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Daniel Cameron (R) outraises Gregory Stumbo (D) in Kentucky attorney general election

Daniel Cameron (R) outraised Gregory Stumbo (D) $140,333 to $101,153 in Kentucky’s attorney general election, according to the most recent reports covering the period from September 6 through October 6.
 
At the end of the period, Cameron had $423,852 cash on hand to Stumbo’s $294,408 on hand. Cameron started the period with $480,476 cash on hand; Stumbo started with $240,015.
 
In total, Cameron’s campaign has raised $1,107,958 and spent $684,103 since the first report of the primary election. Stumbo’s campaign has raised $518,248 and spent $223,841.
 
The next campaign finance filing deadline for Kentucky state races is October 28. The reports will cover receipts and expenditures through October 21 (15 days before the general election).
 
Democrats have held Kentucky’s Attorney General office since 1952, but Kentucky’s election history suggests that the attorney general’s race will be competitive. Pre-election incumbent Andy Beshear (D) defeated his opponent by a margin of 50.1% to 49.9% in 2015. Beshear is challenging Governor Matt Bevin (R) in Kentucky’s 2019 race for governor, leaving the attorney general position open. In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump (R) won Kentucky with 62.5 percent of the vote. Trump endorsed Cameron on July 29, 2019.
 
Three states are holding attorney general elections in 2019: Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Of those, Democrats hold two seats and Republicans hold one. Kentucky is also holding state executive elections for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, agriculture commissioner, auditor, and treasurer in 2019.
 


Louisiana voters approve two out of four proposed constitutional amendments

On Saturday, Louisiana voters approved two constitutional amendments and rejected two, according to unofficial election night results.
 
Amendment 1 was defeated with 47.25% in favor and 52.75% against. It would have extended an ad valorem tax exemption to property (such as raw materials, goods, commodities, personal property, and other articles) being stored in Louisiana in public or private warehouses but destined for the Outer Continental Shelf. According to amendment sponsor Blake Miguez (R), materials affected by the measure would have included things such as tools and equipment used for offshore drilling and production.
 
Amendment 2 was approved with 50.39% in favor and 49.61% against. It allowed for appropriations from the Education Excellence Fund (EEF) to the Louisiana Educational Television Authority (LETA), Thrive Academy, and laboratory schools operated by public colleges.
 
Amendment 3 was approved with 57.88% in favor and 42.12% against. It gave more authority to the Louisiana Board of Tax Appeals, including the authority to make rulings regarding the constitutionality of a tax, a power previously held exclusively by courts.
 
Amendment 4 was defeated with 36.51% in favor and 63.49% against. It would have allowed New Orleans to exempt properties with no more than 15 residential units from taxes “for the purpose of promoting and encouraging affordable housing,” according to the amendment text.
 
According to reports available prior to the election, Ballotpedia identified about $450,000 spent on campaigns in support of Amendment 1 ($100,000) and Amendment 4 ($350,000)—the two amendments that were defeated. Contributions to opposition campaigns were not found.
 
Between 1995 and 2018 in Louisiana voters decided 185 constitutional amendments proposed by the state legislature and approved 139 (75%).
 
In November 2020, voters will decide a constitutional amendment adding language stating that “nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”


Edwards, Rispone advance to Louisiana gubernatorial general election

Incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and businessman Eddie Rispone (R) advanced from Louisiana’s primary election Saturday as the top two finishers. Edwards received 46% of the vote and Rispone received 27% with 92% of precincts reporting. U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R) was third with 24% of the vote. The general election will be held November 16.
 
Louisiana uses what’s known as a blanket primary, where all candidates in any race appear on the ballot—regardless of party. A candidate can win the election outright by receiving more than 50 percent of the primary vote. Otherwise, the top two finishers advance to a general election. Six candidates ran in the gubernatorial primary.
 
