Biden, Trump cancel upcoming campaign events due to coronavirus concerns

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
March 12, 2020: Joe Biden and Donald Trump canceled upcoming campaign events. Priorities USA is preparing to run ads to support Biden. blank    blankblank   

Notable Quote of the Day

“History also shows that proceeding as normal with democratic politics amid an epidemic can distort election outcomes. In 1976 incumbent President Gerald Ford ran against Democrat Jimmy Carter amid fears of a so-called swine flu. Two of the most famous virologists of the day, polio vaccine inventors Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin, agreed with the CDC that a new form of influenza had emerged that might be as deadly as the 1918 pandemic. In haste, vaccines were manufactured, and a month before the general election mass immunization commenced. Some batches of vaccine caused side effects and were withdrawn, and the entire swine flu issue turned into a fiasco as influenza failed to hit the nation, and hundreds of people complained of lasting damage to their health from the vaccines. The threat of swine flu didn’t prompt any changes in the democratic process—conventions, rallies, or voting—but it may have contributed to Ford’s loss nevertheless.”

– Laurie Garrett, former senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations


  • Joe Biden canceled two fundraisers and a GOTV rally in Chicago scheduled for Friday and an event in Florida on Monday because of coronavirus concerns. He announced he is indefinitely suspending large crowd gatherings and will host virtual events, instead.

  • Biden also formed a Public Health Advisory Committee to counsel his campaign on health risks to his staff and supporters.

  • Priorities USA Action, which planned to remain neutral in the Democratic primary, said it was preparing to run ads to support Biden. “The math is now clear. Joe Biden is going to be the Democratic nominee for President and Priorities USA is going to do everything we can to help him defeat Donald Trump in November,” chairman Guy Cecil said.

  • Bernie Sanders held a press conference on Wednesday where he said he planned to remain in the Democratic primary and would participate in the debate on Sunday. “The American people will have the opportunity to see which candidate is best positioned to accomplish that goal,” he said.

  • Sanders discussed his campaign, electability, and the coronavirus on The Tonight Show Wednesday night.


  • Donald Trump canceled upcoming events in Colorado, Nevada, and Wisconsin on Wednesday due to coronavirus concerns.

Flashback: March 12, 2016

Marco Rubio won the Republican convention in Washington, D.C., while Ted Cruz was the winner of Wyoming’s county conventions.blank

Click here to learn more.

Heart of the Primaries 2020, Democrats-Issue 9 (March 11, 2020)

This week: Susan B. Anthony List partner announces pro-Lipinski spending in IL-03, McDowell endorses Valenzuela in TX-24 runoff, and PA Rep. draws primary challenge for first time in two decades

On the news

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

“According to Broockman and Kalla’s figures, Sanders loses a significant number of swing votes to Trump, but he makes up for them in support from young people who say they won’t vote, or will vote third party, unless Sanders is the nominee. On the surface, these Bernie-or-bust voters might seem like an argument for Sanders. After all, Sanders partisans sometimes insist that Democrats have no choice but to nominate their candidate because they’ll stay home otherwise, a sneering imitation of traditional centrist demands for progressive compromise.

But if Broockman and Kalla are right, by nominating Sanders, Democrats would be trading some of the electorate’s most reliable voters for some of its least. To prevail, Democrats would need unheard-of rates of youth turnout. That doesn’t necessarily mean Sanders would be a worse candidate than Joe Biden, given all of Biden’s baggage. It does mean polls might be underestimating how hard it will be for Sanders to beat Trump. …

In our age of extreme polarization, a widespread school of thought holds that swing voters are nearly extinct, and that turnout is everything. But that’s an exaggeration. While there seem to be fewer swing voters than in the past, they can still be decisive.

Michelle Goldberg, The New York Times, March 2, 2020


“In a recent piece in The New York Times, Michelle Goldberg describes academic research arguing that persuasion rather than higher turnout will be the critical factor in the upcoming presidential election. According to a piece of academic research she cites, electing a Democrat based on higher turnout would require a surge, especially among young voters, that would have to exceed the Obama surge among black voters in 2008.

These researchers think that is improbable. In fact, increasing turnout is the most likely path to Democratic victory. That is true whoever is the ultimate Democratic nominee. … 

More than anything, Democrats need a candidate—and campaign messaging—that inspires people. Inspiration addresses many of the most profound reasons people don’t vote. It makes potential voters feel empowered, and it makes voting seem important because it makes the outcome of the election a result that affects them and their personal aspirations as part of the campaign team—not just something that they observe as a spectator.”

Robert Creamer, The American Prospect, March 5, 2020

U.S. Congress

Susan B. Anthony List partner announces pro-Lipinski spending in IL-03

Women Speak Out PAC, a group affiliated with Susan B. Anthony List, announced a five-figure campaign supporting Rep. Daniel Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District primary. The campaign will include digital ads, direct mail, and phone calls. 

Mallory Quigley, national spokeswoman for Women Speak Out PAC, said, “Congressman Lipinski has been a champion of commonsense, compassionate, and popular legislation to stop taxpayer funding of abortion, to end late-term abortion, and to protect babies born-alive after failed abortions. The current Democratic leadership may say there is no room for voices like Dan’s in their party, but we need him now more than ever.

Quigley called candidate Marie Newman, who also challenged Lipinski in 2018, “an abortion extremist who supports a radical agenda of abortion on demand through birth, and even beyond.”

Planned Parenthood Action Fund and NARAL endorsed Newman. A line of her platform reads, “Reproductive health care for all, including access to birth control and abortion.”

Lipinski, Newman, Rush Darwish, and Charles Hughes are running in the March 17 primary.

Susan B. Anthony List reported six-figure spending on digital ads supporting Lipinksi in the 2018 Democratic primary against Newman. Lipinski won that race 51.1% to Newman’s 48.9%.

Also last week, Newman released an ad highlighting Lipinski’s vote against Obamacare, saying he would deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Lipinski’s campaign has called Newman’s healthcare position extreme and said her plan would take away people’s healthcare, put them on government plans, and raise taxes.

Romanoff wins Colorado caucus Senate preference poll

As of Monday night, preliminary results from the Colorado caucus Senate preference poll showed former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff with 55% support to former Governor and former presidential candidate John Hickenlooper’s 30%. None of the three other candidates reached 10%. The caucuses took place Saturday.

