CategoryState

Loucks resigns from Wyoming House of Representatives

Carl “Bunky” Loucks (R) resigned from the Wyoming House of Representatives on July 6, citing a need to focus on his small business due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. He is not running for re-election this year.

Loucks was first elected to represent District 59 in the chamber in 2010. Three Republican candidates–David Carpenter, Leah Juarez, and Kevin O’Hearn–are running for the seat in the August 18 primary. No candidates filed for the Democratic primary.

All 60 seats in the Wyoming House of Representatives are up for election this year. In 40 of the 60 races, no candidates filed in the Democratic primary. No candidates filed for the Republican primary in just five of the 60 districts. Wyoming has had a Republican state government trifecta in 18 of the last 29 years, with a Republican majority in both chambers of the state legislature every year since 1992.

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Douglass-Boone appointed to Thompson’s Nevada State Assembly seat

Clark County commissioners in Nevada appointed Kasina Douglass-Boone (D), a social worker for Clark County Schools, on July 7 to represent District 17 in the Nevada State Assembly. The seat has been vacant since the late Representative Tyrone Thompson (D) died on May 4, 2019.

Douglass-Boone is not running for the District 17 state House seat has been represented by a Democrat since at least 2003. She recently ran for election to represent District B on the Clark County School Board, finished third with 15% of the vote. District 17

Except for a power-sharing agreement from 1994 to 1996 and a Republican majority from 2014 to 2016, the Democratic Party has controlled a majority of seats in the assembly since 1992. The chamber flipped from 27-15 Democratic Party control to 27-15 Republican Party control in 2014, and back to a 27-15 Democratic majority in 2016.

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Mississippi Supreme Court reaffirms end of state-level Chevron deference; Georgia legislation to end deference to state tax agency fails to pass

The Mississippi Supreme Court on May 28 unanimously held in a tax and gambling case that a state tax statute requiring judicial deference to a state agency’s interpretation of an unclear law—a doctrine known as Chevron deference at the federal level—was unconstitutional because it prohibited the court from exercising its constitutional duty to interpret the law.

The court reaffirmed its 2018 ruling in King v. Mississippi Military Department, which ended the state-level Chevron deference doctrine on the grounds that the practice violated the separation of powers prescribed by the state constitution. The King decision instituted a new standard of de novo review.

The court further clarified in the tax case that the King decision applied to any state statute requiring the Chevron deference doctrine.

In Georgia, legislation that would have ended judicial deference to the state Department of Revenue’s interpretations of constitutional provisions, state statutes, and agency regulations failed to pass the state Senate in the final days of the legislative session. The state House of Representatives approved the bill by a 158-8 vote on February 18.

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Read more about the Georgia legislation in the March 2020 edition of Checks and Balances


Indiana moves administrative law judges to central panel

The state of Indiana on July 1 launched the new Office of Administrative Law Proceedings (OALP) to serve a central hub for the state’s administrative law judges (ALJs) and agency adjudicative proceedings.

The Indiana General Assembly passed legislation in 2019 authorizing the creation of the OALP.

The new central office transitions ALJs away from direct employment or contractual relationships with state agencies. The OALP seeks to promote the independence of ALJs by ensuring that ALJs serve as neutral adjudicators in administrative proceedings, according to the office.

Twenty-seven other states centralize their ALJ corps and provide ALJs to state agencies on request. ALJs in the remaining states—and the federal government—are appointed by agency heads or hired as employees to conduct administrative proceedings at specific agencies.

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11,715 major party candidates filed for 2020 state legislative elections

On November 3, 2020, 5,875 state legislative seats are up for regular election across 86 chambers in 44 states. This includes 1,164 state senate seats and 4,711 state house seats.

As of July 9, we’ve collected post-filing deadline data in 41 states. In 2020, 5,524 state legislative seats are up for regular election in those states, compared to 5,391 in 2018.

11,715 major party candidates—5,866 Democrats and 5,849 Republicans—have filed to run for state legislature in these states. This compares to 11,878—6,186 Democrats and 5,692 Republicans—in 2018.

Elections in open seats tend to be more competitive than those where an incumbent is seeking re-election. So far, there are fewer open seats in 2020 than in 2018. In 2020, 847 major party incumbents (15% of seats up for election) are not running for re-election, compared to 1,027 major party incumbents (19%) in 2018.

