew Lewis led with 29 percent and Jim Pugel was second with 27 percent. Ten candidates are running.

Voters also approved two local ballot measures Tuesday. 

  • Proposition 1 in Seattle authorized the city to levy for seven years a property tax of $0.122 per $1,000 in assessed property value with annual increases of up to 1% to fund library operations, materials, and maintenance and capital improvements. 
  • Proposition 1 in King County authorized the county to levy for six years a property tax of $0.1832 per $1,000 in assessed property value to replace an expiring tax, with annual increases and with revenue for parks, recreation, open space, public pools, zoo operations, and aquarium capital improvements.

Learn more→

Six weeks after election day this race is over – what took so long?

On Tuesday, public defender Tiffany Caban conceded the Democratic primary for Queens, New York district attorney to Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D), ending a six-week-long dispute over the election’s outcome. 

The primary to succeed Richard Brown, who died in May 2019 after 28 years in office, drew national attention after presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren endorsed Caban. Political observers compared the race to last year’s Democratic primary for a Queens-based Congressional seat in which Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) unseated fourth-ranked House Democrat Joseph Crowley (D). Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Caban while Crowley fundraised for Katz. 

On June 25, Caban appeared to be the winner with a lead of 1,100 votes over Katz. But after absentee and provisional ballots were certified July 3, Katz took a lead of 20 votes. The city’s elections board completed a full manual recount on July 29 which found Katz ahead by 60 votes. Caban challenged the recount results before the Kings County Supreme Court, saying that the board had invalidated a number of ballots which she argued should have been counted. In his ruling Tuesday, Judge John G. Ingram found that most of the ballots named in Caban’s challenge were not valid, meaning there were not enough ballots remaining in question to change the election’s result.

89,858 votes were cast in the 2019 Democratic primary, while 3,777 votes were cast for the office at the last election in 2015. Katz will face attorney Daniel Kogan (R) in the November 5 general election.

Learn more→


Policy updates: the 2020 presidential election edition

2020 presidential election: policy update

Many of the laws governing presidential elections, including primary/caucus rules and ballot access procedures, are established and enforced at the state level. With the 2020 presidential campaign season well underway, let’s take a look at some noteworthy developments dealing with election law for presidential candidates.

California enacts law requiring presidential, gubernatorial candidates to disclose tax returns

On July 30, Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed SB 27 into law, requiring presidential and gubernatorial candidates to file copies of their last five federal income tax returns with the California secretary of state in order to qualify for the primary election ballot. The law took immediate effect.

  • In a statement, Newsom said, “The disclosure required by this bill will shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interests. The United States Constitution grants states the authority to determine how their electors are chosen, and California is well within its constitutional right to include this requirement.”
  • Also on July 30, Republican presidential candidate Roque De La Fuente sued Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) in U.S. District Court, alleging that SB 27 violated Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution, as well as the First and Fourteenth Amendments. On August 1, Judicial Watch, on behalf of four California voters, filed a separate federal suit challenging the law. On August 6, President Donald Trump and his campaign committee filed another separate suit challenging the law, as did the Republican National Committee and the California Republican Party.
  • Legal professionals have differed in their initial assessments of SB 27. Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, “This new law raises some very interesting and novel constitutional issues. Because it is novel, it is hard to know how the courts would go, but there is plenty of reason to think courts will be hostile to California’s requirements.” Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, said, “Although most cases dealing with ballot access have involved state and local elections, the constitutional principles are the same: State governments may set conditions for being listed on the ballot so long as they serve important interests and do not discriminate based on wealth or ideology.” Gene Schaerr, a constitutional lawyer who has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, said, “I see it as a serious problem on both constitutional grounds and especially on policy. You can imagine a host of other disclosures that states might want to adopt. If California could do this, some people would undoubtedly want to know whether candidates have ever been treated for a mental illness or denied insurance.”

2020 presidential primary, caucus, and nominating convention schedule

The 2020 presidential primary, caucus, and nominating convention schedule is nearly complete. Listed below are noteworthy instances of states that changed either the dates or formats of their nominating contest in 2020.