The caucus preference poll is part of the process for determining who makes the June 30 primary election ballot. Denver’s 5280 magazine explains the process:There are two ways to get on the primary ballot in Colorado. First, candidates can petition for signatures. … Candidates can also choose to go through the caucus and assembly process. The ultimate goal for Senate candidates is to get enough support at the caucus (15 percent in the preference poll) to move on to the county and state assemblies. If a candidate gets at least 30 percent of the vote at the state assembly, he or she will make the June ballot.

Worth noting: Candidates can gather signatures and go through the caucus process, they don’t have to choose one or the other. However, there is some risk to doing that. If a candidate gathers enough valid signatures but fails to get at least 10 percent of the vote at the state assembly, he or she will not make the ballot.

Romanoff is going through the caucus process to reach the ballot. Hickenlooper is going through the caucus and signature process.

John Frank and Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun wrote, “The results from the Saturday caucuses are expected to give Romanoff’s overlooked campaign a jolt of momentum, but the preference poll is not a reliable predictor of which candidate will win the Democratic nomination in the June primary.” 

Turnout was around 1% of registered Democrats in the state.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed Hickenlooper shortly after he announced his Senate bid in August 2019. Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), founder of Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, endorsed Hickenlooper Monday. He also has support from NARAL.Romanoff’s list of endorsers includes several current and former state and local elected officials.

The Democratic primary winner will face Sen. Cory Gardner (R) in November. Gardner is one of two Republican senators up for re-election in a state Hillary Clinton (D) won in 2016. Three ratings outlets view the race as either Toss-up or Lean Democratic. 

McDowell endorses Valenzuela in TX-24 runoff

Jan McDowell, who placed third in the March 3 primary for Texas’ 24th Congressional District with 10% of the vote, endorsed Candace Valenzuela in the May 26 runoff. Kim Olson and Valenzuela advanced to the runoff after Olson received 40.9% of the vote to Valenzuela’s 30.4%.

McDowell was the 2018 Democratic nominee for the district. She lost to Kenny Marchant (R) 50.6% to 47.5%. Marchant is not seeking re-election.

Olson is an Air Force veteran and former member of the Weatherford school board. Valenzuela serves on the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school board and has worked as a teacher.

State executives

Smith ends secretary of state campaign while Hass gets labor endorsement

Former Oregon Director of Consumer and Business Services Cameron Smith ended his campaign for secretary of state Tuesday. Smith, who resigned his state government post in order to focus on his campaign, said his path to victory had narrowed since launching his campaign in November. His withdrawal leaves three Democrats in the running: state Sens. Shemia Fagan and Mark Hass, and 2018 congressional candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

The Joint Council of Teamsters No. 37, which represents 23,000 employees across Oregon, announced its endorsement of Hass Wednesday. The announcement followed the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees’ endorsement of Fagan the previous weekend.

Unlike in most states, Oregon’s secretary of state is first in line to the governorship. There is no lieutenant governor of Oregon. Four governors, including incumbent Kate Brown (D), were originally secretaries of state who succeeded to the office after a governor left office early.

The current secretary of state is Republican Bev Clarno, meaning that if Brown were to leave office, Republicans would gain Oregon’s governorship and break the state’s Democratic trifecta. Clarno, who was appointed to the office following the death of Dennis Richardson (R) in February 2019, will not seek a full term in 2020. 

The May 19 primary is open to registered Democrats only. Additional candidates have until March 10 to file.

Attorney Patrick Winburn files for governor of Vermont while Holcombe announces legislative endorsements

Bennington attorney Patrick Winburn became the third Democrat to enter Vermont’s gubernatorial election Wednesday, joining Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman and former state Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe

Winburn, who is running for his first elected office, says he has self-funded $100,000 since launching his campaign and that he plans to use the funds to boost his name recognition. Winburn said he considered opioids and climate change to be the biggest threats facing the state.

On Thursday, Holcombe announced endorsements from five current and six former members of the state legislature, including state Sen. Ann Cummings, chairwoman of the Senate Finance Committee. Twelve current or former members of the state legislature previously endorsed Holcombe.

The candidate filing deadline is May 28. The August 11 primary is open to all registered voters.


PA Rep. draws primary challenge for first time in two decades

Jennifer Leith, a nonprofit executive from Haverford, filed to run against 14-term incumbent Rep. Greg Vitali (D) in the Democratic primary for Pennsylvania’s 166th House District. Leith filed to run for the same seat in 2018 when Vitali initially announced a U.S. House bid, though his decision to run for re-election instead led her to drop out.

Leith criticized Vitali’s vote against a bill that would have expanded the statute of limitations for childhood victims of sexual assault. Vitali defended his vote, saying, “If you could just tailor the elimination of statutes of limitations to guilty Roman Catholic priests, I’d be all for that. But the reality is that statutes of limitations protect every person in our society.”

The primary challenge will be Vitali’s first since 2000. He was elected to the Pennsylvania House in 1992. District 166 includes portions of Philadelphia.

Scanlon endorses Kane in PA Senate primary

U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-5) endorsed John Kane in the Democratic primary for District 9 in the Pennsylvania state Senate. Scanlon is the second member of Congress to endorse Kane, joining Chrissy Houlahan. Kane faces Brett Burman in the Democratic primary, with the two competing to face Sen. Tom Killion (R) in the general election.

The two candidates have split endorsements from local party officials. District 9 covers portions of Chester and Delaware counties. The Delaware County Democratic Committee endorsed Kane, while the Chester County Democratic Committee endorsed Burman.

Killion was first elected to the Senate in an April 2016 special election, which he won 57-43. He then won re-election in November of that year 51-49. 

Hagenow retirement announcement sets up contest between college students for seat

Iowa Rep. Chris Hagenow (R-19), first elected in 2008, announced that he would not seek re-election in 2020. Carter Nordman (R), a senior at Northern Iowa University, announced his intention to run for the seat. Already in the race was Nick Miller (D), a student at Drake University. Hagenow won re-election 56-41 in 2018.

Power players

“Our vision is a government that reflects the people it serves, and decision makers who genuinely and enthusiastically fight for greater opportunity and better lives for the Americans they represent. We will work for larger leadership roles for pro-choice Democratic women in our legislative bodies and executive seats so that our families can benefit from the open-minded, productive contributions that women have consistently made in office.” – EMILY’s List website 

Founded in 1985, EMILY’s List is a political action committee dedicated to electing Democratic women who support legalized abortion. “EMILY” was originally an acronym for the phrase “Early money is like yeast; it makes the dough rise,” and the organization’s first logo was based on a Fleischmann’s yeast packet. Today, the organization says, “Now we know EMILY is more than a slogan — she’s a candidate, a voter, an operative, a member.” 

