Biden, Bloomberg release Trump-focused ads

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
January 24, 2020: Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg are airing new ads focused on Donald Trump and the general election. Bernie Sanders will hold campaign events with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Iowa.        

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

Daily Presidential News Briefing, Staffer Spotlight - Nina Smith

Nina Smith is a Democratic staffer with experience in political communications. Wilson received a bachelor’s degree from Morgan State University and a master’s degree from the George Washington University’s School of Political Management.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2010 Martin O’Malley gubernatorial campaign, political and communications coordinator

Other experience:

  • 2016-present: Megaphone Strategies, managing partner, co-owner, and director of media relations
  • 2016: Young Invincibles, communications director
  • 2014-2016: U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, press secretary
  • 2013-2014: Office of Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-Md.), press secretary
  • 2013:, publicist
  • 2012-2013: U.S. Small Business Administration, deputy press secretary
  • 2011-2012: Prince George’s County Office of the County Executive, community liaison for strategic partnerships
  • 2007-2011: Office of Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-Md.)
    • 2009-2011: Public relations liaison
    • 2007-2009: Senior media events coordinator
  • 2005-2007: Maryland Democratic Party, special assistant to the chairman and youth outreach coordinator

What she says about Buttigieg:

“I feel like Pete really gets it, and really understands the challenges women face, whether it’s pay, taking special consideration for our healthcare, and then finally just our safety. These are issues that need to be taken seriously, and it’s very clear in the policy we’re introducing and putting out there that we are taking them seriously.”


Notable Quote of the Day

“Whether it’s 10 percent, 12 percent or 15 percent, I suspect the probability our model spits out for a contested convention will strike some of you as high and others of you as low.

On the one hand, a contested convention has historically been a sucker’s bet. Pundits and reporters love to speculate about the possibility. But out of 18 competitive nomination processes since 1972, none has resulted in what’s uniformly regarded as a contested convention, although some arguably were. (I think the 1976 Republican race probably meets the definition of a nomination whose outcome was uncertain when the convention began. Even that was 44 years ago, however.)

On the other hand, a number of other nominations — including the 2008 Democratic race — have come fairly close to resulting in contested conventions. The 2016 Republican convention could also plausibly have been contested if Republicans had used Democrats’ rules. (Trump got a big boost from winner-take-all and winner-take-most states, which Democratic rules do not allow for).”

– Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight


  • Michael Bennet will campaign in New Hampshire on Sunday with stops in Concord, Nashua, Chester, and Manchester.
  • Joe Biden released an ad focused on electability against Trump on Friday. He will campaign in Iowa over the weekend, including attending a block party co-hosted by the Des Moines NAACP.
  • Michael Bloomberg started airing “Pentagon,” an ad focused on Trump’s critical comments about U.S. military leaders. He opened his Minnesota state headquarters in Minneapolis on Thursday.
  • Pete Buttigieg will hold town halls across Iowa on Saturday with stops planned in Fort Dodge, Storm Lake, and Carroll. A town hall in Des Moines will be broadcast by Fox News on Sunday. VoteVets PAC began airing television ads to support Buttigieg in New Hampshire.
  • John Delaney will speak at an economic forum in New Hampshire on Friday.
  • Tulsi Gabbard is holding town halls in New Hampshire over the weekend with stops in Andover, Moultonborough, and Plymouth.
  • Amy Klobuchar will campaign in Iowa over the weekend with stops in Bettendorf, Waterloo, Ames, and Des Moines.
  • Bernie Sanders will hold campaign events with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and Ames over the weekend. He is airing a new television ad called “Transform This Country.”
  • Tom Steyer hired attorney Omar El-Halwagi as his Texas state director. He will campaign in California on Friday and Nevada over the weekend.
  • Elizabeth Warren will hold town halls across Iowa over the weekend. Her itinerary includes Burlington, Muscatine, and Davenport.
  • Andrew Yang continues his bus tour of Iowa with stops planned in southern and western Iowa this weekend. Former candidate Marianne Williamson will support Yang at an event in Fairfield but said she had not yet endorsed a candidate.


  • NBC News profield Donald Trump’s campaign operations in Iowa, which has more state staffers in 2020 than 2016.
  • Bill Weld spoke with black faith leaders in San Diego on Thursday. He is attending a town hall in New Hampshire on Saturday.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: January 24, 2016

Donald Trump led the Republican field in Iowa and New Hampshire with 34 percent support and 31 percent support, respectively, according to a Fox News poll. Ted Cruz followed in second place in both states with 23 percent in Iowa and 14 percent in New Hampshire.

DNC launches multi-million dollar operation in six battleground states

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
January 23, 2020: The Democratic National Committee begins its first multi-million dollar investment in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona. Donald Trump will attend the annual, anti-abortion March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Friday.  blank    blankblank   

Daily Presidential News Briefing, State Spotlight - New Hampshire

Notable Quote of the Day

“During the 2008 Democratic primaries, the endorsements of black lawmakers were spread out over just four candidates. Just nine Democrats were competing in the primaries at that time. And in 2016, CBC endorsements went to just two of the Democratic candidates.

Although nine candidates have received current endorsements during the 2020 primary, it’s worth noting that most endorsements have gone to Biden — the candidate leading with black voters. This should be of little surprise, given that many black lawmakers in Congress worked with Biden when he was vice president to the country’s first black president and when Biden was a lawmaker himself. …

But despite that, the most influential endorsements for candidates might not be those that come from black lawmakers, but from black mayors — leaders of cities with large black populations, said Bakari Sellers, a CNN political analyst and former state legislator who previously interned for a black lawmaker and a black mayor. This might suggest that political power and influence in black America could increasingly be shifting from Washington to the cities where black voters actually live.”

– Eugene Scott, The Washington Post


  • The Democratic National Committee announced on Wednesday that it would begin its first multi-million dollar investment in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona, calling this initial wave of spending “The Battleground Build Up 2020.”

  • Michael BennetAmy KlobucharBernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren were in Washington, D.C., for the impeachment trial.

  • The Boston Globe profiled Bennet and his New Hampshire state campaign. He launched a new ad in the state contrasting himself with Trump called “Two Weeks at a Time.”

  • Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg endorsed Joe Biden on Wednesday. Biden said he would not testify at the impeachment trial in exchange for certain Trump administration officials to also agree to testify.

