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Ninth Circuit rules public-sector unions not liable for fees paid prior to Janus

On Dec. 26, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that public-sector unions cannot be required to refund fees paid prior to Janus v. AFSCME. In Janus, the U.S. Supreme Court held that compulsory collection of union fees violates workers’ free-speech and associational rights.

Who are the parties to the suit? The plaintiffs are Dale Danielson, Benjamin Rast, and Tamara Roberson, all Washington state employees. The defendants are Gov. Jay Inslee (D), David Schumacher, Director of Washington State Office of Financial Management, and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 28.

What is at issue? The plaintiffs first filed their class-action lawsuit on March 15, 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. In their original filing, the plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of compulsory fee collection and sought refunds of “all agency fees that were unlawfully collected from Plaintiffs and their fellow class members.” On June 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Janus v. AFSCME. In light of Janus, AFSCME Council 28 requested that the district court dismiss the suit as moot. The district court granted this request. The plaintiffs appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

How did the court rule? On Dec. 26, a three-judge panel of the appeals court unanimously affirmed the district court’s decision. Judge Jacqueline Nguyen wrote the court’s opinion, which was joined by Judges Ronald Gould and Gregory Presnell. Nguyen wrote, “Throughout the country, public sector employees brought claims for monetary relief against the unions pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Many unions asserted a good faith defense in response. Joining a growing consensus, the district court here ruled in favor of the union. We affirm and hold that private parties may invoke an affirmative defense of good faith to retrospective monetary liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, where they acted in direct reliance on then-binding Supreme Court precedent and presumptively-valid state law.”

Nguyen was appointed to the court by President Barack Obama (D). Gould and Presnell were appointed by President Bill Clinton (D).

Case information: The case name and number are Danielson v. Inslee (3:18-cv-05206- RJB).

What we’ve been reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 49 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 10, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart January 10, 2020.png

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

Union Station partisan chart January 10, 2020.png

Recent legislative actions

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

  • Maine LD1960: This bill would make communications between municipal/state workers and their unions confidential in proceedings before the Maine Labor Relations Board.
    • Introduced and referred to Judiciary Committee Jan. 8.
  • Missouri HB1906: This bill would require public employees to provide annual written or electronic authorization for payroll deductions of union dues.
    • Introduced Jan. 8.
  • New Hampshire HB1290: This bill would require the state public employee labor relations board to permit employees to vote by mail in certification elections.
    • Introduced and referred to House Labor, Industrial, and Rehabilitative Services Committee Jan. 8.
  • New Hampshire HB1322: This bill would prohibit university system funds from being used to oppose the formation of unions.
    • Introduced and referred to House Labor, Industrial, and Rehabilitative Services Committee Jan. 8.
  • New Hampshire HB1399: This bill would allow a bargaining unit to request certification of its union/representative.
    • Introduced and referred to House Labor, Industrial, and Rehabilitative Services Committee Jan. 8.
  • New Hampshire HB1554: This bill would provide for changes to public employee voting in certification elections.
    • Introduced and referred to House Labor, Industrial, and Rehabilitative Services Committee Jan. 8.
  • New Hampshire SB448: This bill would require the state public employee labor relations board to certify a union as a bargaining unit’s exclusive representative if that union receives a “majority written authorization.”
    • Introduced and referred to Senate Commerce Committee Jan. 8.
  • Virginia HB327: This bill would allow state and local government employers to recognize any union as the bargaining agent of any public employees.
    • Introduced Jan. 1.
  • Virginia HB582: This bill would repeal the existing prohibition against collective bargaining by public employees.
    • Introduced Jan. 1


Bold Justice: Here’s to a new year—and new cases!

We #SCOTUS, so you don’t have to

Arguments

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in five 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 13

 

  • In Lucky Brand Dungarees v. Marcel Fashion Group, apparel companies Marcel Fashion Group, Inc. (“Marcel”) and Lucky Brand Dungarees, Inc. (“Lucky Brand”) filed several lawsuits against each other for trademark infringement. In 2011, Marcel sued Lucky Brand a third time for trademark infringement. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled a previous lawsuit barred Marcel from suing Lucky Brand. On appeal, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision.

    On remand, Lucky Brand moved to dismiss the suit, arguing a previous legal settlement agreement barred Marcel from suing Lucky Brand. The district court agreed, dismissing the case. Marcel appealed to the 2nd Circuit, which vacated the Southern District of New York’s ruling and remanded the case a second time.

    Lucky Brand appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing the 2nd Circuit’s decision conflicted with decisions from other circuit courts on similar issues.

    The issue: Whether, when a plaintiff asserts new claims, federal preclusion principles—which are intended to prevent the same issue or claim from being relitigated between the same parties—can bar a defendant from raising defenses that were not actually litigated and resolved in any prior case between the parties.

  • In Thole v. U.S. Bank, James Thole and Sherry Smith sued U.S. Bank over its management of a defined benefit pension plan. Thole and Smith alleged the bank violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and engaged in prohibited transactions, causing the plan to become underfunded.

    U.S. Bank sought to dismiss the case, arguing the plaintiffs did not have the legal right to sue and the statute of limitations had run out on the ERISA claims. The district court dismissed in part and granted in part U.S. Bank’s motion.