EMILY’s List says it works to “recruit the strongest candidates, support campaigns that can win, study the electorate, and turn out the vote.” Click the following links to view candidates endorsed by EMILY’s List in each category:  state and local, gubernatorial, U.S. House, and U.S. Senate.

In July 2019, EMILY’s List announced its Focus 2020 initiative, a $20 million effort to target over 500 state legislative races. The organization said, “This historic investment will focus on building a pipeline of future women leaders and flipping state legislative chambers in 2020 with an eye toward redistricting in 2021, by electing pro-choice Democratic women who will pass policies that support women and families and fight back against Republican efforts to roll back women’s access to health care.” 

Heart of the Primaries 2020, Republicans-Issue 9 (March 11, 2020)

This week: Trump endorses Tuberville in Senate primary runoff in Alabama, Redistricting becomes issue in LA-05 race, and ballot set for Georgia’s special Senate election

On the news

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

“There is still a chance that state and local efforts to contain the virus can succeed, and there are still ways in which the White House could exert strong leadership to help that happen. But right now we are headed for a scenario of rising death rates and overwhelmed hospitals, shuttered schools and empty stadiums and cancellations everywhere.

Combine this scenario’s inevitable economic consequences with the optics of the president’s blundering and solipsistic response, and the coronavirus seems very likely to doom Trump’s re-election effort, no matter where he casts the blame.

And how ironic that would be. In 2016 we elected a China hawk who promised a ‘complete shutdown’ in response to foreign threats, a germaphobic critic of globalization who promised to privilege the national interest above all.

Now he is in danger of losing his presidency because when the great test came, in the form of a virus carried by global trade routes from Communist China, he didn’t take the danger seriously enough.”

Ross Douthat, The New York Times, March 7, 2020

“Trump’s opponents have taken to the media to predict that he will no doubt mishandle America’s coronavirus response and are predicting this will become the scandal that leads to his defeat in the November election. …

But Trump’s opponents – including their left-wing media allies – don’t realize that the president was made for this crisis. There is nothing he loves more, or is as good at, as taking personal charge of a crisis and bulldozing his way through the bureaucracy to a solution. …

Unlike most professional politicians, Trump isn’t afraid of crises. I honestly think he relishes them. There is nothing he likes more than personally taking charge of a seemingly insurmountable challenge, especially when others are wringing their hands.

Plus, who better to deal with a pandemic than someone who believes in border security, doesn’t mind ruffling the feathers of political correctness and is a germophobe? …

Americans don’t cower in a crisis, but they do want a leader to get them through it. Rather than being Trump’s ‘Katrina hour’ the coronavirus crisis could prove to be his finest hour.”

K.T. McFarland, Fox News, March 8, 2020

U.S. Congress

Ballot set for Georgia’s special Senate election

Twenty-one candidates qualified for Georgia’s Nov. 3 special Senate election. The race includes eight Democrats, six Republicans, five independents, one Green Party candidate, and one Libertarian. The qualifying deadline was Friday. 

Candidates of all affiliations will compete in the election. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a runoff between the top two will be Jan. 5, 2021.

A recent University of Georgia poll found Republicans Doug Collins and Kelly Loeffler, the appointed incumbent, tied within the margin of error at 21% and 19%, respectively. Matt Lieberman (D) was third with 11% and Raphael Warnock (D), who the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed, had 6%. Thirty-one percent said they were undecided.

The poll was conducted Feb. 24-March 2—ahead of the qualifying deadline—and included eight candidates: three Republicans, four Democrats, and one independent.  

Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler to the seat after Sen. Johnny Isakson resigned in December. 

Trump endorses Tuberville in Senate primary runoff in Alabama

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump endorsed Tommy Tuberville in the Republican primary runoff for Senate in Alabama. Trump tweeted the following:

“Tommy Tuberville (@TTuberville) is running for the U.S. Senate from the Great State of Alabama. Tommy was a terrific head football coach at Auburn University. He is a REAL LEADER who will never let MAGA/KAG, or our Country, down! Tommy will protect your Second Amendment (which is under siege), is strong on Crime and the Border, and truly LOVES our Military and our Vets. He will be a great Senator for the people of Alabama. Coach Tommy Tuberville, a winner, has my Complete and Total Endorsement. I love Alabama!”

Sessions responded to Trump’s endorsement with the following:

“Of course, President Trump can endorse anyone he chooses for the U.S. Senate election in Alabama. But the Constitution expressly empowers the people of Alabama, and only them, to select their Senator. I intend to take my case directly to the people of Alabama. Even before he declared for the presidency, I fought for the principles that Donald Trump so effectively advocated in the campaign and has advanced as President. I believed in those principles then, I have always fought for them, and I will continue to do so.”

Sessions held the Senate seat for 20 years before the president appointed him U.S. attorney general in 2017. Sessions resigned in 2018 at Trump’s request. 

Tuberville received 33.4% of the vote to Sessions’ 31.6% in the March 3 primary

Sessions and Tuberville have both campaigned on their allegiance to the president and their criticisms of one another. Sessions says Tuberville is a Floridian and supports immigration amnesty. Sessions campaign ads feature audio of Tuberville saying he was mad at the president on the issue of veterans’ health care. 

Tuberville has criticized Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election. His campaign ads have featured Trump saying he regretted appointing Sessions as attorney general. 

Two polls following the primary showed Tuberville leading Sessions—one by 7 percentage points and the other by 12. In the latter poll, 34% said they would definitely vote for Tuberville and 24% said they’d definitely vote for Sessions. An additional 18% said they’d probably vote for Tuberville, and 16% would probably vote for Sessions.

The primary runoff is March 31.

Redistricting becomes issue in LA-05 race

A priority among several current and potential Republican candidates in Louisiana’s open 5th Congressional District race is preserving the district’s existence following the 2020 census. The state legislature will draw new congressional district maps, which will go into effect in the 2022 election cycle.

Retiring Rep. Ralph Abraham’s former chief of staff Luke Letlow joined the race to replace Abraham on Monday. Abraham endorsed Letlow. Letlow joined Ouachita Parish Police Juror Randall Scott Robinson and state Rep. Lance Harris in the race, along with two Democrats. Former state Sen. Mike Walsworth (R) is also considering a bid. 

