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Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: December 2, 2020

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced the state’s risk tiers had been updated to include 25 counties at Extreme Risk, five at High Risk, two at Moderate Risk, and four at Lower Risk, effective Dec. 3-27. Brown also released a proposed state budget for 2021-2023 that projects $25.9 billion in General & Lottery Funds revenue and $25.6 billion in spending.

Since our last edition

What is open in each state? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here.

  • Florida (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, Dec. 2, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced the U.S. Department of Labor had awarded the state a $28 million Disaster Recovery Dislocated Worker grant to support Floridians impacted by the pandemic. 
  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Starting Dec. 2, all intercounty and out-of-state travelers arriving in Kaua‘i have to self-quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether they submit a negative test result. 
  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, Dec. 2, Gov. Eric Holcomb issued an executive order extending the public health emergency related to the coronavirus through the end of December. 
  • Mississippi (Republican trifecta): Gov. Tate Reeves added 13 counties to the state’s mask mandate, bringing the total number of counties with face-covering requirements to 54. 
  • New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): The state is reopening from its Nov. 16-30 reset under a phased, county-by-county plan starting Dec. 2. At the time of the framework’s announcement, 32 of the state’s 33 counties were in the red phase, which prohibits indoor dining, limits gatherings to five people, and limits religious services to 25% capacity.


Ballot Bulletin: Thirty-seven states, D.C. certify their election results

Ballot Bulletin by Ballotpedia

As of Dec. 2, 37 states and the District of Columbia have certified their election results. What does this mean, and how does it relate to the finalization of the presidential election? We tackle those questions in this week’s edition. 

What it means for election results to be certified 

The election results states and localities report after polls close on Election Day are preliminary returns. These initial counts are not the official results of the election. First, election officials at the local and state levels must canvass the returns to verify that each ballot cast in the election has been correctly counted. When the canvass is completed, officials must certify, or make official, the results of the election. 

Canvassing and certification are interrelated processes, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. We are focusing on the certification process specifically. 

States that have certified their results

To date, 37 states and the District of Columbia have certified their election results. These states are shaded blue on the map below.

These states have a total of 316 Electoral College electors, 148 of whom are pledged to President-elect Joe Biden (D). The remainder (168) are pledged to President Donald Trump (R).

What comes next? 

The following states will certify their results in the next two weeks. Certification deadlines, where available, are provided (as are Electoral College votes and projected winners):  

  • California: Dec. 11 (55; Biden)
  • Connecticut: Dec. 3 (7; Biden)
  • Hawaii: Not specified (4; Biden)
  • Illinois: Dec. 4 (20; Biden)
  • Maryland: Dec. 8 (10; Biden)
  • Missouri: Dec. 8 (10; Trump)
  • New Jersey: Dec. 8 (14; Biden)
  • New York: Dec. 7 (29; Biden)
  • Oregon: Dec. 3 (7; Biden)
  • Tennessee: Not specified (11; Trump)
  • Texas: Dec. 3 (38; Trump)
  • Washington:Dec. 3 (12; Biden)
  • West Virginia: Dec. 3 (5; Trump)

Federal law requires states to appoint their slates of Electoral College electors and settle any disputes related to the presidential election by Dec. 8. This is referred to as the safe-harbor provision

The 538 members of the Electoral College will meet in their respective state capitals on Dec. 14 to cast their votes. On Jan. 6, 2021, the newly elected Congress convenes in a joint session to count the electoral votes. 

Members of Congress can object to the results. If both a House and Senate member make a written objection to a state’s results, Congress will debate and vote on the objection’s merit. Electoral votes can be excluded only if both chambers vote to accept the objection. If a ticket receives 270 electoral votes(a majority of the 538 members of the Electoral College)the vice president (acting as Senate president) formally declares that individual winner of the election. 

For more information about these key dates and deadlines, see this article


Litigation update: Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Boockvar


On Nov. 27, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit unanimously declined to postpone certification of the state’s election results, rejecting the Trump campaign’s claims of widespread voting irregularities.

