The Daily Brew: Less than one month until Seattle’s City Council elections

Today’s Brew highlights Seattle’s upcoming races for seven city council seats + Trump appoints a seventh judge to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals  
The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Thursday, July 11, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Seattle to elect 7 of 9 council members one year after repealing housing tax proposal
  2. Senate confirms third appeals court judge this year without support from both home-state senators
  3. Federal judge blocks Trump administration rule requiring drug price disclosure in television ads

Seattle to elect 7 of 9 council members one year after repealing housing tax proposal

Seattle voters will elect seven of nine city council members later this year in races which have attracted $1.2 million in public financing and $308,000 in satellite spending. All of the outside spending has been by the political action committee of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which has raised over $900,000. Amazon—which has its headquarters in Seattle—has contributed $200,000 of that amount. 

In 2018, the city council unanimously passed a law that would have required businesses grossing at least $20 million to pay $275 per employee to fund affordable housing programs for the homeless. The proposal faced criticism from Amazon and the Chamber of Commerce. One month after its passage, seven of nine council members voted to repeal the tax.

Three incumbents are running for re-election in their districts and there are four open seats. The Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee has spent $308,000 in support of nine candidates across the seven districts, including challengers to two incumbents. Across all seven elections, 55 candidates are running. In 2015, 37 candidates filed to run for the same seven seats.

This is the second city council election in which candidates can participate in a public campaign financing program involving voter vouchers. Eligible Seattle residents received four $25 vouchers each, which they could distribute among council candidates of their choosing. As of last week, 42 candidates were participating in the program, and $1.2 million had been distributed among 32 candidates.

This is also the second election in which voters will elect district representatives to the city council. Seattle passed a charter amendment in 2013 that changed the city council from nine at-large positions to seven positions elected according to districts and two at-large members. The nonpartisan primary elections are on August 6 and the top two finishers in each district will advance to general elections November 5.

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New Beyond the Headlines Video

Vice President Mike Pence has cast 13 tie-breaking votes in the Senate as of June 25, 2019. Find out how that compares to previous vice presidents and learn which bills Pence has broken the tie on. Watch now→


Senate confirms third appeals court judge this year without support from both home-state senators 

The U.S. Senate confirmed Daniel Bress along party lines to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit Tuesday. President Donald Trump (R) nominated Bress in February to succeed Judge Alex Kozinski, who was appointed to the court by Ronald Reagan in 1985.

After Bress assumes his seat, the 9th Circuit will have 28 active judges. Of those 28, 16 judges were appointed by Democratic presidents and 12 were appointed by Republicans:

  • 9 by President Bill Clinton

  • 5 by President George W. Bush

  • 7 by President Barack Obama

  • 7 by President Trump

The Ninth Circuit is the largest federal appeals court, with 29 judicial positions. The second largest—the Fifth Circuit—has 17 judgeships.

Neither Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) nor Sen. Kamala Harris (D) of California returned blue slips for Bress’ nomination. A blue slip is the name for a piece of paper a home-state senator returns to the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to show his or her approval of a federal judicial nominee and are considered a senatorial courtesy. The Judiciary Committee chairman determines the policy he or she applies to how blue slips impact the confirmation process. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)—who became chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee in January 2019—said he would follow the blue slip tradition for district court nominees but not for appeals court nominees. There are 179 federal appeals court judgeships and 677 district court judgeships. Graham has also stated that the lack of a blue slip should not prevent a judicial nominee from moving forward in the confirmation process. Bress is the third appeals court judge confirmed by the Senate in 2019 without support from both home-state senators.


Federal judge blocks Trump administration rule requiring drug price disclosure in television ads

In May, I brought you the story about a new federal rule requiring pharmaceutical companies to include the list price of certain prescription drugs in television advertisements. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)—an agency within the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)—intended to make Medicare and Medicaid administration more efficient by giving beneficiaries of the programs more information about the costs of drugs. 

The rule—which was set to take effect Tuesday—was blocked by a federal judge’s ruling in a lawsuit brought by three pharmaceutical companies and the Association of National Advertisers. The plaintiffs argued that Congress did not grant the HHS authority to regulate drug advertising and that the rule amounted to compelled speech in violation of the First Amendment.  

Federal judge Amit Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia—who was appointed by President Obama in 2014—prevented the measure from taking effect, ruling Monday that the HHS exceeded its authority under the Social Security Act to adopt it. Mehta’s opinion stated, in part, “The plain statutory text simply does not support the notion—at least not in a way that is textually self-evident—that Congress intended for the Secretary to possess the far-reaching power to regulate the marketing of prescription drugs.”

After the decision, a White House spokesperson released a statement which said, “It is outrageous that an Obama appointed judge sided with big PhRMA to keep high drug prices secret from the American people, leaving patients and families as the real victims.”



Seven presidential candidates speak at LULAC conference

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

June 11, 2019: Seven presidential candidates are scheduled to speak at the League of United Latin American Citizens annual conference Wednesday through Friday. Joe Biden delivers a foreign policy speech Thursday.