  • California: Primary moved to March 3, 2020. In 2016, it was on June 7.
  • Colorado: Primary established to be conducted March 3, 2020. Colorado’s Democratic and Republican parties held caucuses in 2016.
  • Maine: Primary established to be conducted March 3, 2020. Maine’s Democratic and Republican parties held caucuses in 2016.
  • Minnesota: Primary established to be conducted March 3, 2020. Minnesota’s Democratic and Republican parties held caucuses in 2016.
  • Utah: Primary established to be conducted March 3, 2020. Utah’s Democratic and Republican parties held caucuses in 2016.

For a complete list of important dates in the 2020 presidential election cycle, see this article.

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 August 7, 2019

Map Redistricting legislation at the state and city levels in the United States

Electoral systems legislation as of August 7, 2019

Electoral systems August 2019 map

Primary systems legislation as of August 7, 2019

Primary systems August 2019 map

Buttigieg and Inslee unveil plans to address domestic terrorism

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 7, 2019: Pete Buttigieg and Jay Inslee released plans to address domestic terrorism. Mike Gravel suspended his presidential campaign and endorsed Bernie Sanders.


Notable Quotes of the Day

“Elizabeth Warren just has a gigantic campaign [in Nevada]. There are counties all over rural areas where some campaigns are just doing tours, but she has staff there. And that was a strategy President Obama had in 2008 when he won Nevada.”

– Laura Martin, executive director of Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada

“One of [Kamala] Harris’ biggest assets is geography. Not only is California next door, Democrats and union members from the state are frequently imported into Nevada to help political campaigns there. Harris’ campaign, an adviser acknowledged, wants to run a ‘two-state strategy’ that takes advantage of the kinship between the two states and the fact that absentee voting in California’s March 3 primary will be going on during Nevada’s caucus, which ends Feb. 22.”

– Marc Caputo, Politico reporter


  • The Iowa State Fair begins Thursday and most of the Democratic field is scheduled to speak at the Soapbox in the next week. Joe Biden and Steve Bullock will kick off the campaign speeches on Thursday.

  • Bill de Blasio will be the first 2020 Democratic candidate to appear on Fox News’ Hannity Wednesday.

  • Roughly 60 Cory Booker campaign staffers have unionized with representation from Teamsters Local 238.

  • Pete Buttigieg unveiled a $1 billion plan to combat domestic terrorism and radicalization, which would expand the FBI’s domestic counterterrorism field staff, target online hate speech with software tools, and include new gun legislation on background checks and magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition, among other policy proposals.

  • John Delaney continues his six-day swing through Iowa.

  • Kirsten Gillibrand begins her “Kitchen Table Tour” of Iowa, traveling across the state with her family in an RV.

  • Mike Gravel suspended his presidential campaign and endorsed Bernie Sanders.

  • Politico compared the size, location, and preparation of Kamala Harris’ and Elizabeth Warren’s field operations in Nevada and other campaigns.

  • John Hickenlooper has not ruled out a potential bid for U.S. Senate in Colorado. He spoke with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer about a possible run last week. “He is still in the race for president, but he hasn’t closed the door to anything,” said Hickenlooper’s communications director.

  • Jay Inslee released a 10-point plan to address gun violence connected to white nationalism. His proposals included increasing federal funding for de-radicalization programs, spending more resources on joint federal-state investigations of white nationalists, and using extreme risk protection orders.

  • Amy Klobuchar issued her farming communities platform, which includes expanding federal commodity price supports and federal crop insurance programs, tariff review, loan forgiveness for agricultural students, increasing the use of ethanol, and infrastructure improvements.

  • Seth Moulton said he would remain in the race despite not qualifying for the first two primary debates. He toured two defense contractor manufacturing facilities in Massachusetts Tuesday.

  • Sanders appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience, discussing primary politics, healthcare, pharmaceutical costs, and marijuana.

  • In an interview with CBS News, Joe Sestak discussed U.S.-North Korea relations.

  • In an interview on The Daily ShowMarianne Williamson spoke about the debates, campaign finance, healthcare, vaccines, and antidepressants.