What’s at issue, and how the lower court ruled 

On Nov. 9, the Trump campaign sued Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar (D) and several county-level officials, alleging multiple violations of the state election code and the U.S. Constitution. In their complaint, attorneys for the campaign said:

Plaintiffs seek an emergency order prohibiting Defendants from certifying the results of the General Election. In the alternative, Plaintiffs seek an emergency order prohibiting Defendants from certifying any results from the General Election that included the tabulation of absentee and mail-in ballots which do not comply with the Election Code, including, without limitation, the tabulation of absentee and mail-in ballots Trump Campaign’s watchers were prevented from observing or based on the tabulation of invalidly cast absentee and mail-in ballots which (i) lack a secrecy envelope, or contain on that envelope any text, mark, or symbol which reveals the elector’s identity, political affiliation, or candidate preference, (ii) do not include on the outside envelope a completed declaration that is dated and signed by the elector, or (iii) are delivered in-person by third parties for non-disabled voters. Lastly and in addition to the alternative requests for relief, Plaintiffs seek a permanent injunction requiring the County Election Boards to invalidate ballots cast by voters who were notified and given an opportunity to cure their invalidly cast mail-in ballot.

U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann heard oral arguments on Nov. 17. On Nov. 21, Brann dismissed the lawsuit, finding that the Trump campaign had presented “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence.”

On Nov. 22, the Trump campaign appealed Brann’s decision to the Third Circuit, asking that the court postpone the certification of election results pending further court proceedings. The Third Circuit set an expedited schedule for considering the appeal.

How the court ruled 

On Nov. 27, a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit unanimously denied the Trump campaign’s request. Judge Stephanos Bibas (a Trump appointee) wrote for the court:

The campaign’s claims have no merit. The number of ballots it specifically challenges is far smaller than the roughly 81,000-vote margin of victory. And it never claims fraud or that any votes were cast by illegal voters. Plus, tossing out millions of mail-in ballots would be drastic and unprecedented, disenfranchising a huge swath of the electorate and upsetting all down-ballot races too. That remedy would be grossly disproportionate to the procedural challenges raised. So we deny the motion for an injunction pending appeal.

Judges Brooks Smith and Michael Chagares, both George W. Bush (R) appointees,  joined Bibas’ opinion. 

What comes next? 
Attorneys for the Trump campaign said they intended to appeal the Third Circuit’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. A formal filing had not been made as of Dec. 2.



The Runoff Report: Loeffler, Warnock Dec. 6 debate details

Republicans have secured 50 seats in the next U.S. Senate compared to Democrats’ 48 (including two independents who caucus with them). Control of the next Senate comes down to Georgia’s runoff elections. In The Runoff Report, we provide the latest on each race and the fight for Senate control.

Regular election updates

David Perdue released an ad Tuesday saying an Ossoff win would mean “illegal immigrants, voting; police, defunded; taxes, sky high; our proud military, gutted; your private health insurance, taken away; small business, out of business; the Supreme Court, packed.” Perdue closes: “If we win Georgia, we save America.”

Jon Ossoff‘s campaign launched TikTok and Snapchat accounts Tuesday to share policy positions, voting information, and videos of Ossoff on the campaign trail. Ossoff said in a TikTok video, “The future of our country and the planet are at stake. COVID relief, healthcare, climate change. So register to vote by December 7th.”

This election is for a full six-year term ending January 2027. Perdue was first elected in 2014. Ossoff ran against Karen Handel (R) in the 6th Congressional District special election in 2017.

Click here for more coverage of the regular election.

Special election updates

The Atlanta Press Club has released details about the Dec. 6 debate between Kelly Loeffler and Raphael Warnock—the only debate scheduled in the special election runoff. 

WAGA-TV/Fox5 Anchor Russ Spencer will moderate the event. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Greg Bluestein and WABE Radio Morning Edition host Lisa Rayam will serve as panelists. 

