Louisiana voters to decide trifecta status

Divided government at stake in Louisiana’s primary elections

Louisiana voters will decide statewide primary elections Saturday which include nine state executive offices—including the governor’s race—all seats in the state legislature, and four ballot measures. 

The state is currently one of 14 divided governments. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is running for re-election while Republicans control both the state House and Senate. 

Louisiana uses what is known as a blanket primary, where all candidates in any race appear on the ballot Oct. 12—regardless of party. A candidate can win the election outright by receiving more than 50 percent of the primary vote. If not, then a general election for the top two finishers will be held Nov. 16.

Edwards is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South and the only Democrat holding statewide office in Louisiana. President Trump endorsed two Republicans—U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone—earlier this month and is scheduled to campaign for both today. Five recent polls showed Edwards with between 45% and 47% support. Three of five recent polls showed Abraham and Rispone in a virtual tie for second place.

Besides governor, the offices of lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer, insurance commissioner, agriculture and forestry commissioner, and eight seats on the state board of elementary and secondary education will also be on the ballot. The six statewide offices other than governor are all currently held by Republicans and all six are running for re-election. The state board of education presently consists of six Republican and two Democratic members.  Five incumbents on that board—four Republicans and one Democrat—are running for another term.

All 39 seats in the state Senate and 105 seats in the state House are up for election in 2019. Republicans hold a 25-14 majority in the Senate and a 60-39 majority in the House, with five independents and one vacancyThere are 94 contested elections this year—more than there were in either the 2011 or 2015 election cycles. These are the first state legislative elections since 2015. 

In order for either party to form a trifecta (control of the governor’s office and both chambers of the legislature), Democrats would need to retain the gubernatorial seat and win majorities in both chambers of the state legislature while Republicans would need to maintain their legislative majorities and pick up the governor’s mansion.

Four statewide constitutional amendments will appear on the ballot. Voters approved all six constitutional amendments in Louisiana in 2018. From 1995 through 2018, an average of five measures per year went before voters in odd-numbered years. During this period, voters approved 75% of the 185 amendments that appeared on the ballot.

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Rep. Lowey (N.Y.) becomes sixth Democratic U.S. House member to announce 2020 retirement

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) announced yesterday that she would not run for re-election in 2020. She was first elected to Congress in 1988 and represents New York’s 17th District. 

Lowey received 88% of the vote over a Reform Party candidate in winning re-election in 2018. She ran unopposed in both the Democratic primary and general election in 2016. That year, Hillary Clinton (D) won the district with 58.6% of the vote. The 2017 Cook Partisan Voter Index for the district was D+7, meaning that in the previous two presidential elections, this district’s results were 7 percentage points more Democratic than the national average.
Lowey becomes the 23rd House memberand sixth Democratto announce they would not run for re-election in 2020. Four U.S. Senators—three Republicans and one Democrat—have also announced they would not seek re-election. Fifty-five members of Congress did not run for re-election in 2018. The current partisan composition of the House is 235 Democrats, 197 Republicans, one independent, and two vacancies.

Members of Congress who did not seek re-election

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What’s the tea?

We’re continuing with our What’s the Tea? questions asking Brew readers whether they’ve ever participated or done certain things related to politics and policy—such as attending or speaking at governmental meetings or signing candidate or initiative petitions. 

Continuing with our look at local government: Have you ever attended a meeting of your borough, town, or city council? This could be a city council meeting, a committee meeting, a board of zoning meeting, etc. 

  1. Yes
  2. No

One 2020 Congressional retirement announced last week; 1,580 major party candidates filed for 2020 Congressional races

In the past week, one member of the U.S. House announced their 2020 retirement. Republican Paul Cook (CA-8) said he will run for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. To date, four Senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) and 20 Representatives (16 Republicans and four Democrats) are not running for re-election.
As of September 23, 2019, 250 candidates are filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate in 2020. Of those, 222—118 Democrats and 104 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 527 candidates filed with the FEC to run for U.S. Senate, including 137 Democrats and 240 Republicans.
1,448 candidates are filed with the FEC to run for U.S. House in 2020. Of those, 1,358—709 Democrats and 649 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 3,244 candidates filed with the FEC, including 1,566 Democrats and 1,155 Republicans.
On November 3, 2012, 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election. Of those Senate seats, 33 are regularly-scheduled elections, one is a special election in Arizona, and another is an expected special election in Georgia. Twelve are Democratic-held seats and 23 are Republican-held seats. In the House, where all the seats are up for election, Democrats currently hold a 235-seat majority.
Additional reading:

De Blasio ends presidential campaign

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

September 20, 2019: Bill de Blasio announced he was ending his presidential campaign on Friday morning. The Bernie Sanders campaign announced it had received contributions from 1 million donors.

