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Public-sector unions contributed nearly $160 million to political candidates in 2018

 
Welcome to the Friday, October 4, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Exploring campaign contributions from public-sector unions
  2. Houston school board to elect four members, faces possible replacement by state education commission
  3. What’s the Tea?

A deep dive into public-sector union spending in 2018

Public-sector unions contributed $159.8 million to candidates for federal, state, or local office in 2018, according to campaign finance reporting at both the federal and state levels.

The five states in which political candidates received the most contributions from public-sector unions were:

  • California, where unions contributed $74.1 million, or 46.4% of the nationwide total.
  • Illinois, where unions contributed $14.2 million, or 8.9% of the nationwide total.
  • Oregon, where unions contributed $10.6 million, or 6.6% of the nationwide total.
  • Minnesota, where unions contributed $10.4 million, or 6.5% of the nationwide total.
  • New York, where unions contributed $9.8 million, or 6.1% of the nationwide total.

The total contributions from these five states totaled $119.0 million, or 74% of the nationwide total. Contributions from public-sector unions in the other 45 states represented 26%.

These figures are based on resources gathered by the National Institute on Money in Politics, and reflect contributions by public-sector unions to political candidates. They do not account for unions’ satellite spending, which is political spending associated with an election but not directly made to, or controlled by, a specific candidate.

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Houston school board to elect four members, faces possible replacement by state education commission

Our coverage of school board elections includes the 200 largest school districts by enrollment and all school districts that overlap with the 100 largest cities by population. One of this year’s notable school board races is in Houston—home of the nation’s seventh-largest school district.

Voters will decide four of the nine seats on the Houston Independent School District (HISD) board of education. Five candidates are running for each of the two open-seats and each of the two incumbents running for re-election faces a single challenger. If no candidate receives a majority of the Nov. 5 vote, a runoff election will be held between the top two finishers.

The HISD school board currently faces the possibility of being replaced by a state-appointed board of managers. Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath could decide to replace the board for either of two reasons: 1) either as a result of a Texas Education Agency (TEA) investigation into the board’s governance or 2) as a result of poor academic performance ratings at a high school in the district. Morath was appointed commissioner of education by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in January 2016.

A TEA investigation recommended in August 2019 that the state appoint a board of managers for HISD. It cited the elected board’s “inability to appropriately govern, inability to operate within the scope of their authority, circumventing the authority of the superintendent, and inability to ensure proper contract procurement laws are followed.” Lawyers for the district filed a lawsuit challenging that recommendation August 16.

State law requires that the commissioner of education either close a school that receives more than five consecutive failing grades or replace the district’s board of education. After preliminary ratings of the district’s schools were released, it was determined that one HISD high school received a failing grade for the seventh year in a row. The school board voted September 5 to appeal the preliminary rating. The HISD had received a waiver from state ratings for the prior year due to Hurricane Harvey.

If the state appoints a board of managers, elected school board members would not have any power until the elected board was reinstated, although they could participate as non-voting representatives. As of the 2018-2019 school year, HISD was the largest school district in Texas and the seventh-largest school district in the United States, serving 209,772 students in 280 schools with a budget of $2.04 billion.

HISD school board elections are officially nonpartisan. Heading into the 2019 election, all nine HISD trustees are Democrats, according to the Houston Chronicle. The last day to register to vote is October 7. Early voting will run October 21 through November 1.
 

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What’s the Tea?

Last week’s What’s the Tea? question—Have you ever voted in a special election?—kicked off what will be a series of 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.

Like with all our What’s the Tea? questions, there’s no right or wrong answer, and your responses are completely confidential.

So, let’s start hyper-local. Have you ever attended a school board meeting?

  1. Yes
  2. No


California has country’s highest paid governor, Maine the lowest. How much does your state’s governor earn?

In 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown (D) was the highest paid of the 50 state governors. Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) was the lowest paid. The average gubernatorial salary across all states was $143,270 in 2018, a 2.4% increase over 2017. These updated figures were published in the Council of State Governments’ 2019 Book of States.
 
The five governors with the highest base salaries were:
  1. California Governor Jerry Brown: $201,680
  2. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: $200,000
  3. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf: $194,850
  4. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee: $194,112
  5. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker: $185,000
 
The five governors with the lowest base salaries were:
  1. Maine Governor Paul LePage: $70,000
  2. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper: $90,000
  3. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey: $95,500
  4. Oregon Governor Kate Brown: $98,600
  5. Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer: $99,636
 
Gubernatorial salaries increased in 17 states by, on average, $9,993, or 6.6%: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. Georgia had the largest salary increase, 25.6%.
 