More incumbents face primary challenges in 2020 than in 2018. So far in 2020, 973 major party incumbents face primary challengers. In 2018, 884 major party incumbents faced primary challenges. In 2018, 86% of incumbents in these states won their primaries.

Overall, there are fewer contested state legislative primaries in 2020 than in 2018, with 1,813 and 1,928, respectively. These totals include all competitive partisan, top-two and nonpartisan primaries.

Currently, there is a Republican majority in 52 chambers, a Democratic majority in 33, and a power sharing agreement in the Alaska House.

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Candidate filing for state executive and legislative offices to end in Delaware

The filing deadline to run for state executive and legislative offices will pass in Delaware on July 14. The primary is scheduled for September 15, 2020, and the general election will be held on November 3, 2020.

In Delaware, prospective candidates may file for the following state offices:
  • Governor
  • Lieutenant Governor
  • Insurance Commissioner
  • State Senate (11 seats)
  • State House (41 seats)

The next and last statewide filing deadline in the 2020 election cycle is on July 24 in Louisiana.

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Voters to decide congressional primaries in Maine, and primary runoffs in Alabama, Texas

The statewide primary election for Maine is on July 14, 2020. The filing deadline passed on March 16. Candidates are running in elections for the following offices:

  • 1 member of the U.S. Senate
  • 2 members of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • 35 state Senate seats
  • 151 state House seats

Candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020. Maine uses a ranked-choice voting system (RCV), in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority. As of July 2020, Maine was the only state that had adopted RCV at the state level, although other states have adopted RCV at the municipal level or have adopted RCV but not yet implemented it.

Maine’s primary election is the 31st to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next primary is on August 4 in Arizona.

Alabama and Texas are holding statewide primary runoffs on July 14. The filing deadline to run in Alabama passed on November 8, 2019. To avoid a primary runoff in Alabama, a candidate must win a majority of votes cast in the primary election. If no candidate wins a majority of votes, the top two candidates advance to the primary runoff election. Alabama’s primary election was held on March 3, 2020. Eight offices advanced to primary runoffs in Alabama, including races for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, the state court of criminal appeals, the Alabama State Board of Education, and several municipal-level races.

In Texas, the filing deadline to run for office passed on December 9, 2019. To avoid a primary runoff in Texas, a candidate must win a majority of the votes in the primary election. If no candidate wins a majority of votes, the top two candidates advance to the primary runoff election. Texas’ primary was held on March 3, 2020. Seventy-four offices advanced to primary runoffs in Texas including races for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, the state legislature, the state court of appeals, and the state railroad commission. Multiple municipal-level races also advanced to primary runoffs.

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Reyes wins Utah Republican attorney general primary

Incumbent Sean Reyes won the Republican primary for attorney general of Utah on June 30. As of Tuesday afternoon, he had received 54.2% of the vote to David Leavitt’s 45.8%.

Reyes became attorney general in 2013. He ran on his record, saying he protected children, teens, people’s online data, and family finances. Leavitt was elected as Utah County attorney in 2018. He said criminal justice reform should be the focus of the attorney general’s office and that he would work to reduce the number of plea bargains and increase the number of jury trials.

The Associated Press called the race July 3 as absentee ballots continued to be counted.


Cox wins GOP gubernatorial primary in Utah

Spencer Cox, Utah’s lieutenant governor, won the gubernatorial primary on June 30. As of Tuesday, he had received 36.4% of the vote to Jon Huntsman’s 34.6%. Gregory Hughes received 21.1%, and Thomas Wright, 7.9%.

The race was called Monday as absentee ballots continued to be counted. Cox advances to the general election with his running mate, Deidre Henderson.

Huntsman served as Utah’s governor from 2005 to 2009. Incumbent Gov. Gary Herbert (R) did not seek re-election and endorsed Cox in the primary.


Candidate filing period for congressional races to end in Delaware

The statewide filing deadline to run for elected office in Delaware is on July 14, 2020. Prospective candidates may file for the following congressional offices:

  • U.S. Senate: The Class II Senate seat held by Chris Coons (D) is up for election.
  • U.S. House: Delaware’s one at-large congressional district seat is also up for election. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D) is the incumbent.

The primary is scheduled for September 15, and the general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Delaware’s statewide filing deadline is the 49th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The final statewide filing deadline is in Louisiana on July 24.

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