  • San Francisco Mayor London Breed endorsed Michael Bloomberg on Thursday. Axios profiled the campaign and data operations of Bloomberg’s staff at his New York City headquarters.

  • Pete Buttigieg will campaign in South Carolina on Thursday with stops in Orangeburg and Moncks Corner.

  • Tulsi Gabbard is continuing to campaign in New Hampshire with a town hall in Claremont on Thursday. She also filed suit against 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, alleging Clinton lied about Gabbard’s connection to Russia and caused $50 million in personal and professional damages.

  • Klobuchar hosted a tele-town hall in Iowa on Wednesday night. She also released a new ad, “Buckle Up,” as part of a six-figure campaign in Iowa.

  • Deval Patrick is continuing to campaign in New Hampshire with stops in Merrimack and Berlin on Thursday.

  • Politico examined Tom Steyer’s campaign operations in South Carolina, where he has spent more than $1.2 million on Facebook ads and $12 million on television and radio ads.

  • Andrew Yang is holding a town hall in Dubuque, Iowa, on Thursday.


  • Donald Trump will attend the annual, anti-abortion March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Friday. The organization’s president, Jeanne Mancini, said it will be the first time a president attends the event.

Flashback: January 23, 2016

The Des Moines Register issued primary endorsements for Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio.

Click here to learn more.

Heart of the Primaries 2020, Republicans-Issue 2 (January 22, 2020)

Filing deadlines

Congressional candidate counter

On the news

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

“Pro-Trump Republican senators contend their home-state constituents oppose impeachment — not just loyal Republicans, but CNN-watching independents as well. They describe constituents back home who see impeachment as a waste of time and a distraction from working on real issues.”

Jim Geraghty, National Review, Jan. 20, 2020

“You want the American people to see a fair and thoughtful process. This is a big-enough issue that people will pay attention in a way they don’t on other issues.”

Michael Steel, quoted in Morning Consult, Jan. 16, 2020

U.S. Congress

Congress overview

Cheney not running for Senate, Friess a question mark in WY

Rep. Liz Cheney will not run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Wyoming. In a statement Jan. 16, she said the House is where she can have the greatest effect:

“Our nation is facing grave security challenges overseas and the House Democrats are working to weaken our president and embolden our enemies. Socialists in congress and among the presidential candidates are threatening our liberty and freedom.

I believe I can have the biggest impact for the people of Wyoming by remaining in leadership in the House of Representatives and working [to] take our Republican majority back.”

Cheney represents Wyoming’s At-Large Congressional District and is chair of the House Republican Conference, making her the third-ranking House Republican. She’s the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. 

The current four-candidate Republican primary field for this safe GOP seat includes former Rep. Cynthia Lummis. According to The Hill‘s Juliegrace Brufke, “Lummis is a favorite amongst the conservative faction of the party.” 

Foster Friess, a businessman and the second-place finisher in 2018‘s Republican gubernatorial primary, announced Jan. 17 he would begin a listening tour in consideration of a Senate bid. The Casper Star Tribune‘s Nick Reynolds wrote that “Friess maintains a strong conservative coalition across the state as well as a sizable ability to self-fund a campaign.”

The filing deadline is May 29. The primary is Aug. 18. Incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi (R) is not seeking re-election. 

Olson endorses Bush to succeed him in TX-22

Retiring Rep. Pete Olson endorsed Pierce Bush in the 15-candidate Republican primary for Texas’ 22nd Congressional District. The primary is March 3.

Olson said that if “Texas 22 goes blue, America goes blue,” and that “one person came across as the person who can win this district in November. That man is Pierce Bush.”

Olson won the district by 5 percentage points in 2018. The Democratic primary features 5 candidates, including Sri Preston Kulkarni, who ran against Olson in 2018.

Bush was CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star. He’s the grandson of George H.W. Bush and nephew of George W. Bush.

Andrew Schneider of Houston Public Media said, “The heart of the district is Fort Bend County, accounting for 70 percent of the vote. And for the last two election cycles, Fort Bend County has been trending Democratic.”

According to Houston Public Media, immigration, flood infrastructure, and transportation are major topics of discussion among Republican candidates.

Texas’ 22nd is one of 36 open House seats and one of 26 currently held by a Republican (another open seat is vacant and was last held by a Republican). Six representatives out of Texas’ 23-member Republican House delegation have announced they will not in 2020.

Republican Main St Partnership PAC backs challenger in IA-04

The Republican Main Street Partnership PAC endorsed state Sen. Randy Feenstra in the Republican primary for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. The current six-candidate field includes incumbent Steve King.

King has been in the House since 2003 and faced his closest election in 2018, when he won by 3 percentage points. 

The PAC’s website states that the “governing Republicans of Main Street have worked together to revive Congress as an effective institution after years of deadlock and extremism.” It is targeting suburban districts in 2020. Democrats picked up several suburban seats in 2018.

King was removed from committee assignments in January 2019 after The New York Times published an interview in which King mentioned white nationalism and supremacy and Western civilization. King has said his comments were taken out of context.

The primary is June 2, and the filing deadline is March 13.

CA Congressional delegation backs Obernolte for CA-08 

State Assemblyman Jay Obernolte announced endorsements from the six members of California’s Republican House delegation, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and 8th District incumbent Paul Cook. 

Cook’s retirement leaves the 8th District seat open in 2020.

The March 3 top-two primary has drawn 10 candidates. Among the five Republicans is Tim Donnelly, who ran against Cook in 2018 and received 40 percent of the vote. Donnelly beat Democrat Marge Doyle for the second-place spot in that year’s top-two primary by 1 percentage point.

State executives

Governors infographic

Utah Rep. Rob Bishop signs on as Thomas Wright’s running mate

Last week, we covered U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop’s decision to endorse former state GOP Chairman Thomas Wright for governor of Utah rather than seek the office himself. On Friday, Wright announced that Bishop would be his running mate. Wright is the first of seven Republicans in the race to select a running mate.

Bishop was elected to the U.S. House in 2002 and earlier served 16 years in the state House, including two as speaker. Local media sources had identified him as a potential gubernatorial candidate after he announced that he wouldn’t seek re-election to the House this year.

