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.

Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Mississippi will elect party nominees for governor Tuesday

Today’s Brew highlights tomorrow’s gubernatorial and state executive primaries in Mississippi + the current partisan composition of the nation’s state legislatures  
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Monday, August 5, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Mississippi voters to decide gubernatorial, other state executive primaries Tuesday
  2. Your July state legislative partisan control update—52.2% Republicans, 47.0% Democrats
  3. Quiz: Which states have state Senate districts with a greater population than congressional districts?

Mississippi voters to decide gubernatorial, other state executive primaries Tuesday

Just one state—Mississippi—has an open-seat governor’s race in 2019 as incumbent Phil Bryant (R) is term-limited. The primaries for that race and 10 other state executive offices take place Tuesday.

Three Republicans are seeking their party’s nod to succeed Bryant—Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., and state Rep. Robert Foster. According to campaign finance reports through July 27, Reeves had raised $5 million, Waller $1.2 million, and Foster $179,000. A late July poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy found Reeves leading Waller with 41% support to Waller’s 31% and Foster’s 13%. The poll surveyed 500 likely primary voters and had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

In the Democratic primary, Attorney General Jim Hood, Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, and six other candidates are running. Hood has served as attorney general since 2004, and, prior to 2015, he was the only Democratic statewide officeholder in the southeastern United States. Hood has raised $1.6 million and Smith $22,000 through July 27. No other Democratic candidate reported raising more than $1,000 through that date.

The last Democrat to win election as governor of Mississippi was Ronnie Musgrove in 1999.Two of three election forecasters tracked by Ballotpedia rate the general election for governor as “Leans Republican” and the other rates it as “Likely Republican.”

There are also contested Republican primaries for lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and state treasurer and a contested Democratic primary for secretary of state. Both parties have contested primaries for two of three seats on the state’s public service commission.

Candidates must win a majority of votes to get the nomination. If no candidate receives a majority in any race, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff on August 27. The general election is November 5.

Learn more



Your July state legislative partisan control update—52.2% Republicans, 47.0% Democrats 

As of the end of July, 52.2% of all state legislators were Republicans and 47.0% were Democrats, which is consistent with previous months this year. The remaining seats were vacant or held by members of other political parties.

There are 7,383 state legislative seats in the country. Republicans held 3,854 of those seats and Democrats held 3,468. Independent or third-party legislators held 34 seats and 27 seats were vacant.

At the time of the 2018 elections, there were 4,023 Republican state legislators, 3,257 Democratic state legislators, 35 independent or third-party state legislators, and 68 vacancies.

The chart below shows the number of state legislative seats controlled by each party as of January of each year:

There are 99 state legislative chambers, as all but one state—Nebraska—has both an upper (state Senate) and lower (state House) legislative body. Republicans hold a majority of seats in 62 state legislative chambers, and Democrats hold the majority in 37. The party that holds a majority of seats in a legislative chamber generally elects the leadership of that chamber and has majorities on various committees. This is currently true for all state legislative chambers except the Alaska House of Representatives, where Republicans have a majority of members but the parties have split control of key leadership positions under a power-sharing agreement.

Learn more→


Which states have state Senate districts with a greater population than congressional districts?

There are just over 747,000 people in the country for each member of the U.S. House of Representatives, based on 2018 census estimates. This number has risen over the years as the nation’s population has grown and the number of U.S. Representatives has remained at 435.

Two states have state legislative chambers that feature an even larger ratio of population to members. Which states have state Senate districts with a greater population than congressional districts?

A.  California and Florida 
B.  California and New York 
C.  California and Texas 
D.  Florida and Texas 


Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: 13 percent of federal judicial posts are vacant

Today’s Brew highlights July‘s federal judicial vacancy count + the August 9 deadline for applying to Ballotpedia’s fall internship program  
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Friday, August 2, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Vacancy rate among federal judges stands at 13.1%
  2. Just one week remains to apply for our fall internship
  3. What’s the tea?

Vacancy rate among federal judges stands at 13.1%

The vacancy rate among federal judges edged down from 13.6% at the end of June to 13.1% at the end of July. Twenty-one new judges have been confirmed since June 26. There were two new nominations and seven new vacancies.

According to Ballotpedia’s federal vacancy count, 114 of the nation’s 870 Article III judgeships are vacant. This includes open judgeships on U.S. Appeals and District Courts as well as on the U.S. Court of International Trade. 

The term Article III refers to the fact that these positions are authorized in Article III of the Constitution, which created and enumerated the powers of the judiciary. Article III judges are nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. .

Judges appointed to these positions serve for life or until they resign, retire, or take senior status. Federal judges can also be impeached and removed from office—something that has occurred eight times in the history of the federal judiciary.

