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A look at donor disclosure requirements for electioneering communications

As the year gets underway, and lawmakers nationwide take up bills on donor disclosure, let’s take a closer look at a particular policy area: donor disclosure requirements for groups that sponsor electioneering communications.

Broadly speaking, an electioneering communication is any broadcast, cable, or satellite transmission that refers to a clearly identified candidate within a specified time period preceding a primary or general election. Although electioneering communications refer to a specific candidate, they do not explicitly advocate for that candidate’s election or defeat. This makes an electioneering communication a form of issue advocacy.

Individuals, corporations, labor unions, and nonprofit groups can produce electioneering communications. Generally, the policies regulating the use of electioneering communications vary from state to state (although federal laws apply to electioneering communications used in federal elections).

The first map below indicates which states require entities making electioneering communications to disclose the names of their donors to the public. States shaded in dark green require general disclosure of all donors to a sponsor group. States shaded in light green require disclosure only of those donors whose contributions were earmarked for electioneering purposes. Twenty-two states require groups issuing electioneering communications to make some form of disclosure.

The second map below indicates which states exempt 501(c)(3) groups from these disclosure requirements. States shaded in dark green provide a 501(c)(3) exemption. States shaded in gray do not. Six states provide explicit disclosure exemptions for at least some types of 501(c)(3) groups.

Electioneering communications donor disclosure.png
501c3 exemptions.png

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 35 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Disclosure Digest map January 20, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Disclosure Digest status chart January 20, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Disclosure Digest partisan chart January 20, 2020.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken on relevant bills since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number.

  • Iowa HF697: This bill would prohibit public agencies from requiring 501(c) entities to furnish them with personal information about donors.
    • Hearing scheduled for Jan. 22.
  • Oklahoma SB1491: This bill would prohibit public agencies from requiring 501(c) entities to furnish them with personal information about donors.
    • Pre-filed to be introduced Feb. 3.
  • Virginia HB849: This bill would subject political campaign communications made via online platforms to the same disclosure requirements currently applied to print media, television, and radio advertisements.
    • Hearing scheduled for Jan. 17.


Maine professor asks Supreme Court to strike down exclusive representation requirement

On Jan. 2, 2020, a professor at the University of Maine filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court requesting that it overturn a Maine law compelling public-sector employees to accept a union’s representation regardless of their membership status with that union (i.e., exclusive representation).

Who are the parties to the suit? The plaintiff is Jonathan Reisman, an associate professor of economics and public policy at the University of Maine at Machias. He is being represented by attorneys from The Buckeye Institute, an Ohio-based think tank, and BakerHostetler, a Washington, D.C. law firm. The defendants include Reisman’s union, the Associated Faculties of the University of Maine, the University of Maine and its board of trustees, and the state of Maine. The Associated Faculties of the University of Maine, an affiliate of the National Education Association, represents about 1,000 faculty members.

What is at issue? Reisman argues that Maine’s exclusive representation law violates his First Amendment free-speech and associational rights. Robert Alt, president and chief executive officer of The Buckeye Institute and a lead attorney for Reisman, said, “If state law cannot compel public employees to financially support union advocacy — as the [Supreme Court] ruled in Janus v. AFSCME — how can states require these same public employees to accept representation from unions that many of them have chosen not to join?”

How have the lower courts ruled in this matter? On Dec. 3, 2018, Judge Jon Levy, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, dismissed the case. Levy said, “[By] authorizing the union, in its role as the agent for the bargaining unit, to negotiate with the board on matters related to the terms and conditions of employment, the act does not cloak the union with the authority to speak on issues of public concern on behalf of employees, such as Reisman, who do not belong to the union. Reisman remains free to speak out in opposition to the union and its positions as he sees fit. His constitutional challenge to the act thus rests on a fundamental misconception.”

Reisman appealed Levy’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. A three-judge panel, comprising Judges O. Rogeriee Thompson, Bruce Marshall Selya, and David Barron, heard the appeal. On Oct. 4, 2019, the panel voted unanimously to affirm Levy’s dismissal. Barron, writing for the court, said, “Considered in context … § 1025(2)(E) [the challenged law] is not properly read to designate AFUM as Reisman’s personal representative, as he contends. Rather, that provision merely makes clear that a union, once it becomes the exclusive bargaining agent for a bargaining unit, must represent the unit as an entity, and not only certain of the employees within it, and then solely for the purposes of collective bargaining.”

