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O’Rourke is second 2020 presidential candidate to respond to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is the second 2020 presidential candidate to complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, answering questions about his personal beliefs, professional background, and political priorities.
 
In his response, O’Rourke lists the first actions he would take in the Oval Office and explains his policy focus on strict gun regulations. He also describes why his family, the community of El Paso, and President Abraham Lincoln are his heroes.
 
Here are some highlights from his survey:
 
What should a 28th Amendment to the Constitution say?
 
“Beto believes that the 28th Amendment to the Constitution should be the Equal Rights Amendment. He believes the 29th Amendment should overturn Citizens’ United. The 30th Amendment should place term limits on Justices of the Supreme Court.”
 
What was your very first job? How long did you have it?
 
“Beto worked in his mother’s furniture store, a small business in El Paso. He would later work in the library during college and at a furniture moving business. Beto later started his own small technology business that brought high-skill, high-wage jobs to El Paso.”
 
What is the most important policy issue none of your competitors are talking about?
 
“The Democrat field all recognizes the urgency in enacting comprehensive gun control reform, and Beto appreciates the conversation that all of the candidates are having around this issue. But Beto has proposed going farther than any of the other candidates. Along with his plan to implement universal background checks, close every loophole, pass Extreme Risk Protection Orders, increase trauma support, and keep weapons of war off our streets by not only banning the sale of assault weapons but implementing a mandatory buyback of every single one of them, he has directly called on credit card companies to take steps to help prevent mass shootings. This includes calling on them to refuse to provide their services for the sale of assault weapons; refuse to provide their services for the sale of firearms online or at gun shows, where background checks are not required; and to stop doing business with gun or ammunition manufacturers who produce or sell assault weapons. He is the first, and so far the only candidate to directly call out credit card companies for their role in mass shootings and gun sales.”


Gabbard says Clinton behind attacks on campaign

 

 

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News BriefingOctober 21, 2019: Beto O’Rourke completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Tulsi Gabbard said Hillary Clinton was behind a campaign to destroy her reputation.        

There are four new candidates running since last week, including one Democrat. In total, 904 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Day

“Now, the majority of the voting age population under 70 years of age are people of color, and minority groups have grown by 25 percent since 2010, according to Census population estimates released this summer. This figure likely also includes the over 300,000 Puerto Ricans that moved to Florida in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Ultimately, in a crucial battleground state that Trump won by just 113,000 votes in 2016, the president’s strategy of turning out his base will almost certainly not be enough to win the state.”

– Douglas Schoen, former Clinton pollster and Fox News contributor

Democrats

  • Michael Bennet toured pivot counties—counties that voted for Barack Obama twice and Donald Trump—in northeast Iowa Sunday.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont hosted a fundraiser for Joe Biden Sunday. Former Sen. Chris Dodd introduced Biden at the event.
  • Cory Booker campaigned at the Bethel AME Church in South Carolina Saturday.
  • Steve Bullock will campaign in Iowa Monday with stops in Harlan and Council Bluffs.
  • Pete Buttigieg held his first Pennsylvania campaign appearance at Reading Terminal Market Sunday. One thousand people attended the event.
  • John Delaney opposed universal basic income and said the United States had more of a pay problem than jobs problem in an interview on Channel 13’s Insiders in New Hampshire.
  • Tulsi Gabbard called Hillary Clinton the “the queen of warmongers” Friday and said she was behind “a concerted campaign to destroy [her] reputation.” Gabbard’s comments followed media reports that Clinton implied Gabbard was being groomed by the Russians. In a podcast interview Thursday, Clinton said, “I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.” A Clinton spokesperson said Friday that Clinton was responding to a question about Republicans.
  • Kamala Harris will attend a house party and town hall in Iowa Monday. 
  • In a CNN interview Sunday, Amy Klobuchar discussed the timing of a potential Senate impeachment trial in December and her presidential campaign.
  • Wayne Messam hosted the Creole Culture Fest in Miramar Saturday and Sunday.
  • Beto O’Rourke completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, answering questions about his personal beliefs, professional background, and political priorities. Click here to read his responses.
  • An estimated 26,000 people attended Bernie Sanders’ campaign rally in New York Sunday, marking the largest rally for any 2020 Democrat.
  • Joe Sestak completed his eight-day walk across New Hampshire Sunday with a final stop in Portsmouth.
  • Elizabeth Warren began a three-day tour of Iowa Sunday with stops in Indianola, Des Moines, Ames, and Cedar Falls.
  • Marianne Williamson began a four-day “Spirit of America” bus tour across Iowa Saturday with stops in Grinnell, Mt. Vernon, Elkader, and Dubuque.
  • In an interview on NPR’s Off Script Saturday, Andrew Yang discussed the impeachment inquiry and how he would pay for universal basic income. 

Republicans

  • Mark Sanford campaigned in Denver Sunday as part of his “Kids, We’re Bankrupt and We Didn’t Even Know It” Tour.
  • Donald Trump will hold rallies in Mississippi and Kentucky in the first week of November. Both states are holding gubernatorial elections next month.
  • Bill Weld attended the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Laconia Pumpkin Festival in New Hampshire Saturday.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: October 21, 2015

Joe Biden announced that he would not run for president in the 2016 election.