Utah abolished the office of secretary of state in 1976 and delegated many of its responsibilities to the lieutenant governor. The office is responsible for overseeing notaries public, authenticating legal documents, overseeing registered lobbyists, and certifying municipal annexations. Utah is also one of two states (the other is Alaska) where the lieutenant governor serves as chief elections officer.

Incumbent Gary Herbert (R) is not running for re-election. The June 30 primary is open to registered Republicans and unaffiliated voters. Utah Republicans have won every gubernatorial election since 1984, marking the longest GOP gubernatorial winning streak in the country. 

Montana State Sen. Al Olszewski picks running mate

Montana state Sen. Al Olszewski announced Friday that freshman state Sen. Kenneth Bogner (R) would be his gubernatorial running mate. Olszewski is the first candidate from either party to name a running mate. Candidates for governor of Montana are required to name a running mate as part of the filing process. State Attorney General Tim Fox, U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, and any other candidates joining the race have until March 9 to file.

Bogner was first elected to represent his eastern Montana state Senate district in 2018. 

You may recall from last week’s edition that Fox, Gianforte, and Olszewski are scheduled to appear in a debate in Billings on Thursday. It will be the first debate between all three candidates.

The June 2 primary is open to all voters. No Republican candidate has been elected governor in Montana since Judy Martz (R) in 2000.


Legislatures infographic

OC GOP rescinds Diep endorsement

The Orange County Republican Party rescinded its endorsement of Assemblyman Tyler Diep (R-72). Chairman Fred Whitaker said, “This is a sad day when an incumbent Republican member of the legislature loses the local party endorsement, but the party felt there had to be accountability for voting patterns.”

Former Assemblyman Matthew Harper, who called for the vote, criticized Diep for being the only Republican to vote in favor of Assembly Bill 5, a bill addressing independent contractors. Harper said Diep was too supportive of public sector unions.

Diep blamed the decision on a small number of political insiders overriding the desires of his full constituency. “While it is disappointing that a few political insiders of the local party drove this, I am confident that voters will know I’m the best candidate to fight for them in Sacramento,” he said.

Former state Sen. Janet Nguyen (R) is the other Republican running in the top-two primary. Commenting on Nguyen’s campaign in December 2019, KCRW said, “Orange County used to be the bedrock of the Republican party in Southern California. But the party is facing an existential crisis.”

Early campaign finance reports show TX GOP civil war may be on hold

The first 2020 campaign finance reports in Texas were released last week. According to The Dallas Morning News, the numbers show that a fight between factions within the state Republican Party could be cooling off. In 2018, factional conflict between moderate Republicans aligned with Speaker Joe Straus and conservative Republicans aligned with the Texas Freedom Caucus played out in 46 Republican primaries across both legislative chambers.

“[Empower Texans and Texas Right to Life], which have funded primary challengers to Republican incumbents in the past, mostly stayed out of most elections this reporting period,” wrote James Barragán and Ariana Giorgi. Mark Jones, a political scientist at Rice University, agreed. “This cycle is different in that the Republican civil war has essentially gone away. We’re not seeing any of that,” he said.

In 2020, Republicans are defending a 19-12 majority in the state Senate and an 82-64 majority with three vacancies in the state House.

One race where the conflict may not have subsided: the race for state GOP chair. Former Florida Congressman Allen West is challenging sitting chair James Dickey. West raised $490,000 (including $250,000 from donor Richard Uihlein) over the past six months, while Dickey raised $18,000.

ND Rep. moves districts and announces he will challenge incumbents

North Dakota Rep. Jim Grueneich (R-12) announced that he and his wife Naomi were moving from their home in District 12 to District 28 to allow Naomi to pursue a career opportunity. Grueneich said he would run in District 28, where incumbents Jeffery Magrum (R) and Michael Don Brandenburg (R) have already announced re-election bids. 

Each North Dakota House district elects two representatives who serve four-year terms. Grueneich and Magrum were each first elected to the House in 2016, while Brandenburg served in the House from 1997 to 2002 before winning election to the chamber again in 2004. Forty-seven of the chamber’s 94 seats are up for election this year. Republicans hold a 79-15 majority.

Power players

A weekly feature on influencers shaping the direction of the party.

“The National Republican Congressional Committee, the only national GOP organization dedicated to defending the House, effectively coordinates and defends conservative House candidates across America.” – NRCC website

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is a national 527 group and subsidiary of the Republican Party that aims to build and maintain a Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives through contributions to Republican candidates and political organizations. 

In February 2019, the NRCC announced 55 Democratic-held districts that it would target in 2020. For a list of those districts, as well as margins of victory for each district in the 2018, 2016, and 2014 elections, click here.

NRCC programs include the Patriot Program, which provides funding and support to incumbent members of the U.S. House running for re-election in battleground districts, and Young Guns, which recruits and supports challengers running for U.S. House seats in battleground districts.

As of December 2019, the NRCC had around $29 million in cash on hand, compared to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s $48 million.

Heart of the Primaries 2020, Democrats-Issue 2 (January 22, 2020)

Upcoming filing deadlines

Congressional candidate counter

On the news

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

“Above all, progressives want to beat Trump. The Democratic front-runners have all pledged to support the eventual nominee no matter who it is. And this week, the leaders of six national progressive organizations sent out a ‘unity statement’ to this effect: ‘While we firmly believe that either Warren or Sanders should lead our nation in 2021, we will, in the end, go all-out to defeat Trump no matter who the Democratic nominee is.’

Still, progressives can’t shake the feeling that they’ve seen this movie before. Like Biden, Clinton was once widely considered to be the safest bet to beat Trump. She wasn’t as radical as Sanders, the thinking went, so she could better appeal to voters straddling the political middle. She was a known quantity, a bridge builder, a shoo-in. But then millions of American voters who once voted for Obama didn’t vote for her. To some lefties, a Biden nomination feels like déjà vu.”

Elaine Godfrey, The Atlantic, Jan 18. 2020

“For all the hand-wringing among Democrats about which nominee would be most able to unify the party heading into November, Biden is also uniquely positioned to win over Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg supporters. When Sanders supporters are asked about their second choice in the primary, unsurprisingly Warren picks up 32 percent, but Biden follows closely at 28 percent. Similarly, Warren backers support Sanders as a second choice by 33 percent, but Biden is also strong at 24 percent — with Buttigieg trailing with 12 percent. Biden also leads among current Buttigieg and Bloomberg supporters by wide margins when asked about a second option.