Gubernatorial salaries in the remaining 33 states remained the same.
 
Gubernatorial salaries are typically determined by a state’s constitution or statute. Most often, the salary portion of a governor’s compensation is defined by law, but additional benefits, such as insurance, official residence, and other work-related equipment, may be established by state agencies, custom, or other methods.
 


Special election being held in New Hampshire House district

A special election is being held in the Rockingham 9 district of the New Hampshire House of Representatives on October 8. Naomi Andrews (D) and Michael Vose (R) are running in the general election. Andrews worked as chief of staff and campaign manager to Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) from 2007 to 2018. Vose represented Rockingham 9 from 2014 to 2018. He was defeated in the 2018 general election.
 
The seat became vacant when Sean Morrison (R) resigned in May 2019. Morrison cited “personal attacks, partisan politics and a lack of cooperation” between the state and town as his reasons for resigning. Morrison had represented the district since 2016. He last won re-election in 2018, taking second place with 26.8% of the vote. The Rockingham 9 district has two seats; Morrison and Vose had served together from 2017 through 2018.
 
Heading into the election, Democrats have a 233-165 majority in the New Hampshire House with one Libertarian member and one vacancy. New Hampshire has a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.
 
As of October, 77 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 24 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 


Federal agencies allowed to implement Trump’s civil service executive orders

Federal agencies can fully implement President Donald Trump’s (R) three civil service executive orders after the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Wednesday lifted an injunction that had blocked the implementation of provisions concerning the use of union official time.
 
President Trump issued the civil service executive orders (E.O. 13837, E.O. 13836, and E.O.13839) in May 2018. The orders include proposals aimed at facilitating the removal of poor-performing federal employees and streamlining collective bargaining procedures. Union groups, including the American Federation of Government Employees, the National Treasury Employees Union, and 13 smaller unions, filed suit to prevent the orders from taking effect.
 
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued an injunction in August 2018 blocking Trump administration officials from implementing nine provisions of the executive orders that she claimed unlawfully restricted the use of union official time. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed Jackson’s ruling in July, holding that the lower court did not have jurisdiction and that the plaintiffs should have brought their case before the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) as required by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (FSLMRS).
 
The plaintiffs requested a rehearing en banc before the full D.C. Circuit in August, but the court denied the request on September 25 without providing a rationale for its decision. The court lifted the injunction one week later.
 
Additional reading:


D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds net neutrality repeal while striking down preemption of state and local regulations

In an opinion delivered on October 1, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the FCC’s 2018 net neutrality repeal but struck down the agency’s preemption of state and local net neutrality regulations. The court also directed the agency to consider how the repeal would affect public safety, broadband subsidies, and the regulation of cable pole attachments.
 
The case arose when attorneys general from 22 states and the District of Columbia filed a brief with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on August 20, 2018, asking the court to reinstate the Obama administration’s net neutrality regulations. In the brief, the attorneys general said the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality would harm consumers, public safety, and existing regulations. They also claimed the FCC was not authorized to preempt state and local laws.
 
During the 2019 legislative session, 29 states introduced net neutrality legislation, but the measures failed in four states. Despite the FCC’s preemption, six states—California, Colorado, Maine, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington—have passed legislation relating to net neutrality. Further, the governors of six states—Montana, New York, Hawaii, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont—issued executive orders requiring internet service providers that do business with the state to comply with net neutrality rules.
 
This case is one of at least 47 multistate lawsuits that have been filed against the federal government since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.
 


Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: September 28-October 4, 2019

Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News BriefingEvery weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the events that matter in the 2020 presidential election.

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.

Candidates by the Number

Number of registered presidential candidates by party, 2019-2020 

There are four new candidates running since last week, including one Democrat. In total, 880 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quotes of the Week

“By now, the New Hampshire primary is usually all but decided. But for the first time in recent memory, there’s no clear frontrunner among the top Democratic candidates as they enter the final stretch before February — intensifying the pressure they face to avoid a distant second or third-place finish that could sink their campaigns. It’s been years since New Hampshire had a Democratic primary this close, this late in the election cycle. At this point in the 2008 cycle, Hillary Clinton had a 20-point lead over Barack Obama. At this point in the 2016 race, Sen. Bernie Sanders had a double-digit lead over Clinton, and he went on to win the state by 22 points.”