  • Donald Trump sued California, challenging the constitutionality of a state law requiring presidential candidates to disclose income tax returns in order to appear on the ballot.

  • Trump will visit El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, to meet Wednesday with the communities affected by the weekend’s mass shootings.

Flashback: August 7, 2015

Marco Rubio said he did not support abortion or exceptions in the case of rape or incest, clarifying a position he took in the previous night’s debat

Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Here’s what happened in Tuesday’s gubernatorial primary in Mississippi

Today’s Brew highlights the results of Mississippi’s gubernatorial primary + who’s leading in Ballotpedia pageviews among Democratic presidential campaigns  
 Ballotpedia's Daily Brew
Welcome to the Wednesday, August 7, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Hood (D) wins nomination for governor of Mississippi, GOP race undetermined
  2. Williamson had most Ballotpedia pageviews among Democratic presidential campaigns last week
  3. Join us for today’s Ballotpedia Insights session on market research

Hood (D) wins nomination for governor of Mississippi, GOP race undetermined

Attorney General Jim Hood defeated seven other candidates to win the Democratic nomination for governor of Mississippi. With 40% of precincts reporting, Hood received 70.1% of the vote and Michael Brown was second with 9.9% of the vote. 

The results from Mississippi’s Republican primary had not yet been determined to make it into this morning’s Brew.

Voters in Mississippi are electing a successor to term-limited Gov. Phil Bryant (R) in the general election November 5. To win the governorship, a candidate must win a majority of the statewide vote and carry a majority of state House districts. If no candidate meets both requirements, the election is decided by the state House. Bryant won the past two gubernatorial general elections with more than 60% of the vote. The last Democrat to win election as governor of Mississippi was Ronnie Musgrove in 1999.

Learn more


Williamson campaign profile received most Ballotpedia pageviews among Democratic presidential candidates last week 

Marianne Williamson’s (D) campaign page received the most Ballotpedia pageviews among Democratic candidates—7,588—during the week of July 28 to August 3, which was during the second round of Democratic presidential debates. This is Williamson’s second time leading Democratic candidates in pageviews. The first time was the week of the first round of Democratic debates in June. 

Each week, we report the number of pageviews received by 2020 presidential campaigns on Ballotpedia. These numbers show which candidates are getting our readers’ attention. 

Williamson’s pageviews represented 8.1% of the pageviews for all Democratic presidential campaigns. Tulsi Gabbard received 7.0% of Democratic candidate pageviews for the week, while Joe Biden received 6.8%.  

Here are the Democratic candidates with the largest number of pageviews on Ballotpedia over the last five weeks:

  • Week ending 8/3: Williamson, 7,588 views
  • Week ending 7/27: Biden, 3,185 views
  • Week ending 7/20: Kamala Harris, 3,772 views
  • Week ending 7/13: Harris, 3,594 views
  • Week ending 7/6: Harris, 4,678 views

Pete Buttigieg’s campaign still leads Democrats in lifetime pageviews with 97,150. Andrew Yang again has the second-most lifetime pageviews after surpassing Harris last week. Harris’ lifetime pageviews had surpassed Yang’s the week before. Yang currently has 84,124 pageviews to Harris’ 83,846. 

The chart below displays the top 10 candidates who received the most pageviews for the week of August 3.

Learn more→


Join us for today’s Ballotpedia Insights session on market research

There’s still time to join us for today’s Ballotpedia Insights session with Adam Probolsky on market research. Probolsky has served as a pollster and strategic advisor on hundreds of successful crisis communications and public affairs projects, as well as local, county and statewide initiatives and candidate campaigns.

In our Ballotpedia Insights series, we host a subject matter expert and ask them tailored questions designed to gain insight into their work. We’ve conducted them with political and legal scholars, researchers, reporters, and authors. They’re a fantastic chance to “go deeper” into some interesting topics from some of the leading professionals in politics and policy.

Ballotpedia’s Director of Outreach, Sarah Rosier, will interview Probolsky on the state of market and opinion research on elections and public policy. This research is used by decision-makers and campaigns on a wide variety of topics and this session will help you understand how it’s done and why it matters. Sarah and Adam will also discuss how market research is different from polling and the changes Adam’s seen in the field over his career

The session begins at 1 pm ET and there’s still time to register.  Just click the link below—we’ll see you then! 

