CategoryState

Delaware governor announces two supreme court nominations

Delaware Governor John Carney (D) has nominated Associate Justice Collins Seitz Jr. to replace Leo Strine as the next chief justice of the Delaware Supreme Court. Carney also nominated Tamika Montgomery-Reeves to serve as a new associate justice, replacing Seitz.
 
Chief Justice Strine announced in July 2019 that he would retire in the fall upon the nomination, confirmation, and swearing in of his successor.
 
Seitz joined the Delaware Supreme Court as an associate justice in 2015. He was appointed by Gov. Jack Markell (D). Seitz received a B.A. from the University of Delaware in 1980 and a J.D. from the Villanova University School of Law.
 
Montgomery-Reeves is a vice chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery. She was nominated by Gov. Markell in 2015. Montgomery-Reeves received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi and a J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law.
 
Selection of state supreme court justices in Delaware 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 Delaware State Senate must also confirm the appointment. The state Senate is holding a special session on November 7, 2019, to consider the nominations. Approved nominees serve for 12 years, at which point they must apply to the commission for reappointment.
 
The Delaware Judicial Nominating Commission was established in 1977. It is made up of 11 members—10 governor-appointed members (including at least four lawyers and at least three non-lawyers) and one member appointed by the president of the Delaware State Bar Association with the governor’s approval. The governor designates the commission’s chairperson.
 
Founded in 1951, the Delaware Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort and has five judgeships. As of October 2019, all five judges on the court were appointed by Democratic governors.
 
In 2019, there have been 19 supreme court vacancies across 13 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, and two others occurred when the justices were elevated to federal judicial positions.
 


Kentucky election preview

Gov. Matt Bevin (R), state Attorney General Andy Beshear (D), and John Hicks (L) are running in Kentucky’s gubernatorial election on November 5. This election follows nearly four years of conflict between Bevin and Beshear, which began when each was elected to his current position.
 
Between Bevin, Beshear, and groups affiliated with the Republican Governors Association and Democratic Governors Association, radio and television ad spending has broken $20 million. In the past week, those four groups have accounted for $5 million in spending.
 
Bevin has received endorsements from several elected officials, including President Donald Trump (R), Vice President Mike Pence (R), and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R). Beshear’s endorsers include 2019 gubernatorial primary candidates state Rep. Rocky Adkins (D) and state Rep. William Woods (R), in addition to Republican state Sen. Dan Seum. The Lexington Herald-Leader was the only major newspaper in the state to make an endorsement, and they endorsed Beshear.
 
Bevin and Beshear met in a series of five debates in October. The candidates discussed issues including education, job creation, healthcare, and casino gaming. Local sources described several of the debates as combative. In addition to the October debates, the candidates both participated in the Fancy Farm Picnic in August and a July forum held by the Kentucky Farm Bureau.
 
Both The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections rate the race a Toss-Up, while Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball rates it as Lean Republican. Inside Elections changed their rating from Lean Republican to Toss-Up in July. Poll results have varied, showing either Bevin or Beshear ahead or both in a tie.
 
This race will decide the state’s trifecta status until at least the 2020 state legislative elections. Kentucky is currently a Republican trifecta. If Bevin wins, Republicans will maintain their trifecta control of the state, while a Beshear or Hicks victory would result in neither party having trifecta control. Before Bevin’s 2015 victory, Democrats held the governorship for 16 of the previous 20 years.
 


Early voting in Kansas ends Nov. 4 at noon

Early in-person voting in Kansas ends on Nov. 4, 2019, at noon for the Nov. 5, 2019, general election.
 
Kansas is holding elections for the following, in addition to other elections beyond Ballotpedia’s coverage scope:
 
  • 19 school board seats in five school districts
  • three of six seats on the Wichita City Council
  • mayor of Wichita
  • one statewide ballot measure
 
The school districts holding elections are:
 
  • Circle USD 375
  • Goddard USD 265
  • Haysville USD 261
  • Maize USD 266
  • Wichita Public Schools
 
Three of the Wichita public school district’s seven board seats are up for election. In the other districts, four out of seven school board seats are up for election.
 
Kansas will also vote on a legislatively referred constitutional amendment, Senate Concurrent Resolution 1605. The amendment would end the state’s practice of adjusting the U.S. Census population regarding military personnel and students when redistricting the Kansas State Legislature.
 


New special election for Arkansas House District 22

A new state legislative special election has been added to our list. The special election is for the District 22 seat in the Arkansas House of Representatives on March 3, 2020. The primary is on December 10, 2019, and the candidate filing deadline is on November 12, 2019. If no candidate receives a majority in the primary, a primary runoff is on January 14, 2020.