    In 2014, the plan became overfunded. The district court dismissed the case as moot. Thole and Smith appealed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the district court’s ruling.

    The plaintiffs then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, arguing the 8th Circuit’s ruling conflicted with other circuit court decisions.

    The issues:
    (1) May an ERISA plan participant or beneficiary seek injunctive relief against fiduciary misconduct under 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(3) without demonstrating actual or imminent financial loss?

    (2) May an ERISA plan participant or beneficiary seek restoration of plan losses caused by fiduciary breach under 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(2) demonstrating actual or imminent financial loss?

    (3) Whether petitioners have demonstrated Article III standing.

    29 U.S.C. 1132(a) deals with civil enforcement and says a participant or beneficiary can bring civil action to recover benefits, enforce or clarify rights, or ask for “appropriate relief.” 

 

January 14

  • In Kelly v. United States, William Baroni and Bridget Kelly were convicted of defrauding federally funded programs, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, and conspiracy against civil rights.

    Baroni and Kelly allegedly participated in a scheme to reduce local traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge, which spans Fort Lee, New Jersey, and New York City, to punish Fort Lee’s mayor for refusing to endorse Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) 2013 re-election bid. The alleged scheme became known as “Bridgegate.”

    Baroni and Kelly appealed their convictions to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. The 3rd Circuit affirmed the fraud convictions but reversed and vacated the civil rights convictions.

    Kelly appealed the 3rd Circuit’s ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing the 3rd Circuit decision conflicted with U.S. Supreme Court precedent and decisions from other circuit courts.

    The issue: Does a public official “defraud” the government of its property by advancing a “public policy reason” for an official decision that is not her subjective “real reason” for making the decision?

 

 

  • Romag Fasteners v. Fossil concerns federal trademark law. Romag Fasteners, Inc., sued Fossil for patent and trademark infringement in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. A jury found Fossil guilty of unintentional patent and trademark infringement. The jury decided Fossil should pay more than $6.8 million in profits to Romag.

    In a separate trial, the district court ruled Romag was not entitled to receive profits because Fossil’s infringement was unintentional.

    On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling that the infringement was unintentional.

    Romag appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the court to clarify a circuit court split on requiring proof of willful infringement for rewarding profits.

    The issue: Whether, under section 35 of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a), willful infringement is a prerequisite for an award of an infringer’s profits for a violation of section 43(a), id. § 1125(a).

    The Lanham Act provides for a national system of trademark registration and trademark protection for federally registered marks.

 

January 15

  • In Babb v. Wilkie, Dr. Noris Babb, a pharmacist working at the VA Medical Center in Bay Pines, Florida, sued the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) secretary, alleging age and gender discrimination and a hostile work environment. The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida rejected Babb’s claims, granting summary judgment to the VA secretary.

    On appeal, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s ruling on Babb’s gender discrimination claim and affirmed the district court’s ruling on Babb’s age discrimination and hostile work environment claims. The court remanded the case.

    Babb petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for review, arguing the 11th Circuit’s decision disadvantaged federal employees bringing discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967.

    The issue: Whether the federal-sector provision of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which provides that personnel actions affecting agency employees aged 40 years or older shall be made free from any “discrimination based on age,” 29 U.S.C. §633a(a), requires a plaintiff to prove that age was a but-for cause of the challenged personnel action.

    But-for causation indicates that but for an action, the result would not have happened.

 

 

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are upcoming dates of interest in January:

  • January 13: 
    • SCOTUS will release orders.
    • SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • January 14: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • January 15: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • January 17: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices.

SCOTUS trivia

The Supreme Court originally had only six justices. Your question for the week: Who was the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court?

  1. John Jay
  2. Alexander Hamilton
  3. Richard Henry Lee
  4. John Adams

Choose an answer to find out!

Federal court action

Confirmations

The Senate has confirmed 15 nominees since our December 9 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.

Nominations

President Trump has announced four new Article III nominees since our December 9 edition.

The president has announced 238 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.

Federal Judicial nominations by month

Vacancies

The federal judiciary currently has 81 vacancies. As of publication, there were 16 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 has not reported any new nominees out of committee since our December 9 edition.

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.

Court in the spotlight

In each issue of Bold Justice, we highlight a federal court you should know more about. Right now, we’re taking a closer look at the 94 U.S. District Courts. The district courts are the general trial courts of the U.S. federal court system.

There is at least one judicial district for each state, and one each for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.  

In this edition, we’re visiting the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The District of New Jersey has original jurisdiction over cases filed in New Jersey. Decisions of the court may be appealed to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

The District of New Jersey has 17 authorized judgeships. There are currently six vacancies. The breakdown of current active judges by appointing president is:

  • George W. Bush (R): Four judges
  • Barack Obama (D): Seven judges


Williamson ends presidential campaign

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
January 13, 2020: Marianne Williamson ended her presidential campaign on Friday. Tom Steyer has the largest staff in South Carolina.

 

What is the latest month in which a major party held a presidential nominating convention?

Notable Quotes of the Day

“It would surprise me if an underdog won. At this point, it would be near-impossible for someone to beat Biden, Warren, Buttigieg and Sanders, given their campaign and field operation. The other surprising thing could be the number of voters who are unaffiliated with a party who take Democratic ballots in the open primary. That will go up significantly, and if not, that would be very surprising.”