  • Levy, Thompson, and Barron were appointed to their positions by President Barack Obama (D). Selya was appointed by President Ronald Reagan (R)

What comes next? In a press release announcing the appeal, Andrew Grossman, counsel of record for Reisman, said, “Following the Court’s landmark Janus ruling, it is clear that these [exclusive representation] laws are unconstitutional, and we hope the Court will recognize them as such.” The formal appeal, known as a petition for writ of certiorari, can be read here. The opposing parties have 30 days to file a brief in response. On average, the court acts on an appeal within about six weeks of its filing.

What we’ve been reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 58 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Union Station map January 17, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart January 17, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Union Station partisan chart January 17, 2020.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number.

  • Kentucky HB231: This bill would allow public-sector employees to form, join, and assist labor unions.
    • Referred to House State Government Committee Jan. 13.
  • Kentucky HB251: This bill would eliminate existing state laws restricting the rights of public-sector employees to form, join, and participate in unions. This bill would allow public employers to make agreements with labor unions requiring union membership as a condition of employment.
    • Introduced Jan. 13; referred to House Economic Development and Workforce Investment Committee Jan. 15.
  • Maine LD900: This bill authorizes certain classes of public-sector employees to strike.
    • Hearing scheduled Jan. 15.
  • Pennsylvania HB785: This bill would require public employers to inform non-union employees and new employees that they do not have to join or pay fees to a union as a condition of employment
    • Removed from table Jan. 14.
  • Tennessee HJR0687: This bill proposes a constitutional amendment making it unlawful for the state and any of its subdivisions, as well as any person, corporation, or association, to make union participation a condition of employment.
    • Introduced and referred to House Consumer and Human Resources Committee Jan. 14.
  • Vermont H0700: This bill would require employers to provide unions with employee contact information. It would provide for automatic deduction of union dues from members’ paychecks. It would allow unions to meet with new employees to provide them with information about union membership. It would also prohibit recipients of state funds from interfering with union organizing efforts.
    • Introduced and referred to House General, House, and Military Affairs Committee Jan. 15; hearing scheduled Jan. 16.
  • Virginia SB939: This bill would permit local governments to recognize unions as bargaining agents for public-sector workers.
    • Introduced and referred to Senate Labor and Commerce Committee Jan. 13.
  • Washington HB1333: This bill would alter the definition of a public employee under the state’s public employee’s collective bargaining law.
    • Reintroduced and retained in present status Jan. 13.
  • Washington HB1452: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to employees of the legislative branch of state government.
    • Reintroduced and retained in present status Jan. 13.
  • Washington HB1845: This bill would establish that payroll deduction authorizations must be made directly by employees to employers on at least a biannual basis.
    • Reintroduced and retained in present status Jan. 13.
  • Washington HB2017: This bill would establish collective bargaining rights for administrative law judges.
    • Reintroduced and retained in present status Jan. 13.
  • Washington SB5623: This bill would declare that public employers and public-sector unions are not liable for claims involving agency fees paid to unions prior to Janus.
    • Reintroduced and retained in present status Jan. 13.
  • Washington SB5691: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to employees of the legislative branch of state government.
    • Reintroduced and retained in present status Jan. 13.
  • Washington SB6224: This bill would establish collective bargaining rights for administrative law judges.
    • Reintroduced and retained in present status Jan. 13.


House delivers articles of impeachment to Senate

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
January 16, 2020: The U.S. House delivered two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump to the U.S. Senate on Wednesday. The Iowa Democratic Party will release three sets of election results following the Feb. 3 caucuses. blank    blankblank   


State Spotlight - Nevada

Notable Quote of the Day

“To better understand which candidates did well or poorly Tuesday night, we plotted how favorably respondents rated the candidates before the debate vs. how debate-watchers rated candidates’ performances afterward — and Elizabeth Warren, in particular, seemed to have a breakout evening according to this metric. She not only received the highest marks for her debate performance, but her scores were high even relative to her pre-debate favorability rating.

