CategoryState

Filing period closes for Minnesota state House special elections

The filing deadline passed on December 10 for special elections in District 30A and District 60A of the Minnesota House of Representatives. The primary is on January 14, and the general election is on February 4.
  1. In District 30A, Chad Hobot and Michelle Rockhill are running in the Democratic primary. Paul Novotny and Kathy Ziebarth filed to run in the Republican primary. The District 30A seat became vacant on December 6 after Nick Zerwas (R) resigned his seat due to medical reasons.
  2. In District 60A, Amal Ibrahim, Jessica Intermill, Mohamed Issa Barre, Sydney Jordan, Piyali Nath Dalal, Sonia Neculescu, Aaron Neumann, Aswar Rahman, Saciido Shaie, Zachary Wefel, and Susan Whitaker are running in the Democratic primary. No Republican candidates filed to run for election. The District 60A seat became vacant on November 16 after Diane Loeffler (D) passed away.

Heading into the election, Democrats have a 74-58 majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives with two vacancies. Minnesota 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 November, 77 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 24 states this year. Thirteen special elections have been scheduled for 2020 in nine states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

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Ohio statewide filing deadline is December 18

The statewide filing deadline to run for elected office in Ohio is on December 18, 2019. The deadline for independent candidates is March 16, 2020. The primary is scheduled for March 17, and the general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.
In Ohio, prospective candidates may file for the following offices:
• U.S. House (16 seats)
• State Board of Education (six seats)
• State Senate (16 seats)
• State House (99 seats)
• State Supreme Court (two seats)
• District Courts of Appeals (21 seats)
• Ballotpedia is also covering local elections in Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, and Lucas counties
Ohio’s statewide filing deadline is the sixth to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on December 20 in North Carolina.
Ohio has a Republican trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
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Texas filing deadline passed December 9

On December 9, the major-party filing deadline passed to run for elected office in Texas. Candidates filed for the following offices:
• U.S. Senate: incumbent John Cornyn (R) filed for re-election.
• U.S. House of Representatives – 36 seats: the incumbent did not file to run for re-election in House districts 11, 13, 17, 22, 23, and 24.
• Texas Railroad Commissioner: incumbent Ryan Sitton (R) filed for re-election.
• Texas State Board of Education – eight  seats: the incumbent did not file to run for re-election in board of education districts 5, 6, 8, and 15.
• Texas State Senate – 16 seats
• Texas House of Representatives – 150 seats
• Texas Supreme Court – four seats
• Texas Court of Criminal Appeals – four seats
• Texas Court of Appeals – 24 seats
• Ballotpedia is also covering local elections in the following areas: 13 counties, eight cities, and 73 school districts
The primary is scheduled for March 3, and the general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.
Texas’ statewide filing deadline was the fifth to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on December 18 in Ohio.
Texas has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.
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North Carolina statewide filing deadline is December 20

The statewide filing deadline to run for elected office in North Carolina is on December 20, 2019. In North Carolina, prospective candidates may file for the following offices:
• U.S. Senate
• U.S. House
• Governor
• Lieutenant Governor
• Attorney General
• Secretary of State
• Treasurer
• Superintendent of Public Instruction
• Auditor
• Commissioner of Agriculture
• Commissioner of Labor
• Commissioner of Insurance
• State Senate (all 50 seats)
• State House (all 120 seats)
• State Supreme Court judgeships for Seats 1, 3, and 6
• Five judgeships on the North Carolina Court of Appeals
The primary is scheduled for March 3, and the general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020. In primaries where no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the state’s primary runoff will be held on either April 21 (if no federal office requires a runoff) or May 12 (if a federal office does require a runoff).
North Carolina’s statewide filing deadline is the seventh to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on January 10, 2020, in Mississippi.
North Carolina has a divided government. A Democrat, Roy Cooper, holds the governor’s office while Republicans have majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
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Governor Brad Little says Idaho is the least-regulated state in the nation

Idaho Governor Brad Little says that Idaho became “the least-regulated state in the country by cutting and simplifying 75 percent of regulatory rules in one year,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.
In April of 2019, the Idaho State Legislature failed to pass legislation that would have reauthorized administrative rules in the state—essentially repealing the state’s entire regulatory code.
Governor Little subsequently announced a goal to simplify up to 60 percent of the state’s regulations by the end of 2019. He said he directed agencies to get rid of duplication and not to change fundamental policies.
Little said that since January he has worked with the state legislature to cut 1,804 pages from the administrative code. He calculated that for every chapter he and the legislature added to the code they cut another 83 chapters.
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Georgia House of Representatives District 171 special election

A new state legislative special election has been added to our list. The special election is for the District 171 seat in the Georgia House of Representatives on January 28, 2020. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a general runoff will be held on February 25 for the top two vote recipients. There is no primary, and the filing deadline is on December 18, 2019.