– Daniel Bush, PBS NewsHour digital politics editor

“Why have four of the last five incumbent presidents won reelection? There are a lot of reasons, but a big one is that the structure of the primary calendar, the rules for campaign spending, and party unified behind the president give the party in power an enormous structural advantage. In 1996 and 2012, incumbent presidents had enormous resources to run ads in swing states defining the Republican nominee, when the GOP nominee had used all his money to win the primary and did not have any cash to return fire. The Clinton and Obama campaigns, along with help from their friends the media, defined the image of Bob Dole and Mitt Romney before the contest really started. In 2004, the Bush campaign ran similar advertising against John Kerry in swing states.”

– Jim GeraghtyNational Review

Week in Review

What we know so far about Q3 fundraising

Monday was the final day for fundraising in the third quarter, and financial reports are due to the Federal Election Commission by Oct. 15.

Several candidates have already self-reported their fundraising. Here’s how they stack up so far:

Steve Bullock has not yet announced his Q3 figure, but he is expected to be the first candidate to apply for public financing for his campaign.

Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee together raised $125 million in the third quarter of 2019. For comparison, Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee raised $70 million in the third quarter of 2011.

12 Democrats qualify for record-breaking October presidential debate

Twelve Democratic candidates qualified for the fourth Democratic primary debate on Oct. 15, 2019:

While the first two Democratic debates were held over two nights so that no more than 10 candidates were on stage at one time, the October debate will take place on one day. 

With 12 candidates participating, it will be the most candidates on stage in a single presidential primary debate. Republicans held the previous record with 11 candidates on stage during the September 2015 debate.

Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, will host the event. Erin Burnett, Anderson Cooper, and Marc Lacey are set to moderate.

Trump launches $8 million ad campaign on impeachment and Ukraine

The Donald Trump campaign announced an $8 million ad campaign focused on the impeachment inquiry. The ad buy includes $1 million spent on an ad targeting corruption allegations in Ukraine against Joe Biden.

CNN rejected two of three new ads submitted by the Trump campaign, citing fact issues and disparagement of CNN employees. The one ad it accepted, “Changing Things,” presents Trump’s policy on trade, immigration, and jobs.

“It is unusual but not unprecedented for television networks to reject a political advertisement from a presidential candidate. On the eve of last year’s midterm elections, major channels, including Fox News, removed a commercial from Mr. Trump’s political team that portrayed immigrants as a violent threat,” according to The New York Times.

Biden also launched a major ad campaign this week, spending $6 million on ads that will appear on YouTube, Hulu, and other streaming services, and broadcast television in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.

Sanders temporarily leaves the campaign trail following medical procedure

Bernie Sanders canceled campaign events this week and postponed his first television ad launch in Iowa after undergoing a heart procedure for a blocked artery Wednesday.

He will be discharged from the hospital before the end of the weekend, according to a statement from his wife, Jane Sanders. He is expected to participate in the October presidential debate.

2020 Dems assemble in California, South Carolina, and Nevada for events this week

Joe BidenCory BookerPete ButtigiegJulián CastroKamala HarrisAmy Klobuchar,  Beto O’Rourke, and Elizabeth Warren will speak at the Unions for All Summit in Los Angeles Friday and Saturday.

Michael BennetSteve BullockJohn DelaneyTulsi GabbardHarrisTom Steyer, and Andrew Yang are confirmed to attend the Blue Jamboree in South Carolina Saturday.

Earlier this week, BidenBookerButtigiegCastroHarrisKlobucharO’RourkeWarren, and Yang participated in the 2020 Gun Safety Forum hosted by Giffords, March for Our Lives, and MSNBC in Nevada.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Resource Spotlight

The Archive of Political Emails was founded in July 2019 to compile political fundraising and advocacy emails sent by candidates, elected officials, PACs, nonprofits, NGOs, and other political actors.

Web developer Chris Herbert said in an interview with Ballotpedia that the project could fill a gap in the public record.

“The dream is for it to be something like the Wayback Machine for political emails,” Herbert said. “Ideally, it would be something that is around for years or decades so that people can look back and say, ‘This is someone’s first congressional campaign and now they’re running for president.’ It’s a glimpse into how they communicated long ago.”

Presidential email campaigns present a unique technical challenge to capture, however. 

Herbert explained, “These campaigns are very sophisticated and they are going to segment their list down to the point where someone in a different zip code is going to potentially get a different message than someone in another zip code, or someone who has donated vs. someone who hasn’t donated, or someone who is male vs. female. There are a lot of ways they are segmenting their lists, so this is a narrow window into what they are sending out.”

