Filing deadline passes for Mississippi gubernatorial race

The candidate field for Mississippi’s 2019 gubernatorial election is set following the March 1 filing deadline. Three Republicans and nine Democrats filed to run in the August 6 partisan primaries. If no candidate receives a majority in a primary, the top two finishers will compete in a runoff on August 27.
The Republican candidates are state Rep. Robert Foster, Lieutenant Gov. Tate Reeves, and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr.
The Democrat candidates are William Bond Compton Jr., Michael Brown, Attorney General Jim Hood, Robert J. Ray, Hinds County District Attorney Robert Schuler Smith, Gregory Walsh, former state Rep. Phillip West, Velesha Williams, and Albert Wilson.
David Singletary filed to run as an independent in the November 5 general election.

The Kentucky Supreme Court has one vacancy. How will it be filled?

Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Bill Cunningham left office on January 31, 2019.
Governor Matt Bevin will now have the opportunity to make his first appointment to the court once he is given a list of three names by the Kentucky Judicial Nominating Commission.
The newly-appointed justice will serve until a special election in November 2019. The winner of that election will serve the remainder of Cunningham’s term, which will expire in January 2023. The filing deadline for this election is June 4, 2019.
The selection commission is made up of seven members: Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton, two attorneys, and four citizens. The attorneys are elected to the commission by the Kentucky Bar Association, and there are no restrictions on their partisan affiliations. The four citizens are appointed by the governor, and state law requires that they are split evenly between Democrats and Republicans.
There are currently six justices on the court. Three were selected in nonpartisan elections. Two were appointed by Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) and one was appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear (D).
To serve on the court, a candidate must be a citizen of Kentucky for at least two years and be licensed to practice law in Kentucky for at least eight years.

Did you know? Five facts about the office of secretary of state

In 47 states, the secretary of state is a top-level executive office with administrative responsibilities. However, the role and duties of the office vary from state to state.
Here are five things you may not know about the office of secretary of state:
  1. Three states—Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah—do not have a secretary of state. In Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the office is referred to as “secretary of the commonwealth” but has the same role.
  2. As of March 2019, there are 24 Republican secretaries of state and 21 Democratic secretaries. North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger was elected as an independent. Oregon’s office is currently vacant following the death of Dennis Richardson (R). Gov. Kate Brown (D) is tasked with appointing his successor, who must legally be a member of the Republican Party.
  3. The office is directly elected in 35 states and appointed in 12. The governor appoints the secretary of state in nine of those states. The state legislature appoints the secretary of state in the other three.
  4. No two states give the office the exact same responsibilities. The secretary of state is the chief elections officer in 37 states and is responsible for reviewing ballot measures in 23 states. Other common roles and duties include business registration, maintenance of official records, and certification of official documents.
  5. Three states are holding elections for the office this year. Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) is prevented by term limits from seeking re-election, leaving her seat open. Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (R) is running for lieutenant governor rather than seeking re-election. Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R), who took office partway through an existing term in 2018, has not yet announced whether he will run for a full term this year.

Republicans ahead in early 2019 state legislative special elections

Special elections have been held for 14 state legislative seats so far in 2019. Ten of those seats were in districts vacated by Democrats, and the other four seats were previously held by Republicans. As of the start of March, three seats had flipped from Democratic control to Republican control.
On February 5, Jason Rarick (R) defeated Stu Lourey (DFL) and Legal Marijuana Now candidate John Birrenbach in the special election for Minnesota State Senate District 11. The seat was previously held by Tony Lourey (D), who resigned to take a position as state human services commissioner. Rarick’s win gave Republicans a three-seat majority in the state Senate.
On February 26, Gennaro Bizzarro (R) defeated Rick Lopes (D) in the special election for Connecticut State Senate District 6. On the same day, Joseph Zullo (R) defeated Josh Balter (D) in the special election for Connecticut House of Representatives District 99. Both seats were vacated by Democrats who joined Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) administration.
Another 30 state legislative special elections are currently scheduled to be held in 2019. Seventeen of those seats were vacated by Democrats, and 13 seats were vacated by Republicans. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year; the average in odd-numbered years is 91. Democrats and Republicans each netted more seats than the other party in four of the eight years. Democrats gained eight seats in 2018 and 11 seats in 2017.

Parties select nominees for Maine House special election

Two candidates are competing in a special election for the Maine House of Representatives District 52 seat. The filing deadline for candidates to appear on the ballot was February 22, 2019. The special election is set for April 2, 2019.
The seat became vacant on February 1, 2019, when incumbent Jennifer DeChant (D) resigned to take a job in the private sector. DeChant was first elected in 2012 and was most recently re-elected on November 6, 2018.
Democrats selected Sean Paulhus as their candidate, and Republicans selected Kenneth Sener. Paulhus currently serves as vice chairman of the Bath City Council. Sener is a retired Navy captain who has not held public office before.
A third candidate, Christopher Hallowell, was nominated prior to the filing deadline but will not appear on the ballot. Hallowell was nominated to run as a Libertarian; however, the Libertarian Party in Maine does not currently have enough registered voters to retain its standing as a qualified party.
To qualify as an official political party in Maine, 10,000 voters enrolled as members of that party must cast ballots in a general election. Currently, the three official parties in Maine are the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and the Green Independent Party. As of November 7, 2018, the Libertarian Party in Maine only had 6,168 registered voters. The Libertarian Party has filed to regain its official status and has until January 2, 2020, to gain at least 5,000 enrollees.
Non-party state House of Representatives candidates in Maine must submit 50 signatures from the district they are seeking to represent in order to appear on the ballot. Hallowell did not submit the signatures, and he, therefore, will not appear on the ballot. The deadline for write-in candidates was on March 1, and no write-in candidates filed.
Maine is currently a Democratic trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