Daily Presidential News Briefing - Poll One (June 28 - July 1, 2019)
        Daily Presidential News Briefing - Poll Two (July 6 - July 8, 2019)

Notable Quote of the Day

“You have a [Attorney General William] Barr hearing or a [Supreme Court Justice Brett] Kavanaugh hearing or impeachment-related hearings — you’re in front of millions and millions of people. The exposure that members of Congress get is tremendous and governors don’t get that. I did not have a lot of people asking me to go on national television to explain which roads I was building to ease congestion in Virginia. It was not a sexy topic.”

– Terry McAuliffe (D), former governor of Virginia


  • Elizabeth Warren reintroduced the Climate Risk Disclosure Act, which would require companies to disclose information about climate risks like greenhouse gas emissions. Michael BennetCory BookerKirsten GillibrandKamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar cosponsored the bill. 
  • Julián CastroBeto O’RourkeBernie Sanders, and Warren are participating in a town hall hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens at their annual conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Thursday night. John Delaney spoke at the opening banquet Wednesday. Booker and Marianne Williamson will speak at conference events Friday.
  • Joe Biden will deliver a foreign policy speech in New York Thursday focused on three pillars: strengthening democracy in the U.S. and abroad, helping the middle class succeed in a global economy, and coordinating global action to combat world issues like climate change. Biden also posted a video called “The Trump Doctrine” criticizing Trump’s foreign policy approach.
  • Bill de Blasio said he would either push Congress to amend the Amateur Sports Act to require gender pay equity in national sports or use an executive order to achieve the same end.
  • Booker introduced a bill that would prohibit the U.S. Census Bureau from including citizenship information when supplying redistricting data.
  • While campaigning in Iowa City, Steve Bullock said he opposed eliminating all student debt and compared the debt to the billions held in car loans. He said employer-assisted debt repayment should not be taxed.
  • In an interview on NPR’s Morning EditionPete Buttigieg discussed his black voter outreach efforts and “Douglass Plan,” which he says will address systemic racial inequality.
  • Tulsi Gabbard tweeted that she had more than 97,000 unique donors. The threshold for the third presidential debate is 130,000.
  • Gillibrand begins her “Trump Broken Promises Tour” through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. She will campaign in Pittsburgh Thursday.
  • Jay Inslee said he opposed the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline, which runs between the Great Lakes, and the plan to replace it with a new pipeline tunnel.
  • Seth Moulton supported an amendment to the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that would prohibit federal money from funding a war with Iran without congressional approval.
  • The Cedar Rapids Gazette wrote about Joe Sestak’s campaign stop in Iowa July 5, where he spoke about climate change.
  • In an interview with The AtlanticTom Steyer discussed why he changed his mind about running for president. 


What We’re Reading

Flashback: July 11, 2015

In an interview with The New York Times, Bernie Sanders said his politics came from looking at issues from a class perspective. “I’m not a liberal. Never have been. I’m a progressive who mostly focuses on the working and middle class,” Sanders said.

Steyer spends $1.4 million on national and early state ad campaign

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 10, 2019: Tom Steyer spent $1.4 million on a national and early state ad campaign introducing himself to voters. Marianne Williamson’s Iowa state director, Brent Roske, has joined John Delaney’s campaign.

 Facebook Ad Spending (July 1 - July 7)

Notable Quotes of the Day

“Campaigns offer a chance not only to tell people what kind of president you’ll be, but to show it. [Elizabeth Warren is] running her campaign the way she intends to govern: willing to question existing power structures, making decisions grounded in evidence, and always fighting to build something more progressive, more inclusive, more joyful — and more democratic — than what came before.”

– Joe Rospars, 2020 Warren chief campaign strategist

“Quality has cost. I’d rather have Jim Margolis [who is working for Kamala Harris] on my side and pay some fees than ‘Larry’ in a cubicle in-house who is learning media buying. Not having a pollster is just running on outsized hubris and ego, I think. But maybe [the Warren campaign has] an in-house pollster next to Larry.”

– Mike Murphy, former Right to Rise PAC chief strategist


  • The third Democratic primary debate will be held in Houston, Texas, on September 12 with an optional second night on September 13. ABC News and Univision will host the event.

  • More than a dozen Democratic presidential candidates have called on Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to resign for his involvement in negotiating a plea agreement for Jeffrey Epstein in a 2008 sex trafficking case.

  • Michael Bennet spoke about prescription drug costs and the advise and consent responsibility of the U.S. Senate during an event at the Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C., Tuesday.

  • According to financial disclosure forms released Tuesday, Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, made more than $15 million in the two years following his departure from the vice presidency through book deals and speaking engagements. They paid $5.2 million in taxes over those two years and donated $1.3 million.

  • Teen Vogue interviewed Cory Booker about his gun violence prevention policy and experience living in a neighborhood with gun violence.

  • VICE News released a video profile of Steve Bullock on the campaign trail while other candidates were participating in the first Democratic debates.

  • Julián Castro said Tuesday that in addition to decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings, he advocates repealing the law that makes it a felony to reenter the U.S. after deportation.

  • In an interview with the USA Today editorial board, John Delaney discussed his BetterCare healthcare system, the Green New Deal, criminal justice, and foreign policy. “This election is going to be fought in the center,” Delaney said.

  • Kirsten Gillibrand spoke at the “Politics & Eggs” event in Manchester, New Hampshire, and discussed conservative positions she previously held on gun legislation and immigration.

