CategoryState

Eight of 13 Virginia House committee chairs raised less money than the average member this cycle

Elections for all 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates are taking place on November 2, 2021. Democrats hold 55 seats and Republicans hold 45 seats. This is the first election cycle since 1999 with Democrats defending a majority in the chamber.

Committee chair fundraising

State legislative committee chairs set a committee’s legislative agenda. As a result of this legislative influence, they often raise more money than their counterparts in a state legislature. The average amount raised by delegates who did not serve as a committee chair was $364,123. The funds raised by each of the House’s 13 committee chairs are shown below. 

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active Virginia candidate political action committees (candidate PACs) submitted to the Virginia Department of Elections. It includes fundraising activity between Jan. 1, 2020, and Aug. 31, 2021. Candidate PACs represent individuals who have run for state or local office at any point, including past and present officeholders. This article does not include non-candidate PACs.

This article was published in partnership with Transparency USA. Click here to learn more about that partnership.



Voters flip Iowa House seat to Republican in Oct. 12 special election

A special general election was held for Iowa House of Representatives District 29 on Oct. 12. Jon Dunwell (R) won the special election with 59.8% of the vote, defeating Steve Mullan (D).

The special election was called after Wesley Breckenridge (D) resigned to take a job with the Iowa Law Enforcement Agency on Sept. 10. Breckenridge served from 2017 to 2021. Breckenridge defeated Dunwell for the House 29 seat in the 2020 election. 

This was the third state legislative special election held in Iowa in 2021. A special election for Senate District 41 was held on Jan. 26 and for House District 37 on Sept. 14.

As of Oct. 13, three seats had flipped as a result of state legislative special elections. Connecticut State Senate District 36 flipped from Democratic to Republican, and New Hampshire House of Representatives District Hillsborough 7 flipped from Republican to Democratic. 

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Redistricting timeline update: West Virginia calls special session, Wyoming committee agrees on timeline

Here’s a summary of recent redistricting updates from West Virginia and Wyoming.

West Virginia: On Oct. 7, 2021, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (R) called for a special session starting Oct. 11 for the legislature to finish the redistricting process and approve legislative and congressional district maps. “This is on all the redistricting we have to do. We’ve got to do this and everything. The special session is part of the Legislature’s constitutional duty to redistrict the state of West Virginia,” Justice said.

Wyoming: At an Oct. 6, 2021, meeting, the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Corporations, Election and Political Subdivisions committee agreed on a schedule to finish the redistricting process. The committee set Nov. 1, 2021, as the deadline for map proposals. Redistricting legislation proposals must be finished by Dec. 1, 2021, so they can be reviewed before the 2022 budget session begins on Feb. 14. The committee plans to meet again in early November to go over any remaining issues with the map drafts, but has not set a date yet.



Texas state representative sworn in after special election

Republican Brian E. Harrison was sworn in to the Texas House of Representatives on Oct. 12. He was elected to the chamber after winning a special runoff election on Sept. 28. His term will last until January 2023. To keep hold of his seat, Harrison will have to run for re-election in 2022 for a two-year term.

In the District 10 election, Harrison defeated fellow Republican John Wray with 55.4% of the vote. The two candidates advanced from the special election on Aug. 31. The seat became vacant after Jake Ellzey (R) won a special election to Texas’ 6th Congressional District on July 27. Ellzey had represented the district since January 2021.

Republicans have an 83-66 majority in the Texas House with one vacancy. The vacancy in District 118 will be filled in a runoff election on Nov. 2. 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.

As of October, 64 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 21 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Texas held 33 state legislative special elections from 2010 to 2020.

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Democratic incumbents in VA House elections raised 126% more money than Republican incumbents

Elections for all 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates are taking place on November 2, 2021. Democrats hold 55 seats and Republicans hold 45 seats. This is the first election cycle since 1999 with Democrats defending a majority in the chamber.

Elections for 93 of the 100 House of Delegates seats up this year feature both a Democratic and Republican candidate. Among the 93 contested House races, there are 48 Democratic incumbents and 35 Republican incumbents. 

Total funds raised

The total funds raised by general election candidates broken down by incumbency status and political party are shown below. 