To learn more about the Archive and view screenshots and searchable text from emails sent by 2020 presidential candidates, click here.

Facebook SpendingDaily Presidential News Briefing - Facebook Spending (September 23-29, 2019)

Poll Spotlight

Daily Presidential News Briefing - Poll One (September 25-29, 2019)

Daily Presidential News Briefing - Poll Two (September 22-26, 2019)

Staff Spotlight

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

Daily Presidential News Briefing - Staffer Spotlight - Randy Jones

Randy Jones is a Democratic staffer with experience campaigning in West Virginia. Before joining the Yang campaign, Jones worked with the People’s House Project, which describes itself as “dedicated to recruiting and supporting working-class candidates who are at home in the places Progressives need to reclaim.” Jones graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in political science and government in 2015.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2018 Richard Ojeda (D-W.V.) U.S. House campaign, political director and campaign manager
  • 2010 Mike Oliverio (D-W.V.) U.S. House campaign, Eastern District assistant director

Other experience:

  • 2019: People’s House Project, political director
  • 2017: Virtual Global, Inc., strategic partnership manager
  • 2011-2016: Strategic Health Resources, LLC, senior government relations associate
  • 2015: AmeriCorps, West Virginia University Center for Service & Learning

What he says about Yang: “Clearly the candidate, the teams message and our strategy are working very well and we are proud of it.”

What We’re Reading

Flashback: September 30-October 4, 2015

  • September 30, 2015: CNBC announced its criteria for participation in the third Republican presidential primary debate: reach an average of 2.5 percent in national polls from a select group of organizations to make the main stage or reach 1 percent in any of those polls to make the undercard debate.
     
  • October 1, 2015: Lawrence Lessig wrote an op-ed in Politico Magazine saying the Democratic Party was discouraging his campaign
     
  • October 2, 2015: Former President George W. Bush attended a fundraiser for his brother, Jeb Bush.
     
  • October 3, 2015: The National Education Association, which has 3 million members, endorsed Hillary Clinton.
     
  • October 4, 2015: Donald Trump discussed his tax proposal, gun regulation, and government cuts in an interview on ABC’s The Week.

Trivia

Which state was the first to pass a law calling for presidential primaries?

  1. Michigan→
  2. Wyoming→
  3. Massachusetts→
  4. Florida→


Biden raises more than $15M in Q3, down from $22M in Q2

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

October 4, 2019: Joe Biden raised $15.2 million in the third quarter of 2019. CNN will not air two ads submitted by the Donald Trump campaign.

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing - Staffer SpotlightBallotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing - Staffer Spotlight - Randy Jones

Randy Jones is a Democratic staffer with experience campaigning in West Virginia. Before joining the Yang campaign, Jones worked with the People’s House Project, which describes itself as “dedicated to recruiting and supporting working-class candidates who are at home in the places Progressives need to reclaim.” Jones graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in political science and government in 2015.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2018 Richard Ojeda (D-W.V.) U.S. House campaign, political director and campaign manager
  • 2010 Mike Oliverio (D-W.V.) U.S. House campaign, Eastern District assistant director

Other experience:

  • 2019: People’s House Project, political director
  • 2017: Virtual Global, Inc., strategic partnership manager
  • 2011-2016: Strategic Health Resources, LLC, senior government relations associate
  • 2015: AmeriCorps, West Virginia University Center for Service & Learning

What he says about Yang:
“Clearly the candidate, the teams message and our strategy are working very well and we are proud of it.”

Notable Quote of the Day

“This isn’t just about Biden’s age—it’s about ours, and the tension between a vast cohort of Baby Boomers who have trained themselves to believe they’re only as old as they feel and a couple of impatient generations lined up behind them, wondering when they’re going to get a chance to take over. And yet it’s about far more than simply a number next to a name. Our sense of who is old in this primary has become entwined with our appetite for bold and new ideas. All three of the top-polling Democrats, after all, are in their 70s, but it’s Biden, the centrist who advocates for a return to a pre-Trump time, who is getting dinged the most for his advanced age—not Elizabeth Warren, who wants ‘big, structural change’ and turned 70 in June. Up until this week when he had to have two heart stents implanted, neither was Bernie Sanders, who continues to call for his ‘revolution’ and is in fact the oldest of the lot.”

– Michael Kruse, Politico senior staff writer

Democrats

Republicans

  • In an interview on Foresight 2020Mark Sanford discussed his presidential campaign Thursday. 