  • The Mike Gravel campaign shared its transportation policy, which calls for nationalizing railways, redirecting funding from highways to public transportation, and creating an interstate bikeway system.

  • Kamala Harris and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a bill Wednesday that would make it easier for people with criminal records to obtain federal housing assistance.

  • In an interview with The Des Moines RegisterJohn Hickenlooper said he had rebooted his campaign and planned to spend more time campaigning than fundraising.

  • In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Jay Inslee spoke about climate changeand the Trump administration.

  • Amy Klobuchar discussed her work as a prosecutor and the Jeffrey Epstein case in an interview on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews.

  • Wayne Messam is hosting a meet and greet in South Carolina Saturday.

  • Seth Moulton co-wrote an op-ed in the Salem Gazette on addressing combined sewer overflow and water infrastructure issues in Massachusetts.

  • In a Medium post, Beto O’Rourke discussed his campaign trip through Tennessee.

  • Tim Ryan discussed the U.S. economy and China tariffs in an interview with Bloomberg.

  • Bernie Sanders wrote an op-ed in Fortune outlining his plan to cancel $1.6 trillion in student debt and make public colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeship programs tuition- and debt-free.

  • Tom Steyer spent $1.4 million on two ads promoting his campaign. The ads will run for two weeks nationally on CNN and MSNBC and locally in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.

  • The Elizabeth Warren campaign has not hired an outside polling firm and is producing TV and digital media internally, according to a Politico report. Her campaign has over 300 staffers.

  • Brent Roske resigned from Marianne Williamson’s campaign as Iowa state director to join Delaney’s campaign. Paula Roby will serve as the interim Iowa state director for Williamson. 

  • Andrew Yang said that his Universal Basic Income proposal would acknowledge the work of caregiving and empower women to leave exploitative jobs or relationships.


  • Donald Trump invited Republican lawmakers, political strategists, and conservative social media personalities to the White House to discuss the “opportunities and challenges of today’s online environment.”

Special Guest Analysis: Trump and Ballot Policies

Jim Ellis is a 35-year political veteran who now analyzes election data for major corporations, associations, and legislative advocacy firms. He is president of EllisInsight, LLC. We invited him to share analysis of the presidential race.

Several states have pending legislation that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to qualify for their 2020 ballot. The move is targeted at President Trump who has yet to release his tax returns. But, would denying ballot placement in opposition states actually hurt him?

A contrary argument exists to suggest that Mr. Trump and other Republican candidates in states like California and New York might actually receive some tangential benefits from the President not appearing on the ballot.

First, Trump’s name being absent on opposition state ballots wouldn’t change the Electoral College outcome. He will likely concede the most non-competitive places at the outset and spend no campaign money in doing so. Therefore, his ballot placement in these states becomes irrelevant.

Second, when Mr. Trump then loses the national popular vote, he can claim the count is illegitimate because he was barred from competing in several states that would have obviously changed the final totals. Additionally, it might make attempting to change individual Electors’ votes in the 21 states that do not legally bind them to their state total a more difficult argument if no national popular vote tally exists.

Third, without Mr. Trump’s name on the ballot in places like California and New York it’s possible that other Republican candidates could see a slightly more favorable political climate because the sharp edge found in the presidential contest would be removed, at least to some degree. Thus, some anti-Trump voters may become disinclined to participate if they actually can’t vote against him, causing them to believe the process would become a useless exercise.

In summation, should income tax disclosure legislation actually be enacted the Democrats and not President Trump might well become victims of their ballot chicanery.

Flashback: July 10, 2015

Several Republican presidential candidates attended the annual National Right to Life convention in New Orleans, Louisian

The Daily Brew: Murphy wins GOP runoff in NC-03 special primary

Today’s Brew highlights the outcome of the GOP primary for the special election in North Carolina’s 3rd District + breaks down SCOTUS’ reversal rate during this past term  
The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Wednesday, July 10, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Murphy wins Republican primary runoff in NC-03
  2. Supreme Court reversed nearly 65% of lower court rulings in its October 2018 term
  3. Your June state legislative party update—52.3% Republicans, 47.0% Democrats

Murphy wins Republican primary runoff in NC-03

State Representative Greg Murphy defeated Dr. Joan Perry to win the Republican primary runoff in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District. Murphy received 59.7% of the vote to Perry’s 40.3%. Murphy had finished first among 17 candidates in the April 30 Republican primary with 22.5% of the vote. Perry was second in that race with 15.4%. 

Murphy will face Allen Thomas (D) and Tim Harris (L) in the September 10 special election. That election will fill the vacancy left by Walter Jones (R), who died on February 10.Inside Elections rates the special election “Solid Republican.” President Trump carried the district in the 2016 presidential race, receiving 60.5% of the vote.

Murphy and Perry split support from outside groups and members of Congress. Murphy received the support of Rep. Mark Meadows, the House Freedom Caucus, and the National Rifle Association. Perry received the support of all 13 Republican women in Congress, Winning for Women Action Fund, and FreedomWorks for America. Earlier this week, Rudy Giuliani recorded robocalls on behalf of Murphy, and Newt Gingrich recorded robocalls on behalf of Perry.