  • Democratic incumbents raised a total of $22,372,826.
  • Republican challengers raised a total of $5,120,263.
  • Republican incumbents raised a total of $5,094,437.
  • Democratic challengers raised a total of $5,158,720.

Average funds raised

The average funds raised by general election candidates broken down by incumbency status and political party are shown below.

  • Democratic incumbents raised an average of $463,928.
  • Republican challengers raised an average of $88,280.
  • Republican incumbents raised an average of $145,555.
  • Democratic challengers raised an average of $114,638.

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active Virginia candidate political action committees (candidate PACs) submitted to the Virginia Department of Elections. It includes fundraising activity between Jan. 1, 2020, and Aug. 31, 2021. Candidate PACs represent individuals who have run for state or local office at any point, including past and present officeholders. This article does not include non-candidate PACs.

This article was published in partnership with Transparency USA. Click here to learn more about that partnership.



An update on Austin Proposition A support and opposition campaigns three weeks ahead of the election

Austin voters will decide Proposition A on Nov. 2. The citizen initiative would establish minimum police staffing requirement that there to be at least two police officers for every 1,000 residents of Austin; add an additional 40 hours of police training each year; and provide police with additional compensation for being proficient in non-English languages, enrolling in cadet mentoring programs, and being recognized for honorable conduct.

Here is an update on the support and opposition campaigns for Proposition A three weeks out from the election.

Support:

Save Austin Now is leading the campaign in support of Proposition A. Matt Mackowiak, the chairperson of the Travis County Republican Party, co-founded Save Austin Now. Ken Casaday, president of the Austin Police Association, is a board member for Save Austin Now.

Save Austin Now has raised $2.03 million through the end of September and had spent about $1.8 million. Top donors included

  • Charles Maund Toyota – $100,000
  • Danielle Royston – $98,000
  • Joe Liemandt – $75,000

Petitioners for Save Austin Now collected over 25,000 signatures to put Proposition A on the ballot. They began collecting signatures in May 2021 and submitted signatures on July 19.

Save Austin Now also sponsored the measure banning camping in public places that voters approved on May 1, 2021.

Save Austin Now argued, “Despite a skyrocketing population, Austin now has the lowest police staffing levels it has ever had. Prop A fixes this by requiring the city to hire and maintain more police officers, double their annual training, and take them out from behind desks with a mandated 35% community engagement and patrol time.”

Opposition:

The No Way on A campaign, which is funded by the Equity PAC, launched in early September. The campaign has raised at least $860,000 according to reports covering through the first week in October.

The Open Society Policy Center contributed $500,000 to the No Way on A campaign on September 27. The Open Society Policy Center is a nonprofit founded and chaired by George Soros. It also contributed $500,000 in support of Minneapolis Question 2, the initiative on the November 2 ballot to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a department of public safety.

The No Way on A campaign also reported a $200,000 contribution from the Fairness Project. The Fairness Project is a nonprofit that has supported minimum wage, paid time off, and Medicaid expansion initiatives, among other progressive issues, in at least a dozen states since 2016.

Opponents of Proposition A include U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett (D), Austin Mayor Stephen Adler, the Travis County Democratic Party, the Austin Firefighters Association, and Black Lives Matter Austin.

Mayor Adler said, “We must understand the budget implications of this petition to make the best choices for our community. Directing the City Council to hire additional police officers at this time could result in layoffs in other departments. We also need more public health professionals, firefighters, park rangers, and EMS to keep our community safe.”

Austin voters will also decide Proposition B, which concerns the city selling or leasing nine acres of parkland located at 2525 S. Lakeshore Blvd through a public bidding process.



Updates on redistricting lawsuits in Wisconsin, Illinois

Federal court pauses lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s redistricting until Nov. 5

On Oct. 6, a three-judge federal court panel agreed to temporarily halt proceedings in a lawsuit asking the court to set a deadline for legislators to redraw district maps and intervene by drawing its own maps. Attorney Mark Elias filed the lawsuit on behalf of six Wisconsin Democrats. The court postponed further action in the case until at least Nov. 5, but said that it would prepare for a trial in January 2022 if maps are not enacted.