Edwards has campaigned on what he considers the accomplishments of his administration, including the state’s budget going from a deficit to a surplus, teacher pay raises, and Medicaid expansion. Rispone has emphasized his background as a businessman, referring to himself as a conservative outsider and job creator. He has criticized Edwards’ tenure, saying the state’s economy ranks last in the nation.
 
Rispone and Abraham were both endorsed by President Donald Trump (R) and the Louisiana Republican Party. Each candidate described himself as the stronger challenger to Edwards. Several polls leading up to the primary showed either Rispone and Abraham tied within margins of error for second place or Rispone with a small advantage.
 
Edwards is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South and the only Democrat holding statewide office in Louisiana. Donald Trump won the state by 20 percentage points in 2016. The Republican Governors Association has described Louisiana as a top pickup opportunity, while the Democratic Governors Association has said Edwards’ popularity positions him for re-election.
 
Of the five gubernatorial elections between 1999 and 2015, three were won outright in the primary and two (in 2003 and 2015) proceeded to general elections. Edwards was elected governor in 2015 with 56% of the vote, defeating U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R) in the general election. He succeeded Gov. Bobby Jindal (R).


Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Fairhurst is retiring

On October 3, Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst announced her intention to retire on January 5, 2020, for health reasons.
 
Fairhurst was first elected to the Washington Supreme Court in 2002 and then re-elected in 2008 and 2014. She became the chief justice in 2016. Fairhurst previously served in the Washington attorney general’s office and as a law clerk for Washington Supreme Court Judges William H. Williams and William C. Goodloe. She earned both her undergraduate degree in political science in 1979 and her J.D. in 1984 from Gonzaga University.
 
Selection of state supreme court justices in Washington occurs through gubernatorial appointment. The appointee serves until the next general election, at which point he or she may run to serve for the remainder of the predecessor’s term. Fairhurst’s term expires in January 2021.
 
Otherwise, the nine justices of the supreme court compete in contested elections without reference to party affiliation and must run for re-election when their six-year terms expire.
 
The Washington Supreme Court is the court of last resort in the state. It currently includes the following justices:
 
  • Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst – elected
  • Justice Mary Yu – initially appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee (D)
  • Justice Debra Stephens – initially appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire (D)
  • Justice Steven Gonzalez – initially appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire (D)
  • Justice Susan Owens – elected
  • Justice Charles W. Johnson – elected
  • Justice Barbara A. Madsen – elected
  • Justice Charlie Wiggins – elected
  • Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud – elected
 
In 2019, there have been 19 supreme court vacancies across 13 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. Of those 19 vacancies, 12 are in states where a Republican governor appoints the replacement. Six vacancies occurred in a state where a Democratic governor fills vacancies, while another occurred in a state where a Republican-controlled legislature appoints replacements.
 
Fairhurst’s retirement is the first upcoming supreme court vacancy to take place in 2020.
 


October 14 deadline for signatures in Oregon governor recall efforts

Supporters behind the two recall efforts against Gov. Kate Brown (D) have until October 14 to turn in 280,050 signatures to force a recall election. If either recall petition contains the required number of signatures, Gov. Brown will have five days to resign her office. If she declines to resign then a recall election will be called.
 
The first recall petition was filed by Bill Currier, who is the chairman of the Oregon Republican Party. Currier’s recall petition criticizes Brown because she supported legislation during the 2019 legislative session related to a cap-and-trade program and a bill that grants driver’s licenses to immigrants living in the country illegally.
 
The second recall petition, which is headed by Oregon First! PAC and Michael Cross of the Flush Down Kate Brown group, criticizes Brown over raising taxes, the state’s Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) program, Oregon’s sanctuary state status, and for granting driver’s licenses to immigrants living in the country without documentation.
 
In response to the recall efforts, Brown told Huffington Post in August 2019 that, “Not only have I had one election in the last three years, I’ve had two. And I won both of them handily. So what part of the will of the voters are they ignoring?”
 