Greg Hilburn of the Monroe News-Star wrote, “Northern Louisiana currently has two districts — the 5th District represented by Abraham with the population and voting power in northeastern Louisiana and the 4th District represented by Republican Congressman Mike Johnson of Benton with Shreveport-Bossier as the hub. During a period in the 1990s northern Louisiana was represented by one district with Shreveport-Bossier as the hub.”

Letlow said a single northern district would harm the agricultural community. 

Harris said, “I certainly think there will be some changes in the lines of every district, but I hope we’re able to keep a semblance of the district.”Robinson said, “We don’t need to be in a district with Shreveport. … Our commonalities and priorities are different, and if it happened Shreveport would clearly have an edge because of its population.”

Walsworth stated, “I think it’s by far the most important issue facing the next person who will represent the 5th District.”

Candidates of all affiliations will run in a Nov. 3 election. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, another election for the top two will be held Dec. 5. Ratings outlets view the race as Safe or Solid Republican.

State executives

Thomas Wright becomes first Utah Republican to qualify for gubernatorial primary

Former state GOP Chairman Thomas Wright qualified for Utah’s gubernatorial primary ballot Thursday, becoming the first of the eight Republicans running to do so. 

Candidates running for governor of Utah have two paths to the June 30 primary ballot. Up to two candidates may qualify for the primary by receiving support from delegates at the state party convention on April 25, while any number of candidates may qualify by submitting petitions containing the verified signatures of 28,000 voters. Only signatures from registered Republicans who have not signed another candidate’s nominating petitions are counted. 

Every Republican candidate other than Jason Christensen, Aimee Winder Newton, and Greg Hughes is seeking to qualify via signatures, although a candidate who is collecting signatures can still win a place on the ballot at the convention. The only candidate to have submitted signatures other than Wright is Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox. As of 2:30 p.m. Mountain Time on March 10, 26,120 of Cox’s signatures had been verified, leaving him 1,880 short of the required amount.

A Scott Rasmussen poll conducted Feb. 24-March 1 on behalf of Deseret News and the Hinckley Institute found Jon Huntsman, Jr. had 32% support to Spencer Cox’s 20%, while 30% were undecided. Hughes and Jeff Burningham each had 7%. No other candidate had more than 10% support. In a Scott Rasmussen poll conducted in January, Huntsman had 35% to Cox’s 25% with 25% undecided.

The candidate filing deadline is March 19. The June 30 primary will be open to registered Republicans only. The winner of the primary is likely to also win the general election—no Democrat has won election as governor of Utah since 1980. Incumbent Gary Herbert (R) is not seeking re-election.

Candidates for North Dakota Schools Superintendent seek party support

Incumbent North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and challengers Charles Tuttle and Brandt Dick will each have a chance to make their pitch for the state Republican Party’s letter of support. 

Baesler, who was first elected in 2012, was arrested for drunken driving Feb. 26. Tuttle, who launched his campaign earlier that month, said he intended to focus on education policy rather than criticism of Baesler, while Dick said Baesler’s arrest was not a factor in his decision to run.

Although the office of state superintendent is officially nonpartisan in North Dakota, candidates may seek a letter of support from any of the state’s political parties. Baesler won the GOP letter of support ahead of her successful 2012 and 2016 campaigns. The three were the only candidates to file the required signatures with the state party ahead of a Sunday deadline and will each be allotted speaking time at the state party convention during the final weekend of March. No candidates have filed to seek a letter of support from the state Democratic Party affiliate.

A process change currently under deliberation could mean that the party’s letter of support is published later this year than in previous elections. The 57-member State Committee is scheduled to vote March 19 on a motion that would delay the publication of the party’s letter of support until after the primary in June. 

The candidate filing deadline is April 6. The June 9 primary will be open to all registered voters, with the top two finishers advancing to the general election on November 3.


Ohio House candidates allege speaker is behind negative attack ads

Four candidates for Ohio House of Representatives held a press conference to call for an end to negative campaign ads against them and alleged that Speaker Larry Householder (R) was responsible. Householder had not yet responded.

Joe Dills (District 65), Adam Bird (District 66), Nick Owens (District 66), and Thad Claggett (District 71) accused Householder of coordinating with the group behind the negative ads, the Growth and Opportunity PAC.

According to the FCC, Growth and Opportunity PAC has spent $265,000 on broadcast ads in the Cincinnati television and radio markets in support of Householder’s preferred candidates in Districts 65 and 66. reported the PAC and the House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC) have also spent $265,000 in the Columbus market in ads opposing Claggett.

Growth and Opportunity is registered as a federal Super PAC, meaning it cannot raise or spend money in coordination with any candidate or candidate committee. A representative for the HRCC denied allegations of coordination with any satellite groups.

Former U.S. Rep. seeking Georgia State Senate seat

Former U.S. Rep. Max Burns (R-12) qualified to run for the District 23 seat in the Georgia State Senate. 

Incumbent Sen. Jesse Stone (R) is not seeking re-election. He was first elected to represent the 23rd District in 2010. Trey Allen (R) is also seeking the Republican nomination.

Burns served in Congress from 2003 to 2005. He won election in 2002 55-45, then lost his re-election campaign in 2004 52-48. He ran again in 2006 but lost by less than 900 votes.

District 23 covers 11 counties along the central Georgia-South Carolina border. Stone last faced a Democratic challenger in 2014, when he won by a 61-39 margin. Republicans hold a 35-21 majority in the chamber.

Hagenow retirement announcement sets up contest between college students for seat

Iowa Rep. Chris Hagenow (R-19), first elected in 2008, announced that he would not seek re-election in 2020. Carter Nordman (R), a senior at Northern Iowa University, announced his intention to run for the seat. Already in the race was Nick Miller (D), a student at Drake University. Hagenow won re-election 56-41 in 2018.

Power players

“[The Susan B. Anthony] List is a nationwide network of more than 700,000 Americans. We combine politics with policy, investing heavily in voter education to ensure that pro-life Americans know where their lawmakers stand on protecting the unborn, and in issue advocacy, advancing pro-life laws through direct lobbying and grassroots campaigns.” – Susan B. Anthony List website 

The Susan B. Anthony List is a political organization that opposes abortion. The organization says its mission is “to end abortion by electing national leaders and advocating for laws that save lives, with a special calling to promote pro-life women leaders.” The Susan B. Anthony List is affiliated with the Life Issues Institute, the National Pro-Life Women’s Caucus, the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the Women Speak Out PAC, the Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund, and the Susan B. Anthony List Action PAC.  