 



Beto O’Rourke is second 2020 presidential candidate to complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Monday, October 21, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Beto O’Rourke is second 2020 presidential candidate to complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey
  2. Group files lawsuit to invalidate measure on November 5 ballots in Pennsylvania
  3. Quiz: Where will the next Democratic presidential debate be held?

Beto O’Rourke is second 2020 presidential candidate to complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is the second 2020 presidential candidate to complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, answering questions about his personal beliefs, professional background, and political priorities. On Friday, I shared Marianne Williamson’s survey replies. Today, let’s walk through some of O’Rourke’s answers. 

In his response, O’Rourke lists the first actions he would take in the Oval Office and explains his policy focus on strict gun regulations. He also describes why his family, the community of El Paso, and President Abraham Lincoln are his heroes.

Here are some of O’Rourke’s responses:

What should a 28th Amendment to the Constitution say?

“Beto believes that the 28th Amendment to the Constitution should be the Equal Rights Amendment. He believes the 29th Amendment should overturn Citizens’ United. The 30th Amendment should place term limits on Justices of the Supreme Court.”

What was your very first job? How long did you have it?

“Beto worked in his mother’s furniture store, a small business in El Paso. He would later work in the library during college and at a furniture moving business. Beto later started his own small technology business that brought high-skill, high-wage jobs to El Paso.”

What is the most important policy issue none of your competitors are talking about?

“The Democrat field all recognizes the urgency in enacting comprehensive gun control reform, and Beto appreciates the conversation that all of the candidates are having around this issue. But Beto has proposed going farther than any of the other candidates. Along with his plan to implement universal background checks, close every loophole, pass Extreme Risk Protection Orders, increase trauma support, and keep weapons of war off our streets by not only banning the sale of assault weapons but implementing a mandatory buyback of every single one of them, he has directly called on credit card companies to take steps to help prevent mass shootings. This includes calling on them to refuse to provide their services for the sale of assault weapons; refuse to provide their services for the sale of firearms online or at gun shows, where background checks are not required; and to stop doing business with gun or ammunition manufacturers who produce or sell assault weapons. He is the first, and so far the only candidate to directly call out credit card companies for their role in mass shootings and gun sales.” 

– – –

We will continue to highlight noteworthy responses to the Candidate Connection survey in the Brew. In Friday’s Brew, Marianne Williamson discussed the issue she supports that the majority of her party opposes. Williamson and O’Rourke are the first two noteworthy presidential candidates to complete the Ballotpedia Candidate Survey this cycle.

Our survey looks to find out what motivates candidates on both a political and personal level. It allows a candidate to share more than just stances on issues. It’s designed to elicit responses from candidates on what they care about, what they stand for, and what they hope to achieve. With it, we aim to enlighten voters on the candidates’ political philosophy and provide candidates with the chance to show who they really are.

We’re looking forward to hearing from more 2020 presidential candidates. You can encourage them to participate! Send the candidate(s) you want to know more about a link to our Candidate Connection survey today.

Governors are the leaders of their state’s executive branch. Next year, 11 states are holding elections for governor.


Group files lawsuit to invalidate measure on November 5 ballots in Pennsylvania 

Election Day in all states holding statewide contests—except Louisiana—is about two weeks away—on November 5. Early voting began Friday in Washington and jurisdictions nationwide have printed ballots and are preparing to count votes. 

In Pennsylvania, voters will see one state constitutional amendment on their ballots—a set of constitutional protections for crime victims known as Marsy’s Law. Earlier this month—on October 10—a state group filed a lawsuit before the election seeking to invalidate the measure.

The lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania (LWV) and Lorraine Haw argues that the measure violates the separate-vote requirement for constitutional amendments. It argues that because the Pennsylvania Constitution states, “When two or more amendments shall be submitted they shall be voted upon separately,” voters “cannot vote for the parts of the amendment she agrees with without voting for other things she disagrees with.” 

Pennsylvania’s Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar (D)—named as the defendant in the lawsuit—said in her response that, “The Crime Victims’ Rights Amendment pertains to a single subject matter — securing victims’ rights in the criminal case in which they suffered direct harm. Every single subpart of the amendment advances this one goal.” The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has scheduled a hearing on the lawsuit for October 23. 

The Pennsylvania State Legislature placed Marsy’s Law on the ballot after approving the proposal during two consecutive legislation sessions—in 2018 and 2019. The proposal received unanimous support in 2018. In 2019, the proposal received unanimous support in the state Senate, while seven Democrats and one Republican voted against the proposal in the 203-member state House. 

Henry Nicholas, whose sister Marsy was murdered in 1983, successfully advocated for the first Marsy’s Law initiative in California in 2008. These provisions have since been approved by voters in 11 other states, with six of those—Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, and Oklahoma—occurring in 2018. A Marsy’s Law initiative will be decided by Wisconsin voters in 2020.