Each Friday, we’ll highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.

Daily Presidential News Briefing Staffer Spotlight - Richard McDaniel

Richard McDaniel is a Democratic staffer with experience campaigning in the southeast. McDaniel graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in sociology in 2007.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2017 Doug Jones U.S. Senate campaign, field director and political director
  • 2017 Randall Woodfin mayoral campaign (Birmingham, AL), senior advisor
  • 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, consultant, primary states director, and state director
  • 2014 Michelle Nunn U.S. Senate campaign, political director
  • 2012 Barack Obama presidential campaign, state field director
  • 2006 Greg Hecht lieutenant gubernatorial campaign, field organizer

Other experience:

  • 2015: Democratic Party of Georgia, political director
  • 2013: Organizing for Action, state director
  • 2012: Democratic Party of Ohio, regional field director
  • 2010-2011: Service Employees International Union, organizer
  • 2007-2010: Levy Restaurants, suite captain
  • 2009-2010: Planned Parenthood Southeast
    • 2010: Legislative coordinator
    • 2009: Field director

Notable Quote of the Day

“It seems like [the debate criteria] is not criteria that is measuring the effectiveness of a future president. The DNC is usurping our roles … That’s been Iowa’s role in the past, and that’s been the beauty of the caucuses. Everyone is given a fair chance.”

 – Jan Bauer, DNC member from Iowa



What We’re Reading

Flashback: September 20, 2015

Hillary Clinton discussed the Syrian refugee crisis and the 2012 Benghazi attack in an interview on Face the Nation.

Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Trump administration advances executive branch restructuring

Today’s Brew highlights the administration’s proposals to reorganize the executive branch + previews Tuesday’s elections  
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Tuesday, August 6, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Trump administration moving forward with executive branch reorganization
  2. Mississippi state legislative, Seattle city council primaries among elections we’re following Tuesday
  3. Kansas governor to fill two state supreme court vacancies

Trump administration moving forward with executive branch reorganization

The Trump administration released a report in June 2018 that proposed 34 organizational changes to executive agencies. Congress has considered at least 10 of these proposals—through hearings, legislation, or discussions with members or their staff—regarding the Trump administration’s reorganization plan.

The plan seeks to improve alignment between program administration and agency missions. It aims to consolidate and restructure several agencies as well as shift the administration of certain federal programs—such as the food stamps program—to different agencies.

The full plan’s 34 proposals seek to align the core missions and responsibilities of executive agencies. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimated that implementation of the full plan would take three to five years.

The status report also highlighted that:

  • The Trump administration’s 2020 budget included all or part of 18 reorganization proposals.
  • Agencies are implementing more than 20 of the proposals through existing statutory authorities. 

The president has the authority to reorganize federal agencies within existing statutory limits. However, Congress must delegate reorganization authority in order for the president to implement statutory changes to agencies. Once the president presents a reorganization plan to Congress, members must issue a resolution of approval in order for the plan to take effect.

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Mississippi state legislative, Seattle city council primaries among elections we’re following Tuesday 

In addition to Mississippi’s gubernatorial primaries, today we’re following elections in five states. Here are three highlights: 


Mississippi is holding statewide legislative primaries for all 52 seats in the state Senate and 122 seats in the state House. Republicans currently hold a 31-18 majority in the Senate with three vacancies and a 74-44 majority in the House with two independents and two vacancies. Forty state Senate incumbents and 107 state House incumbents are running for re-election. Eight Republican and four Democratic seats are open races in the state Senate, while eight Republican, five Democratic, and two independent seats are open races in the state House. 


Seattle holds nonpartisan primary elections for the seven members of its city council that are elected by district. The top two vote-getters will advance to the November 5 general election. Incumbents in Districts 1, 3, and 5 are seeking re-election, while races for the other four seats are open. Across the seven races, 55 candidates are running. 

The primary elections have seen more than $800,000 in total satellite spending through August 1.

Around $350,000 of the spending has been by Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), the local Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee. The Chamber of Commerce—along with Amazon—opposed a head tax that was passed and then repealed by the city council in 2018. The tax required businesses grossing at least $20 million to pay $275 per employee to fund affordable housing programs for the homeless. District 1 and 3 incumbents Lisa Herbold and Kshama Sawant supported the tax, although Herbold subsequently voted for its repeal. CASE has endorsed and spent in support of challengers to each councilmember. Amazon has contributed $250,000 to the political action committee.