The organization says it “fights for the election of women and men who will fight for life. We fight for laws that safeguard the innocent, and we develop research to demonstrate the good that flows from society from their protection.” To view a list of candidates endorsed by the organization, click here.

The Susan B. Anthony List also publishes a “National Pro-Life Scorecard,” which grades members of Congress on votes and other activities, such as bill sponsorship, related to abortion.

Ballot Bulletin March 2020

Virginia General Assembly passes bill allowing localities to use ranked-choice voting in some municipal elections 

On Feb. 27, the Virginia State Senate voted 22-18 to approve HB1103, which would allow local governments to implement ranked-choice voting (RCV) for select municipal elections. All of the Senate’s 21 Democrats and one Republican voted in favor of the legislation. Eighteen Republicans voted against it. The same bill had passed the Virginia House of Delegates on Feb. 7 by a vote of 57-42. Fifty-four House Democrats and three Republicans voted in favor of HB1103. Forty-two Republicans voted against it (one Democratic member did not vote). HB1103 now goes to Gov. Ralph Northam (D) for his action.  

If enacted, HB1103 would allow local governments to implement RCV in elections for county boards of supervisors and city councils. The state board of elections would be authorized to “promulgate regulations for the proper and efficient administration of elections determined by ranked-choice voting, including (i) procedures for tabulating votes in rounds, (ii) procedures for determining winners in elections for offices to which only one candidate is being elected and to which more than one candidate is being elected, and (iii) standards for ballots.” Localities would be liable for any implementation costs incurred by the state. The Department of Planning and Budget has estimated those costs at approximately $1.3 million.

What have been the reactions? 

The following is a sample of the commentary surrounding HB1103: 

  • Del. Sally Hudson (D), the bill’s chief sponsor, said, “It’s a benefit to communities like mine in Charlottesville that tend to have very low-turnout primaries in the summer and then local elections in the fall that often have multiple candidates running for a handful of open seats. You end up with really split elections and less certainty about which candidate has majority support from the community.”    
  • Del. Chris Runion opposed the bill, saying, “It confuses the voter, and it complicates the process. I would prefer that a voter goes in and makes his decision, casts their ballot and goes back and knows this is who they voted for and that’s who they support and they go home satisfied with that result.”
  • Elizabeth Melson, president of FairVote Virginia, which has advocated in favor of the bill, said, “With ranking, if a candidate meets a voter who favors an opponent, the conversation need not end; it can shift to second choices and areas of mutual concern. In places with ranked choice already implemented, candidates sometimes even campaign in groups of two or three and ask to be second or third choices. It could lead to more civilized and issue-based campaigns and less mud-slinging.”
  • Quentin Kidd, a professor at Christopher Newport University, said, “So if you had a city or a county that was 50-50 split, ranked-choice voting could really mix things up and make for some really healthy political competition. But in a county that’s really rural and really Republican, Democrats would almost be locked out. In a city that’s really Democratically-oriented, Republicans would almost be locked out.” 

What other jurisdictions have implemented RCV? 

Maine is the only state that has implemented RCV for federal and state-level elections. Nine states have jurisdictions with RCV at the local level. On the map below, these states are shaded in gold. Another four states have jurisdictions that have adopted, but have not yet implemented, RCV. These states are shaded in blue. A complete list of implementation sites is available here

In other RCV news …

On March 3, citizens in Portland, Maine, approved a charter amendment extending the use of ranked-choice voting to all city council and school board elections. Previously, ranked-choice voting only applied to mayoral elections. The charter amendment passed with 81 percent of the vote.  

Virginians to decide constitutional amendment transferring redistricting power from legislature to commission 

On March 5, the Virginia House of Delegates voted 54-46 to approve a resolution placing a redistricting-related constitutional amendment on the ballot for Nov. 3, 2020. The ballot measure would transfer the authority to draft the state’s congressional and legislative district plans from the Virginia General Assembly to a 16-member redistricting commission comprising eight state legislators and eight citizens. 

What does the constitutional amendment propose? 

Under the amendment, the commission would draft the maps and the Virginia General Assembly would vote either to approve or reject them. The Virginia General Assembly would be prohibited from amending the maps. If the Virginia General Assembly were to reject a map, the redistricting commission would draft a new one. If the second map is rejected, the state supreme court would enact a district map.

Maps would require approval by 12 of 16 (75 percent) commission members, including six of eight legislator-members and six of eight citizen-members. Leaders of the legislature’s two largest political parties would select members to serve on the commission. Based on the current composition of the General Assembly, the commission’s legislative members would include two Senate Democrats, two Senate Republicans, two House Democrats, and two House Republicans. The commission’s eight citizen members would be recommended by legislative leaders and selected by a committee of five retired circuit court judges.

How did the amendment make it to the ballot, and what comes next? 

In order to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot, a majority vote in each chamber, in two successive legislative sessions, is required. In 2019, the House and Senate, with Republican majorities, approved the amendment. Democrats won control of both legislative chambers in November 2019. This year, the Senate approved the amendment 38-2. In the House, nine Democrats and all 45 Republicans voted to advance the amendment; 46 Democrats voted against the amendment. In November, a simple majority vote is required to enact the constitutional amendment. 

For more information on the support and opposition arguments on this amendment, click here

For more information about the legislative process that put the amendment on the ballot, click here.

Are other states considering similar measures this year? 

This is the first ballot measure certified for 2020 related to redistricting. Measures might also be on the ballot in Arkansas, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Oregon. In 2018, five states — Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Utah — voted on initiatives to alter redistricting procedures or establish redistricting commissions. Voters approved all of them.

Ballot access requirements for U.S. Senate candidates in 2020 

Thirty-three seats in the United States Senate are up for election in 2020. How do prospective candidates get on the ballot in their respective states?

Generally speaking, a candidate must pay a filing fee, submit petition signatures, or both in order to appear on the ballot. Filing requirements vary from state to state. Filing requirements also vary according to a candidate’s partisan affiliation. Candidates of the major political parties are sometimes subject to different filing requirements than unaffiliated candidates. 

Petition signature requirements exist on a broad spectrum. For example, Kentucky requires partisan primary candidates to submit two petition signatures (candidates are also liable for a $500 filing fee). This petition requirement is the lowest in the nation for Senate candidates in 2020. By contrast, Texas requires unaffiliated candidates to submit 83,717 petition signatures, 1 percent of all votes cast for governor in the last election. This petition requirement is the highest in the nation. 