Courts in two states—Kentucky and Montana—have struck down Marsy’s Law measures that were approved by voters. In Kentucky, the state Supreme Court ruled on June 12 that the ballot language did not provide enough information to communicate the amendment’s substance to voters. In Montana, where voters approved Marsy’s Law in 2016, the state Supreme Court ruled that the Marsy’s Law ballot measure violated the state’s separate-vote requirement.

Marsy's Law

#BallotTrivia

Where will the next Democratic presidential debate be held?

The Democratic Party held its fourth presidential primary debate at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. ICYMI, here is a link to our coverage of the debate, featuring a link to the video, a link to the transcript, and highlights for each presidential candidate with a focus on policy. 

Also, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced week the schedule of next year’s presidential and vice presidential debates ahead of the general election. Three 2020 presidential debates have been scheduled from Sept. 29 to Oct. 22, and a vice presidential debate is scheduled for October 7, 2020. 

Before we get to the general election, there are still eight more scheduled Democratic Party primary debates. Last week the Democratic National Committee announced the location of the fifth presidential primary debate, to take place November 20. In which state will the next Democratic primary debate be held?:

A.  Florida 
B.  Georgia 
C.  Minnesota 
D.  Missouri


 



Marianne Williamson is first 2020 presidential candidate to respond to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Friday, Oct. 18, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Marianne Williamson is first 2020 presidential candidate to respond to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey
  2. Voters in two states to elect state supreme court justices in November
  3. What’s the Tea?

Marianne Williamson is first 2020 presidential candidate to respond to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Author Marianne Williamson is the first 2020 presidential candidate to complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, answering questions about her personal beliefs, professional background, and political priorities.

Williamson describes the effect that the book, A Course in Miracles, had on her life and why she thinks the United States needs “a season of moral repair.” She also discusses reparations, money in politics, and the quality Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump have in common. 

Here are some of Williamson’s responses:

What legacy would you like to leave?

“A legacy of love that transforms politics and government to benefit We the People.”

What should a 28th Amendment to the Constitution say?

“Overturn Citizens United. Limit money in politics.”

What do you support that the majority of your party opposes?

“I am the first presidential candidate to advocate for reparations, and the only one with a plan for how to do it. 

In many ways, America has continued the process of racial reconciliation begun in the 1960’s. Yet in other ways, we have actually slipped backward. Yes, there are no more colored bathrooms and separate drinking fountains. But we now have mass incarceration; racial disparity in criminal sentencing; lost voting rights; outright voter suppression; and police brutality often focused on black populations.

Tepid solutions are not enough for the times in which we live; we need huge, strategized acts of righteousness, now. Just as Germany has paid $89 Billion in reparations to Jewish organizations since WW2, the United States should pay reparations for slavery. A debt unpaid is still a debt unpaid, even if it’s 150 years later. The legacy of that injustice lives on, with racist policies infused into our systems even to this day. From employment and housing discrimination, to equal access to quality education in underserved communities, to police brutality/prejudice, to lack of fair lending practices, to lack of access to quality healthcare, to insecure voting rights, America has not yet completed the task of healing our racial divide.

For that reason, I propose a $200 billion – $500 billion plan of reparations for slavery, the money to be disbursed over a period of twenty years. An esteemed council of African-American leaders would determine the educational and economic projects to which the money would be given.”

– – –

We will continue to highlight noteworthy responses to the Candidate Connection survey in the Brew. Up next in Monday’s edition, Beto O’Rourke shares his vision for a 28th, 29th, and 30th Amendment. Williamson and O’Rourke are the first two noteworthy presidential candidates to complete the Ballotpedia Candidate Survey this cycle.

Our survey looks to find out what motivates candidates on both a political and personal level. It doesn’t simply contain issue questions. It’s designed to elicit responses from candidates on what they care about, what they stand for, and what they hope to achieve. With it, we aim to enlighten voters on the candidates’ political philosophy and provide candidates with the chance to show who they really are.

We’re looking forward to hearing from more 2020 presidential candidates. You can encourage them to participate! Send the candidate(s) you want to know more about a link to our Candidate Connection survey today.

The 5 vulnerable trifectas


Voters in two states to elect state supreme court justices in November 

In November, voters in two states—Kentucky and Louisiana—will fill vacancies on their state supreme courts, choosing new justices in special elections. In a third—Wisconsin—voters elected appeals court justice Brian Hagedorn to a seat on that state’s Supreme Court in April. All told, there are 344 state supreme court justices nationwide. Here’s a quick rundown of the elections in Kentucky and Louisiana.

Kentucky

Voters in Kentucky will select a state supreme court justice Nov. 5 to replace Bill Cunningham, who retired Jan. 31. The winner will serve the remainder of Cunningham’s term, which expires in January 2023. A full term on the court is eight years. 

Under Kentucky law, if there is a midterm vacancy on the state supreme court, the governor appoints a successor from a list of three names provided by the Kentucky Judicial Nominating Commission. The justice Gov. Matt Bevin (R) appointed to the court in March to serve until the election—David Buckingham—is not running for the seat. 