That said, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden also received medium-to-high marks for their performances, but because of their relatively high pre-debate favorability ratings, we expected a lot of voters to already be predisposed to viewing their debate performances in a positive light. So while they still did pretty well on the debate stage, they didn’t exceed expectations the way Warren did. Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer, on the other hand, tied for the lowest overall debate grades, putting them only barely above where we’d expect them to be given their pre-debate favorability ratings.”

– Aaron Bycoffe, Sarah Frostenson, and Julia Wolfe, FiveThirtyEight

Democrats

Republicans

Flashback: January 16, 2016

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz spoke at the South Carolina Tea Party Conference.blank

Click here for more information.



Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: January 11-17, 2020

Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News Briefing
Every 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.        

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

State Spotlight

Notable Quotes of the Week

“To better understand which candidates did well or poorly Tuesday night, we plotted how favorably respondents rated the candidates before the debate vs. how debate-watchers rated candidates’ performances afterward — and Elizabeth Warren, in particular, seemed to have a breakout evening according to this metric. She not only received the highest marks for her debate performance, but her scores were high even relative to her pre-debate favorability rating.

That said, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden also received medium-to-high marks for their performances, but because of their relatively high pre-debate favorability ratings, we expected a lot of voters to already be predisposed to viewing their debate performances in a positive light. So while they still did pretty well on the debate stage, they didn’t exceed expectations the way Warren did. Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer, on the other hand, tied for the lowest overall debate grades, putting them only barely above where we’d expect them to be given their pre-debate favorability ratings.”

– Aaron Bycoffe, Sarah Frostenson, and Julia Wolfe, FiveThirtyEight

“Voters will head to the polls to cast the first in-person ballots in the Democratic presidential primary season on Friday — but not in Iowa’s famous first-in-the-nation caucuses.

Thanks to generous early-voting laws, Iowa’s neighbor to the north, Minnesota, has the distinction of offering the first chance for any voter to turn out and cast a ballot in the 2020 presidential campaign. …

Minnesota’s early voting is a reminder that even though most observers are counting down until Iowa, some votes will be cast before then, no matter what strategies or surprises the candidates and the political fates have in store during the next few weeks.”

– Alex Seitz-Wald, NBC News

Week in Review

Impeachment trial of Donald Trump begins

The impeachment trial of Donald Trump began on Thursday after the impeachment managers from the U.S. House of Representatives presented two articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate.

Chief Justice John Roberts and 99 senators—including Michael BennetAmy KlobucharBernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren— were sworn in.

Democrats debate childcare, healthcare in Iowa

Six Democratic presidential candidates debated Tuesday night in Iowa: Joe BidenPete ButtigiegAmy KlobucharBernie SandersTom Steyer, and Elizabeth Warren.

The candidates discussed foreign policy, trade, electability, healthcare, childcare, climate change, and impeachment. Warren had the most speaking time at 18.9 minutes. Steyer spoke the least at 12.4 minutes.

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

Booker ends presidential campaign

Cory Booker ended his presidential campaign on Monday. “Our campaign has reached the point where we need more money to scale up and continue building a campaign that can win—money we don’t have, and money that is harder to raise because I won’t be on the next debate stage and because the urgent business of impeachment will rightly be keeping me in Washington,” he said in a statement.

Bloomberg meets with Democratic lawmakers, nets three congressional endorsements this week

Michael Bloomberg met with members of the Congressional Hispanic, Asian Pacific American, and Black caucuses on Thursday. He also spoke with representatives in the New Democrats and Blue Dog Coalition.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (Fla.), the co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition, and Rep. Harley Rouda (Calif.) endorsed Bloomberg on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

He received his first congressional endorsement from Rep. Max Rose (N.Y.) on Monday.

Three sets of Iowa results will be released

The Iowa Democratic Party will release three election results following the Feb. 3 caucuses: the number of delegates each candidate received, the first vote of caucusgoers, and the final vote that features only viable candidates who crossed the 15 percent threshold after caucusgoers realigned their votes in the caucus process.