Since taking office in January 2017, President Trump has nominated 193 individuals to Article III positions. The Senate has confirmed 144 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—two Supreme Court justices, 43 U.S. appeals court judges, and 99 U.S. district court judges.

Ballotpedia publishes the federal vacancy count on the last Wednesday of each month. You can also find more information in our free newsletter about all things related to the federal courts—Bold Justice. The next edition comes out August 5—click here to subscribe and have the next issue in your mailbox Monday afternoon.

Learn more



Just one week remains to apply for our fall internship  

The deadline to apply for Ballotpedia’s fall internship program is August 9. It’s a great opportunity for you or someone you know to become part of the online encyclopedia of American politics!

It’s a paid internship—working remotely—and we can arrange school credit for your work, too.

Our interns work alongside current staff members on our Editorial, Communications, Tech, or Outreach teams. You’ll learn how to publish content on Ballotpedia and about all we do to prevent and detect bias in our resources. You’ll also be making contributions to a valuable political resource.

Ballotpedia’s fall 2019 internship program will run from Monday, Aug. 26 through Friday, Dec. 13. Interns will work approximately 20 hours per week depending on their availability. 

Apply or learn more information→

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

All you need to do is read the question and click on the answer that most closely matches your opinion. We’ll share the results with you next week.

As noted above, federal judges have what are, effectively, lifetime appointments. There has been some debate about whether judges, like the president, should serve for a term that lasts a specific number of years. For example, state supreme court justices in 47 states serve for terms of between six and 14 years. Do you agree or disagree with this idea? 

Do you think federal judges should serve terms lasting a certain number of years?

  • A. Yes, federal judges should serve for a specified length of time.
  • B. No, I’m happy with the current system.
  • C. I’m not sure, I need to know more.


2020 Dems head to Las Vegas seeking union support at AFSCME forum

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 2, 2019: At least 19 Democrats are heading to Las Vegas to attend the AFSCME public service forum Saturday. Amy Klobuchar said she had reached the grassroots fundraising threshold to qualify for the September Democratic debate.

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

Maurice Daniel is a longtime Democratic staffer with experience in the public and private sectors.

Previous campaign work:

  • 1996 Bill Clinton presidential campaign, Ohio state director
  • 1988 Dick Gephardt presidential campaign, field staffer

Other experience:

  • 2014-2019: Metro Strategies, principal
  • 2015-2017: Human Rights First, senior director of government relations
  • 2009-2013: Integrated Capital Strategies, managing director
  • 2004-2010: Eye2eye Communications, political consultant
  • 1997-2000: Office of Vice President Al Gore (D), national director of political affairs
  • 1993-1997: Office of Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), chief of staff
  • 1992: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Midwest Political Desk
  • 1989-1991: Democratic National Committee, Midwest policy director

What he says about Williamson:

“The entitled and those entrenched in the establishment do not want to hear a different message. American voters do.”

Notable Quotes of the Day

“AFSCME [is] essentially laying down a marker here, saying this is an important state. This is an important state for labor. [Nevada] is a place you need to come and state your views, and the fact that they chose Nevada for something like that is very, very significant both for the labor movement and the state.”

– Jon RalstonThe Nevada Independent

“As the Democratic Party shifts toward a more progressive identity, [AFL-CIO President Richard] Trumka reminded 2020 candidates that unions would no longer support candidates simply because of their party affiliation. Unions historically played influential roles in getting Democrats elected through get-out-the-vote efforts, canvassing and other campaigning methods.”

– Danielle Wallace, Fox News



What We’re Reading

Flashback: August 2, 2015

In an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, Chris Christie called the national teachers union “the single most destructive force in public education in America.”

July 2019 breakdown of state legislative party membership: 52.2% Republicans, 47.0% Democrats

July’s partisan count of the 7,383 state legislators across the United States shows 52.2% of all state legislators are Republicans and 47.0% are Democrats, which is consistent with previous months.
Ballotpedia also completes a count of the partisan balance of state legislatures at the end of every month. The partisan composition of state legislatures refers to which political party holds the majority of seats in the state senate and state house. Republicans hold a majority in 61 chambers, and Democrats hold the majority in 37 chambers. One chamber (Alaska’s state House) shares power between the two parties.
Altogether, there are 1,972 state senators and 5,411 state representatives. Republicans held 1,084 state senate seats–down two seats from June–and 2,770 state house seats–down six seats. Democrats held 3,468 of the 7,383 state legislative seats–880 state Senate seats (up one seat from June) and 2,588 state House seats (no change). Independent or third-party legislators held 34 seats–down three seats from June. There were 27 vacant seats.
At the time of the 2018 elections, 7,280 state legislators were affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties. There were 3,257 Democratic state legislators, 4,023 Republican state legislators, 35 independent or third-party state legislators, and 68 vacancies.