Pundits and casual political observers are currently promoting the idea that Democratic primary voters are split ideologically into warring camps, but the ‘second choice’ figures paint a different picture of an electorate ready to unify behind Biden as the nominee.”

Kevin Walling, The Hill, Jan. 12, 2020

U.S. Congress

Congress overview

VoteVets Action Fund spending $3.3 million in Senate primary in N.C.

VoteVets Action Fund is spending $3.3 million on ads supporting Cal Cunningham in the Senate race in North Carolina through January. 

An early biographical spot from VoteVets highlighted Cunningham’s experience in the Army and the state Senate, referring to him as a progressive. 

Cunningham released his first TV ad as well, discussing his military service and saying he’d work to expand Medicaid in North Carolina.

Cunningham was elected to the state Senate in 2000 and served one term. An Associated Press article said Cunningham was considered a conservative Democrat at the time of his tenure. 

Cunningham is one of five primary candidates, including state Sen. Erica Smith, vying for the nomination to run against Sen. Thom Tillis (R) in November. The primary is March 3. 

On Oct. 31, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) endorsed Cunningham in the primary. Smith responded, “Ultimately, the voters of North Carolina will decide who their next United States Senator will be — NOT a handful of DC politicians making back room deals in windowless basements.”

Smith was first elected to the state Senate in 2014. Her endorsers in the 2020 Senate race include Flip the Senate, a group that says it supports progressive policies, and Build the Wave, a group using texting campaigns to boost Democratic turnout.

A Public Policy Polling poll conducted Jan. 10-12 found “Undecided” leading with 60 percent. Cunningham received 22 percent support to Smith’s 12 percent. Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling told Ballotpedia the poll’s margin of error was +/-4.3. A Fox News poll conducted Nov. 10-13 found 18 percent support for Smith to 13 percent for Cunningham, and 49 percent of respondents answered, “Don’t know.” The margin of error was +/- 3.5.

Three outlets rate the general election Toss-up or Leans Republican.

DSCC endorses Mackler in Senate primary in TN

The DSCC endorsed attorney James Mackler in the Democratic primary for Senate in Tennessee. 

The race is open as incumbent Lamar Alexander (R) is not seeking re-election. Five Democrats and 12 Republicans are currently running in the primary elections

Mackler has also been endorsed by Phil Bredesen, the former governor of Tennessee and Democratic candidate for Senate in 2018. Bredesen lost that election to Marsha Blackburn (R).

Melanie Tomlyn of Indivisible of Nashville and Middle Tennessee said of the DSCC’s endorsement that “this Senate race is about the Tennessee grassroots and will not be dictated by outside national organizations putting their fingers on the scale.” 

Indivisible’s website says its mission is “to cultivate a grassroots movement of literally thousands of local Indivisible groups to elect progressive leaders, realize bold progressive policies, rebuild our democracy, and defeat the Trump agenda.”

The primaries are Aug. 6, and the filing deadline is April 2. Three ratings outlets call this a safe Republican seat.

Judi Reiss withdraws from PA-01 primary

Bucks County Prothonotary Judi Reiss withdrew from Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District primary Monday, citing a desire to give full attention to her elected and family roles. 

That leaves three candidates in the Democratic primary: Ivyland Borough Councilmember Christina Finello, technology consultant Skylar Hurwitz, and Pennsbury School Boardmember Debbie Wachspress. The filing deadline for the April 28 primary is Feb. 18.

The 1st District, currently represented by Brian Fitzpatrick (R), is on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s target lists. It is one of three congressional districts in the country that Hillary Clinton (D) won in 2016 and that is represented by a Republican. 

Pennsylvania’s district lines were redrawn ahead of the 2018 elections. Clinton carried what is now the 1st District by 2 percentage points. Fitzpatrick won in 2018 by 3 percentage points. 

Roll Call described Democrats’ challenges in the district as follows:

Fundraising will be critical for any Democrat running in the expensive Philadelphia media market and taking on Fitzpatrick, who had nearly $1.1 million on hand as of Sept. 30. Democrats will also have to chip away at Fitzpatrick’s moderate brand. A former FBI agent, he often touts his role in the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. According to CQ Vote Studies, Fitzpatrick has supported Trump’s priorities 64 percent of the the [sic] time, the lowest score for a Republican (the average Republican has backed Trump’s priorities 94 percent of the time).

Bucks County Courier Times reported that the county Democratic Party will hold an endorsement meeting the first week of February.

Liss-Riordan drops out, Kennedy gets endorsements in Senate primary in MA

Last week, we dug into the Democratic primary for Senate in Massachusetts. Here’s a brief followup:

  • Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan dropped out, leaving the primary between incumbent Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy—at least for now. The filing deadline for the Sept. 1 primary is June 2.
  • Several House Democrats endorsed Kennedy, including Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Mark Pocan and Rep. John Lewis.

State executives

Governors infographic

Sen. Jon Tester endorses Montana Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney for governor

Montana Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney received the endorsement of Sen. Jon Tester (D) Friday in his bid to succeed term-limited Gov. Steve Bullock. Aside from Bullock, who endorsed Cooney in October, and Cooney himself, Tester is the only Democrat to hold a statewide elected office in Montana.

You may recall from last week’s edition that gubernatorial candidates filed campaign finance reports Jan. 6. The reports showed consultant Whitney Williams, who is running with the endorsement of EMILY’s List, leading in fourth-quarter fundraising with $439,000 to Cooney’s $200,000 and state House Minority Leader Casey Schreiner’s $15,000.

A fourth candidate, former state Rep. Reilly Neill, announced Monday that she was suspending her campaign. Candidates have until March 9 to file for Montana’s gubernatorial election. The June 2 primary is open to all voters. No Republican candidate has been elected governor in Montana since Judy Martz (R) in 2000.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball shifts Vermont gubernatorial election towards Democrats

Last week, we looked at Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman’s decision to run for governor, setting up a primary contest with former state Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe. Since then, Sabato’s Crystal Ball changed their projection for the general election from Likely Republican to Leans Republican. They cited Zuckerman’s history of running in statewide elections as a factor in their decision, saying that he was well-poised to attract voters turning out for the presidential election.