– Melanie Levesque, New Hampshire state senator

“At this point in 2016, Sanders was at 50 percent in the polls. He ended up winning with about 61 percent. Now he’s in the mid-20s. That’s a pretty significant loss of support, yet the media seems to think he is doing well. The media is also missing the potential that there may be no clear winner here. Any candidate who finishes with more than 15 percent of the vote picks up delegates under the party rules. Let’s say there are four people who win delegates, then we’re on to Nevada and South Carolina!”

– Kathy Sullivan, former New Hampshire Democratic Party chairwoman

Democrats

  • Michael Bennet campaigned in New Hampshire on Sunday with stops in Manchester and Bedford.

  • Rep. Colin Allred (Texas), who previously backed Julián Castro, endorsed Joe Biden on Monday.

  • Michael Bloomberg wrote an op-ed for CNN on the primary calendar, critiquing Iowa’s and New Hampshire’s status as the first states to vote.

  • Rep. Dave Loebsack (Iowa) endorsed Pete Buttigieg on Sunday.

  • John Delaney continues to campaign in Iowa with stops in Griswold and Cumberland on Monday.

  • Tulsi Gabbard will campaign in South Carolina on Monday with a stop in Lexington.

  • Amy Klobuchar launched a six-figure ad campaign in Iowa for three versions of a clip called “People.” Two ads feature state Sen. Liz Mathis and state Rep. Ruth Ann Gaines.

  • Deval Patrick raised $2.2 million in the last six weeks of the fourth quarter of 2019.

  • SEA/SEIU Local 1984 in New Hampshire endorsed Bernie Sanders, splitting from its national affiliate which has remained neutral in the primary.

  • With 82 paid staffers, Tom Steyer has the largest staff in South Carolina, according to a survey by The Post and CourierSanders and Buttigieg followed with 72 and 50 staffers, respectively.

  • Elizabeth Warren discussed defense spending and military issues in an interview with Task and Purpose.

  • Marianne Williamson ended her presidential campaign on Friday. “The primaries might be tightly contested among the top contenders, and I don’t want to get in the way of a progressive candidate winning any of them,” she said in a statement.

  • Andrew Yang is holding town halls in Iowa on Monday and Tuesday. Stops include Newton, Des Moines, and Ames.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump discussed the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and impeachment in an interview on Fox News on Friday. McClatchy DC profiled the Trump campaign’s microtargeting of undecided women voters.

  • Bill Weld will speak at an economic forum sponsored by the Community College System of New Hampshire on Tuesday.

Flashback: January 13, 2016

As part of a $4.6 million ad buy, Jeb Bush released an ad focused on drug policy and his daughter’s experience with addiction.blank

Click here to learn more.



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

Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News Briefing
Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the events that matter in the 2020 presidential election.

Now, we’re bringing you the highlights from our daily briefings in a weekly format so you can stay up-to-date on the 2020 election with one weekly email.        

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

State Spotlight

Notable Quotes of the Week

“But past presidential cycles may well look more predictable in hindsight than they were in real time. …

For example, few look back on 2012 as a highly suspenseful cycle. But eight years ago, it was far from clear that Obama would win a second term. In mid-December 2011, his approval in the Gallup Poll was just 42%, 3 points lower than the latest Trump reading in the Gallup this month.

Back then, on the Republican side, half a dozen contenders topped the polls for at least a week or two late in 2011 and it took months to winnow the field. The nomination fell to Mitt Romney, who ran a creditable race and had a plausible scenario for winning through October. On election night, his staff was so confident that they did not even prepare a concession speech in case he lost.”

– Ron Elving, NPR News

“In the new year, with the caucuses rapidly approaching, no candidate (save for Delaney) is embarking on an Iowa-or-bust strategy. Back in 2008, between Dec. 1 and the caucuses on Jan. 3, the top candidates spent at least 23 of the campaign’s final 34 days in Iowa. But this month, Buttigieg isn’t scheduled to return until Jan. 12, and in the meantime has spent three days in the Super Tuesday state of Texas. After a couple of days in Iowa at the start of the year, Klobuchar went to Nevada and New Hampshire. Sanders left last Sunday and won’t be back until this Saturday. For the first half of the month, Warren is campaigning in the state only on the weekends, while last Tuesday she held a rally with Julián Castro in New York. Biden hasn’t been to Iowa since Sunday, relying for now on a bus tour of surrogates.”

– Bill ScherPolitico

Week in Review

Steyer sixth candidate to qualify for Jan. 14 debate

Six candidates have qualified for the Democratic presidential primary debate on Jan. 14: Joe BidenPete ButtigiegAmy KlobucharBernie SandersTom Steyer, and Elizabeth Warren.

Steyer qualified late Thursday after two Fox News polls in South Carolina and Nevada showed him at 15 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

Wolf Blitzer, Abby Phillip, and Brianne Pfannenstiel will moderate the event at Drake University in Iowa. The deadline to qualify is Friday.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said that the debate would be rescheduled if it conflicted with the impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.

Trump, Sanders top Q4 fundraising

Year-end financial reports are due Jan. 31 to the Federal Election Commission. Several candidates have released their fourth-quarter numbers early:

Donald Trump topped all Democrats, bringing in $46 million in the fourth quarter. This total surpasses Barack Obama’s fourth-quarter haul in 2011 by $4 million.