The debate begins at 7 p.m. You can watch it on GPB-TV, GPB.org, or on The Atlanta Press Club Facebook page.

Ossoff and Perdue were invited to debate as well. Ossoff accepted and Perdue declined. Currently, the debate is set to proceed at 5 p.m. with just Ossoff present.

The special election will fill the remainder of the term Johnny Isakson (R) won in 2016. He resigned in Dec. 2019, and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Loeffler, co-owner of the WNBA team Atlanta Dream. Warnock is senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church. The winner will complete the term ending in January 2023. 

Click here for more coverage of the special election.

Overall campaign updates

Gabriel Sterling, voting system implementation manager with the Georgia Secretary of State office, called on President Donald Trump, Perdue, and Loeffler to condemn threats of violence to election officials. Trump has alleged election fraud in Georgia. Loeffler and Perdue have called on Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to step down. Sterling said the following Tuesday: 

Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language. Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions. This has to stop. We need you to step up. If you’re going to take a position of leadership, show some.

My boss, Secretary Raffensperger, his address is out there. They’ve had people doing caravans in front of their house. They’ve had people come onto their property. Tricia, his wife of 40 years, is getting sexualized threats through her cell phone. It has to stop.

This is elections. This is the backbone of democracy. And all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this.

Stephen Lawson, Loeffler campaign spokesperson, said the following:

Like many officials, as someone who has been the subject of threats, of course Senator Loeffler condemns violence of any kind. How ridiculous to even suggest otherwise. We also condemn inaction and lack of accountability in our election system process—and won’t apologize for calling it out. Senator Loeffler will continue fighting to ensure we have a fair, trusted, and accurate election because the future of our country is at stake.

Casey Black, Perdue campaign spokesperson, said the following:

Senator Perdue condemns violence of any kind, against anybody. Period. We won’t apologize for addressing the obvious issues with the way our state conducts its elections. Georgians deserve accountability and improvements to that process — and we’re fighting to make sure the January 5th election is safe, secure, transparent, and accurate.

  • The Asian American Advocacy Fund PAC is hosting a text-banking event Thursday aimed at turning out Asian American and Pacific Islander voters for Ossoff and Warnock.

Today: Key dates and FAQs for voters

Key dates:

  • Registration deadline: Dec. 7
  • Early voting starts: Dec. 14
  • Absentee/mail voting deadline: Must be received by 7 p.m. on Jan. 5 

FAQs:

Can I vote in the runoff if I didn’t vote in the general election?

  • Yes.

Can I still register to vote?

  • Yes. The deadline is Dec. 7.

Can I register online?

Can I vote early?

  • Yes. Early in-person voting begins Dec. 14. Find early voting locations here.

Can I vote by mail?

  • Yes. Most Georgia voters who want to vote by mail must request an absentee ballot. Click here for information on submitting a request online, by mail, by fax, or in person. 

Can I vote in both races?

  • Yes.

Do I have to vote in both races?

  • No. Voters have a right to undervote, or not cast a vote for an office on their ballot. Their votes for other offices are still counted.

Do I have to vote for candidates from the same party in both races?

  • No. Voters can vote for any candidate in either Senate race, as well as the Public Service Commission District 4 runoff race, regardless of who they vote for in the other races.

Invitation to Georgia readers

We’d love it if you emailed us pictures of mailers from the Senate runoff campaigns to editor@ballotpedia.org.



How did political parties perform in races where the same candidates ran in 2018 and 2020?

In the 2020 general election, 402 elections in Ballotpedia’s coverage scope were rematches between the same candidates who ran for office in 2018. These rematches represented about 4.2% of all general election races in Ballotpedia’s coverage scope.

Rematch elections in 2020 included:

  • 56 races for the U.S. House.
  • One state executive race.
  • 342 state legislative races.
  • Three local races in our coverage scope.