Legislatures infographic

Personal PAC announces endorsements for two challengers in IL House

Personal PAC, a group dedicated to “making sure that Illinois always remains a state where abortion is safe, legal, and accessible to every woman,” announced endorsements across the state. They are endorsing challengers to two sitting state representatives: Yehiel Kalish (District 13) and Thaddeus Jones (District 26). As we reported last week, Kalish faces a primary challenge over his stance on an abortion law.

Primaries for all seats in the Illinois State Legislature will take place on March 17. Across the House, 15 Democratic incumbents face at least one primary challenger. In 2018, eight Democratic incumbents faced primary challengers.

Pennsylvania Rep. receives challenger from the left

Attorney Emily Kinkead (D) announced she would challenge state Rep. Adam Ravenstahl (D-20) in a Democratic primary the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review characterized as part of “a wave of progressive Democrats who in recent years have challenged establishment incumbents in Allegheny County’s Democratic Party.”

Kinkead said that she thought voters in the district were looking for a change, adding that she thinks that District 20 is more progressive than people think. Ravenstahl said he expected a challenge. “That kind of comes with the territory,” he said.

According to the Tribune-Review, Kinkead is following Reps. Summer Lee (D-34) and Sara Innamorato (D-21), who each defeated long-serving Alleghany County incumbents in 2018. Democratic primaries in Pennsylvania will take place on April 28.

Nevada Senate caucus makes endorsement in open primary

The Nevada State Senate Democratic Caucus endorsed Roberta Lange, former chair of the Nevada Democratic Party, for a seat held by term-limited Sen. David Parks (D-7). Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel (D-20) and Assemblyman Richard Carillo (D-18) have both said they plan to run but have not filed for the race. The Nevada Independent called the endorsement “a significant advantage” in the Democratic primary.

Parks has represented District 7 since it was created as a result of redistricting in 2010. He won re-election against a Libertarian candidate 70-30 in 2016 and defeated a Republican challenger 64-35 in 2012. The filing deadline for this election is March 13.

Shevrin Jones receives another endorsement in FL Senate bid

Last week, state Rep. Shevrin Jones received the endorsement of retiring state Sen. Oscar Braynon (D-35) in a five-way primary. This week, he picked up an endorsement from U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D). A primary for this race will take place on August 18, and the filing deadline is June 12.

Power players

A weekly feature on influencers shaping the direction of the party.

“[The DCCC is] the only political committee in the country whose principal mission is to support Democratic House candidates every step of the way to fortify and expand our new Democratic Majority.” – DCCC website

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is an official subsidiary of the national Democratic Party. As a national political committee, the group makes political contributions to support the election of Democratic candidates to the U.S. House.

In January 2019, the DCCC released an initial list of 33 Republican-held or open seats it would target in 2020. Twelve districts have been added since, six in August 2019 and six in January 2020. For a list of those districts, as well as margins of victory for each district in the 2018, 2016, and 2014 elections, click here.

DCCC programs include the Frontline Program, a partnership between the DCCC and members of Congress designed to protect vulnerable Democratic incumbents, and the Red to Blue program, which provides funding and guidance to candidates seeking election in districts represented by Republicans. 

As of December 2019, the DCCC had around $48 million in cash on hand, compared to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s $29 million.

House delivers articles of impeachment to Senate

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
January 16, 2020: The U.S. House delivered two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump to the U.S. Senate on Wednesday. The Iowa Democratic Party will release three sets of election results following the Feb. 3 caucuses. blank    blankblank   

State Spotlight - Nevada

Notable Quote of the Day

“To better understand which candidates did well or poorly Tuesday night, we plotted how favorably respondents rated the candidates before the debate vs. how debate-watchers rated candidates’ performances afterward — and Elizabeth Warren, in particular, seemed to have a breakout evening according to this metric. She not only received the highest marks for her debate performance, but her scores were high even relative to her pre-debate favorability rating.

That said, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden also received medium-to-high marks for their performances, but because of their relatively high pre-debate favorability ratings, we expected a lot of voters to already be predisposed to viewing their debate performances in a positive light. So while they still did pretty well on the debate stage, they didn’t exceed expectations the way Warren did. Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer, on the other hand, tied for the lowest overall debate grades, putting them only barely above where we’d expect them to be given their pre-debate favorability ratings.”

– Aaron Bycoffe, Sarah Frostenson, and Julia Wolfe, FiveThirtyEight



Flashback: January 16, 2016

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz spoke at the South Carolina Tea Party Conference.

Click here to learn more.

NYT endorses Klobuchar and Warren

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
January 21, 2020: The New York Times issued a dual endorsement of Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. The Democratic National Committee announced a new delegate threshold for the Feb. 7 debate. blank    blankblank   

Presidential poll highlights, 2019-2020 (Emerson College • New Jersey • January 16-19, 2020)
Presidential poll highlights, 2019-2020 (Emerson College • New Hampshire • January 13-16, 2020)

Notable Quote of the Day

“On average in markets around the country, prices for political TV ads have risen by 20 percent since Bloomberg began his campaign. Meanwhile, some local politicians have already found difficulty trying to reach their own constituencies.

‘I think we might have been one of the first campaigns to experience the “Bloomberg Effect” on prices, but we certainly won’t be the last,’ said Eric Jaye, a California-based media buyer who purchased ads for Sylvester Turner, the just-reelected Democratic mayor of Houston.

The last few weeks of Turner’s campaign overlapped with Bloomberg’s massive November ad buy that covered all of the lower 48 states. His spending in Houston, priced at $1.2 million, spiked ad prices there by 45 percent as the mayoral campaign was finishing up.”

– Maya King, Politico


  • The New York Times issued a dual endorsement of Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren on Sunday. “Both the radical and the realist models warrant serious consideration. If there were ever a time to be open to new ideas, it is now. If there were ever a time to seek stability, now is it,” the editorial board wrote.

  • Michael BennetJoe BidenPete ButtigiegJohn DelaneyKlobucharBernie SandersWarren, and Andrew Yang spoke at the 2020 Iowa Brown & Black Forum on Monday. VICE News described the event as “the nation’s oldest and only nonpartisan presidential forum dedicated exclusively to addressing issues facing communities of color.”