Trump, Bloomberg spend $10M each on Superbowl ads

Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg are both spending $10 million each on 60 seconds of airtime during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.

The first voting contest of the year takes place the following day in Iowa on Feb. 3.

Bloomberg has also expanded his campaign staff to 800 employees, hiring 500 organizers and staff members in more than 30 states across the country. Another 300 staffers work at his national headquarters in New York City.

Congressional endorsements take center stage

Reps. Chrissy Houlahan and Conor Lamb—both from battleground districts in Pennsylvania—and Elaine Luria (Va.) endorsed Joe Biden on Sunday.

Rep. Anthony Brown (Md.) endorsed Pete Buttigieg on Thursday. Brown, the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus to back Buttigieg, will serve as his campaign’s first national co-chair.

Bernie Sanders is holding several campaign events in Iowa on Saturday and Sunday with Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ro Khanna.

Over the weekend, Elizabeth Warren is also holding campaign events in Iowa with former 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro and Rep. Katie Porter.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Gabrielle Farrell is a Democratic staffer with experience in political communication. She previously worked as press secretary on Warren’s 2018 U.S. Senate campaign. Farrell received a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College in 2012 and a master’s from Northeastern University in 2017.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2018 Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) U.S. Senate campaign, press secretary
  • 2017 Martin Walsh (Mass.) Boston mayoral campaign, press secretary

Other experience:

  • 2018: New Hampshire Democratic Party, director of communications
  • 2016-2017: Boston Public Schools, deputy chief of staff, communications
  • 2014-2016: Office of Mayor Martin J. Walsh
    • 2015-2016: Associate press secretary
    • 2014-2015: Press assistant
  • 2012-2014: Project Bread
    • 2013-2014: External affairs associate
    • 2012-2013: Communications associate

What We’re Reading

Flashback: January 6-10, 2016

  • January 6, 2016Gary Johnson, who previously served as the Republican governor of New Mexico, announced he was running for the Libertarian nomination for president.
  • January 7, 2016: Planned Parenthood endorsed Hillary Clinton, marking the first-ever presidential primary endorsement from the organization.
  • January 8, 2016Politico reported polling showed that Donald Trump’s based extended beyond “conservative, blue-collar men … to pro-choice Republicans, independents and even registered Democrats unnerved, primarily, by illegal immigration.”
  • January 9, 2016: Ed Brookover, a former national field director for the Republican National Committee, replaced Barry Bennett as Ben Carson’s campaign manager.
  • January 10, 2016: White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough said that President Barack Obama would wait until the general election to support a candidate. “We’ll do exactly what has been done in the past, which is when the nominee will be set, then the President will be out there,” McDonough said.

Trivia Corner

Four states are tied for the most Democratic wins in presidential elections since 1900. Which of the following is not one of them?

Click here to learn more.



Steyer qualifies for January debate with double-digit showing in S.C. and Nevada

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
January 10, 2020: Six candidates have qualified for Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary debate. Donald Trump focused on the economy, the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and Democratic primary candidates at his rally in Ohio.        

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

Daily Presidential News Briefing, Staffer Spotlight - Gabrielle Farrell

Gabrielle Farrell is a Democratic staffer with experience in political communication. She previously worked as press secretary on Warren’s 2018 U.S. Senate campaign. Farrell received a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College in 2012 and a master’s from Northeastern University in 2017.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2018 Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) U.S. Senate campaign, press secretary
  • 2017 Martin Walsh (Mass.) Boston mayoral campaign, press secretary

Other experience:

  • 2018: New Hampshire Democratic Party, director of communications
  • 2016-2017: Boston Public Schools, deputy chief of staff, communications
  • 2014-2016: Office of Mayor Martin J. Walsh
    • 2015-2016: Associate press secretary
    • 2014-2015: Press assistant
  • 2012-2014: Project Bread
    • 2013-2014: External affairs associate
    • 2012-2013: Communications associate

​​

Notable Quote of the Day

“With Iowa very much up for grabs — no single Democrat has emerged as a dominant front-runner here — the state’s small but growing population of Latinos is getting unprecedented attention. … In party caucuses where fewer than 172,000 people voted in the last presidential cycle, the Democratic candidates figure that driving up turnout even modestly among the roughly 80,000 eligible Iowa Latinos could tip the balance.”