Results in 26 rematch races (three U.S. House races and 23 state legislative races) were unavailable as of December 1.

Of the called races in 2020, Republicans won 229 (about 57%) to Democrats’ 146 (about 36%) and third-party and nonpartisan candidates’ two (about 0.5%). 

In 2018, Republicans won 222 (about 55%) of the 2020 rematch districts, while Democrats won 175 (about 44%), and third-party or nonpartisan candidates won two (about 0.5%).

In 2020, 87 rematches (about 22%) were decided by a margin of 10 percentage points or fewer. In 2018, 130 (about 32%) of the same races were decided by a margin of 10 percentage points or fewer.



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: December 1, 2020

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Starting Dec. 2, all intercounty and out-of-state travelers arriving in Kaua‘i will have to self-quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether they can submit a negative test result. 
  • New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced the state will begin reopening from its Nov. 16-30 reset under a phased, county-by-county plan starting Dec. 2. At the time of the announcement, 32 of the state’s 33 counties were in the red phase, which prohibits indoor dining, limits gatherings to five people, and limits religious services to 25% capacity.

Since our last edition

What is open in each state? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here.

  • Georgia (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, Dec. 1, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) extended the state of emergency through January 8, 2021, and waived restrictions to allow nurses and pharmacists to administer COVID-19 vaccines.  
  • Nebraska (Republican trifecta): On Monday, Nov. 30, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) extended the state’s coronavirus restrictions, including mask and social distancing requirements in certain businesses, through December. 
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced all high-school and youth sports will be banned starting Dec. 5 through at least Jan. 2. Starting Dec. 7, outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25 people.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced the state is adding hospital capacity to its color-coded zone mitigation system. Cuomo said he will reimplement PAUSE restrictions if hospital capacity is overwhelmed.  
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): On Nov. 30, Health Secretary Rachel Levine announced people as young as 13 years old can now use the state’s exposure notification app with parental permission.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced the state is allocating $50 million in federal funding to help replace lost business revenue resulting from the state’s pause. Businesses can apply to receive up to $50,000, depending on their estimated lost revenue. Raimondo said an additional $50 million from the federal government will go to unemployment checks. Residents on unemployment will receive an additional $200 for every week the state stays under Rhode Island on Pause restrictions. 
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): On Monday, Nov. 30, Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced he had asked hospitals to reevaluate the surge plans they created as part of the state’s reopening plan and consider reducing the number of elective surgeries being performed. 

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 1,263 lawsuits, in all 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 386 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since Nov 24, we have added one lawsuit to our database. We have tracked no additional court orders and/or settlements. 

Noteworthy lawsuit:

  • Russo v. University of Delaware: On Nov. 18, a former student sued the University of Delaware, seeking partial tuition reimbursement for campus closures related to COVID-19. In her complaint, filed in the Superior Court of Delaware, Hannah Russo alleges she and her fellow classmates are entitled to refunds on a pro-rata basis for the spring 2020 term. Russo’s attorneys allege the university’s cancellation of “in-person classes and changing all classes to an online/remote format, closing most campus buildings, and requiring all students who could leave campus to do so” constituted a breach of contract. Neither party has commented on the suit to the press. The case is currently assigned to Judge Paul R. Wallace.

State mask requirements

We last looked at face coverings in the Nov. 24 edition of the newsletter. Since then, no new states have adopted a statewide public mask mandate or let a face-covering requirement expire.

Travel restrictions

    Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Since the start of the pandemic, governors or state agencies in 26 states issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 14 of those orders have been rescinded.
    • Since Nov. 24, two states have modified their travel restrictions. 

Details:

  • New Jersey – On Nov. 25, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced he was replacing the state’s travel advisory list with a general request that all travelers from outside of New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware self-quarantine for 14 days. 
  • Hawaii – On Nov. 27, Gov. David Ige (D) announced he had approved a request from Kaua’i Mayor Derek Kawakami to require all out-of-state and inter-island travelers to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, even if they have had a negative COVID-19 test. 