Click here to register →


Bold Justice: 21 federal judicial nominees confirmed in July

Welcome to the August 5 edition of Bold Justice, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S. Starting with this issue, I’m handing the reins to Sara Reynolds, our top SCOTUS expert on staff. You’ll be in good hands with her knowledge and insight of the federal court system.

Enjoy the rest of summer stress-free knowing we’ve got your back when it comes to news! Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to the Daily Brew for the most up-to-date political information.

The SCOTUS justices are on their summer recess. The 2019-2020 term will begin October 7. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ upcoming term.

The Federal Vacancy Count tracks vacancies, nominations, and confirmations to all United States Article III federal courts in a one-month period. This month’s edition includes nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from June 27 to July 31, 2019.


  • Vacancies: There have been seven new judicial vacancies since the June 2019 report. As of July 31, 114 of 870 active Article III judicial positions on courts covered in this report were vacant—a vacancy percentage of 13.1 percent.

    Including the United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, 123 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.

  • Nominations: There have been two new nominations since the June 2019 report.
  • Confirmations: There have been 21 new confirmations since the June 2019 report. Vacancy count for July 31, 2019 A breakdown of the vacancies at each level can be found in the table below. For a more detailed look at the vacancies on the federal courts, click here.

Vacancy count for July 31, 2019

A breakdown of the vacancies at each level can be found in the table below. For a more detailed look at the vacancies on the federal courts, click here.

New vacancies

The following judges left active status, creating Article III vacancies. As Article III judicial positions, they must be filled by a nomination from the president. Nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.

Courts with the most vacancies

The Central District of California, the District of New Jersey, and the Southern District of New York have the most vacancies of the U.S. District Courts.

  • The Central District of California
    • Nine vacancies out of 28 total positions.
    • Longest vacancy: Five years. Judge Audrey Collins took senior status in October 2012 and retired from the court on August 1, 2014.
    • Most recent vacancy: One month. Judge Andrew Guilford assumed senior status on July 5, 2019. Three nominations are pending.
  • The District of New Jersey
    • Six vacancies out of 17 total positions.
    • Longest vacancy: Four and one-half years. Judge William Martini assumed senior status on February 10, 2015.
    • Most recent vacancy: Ten weeks. Judge Jose Linares retired May 16, 2019.
    • No nominations are pending.
  • The Southern District of New York
    • Six vacancies out of 28 total positions.
    • Longest vacancy: Four years. Judge Paul Crotty assumed senior status on August 1, 2015.
    • Most recent vacancy: Almost 10 months. Judge Richard Sullivan was elevated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit on October 11, 2018.

For more information on judicial vacancies during President Trump’s first term, click here.

New nominations

President Trump has announced two new nominations since the June 2019 report.

  • Lee Rudofsky, to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
  • R. Austin Huffaker, to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.

The president has announced 193 Article III judicial nominations since taking office January 20, 2017. The president named 69 judicial nominees in 2017 and 92 in 2018. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

New confirmations

Between June 27 and July 31, 2019, the Senate confirmed 21 of the president’s nominees to Article III courts.

Since January 2017, the Senate has confirmed 144 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—99 district court judges, 43 appeals court judges, and two Supreme Court justices.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.

Or, if you prefer, we also maintain a list of individuals President Trump has nominated.

We’ll be back September 9 with a new edition of Bold Justice.


Ohio public-sector worker appeals decision denying a refund for previously paid union fees

On July 25, Nathaniel Ogle, an Ohio public-sector worker who is seeking a refund of previously paid union fees, appealed his case to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit after a U.S. District Court ruled against him.