Voters in King County and Seattle will decide one ballot measure each to authorize or re-authorize certain property taxes. 

Proposition 1 in King County would authorize the county to levy a property tax for six years to replace an expiring tax that would be earmarked for parks, recreation, open space, public pools, zoo operations, and aquarium capital improvements. 

Proposition 1 in Seattle would authorize the city to levy a property tax for seven years that would be earmarked to fund library operations, materials, and maintenance and capital improvements.

Learn more→

Kansas governor to fill two state supreme court vacancies

344 supreme court justices sit on the highest courts of the fifty states and Washington, D.C. 167 justices in 27 states are appointed by the governor, while the rest are elected. In Kansas, Governor Laura Kelly (D) will appoint two justices in 2019 to the seven-member state supreme court to fill vacancies resulting from retirements. Justice Lee Johnson—who was appointed to the court by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) in 2007—will retire in September. Chief Justice Lawton Nuss—who was appointed to the court by Gov. Bill Graves (R) in 2002—will retire in December. 

Kansas law specifies that the governor select a new state supreme court justice from a list of three individuals submitted by the Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Commission. Newly appointed justices serve for at least one year, after which they must run for a subsequent six-year term in a retention election. Johnson’s and Nuss’ replacements will be Gov. Kelly’s first two nominees to the court. 

The Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Commission is a nine-member independent body created by the state’s constitution to recommend individuals to the governor for appointment to the state supreme court. When a vacancy occurs, the commission reviews applications and interviews candidates in public hearings before recommending three candidates to the governor.

After Kelly’s appointments, the Kansas Supreme Court will consist of five justices selected by Democratic governors and two justices selected by Republicans.

Learn more→


The Daily Presidential News Briefing: Tester endorsed Bullock

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

June 10, 2019: Sen. Jon Tester endorsed Steve Bullock for president. Most Democrats spent the weekend campaigning in Iowa at party and Pride events.

Share the latest from the campaign trail.

Candidates chart

There are eight new candidates running since last week, including three Democrats, three Republicans, and one Libertarian. Nineteen candidates are no longer running. In total, 733 individuals are currently filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Day

“If you want to survive, and you want to get the nomination, you have to kill the bear. [Biden is] the biggest bear in the woods. … If he survives and he gets to Iowa, he’s going to be tough to stop.”

– Hank Sheinkopf, Democratic strategist


  • The Des Moines Register compiled the key moments from 19 Democratic presidential candidates’ speeches at the state Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

  • At least ten of those Democrats—Pete ButtigiegCory BookerJohn DelaneyKirsten GillibrandJay InsleeBeto O’RourkeTim RyanBernie SandersMarianne Williamsonand Andrew Yang—also attended Capital City Pride Festival events Saturday in Iowa.

  • During an interview on Cheddar’s Need2Know podcast, Michael Bennetdiscussed student loans, climate change, and why he prefers the term “pragmatic idealist” to “centrist.”

  • Joe Biden will campaign across Iowa Tuesday and Wednesday with stops in Ottumwa, Mount Pleasant, Davenport, and Clinton.

  • While campaigning in IowaBill de Blasio said he was making mental health policy one of the centerpieces of his campaign.

  • Sen. Jon Tester endorsed fellow Montanan Steve Bullock for president Sunday. He is the tenth Democratic U.S. senator to make an endorsement in the 2020 presidential election.

  • Julián Castro spoke with local officials about water filtration systems and food insecurity during a visit to Flint, Michigan.

  • Mike Gravel discussed Brexit, economic development in Africa, and regime change in the Middle East in an interview with Cherwell.

  • While speaking at an NAACP event in South Carolina, Kamala Harris said her career as a prosecutor would be her greatest asset in a general election against Donald Trump.

  • In an interview on CBS News’ Face the NationAmy Klobuchar discussed abortion policy and said the Trump administration’s trade policy was harming farmers.

  • Wayne Messam called on supporters to contribute $5 to his campaign on his birthday Friday.

  • Seth Moulton spoke at the annual party Unity Dinner in Raleigh, North Carolina, Saturday.

  • Tom Steyer’s Need to Impeach advocacy group is targeting Eric Swalwell and 11 other Democrats in key leadership and committee positions in a $360,000 campaign calling for the impeachment of Trump.


  • Donald Trump announced Friday that the U.S. would not impose tariffs on Mexican goods following an agreement with Mexico on border security.