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Georgia Supreme Court justice announces retirement, impacts May 2020 election

On December 5, 2019, Georgia Supreme Court Justice Robert Benham announced his plans to retire on March 1, 2020.
Benham became an associate justice of the nine-member Georgia Supreme Court in 1989. He was appointed to the court in December of that year by Governor Joe Frank Harris (D). Benham served as chief justice of the court from 1995 until 2001. Benham previously served on the Georgia Court of Appeals from 1984 to 1989; Gov. Harris appointed Benham to that court in April 1984.
Benham earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Tuskegee University in 1967. He earned his J.D. from the University of Georgia’s Lumpkin School of Law in 1970. In 1989, he earned his LL.M. from the University of Virginia. He also attended Harvard University. Benham joined the U. S. Army Reserve after law school. He left the service as a Captain.
Selection of state supreme court justices in Georgia occurs through nonpartisan election of judges; however, the governor appoints judges with the help of a nomination commission in the event of a midterm vacancy. Benham’s replacement will be Governor Brian Kemp’s (R) first nominee to the nine-member supreme court. Judges serve six-year terms.
The Georgia Supreme Court is the court of last resort in the state. It currently includes the following justices:
• Justice Keith Blackwell – appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal (R)
• Robert Benham – appointed by Gov. Joe Frank Harris (D)
• Michael P. Boggs – appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal (R)
• David Nahmias – appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue (R)
• Harold Melton – appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue (R)
• Nels Peterson – appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal (R)
• Sarah Warren – appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal (R)
• Charlie Bethel – appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal (R)
• John Ellington – Elected
In 2020, there will be two state supreme court vacancies in two of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. The vacancies were caused by retirements. One vacancy occurred in a state where a Republican governor appoints the replacement with the help of a nomination commission, and the other occurred in a state where a Democratic governor appoints the replacement with the help of a nomination commission.
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Washington governor announces supreme court appointment

Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) appointed Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis to succeed Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst on the Washington Supreme Court. Fairhurst is retiring on January 5, 2020, for health reasons. Montoya-Lewis is Inslee’s second nominee to the nine-member supreme court.
At the time of her appointment to the state supreme court, Montoya-Lewis was a judge for the Whatcom County Superior Court. Gov. Inslee appointed Montoya-Lewis to this court on December 15, 2014. Before her appointment to that court, Montoya-Lewis served as the chief judge for the Nooksack and Upper Skagit Indian Tribes in Washington. Montoya-Lewis received her undergraduate degree from the University of New Mexico. She received both her master’s degree in social work and her J.D. from the University of Washington. She is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Isleta and a descendant of the Pueblo of Laguna Indian tribes.
In the event of a midterm vacancy, the governor appoints a replacement to the Washington Supreme Court. 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. The nine justices of the supreme court compete in contested elections without reference to party affiliation and must run for re-election when their terms expire. Supreme court justices serve for six years.
Founded in 1889, the Washington Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort and has nine judgeships. As of December 2019, three of the court’s nine justices were appointed by Democratic governors. The other six were elected by voters.
In 2019, there have been 22 supreme court vacancies across 14 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. Retirements caused 14 of the vacancies. Two former justices took jobs in the private sector. One vacancy occurred when a justice was elevated to chief justice of the court, one occurred when a chief justice died, and four others occurred when the justices were elevated to federal judicial positions.
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Vermont governor announces supreme court nomination

Vermont Governor Phil Scott (R) nominated Judge William “Bill” Cohen to succeed Marilyn Skoglund as a justice on the Vermont Supreme Court. Skoglund retired on September 1, 2019. Cohen was Gov. Phil Scott’s (R) second nominee to the five-member supreme court.
At the time of his state supreme court appointment, Cohen was a superior court judge in Rutland County, Vermont. Governor Howard Dean appointed Cohen to the bench in 1999. Cohen was an attorney in private practice from 1986 to 1999. He was a deputy state’s attorney in Rutland County from 1984 to 1986. Cohen earned a B.A. in environmental science from George Washington University in 1980 and a J.D. from Vermont Law School in 1984.
Selection of state supreme court justices in Vermont occurs through gubernatorial appointment with state Senate confirmation. A judicial nominating commission submits a list of names to the governor, who then selects an appointee. The Vermont State Senate must also confirm the appointment. Approved nominees serve for six years, at which point they face retention by a vote of the Vermont General Assembly.
Founded in 1777, the Vermont Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort and has five judgeships. As of December 2019, two of the court’s justices were appointed by Republican governors and two were appointed by a Democratic governor.
In 2019, there have been 22 supreme court vacancies across 14 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. Retirements caused 14 of the vacancies. Two former justices took jobs in the private sector. One vacancy occurred when a justice was elevated to chief justice of the court, one occurred when a chief justice died, and four others occurred when the justices were elevated to federal judicial positions.
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