Of the seven current members of the Kentucky Supreme Court, three judges were appointed by a Republican governor, one judge was appointed by a Democratic governor, and three judges were initially selected in nonpartisan elections. 

Louisiana

Voters in Louisiana will select a state supreme court justice to replace Greg Guidry, who was confirmed to a federal judgeship in June. Guidry won a second, 10-year term on the Louisiana court in 2018. The winner of this election will serve the remainder of his term, which expires in 2029.

The Louisiana Supreme Court is made up of seven justices who are elected in partisan elections from seven districts. In the event of a vacancy, the remaining justices appoint a temporary replacement until the special election. The supreme court justices appointed state appeals court judge Susan Chehardy to replace Guidry in July.

Four Republicans ran for this seat in the Oct. 12 primary election. Since no candidate received a majority of the vote, the top two finishers—appeals court judges William Crain and Hans Liljeberg—will meet in the Nov. 16 general election. The Louisiana Supreme Court currently has five Republican and two Democratic judges.

Most states do not hold elections in odd-numbered years. Pennsylvania has judicial elections exclusively in odd-numbered years and Wisconsin elects judges every year. Louisiana and Washington may have judicial elections in both even- and odd-numbered years. None of the state supreme court justices in Pennsylvania or Washington are up for election in 2019.

What's the tea?

We’re continuing to survey Brew readers on 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. We appreciate all your responses!

I don’t want to forget about the judicial branch, so here’s this week’s question: Have you ever served on a jury? I’ve never been picked for a jury. I was called for jury duty as recently as two months ago, but there weren’t any trials starting that week so I wasn’t chosen.

If you were like me and selected for jury duty, but didn’t actually serve on one, I would consider that a ‘no.’ If you were selected to a jury—even if the case was settled before you were asked to reach a verdict— let’s call that a ‘yes.’

Have you ever served on a jury?


 



Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: October 12-18, 2019

 Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News Briefing

Now, we’re bringing you the highlights from our daily briefings in a weekly format so you can stay up-to-date on the 2020 election with one weekly email.

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

Candidates by the Number

Notable Quotes of the Week

“Omission from November’s debate could effectively choke off a candidate’s visibility and fundraising and make it impossible for them to mount a realistic challenge. Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Klobuchar and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas are all on the cut line. … There’s no better way for those candidates to engineer the big moments they need than to tangle with one of the front-runners.”

– Stephen Collinson, CNN

“Premeditated attack strategies have a mostly losing record so far. The most successful of them—Kamala Harris’ biographical repudiation of Biden’s recording on busing—lent Harris only a short-lived boost as her moment of moral righteousness soon faded to equivocation.
John Delaney earned plenty of screen time in the second debate acting as the moderate counterweight to Warren, but moderate voters already had their preferred counterweight in Biden, and they also like Elizabeth Warren more than they like John Delaney. Tulsi Gabbard, similarly, took a hatchet to Harris in the second debate, a moment that may have hurt Harris but hardly helped Gabbard. And in the third debate, Julián Castro famously ‘insinuated’ that Joe Biden was losing his mind and was rewarded with a sharp collapse in his net favorability.”

– Jim NewellSlate

“The knives finally came out for Elizabeth Warren, but she parried them across all three hours of the debate. Warren demonstrated she can handle the pressure that comes with being the front-runner, even if it wasn’t always comfortable or particularly easy. And she did take some hits: from Buttigieg on Medicare for All, Andrew Yang on workforce automation and Klobuchar on, well, nearly everything.”

– Adam CancrynPolitico

Week in Review

Williamson first 2020 presidential candidate to complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection Survey

Marianne Williamson is the first 2020 presidential candidate to complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, answering questions about her personal beliefs, professional background, and political priorities.

Williamson describes the effect A Course in Miracles had on her life and why she thinks the United States needs “a season of moral repair.” She also discusses reparations, money in politics, and the quality Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump have in common. 

Here are some of Williamson’s responses:

What legacy would you like to leave?

“A legacy of love that transforms politics and government to benefit We the People.”

What should a 28th Amendment to the Constitution say?

“Overturn Citizens United. Limit money in politics.”

What do you support that the majority of your party opposes?

“I am the first presidential candidate to advocate for reparations, and the only one with a plan for how to do it. 

In many ways, America has continued the process of racial reconciliation begun in the 1960’s. Yet in other ways, we have actually slipped backward. Yes, there are no more colored bathrooms and separate drinking fountains. But we now have mass incarceration; racial disparity in criminal sentencing; lost voting rights; outright voter suppression; and police brutality often focused on black populations.

Tepid solutions are not enough for the times in which we live; we need huge, strategized acts of righteousness, now. Just as Germany has paid $89 Billion in reparations to Jewish organizations since WW2, the United States should pay reparations for slavery. A debt unpaid is still a debt unpaid, even if it’s 150 years later. The legacy of that injustice lives on, with racist policies infused into our systems even to this day. From employment and housing discrimination, to equal access to quality education in underserved communities, to police brutality/prejudice, to lack of fair lending practices, to lack of access to quality healthcare, to insecure voting rights, America has not yet completed the task of healing our racial divide.