  • Who are the parties to the suit? Ogle is the plaintiff. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTWLDF) represents him in the case. The defendant is the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA), an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. The Ohio Civil Service Employees Association represents approximately 30,000 state and local government employees.
  • What is at issue? Ogle’s attorneys, citing Janus, argue union fees previously deducted from his and other employees’ paychecks should be refunded. Janus established that compelling public-sector workers to pay union dues and/or fees violates their free-speech and associational rights under the United States Constitution.
  • How did the lower court rule? On July 17, U.S. District Court Judge George Smith ruled the union had acted in good faith when it collected fees from Ogle and other employees because, before Janus, judicial precedent had upheld the legality of compulsory fees. Smith wrote, “Because OCSEA collected fees under a presumptively valid statute and pursuant to then-valid Supreme Court precedent, there is no way that OCSEA ‘knew or should have known that the statute upon which they relied was unconstitutional.’ Put another way — OCSEA was simply following presumptively valid law.” Smith was appointed to the court by President Ronald Reagan (R).
  • What are the responses?
    • Mark Mix, NRTWLDF president, said, “In this case and others being litigated with Foundation legal aid, workers seek the return of just a few years’ worth of unconstitutionally seized forced union fees as the statutes of limitations permit, which represents just a fraction of the fees union bosses have illegally collected from workers for decades.”
    • In response to a request for comment by The Center Square, Sally Meckling, communications director for OCSEA, said she could not comment on ongoing litigation.
  • The case name and number are Ogle v. Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, AFSCME, Local 11 (2:18-cv-01227).

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 101 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 August 2, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart August 2, 2019.png

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

Union Station partisan chart August 2, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions on relevant bills since the beginning of the year. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state and then by bill number.

  • Massachusetts H3854: This bill would authorize employers to disclose personal employee information to unions. It would also permit unions to require non-members to pay for the costs associated with grievance and arbitration proceedings. It would require employers to provide unions with access to employees, and it would allow for dues deduction authorizations to be irrevocable for a period of up to one year.
    • House and Senate rejected governor’s proposed amendments. Returned to governor July 31.

DNC clarifies qualifying period for October debate

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 6, 2019: The Democratic National Committee clarified the qualifying period for the October debate. Tulsi Gabbard will be off the campaign trail for two weeks to complete National Guard training.


How many candidates have won the presidency without winning more than 60% of the vote in any state?

Notable Quote of the Day

“Post-debate coverage matters as much, if not more, than the debate itself. Our hypothesis is that by quantifying the audience value of earned media, you can effectively use it as an early predictor of changes in the polls because so much of the polling in a crowded primary is reflective of name recognition.”

– David Seawright, Deep Root Analytics


  • The Democratic National Committee clarified that the qualification period for the October debate began June 28—the same as for the September debate—and ends two weeks before the debate. As a result, any candidate who qualifies for the September debate will automatically be eligible for the October event. Other candidates will have at least three additional weeks to reach the fundraising and polling threshold. The date for the October debate has not yet been set.

  • Michael Bennet will campaign in South Carolina, making four stops in rural school districts to discuss segregation and education Tuesday.

  • Joe Biden spoke about grief and the mass shootings in an interview on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360.

  • Politico interviewed Bill de Blasio about Medicare for All, gun violence, and gun legislation.

  • Cory Booker will campaign in South Carolina for a second day Tuesday, including a stop at the Mother Emanuel AME Church—where a mass shooting took place in 2015—to speak about gun violence.

  • In an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, Steve Bullock spoke about the 1994 school shooting death of his nephew, Jeremy, and gun violence.

  • The Pete Buttigieg campaign is courting superdelegates early, holding a conference call with some Monday to ask for their support and discuss policy.

  • Julián Castro appeared on MSNBC and CNN to discuss the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings Monday night.

  • Tulsi Gabbard will leave the campaign trail for two weeks to complete Army National Guard training in Indonesia.

  • The Kamala Harris campaign is opening four New Hampshire offices in Manchester, Nashua, Keene, and Portsmouth to serve as organizing hubs for her run.

  • John Hickenlooper is beginning a five-day tour of Iowa, finishing off with an appearance at the Iowa State Fair.

  • Amy Klobuchar spoke at an event hosted by the Orange County California Democrats Monday night.

  • In an interview on Pod Save AmericaBeto O’Rourke said he favored ending the Senate filibuster in order to pass gun legislation.