  • The Democratic National Committee released the criteria to qualify for the eighth primary debate on Feb. 7 in New Hampshire. Candidates need to receive at least one pledged delegate in the Iowa caucuses or meet certain polling and fundraising thresholds similar to the January debate’s requirements. Candidates have until Feb. 6 to qualify. BidenButtigiegKlobucharSandersSteyer, and Warren—all of whom participated in the Jan. 14 debate—have already qualified.

  • Bennet said his campaign had reached its goal of raising $700,000 in a month by Jan. 16. The funds will be used to launch a TV and digital ad campaign in New Hampshire.

  • Connecticut Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz endorsed Biden.

  • Michael Bloomberg spoke about racial inequities during a speech at the Vernon AME Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Sunday.

  • Buttigieg campaigned in South Carolina on Monday morning, including marching in the King Day at the Dome.

  • Tulsi Gabbard marched in the King Day at the Dome in South Carolina on Monday.

  • Deval Patrick appeared at the NAACP King Day Rally in South Carolina on Monday.

  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) endorsed Sanders on Sunday.

  • Tom Steyer marched in King Day at the Dome in South Carolina on Monday. He also spoke at a criminal justice forum.

  • Iowa Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen endorsed Warren on Saturday. Joe Moody, Texas House speaker pro tem, also endorsed Warren on Tuesday.


Flashback: January 21, 2016

Fergus Cullen, the chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, endorsed John Kasich.blank

Click here to learn more.

Bennet, Klobuchar, Sanders, Warren in D.C. for impeachment trial

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
January 22, 2020: Michael Bennet, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren are in Washington, D.C., for the impeachment trial. Four more members of the Congressional Black Caucus endorsed Joe Biden.blank    blankblank   

Presidential Facebook ads, 2019-2020 (January 13-19, 2020)

Notable Quote of the Day

“The four senators running for the Democratic presidential nomination are leaning heavily on surrogates while they are stuck in Washington serving jury duty on President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

As the Senate trial gets under way in earnest this week, Elizabeth Warren is sending in Representative Ayanna Pressley, Bernie Sanders is putting forward Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Klobuchar is leaning on local officials and Michael Bennet has former Clinton adviser James Carville.

And everyone is sending their spouses.”

– Ryan Teague Beckwith, Bloomberg



Flashback: January 22, 2016

National Review released a special edition featuring essays from 22 conservatives opposing Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy.blank

Click here to learn more.

Bold Justice: Trump’s 3-year anniversary


Ballotpedia's Bold Justice

Welcome to the January 20 edition of Bold Justice, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S. Today marks the three-year anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration. Keep up with his federal judicial nominations, confirmations, and more in each edition of this newsletter. Today starts Ballotpedia’s membership drive. You can support products like Bold Justice by joining The Ballotpedia Society. Click here to learn more.


The Supreme Court will hear arguments in three cases this week. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

In its October 2018 term, SCOTUS heard arguments in 69 cases. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ previous term.

Click the links below to read more about the specific cases SCOTUS will hear this week:

  • January 21

    • In Shular v. United States, Eddie Shular pleaded guilty to charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of controlled substances. Shular was classified as an armed career criminal because of six previous drug convictions in Florida. He objected to the classification in court, arguing his previous convictions were not “serious drug offenses” under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida overruled the objection and sentenced Shular to concurrent terms of 15 years in prison on each count. On appeal, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s ruling.

      Shular appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing the 11th Circuit was wrong not to have used a categorical approach to interpret “serious drug offenses” under the ACCA and pointed to a circuit split regarding the determination of serious drug offenses under the ACCA.

      Taylor v. United States (1990) required courts to use a categorical approach when applying enhanced sentences by “looking only to the statutory definitions of the prior offenses, and not to the particular facts underlying those convictions.” Taylor says courts using a categorical approach must look at the modern generic definition of an offense and then decide if the conviction in question applies to the definition.

      The issue: Whether the determination of a “serious drug offense” under the ACCA requires the same categorical approach used in the determination of a “violent felony” under the Act?

    • In GE Energy Power Conversion France SAS v. Outokumpu Stainless USA LLC, Outokumpu Stainless USA LLC (“Outokumpu”) contracted with Fives St. Corp. (“Fives”) to provide equipment for its steel plant in Alabama. Fives subcontracted with GE Energy Power Conversion France SAS (“GE Energy”), a foreign corporation, to supply the equipment. The contracts between Outokumpu and Fives and between Fives and GE Energy contained arbitration clauses.

      The equipment was installed between 2011 and 2012 but failed by 2015. Outokumpu sued GE Energy in Alabama state court. The case was moved to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, which dismissed the case and compelled Outokumpu to undertake arbitration proceedings.

      On appeal, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s decision to compel arbitration. GE Energy appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for review, arguing the 11th Circuit’s decision underlined a 2-to-2 circuit court split. A circuit split is where circuit courts of appeal offer different rulings on the same legal issue.

    • The issue: Whether the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”) permits a non-signatory to an arbitration agreement to compel arbitration based on the doctrine of equitable estoppel.

      According to Investopedia, the doctrine of equitable estoppel “prevents someone from arguing something contrary to a claim made or act performed by that person previously.”

  • January 22

    • In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, a 2015 law established a tax credit for taxpayers donating to scholarship organizations for private school students. The law made the Montana Department of Revenue responsible for administering the tax credit and ensuring the credit was constitutional. To ensure compliance, the Department established Rule 1, which excluded students attending religiously-affiliated private schools from receiving scholarship funds.

    • Kendra Espinoza, Jeri Anderson, and Jaime Schaefer, the plaintiffs, challenged Rule 1 in the Montana 11th Judicial District Court, arguing that it violated their First Amendment rights. The 11th Judicial District granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs.

      On appeal, the Montana Supreme Court reversed the 11th Judicial District’s ruling. The plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, writing that the Montana Supreme Court’s ruling “deepened the long-standing split on whether barring religious options from student-aid programs violates the federal Religion and Equal Protection Clauses.”

      The issue: Does it violate the Religion Clause or Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution to invalidate a generally available and religiously neutral student-aid program simply because the program gives students the choice to attend religious schools?


