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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.


North Carolina governor appoints next state supreme court chief justice

Gov. Roy Cooper (D) appointed Justice Cheri Beasley to succeed Mark Martin as the chief justice of the state supreme court. Martin is retiring from the court on February 28, 2019. Beasley will assume the position on March 1, 2019.

To remain in this position, Beasley must run for election in 2020. Voters elect the chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court to serve in that capacity for a full eight-year term. North Carolina is one of only seven states in which the chief justice is elected by voters.

Gov. Bev Perdue (D) appointed Beasley to the North Carolina Supreme Court as an associate justice in 2012. In 2014, Beasley was elected to serve a full eight-year term. Beasley was previously a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals from 2008 to 2012 and a judge for the North Carolina 12th Judicial District from 1999 to 2008. She earned her B.A. in political science and economics from Rutgers University/Douglass College in 1988. She obtained her J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1991.

Gov. Cooper must now appoint an associate justice to serve on the seven-member state supreme court. Martin’s replacement will be Cooper’s first associate justice nominee to the court. Like Beasley, the associate justice appointee will also have to run for election in November 2020 to remain on the court.



24 candidates file for seven vacant Louisiana House seats

On January 11, 2019, the candidate filing deadline passed to run in Louisiana’s special primary on February 23. The election was called to fill vacancies in seven Louisiana House of Representatives districts: 12, 17, 18, 26, 27, 47, and 62. A total of 24 candidates filed to run for these open seats. Of these candidates, 15 filed as Democrats, eight filed as Republicans, and one filed as an independent.
 
The special elections were triggered after three Democrats and four Republicans resigned to either take another job or serve in another elected position. Heading into 2019, the Louisiana House is controlled by the Republican Party, with 59 Republican members, 36 Democratic members, three independent members, and seven vacancies.
 
Louisiana’s filing deadline was the sixth special election filing deadline covered by Ballotpedia this year. If no candidate receives at least 50 percent of the vote in the primary, a general election will be held on March 30.
 
All 105 seats in the Louisiana House of Representatives are up for regular election in 2019. The primary is on October 12 and the general election will be held on November 16, if necessary. The candidate filing deadline is August 8.


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