  • Tim Ryan paused his campaign to remain in Dayton, Ohio, where a mass shooting took place. He said he planned to remain in the city until Tuesday or Wednesday.

  • KPBS interviewed Bernie Sanders about affordable housing, homelessness, and Medicare for All in San Diego.

  • National Review profiled Joe Sestak and his presidential campaign.

  • Tom Steyer appeared on The Trail: From New Hampshire to the White Housepodcast, speaking about corporate engagement in politics and his late campaign launch.

  • Marianne Williamson tweeted she was 19,500 unique contributors away from the fundraising threshold for the September debate.


  • Washington Examiner profiled Mike Pence’s efforts to engage conservative and evangelical support for Donald Trump

Flashback: August 6, 2015

Ten Republicans debated in the first presidential primary debate of the 2016 election cycle.

2020 candidates respond to El Paso, Ohio mass shootings

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 5, 2019: The 2020 presidential candidates respond to mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Tulsi Gabbard crossed the fundraising threshold for the third Democratic debate in September.

There are eight new candidates running since last week, including two Democrats and two Republicans. In total, 807 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Day

“Under the traditional model for American presidential politics, winning candidates veer left (or right for the Republicans) in the primaries and then scamper back towards the center for the general election. So the real question is whether the leading Democrats have already staked out positions that would prevent the eventual nominee from modulating his or her tone in the fall of 2020.”

– Walter Shapiro, The Guardian


  • The 2020 Democratic candidates responded to the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, in formal statements, interviews, and tweets. Candidates focused on Trump’s rhetoric on immigrants, congressional inaction, and gun violence policies.
  • Joe BidenKamala HarrisAmy Klobuchar, and Bernie Sanders will speak on Latino issues at the UnidosUS Annual Conference in San Diego on Monday.
  • Michael Bennet campaigned across northern Nevada in Carson City, Reno, and Sparks on Sunday.
  • Biden’s affiliated PAC, American Possibilities, will shut down in the coming months.
  • While campaigning in Los Angeles, Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks interviewedBill de Blasio about campaign finance and the mass shootings.
  • Pete Buttigieg‘s New Hampshire state director, Michael Ceraso, departed from the campaign.
  • John Delaney began a six-day swing through Iowa Sunday.
  • Tulsi Gabbard crossed the donor threshold of 130,000 unique contributors for the third Democratic presidential primary debate in September. She has not yet passed the polling threshold.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the Funding Attorneys for Indigent Removal (FAIR) Proceedings Act Friday, which would guarantee legal counsel for children, victims of abuse or violence, and those at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
  • Beto O’Rourke canceled campaign events Saturday through Monday to return to his hometown in El Paso, Texas, following a mass shooting.
  • Tim Ryan campaigned in Iowa, hosting events in Nevada, Indianola, Atlantic, and Council Bluffs.
  • Joe Sestak held a coffee with the candidate campaign event in Iowa Saturday.
  • More than 41 percent of donors who contributed to more than one presidential candidate through the ActBlue platform donated to Elizabeth Warren—the highest percentage of any candidate—according to a BuzzFeed analysis.
  • Marianne Williamson discussed mental health treatment, electability, and her spiritual beliefs on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday.
  • Andrew Yang called for a new federal domestic terrorism statute that would better allow law enforcement the resources to investigate domestic terrorism cases.


  • Katrina Pierson will lead the African Americans for Donald Trump coalition set to launch after Labor Day.
  • Trump called the weekend’s mass shootings part of a “mental illness problem” Sunday. Monday morning, Trump tweeted, “Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform.”
  • The Nevada Republican Party will vote Sept. 7 whether to cancel the state primary. If approved, caucuses will still be held to choose delegates.

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

  • Attorney Michael Avenatti said he is again considering running in the Democratic presidential primary. “The Dems need a non-traditional fighter. They have a lot of talent but not a lot of fighters,” he said, adding that there was a 50/50 chance he would enter the race.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: August 5, 2015

The Hillary Clinton campaign made a $2 million ad buy in New Hampshire and Iowa focused on Clinton’s biography.