Filing fees are similarly variable. Kansas requires unaffiliated candidates to pay a $20 administrative fee. This fee is the smallest in the nation for Senate candidates in 2020. By contrast, Arkansas Republican candidates are liable for a $20,000 filing fee, a larger filing fee than that imposed in any other state this cycle.    

We have compiled complete filing requirements for major-party and unaffiliated Senate candidates in 2020. To peruse the data, click here

Legislation tracking 

Redistricting legislation

The map below shows which states have 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 March 9, 2020

Electoral systems legislation

The map below shows which states have 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 March 9, 2020

Primary systems legislation

The map below shows which states have 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 March 9, 2020

Biden wins MI and three other states, Sanders wins ND

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
March 11, 2020: Joe Biden won primaries in four states, and Bernie Sanders won North Dakota. Washington is still too close to call. Both candidates canceled rallies Tuesday night in Ohio because of coronavirus concerns. blank    blankblank   

Notable Quote of the Day

“But it’s clear that if [Bernie Sanders] doesn’t pick up more delegates from Biden in the Midwest, he’ll likely find it difficult to find much support elsewhere. The former vice president is poised to pick up huge delegate advantages in the remaining Southern states, like Georgia and Louisiana, due to his strength among African American voters. Florida, another big electoral prize, is projected to be a Biden win.

Though many of Sanders’ supporters say he should stay in the race. After all, there are still over 1,000 delegates up for grabs and soon more progressive states like New York will have the opportunity to weigh in.”

– Alexandra Hutzler, Newsweek

March 10 results

Six states and the Democrats Abroad held events for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations.

  • Joe Biden was the projected winner in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, and Missouri. Across all six primaries, he is expected to win at least 184 pledged delegates.

  • Bernie Sanders won North Dakota and is expected to receive at least 115 delegates.

  • Washington is too close to call with 67% of precincts reporting. Sanders and Biden are separated by 0.2%.

  • The Democrats Abroad, which concluded its global primary on Tuesday, are expected to release their results on March 23.

  • President Donald Trump won all Republican primaries. He will finish the night with a cumulative total of least 1,099 delegates. To win the nomination, a candidate needs 1,276 delegates. No other Republican presidential candidate won any delegates last night.

The map below shows the projected winners of the Democratic primaries held yesterday.

The following chart shows the current Democratic delegate scoreboard.

Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio are holding primaries next week with 577 Democratic pledged delegates at stake. A debate between Biden and Sanders is scheduled to take place Sunday, March 15, in Phoenix, Arizona.


  • Both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders canceled their respective rallies in Cleveland on Tuesday night for public health and safety. It was the first time concerns about the coronavirus led to canceled campaign rallies this election cycle.

  • The Democratic National Committee also announced there will be no live audience at the presidential primary debate in Phoenix on Mar. 15.

  • Biden received nine congressional endorsements from former Michael Bloomberg supporters, including Rep. Pete Aguilar (Calif.), Juan Vargas (Calif.), and Scott Peters (Calif.). Former 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang also endorsed Biden.

  • Biden was also endorsed by Republican Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor. Sterling Heights is in Macomb County, one of 12 Pivot Counties in Michigan.

  • Tulsi Gabbard attended the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

  • Rep. Mark Takano (Calif.) endorsed Sanders on Tuesday.


  • Donald Trump announced he will travel to Milwaukee on Mar. 19 to launch the “Catholics for Trump” coalition.

Flashback: March 11, 2016

Ben Carson endorsed Donald Trump, and the National Review backed Ted Cruz.blank

Click here to learn more.

Gov. Cuomo includes donor disclosure requirements in New York state budget proposal

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has included amendments to New York’s nonprofit donor disclosure laws in his fiscal year 2021 budget proposal.

Part UU of the executive budget proposes that a nonprofit group disclose the following for any donation of $1,000 or more earmarked to pay, in whole or in part, for political communications: the name and address of the donor, the date and amount of the donation, and a description of any restriction placed on the donation.

The amendments come in response to a federal court order striking down portions of A10742, donor disclosure laws enacted by the state legislature in 2016. On Sept. 30, 2019, Judge Denise Cote, of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, struck down Section 172-f of the law, which required nonprofits to disclose the identities of donors who contributed more than $1,000 if the nonprofit spent $10,000 or more per calendar year on political communications. Cote wrote, “Section 172-f sweeps far more broadly than any disclosure law that has survived judicial scrutiny.” President Bill Clinton (D) appointed Cote to the court in 1994.

What are the reactions?

  • Jason Conwall, a spokesman for the governor, said, “The public has a right to know who is backing these organizations so voters can better understand the sources for their positions and make decisions with full knowledge of the facts. Everyone supports transparency until it shows up at their own front door. The proposal advanced in the Executive Budget is more narrowly tailored [than the 2016 law] and we are confident it will withstand judicial scrutiny.”
  • Chai Jindasurat, policy director at Nonprofit New York, said, “Donors have legitimate and personal reasons for why they wouldn’t want to be disclosed or labeled [and] why they would want to give anonymously. If it is a problem, we’re happy to try and figure out a way to address transparency for all types of nonprofits. We just don’t know if it’s actually an issue.”

What comes next? Cuomo’s proposal is part of the larger budgeting process. With the governor having submitted his executive budget proposal, it now falls to the state legislature to assemble and adopt a final budget. The governor can execute line-item vetoes on the budget adopted by the legislature. New York’s new fiscal year begins April 1. Negotiations between lawmakers and the governor are currently ongoing. New York is a Democratic trifecta; Democrats hold the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 45 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 March 9, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Disclosure Digest status chart March 9, 2020.png

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

Disclosure Digest partisan chart March 9, 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.

  • Connecticut HB05406: This bill would establish disclosure requirements for independent expenditures supporting or opposing incumbents before they form committees.
    • House Government Administration and Elections hearing scheduled March 6.
    • Committee sponsorship.
  • Connecticut HB05410: This bill would increase disclosure of independent expenditures and prohibit such expenditures by foreign-influenced entities.
    • House Government Administration and Elections hearing scheduled March 6.
    • Committee sponsorship.
  • New Hampshire HB1525: This bill would alter the definition of a political advocacy organization for the purposes of campaign finance reporting.
    • House Election Law Committee approved March 4.
    • Bipartisan sponsorship.
  • Oklahoma SB1491: This bill would prohibit public agencies from requiring 501(c) entities to furnish them with personal information about donors.
    • Senate approved March 3. First House reading March 4.
    • Republican sponsorship.
  • Virginia SB979: This bill extends the applicability of the state’s campaign finance disclosure act to candidates for directors or soil and water conservation districts.
    • House approved March 7 (Senate approved Jan. 27) .
    • Republican sponsorship.