In the past, only the delegate totals were made public.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Analilia Mejia is a government and political affairs strategist with experience in union and worker advocacy and organizing primarily in the New Jersey area. Mejia received her bachelor’s degree as well as two master’s degrees—public policy and labor relations—from Rutgers University.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2012: New Jersey Democratic State Committee, Latino vote director
  • 2009: New Jersey Democratic State Committee, deputy Latino vote director

Other experience:

  • 2014-2019: New Jersey Working Families Alliance, executive director
  • 2009-2014: Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
    • 2011-2014: Political director (New Jersey; multi-state northern region), SEIU Local 32BJ
    • 2009-2011: Assistant director of politics and policy, SEIU
  • 2007-2009: UNITE HERE, assistant political director (Chicago)
  • 2003-2007: New Jersey Immigration Policy Network, director of policy and government affairs

What she says about Sanders: “No other candidate has consistently fought for organized labor as a building block for the middle class like @BernieSanders Period. Full stop. #UnionStrong”

What We’re Reading

Flashback: January 13-17, 2016

  • January 13, 2016: As part of a $4.6 million ad buy, Jeb Bush released an ad focused on drug policy and his daughter’s experience with addiction.
  • January 14, 2016: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump participated in a Fox Business Network primary debate in South Carolina. Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum met in the undercard debate.
  • January 15, 2016: Lindsey Graham endorsed Jeb Bush.
  • January 16, 2016: Donald Trump and Ted Cruz spoke at the South Carolina Tea Party Conference.
  • January 17, 2016: Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders participated in the fourth Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina.

Trivia Corner

What is the latest month in which a major party held a presidential nominating convention?



Bloomberg meets lawmakers on Capitol Hill, nets two more congressional endorsements

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
January 17, 2020: Michael Bloomberg met with members of several congressional caucuses on Thursday. Michael Bennet, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren were sworn in as jurors in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump.        

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

Daily Presidential News Briefing, Staffer Spotlight - Analilia Mejia

Analilia Mejia is a government and political affairs strategist with experience in union and worker advocacy and organizing primarily in the New Jersey area. Mejia received her bachelor’s degree as well as two master’s degrees—public policy and labor relations—from Rutgers University.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2012: New Jersey Democratic State Committee, Latino vote director
  • 2009: New Jersey Democratic State Committee, deputy Latino vote director

Other experience:

  • 2014-2019: New Jersey Working Families Alliance, executive director
  • 2009-2014: Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
    • 2011-2014: Political director (New Jersey; multi-state northern region), SEIU Local 32BJ
    • 2009-2011: Assistant director of politics and policy, SEIU
  • 2007-2009: UNITE HERE, assistant political director (Chicago)
  • 2003-2007: New Jersey Immigration Policy Network, director of policy and government affairs

What she says about Sanders:

“No other candidate has consistently fought for organized labor as a building block for the middle class like @BernieSanders Period. Full stop. #UnionStrong”

Notable Quote of the Day

“Voters will head to the polls to cast the first in-person ballots in the Democratic presidential primary season on Friday — but not in Iowa’s famous first-in-the-nation caucuses.

Thanks to generous early-voting laws, Iowa’s neighbor to the north, Minnesota, has the distinction of offering the first chance for any voter to turn out and cast a ballot in the 2020 presidential campaign. …

Minnesota’s early voting is a reminder that even though most observers are counting down until Iowa, some votes will be cast before then, no matter what strategies or surprises the candidates and the political fates have in store during the next few weeks.”