– Evan Halper, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Democrats

  • Six candidates have qualified for Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary debateJoe BidenPete ButtigiegAmy KlobucharBernie SandersTom Steyer, and Elizabeth Warren. Steyer qualified late Thursday after two Fox News polls in South Carolina and Nevada showed him at 15 percent and 12 percent, respectively. Friday is the final day to qualify.
  • Michael Bennet is campaigning in South Carolina on Saturday.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti endorsed Biden on Thursday and will serve as his national campaign co-chair. Biden will campaign in Nevada on Friday and Saturday.
  • Michael Bloomberg is taking a bus tour of Texas with events scheduled Saturday and Sunday in San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas.
  • Buttigieg released his $1 trillion infrastructure plan focused on transportation, clean water supplies, and broadband internet. He is campaigning in Des Moines on Sunday.
  • John Delaney and Sanders are expected to attend a presidential forum on immigration, education, environmental issues, and justice in Des Moines on Sunday.
  • Tulsi Gabbard discussed her vote to pass the War Powers Resolution—which states that the president cannot take further military action in Iran without congressional approval—in a livestream on Thursday night.
  • Klobuchar will continue to campaign in Iowa on Saturday and Sunday with stops in Fort Dodge and Perry.
  • Deval Patrick is attending forums in Nashua and Dover, New Hampshire, on Friday.
  • Sanders is holding several campaign events in Iowa on Saturday and Sunday with Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ro Khanna.
  • Steyer is campaigning in North Carolina on Saturday and Sunday with stops in Durham and Raleigh.
  • Warren is holding campaign events in Iowa with former 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro and Rep. Katie Porter.
  • Marianne Williamson is campaigning in Exeter and Manchester, New Hampshire, over the weekend.
  • Andrew Yang will finish his five-day tour of New Hampshire on Sunday. His staff announced on Thursday that they had unionized.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump focused on the economy, the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and Democratic primary candidates at his rally in Ohio on Thursday night. More than 8,000 people attended the event.
  • Bill Weld is campaigning in Iowa on Friday with stops in Davenport, Iowa City, and Cedar Rapids.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: January 10, 2016

White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough said that President Barack Obama would wait until the general election to support a candidate. “We’ll do exactly what has been done in the past, which is when the nominee will be set, then the President will be out there,” McDonough said.

Click here to learn more.



Trump holds first rally this year in Ohio

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
January 9, 2020: Donald Trump is holding a rally in Toledo, Ohio, on Thursday night. Rep. Anthony Brown (Md.) endorsed Pete Buttigieg.        

 State Spotlight

Notable Quote of the Day

“In the new year, with the caucuses rapidly approaching, no candidate (save for Delaney) is embarking on an Iowa-or-bust strategy. Back in 2008, between Dec. 1 and the caucuses on Jan. 3, the top candidates spent at least 23 of the campaign’s final 34 days in Iowa. But this month, Buttigieg isn’t scheduled to return until Jan. 12, and in the meantime has spent three days in the Super Tuesday state of Texas. After a couple of days in Iowa at the start of the year, Klobuchar went to Nevada and New Hampshire. Sanders left last Sunday and won’t be back until this Saturday. For the first half of the month, Warren is campaigning in the state only on the weekends, while last Tuesday she held a rally with Julián Castro in New York. Biden hasn’t been to Iowa since Sunday, relying for now on a bus tour of surrogates.”

– Bill Scher, Politico

Democrats

  • Wolf Blitzer, Abby Phillip, and Brianne Pfannenstiel will moderate Tuesday night’s Democratic primary debate. The deadline to qualify for the debate is Friday.
  • Michael Bennet will speak at the College of Charleston’s “Bully Pulpit Series” in South Carolina on Friday.
  • Joe Biden released several digital ads focused on gun violence as part of a $4 million advertising campaign in Iowa. Biden is attending a fundraiser in California co-hosted by former Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Lou Correa, among others.
  • Michael Bloomberg delivered a speech about his jobs plan in Chicago on Wednesday.
  • Cory Booker discussed the impeachment trial and his presidential campaign in an interview on the Associated Press’ Ground Game podcast.
  • Rep. Anthony Brown (Md.) endorsed Pete Buttigieg on Thursday. Brown, the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus to back Buttigieg, will serve as his campaign’s first national co-chair. Buttigieg also held a rally in Denver on Wednesday.
  • Tulsi Gabbard discussed the killing of Qasem Soleimani and Iranian missile strikes on CNN and Fox News on Wednesday. She opened a new campaign office in Manchester, New Hampshire.
  • Amy Klobuchar is holding a town hall in Ottumwa, Iowa, on Friday.
  • Deval Patrick is campaigning in New Hampshire on Thursday with stops in Hanover and Milford.
  • Bernie Sanders wrote an op-ed in The Des Moines Register about his campaign’s fundraising approach and economic policies. Sanders is holding town halls in Iowa on Friday.
  • Tom Steyer is holding town halls in New Hampshire on Thursday. He spoke about climate change, young voters, and race relations in an interview with Blavity Politics.
  • Elizabeth Warren is building her Georgia campaign, hiring six senior staffers in and around Atlanta this week. She answered reader questions in a video segment for Elle.
  • Marianne Williamson is speaking at a candidate forum on faith and politics in Des Moines on Thursday.
  • In an appearance on The ViewAndrew Yang said he would leave the power to declare war to Congress.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump will hold his first campaign rally of the year in Toledo, Ohio, on Thursday night.
  • The Des Moines Register editorial board interviewed Bill Weld about Iran, the Republican Party, and the Democratic primary on Wednesday.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: January 9, 2016

Ed Brookover, a former national field director for the Republican National Committee, replaced Barry Bennett as Ben Carson’s campaign manager.

Click here to learn more.



Bloomberg, Trump each spend $10 million on Super Bowl ads

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
January 8, 2020: Michael Bloomberg and Donald Trump have each reportedly spent $10 million on Super Bowl ads. Democratic presidential candidates react to the Iranian missile attacks on two Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers.        