Early voting in Louisiana starts November 2

Voters in Louisiana can begin casting early ballots on Nov. 2 for the Nov. 16 general elections. Early voting ends Nov. 9. There will be no early voting on Sunday, Nov. 3.
 
Louisiana is holding general elections for the following, in addition to other elections beyond Ballotpedia’s coverage scope:
 
  • Governor
  • Secretary of state
  • Four of 39 seats in the state Senate
  • 19 of 105 seats in the state House of Representatives
  • One of eleven seats on the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Special election for Louisiana Supreme Court District 1
  • Special election for the 19th Judicial District Court, Section 2, Division L
 
Louisiana held primary elections on Oct. 12. In Louisiana, all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, face off in the primary election. Candidates can win elections outright by receiving more than 50 percent of the primary vote. If no candidate reaches that threshold, a general election is held between the top two vote-getters.
 
Headline races in Louisiana are the gubernatorial election and the state House of Representatives elections. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and businessman Eddie Rispone (R) advanced from the primary. Edwards is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South. The Democratic Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association spent more than $5 million toward the race as of late September, and President Donald Trump (R) held a rally for Rispone and another Republican candidate ahead of the primary. If Edwards wins, the state will maintain a divided government; if Rispone wins, Louisiana will be a Republican trifecta, meaning the GOP will control the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature.
 
Republicans secured a majority in the state House in the primaries. The general election will determine whether they gain a veto-proof majority of 70 seats in the chamber or whether Democrats and independents win enough seats to prevent that. Heading into the general, Republicans have secured 63 seats. Seven general elections feature one Republican and a candidate of a different affiliation. In the state Senate primaries, Republicans secured one seat more than the 26-seat threshold required to override gubernatorial vetoes.
 
Voters in New Orleans will also decide four local ballot measures:
  • a bond proposition,
  • a charter amendment to create a local Human Rights Commission,
  • a property tax proposition, and
  • a short-term rental tax proposition.


Nov. 2 is the deadline for qualified Mississippians to vote absentee in person

Mississippi voters who qualify to vote early by completing an absentee ballot in person must do so by noon on November 2. Absentee ballots mailed to the registrar must be received by 5:00 p.m. on November 4. Mississippi law requires registrars to send absentee ballots to eligible voters within 24 hours of receiving an application. To see if you are eligible to apply for an absentee ballot and for more information on voting in Mississippi, click the link below.
 
Mississippi is holding elections for the following, in addition to other elections beyond Ballotpedia’s coverage scope:
 
  • Governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, agriculture commissioner, insurance commissioner, auditor, and treasurer
  • All three seats on both the public service commission and the transportation commission
  • All 52 seats in the state Senate
  • All 122 seats in the state House
 
The race for governor of Mississippi is one of three gubernatorial elections nationwide in 2019. The four candidates include Attorney General Jim Hood (D) and Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves (R). Both candidates have accused one another of ethics violations and fiscal mismanagement. Should Republicans maintain their legislative majorities, a Reeves victory would preserve Mississippi’s Republican state government trifecta while a Hood victory would break it. To win election to statewide office in Mississippi, a candidate must win both a majority of the statewide vote and carry a majority of the 122 state House districts. If no candidate does both, the race is decided by the state House.


Early voting in Texas ends Nov. 1

Early in-person voting for Texas’ Nov. 5 general election ends on Friday, Nov. 1. Until then, all registered voters may vote at any early voting location in the county in which they are registered.
 
Texas is holding elections for the following offices, in addition to other elections beyond Ballotpedia’s coverage scope. Of the following races, Ballotpedia has designated the Houston mayoral election and Houston Independent School District elections as battleground races.
 
  • State legislative elections (special)
    • Texas House of Representatives District 28
    • Texas House of Representatives District 100
    • Texas House of Representatives District 148
  • Local elections within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope
    • Counties
      • Bexar County
      • Harris County
  • Cities
    • El Paso (special)
    • Houston (including mayor)
  • School boards
    • Aldine Independent School District
    • Alief Independent School District
    • Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District
    • Houston Independent School District
    • Klein Independent School District
    • Lake Worth Independent School District
    • Richardson Independent School District
    • Spring Independent School District
 
Incumbent Sylvester Turner and 11 challengers will compete in the general election for mayor of Houston, Texas. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two general election candidates will participate in a runoff election on December 14, 2019.
 