– Alex Seitz-Wald, NBC News

Democrats

  • Michael BennetAmy KlobucharBernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren were sworn in as jurors in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump on Thursday.
  • Rep. Terri Sewell (Ala.) endorsed Joe Biden on Friday, marking his eleventh endorsement from a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Biden is campaigning in Iowa on Friday and Saturday with stops in Sioux City, Council Bluffs, and Indianola.
  • Michael Bloomberg met with members of the Congressional Hispanic, Asian Pacific American, and Black caucuses on Thursday. He also spoke with representatives in the New Democrats and Blue Dog Coalition. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (Fla.), the co-chairman of the Blue Dog Coalition, and Rep. Harley Rouda (Calif.) endorsed Bloomberg. On Saturday, Bloomberg will campaign in Salt Lake City.
  • The Pete Buttigieg campaign reached an agreement with field organizers and regional organizing directors represented by IBEW Local 2321. Buttigieg will campaign in Iowa on Saturday.
  • John Delaney continues to campaign in Iowa with stops in Tama on Saturday and Washington on Sunday.
  • Tulsi Gabbard will campaign in New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday with town halls in Merrimack and Milford.
  • Klobuchar is attending the Iowa State Educators Association forum in West Des Moines on Saturday. She will campaign in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines on Sunday.
  • Deval Patrick is opening his South Carolina campaign headquarters in Columbia on Saturday.
  • Rep. Mark Pocan (Wis.), the chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, endorsed Sanders on Thursday. Sanders is holding a town hall and rally in New Hampshire on Saturday.
  • Tom Steyer is campaigning in South Carolina on Saturday with stops in Hartsville and Florence.
  • Andrew Yang will begin a bus tour of Iowa beginning with the Iowa City Women’s March on Saturday.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump’s impeachment trial began on Thursday as Chief Justice John Roberts and the U.S. senators were sworn in as the presiding officer and jurors, respectively. Mike Pence held a Latinos for Trump event in Kissimmee, Florida, on Thursday.
  • HuffPost interviewed Joe Walsh about his campaign on Thursday. He also discussed the impeachment trial on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper.
  • Bill Weld is campaigning in Concord, New Hampshire, on Friday and Saturday.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: January 17, 2016

Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders participated in the fourth Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina.



U.S. Supreme Court issues opinions in two cases

On January 14, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States issued rulings on two cases, Ritzen Group Inc. v. Jackson Masonry and Retirement Plan Committee of IBM v. Jander.

In the case Ritzen Group Inc. v. Jackson Masonry, Ritzen Group and Jackson Masonry both claimed that the other party breached contract after a sale of property fell through. A lawsuit Ritzen filed against Jackson in Tennessee state court was stayed after Jackson filed for bankruptcy. Ritzen filed a motion to lift the stay, which the bankruptcy court denied. Ritzen then filed a claim against Jackson in bankruptcy court. The bankruptcy court found Ritzen, not Jackson, breached the contract. On appeal, the district court affirmed the bankruptcy court’s ruling. On appeal again, the 6th Circuit affirmed the judgments of the district court and bankruptcy court.

The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, ruling unanimously that a bankruptcy court’s order unreservedly denying relief from the automatic stay constitutes a final, immediately appealable order under §158(a). Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the opinion of the court.

In the case Retirement Plan Committee of IBM v. Jander, Larry Jander invested in IBM’s retirement plan. After IBM sold its microelectronics business at a loss and shares fell, Jander alleged the IBM retirement plan committee violated their fiduciary duty of prudence to the pensioner under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed Jander’s claim. On appeal, the 2nd Circuit reversed and remanded the case. The retirement committee petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, arguing the 2nd Circuit “subverted [a] pleading standard” established in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer.

The Supreme Court vacated and remanded the case in a per curiam decision. A per curiam decision is issued collectively by the court. The authorship is not indicated. Justices Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a joint concurring opinion. Justice Neil Gorsuch also filed a concurring opinion.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:
Ritzen Group Inc. v. Jackson Masonry
Retirement Plan Committee of IBM v. Jander
Supreme Court of the United States



Traynor receives commission to North Dakota federal court

On January 13, 2020, Daniel Mack Traynor received his judicial commission to the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota.

Traynor was nominated to the court by President Donald Trump (R) on September 19, 2019, to succeed Judge Daniel Hovland, who assumed senior status on November 10, 2019. Traynor was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 19, 2019, by a vote of 51-41.

Following nomination by the president, a federal judicial nominee completes a questionnaire that is reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee then holds a hearing to question the nominee regarding their judicial philosophy and their previous rulings. The committee also sends the nominee’s home state senators a blue slip, permitting them to express their approval or disapproval of the nominee.

After the hearing, the committee votes to approve or return the nominee. If approved, the nominee is reported to the full Senate for a vote. If returned, the president may renominate the person. If the Senate confirms the nomination, the individual receives commission to serve as a federal judge for a life term. If the individual is not confirmed, they do not become a judge.

The U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota has two active Article III judges, including Traynor. The other active judge is Peter Welte, who was also nominated by Trump.