Notable Quote of the Day

“More Democratic voters are commenting on and questioning candidates more about the U.S. strike killing Qassem Soleimani than they did about the impeachment vote in December, the CBS News Political Unit is finding. Voters tell CBS that the deployment of troops and fears of Iranian retaliation impact their daily lives more than the immediate results of an impeachment trial.

Following the strike against Soleimani, voters at candidate town halls over the weekend asked more questions about foreign policy than they did about impeachment at the town halls that took place during the weekend in September after the opening of the impeachment proceedings against President Trump and during the weekend after the House voted on the articles of impeachment.”

– Caitlin Conant, CBS News

Democrats

Republicans

  • Donald Trump is spending $10 million on 60 seconds of airtime during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.
  • Joe Walsh spoke about his campaign and new bookF*ck Silence: Calling Trump Out for the Cultish, Moronic, Authoritarian Con Man He Is, in an interview with New York Magazine.
  • Bill Weld will campaign in Iowa on Wednesday, holding events in Nevada, Newton, and Des Moines.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: January 8, 2016

Politico reported polling showed that Donald Trump’s based extended beyond “conservative, blue-collar men … to pro-choice Republicans, independents and even registered Democrats unnerved, primarily, by illegal immigration.”

Click here to learn more.



A look ahead at ranked-choice voting in 2020

A look ahead at ranked-choice voting in 2020

Voters in Alaska and Massachusetts may weigh in on ballot measures that would implement ranked-choice voting for state-level and congressional offices.

Alaska: The ballot measure, an indirect initiated state statute, would establish ranked-choice voting for all general elections conducted in the state. The measure would also establish a top-four primary system for all state executive, state legislative, and congressional offices.

  • Supporters must submit 28,501 petition signatures in order to qualify the measure. Petition signatures must be filed prior to the start of the 2020 legislative session, which is set to begin on Jan .21. If the initiative is certified, the state legislature can directly approve it or equivalent legislation, thereby keeping the measure off the ballot. If the legislature does not act, the initiative will appear on the ballot. A simple majority of voters must approve the measure in order to enact it into law.

Massachusetts: The ballot measure, an indirect initiated state statute, would establish ranked-choice voting for both primary and general elections for statewide, state legislative, and congressional offices.

  • Proponents submitted 111,268 petition signatures in order to qualify the measure. On Dec. 4, 2019, William Galvin, secretary of the commonwealth, announced that his office had verified that more than 80,239 of these signatures were valid, thereby meeting the requirements for certification. The legislature has until May 5, 2020, to approve the measure itself and forgo placing it on the ballot for voter approval. If the legislature declines to act, proponents will need to submit an additional 13,374 signatures by July 1, 2020, in order to place the measure on the Nov. 3, 2020, ballot. A simple majority of voters must approve the measure in order to enact it into law.

How many jurisdictions have adopted ranked-choice voting? One state (Maine) has implemented ranked-choice voting at the state level. Local governments in nine states have implemented ranked-choice voting at some level. Local governments in another four states have adopted but have not yet implemented ranked-choice voting. See the map and table below for further details.

Ranked-choice voting map
Ranked-choice voting map

 

Federal judge blocks North Carolina voter ID law 

On Dec. 31, 2019, Judge Loretta Biggs, of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, prohibited North Carolina officials from enforcing the state’s voter identification law.

What is at issue? On Nov. 6, 2018, North Carolinians approved a state constitutional amendment establishing a photo identification requirement for voters. The state legislature, with Republican majorities in both chambers, approved implementing legislation (SB 824) in December of that year, overriding Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s veto. The state chapter of the NAACP, in tandem with several local NAACP affiliates, filed suit, alleging that provisions of SB 824 constituted “the effective denial of the franchise and dilution of [African American and Latino] voting strength,” violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

How did the court rule? In the opinion ordering the injunction, Biggs, an Obama appointee, wrote, “Plaintiffs have satisfied each element required to support the issuance of a preliminary injunction with respect to their claims that S.B. 824’s voter-ID (both in-person and absentee) and ballot-challenge provisions were impermissibly motivated, at least in part, by discriminatory intent. Those provisions will be enjoined pending trial. In contrast, the evidence in the record does not sufficiently demonstrate that S.B. 824’s provision expanding the number of at-large poll workers allotted to both political parties warrants an injunction at this time.”

What are the responses? Dr. Anthony Spearman, president of the North Carolina NAACP, said, “The Federal Court made it crystal clear that racial discrimination will not stand in North Carolina in its decision today to intervene to halt this illegal photo voter ID impediment-the latest bad faith attempt in a string of failed efforts by the NC General Assembly to place hurdles in the path of the right to vote of African Americans and Latinos in this state, and to diminish the force of the true will of the people.”

Republican State Sen. Phil Berger opposed the ruling: “It is absolutely ridiculous that the judge would accuse the bill sponsors – including an African American Democrat – of being racist. The voters saw the need for voter ID and approved the constitutional amendment. The legislature, acting on the will of the people, enacted one of the broadest voter ID laws in the nation. Now this lawsuit, and last-minute ruling, have sowed additional discord and confusion about the voting process.”

What comes next? Biggs’ Dec. 31 order is not a final ruling on the merits. Biggs’ order prevents election officials from enforcing voter identification requirements pending resolution of the case. It is unclear whether an appeal will be made to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

U.S. Census Bureau releases 2019 population estimates, foreshadowing post-2020 apportionment 

Last month, the United States Census Bureau released population estimates for 2019. Although these number are not final, they can function as a bellwether for changes in congressional apportionment that might result from the 2020 census.