Oregon became a Democratic trifecta in 2013. Democrats control the state House by a 38-22 margin and the state Senate by a 18-12 margin. Brown was appointed as Oregon’s governor in 2015. She won a special election for the office in 2016 with 50.7% of the vote. She was re-elected to the position in 2018 with 50.1% of the vote. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
 
From 2003 to 2018, Ballotpedia tracked 17 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two recalls made the ballot and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. The only other governor to ever be successfully recalled was former North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) in 1921. Four gubernatorial recall efforts are currently underway in 2019.
 


Trump, Pence campaign for two Republican gubernatorial candidates in Louisiana

President Donald Trump (R) is scheduled to hold a rally in Louisiana for Republican gubernatorial candidates Ralph Abraham and Eddie Rispone on October 11, the day before the state’s top-two primary election. Trump endorsed both candidates on October 1.
 
On Monday, Donald Trump Jr. headed a rally in support of Abraham and Rispone in Lafayette, and on Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence (R) headlined a rally for the candidates in the New Orleans area.
 
In addition to Abraham and Rispone, incumbent John Bel Edwards (D), Oscar Dantzler (D), Gary Landrieu (independent), and Patrick Landry (R) are running in the primary. A candidate can win the October 12 election outright by receiving more than 50 percent of the vote. If no candidate reaches that threshold, a general election between the top two vote-getters will be held on November 16.
 
Five recent polls showed Edwards with 45-47 percent support. Three of the five polls showed Abraham and Rispone tied within margins of error for second place.
 
Edwards is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South, and he is the only Democrat holding statewide office in Louisiana. The state has been under divided government since Edwards assumed office in 2016, as Republicans have held majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. In addition to the gubernatorial election, Louisiana is holding elections for all 39 state Senate seats and all 105 state House seats in 2019.
 
In order to win a trifecta—single-party control of the governorship and the state legislature—Republicans need to maintain their majorities in the state legislature while winning the gubernatorial election. Democrats need to win majorities in both chambers of the state legislature while holding the governorship.
 
Among the 50 states, there are currently 23 Democratic governors and 27 Republican governors. In addition to Louisiana, Kentucky and Mississippi are holding gubernatorial elections in 2019. In those states, the pre-election incumbents are Republicans.
 
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Special election being held in New Hampshire House district

A special election is being held in the Rockingham 9 district of the New Hampshire House of Representatives on October 8. Naomi Andrews (D) and Michael Vose (R) are running in the general election. Andrews worked as chief of staff and campaign manager to Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) from 2007 to 2018. Vose represented Rockingham 9 from 2014 to 2018. He was defeated in the 2018 general election.
 
The seat became vacant when Sean Morrison (R) resigned in May 2019. Morrison cited “personal attacks, partisan politics and a lack of cooperation” between the state and town as his reasons for resigning. Morrison had represented the district since 2016. He last won re-election in 2018, taking second place with 26.8% of the vote. The Rockingham 9 district has two seats; Morrison and Vose had served together from 2017 through 2018.
 
Heading into the election, Democrats have a 233-165 majority in the New Hampshire House with one Libertarian member and one vacancy. New Hampshire has a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.
 
As of October, 77 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 24 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 


Second recall petition targeting California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved for circulation

A second recall petition was approved for circulation against Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on September 27 by the California Secretary of State. The petition is being led by La Jolla physician James Veltmeyer (R). Supporters of the recall have until March 5, 2020, to collect 1,495,709 signatures to force a recall election. Veltmeyer ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House in 2016 and 2018.
 
Veltmeyer’s recall petition criticizes Newsom on tax increases, the rate of homelessness in major California cities, sanctuary city policies, and his support for providing healthcare to immigrants living in the country without documentation.
 
In early September, the first recall petition was approved against Gov. Newsom. That recall is being led by Erin Cruz (R). She ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2018 for Dianne Feinstein’s (D) seat. She is also currently a declared candidate for California’s 36th Congressional District in 2020. Supporters of the Cruz recall have until February 13, 2020, to turn in the necessary amount of signatures.
 