Learn more

Supreme Court reversed nearly 65% of lower court rulings in its October 2018 term 

The Supreme Court is the court of last resort in our judicial system. That means one role SCOTUS serves is to be the final arbiter, and thereby at times overturn previously decided cases. After each term concludes, we publish the court’s reversal rate. The Supreme Court reversed the ruling by a lower court in 48 of the 74 cases—64.9%—it decided in its October 2018 term that concluded last month. This is the lowest rate since the October 2015 term when the court reversed 63.2% of lower court rulings and is 5 percentage points lower than the court’s overall reversal rate since 2007 of 69.8%.

There are two primary outcomes once the Supreme Court agrees to hear a case. It can either affirm the lower court’s ruling or reverse it. Almost all cases heard by the court originate in a lower court—either one of the 13 appeals circuits, state-level courts, or U.S. district courts.

The court concluded its most recent term last month, but our team is still analyzing the data behind their decisions. Here are three more highlights:

  • Since 2007, the Supreme Court has released opinions in 923 cases. Over that period, it reversed the lower court decision 644 times and affirmed it 261 times.
  • During the term that just ended, the court issued rulings in more cases that originated from the Ninth Circuit—14—than any other lower court. It reversed the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in 12 of them.
  • Over the Supreme Court’s last 12 terms—dating back to 2007—it has decided more cases originating from the Ninth Circuit—181—than from any other lower court. 

We’ve crunched even more numbers about the court’s reversal rate and the number of decisions by circuit dating back to 2007 that I’m sure you’re going to want to explore. Just click the link below. But be warned, you might lose track of time while you’re there.

Learn more→


Your June state legislative party update—52.3% Republicans, 47.0% Democrats

As of the end of June, 52.3% of all state legislators were Republicans and 47.0% were Democrats. The remaining seats were vacant or held by members of other political parties.

There are a total of 7,383 state legislative seats in the country. Republicans held 3,862 of those seats and Democrats controlled 3,467. Independent or third-party legislators held 33 seats and 21 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:

Party control

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.

Learn more→


Tom Steyer launches 2020 presidential campaign

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 9, 2019: Tom Steyer launched his 2020 presidential campaign. Eric Swalwell became the second notable Democratic presidential candidate to suspend his campaign.


Which was the only presidential election where a major party nominated a Supreme Court justice?

Notable Quote of the Day

“I promised my family, constituents, and supporters that I would always be honest about our chances. After the first Democratic presidential debate, our polling and fundraising numbers weren’t what we had hoped for, and I no longer see a path forward to the nomination. My presidential campaign ends today.”

– Eric Swalwell, U.S. representative from California


  • Joe Biden said he opposed Medicare for All because the program could not coexist with the Affordable Care Act. He called for expanding government-run coverage under the ACA.

  • The pro-Cory Booker super PAC Dream United launched a black voter outreach and mobilization campaign in South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Maryland. The cost of the program was not disclosed, but the group’s founder, Steve Philips, previously pledged $10 million to support Booker.

  • Steve Bullock will campaign in Iowa Tuesday and Wednesday, marking his sixth campaign trip to the state.

  • LGBTQ Victory Fund made its first presidential endorsement in the organization’s history, announcing its support for Pete Buttigieg Monday.

  • Buttigieg returned to South Bend, Indiana, to address the city’s Common Council following a police-involved shooting last month. He said he would ask the Board of Public Safety for a community-oriented review of policing, including the use of deadly force, body cameras, and suspect pursuit policies.

  • Julián Castro announced he had reached the 130,000-donor threshold to qualify for the third and fourth Democratic primary debates Monday. Castro also campaigned in Omaha, Nebraska.

  • In an interview on New Hampshire Public Radio, Tulsi Gabbard discussed her meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2017 and named World War II as an example of justifiable force. She also appeared on CBS News.

  • The Washington Post profiled Kirsten Gillibrand’s campaign, retail politics, and polling performance. 

  • Gillibrand also released a television and digital ad her campaign called the “first anti-Trump television attack ad of the 2020 presidential cycle.” The ad will air in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan markets.

  • Kamala Harris discussed race and electability in an interview with the Associated Press.

  • The Washington Post reported on John Hickenlooper’s campaign through Iowa, writing, “Hickenlooper’s pitch is that he can appeal to both liberal Democrats and the white working-class voters who have flocked to Trump.”

  • Amy Klobuchar has hired Nick Maines and Nick Paul to work as organizing directors in New Hampshire. She has 18 total staff members in the state.

  • Seth Moulton proposed increasing the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, eliminating the rate difference between long term capital gains and income taxes, and hiring more IRS auditors to increase tax enforcement.

  • Tim Ryan campaigned in New Hampshire Tuesday, including a meeting with the state’s Stonewall Democrats.

  • Along with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders is introducing a resolution calling for a national mobilization of resources to combat climate change Tuesday.

  • In an interview with The Center SquareJoe Sestak said he delayed entering the presidential race because his daughter was recovering from brain cancer. He said his campaign would focus on his military background.

  • Tom Steyer launched his presidential campaign Tuesday morning. “The other Democratic candidates for President have many great ideas that will absolutely move our country forward, but we won’t be able to get any of those done until we end the hostile corporate takeover of our democracy,” he said in a statement.

  • Eric Swalwell suspended his presidential campaign Monday due to fundraising and polling challenges.