Projected changes in congressional reapportionment
Projected changes in congressional reapportionment

According to several commentators, including Reid WilsonWilliam H. Frey, and Louis Jacobson, 10 states – Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia – might lose congressional seats in the coming apportionment cycle. Seven states – Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, and Texas – might gain seats.

  • Of the 10 states poised to lose congressional seats …
    • Nine are expected to lose one seat a piece. One state – New York – might lose two.
    • Democrats have the majority of seats in the current U.S. House delegations for California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Rhode Island. Republicans, meanwhile, hold the majority of seats in the current delegations for Alabama, Ohio, and West Virginia. Pennsylvania’s U.S. House delegation is split evenly between Democrats and Republicans.
  • Of the seven states poised to gain congressional seats …
    • Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon are likely to gain one seat each. Florida is likely to gain two, and Texas might pick up three.
    • Democrats have the majority of seats in the current U.S. House delegations for Arizona, Colorado, and Oregon. Republicans, meanwhile, hold the majority of seats in the current delegations for Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Texas.

Ballot access requirements for gubernatorial candidates in 2020 

Eleven states will hold gubernatorial elections in 2020. How do prospective candidates get on the ballot in their respective states?

Generally speaking, a candidate must either pay a filing fee or submit petition signatures in order to have his or her name printed on the ballot. In states like Montana and Utah a candidate must do both.

The table below details filing requirements for both partisan and unaffiliated gubernatorial candidates in 2020. Where petition signatures are required, ratios expressing those requirements as percentages of state population are provided to facilitate comparisons.

Ballot access requirements for gubernatorial candidates 2020
Ballot access requirements for gubernatorial candidates 2020

Legislation tracking 

Redistricting legislation: The map below shows which states having taken up redistricting policy legislation this year. A darker shade of red indicates a greater number of relevant bills.

Redistricting legislation in the United States, 2020

Current as of Jan. 5, 2020

Redistricting legislation in the United States, 2020
Redistricting legislation in the United States, 2020

Electoral systems legislation: The map below shows which states having taken up electoral systems legislation this year. A darker shade of red indicates a greater number of relevant bills.

Electoral systems legislation in the United States, 2020

Current as of Jan. 5, 2020

Electoral systems legislation in the United States, 2020
Electoral systems legislation in the United States, 2020

Primary systems legislation: The map below shows which states having taken up electoral systems legislation this year. A darker shade of red indicates a greater number of relevant bills.

Primary systems legislation in the United States, 2020

Current as of Jan. 5, 2020

Primary systems legislation in the United States, 2020
Primary systems legislation in the United States, 2020


Bloomberg expands campaign to 800 staffers

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
January 7, 2020: Michael Bloomberg has more than 800 organizers and staff members across the country. Julián Castro endorsed Elizabeth Warren.


Presidential poll highlights, 2019-2020 (CBS News/YouGov • Iowa • Dec. 27, 2019 - Jan. 3, 2020)
Presidential poll highlights, 2019-2020 (CBS News/YouGov • New Hampshire • Dec. 27, 2019 - Jan. 3, 2020)

Notable Quote of the Day

“In 2020, [Georgetown University professor Michael Kazin] says any Democrat who wins the nomination needs to reach the 8% to 10% of swing voters. The nominee can try to reach these voters by adopting an ‘effective message’ criticizing how Trump has not helped Americans and a ‘unifying message’ that tells people their interests will be served, he says. ‘I’m not quite sure what message is going to be the most effective one, but I am sure that a Democrat who wins the nomination will not just be able to talk to their base because their base isn’t large enough to win the Electoral College,’ he says. ‘Might be large enough to win the popular vote but probably not large enough to win the Electoral College.’”

– Jeremy Hobson and Allison Hagan, WBUR

Democrats

  • Michael Bennet released his first digital ad in a new series called “Just the Truth” about his family history and immigration.

  • Surrogates for Joe Biden—including former Secretary of State John Kerry, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and former Congressional Black Caucus chairman Emanuel Cleaver II—are beginning a weeklong “We Know Joe” tour of Iowa.

  • Michael Bloomberg has hired 500 organizers and staff members in more than 30 states across the country. Another 300 staffers work at his national headquarters in New York City. He also released a new ad, “Judge Him,” featuring judge Judy Sheindlin.

  • Cory Booker is airing a new ad in Iowa called “Rise” as part of a six-figure ad buy. He canceled events in Iowa on Wednesday to attend a congressional briefing on Iran.

  • Pete Buttigieg attended a private fundraiser in Houston on Monday. He also released four different ads in each early voting state focused on Buttigieg’s military service (New Hampshire), mayoral tenure (South Carolina), healthcare (Nevada), and economic inequality (Iowa).

  • John Delaney discussed Iran in an interview on Iowa local television Monday.

  • Tulsi Gabbard continues her “New Year Tour” of New Hampshire with a town hall in Tilton.

  • Amy Klobuchar will speak at the College Convention 2020 in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

  • Deval Patrick made a six-figure television and digital ad buy across Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. In the spot, “Not Too Late,” Patrick said he entered the race late because of his wife’s cancer diagnosis.