For that reason, I propose a $200 billion – $500 billion plan of reparations for slavery, the money to be disbursed over a period of twenty years. An esteemed council of African-American leaders would determine the educational and economic projects to which the money would be given.”

Largest presidential primary debate in U.S. history

Twelve Democratic presidential candidates debated Tuesday night in Westerville, Ohio: Joe BidenCory BookerPete ButtigiegJulián CastroTulsi GabbardKamala HarrisAmy KlobucharBeto O’RourkeBernie SandersTom SteyerElizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.

Gabbard and Steyer were the only candidates in this group who did not participate in the third Democratic debate in Texas on Sept. 12. With 12 candidates on stage, it was the largest single presidential primary debate. Republicans held the previous record with 11 candidates on stage during the September 2015 debate.

The candidates discussed impeachment, healthcare, tax policy, foreign policy, gun violence, antitrust laws, fitness, abortion, and the Supreme Court. Elizabeth Warren had the most speaking time at 23 minutes. Tom Steyer spoke the least at 7.2 minutes.

For highlights from the debate for each candidate, click here.

In the 24 hours following the debate, the Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar campaigns each reported they raised more than $1 million.

Major rallies this week

Twenty thousand people attended Donald Trump’s Thursday night rally in Dallas at the American Airlines Center. Trump spoke for 87 minutes about the Democratic presidential field, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the ceasefire in Turkey.

More than 5,000 people attended Beto O’Rourke’s counter-rally Thursday in Grand Prairie, Texas. He discussed Trump, immigration, healthcare, gun policy, and veterans issues.

Bernie Sanders will hold his first campaign rally in three weeks Saturday in Queens, New York. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is expected to formally endorse him at the event.

Steyer pours $26 million into television ads

Tom Steyer has spent more than $26 million on 53,000 television ads since beginning his campaign in July, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. That is more than six times as many ads as the rest of the Democratic field combined aired. Twenty thousand of Steyer’s ads aired in Iowa.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Lis Smith has worked in campaign communications for over a decade, including in the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns. Smith co-founded 50 State Communications in June 2016. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in government and anthropology in 2005.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2016 Martin O’Malley presidential campaign, deputy campaign manager
  • 2013 Bill de Blasio mayoral campaign (New York, N.Y.), chief spokeswoman
  • 2012 Barack Obama presidential campaign, director of rapid response
  • 2010 Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) gubernatorial campaign, communications director
  • 2009 Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) gubernatorial campaign, press secretary
  • 2009 Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) gubernatorial campaign, press secretary
  • 2008 Dan Seals (D-Ill.) U.S. House campaign, communications director
  • 2007 Bruce Lunsford (D-Ky.) gubernatorial campaign, traveling press secretary
  • 2006 Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) U.S. Senate campaign, press secretary

Other experience:

  • 2013-2015: O’PAC (Martin O’Malley political action committee), senior communications advisor
  • 2013-2015: Democratic Governors Association, senior communications advisor
  • 2011-2012: Democratic Governors Association, communications director

What she says about Buttigieg: “I saw in him something that I’ve never, ever seen in someone, you know, where you sort of have that moment, this magic, and clearly he’s taken off.”

What We’re Reading

Flashback: October 15-18, 2015

  • October 15, 2015: Ben Carson and Donald Trump submitted a joint letter to CNBC saying neither would agree to attend the month’s debate if opening and closing statements were not permitted and the event ran longer than 120 minutes. 
  • October 16, 2015: Hillary Clinton outraised and outspent all other 2016 presidential candidates in the third quarter of 2015. She raised more than $29 million and spent more than $25 million. 
  • October 17, 2015: Jeb Bush released a digital ad questioning Donald Trump’s ability to be commander-in-chief. 
  • October 18, 2015: Donald Trump discussed the September 11 terrorist attacks and George W. Bush, social media, the U.S. Department of Education, and foreign policy in an interview on Fox News Sunday.

Trivia

Which election featured the first presidential primary debate?



Sanders holds first rally in three weeks Saturday

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

October 18, 2019: Marianne Williamson is the first 2020 presidential candidate to complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. On Saturday, Bernie Sanders will hold his first campaign rally in three weeks in Queens, New York. 
 

     Each Friday, we highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.
Daily Presidential News Briefing - Staffer Spotlight - Lis Smith

Lis Smith has worked in campaign communications for over a decade, including in the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns. Smith co-founded 50 State Communications in June 2016. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in government and anthropology in 2005.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2016 Martin O’Malley presidential campaign, deputy campaign manager
  • 2013 Bill de Blasio mayoral campaign (New York, N.Y.), chief spokeswoman
  • 2012 Barack Obama presidential campaign, director of rapid response
  • 2010 Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) gubernatorial campaign, communications director
  • 2009 Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) gubernatorial campaign, press secretary
  • 2009 Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) gubernatorial campaign, press secretary
  • 2008 Dan Seals (D-Ill.) U.S. House campaign, communications director
  • 2007 Bruce Lunsford (D-Ky.) gubernatorial campaign, traveling press secretary
  • 2006 Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) U.S. Senate campaign, press secretary

Other experience:

  • 2013-2015: O’PAC (Martin O’Malley political action committee), senior communications advisor
  • 2013-2015: Democratic Governors Association, senior communications advisor
  • 2011-2012: Democratic Governors Association, communications director

What he/she says about candidate:

What she says about Buttigieg: “I saw in him something that I’ve never, ever seen in someone, you know, where you sort of have that moment, this magic, and clearly he’s taken off.”