Special election to fill vacant Kentucky Senate seat

A special general election for District 31 of the Kentucky State Senate is scheduled for March 5, 2019. The seat was vacated when Ray Jones (D) resigned in January 2019 after becoming the Pike County Judge-Executive. The candidate filing deadline was January 15, 2019.
Two candidates are vying for the seat: Democrat Darrell Pugh and Republican Phillip Wheeler.
The last general election for the Kentucky State Senate took place on November 8, 2016, when 19 of the 38 seats were up for election. The elections did not result in any changes to the Senate’s political control, with the Republican party holding 27 of the chamber’s 38 seats (71 percent). The next regular election for the Kentucky State Senate is scheduled for November 3, 2020. Kentucky 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 March, 44 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 18 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

Minnesota holding second special election to replace first special election’s winner

Minnesota is holding a special primary for State House District 11B on March 5, 2019. The general election is scheduled for March 19. The election was called after former Rep. Jason Rarick (R) won a special election for District 11 of the Minnesota State Senate on February 5, 2019.
Prior to joining the state Senate, Rarick served in the state House from 2015 to 2019. He won the state House seat by defeating former incumbent Tim Faust (D) in the 2014 election.
One Democrat and six Republicans filed for the seat, but four Republican candidates withdrew from the race following the Republican Party’s endorsement of Nathan Nelson. Candidates Ayrlahn Johnson and Nelson are competing in the Republican primary, and the winner will face Tim Burkhardt (D) in the general election.
As of March, 44 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 18 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year. Entering 2019, the Minnesota House of Representatives had 75 Democrats and 59 Republicans. A majority in the chamber requires 68 seats. Minnesota has a divided government, meaning no political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.

Oregon governor to appoint new secretary of state

Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson (R) passed away on February 26, 2019. Richardson had been diagnosed with brain cancer and was undergoing treatment at the time of his death. He was elected to the position in 2016.
On February 27, Gov. Kate Brown (D) said she would appoint a successor from the Republican party who would commit to not running for election in 2020. Brown is required by state law to appoint a successor from Richardson’s same political party.
The Secretary of State of Oregon is an elected constitutional officer within the executive branch of the Oregon state government and is first in the line of succession to the governor. The secretary of state serves as the auditor of public accounts, chief elections officer, and administrator of public records.
The secretary of state is a state-level position in 47 of the 50 states. There are currently 24 Republican secretaries of state, 21 Democratic secretaries of state, and one independent secretary of state. The position does not exist in Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah.
Voters directly elect the secretary of state in 35 states. Three secretaries of state are up for election in 2019–Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) in Kentucky, Kyle Ardoin (R) in Louisiana, and Delbert Hosemann (R) in Mississippi. Seven secretaries of state–two Democrats and five Republicans–will be up for election in 2020.

Special election held Tuesday in Rhode Island after member-elect declines oath of office

A special general election for District 68 of the Rhode Island House of Representatives is scheduled for March 5, 2019. The primary was held on February 5, and the candidate filing deadline passed on December 28, 2018.
The special election was called after Representative-elect Laufton Ascencao (D) announced he would not take the oath of office following his election on November 6, 2018. He said he had lied to local Democratic town committee members about producing a six-page mailer prior to the election. He also produced a fake expense invoice for the mailer and sent it to the committee members. When he announced his decision not to take office, Ascencao said the brochure had been completed but not in time for it to be published and mailed prior to the election, so there were no actual expenses incurred for it.
Entering the special election, Kenneth Marshall holds the District 68 seat as a Democratic member. Marshall is running in the election as an independent candidate. He was first elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2014 and 2016; he did not run for re-election in 2018 after acknowledging in July 2018 that he had not reported more than $10,000 in campaign contributions. However, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea (D) decided in December 2018 that Marshall’s term would be extended until the special election passed, and Marshall then decided to pursue an election bid as an independent.
Marshall faces Democrat June Speakman, Libertarian William Hunt Jr., and independent candidate James McCanna III on Tuesday.
In November 2018, all 75 Rhode Island House of Representative seats were up for election. At the time of the election, Democrats held 64 seats to Republicans’ 11. Following the election, the party maintained its majority in the House. The next regular elections for the chamber are scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Did you know? Five facts about the office of state attorney general

A state attorney general serves as their state’s chief law enforcement officer. While all 50 states have one, their roles and responsibilities vary.
Here are five things you may not know about the office of attorney general:
  1. As of February 2019, there are 25 Democratic state attorneys general and 24 Republicans. Hawaii Attorney General Clare E. Connors is officially nonpartisan and was appointed by a Democratic governor. It is one of two state executive offices with more Democratic officeholders than Republicans (the other is the office of controller).
  2. Attorneys general are directly elected in 43 states and are appointed in the others. In Alaska, Hawaii, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Wyoming, the governor appoints the attorney general. In Tennessee, the attorney general is appointed by the state supreme court. In Maine, the attorney general is appointed by the legislature.
  3. Attorneys general serve four-year terms in 45 states. In Alaska and Wyoming, the attorney general does not have a defined term and serves at the governor’s pleasure. In Maine and Vermont, they have two-year terms. Tennessee’s attorney general is appointed to an eight-year term.
  4. The highest salary for a state attorney general is Tennessee’s $182,688, while the lowest is Colorado’s $80,000.
  5. Three states are holding elections for attorney general this year. Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) and Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood (D) are running for governor, leaving their seats open. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) is running for re-election to a second term.