  • Tom Steyer is holding a town hall in Hanover, New Hampshire, on Wednesday.

  • Julián Castro endorsed Elizabeth Warren on Monday. Warren is hosting an event with Castro on Tuesday in Brooklyn.

  • Marianne Williamson said on Monday that she had a skeletal staff with five or six people on the payroll. Her former campaign manager, Patricia Ewing, said everyone had been laid off.

  • Andrew Yang is holding a town hall in New Hampshire on Wednesday.

Republicans

Flashback: January 7, 2016

Planned Parenthood endorsed Hillary Clinton, marking the first-ever presidential primary endorsement from the organization.

Click here to learn more.



Trump and Sanders top fourth-quarter fundraising

Cc

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
January 6, 2020: Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders raised the most money in the fourth quarter of 2019. Julían Castro ended his presidential campaign on Thursday.

 

Four states are tied for the most Democratic wins in presidential elections since 1900. Which of the following is not one of them?

Notable Quote of the Day

Notable Quote of the Day
“But past presidential cycles may well look more predictable in hindsight than they were in real time. …

For example, few look back on 2012 as a highly suspenseful cycle. But eight years ago, it was far from clear that Obama would win a second term. In mid-December 2011, his approval in the Gallup Poll was just 42%, 3 points lower than the latest Trump reading in the Gallup this month.

Back then, on the Republican side, half a dozen contenders topped the polls for at least a week or two late in 2011 and it took months to winnow the field. The nomination fell to Mitt Romney, who ran a creditable race and had a plausible scenario for winning through October. On election night, his staff was so confident that they did not even prepare a concession speech in case he lost.”

– Ron Elving, NPR News

Q4 Fundraising

Year-end financial reports are due Jan. 31 to the Federal Election Commission. Several candidates have released their fourth-quarter numbers early:

  • Sanders: $34.5 million

  • Buttigieg: $24.7 million

  • Biden: $22.7 million

  • Warren: $21.2 million

  • Yang: $16.5 million

  • Klobuchar: $11.4 million

  • Booker: $6.6 million

  • Gabbard: $3.4 million

Trump topped all Democrats, bringing in $46 million in the fourth quarter. This total surpasses Barack Obama’s fourth-quarter haul in 2011 by $4 million.

Democrats

  • Michael Bennet introduced his “Real Deal” platform, a $6 trillion plan providing universal pre-K, expanding the Child Tax Credit, establishing a public healthcare option called Medicare X, and a public-private partnership to address climate change.

  • Rep. Abby Fineknauer (Iowa) endorsed Joe Biden on Thursday. Reps. Chrissy Houlahan and Conor Lamb—both from battleground districts in Pennsylvania—and Elaine Luria (Va.) also endorsed Biden on Sunday.

  • Michael Bloomberg did not file to participate in the Nevada caucuses, reflecting his previously announced plan to skip the early primary states. He campaigned in North Carolina on Friday.

  • Cory Booker made a six-figure ad buy in Iowa for a clip called “He Will Win.” He campaigned in South Carolina on Friday and Saturday.

  • Pete Buttigieg completed his four-day tour of New Hampshire on Saturday with stops in Manchester and Franklin.

  • Julián Castro ended his presidential campaign on Thursday. “I’m so proud of the campaign we’ve run together,” Castro said in a video statement. “We’ve shaped the conversation on so many important issues in this race, stood up for the most vulnerable people and given a voice to those who are often forgotten.”

  • John Delaney is continuing his monthlong tour of Iowa on Monday with stops in Arnolds Park and Mason City.

  • Tulsi Gabbard began a “New Year Tour” of New Hampshire on Thursday. It will run through Jan. 9 and include stops in Warner, Grantham, Hanover, and other cities.

  • Amy Klobuchar released a new statewide ad in Iowa and New Hampshire called “What It Takes.” She campaigned in Nevada on Saturday with stops in Minden, Reno, and Las Vegas.

  • Deval Patrick hired Wyatt Ronan as his state director in New Hampshire. He is campaigning in South Carolina on Monday and Tuesday.

  • Bernie Sanders finished his weeklong tour of Iowa on Saturday.

  • Tom Steyer hired Jeff Berman, who served as delegate adviser to the 2008 Obama and 2016 Clinton presidential campaigns, as a senior adviser.

  • Elizabeth Warren hosted town halls in Iowa on Saturday and Monday. She said on Friday that she will vote for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

  • Marianne Williamson laid off her staff nationally on Thursday. She said in a statement, “I am not suspending my candidacy, however; a campaign not having a huge war chest should not be what determines its fate.”

  • Andrew Yang launched a write-in campaign to appear on the Ohio Democratic primary ballot on Monday. He is finishing a four-day tour of Iowa on Monday.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump said on Friday that he authorized the strike that killed Iran’s security and intelligence services commander Qasem Soleimani.

  • Joe Walsh did not file to appear on the primary ballot in his home state of Illinois. His campaign said it was focusing its resources on Iowa and New Hampshire.

  • Bill Weld spoke on CNN on Sunday about Trump’s Iran policy.

Flashback: January 6, 2016

Gary Johnson, who previously served as the Republican governor of New Mexico, announced he was running for the Libertarian nomination for president.blank

Click here to learn more.



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