Notable Quote of the Day

“Trump, throughout the election and the first three years of his presidency, has run a base strategy. Many presidents wouldn’t bother to come to Texas, but he spends a lot of time in Florida, Alabama, Texas and other Southern states revving up the base to make sure that his support does not dissipate. If he doesn’t hold his base, he is cooked.”

– Cal Jillson, Southern Methodist University political scientist

Democrats

  • Michael BennetJohn DelaneyTulsi GabbardKamala HarrisAmy Klobuchar, and Tom Steyer will speak at the Linn County Democratic Hall of Fame Banquet in Iowa Sunday.
  • Joe Biden spoke Thursday about the Violence Against Women Act and Trump administration at the Democratic National Committee’s 2019 Women’s Leadership Forum Conference in Washington, D.C.
  • Cory Booker will campaign Sunday at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
  • In a CNN interview Thursday, Steve Bullock said he supported an impeachment inquiry that goes to the Senate.
  • Pete Buttigieg will speak at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics Friday.
  • Julián Castro will make his tenth campaign trip to Nevada over the weekend, including an event with the Las Vegas chapter of the National Organization for Women.
  • Klobuchar will campaign across Iowa Friday through Sunday as part of her “All of America Bus Tour.”
  • The Los Angeles Times profiled Wayne Messam’s campaign Thursday. Messam said of his candidacy, “I’m still technically in the race.”
  • Beto O’Rourke will campaign in Alabama Friday and Saturday, including speaking at the Alabama Democratic Conference in Birmingham. More than 5,000 people attended O’Rourke’s rally in Grand Prairie, Texas, Thursday.
  • Bernie Sanders will hold his first campaign rally in three weeks Saturday in Queens, New York. The Sanders campaign is also launching a $1.3 million television ad buy in Iowa.
  • Joe Sestak is on the sixth day of his walk across New Hampshire with a stop in Raymond.
  • Steyer will campaign in Iowa Sunday and Monday, including a stop at the University of Northern Iowa.
  • Elizabeth Warren hired Elizabeth Henderson as Tennessee state director Thursday, making Warren the first candidate to have a state director in Tennessee. 
  • Marianne Williamson is the first 2020 presidential candidate to complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, answering questions about her personal beliefs, professional background, and political priorities. Click here to read her responses.
  • Andrew Yang spoke about foreign policy in an interview on The Rachel Maddow Show.

Republicans

  • Mark Sanford will campaign Friday in Illinois and Iowa as part of his “Kids, We’re Bankrupt and We Didn’t Even Know It” Tour.
  • Roughly 20,000 people attended Donald Trump’s Thursday night rally in Dallas, where he criticized the Democratic presidential candidates and spoke about the ceasefire in Turkey.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: October 18, 2015

Donald Trump discussed the September 11 terrorist attacks and George W. Bush, social media, the U.S. Department of Education, and foreign policy in an interview on Fox News Sunday.



Federal district judges issue injunctions blocking public charge rule

Three federal district judges in New York, California, and Washington issued temporary injunctions on October 11 blocking the Trump administration’s public charge rule from taking effect on October 15. A fourth federal judge in Chicago issued a similar injunction on October 14.
 
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the final version of the new public charge rule on August 12. The rule changes how the federal government screens immigrants who might become dependent on government services, or “public charges.” Agencies may deny immigrants a visa or a green card under the rule if they have used food stamps, Medicaid, housing subsidies, or other public benefits.
 
The rule amends a guidance document issued in 1999 stipulating that only public cash assistance or long-term institutionalization at government expense qualified as evidence that an immigrant was at risk of being a public charge and could be denied legal status. The new rule expands the factors agencies may consider when deciding those cases.
 
Twenty-one states, the District of Columbia, New York City, the Cook County government, and immigrant aid organizations formed coalitions that filed four separate lawsuits aiming to prevent the implementation of the rule.
 
The judges—Judge George Daniels of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, and Judge Gary Feinerman of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois—argued that the rule was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act, failed to consider potential costs to state and local governments, and constituted an unsupported congressional delegation of authority to DHS, among other claims.
 
The White House and USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli issued separate statements on October 11 expressing disappointment with the decisions. “An objective judiciary will see that this rule lies squarely within long-held existing law,” Cuccinelli stated.
 
 


SCOTUS hears oral arguments in Appointments Clause challenge

The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico v. Aurelius Investment LLC, a case arguing that the appointment of members to the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico violated the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
 
The Appointments Clause provides the president with the authority to appoint officers of the United States, subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate. These positions include ambassadors, heads of Cabinet-level departments, and federal judges. Congress vests the authority to appoint inferior officers, such as federal attorneys and administrative law judges, in the president, the courts, or heads of departments.
 