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • Federal
    • One federal official has died of COVID-19.
    • Forty-three members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty-one federal officials have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Four state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • One hundred thirty-seven state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Eighty-three state-level incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least three local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 30 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since Nov. 24, three U.S. representatives, one representative-elect, five state representatives, one state senator, one state senator-elect, two governors, two mayors, and one city councilmember tested positive for COVID-19. One U.S. representative entered a self-quarantine. 

Details:

  • On Nov. 24, Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 23, Pennsylvania state Rep. Doyle Heffley (R) announced on Facebook he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 24, Michigan state Rep. Kyra Bolden (D) announced she had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 25, Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 25, Arizona state Rep. Andres Cano (D) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 25, Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nev.) announced she had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 25, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) announced he would self-quarantine after his wife tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 25, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 27, Arizona state Rep. Arlando Teller (D) was admitted to the hospital because of complications related to COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 27, Representative-elect Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 27, Las Vegas City Councilmember Victoria Seaman announced she tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 28, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced that he and his husband had tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 28, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett (D) announced he tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 29, Illinois state Rep. Chris Welch (D) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 29, Maine state Senator-elect Richard Bennett (R) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 30, Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 30, Mayor of Miami-Dade County Daniella Levine Cava announced she had tested positive for COVID-19.



The Runoff Report : Democrats announce GA coordinated runoff campaign leadership, strategy

December 1, 2020

Republicans have secured 50 seats in the next U.S. Senate compared to Democrats’ 48 (including two independents who caucus with them). Control of the next Senate comes down to Georgia’s runoff elections. In The Runoff Report, we provide the latest on each race and the fight for Senate control.

Regular election updates

David Perdue posted an ad Monday defending himself against Jon Ossoff’s criticisms of Perdue’s stock trades. A narrator says the Senate Ethics Committee cleared Perdue and that he was not at a Senate briefing on the coronavirus. 

Jon Ossoff kicked off a series of door-knocking events in several cities Tuesday. He also released an ad featuring audio of former President Barack Obama saying Ossoff would fight for voting rights and listen to experts to help get the pandemic under control.

This election is for a full six-year term ending January 2027. Perdue was first elected in 2014. Ossoff ran against Karen Handel (R) in the 6th Congressional District special election in 2017.

Click here for more coverage of the regular election.

Special election updates

Kelly Loeffler campaigned in Atlanta with Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) Monday.

Raphael Warnock‘s campaign is holding a fundraiser hosted by 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Lisa Borders, former president of the WNBA and Atlanta City Council, Tuesday. Warnock posted an ad Monday saying the value of “love your neighbor as yourself” has been forgotten in Washington and that he would be the voice of ignored communities in the Senate.  

The special election will fill the remainder of the term Johnny Isakson (R) won in 2016. He resigned in Dec. 2019, and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Loeffler, co-owner of the WNBA team Atlanta Dream. Warnock is senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church. The winner will complete the term ending in January 2023. 

Click here for more coverage of the special election.

Overall campaign updates

  • The Georgia Democratic Party, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Ossoff and Warnock campaigns announced the coordinated runoff campaign’s leadership team. The coordinated campaign is focusing on voter targeting and outreach. The leadership team includes director Jonae Wartel, who ran the early vote program for Stacey Abrams’ 2018 gubernatorial bid and was chief program officer for an initiative training organizers for the 2020 presidential election in battleground states.

The announcement says the coordinated campaign voter outreach and targeting program includes:

  • in-person paid and volunteer door-to-door canvassing that will observe all necessary public health and safety protocols;
  • outreach, engagement and mobilization of key constituencies- specifically black, LatinX, AAPI, and young voters – including those who turned 18 after the November 3rd election and are now eligible to vote in the runoffs;
  • a digital organizing program that uses the sophisticated targeting tools that helped President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris flip the state for the first time in decades; and
  • a multi-channel voter contact and turnout program geared towards educating voters about the unique January 5th runoff election, including the voter registration deadline and in-person early vote dates. This program is targeting voters in the mail, with live phone calls, texts and online.
  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) published an op-ed in the Washington Examiner supporting Loeffler and Perdue. It read, in part:

As a Republican governor in a deep-blue state, I know firsthand how one-party monopoly can wreak terrible consequences. 