Six states and Democrats Abroad hold primaries, 365 pledged delegates at stake

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
March 10, 2020: Six states and the Democrats Abroad are holding primaries on Tuesday. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are campaigning in Cleveland.        

 Poll Spotlight

Notable Quote of the Day

“Sanders ran well in rural Michigan and won 73 of the state’s 83 counties in 2016. He has strong support among Arab Americans and young voters, who joined a crowd of over 10,000 that rallied for him on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on Sunday. Yet, his struggles with African Americans and suburban women — groups expected to turn out in large numbers, especially in populous southeastern Michigan — could sound the death knell for him.

Biden maintains a double-digit lead over Sanders in each of the last three post-Super Tuesday polls out of Michigan. But both campaigns are well aware that polling also showed Sanders losing big in 2016 just prior to his victory.”

– Maya King, Politico

March 10 primaries

Six states are holding primary events on Tuesday:

There are 352 Democratic pledged delegates at stake across these six states. Another 13 pledged delegates will be allocated from the Democrats Abroad, which concludes its weeklong global primary on March 10.


  • Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (Fla.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.), Gregory Meeks (N.Y.), and Hank Johnson (Ga.) endorsed Joe Biden.
  • Biden campaigned in Michigan on Monday, including holding a rally in Detroit with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. He is holding a campaign rally in Cleveland on Tuesday night.
  • Rufus Gifford, the finance director for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, has reached out to more than 700 bundlers for Biden.
  • Tulsi Gabbard criticized the Democratic National Committee’s debate criteria in an interview on Fox News.
  • Bernie Sanders is holding a rally in Cleveland on Tuesday night, one week before the primary in Ohio. On Monday, he held a public health roundtable in Detroit on the coronavirus.
  • Working Families Party endorsed Sanders on Monday.


  • Donald Trump held a fundraiser in Longwood, Florida, that raised $4 million on Monday. His campaign postponed a “Women for Trump” bus tour through Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: March 10, 2016

Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump participated in a Republican primary debate on CNN.

Click here to learn more.

Booker and Harris endorse Biden

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
March 9, 2020: Cory Booker and Kamala Harris endorsed Joe Biden. Bernie Sanders will participate in his second town hall on Fox News.

Share the latest from the campaign trail. blank    blankblank   

Which of the following states are tied for the fewest delegates at this year’s Democratic National Convention?

Notable Quote of the Day

“Indeed, major party turnout in Wayne County [in Michigan], which encompasses Detroit and is strongly African American, fell by more than 64,000 votes in 2016 as compared to 2012. That’s especially important since Trump leveled the Democrats’ famed ‘blue wall’ with narrow wins in states that were supposed to comfortably go to Hillary Clinton: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, which he won by just 10,704 votes out more than 4.8 million cast.

Tuesday will be the first test of Democrats’ ability to take them back.”

– Will Weissert and Kat Stafford, Associated Press


  • On Friday, the Democratic National Committee announced the criteria for the March 15 primary debate in Phoenix, Arizona. To qualify, a candidate must receive at least 20 percent of the pledged delegates awarded in primary contests up to March 15, the day of the debate. With only two pledged delegates as of Super Tuesday, it is mathematically impossible for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to qualify.

  • Gabbard tweeted about the new requirements, “To keep me off the stage, the DNC again arbitrarily changed the debate qualifications. Previously they changed the qualifications in the OPPOSITE direction so Bloomberg could debate. I ask that you stand w/ me against the DNC’s transparent effort to exclude me from the debates.”

  • Joe Biden made a $12 million ad buy—his largest of the campaign so far—in Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio, and digital markets.

  • Former 2020 presidential presidential candidates Cory BookerJohn DelaneyKamala Harris, and Deval Patrick endorsed Biden. He also received more than a dozen endorsements from congressional and state legislators and executives since Friday, including Sen. Tina Smith (Minn.) and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas).

  • Bernie Sanders is participating in a televised town hall on Fox News, his second on the network, on Monday night.

  • Rev. Jesse Jackson endorsed Sanders on Sunday at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Detroit Action, a racial and economic justice advocacy group in Michigan, made its first-ever presidential primary endorsement and backed Sanders.


  • Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Donald Trump campaign, told reporters on Sunday that the campaign would target Biden on trade and healthcare if he became the Democratic nominee.

  • Trump attended two fundraisers in Florida over the weekend that included more than 1,000 donors.

Flashback: March 9, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debated in Miami, Florida. The event was hosted by Univision and The Washington Post.blank

Click here to learn more.

Only one U.S. Court of Appeal vacancy

Ballotpedia's Bold Justice

Welcome to the March 9 edition of Bold Justice, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S. Lost track of the judiciary over Super Tuesday? We’ve got you covered! Catch up on the latest news by following us on Twitter or subscribing to the Daily Brew.

We #SCOTUS so you don't have to


The Supreme Court justices will not hear arguments this week. The court will next hear arguments on March 23. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.


SCOTUS has ruled on one case since our March 2 issue. The court has issued rulings in 12 cases so far this term.

Click the links below to read more about the specific case SCOTUS ruled on since March 2:

  • March 3

    • Kansas v. Garcia was argued before the court on October 16, 2019.

      The case: Ramiro Garcia, Donaldo Morales, and Guadalupe Ochoa-Lara were convicted of identity theft in Johnson County, Kansas. In each case, prosecutors used Social Security numbers found on I-9 and W-4 employment forms as evidence of identity theft. Garcia, Morales, and Ochoa-Lara appealed their convictions, arguing the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) preempted their prosecution. On appeal, the Kansas Supreme Court reversed the three convictions.

      The outcome: In a 5-4 opinion, the court reversed and remanded the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision, holding the Kansas statutes under which Garcia, Morales, and Ochoa-Lara were convicted “are not expressly preempted.”

      Justice Samuel Alito wrote the opinion. Justice Clarence Thomas filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Neil Gorsuch joined. Justice Stephen Breyer filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan joined.

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest in March:

  • March 9: 

    • SCOTUS will release orders and/or opinions.

  • March 20: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices.

  • March 23:

    • SCOTUS will release orders and/or opinions.

    • SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.

  • March 24: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.

  • March 25: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.

  • March 27: SCOTUS will conference.

The Federal Vacancy Count

The Federal Vacancy Count tracks vacancies, nominations, and confirmations to all United States Article III federal courts in a one-month period. This month’s edition includes nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from February 4 to March 2.