  • Elizabeth Warren raised $19.1 million in the second quarter of 2019, tripling the amount she raised in the first quarter. She currently stands behind Buttigieg and Biden in fundraising totals this quarter.

  • Marianne Williamson sent a fundraising email on Mike Gravel’s behalf, encouraging her supporters to help him reach the donor threshold for this month’s debate.

  • Andrew Yang proposed the American Mall Act, which would invest $6 billion to transition shopping malls for new purposes.


  • Donald Trump delivered a speech on his administration’s environmental policies at the White House Monday.

Flashback: July 9, 2015

The pro-Jeb Bush super PAC Right to Rise announced that it had raised more than $100 million over the previous six months.

Iowa and Nevada Democrats can caucus by phone in 2020



Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 8, 2019: Iowa and Nevada Democrats will be able to vote by phone in the 2020 caucuses. Kamala Harris raised $12 million in the second quarter of 2019.

While financial reports for the second quarter of 2019—covering April through June—are not due to the Federal Election Commission until July 15, some presidential candidates announced their fundraising amounts last week. Here’s a chart of the figures we know so far.

There are eight new candidates running since last week, including one Democrat and four Republicans. In total, 766 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Day

“I’ve long believed [the Democratic field] will winnow down substantially come Thanksgiving. I haven’t seen anybody to cause me to reconsider that. And if anybody is hanging on through Iowa outside the top six, we’re talking about a cabinet tryout or vanity.”

– Mike McCauley, Democratic strategist


  • The Democratic state parties in Iowa and Nevada announced voters will be able to participate in their state’s caucus over the telephone.
  • Dana Bash, Don Lemon, and Jake Tapper will moderate the July 30-31, 2019, Democratic primary debates. CNN will also broadcast a live drawing for the debate stage lineups on July 18.
  • Michael BennetBill de BlasioCory BookerPete ButtigiegKamala HarrisBeto O’Rourke, and Elizabeth Warren spoke at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana, over the weekend.
  • In an interview on CNN Friday, Joe Biden discussed the first Democratic presidential debate, his comments on desegregation and busing, and Donald Trump. He also said he supported spending $100 billion to improve school infrastructure during a speech at the National Education Association forum in Houston.
  • Booker spoke with Reno Gazette-Journal about his Nevada ties, affordable housing, charter schools, and a transition to Medicare for All during his swing through Nevada.
  • Steve Bullock, who entered the presidential race halfway through the second quarter, raised $2 million. 
  • Buttigieg announced a minority-focused small business plan that would allow individuals who qualify for Pell Grants to defer their student loan payments and potentially forgive their loans if they start a business. His plan would also establish a $10 billion fund for minority-owned businesses.
  • Julián Castro campaigned in Nevada and Iowa over the weekend.
  • In an interview on CBS’ Face the NationJohn Delaney said he opposed decriminalizing border crossings
  • Tulsi Gabbard campaigned across New Hampshire over the weekend, including parades in Bradford and Franconia.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand campaigned through all 10 New Hampshire counties.
  • The Mike Gravel campaign tweeted that it was “nearing its conclusion,” although Gravel was still attempting to qualify for the second presidential debate.
  • Harris raised nearly $12 million in the second quarter of 2019, which matched her first quarter fundraising. Her campaign said she raised $2 million the day after the first presidential debate in June.
  • John Hickenlooper held two campaign events in Aspen, Colorado, before heading to Iowa over the weekend. He discussed the health of his campaign following several staff departures, saying that “the vast majority of the problem with the campaign was me not being as good of a messenger as I need to be.”
  • Jay Inslee issued his education policy platform Friday. Connecting education to addressing climate change, Inslee called for investing more in STEM, upgrading school infrastructure, and establishing universal pre-school and free or reduced college tuition.
  • Amy Klobuchar unveiled her Progress Partnership education policy on Friday, which would provide federal funds to states that increase teacher pay, update their high school curriculum, and establish a process to repair schools statewide.  
  • Seth Moulton discussed his presidential campaign, patriotism, and military service in an interview on ABC This Week
  • Beto O’Rourke campaigned in Nashville Sunday, marking his first trip to Tennessee as a presidential candidate.
  • Politico published an article examining the difference between Bernie Sanders’ 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns.
  • Joe Sestak tweeted about his border policy Saturday, writing that the National Mass Care Strategy should be implemented for relief services and reunification, the Northern Triangle countries should receive aid money, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement should be expanded.
  • After canceling his New Hampshire campaign swing over the weekend, Eric Swalwell will hold a news conference Monday afternoon.
  • Warren wrote an op-ed in Essence and a Medium post introducing her plan to achieve pay equity for women of color. Her proposal focuses on companies that contract with the federal government.
  • Daily Beast profiled Marianne Williamson’s 2014 congressional campaign for California’s 33rd Congressional District.
  • Andrew Yang will appear on The View on ABC News Monday morning.


  • The Donald Trump campaign is expected to focus on Biden’s record in the Senate, rather than tenure as vice president, if he wins the Democratic presidential nomination.
  • Bill Weld raised $688,000 in the second quarter of 2019 from 7,000 donors.