Congress created the Financial Oversight and Management Board in 2016 and authorized the board to begin debt adjustment proceedings on behalf of the Puerto Rico government. The seven-member board is made up of one member chosen at the president’s discretion and six other members selected by the president from a list compiled by members of Congress. The appointees selected from the congressional list are not subject to Senate confirmation.
 
Aurelius Investment LLC and the Unión de Trabajadores de la Industria Eléctrica y Riego challenged the board’s authority in federal district court, arguing the board members’ appointments were not in compliance with the Appointments Clause. Aurelius and the union claimed that the board members are “Officers of the United States” who must all be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The board argued that its activities are primarily local in nature and, therefore, its members do not qualify as “Officers of the United States.”
 
The court’s decision in the case could determine whether certain territorial officers can also be classified as federal officers for purposes of the Appointments Clause.
 


Ballotpedia’s 2019 ballot measure readability scores—How easy is it to understand what’s on your ballot?

In 2019, 36 statewide ballot measures were certified for ballots in eight states. Ballotpedia scored the readability of ballot titles and summaries using two formulas–Flesch Reading Ease (FRE) and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (FKGL). The FRE formula produces a score between a negative number and 100, with the highest score (100) representing a 5th-grade equivalent reading level and scores at or below zero representing college graduate-equivalent reading level. The FKGL formula produces a score equivalent to the estimated number of years of U.S. education required to understand a text. Both formulas used in calculating readability scores depend on the number of syllables, words, and sentences in a text. Other factors, such as the complexity of an idea in a text, are not reflected in readability scores.
 
The average FKGL score for 2019 ballot measure titles or questions is 15 years of formal U.S. education. The range of scores is 6 to 27 years. The average FRE score for 2019 ballot measure titles is 26. The scores range from -22 to 69.
 
Measures in some states are given additional explanations beyond the ballot title or question. The average FKGL for these ballot summaries or explanations in 2019 is 15 years of formal U.S. education. The average FRE score for ballot measure summaries is 25.
 
The states with the lowest average FKGL scores for ballot titles or questions are Washington, Pennsylvania, and Maine with 9, 10, and 17, respectively.
 
The states with the highest average FKGL scores for ballot titles or questions are Colorado, Kansas, and Texas with 27, 23, and 20.
 
Average ballot title grades were lowest for language written by the Washington Attorney General (9) and initiative petitioners (10). Average ballot title grades were highest for language written by state legislatures (20).
 
Ballotpedia also measures the word length of ballot titles across states. The states with the longest ballot titles or questions in 2019 on average are Kansas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Colorado; all of these except New Jersey did not feature additional ballot summaries or explanations. The states with the shortest ballot titles or questions on average are Texas, Maine, Louisiana, and Washington.
 
Compared to the last odd-year election, the average FKGL score for ballot titles for 2019 dropped. The average FKGL score for the 27 2019 statewide ballot measures was 20 years of formal education. The range of scores for 2017 was also wider, ranging from 7 to 42.
 


Ballotpedia’s 2019 ballot measure readability scores—How easy is it to understand what’s on your ballot?

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Thursday, October 17, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Ballotpedia’s 2019 ballot measure readability scores—How easy is it to understand what’s on your ballot?
  2. Local Roundup
  3. Federal district courts block implementation of public charge rule

Ballotpedia’s 2019 ballot measure readability scores—How easy is it to understand what’s on your ballot?

I installed some new software the other day, and for once, I tried to understand the end-user license agreement that I had to approve before it would complete the installation. Some of it made sense, but there were other sections where I was pretty lost. That’s probably the case with any legal document.

I thought that some voters might feel the same way when faced with ballot measures when going to vote. It’s hard to be an informed citizen when you have trouble understanding what you’re reading. I was excited when our Ballot Measures editor told me it was time to publish our readability index.  

For the third year in a row, we’ve taken ballot measure language and run it through industry-standard assessment tools to assign a readability rating. We ran the 2019 ballot titles and summaries for all 36 statewide ballot measures through formulas designed to measure the readability of text. 

Overall, the average estimated number of years of U.S. education required to understand the text of ballot measure titles decreased compared to the last two years. We found that in 2019, 15 years of formal U.S. education is needed to understand ballot measure titles. That number was between 19 and 20 in 2018 and 20 in 2017.

Our ballot measures team used two formulas, the Flesch Reading Ease (FRE) and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (FKGL), to compute scores for the titles and summaries of ballot measures. The FKGL formula produces a score equivalent to the estimated number of years of U.S. education required to understand a text. The FRE formula produces a score between a negative number and 100, with the highest score (100) representing a 5th-grade equivalent reading level and scores at or below zero representing college graduate-equivalent reading level. Therefore, the higher the score, the easier the text is to read. Measurements used in calculating readability scores include the number of syllables, words, and sentences in a text. Other factors, such as the complexity of an idea in a text, are not reflected in readability scores. 