Although Joe Biden won the White House, Republicans added a governorship in Montana, far exceeded expectations in Senate races, gained seats in the House and in state legislatures. The result was a mandate for moderation and compromise — not for more gridlock, extremism, and dysfunction. 

… 

For the sake of our nation, I urge Georgians to uphold America’s mandate for moderation and compromise by voting to keep David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the U.S. Senate.

Today: Influencer spotlight – Ossoff-Warnock joint fundraising committees

Ossoff and Warnock have two joint fundraising committees. The Ossoff-Warnock Victory Fund includes the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). The Georgia Senate Victory Fund includes the Georgia Federal Elections Committee.

On Nov. 17, Stacey Abrams was the special guest at a virtual fundraiser for Ossoff and Warnock, the proceeds of which went to the Georgia Senate Victory Fund. Tickets ranged from $54 to $15,600.

The Ossoff-Warnock Victory Fund filed its statement of organization Oct. 14. Treasurer Laura Matthews is deputy national finance director at the DSCC.

The Georgia Senate Victory Fund filed an initial statement of organization including the Ossoff and Warnock campaigns July 11. It filed another statement of organization Nov. 5 adding the Georgia Federal Elections Committee. Treasurer Judith Zamore was chief financial officer for Cory Booker’s 2020 presidential campaign.

See yesterday’s Runoff Report for our spotlight on the Senate Georgia Battleground Fund—the joint fundraising committee between Loeffler, Perdue, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.



Federal Register weekly update: More than 3,000 final rules published so far in 2020

Banner with the words "The Administrative State Project"

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity.

From November 23 to November 27, the Federal Register grew by 1,824 pages for a year-to-date total of 76,418 pages. Over the same period in 2019 and 2018, the Federal Register reached 65,906 pages and 62,240 pages, respectively. As of November 27, the 2020 total led the 2019 total by 10,512 pages and the 2018 total by 14,178 pages. 

The Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.

Last week’s Federal Register featured the following 516 documents:

• 406 notices

• two presidential documents

• 35 proposed rules

• 73 final rules

One proposed rule concerning critical habitat designation for threatened Caribbean corals was deemed significant under E.O. 12866—defined by the potential to have large impacts on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules. The Trump administration in 2020 has issued 32 significant proposed rules, 65 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of November 27.

Not all rules issued by the Trump administration are regulatory actions. Some rules are deregulatory actions pursuant to President Trump’s (R) Executive Order 13771, which requires federal agencies to eliminate two old significant regulations for each new significant regulation issued.

Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.

Additional reading:

  • Click here to find more information about weekly additions to the Federal Register in 2019, 2018, and 2017.
  • Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2018.


Winners certified in Arizona Senate and Iowa’s 2nd, legal challenges developing in New York’s 22nd

Image of several stickers with the words "I voted"

A total of 470 seats in the U.S. Congress (35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats) were up for election on November 3, 2020, including two special elections for U.S. Senate. Below are recent developments in four battleground races—one for U.S. Senate and three for the U.S. House.

U.S. Senate special election in Arizona: The state of Arizona certified Mark Kelly’s (D) win over Sen. Martha McSally (R) on Nov. 30. Because this is a special election, the winner may be sworn in once the state certifies results. Kelly’s campaign announced that his swearing-in would take place at noon on December 2nd. He will fill the rest of the 2017-2022 term former Sen. John McCain (R) won in 2016.