The court’s two judges on senior status are:
• Patrick Conmy – nominated by President Ronald Reagan (R)
• Daniel Hovland – nominated by President George W. Bush (R)

The United States District Court for the District of North Dakota is one of 94 U.S. District Courts. They are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:
Federal judges nominated by Donald Trump
United States District Court for the District of North Dakota
Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals 



In the past decade, two lieutenant governors have challenged their state’s governor for re-election; two more could do so this year

Since 2010, two gubernatorial elections have featured an incumbent governor running against the state’s lieutenant governor. This year, gubernatorial elections in North Carolina and Vermont each have the potential to feature the incumbent and the state’s lieutenant governor.

Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman (Vermont Progressive Party/Democratic) announced Monday that he would run for governor this year. Incumbent Gov. Phil Scott (R) is eligible to run for re-election but has not announced whether he will do so. In North Carolina, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R) is challenging incumbent Gov. Roy Cooper (D). Both are running in contested primaries; Forest faces state Rep. Holly Grange (R) while Cooper faces businessman Ernest Reeves (D).

A Zuckerman-Scott or a Forest-Cooper matchup would be the first time a state’s governor faced the lieutenant governor in the general election since Ballotpedia began coverage of state executive elections in 2010. During that period, there have been two times when a state’s governor faced the lieutenant governor in a primary election.

In 2011, then-West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin’s (D) resignation prompted a special election for the remainder of Manchin’s term. Six candidates ran in the Democratic primary, including acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) and acting Lt. Gov. Jeffrey Kessler (D). Tomblin won the primary with 40.4% of the vote and went on to win the special election in November and a full term the following year.

The other governor-lieutenant governor primary contest also involved a vacancy; after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) resigned to serve as U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Henry McMaster (R) succeeded to the governorship. In the 2018 gubernatorial election, McMaster and Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant (R) were among the five candidates seeking the Republican nomination. McMaster won the Republican nomination after advancing to a runoff against businessman John Warren (R) and went on to win a full term in the November election.

The responsibilities and selection process for the office of lieutenant governor vary widely from state to state. In 26 states, the lieutenant governor runs on a ticket with the governor, while in 17 states the office is elected separately. Of the 17 that elect governors and lieutenant governors separately, three—Louisiana, North Carolina, and Vermont—currently have a lieutenant governor of a separate party from the governor.

Five states do not have a lieutenant governor at all. Two of them—Arizona and Oregon—currently have a governor and secretary of state (the office next in line to the governorship in both states) of different parties. The remaining two states give the title of lieutenant governor to the state senate president.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:
Vermont gubernatorial election, 2020
North Carolina gubernatorial election, 2020
South Carolina gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2018 (June 12 Republican Primary)
West Virginia special gubernatorial election, 2011



Grassley sworn in as speaker of the Iowa House

On January 13, 2020, Rep. Pat Grassley (R) was sworn in as speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives. House Republicans elected Grassley as speaker in October 2019 after Rep. Linda Upmeyer (R) announced she would step down as speaker at the end of 2019.

Grassley has served in the Iowa House of Representatives since 2007, representing District 50. He was most recently re-elected in November 2018.

All 100 seats of the Iowa House of Representatives are up for election in 2020. The current partisan composition of that chamber is 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats. Iowa has had a Republican state government trifecta since 2017, meaning the Republican party controls the governor’s office as well as a majority in both chambers of the Iowa General Assembly.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:
Iowa House of Representatives
Iowa House of Representatives elections, 2020
State government trifectas

 



Chief Justice John Roberts, U.S. senators sworn in for impeachment trial of President Donald Trump

The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump (R) began on Thursday when seven House impeachment managers, led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), presented to the U.S. Senate two articles of impeachment against Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was sworn in as the presiding officer of the trial. Ninety-nine U.S. senators—Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) was not present—were then sworn in by Roberts to serve as jurors.

The trial is expected to continue with opening statements on Jan. 21.

Trump is the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. President Andrew Johnson was acquitted in 1868 after being charged with violating the Tenure of Office Act. In 1999, President Bill Clinton was acquitted of two charges for perjury and obstruction of justice.

Click here to learn more.

 



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