  • Bill Weld criticized Trump’s trade and tariffs policies, saying they “have done great harm to our farmers, workers and businesses large and small across America.”

General Election Updates

  • The Florida Democratic Party released a summary of its report Saturday detailing the party’s performance in the 2018 election and goals for the 2020 election. Brandon Peters, the state party’s voter protection director, also told party leaders at the annual Leadership Blue 2019 meeting that he was preparing for a recount with a goal of 15,000 lawyers and volunteers across the state.

Join Ballotpedia as we speak with Dr. Stevan Hobfoll about how the political environment has changed. 

Flashback: June 10, 2015

Hillary Clinton launched her Instagram with a post referencing her memoir, Hard Choices. Her account now has 4.3 million followers.

Hogan won’t challenge Trump in 2020

June 3, 2019: Larry Hogan announced he will not challenge Donald Trump in the Republican primary in 2020. Kirsten Gillibrand released her LGBT policy platform.

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

There are six new candidates running since last week, including one Democrat and one Republican. In total, 744 individuals are currently filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president.

Notable Quotes of the Day

“You don’t have to be in Des Moines or Manchester to have a viral moment and if that happens you’re in front of millions of people and can raise potentially millions of dollars.”

– Tad Devine, Democratic strategist

“The difference between third and fifth in Iowa could be the difference between staying in and dropping out of [the] race. And if you need to come in third but you came in fifth you’ll say, ‘Shoot, if only I had spent three or four more days in Iowa.’”

– David Plouffe, 2008 Obama presidential campaign manager


  • Michael Bennet discussed gun violence and advocated passing national background checks in an interview on ABC’s This Week.
  • Joe Biden campaigned in Ohio, attending an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. He said passing the Equality Act would be his first legislative priority.
  • Bill de Blasio received his first endorsement from Michael Butler, the mayor of Orangeburg, South Carolina.
  • Cory Booker announced his Iowa steering committee, including party leader Jerry Crawford and state Reps. Amy Nielsen and Jennifer Konfrst.
  • Steve Bullock discussed his presidential campaign on This Week in Iowa.
  • Speaking at the California Democratic Party Convention, Pete Buttigieg said Trump would win again if Democrats played it safe in 2020. “He wins if we look like defenders of the system. He wins if we look like more of the same,” Buttigieg said. “He wins if we look like Washington. And so the riskiest thing we could do is try too hard to play it safe.”
  • Julián Castro, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, and Bernie Sanders attended the  Immigrant Unity and Freedom Presidential Forum in Pasadena, California, Friday.
  • John Delaney said there should be universal healthcare but criticized Medicare for All at the California Democratic Party Convention. “Medicare for All may sound good, but it’s actually not good policy, nor is it good politics,” he said.
  • Following her speech at the California Democratic Party Convention, Tulsi Gabbard held a meet and greet in San Francisco.
  • Marking the first day of Pride Month, Kirsten Gillibrand released her LGBT policy platform Saturday. She said she would direct the Department of Justice to include gender identity and sexual orientation as protected classes under anti-discrimination laws, federally recognize a third gender on ID cards, codify Obergefell v. Hodges into law, and enact a ban on conversion therapy, among other policies.
  • Mike Gravel tweeted the campaign had passed 40,000 donors and needed 25,000  more to qualify for the July debates.
  • While speaking at the California Democratic Party Convention, John Hickenlooper denounced socialism. “If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals, socialism is not the answer,” he said.
  • Speaking at the #BigIdeas Forum, Amy Klobuchar promoted expanding voting rights as her idea to improve Americans’ lives.
  • Wayne Messam met with Cambridge Rindge & Latin School students in Massachusetts.
  • During an interview on CNN, Seth Moulton spoke of his struggles living with PTSD and survivor’s guilt after serving four tours in the Iraq War. He also discussed impeachment, systemic racism, and his critique of Medicare for All in a town hall on the network.
  • Beto O’Rourke campaigned in Oklahoma, including a meeting with Democratic officials in Oklahoma City to discuss the severe flooding across the state.
  • Tim Ryan discussed the economy and wage growth during a campaign stop in Iowa City. “We cannot be the party that talks about 15 [dollars] an hour,” Ryan said. “[Democrats] need to be the party that talks about $30, $40, $50 an hour.”
  • Ryan also participated in a CNN town hall. He said he now believes that Trump should be impeached, opposed a presidential ticket with white men only, and criticized Trump’s tariffs on imports from China.
  • During a town hall on CNN, Eric Swalwell said he disagreed with Sanders on extending voting rights to incarcerated individuals and eliminating private insurance.
  • Elizabeth Warren held her largest campaign event in Oakland, California, with 6,500 people in attendance. She also said that she would reverse Justice Department policy prohibiting the indictment of a sitting president.
  • Marianne Williamson spoke at Santa Monica College’s Emeritus College Friday.
  • Andrew Yang posted about Pride Month and his LGBT policy on his campaign website.