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

  • Justin Amash announced that he was leaving the Republican Party in a Washington Post op-ed on July 4. Over the weekend, he said he would not rule out running for president.
  • Tom Steyer told Need to Impeach and NextGen America staff members last week that he planned to announce a presidential run Tuesday, according to a report from The Atlantic.

General Election Updates

  • According to Advertising Analytics, political ad spending in the 2020 presidential election will likely exceed $2.7 billion. 

What We’re Reading

Flashback: July 8, 2015

Martin O’Malley called for freezing state tuition rates and connecting tuition to the state median income in his plan to make education at public universities debt-free.


The Daily Brew: Nearly half of this year’s state legislative races lack both a Democratic and Republican candidate

Today’s Brew highlights the number of elections in 2019 that only feature candidates from one of the two major parties + a special offer on the Almanac of American Politics  
The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Tuesday, July 9, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 49% of 2019’s state legislative elections lack either a Democratic or Republican candidate
  2. Order the 2020 Almanac of American Politics with a Ballotpedia discount
  3. Recall election of Nebraska councilwoman concludes today

49% of 2019’s state legislative elections lack either a Democratic or Republican candidate

Nearly half of all state legislative seats up for election in 2019 have only one Democratic or Republican Party candidate. 

Overall, 192—48.7%—of state legislative elections held this year lack either a Democratic or Republican candidate. 

By comparison, 2,017, or 33.2%, of 2018’s state legislative elections had only one major-party candidate. There were 746—12.3%—races that did not have a Democratic candidate and 1,271—20.9%—without a Republican one.

Four states—Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia—are holding regularly scheduled state legislative elections this year for 538 seats. The filing deadline has passed in three of those states—for 394 of those seats—since Louisiana’s filing deadline is on August 8. 

Of those 394 seats, 91 do not have a Democratic candidate on the ballot, and another 101 do not have a Republican candidate.

Here is a breakdown of the statistics for each state:

  • Mississippi has 174 state legislative seats up for election. Of those, 78 (44.8%) do not have a Democratic candidate and 55 (31.6%) do not have a Republican candidate. Overall, 133—76.4%—of Mississippi’s state legislative elections lack a candidate from one major party. In Mississippi’s previous state legislative election in 2015, 116, or 66.7%, seats did not have a Democratic or Republican candidate.. 

  • New Jersey will elect all 80 members of its state assembly. All of them feature a Democratic candidate but three do not have a Republican candidate. In 2017, two of the state’s 120 state legislative races lacked either a Democratic or a Republican candidate. In 2015, eight of the 80 state legislative seats up for election had no major-party opposition. 

  • Virginia has 140 state legislative seats on the ballot. Of those, 13 (9.3%) do not have a Democratic candidate and 43 (30.7%) do not have a Republican candidate. Overall, 56, or 40%, of Virginia’s state legislative elections lack a candidate from one of the two major parties. This percentage is the same as in 2017 when 40 out of 100 House of Delegate seats lacked either a Democratic or Republican candidate. In 2015, 91—65.0%—of the 140 state legislative seats up for election had no major-party opposition. 

Mississippi has a Republican trifecta while New Jersey is a Democratic one. Virginia currently is under divided government with a Democratic governor but a Republican-held state House and state Senate.

Learn more

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The Almanac of American Politics has been an essential reference for anyone interested in the nation’s political landscape since 1972. This year, Ballotpedia returned to team up with the Almanac authors to produce the 2020 version, bringing up-to-date, extensive coverage of political figures and scenes across the nation. Ballotpedia readers can receive 10% off by using the code BPALMANAC at checkout. 


Recall election of Nebraska councilwoman concludes today

Last month, Ballotpedia released our mid-year recall report which analyzed all recall efforts through the first 6 months of 2019. For example, the report notes that 41 city council members faced recall campaigns in the first half of the year—more than any other type of officeholder. 

One such recall is in Humboldt, Nebraska, where voters have until today to submit their ballots in the recall election of City Councilwoman Dolores Martinez. The election is being conducted by mail with ballots sent to voters on June 17. 

The recall effort began in April 2019. Recall organizer Jamie Lynne Dorney accused Martinez of failing to act in the best interest of the city and having acted unprofessionally and unethically. In her statement of defense, Martinez called the accusations ambiguous and unverified.

Humboldt is located 80 miles southeast of Lincoln, Nebraska, and had a population of 877 as of the 2010 census. Recall supporters submitted petitions with 81 signatures to put the recall on the ballot. Fifty-six signatures—35% of the total vote cast for that office in the last general election—were required.

Our mid-year report summarizes the number of recalls that were initiated, placed on the ballot, and successful by state and office—all compared with prior years. It’s packed with lots of interesting data—you can read it by clicking the link below.



The Daily Brew: Presidential candidates begin to release Q2 fundraising figures

Today’s Brew highlights the money game  among 2020 White House hopefuls + 2019’s ballot measure law changes  
 The Daily Brew

Thanks for joining us for last week’s Summer Camp. The other Ballotpedia staff members and I enjoyed looking back at the first six months of the year, previewing the stories we’re curious about in the weeks ahead, and sharing pictures of our fun-loving pets. We also loved hearing from you—our incredible readers—and learning about your summer plans and interests. Obviously, we don’t know what will happen during the rest of 2019, but we’re excited to have you following all of it with us! 
Welcome to the Monday, July 8, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Trump re-election campaign announces it raised $54 million in second quarter
  2. Fourteen states have approved changes to ballot measure laws in 2019
  3. Republican primary runoff tomorrow in NC-03

Trump re-election campaign announces it raised $54 million in second quarter

While financial reports for the second quarter of 2019 are not due to the Federal Election Commission until July 15, some presidential candidates announced their fundraising amounts last week. Here’s a quick rundown as we await the official figures next week. These campaign finance reports summarize amounts raised from April 1 through June 30, 2019. 