Cruz’s recall petition alleges that Newsom mismanaged the state and caused poor school performance, deteriorating infrastructure, high costs for gas and utilities, and increased homelessness and debt. Her recall petition also criticizes Newsom’s support of certain policies, which includes Medicare for All and laws that aid immigrants living in the country without documentation.
 
In response to the recall efforts, Newsom filed a statement with the secretary of state in August 2019. In his statement, Newsom said that the “…recall effort will cost California taxpayers $81 million dollars! It is being pushed by political extremists supporting President Trump’s hateful attacks on California.” For more on Newsom’s response to the recall effort, click here
 
California became a Democratic trifecta in 2011. Democrats control the state House by a 61-18 margin with one vacancy and the state Senate by a 29-11 margin. Newsom succeeded Jerry Brown (D) as governor in 2019. He won the 2018 election with 61.9% of the vote. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
 
From 2003 to 2018, Ballotpedia tracked 17 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two recalls made the ballot and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. The only other governor to ever be successfully recalled was former North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) in 1921. Four gubernatorial recall efforts are currently underway in 2019.
 


Connecticut and Maryland increase minimum age to buy tobacco to 21

On Tuesday, laws went into effect in Connecticut and Maryland increasing the minimum age to buy tobacco products in each state from 18 to 21. They are among 15 states to increase their age restriction to 21 since June 2015, when Hawaii became the first state to do in the 21st century.
 
New Jersey imposed the first tobacco age restriction, 16 years old, in 1883. By 1920, 14 states had a minimum tobacco age of 21. However, in the 1920s and 1930s, many lowered their age restrictions from 21 to 18 or 19. In 2000, three states (Alabama, Alaska, and Utah) had a tobacco age of 19 and the remaining 47 had a tobacco age of 18.
 
The 15 states where the minimum age to purchase or use tobacco is now 21 comprise 42% of the U.S. population. Three states have a tobacco age limit of 19 and the remaining 32 have a tobacco age limit of 18.
 
On November 13, New York will be the next state to increase its tobacco age restriction from 18 to 21.
 
Connecticut’s tobacco increase was signed by Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont. Maryland’s was signed by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
 
Since June 2015, nine Democratic governors and eight Republican governors have signed increases in their states’ tobacco restrictions into law. The tobacco age restriction increases in both states were passed by a majority-Democratic state legislature, meaning that Connecticut’s was passed under a Democratic trifecta and Maryland’s was passed under divided government. Eight states have increased their tobacco age under a Democratic trifecta, four under a Republican trifecta, and six under divided government.
 


New Republican state representatives elected in Georgia, South Carolina special elections

Georgia House of Representatives District 71 and South Carolina House of Representatives District 84 were up for special election October 1, 2019. Both races only featured Republican candidates, since neither had Democratic or third party candidates on the ballot. Both seats were previously held by Republican officeholders. The Georgia seat became vacant following David Stover’s resignation in June and the South Carolina seat became vacant following Ronnie Young’s death in May.
 
The Georgia House race was a general runoff election that featured two Republican candidates, Philip Singleton and Marcy Sakrison. Singleton and Sakrison advanced from the September 3 general election after no candidates received a majority of the vote. The general election featured four candidates–three Republicans and one Democrat. Singleton won the runoff with 2,558 votes (58.9%) to Sakrison’s 1,788 votes (41.1%).
 
The South Carolina general election featured one Republican candidate on the ballot, Melissa Oremus. No Democratic candidates filed for election, but six Republican candidates competed in a Republican primary on July 30. Oremus defeated Alvin Padgett in a Republican primary runoff in August. Oremus faced write-in opposition in the general election, winning 809 votes (97.4%) to 22 votes (2.6%).
 
As of October, 77 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 24 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 


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