  • Vacancies: There has been one new judicial vacancy since the January 2020 report. As of March 3, 72 (or 8.3%) of 870 active Article III judicial positions on the courts covered in this report were vacant.

    Including the United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, 78 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.

  • Nominations: There have been 10 new nominations since the January 2020 report.

  • Confirmations: There have been six new confirmations since the January 2020 report.

Vacancy count for March 2, 2020

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

*Though the United States territorial courts are named as district courts, they are not Article III courts. They are created in accordance with the power granted under Article IV of the U.S. Constitution. Click here for more information.

New vacancies

One judge left active status, creating an Article III vacancy. As an Article III judicial position, this vacancy must be filled by a presidential nomination. Nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.

The following chart tracks the number of vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals from the inauguration of President Donald Trump (R) to March 2.

U.S. Court of Appeals vacancy

Judge E. Grady Jolly assumed senior status on October 3, 2017, creating a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. This is currently the only vacancy on a U.S. Court of Appeal. The last time this occurred was in July 1984, when Judge John Butzner‘s seat on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals was the only vacancy. There is currently no nominee pending to replace Jolly.

As of publication, there are two upcoming Court of Appeals vacancies. Andrew Brasher was already confirmed to succeed Judge Ed Carnes on the 11th Circuit. Carnes is expected to assume senior status on June 30. Judge Thomas Griffith announced he would retire from the court on September 1. There is no nominee pending for Griffith’s seat.

U.S. District Court vacancies

The following map displays federal district court vacancies as of March 2.

New nominations

President Trump has announced 10 new nominations since the January 2020 report.

  • David Dugan, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

  • Iain D. Johnston, to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

  • Franklin U. Valderrama, to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

  • Christy Wiegand, to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

  • Saritha Komatireddy, to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

  • Jennifer Rearden, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

  • J. Philip Calabrese, to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

  • James Knepp II, to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

  • Brett H. Ludwig, to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

  • Michael J. Newman, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

The president has announced 249 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.

New confirmations

Between February 4 and March 2, 2020, the Senate confirmed six of the president’s nominees to Article III courts.

Since January 2017, the Senate has confirmed 193 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—138 district court judges, 51 appeals court judges, two Court of International Trade judges, and two Supreme Court justices.

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

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

Looking ahead

We’ll be back March 23 with a new edition of Bold Justice. 

Click here to learn more.

Florida House of Representatives advances public-sector labor bill

On March 4, the Florida House of Representatives passed legislation that would alter the process by which public-sector workers join, resign from, and pay dues to unions.

What does the bill propose? HB1 would amend Florida’s public-sector labor laws as follows:

  • Requires employees joining unions to sign membership cards. These membership cards must include the following statements:
    • Florida is a right-to-work state.
    • Union membership is not required as a condition of employment.
    • Union membership and automatic payroll deductions for union dues are voluntary.
    • An employee cannot be discriminated against for refusing to join or pay fees to a union.
  • Requires unions to revoke an employee’s membership upon the employee’s written request (unions cannot ask an employee why he or she is resigning).
  • Requires written authorization for automatic payroll deductions for union dues.
  • Provides that dues deduction authorizations are in force, unless revoked by the employee, for three years or until the ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement, whichever comes first.
  • Requires employers to verify dues deduction authorizations.

How did the House vote, and what comes next? The House voted 63-52 in favor of the legislation. Republicans cast all 63 yes votes. Forty-four Democrats and eight Republicans voted against the bill. Five members did not vote.

The bill now goes to the Florida State Senate, where it has been assigned to the Governmental Oversight and Accountability, Community Affairs, and Rules committees. A companion bill (SB804) was introduced in the Senate on Jan. 14 and referred to the Governmental Oversight and Accountability, Community Affairs, and Rules committees.

What are the reactions?

  • Support
    • Rep. James Grant (R), the bill’s sponsor, said, “This is about money, not a membership. This is simply a question of whether or not somebody’s paycheck can [have union dues] deducted.”
    • Rep. Josie Tomkow (R), who voted in favor of the bill, said, “HB 1 empowers workers to make decisions about their union membership. Should they want to join the union or leave the union, that decision must be protected and their rights as workers defended.”
    • Vincent Vernuccio, a senior fellow at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said, “This bill simply protects public employees in Florida. It confirms that they want to be members of the union and they want to pay the union. It ensures that public employers have the necessary information to deduct dues from their paychecks.”
  • Opposition
    • Rep. Fentrice Driskell (D) voted against the legislation, saying, “One of the concerns that I have is potential intimidation. Could you imagine to have to go to your employer, and have to have your employer personally verify that you’ve signed an authorization for a deduction of dues – may create an environment where that type of intimidation can occur?”
    • Rep. Tina Polsky (D) also voted against the bill, saying, “There were teachers, firefighters, policemen, all the people we say we care so much about, all saying that this bill was rather insulting to them. Because they know how to revoke their membership. They know how to sign up for membership and dues.”
    • Stephanie Yocum, president of the Polk Education Association, said, “I describe it as a poor solution to a nonexistent problem because Florida is already a ‘right-to-work’ state, which means that people don’t have to join their union. We’re not beating people over the head to join, and people definitely know how to revoke their membership if they want to.”

What we’ve been reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 91 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 March 6, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart March 6, 2020.png

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

Union Station partisan chart March 6, 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.

  • Florida H0001: This bill would require employees who wish to join a union to sign a membership authorization form. It would require unions to revoke an employee’s membership upon his or her written request. It would also require a signed authorization to deduct dues from an employee’s salary.
    • House approved March 4; transmitted to Senate and referred to Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability, Community Affairs, and Rules committees March 5.
    • Republican sponsorship.
  • Maryland HB1134: This bill would grant collective bargaining rights to certain employees of the circuit courts and the District Court of Maryland.
    • House Appropriations Committee hearing scheduled March 3.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
  • 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.”
    • Senate Commerce Committee hearing scheduled March 3.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
  • Virginia HB582: This bill would repeal the existing prohibition against collective bargaining by public employees.
    • Senate approved substitute bill March 5.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
  • Virginia SB939: This bill would permit local governments to recognize unions as bargaining agents for public-sector workers.
    • House requested conference committee March 3; Senate accepted request March 5.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
  • Washington HB2017: This bill would establish collective bargaining rights for administrative law judges.
    • Senate approved March 4.
    • Democratic sponsorship.