Four out of nine seats on the Houston Independent School District (HISD) school board are up for general election. The HISD school board faces the possibility of being replaced by a state-appointed board of managers. If appointed, the board of managers would assume the responsibilities of the elected board, while elected trustees would not have any power until they were reinstated.
 
Texas voters will also decide 10 constitutional amendments put on the ballot by the state legislature. Measures concern taxes, bonds, budgets, law enforcement animals, and municipal governance. Proposition 4 would prohibit the state from levying an income tax on individuals.
 
Ballots will also feature a variety of local measures. Local measures in Irving, El Paso, Harris County, Arlington, Tarrant County, Austin, and Travis County fall within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope for 2019.
 


Oct. 29 is the last day to register as an absentee voter by mail in Virginia

October 29 is the last day to register as an absentee voter by mail in Virginia for the November 5 general election. The deadline to apply to vote absentee in person is November 5. To see if you qualify for absentee voting, click on the link below. Virginia does not permit no-excuse early voting.
 
Virginia is holding elections for the following, in addition to other elections beyond Ballotpedia’s coverage scope:
 
  • All 140 state legislative seats
    • 40 seats in the Virginia State Senate
    • 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates
  • City offices in Chesapeake, Richmond, and Virginia Beach
  • Five school boards
    • Chesterfield County Public Schools
    • Fairfax County Public Schools
    • Henrico County Public Schools
    • Loudoun County Public Schools
    • Prince William County Public Schools
 
Republicans have two-seat majorities in both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly. The elections this year will determine the state’s trifecta status heading into the 2020 redistricting process. If Democrats win majorities in both chambers, they will hold a Democratic trifecta during redistricting. If Republicans retain a majority in at least one chamber, Virginia will remain under divided government. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is a Democrat.
 


California governor vetoes public-sector union release time bill

On Oct. 12, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) vetoed AB314, legislation proposing that all public-sector employers in the state grant union representatives paid time off, known as release time, for union activities.
 
What does the bill propose? If enacted, AB314 would repeal existing release time provisions in the state’s various public-sector labor laws and replace them with the following uniform requirements:
  • Public employers would be required to grant “a reasonable number of employee representatives of the exclusive representative reasonable time off without loss of compensation or other benefits for specified activities.”
  • Eligible activities would include investigating and processing grievance proceedings, negotiating with employers, testifying before the Public Employment Relations Board and other public bodies, and participating in new employee orientations.
 
Why did Newsom veto it? In his veto message, Newsom said, “Release time is certainly an important element in collective bargaining agreements, and I believe that employers and employees benefit when workers participate in labor relations. Yet, this bill is a one-size-fits-all approach. This issue is best left to the collective bargaining process so that governing authorities and public employee unions can best determine their priorities and needs at the bargaining table.”
 
What comes next? A two-thirds vote in each chamber of the state legislature (54 of the 80 Assembly members and 27 of the 40 Senators) is required to override the veto. AB314 initially passed the Senate by a vote of 27-11 and the Assembly by a vote of 64-12. Lawmakers have 60 days to act on the veto. California is a Democratic trifecta; Democrats control the governorship, 61 Assembly seats, and 29 Senate seats.
 
National context: AB314 is the fifth bill pertaining to public-sector union policy that has been vetoed this year. Newsom is the first Democratic governor to veto a public-sector labor relations bill approved by a Democratic legislature.
 
 


Mississippi State House elections to take place Nov. 5

This year, all 122 seats in the Mississippi House are on the ballot. The primary was held on August 6, and the general election is scheduled for November 5. A primary runoff was held on August 27 for those districts where no candidate received at least 50 percent of the vote in the primary. The candidate filing deadline passed on March 1, 2019.
 
Heading into the election, the Republican Party holds a majority in the Mississippi House. Democrats occupy 44 seats, Republicans occupy 74 seats, independents occupy two seats, and the final two seats are vacant.
 
After the filing deadline, 224 candidates ran in the primary. Of these, 99 were Democrats, 124 were Republicans, and one was a Libertarian. Overall, 45% of incumbents filed for re-election, and 56 of the 122 races are uncontested after only one candidate filed.
 
Mississippi last held elections for its House of Representatives on November 3, 2015. Republicans gained seven seats and maintained control of the chamber. At the time, House Republicans went from a 67-55 majority to a 74-48 majority.
 
The Mississippi House of Representatives is one of seven state legislative chambers holding elections in 2019. The remaining states holding regular legislative elections are: Louisiana, New Jersey, and Virginia. There are 99 legislative chambers throughout the country.