  • CNN rejected two of three ads submitted by the Donald Trump campaign, citing fact issues and disparagement of CNN employees. The one ad it accepted, “Changing Things,” was released Thursday. 

  • Joe Walsh sent an open letter to U.S. House Republicans Thursday calling on them to support the impeachment inquiry.

Flashback: October 4, 2015

Donald Trump discussed his tax proposal, gun regulation, and government cuts in an interview on ABC’s The Week.



Jim Strickland wins re-election as mayor of Memphis

Incumbent Jim Strickland defeated former Mayor Willie Herenton, Shelby County Commissioner Tamara Sawyer, and nine other candidates to win election to a second four-year term as mayor of Memphis, Tennessee, October 3. As of 9:00 p.m. Central Time, Strickland had received 63% of the vote to Herenton’s 29% and Sawyer’s 6% with 52% of precincts reporting.
 
Strickland was first elected in 2015, defeating incumbent A.C. Wharton with 41.3% of the vote. He said he was running to continue his first term policies, which he said included expanding the city’s police force and school system while maintaining a balanced budget and avoiding tax increases.
 
Herenton, who was first elected mayor in 1991 and won re-election to four subsequent terms before resigning in 2009, said that his plan to combat poverty had fallen off track after he left office. He said that he would prioritize reducing poverty using his experience from his previous term as mayor.
 
Sawyer was first elected to the county commission in 2018. She said that in recent years city leaders had emphasized the needs of businesses over residents and had not addressed Memphis’ long-term challenges. Sawyer pointed to her city council campaign as well as her experience with a movement calling for the removal of statues associated with the Confederacy as evidence that she could make policy.
 
Although the election was officially nonpartisan, Strickland, Herenton, and Sawyer are all members of the Democratic Party.
 


Trump has appointed third-most federal judges through October 1 of a president’s third year

Donald Trump has appointed and the Senate confirmed 152 Article III federal judges through October 1, 2019, his third year in office. This is the third-most Article III judicial appointments through this point in a presidency of all presidents dating back to Theodore Roosevelt. Only Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, with 166 and 160 judicial appointments, respectively, had more.
 
The average number of federal judges appointed by a president through October 1 of their third year in office is 86.5.
 
The median number of Supreme Court justices appointed is two. William Taft’s (R) five appointments were the most among this set. Presidents Franklin Roosevelt (D), Jimmy Carter (D), and George W. Bush (R) did not appoint any justices through October 1 of their third years in office. Trump has appointed 2 justices so far.
 
The median number of United States Court of Appeals appointees is 18. Trump appointed the most with 43, and Presidents Theodore Roosevelt (R) and Woodrow Wilson (D) appointed the fewest with five each. Trump’s 43 appointments make up 24 percent of the total 179 judgeships across the courts of appeal.
 
The median number of United States District Court appointees is 58. Clinton appointed the most with 135, and T. Roosevelt appointed the fewest with 10. Trump has appointed 105 district court judges so far. Those appointments make up 16 percent of the 677 judgeships across the district courts.
 
Article III federal judges are appointed for life terms by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate per Article III of the United States Constitution. Article III judges include judges on the: Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. courts of appeal, U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade.
 


With fewer uncontested state legislative races in Louisiana this year, will more races proceed to a general election?

All 39 seats in the Louisiana State Senate and all 105 seats in the Louisiana House of Representatives are up for election in 2019, the first elections since 2015. Each year, due to the state’s unique election system, some races are decided in the primary election and never proceed to a general election.
 
All candidates compete in one primary election, which a candidate may win outright by receiving a majority of the votes cast. If no candidate wins the primary outright, the top two finishers advance to a general election to decide the winner.
 
In the Senate, 14 elections were decided in the primary in 2015 and 15 were decided in the primary in 2011. In both years, four races were decided in a general election.
 
In the House in 2015, 37 races were decided in the primary election and 15 in the general election. In 2011, 41 races were decided in the primary election and 21 in the general election.
 
This year, there are fewer uncontested races (11 Senate and 39 House) than in the last two election cycles. In 2015, 21 Senate and 53 House races had only one candidate. In 2011, 20 Senate and 43 House races had only one candidate.
 
Republicans currently hold a 25-14 majority in the Senate and a 60-39 majority in the House (there are 5 independents and a vacancy). Democrat John Bel Edwards is the current governor, so the state has divided government rather than a state government trifecta.
 
The state legislative elections coincide with the gubernatorial election, with primary elections taking place on October 12 and general elections taking place on November 16.
 
Additional reading:


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