California’s 21st Congressional District: On Nov. 27, the Associated Press projected that David Valadao (R) defeated incumbent TJ Cox (D). Unofficial results showed Valadao ahead by 1,754 votes. Valadao declared victory in the race on November 25, while Cox had not conceded as of November 30. The legal deadline for results certification in the district is December 3rd. 

Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District: On Nov. 28, Iowa completed a recount in the race between Rita Hart (D) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R). Hart requested a full recount on Nov. 13 when unofficial results showed Miller-Meeks leading by 47 votes. Following the recount, Miller-Meeks reportedly led by six votes out of more than 394,400 cast, making it the closest congressional race in the district since at least 1920. A state canvassing board was set to meet on Nov. 30 to certify the results.

New York’s 22nd Congressional District: The result in the race between incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D) and Claudia Tenney remains too close to call. Brindisi held an apparent 12-vote lead before the Thanksgiving holiday. On Nov. 30, Tenney’s campaign said correction of an error in Herkimer County gave her a 13-vote lead. There are more than 2,000 outstanding disputed absentee or affidavit ballots, and the state Supreme Court is expected to rule on their fate.

Additional reading:



Chief justice confirmed to Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Image of the John Adams Courthouse in Massachusetts

On November 18, 2020, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Kimberly Budd was confirmed as the chief justice of the court. Budd was nominated to the position by Gov. Charlie Baker (R) on October 28, 2020. She succeeded former Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, who passed away on September 14, 2020. Budd may serve as the chief justice of the court until she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Budd was first nominated to the supreme court by Gov. Baker on June 14, 2016, and confirmed by the Governor’s Council on August 10, 2016. She succeeded Justice Fernande Duffly after Duffly’s July 2016 retirement.

Budd was previously a superior court associate justice in Massachusetts. She was nominated to the superior court by Gov. Deval Patrick (D) in July 2009 and assumed office in September 2009.

In 2020, there have been 22 supreme court vacancies in 16 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. One vacancy occurred when a chief justice died, and 21 vacancies were caused by retirements.

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Democrats gain veto-proof majority in New York State Senate

Democrats gained a veto-proof majority in the New York State Senate after enough remaining races were called over the weekend to bring them to a two-thirds majority in the chamber. Democrats already held a veto-proof majority in the state Assembly. In New York, two-thirds of members in both chambers must vote to override a veto, which is 100 of the 150 members in the New York State Assembly and 42 of the 63 members in the New York State Senate.

The status of a veto-proof majority has changed in four states as a result of the 2020 elections. These results are subject to change as more votes are counted and elections are certified.

– In Connecticut, Democrats gained a veto-proof majority in the state Senate.

– In Delaware, Democrats maintained a veto-proof majority in the state House and gained a veto-proof majority in the state Senate.

– In Nevada, Democrats lost a veto-proof majority in the state Assembly. 

– In New York, Democrats maintained a veto-proof majority in the state Assembly and gained a veto-proof majority in the state Senate.

The veto override power can play a role in conflicts between state legislatures and governors. Conflict can occur when legislatures vote to override gubernatorial vetoes or in court cases related to vetoes and the override power. Although it has the potential to create conflict, the veto override power is rarely used. According to political scientists Peverill Squire and Gary Moncrief in 2010, only about five percent of vetoes are overridden.

Prior to April 2018, factions in the New York State Senate included the mainline Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and an offshoot of the Democratic Party called the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC). Republicans controlled the chamber from 2012 to 2018 through an alliance with the IDC and Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder. In April 2018, the eight members of the IDC rejoined the mainline Democratic conference, but Felder stayed with the Republicans, giving them an effective 32-31 majority in the chamber. In the November 2018 elections, Democrats expanded their majority to 40-23, giving them full control of the state Senate for the second time since 1964.

Forty-four states held regularly-scheduled state legislative elections on Nov 3. At the time of the election, there were 22 state legislatures where one party had a veto-proof majority in both chambers; 16 held by Republicans and six held by Democrats. Twenty of those states held legislative elections in 2020.

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