SCOTUS has ruled on two cases since our January 13 issue. The court has issued rulings in four cases so far this term. Thirty-two cases are still under deliberation.

Click the links below to read more about the specific cases SCOTUS ruled on since January 13:

  • January 14, 2020

    • Ritzen Group Inc. v. Jackson Masonry was argued before the court on November 13, 2019.

      The case: Ritzen Group and Jackson Masonry both claimed the other breached contract after a sale of property fell through. A lawsuit Ritzen filed against Jackson in Tennessee state court was stayed after Jackson filed for bankruptcy. Ritzen filed a motion to lift the stay, which the bankruptcy court denied. Ritzen then filed a claim against Jackson in bankruptcy court. The bankruptcy court found Ritzen, not Jackson, breached the contract. On appeal, the district court affirmed the bankruptcy court’s ruling. On appeal again, the 6th Circuit affirmed the judgments of the district court and bankruptcy court.

      The outcome: The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, ruling unanimously that a bankruptcy court’s order unreservedly denying relief from the automatic stay constitutes a final, immediately appealable order under §158(a).

      Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the opinion of the court.

    • Retirement Plan Committee of IBM v. Jander was argued before the court on November 6, 2019.The case: Larry Jander invested in IBM’s retirement plan. After IBM sold its microelectronics business at a loss and shares fell, Jander alleged the IBM retirement plan committee violated their fiduciary duty of prudence to the pensioner under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed Jander’s claim. On appeal, the 2nd Circuit reversed and remanded the case. The retirement committee petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, arguing the 2nd Circuit “subverted [a] pleading standard” established in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer.

      The outcome: The U.S. Supreme Court vacated and remanded the case in a per curiam decision. A per curiam decision is issued collectively by the court. The authorship is not indicated. Click here for more information.

      Justices Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a joint concurring opinion. Justice Neil Gorsuch also filed a concurring opinion.

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the upcoming dates of interest in January and February:

  • January 21:

    • SCOTUS will release orders.

    • SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.

  • January 22: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.

  • January 24: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices.

  • January 27: SCOTUS will release orders.

  • February 21: SCOTUS will conference.

The federal judiciary under President Trump

President Donald Trump (R) was inaugurated three years ago on January 20, 2017. At the time of his inauguration, there were 108 lifetime federal judicial vacancies requiring a presidential nomination. This was the largest number of federal judicial vacancies at the beginning of a presidency since there were 111 vacancies when Bill Clinton was inaugurated in 1992. Click here for more information on the federal judiciary during Trump’s first term.

Since taking office, the president has nominated 239 individuals to federal judgeships, 187 of whom have been confirmed. The average number of judicial confirmations for the first three years of a presidency through December 31 is 99. The Senate confirmed 197 of President Jimmy Carter‘s (D) judicial nominees, the most confirmations through three years. President Theodore Roosevelt (R) had the fewest confirmed nominees — 23 — at this stage of his first term.

The chart below shows the number of Article III judicial confirmations during each president’s first term at three specific dates: December 31 of the first year, December 31 of the second year, and December 31 of the third year. It includes presidents from Theodore Roosevelt through Trump.

The table below shows the number of Senate-confirmed Article III judges, by court type, for each of the last 20 presidents at the end of their third year in office.

The Senate has confirmed 50 of President Trump’s appellate court nominees, the most on our list. President Woodrow Wilson has the fewest number of appellate confirmations with 5. The median number of appellate court confirmations is 19.

The median number of U.S. District Court confirmations is 67. The Senate confirmed 151 of  President Bill Clinton’s district court nominees, leading the list. President Theodore Roosevelt had the fewest number of district judges confirmed, with 14.


The Senate confirmed no new nominees since our January 13 issue.

Overall, the Senate has confirmed 187 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—133 district court judges, 50 appeals court judges, two Court of International Trade judges, and two Supreme Court justices—since January 2017.


President Trump announced one new Article III nominees since our January 13 edition.

The president has announced 239 Article III judicial nominations since taking office January 20, 2017. The president named 69 judicial nominees in 2017, 92 in 2018, and 77 in 2019. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.


The federal judiciary currently has 79 vacancies. As of publication, there were 19 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, an additional 12 judges have announced their intention to leave active judicial status during Trump’s first term.

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

Committee action

The Senate Judiciary Committee reported five new nominees out of committee since our January 13 edition.

  • Andrew Brasher, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama

  • Stephen Vaden, nominee for the U.S. Court of International Trade

  • Matthew Schelp, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

  • Joshua Kindred, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska

  • Scott Rash, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona

Do you love judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? We figured you might. Our monthly Federal Vacancy Count, published at the start of each month, monitors all the faces and places moving in, moving out, and moving on in the federal judiciary. Click here for our most current count.

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.

Looking ahead

Bold Justice will be back February 10 with more information on the federal judiciary.

Click here to learn more.

A look at donor disclosure requirements for electioneering communications

As the year gets underway, and lawmakers nationwide take up bills on donor disclosure, let’s take a closer look at a particular policy area: donor disclosure requirements for groups that sponsor electioneering communications.

Broadly speaking, an electioneering communication is any broadcast, cable, or satellite transmission that refers to a clearly identified candidate within a specified time period preceding a primary or general election. Although electioneering communications refer to a specific candidate, they do not explicitly advocate for that candidate’s election or defeat. This makes an electioneering communication a form of issue advocacy.

Individuals, corporations, labor unions, and nonprofit groups can produce electioneering communications. Generally, the policies regulating the use of electioneering communications vary from state to state (although federal laws apply to electioneering communications used in federal elections).

The first map below indicates which states require entities making electioneering communications to disclose the names of their donors to the public. States shaded in dark green require general disclosure of all donors to a sponsor group. States shaded in light green require disclosure only of those donors whose contributions were earmarked for electioneering purposes. Twenty-two states require groups issuing electioneering communications to make some form of disclosure.

The second map below indicates which states exempt 501(c)(3) groups from these disclosure requirements. States shaded in dark green provide a 501(c)(3) exemption. States shaded in gray do not. Six states provide explicit disclosure exemptions for at least some types of 501(c)(3) groups.