  • President Donald Trump’s (R) campaign announced that it raised $54 million during the second quarter through his re-election campaign and related committees. For comparison, President Barack Obama (D) raised $46.3 million during the same time period in 2011.
  • Among the Democratic candidates who have released fundraising totals so far, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) received $24.8 in the second quarter, more than tripling the $7 million he raised in the first quarter.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) raised $24 million during this period, which included $6 million that was transferred from previous campaign accounts, His campaign reported that nearly half of his contributions came from donors under the age of 39.
  • In his first reporting period as a 2020 presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden (D) raised $21.5 million. He announced that he was running on April 25.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D) raised $12 million, which matched her first quarter fundraising. Her campaign said she raised $2 million the day after the first presidential debate last month.

Learn more

Fourteen states have approved changes to ballot measure laws in 2019 

In order to cover the ballot measures that will appear before voters, our team must stay abreast of the laws that govern how measures appear on the ballot. Each month, our ballot measures team produces a report detailing the legislation surrounding ballot initiatives, veto referendums, referrals, local ballot measures, and recalls. 

Fourteen states have approved 29 such proposals in 2019. Five were constitutional amendments that will be decided by voters in 2019 or 2020. 

The Idaho Legislature also approved two additional measures that were vetoed by the governor. Five citizen-initiated measures directly related to initiative and referendum laws were also filed in Florida, Missouri, and South Dakota. Here are some of the most significant proposals:

  • Arkansas legislators approved a constitutional amendment which will be decided by voters in 2020. The measure increases the state’s distribution requirement for signatures on citizen initiatives and requires that the legislature approve proposed constitutional amendments by a  supermajority vote. It also changes the deadlines for submitting signatures and legal challenges to citizen initiatives.
  • Arkansas also enacted a law that changes when the ballot title and popular name of citizen initiatives are approved to after signatures on such a measure are submitted and made other changes to the state’s initiative processes.
  • Maine lawmakers approved bills requiring that ballot language be written as simply as possible and public hearings be held for direct initiatives that have been certified by the Secretary of State.
  • Utah legislators approved five bills changing the initiative process, including:
    • changing signature requirements, 
    • requiring county clerks to post the names of those who sign an initiative petition on county websites, 
    • requiring funding sources to be specified, and 
    • establishing rolling signature submission deadlines.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) issued a legal opinion in May that the distribution requirement and other provisions restricting the state’s initiative process that were enacted in 2018 are unconstitutional. Her opinion is binding for state officials unless a court ruling overturns it. Two lawsuits have been filed challenging Nessel’s ruling—including one filed by the state legislature. Michigan is one of 14 states under divided government. Republicans control the state legislature and a Democrat holds the governor’s office.

As of June 25, Ballotpedia was tracking 216 legislative proposals in 34 states. We tracked 203 ballot measure law change proposals in 34 states in 2018 and 213 bills in 37 states in 2017.

Learn more→


Republican primary runoff takes place tomorrow in NC-03

The second half of the year kicks off with a marquee election tomorrow in North Carolina, where State Representative Greg Murphy and Dr. Joan Perry are running in the Republican primary runoff in the state’s 3rd Congressional District. 

Murphy was endorsed by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the House Freedom Caucus, and the National Rifle Association. Perry received the support of all 13 Republican women in Congress, Winning for Women Action Fund, and FreedomWorks for America.

Murphy has raised $544,000 and spent $449,000 on the race through June 19, which is more than Perry’s $374,000 and $319,000, respectively. However, outside groups have spent more in support of Perry. Satellite spending supporting her has totaled $879,000 and groups backing Murphy have spent $589,000.

The winner of the runoff will face Allen Thomas (D) and Tim Harris (L) in a special election September 10. This election will fill the vacancy left by Walter Jones (R), who died on February 10. In 2018, Jones won a three-way Republican primary and was unopposed in the general election. He received 67% and 68% of the vote in the 2016 and 2014 general elections, respectively. Inside Elections rates the special election “Solid Republican.”  

Four special elections have been called during the 116th Congress. Three of those are for seats in the U.S. House, and one is for a seat in the U.S. Senate—which will occur in 2020. Fred Keller (R) won the special election in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District on May 21. The special election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District will be held September 10.

Learn more→


Trump raises $54 million in second quarter



Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 3, 2019: Donald Trump raised $54 million in the second quarter of 2019. Bernie Sanders raised $18 million.

Have a happy Fourth of July! We’ll see you next Monday, July 8.

Facebook Ad Spending (June 24 - June 30)

Notable Quotes of the Day

“The Democratic shift to the left in absolutely every area of policy at once may or may not motivate ever-more people to vote for them — but it’s quite unlikely to help them carry more states. Which means it’s unlikely to get them a victory in the actual election they need to win.”