  • Donald Trump will formally launch his re-election campaign with a rally in Orlando, Florida on June 18.
  • Bill Weld said in an interview on Real Time with Bill Maher that he did not believe Trump would voluntarily leave office if he lost the 2020 election.

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

  • Larry Hogan announced Saturday he will not run for president. Instead, he is launching the advocacy group An America United to “support bipartisan, common-sense solutions to create more and better jobs, cut taxes, protect the environment, build our infrastructure, and improve education.”
  • John Kasich also discussed his potential candidacy Friday, saying, “There is no path right now for me. I don’t see a way to get there.”

What We’re Reading

Flashback: June 3, 2015

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced he was running for president, bringing the Democratic field up to four candidates.

2020 Democratic candidates campaign in Iowa State Senate district ahead of special election

On March 19, 2019, Cedar Falls School Board member Eric Giddens (D) and former state Rep. Walt Rogers (R) are running in a special election for the District 30 seat in the Iowa State Senate. The previous officeholder, Jeff Danielson (D), resigned on February 14, 2019. The two candidates were chosen by party conventions rather than primary elections.

Republicans currently hold a 32-17 majority in the chamber. If Rogers wins, Republicans will hold 33 seats. If Giddens wins, Democrats will hold 18 seats.

Still, the race is drawing attention as current and potential candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination are coming to support and campaign for Giddens, trying to earn the favor of state and local party members in advance of the state caucus.

By election day, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Gov. Steve Bullock (D-Mont.), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) will have made appearances at events for Giddens or held their own campaign events in the district. Other 2020 hopefuls, like Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), have sent campaign staff to canvass for Giddens.

Kevin Giken, the executive director of the Iowa Democratic Party, said the candidates coming to the district “shows that they’re committed to actually seeing Iowa Democrats succeed, and giving back resources rather than taking resources.”

Rogers said that the campaign visits would create an opportunity to nationalize the race. He has called his opponent an “avowed socialist” for donating to the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and said that their race was “sort of a microcosm of what’s happening in the country because I think socialism is going to be an issue in the coming election as well.”

Ten file for 4 Pittsburgh school board seats

Ten candidates filed paperwork to run in the May 21 primary for four of the nine seats on the Pittsburgh School District Board of Directors in Pennsylvania. The general election is on November 5, and the filing deadline was March 12.

Out of the four seats up for election, District 8 incumbent Kevin Carter was the only board member to file for re-election. He is running unopposed in both the primary and general election. District 2 incumbent Regina Holley, District 4 incumbent Lynda Wrenn, and District 6 incumbent Moira Kaleida did not file for re-election.

Nine candidates filed to run for the three open seats. In District 2, four candidates are running in the Democratic primary. One of those candidates will also appear on the Republican primary ballot. In District 4, three candidates are running in the Democratic primary. Two of those candidates will also appear on the Republican primary ballot. In District 6, two candidates have filed to run in the Democratic primary. In Pennsylvania, school board candidates can file to run as both Democratic and Republican candidates simultaneously.

Pittsburgh Public Schools served 22,359 students during the 2016-2017 school year.

Michigan legislators reject executive order for first time in 42 years; governor issues revised order

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) issued a revised executive order on February 20, 2019, that restructures the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The Republican-majority Michigan State Legislature voted to reject Whitmer’s original version of the executive order on February 14—the first time state legislators had rejected a governor’s executive order in 42 years.
Whitmer’s executive order aims to create “a principal department focused on improving the quality of Michigan’s air, land, and water, protecting public health, and encouraging the use of clean energy.” The order renames and restructures the DEQ into the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. The order also establishes an Interagency Environmental Justice Response Team, an Office of Climate and Energy and Office, and a Clean Water Public Advocate, among other organization modifications.
Michigan legislators rejected the original version of the executive order because it eliminated three environmental oversight commissions that legislators had established in 2018. Legislators claimed that the commissions serve to guard citizens against potentially harmful environmental regulations. Whitmer argued that the commissions are dominated by industry leaders and slow down the regulatory process. The new version of the executive order only eliminates one of the three commissions.
The executive order will take effect on April 22 if no action is taken by the state legislature.