Electioneering communications donor disclosure.png
501c3 exemptions.png

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 35 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Disclosure Digest map January 20, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Disclosure Digest status chart January 20, 2020.png

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

Disclosure Digest partisan chart January 20, 2020.png

Recent legislative actions

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

  • Iowa HF697: This bill would prohibit public agencies from requiring 501(c) entities to furnish them with personal information about donors.
    • Hearing scheduled for Jan. 22.
  • Oklahoma SB1491: This bill would prohibit public agencies from requiring 501(c) entities to furnish them with personal information about donors.
    • Pre-filed to be introduced Feb. 3.
  • Virginia HB849: This bill would subject political campaign communications made via online platforms to the same disclosure requirements currently applied to print media, television, and radio advertisements.
    • Hearing scheduled for Jan. 17.

Maine professor asks Supreme Court to strike down exclusive representation requirement

On Jan. 2, 2020, a professor at the University of Maine filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court requesting that it overturn a Maine law compelling public-sector employees to accept a union’s representation regardless of their membership status with that union (i.e., exclusive representation).

Who are the parties to the suit? The plaintiff is Jonathan Reisman, an associate professor of economics and public policy at the University of Maine at Machias. He is being represented by attorneys from The Buckeye Institute, an Ohio-based think tank, and BakerHostetler, a Washington, D.C. law firm. The defendants include Reisman’s union, the Associated Faculties of the University of Maine, the University of Maine and its board of trustees, and the state of Maine. The Associated Faculties of the University of Maine, an affiliate of the National Education Association, represents about 1,000 faculty members.

What is at issue? Reisman argues that Maine’s exclusive representation law violates his First Amendment free-speech and associational rights. Robert Alt, president and chief executive officer of The Buckeye Institute and a lead attorney for Reisman, said, “If state law cannot compel public employees to financially support union advocacy — as the [Supreme Court] ruled in Janus v. AFSCME — how can states require these same public employees to accept representation from unions that many of them have chosen not to join?”

How have the lower courts ruled in this matter? On Dec. 3, 2018, Judge Jon Levy, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, dismissed the case. Levy said, “[By] authorizing the union, in its role as the agent for the bargaining unit, to negotiate with the board on matters related to the terms and conditions of employment, the act does not cloak the union with the authority to speak on issues of public concern on behalf of employees, such as Reisman, who do not belong to the union. Reisman remains free to speak out in opposition to the union and its positions as he sees fit. His constitutional challenge to the act thus rests on a fundamental misconception.”

Reisman appealed Levy’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. A three-judge panel, comprising Judges O. Rogeriee Thompson, Bruce Marshall Selya, and David Barron, heard the appeal. On Oct. 4, 2019, the panel voted unanimously to affirm Levy’s dismissal. Barron, writing for the court, said, “Considered in context … § 1025(2)(E) [the challenged law] is not properly read to designate AFUM as Reisman’s personal representative, as he contends. Rather, that provision merely makes clear that a union, once it becomes the exclusive bargaining agent for a bargaining unit, must represent the unit as an entity, and not only certain of the employees within it, and then solely for the purposes of collective bargaining.”

  • Levy, Thompson, and Barron were appointed to their positions by President Barack Obama (D). Selya was appointed by President Ronald Reagan (R)

What comes next? In a press release announcing the appeal, Andrew Grossman, counsel of record for Reisman, said, “Following the Court’s landmark Janus ruling, it is clear that these [exclusive representation] laws are unconstitutional, and we hope the Court will recognize them as such.” The formal appeal, known as a petition for writ of certiorari, can be read here. The opposing parties have 30 days to file a brief in response. On average, the court acts on an appeal within about six weeks of its filing.

What we’ve been reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 58 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 January 17, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart January 17, 2020.png

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

Union Station partisan chart January 17, 2020.png

Recent legislative actions

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

  • Kentucky HB231: This bill would allow public-sector employees to form, join, and assist labor unions.
    • Referred to House State Government Committee Jan. 13.
  • Kentucky HB251: This bill would eliminate existing state laws restricting the rights of public-sector employees to form, join, and participate in unions. This bill would allow public employers to make agreements with labor unions requiring union membership as a condition of employment.
    • Introduced Jan. 13; referred to House Economic Development and Workforce Investment Committee Jan. 15.
  • Maine LD900: This bill authorizes certain classes of public-sector employees to strike.
    • Hearing scheduled Jan. 15.
  • Pennsylvania HB785: This bill would require public employers to inform non-union employees and new employees that they do not have to join or pay fees to a union as a condition of employment
    • Removed from table Jan. 14.
  • Tennessee HJR0687: This bill proposes a constitutional amendment making it unlawful for the state and any of its subdivisions, as well as any person, corporation, or association, to make union participation a condition of employment.
    • Introduced and referred to House Consumer and Human Resources Committee Jan. 14.
  • Vermont H0700: This bill would require employers to provide unions with employee contact information. It would provide for automatic deduction of union dues from members’ paychecks. It would allow unions to meet with new employees to provide them with information about union membership. It would also prohibit recipients of state funds from interfering with union organizing efforts.
    • Introduced and referred to House General, House, and Military Affairs Committee Jan. 15; hearing scheduled Jan. 16.
  • Virginia SB939: This bill would permit local governments to recognize unions as bargaining agents for public-sector workers.
    • Introduced and referred to Senate Labor and Commerce Committee Jan. 13.
  • Washington HB1333: This bill would alter the definition of a public employee under the state’s public employee’s collective bargaining law.
    • Reintroduced and retained in present status Jan. 13.
  • Washington HB1452: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to employees of the legislative branch of state government.
    • Reintroduced and retained in present status Jan. 13.
  • Washington HB1845: This bill would establish that payroll deduction authorizations must be made directly by employees to employers on at least a biannual basis.
    • Reintroduced and retained in present status Jan. 13.
  • Washington HB2017: This bill would establish collective bargaining rights for administrative law judges.
    • Reintroduced and retained in present status Jan. 13.
  • Washington SB5623: This bill would declare that public employers and public-sector unions are not liable for claims involving agency fees paid to unions prior to Janus.
    • Reintroduced and retained in present status Jan. 13.
  • Washington SB5691: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to employees of the legislative branch of state government.
    • Reintroduced and retained in present status Jan. 13.
  • Washington SB6224: This bill would establish collective bargaining rights for administrative law judges.
    • Reintroduced and retained in present status Jan. 13.