In its ruling, the three-judge panel said, “Federal rights are at stake, so this court will stand by to draw the maps — should it become necessary. The court recognizes that responsibility for redistricting falls first to the states, and that this court should minimize any interference with the state’s own redistricting efforts. But the Wisconsin Supreme Court did not commit to drawing new legislative or congressional maps, and has not yet set a schedule to do so, or even to decide whether it will do so.”

On Sept. 24, lawyers for Republican state legislators in Wisconsin asked the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out the federal lawsuit, arguing that redistricting challenges should be heard in state, rather than federal courts. On Sept. 22, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided 4-3 to hear a redistricting case filed by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty asking the court to establish a timeline for the legislature and Gov. Tony Evers (D) to agree on new maps and to draw the maps themselves should they be unable to.

Plaintiffs amend filings in lawsuits challenging enacted legislative maps in Illinois

The plaintiffs in two lawsuits challenging Illinois’ newly enacted state legislative district boundaries amended their filings on Oct. 6 after Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed the new maps into law on Sept. 24. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Illinois House and Senate Republican leaders Jim Durkin and Dan McConchie argue that the redrawn district boundaries reduce the number of districts where Latino voters comprise a majority of the voting-age population.

Both lawsuits were originally filed in June and argued at the time that the original state legislative maps enacted on June 4 were invalid because they used data from the American Community Survey rather than from the 2020 census. Both lawsuits ask the court to invalidate the enacted maps. The lawsuit filed by Illinois’ House and Senate Republican leaders further argues that the state failed to meet the June 30 constitutional deadline for new district boundaries since the maps that the legislature passed were invalid. If a court rules that the Illinois legislature failed to approve a redistricting plan by the deadline, responsibility for drawing new maps would go to an eight-member backup commission where no more than four members may belong to the same political party.

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Special election primary to be held in New Hampshire House district

A special election primary is being held on Oct. 19 for the Rockingham 6 District of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Thomas Cardon, Jodi Nelson, and Neil Wetherbee are running for the Republican nomination. Mary Eisner is unopposed in the Democratic primary. The general election is taking place on Dec. 7, and the winner of the special election will serve until December 2022.

The seat became vacant on Aug. 5 after Anne Copp (R) moved out of the district. Copp had represented the district since Jan. 2021.

Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 207-187 majority in the New Hampshire House with six vacancies. New Hampshire 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.

As of October, 64 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 21 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. New Hampshire held 29 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

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Top five donors to Democratic and Republican candidates for Virginia House

Elections for all 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates are taking place on November 2, 2021. Democrats hold 55 seats and Republicans hold 45 seats. This is the first election cycle since 1999 with Democrats defending a majority in the chamber.

Top five individual donors by party

Virginia House candidate political action committees (PACs) raised a total of $44.74 million from Jan. 1, 2020, through Aug. 31, 2021. Democratic House candidate PACs raised $33.12 million, while Republican House candidate PACs raised $11.62 million. 

The five individual donors who gave the most money to candidates of a single political party are shown below. 

Top five individual donors to Democratic candidates:

Top five individual donors to Republican candidates:

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active Virginia candidate PACs submitted to the Virginia Department of Elections. It includes fundraising activity between Jan. 1, 2020, and Aug. 31, 2021. Candidate PACs represent individuals who have run for state or local office at any point, including past and present officeholders. This article does not include donations made to non-candidate PACs. Click on any donor to see their total donations during this fundraising period.

This article was published in partnership with Transparency USA. Click here to learn more about that partnership.



Campaign finance data now available for all Virginia House of Delegates races

Elections for all 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates are taking place on November 2, 2021. Democrats hold 55 seats and Republicans hold 45 seats. There are 93 districts with both a Democratic and Republican candidate on the ballot. This is the first election cycle since 1999 with Democrats defending a majority in the chamber.

In partnership with Transparency USA, Ballotpedia has published campaign finance information for each of the districts in the Virginia House. To view the data by district, click here. On each district widget, you can click on a candidate’s name to view their profile and explore their campaign finance information in more detail.

The data available is current through Aug. 31, 2021. Additional data will be available in late October once the state’s final pre-election campaign finance deadline passes.