– Damon LinkerThe Week senior correspondent

“Polling suggests voters, and independents, support a popular vote rather than the electoral college. It also suggests that voters favor the Green New Deal, creating new social programs like Medicare for All and expanded funding for childcare, and Warren’s wealth tax. But you wouldn’t pick up on that from these pleas for Democrats to run as diet Republicans.”

– Matt Herdman, Democratic campaign strategist


  • Michael Bennet raised $2.8 million in the second quarter of 2019. He transferred $700,000 from his Senate committee to bring his total to $3.5 million.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) endorsed Joe Biden Tuesday. 
  • Bill de Blasio will campaign across Iowa, including stops in Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and Iowa City, Thursday.
  • In his immigration plan released Tuesday, Cory Booker said he would phase out the use of private detention centers and contracts with state and county jails. Immigrants would be monitored through detention alternatives.
  • In an interview on Bloomberg’s Balance of PowerSteve Bullock spoke about economic opportunity in states like Michigan and Wisconsin.
  • Story Syndicate began filming a documentary following Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign. Buttigieg also released a national service plan that would increase the number of available service positions and establish a chief service officer serving on the Domestic Policy Council and the National Security Council.
  • Julián Castro discussed campaign fundraising and immigration on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show.
  • John Delaney held his 100th event in New Hampshire Tuesday, marking the most of any presidential candidate.
  • Tulsi Gabbard will campaign across New Hampshire from Thursday through Sunday.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand is scheduled to visit all 10 of New Hampshire’s counties in a weeklong tour of the state.
  • The Mike Gravel campaign tweeted that he was 10,000 donors away from crossing the threshold to qualify for the second presidential debate.
  • Kamala Harris will campaign in Louisiana and South Carolina over the weekend.
  • Five staffers are leaving John Hickenlooper’s campaign, including the previously reported departures of his campaign manager and national finance director. 
  • Jay InsleeTim Ryan, and eight other candidates will speak at the Strong Public Schools Presidential Forum in Texas.
  • Amy Klobuchar said she would not reverse the Trump administration’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
  • Wayne Messam will host a fireworks show in Miramar, Florida, on Thursday.
  • Seth Moulton will campaign in New Hampshire over the weekend.
  • Former Let America Vote president Abe Rakov is joining Beto O’Rourke’s campaign as his early states director.
  • Bernie Sanders raised $18 million in the second quarter of 2019 and transferred another $6 million from other accounts. Since the debate, the campaign said it received nearly 200,000 donations.
  • Joe Sestak discussed his presidential campaign on Bloomberg’s Sound On.
  • Eric Swalwell is campaigning in New Hampshire Wednesday.
  • Elizabeth Warren campaigned in Las Vegas Tuesday. She also called on former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who left the agency in April, to resign from his new position on Pfizer’s board.
  • Marianne Williamson led the Democratic candidates in Ballotpedia pageviews last week, increasing her pageviews from the previous week by more than 315 percent.
  • Andrew Yang reached the donor threshold for the third and fourth presidential debates.


  • The Donald Trump presidential campaign and joint fundraising committees raised$54 million in the second quarter of 2019.
  • Bill Weld discussed foreign policy on MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: July 3, 2015

Former Republican National Committee chief of staff Ken McKay joined Chris Christie’s presidential campaign as campaign manager. 


The Daily Brew Summer Camp: Emily, Zoe, & Super Tuesday

Welcome to Camp!  
The Daily Brew: Summer Camp

Emily Aubert's Zoe 

Good morning, Brew readers!
I’m Emily Aubert. You may have seen my name before in Ballotpedia’s presidential coverage.

On March 3, 2020, more than one-third of U.S. voters will have the chance to head to the ballot box to vote in their state’s presidential primary on Super Tuesday.

Are candidates prioritizing early voting states like Iowa—the last four Democratic presidential nominees won the Iowa caucuses, after all—or looking ahead to the Super Tuesday states?  

Former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) has already visited all 99 of Iowa’s counties. He completed that feat in August last year, four months before most Democratic contenders began trickling into the race.

Other candidates are betting on nontraditional paths to the White House. Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro (D) sees one running through the Southwest.

Favorite sons and daughters—like former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) in Texas and Sen. Kamala Harris (D) in California—are counting on home state support to boost their delegate counts.

I’m looking forward to seeing where candidates focus their campaign travel in the next seven months. It could indicate where they believe they need to build coalitions and gain delegates.

Want to know more? Subscribe to Ballotpedia’s Daily Presidential News Briefing. We’re keeping track of all 27 Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns to deliver you the election news that matters each weekday morning.

-Emily Aubert

Subscribe to the presidential briefing

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If your pet is celebrating Ballotpedia Summer Camp, upload a sunglasses photo to social media with the hashtag, #BPSummerCamp! 


Notes from Brew readers like you

What are you doing this summer?
“I am nominally leading a neighborhood fight against an unnecessary section of the interstate 11 in our neighborhood.”

What are your favorite political stories?
“My favorite political stories are about the various politicians. I enjoy reading about recall elections… I also enjoy reading summaries of the Supreme Court’s decisions and what it means for the future.”


Thanks, Maryeileen! 
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