Here are some highlights from Ballotpedia’s 2019 ballot language readability report: 

  • The average Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level for the ballot titles of all 2019 ballot measures is 15 years of formal U.S. education. Scores ranged from 6 to 27 years. 

  • The average Flesch Reading Ease score for the 2019 ballot measure titles is 26. The scores ranged from -22 to 69.

  • The average Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level for the ballot summaries or explanations of all the 2019 statewide ballot measures that were given a summary or explanation is 15 years of formal U.S. education. The average Flesch Reading Ease score for ballot measure summaries is 25.

  • The states with the lowest average Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level scores for ballot titles or questions are Washington, Pennsylvania, and Maine with 9, 10, and 17, respectively. This means that they require less formal education to understand the meaning of the titles.

  • The states with the highest average Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level scores for ballot titles or questions are Colorado, Kansas, and Texas with 27, 23, and 20. The titles from these states require greater levels of formal education to understand the meaning of the titles.

  • Average ballot title grades were lowest for language written by the Washington Attorney General (9) and initiative petitioners (10). Average ballot title grades were highest for language written by state legislatures (20).

How does this compare to prior years?

  • In 2017, there were 27 statewide measures in nine states. The average Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level for ballot measure titles was 20. Scores ranged from seven to 42.

  • In 2018, there were 167 statewide measures in 38 states. The average Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level for ballot measure titles was between 19 and 20. Scores ranged from eight to 42.

Readability

Ballotpedia also measures the word length of ballot titles across states. The states with the longest ballot titles or questions on average are Kansas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Colorado; all of these except New Jersey did not feature additional ballot summaries or explanations. The states with the shortest ballot titles or questions on average are Texas, Maine, Louisiana, and Washington.


Local Roundup 

At Ballotpedia, we provide election coverage of all officeholders in the nation’s 100 largest cities—including mayors, city council members, and other municipal officers. We also cover every election on the ballot in these cities, such as county officials and local ballot measures.

Here’s our weekly summary of the local news we’re covering. Email me to suggest some interesting local election coverage in your area—I’d love to hear about it!

Atlanta

Aretta Baldon defeated David Huntley—58% to 42%—in a special runoff election October 15 for a seat on the Atlanta Public Schools school board. Baldon and Huntley had advanced as the top two finishers from a nine-candidate field in the general election September 17, with Baldon finishing first with 31% of the vote and Huntley second with 25%.

The seat became vacant after Byron Amos—who had served on the board since 2011—resigned in January 2019 to run for a seat on the Atlanta City Council. With only eight current board members, the school board has had at least one vote—a plan to rate district schools—end up in a 4-4 tie. The winner of the special election will fill Amos’ unexpired term, which ends in 2021. 

Hickory, North Carolina

A spot in the general election for a seat on the Hickory City Council was determined by a coin toss after two candidates received the same number of votes for second place in the nonpartisan primary election October 9. Incumbent Danny Seaver finished first in the primary with 28 votes and Nathan Hefner and Daria Jackson both received 16 votes each. 

Under North Carolina law, tied elections with fewer than 5,000 votes cast are decided by random selection. In this instance, a coin toss was used to decide second place. Jackson called heads and the coin turned up tails, meaning Hefner advanced to the November 5 general election.

During the 2019 election cycle, Ballotpedia is expanding its coverage of North Carolina in order to provide voters with a comprehensive statewide sample ballot. This includes covering elections in the state for 503 cities, towns, and villages, nine school districts, and 17 special districts.


Federal district courts block implementation of public charge rule 

Three federal district court judges in New York, California, and Washington issued temporary injunctions on October 11 blocking a rule announced by the Trump administration that changes how the federal government screens immigrants who might become dependent on government services. A fourth federal judge in Chicago issued a similar injunction on October 14. The rule was set to take effect October 15. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the final version of the rule—known as the public charge rule—on August 12. It would change how the federal government screens immigrants who might become dependent on government services. Agencies may deny immigrants a visa or a green card under the rule if they have used food stamps, Medicaid, housing subsidies, or other public benefits.

The rule amends a guidance document issued in 1999 that stipulated that only public cash assistance or long-term institutionalization at government expense qualified as evidence that an immigrant was at risk of being a public charge and could be denied legal status. The new rule expands the factors agencies may consider when deciding those cases. 

Twenty-one states, the District of Columbia, New York City, the government of Cook County, Illinois, and immigrant aid organizations formed coalitions that filed four separate lawsuits challenging the implementation of the rule.

The four judges that issued the injunctions ruled that the rule was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act, failed to consider potential costs to state and local governments, and constituted an unsupported congressional delegation of authority to DHS, among other claims. All four justices were appointed by Democratic presidents—two by President Bill Clinton and two by President Barack Obama.

The White House and USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli issued separate statements on October 11 expressing disappointment with the decisions. “An objective judiciary will see that this rule lies squarely within long-held existing law,” Cuccinelli stated. 

The Trump administration can appeal the district court rulings to the federal appellate courts. Administration officials had yet to announce an appeal as of October 16.

 



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