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Eight file for Richmond City Council special election

Eight candidates have filed to run in a special election for the District 5 seat on the Richmond City Council in Virginia. They had until August 16 to file for the seat, and the special election is on November 5.
The special election was called after Councilman Parker Agelasto announced his resignation in April as a condition struck with then-Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring to avoid legal action for moving out of the district he represented. His resignation will be effective on November 30, 2019. Agelasto has served on the city council since 2013. The winner of the special election will serve the last year of Agelasto’s four-year term.
The eight candidates vying for the seat are Nicholas Da Silva, Stephanie Lynch, Jer’Mykeal McCoy, Robin Mines, Chuck Richardson, Graham Sturm, Mamie Taylor, and Thad Williamson. Richardson previously served on the city council from 1977 to 1995, while Taylor served as a Richmond school board member from 2012 to 2016.
Richmond is the fourth-largest city in Virginia and the 100th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Last week, Andrew Yang led in Ballotpedia pageviews for the first time since March

Each week, we report the number of pageviews received by 2020 presidential campaigns on Ballotpedia. These numbers show which candidates are getting our readers’ attention.
Andrew Yang’s campaign page on Ballotpedia received 5,656 pageviews for the week of August 11-17. Yang’s pageview figure represents 10.2% of the pageviews for all Democratic candidates during the week. Joe Biden had 8.2% of pageviews for the week, followed by Elizabeth Warren with 6.7%.
Of the 23 noteworthy Democratic candidates, all but seven had fewer Ballotpedia pageviews last week than the week before. The three largest week-over-week increases were Tom Steyer (13.30%), Wayne Messam (7.89%), and Andrew Yang (5.78%).
The leader in overall pageviews this year is Pete Buttigieg with 102,790, followed by Yang with 95,127 and Kamala Harris with 90,653.
On the GOP side, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld had 16,895 pageviews to President Trump’s 1,844.

Triplex status at stake in three states in 2019

A state government triplex occurs when a state’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all members of the same political party. In states where these officers are not all from the same party, differing political views can bring them into direct conflict with one another.   
Three states—Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi—are holding elections in 2019 for all three triplex offices—governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. Currently, none of these three states has a triplex.
In Kentucky, Democrats hold the attorney general and secretary of state offices while Republican Matt Bevin (R) is governor. Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) is running against Bevin in the gubernatorial election, leaving his seat open, while Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) is term-limited. Bevin’s election as governor in 2015 broke a Democratic triplex which had existed since 2011.
In Louisiana, Republicans hold the attorney general and secretary of state offices while Democrat John Bel Edwards (D) is the governor. Edwards, Attorney General Jeff Landry (R), and Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R) are all running for re-election this year. Edwards’ election as governor broke a Republican triplex which had been in place since 2011.
In Mississippi, Republicans hold the governorship and secretary of state’s office while Democrat Jim Hood (D) is attorney general. All three seats are open. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) is term-limited, while Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (R) is running for lieutenant governor and Hood is running for governor. No party has held a triplex in Mississippi since Haley Barbour (R) was elected governor in 2003, breaking a Democratic triplex which had existed since the 1999 elections. 
The last time these three states held elections where none of them had a triplex was in 2007. No triplexes formed as a result of elections that year. 
Currently, there are 18 states with a Republican triplex, 17 states with a Democratic triplex, and 15 states that are under divided control. Heading into the 2018 elections, Republicans had 22 triplexes to Democrats’ 12. Democratic triplexes were formed in four states—Colorado, Illinois, Maine, New Mexico, and Wisconsin—while Republican triplexes were broken in Arizona, Kansas, Nevada, and North Dakota.

Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Ninth Circuit panel limits nationwide injunction of Trump immigration rule

Today’s Brew highlights the latest court decision on the Trump administration’s immigration rule + Andrew Yang leads in Ballotpedia pageviews last week  
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Wednesday, August 21 Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Ninth Circuit panel limits nationwide injunction of Trump administration immigration rule
  2. Last week, Andrew Yang led in Ballotpedia pageviews for the first time since March
  3. Hawaii became a state 60 years ago today

Ninth Circuit panel limits nationwide injunction of Trump administration immigration rule

Last Friday, a panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a federal district court went too far when it granted a nationwide injunction against a new federal immigration rule.

What happened?

The Ninth Circuit upheld the injunction, which blocks enforcement of a rule, within the bounds of the Ninth Circuit (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) but held that the nationwide scope of the injunction was not supported by the record. The panel said that the district court did not explain why it believed a nationwide injunction was necessary in this case.

The panel consisted of Judges Wallace Tashima, Milan Smith, and Mark James Bennett. They were appointed to the 9th Circuit by Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump, respectively. 

How did we get here?

On July 24, Judge Jon Tigar, on United States District Court for the Northern District of California, issued a nationwide injunction blocking a Trump administration rule while court challenges to the rule moved forward.

The interim final rule, issued on July 16, aims to deny asylum to people who travel through another country and fail to file for asylum there before applying in the United States.

The agencies argued that immigration enforcement challenges on the southern border allowed them to issue the new asylum rule under the Administrative Procedure Act’s (APA) good cause exception to notice-and-comment procedures. The good cause exception allows agencies to issue rules without waiting for public comment if those procedures would be “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” The agencies also argued that they could skip notice-and-comment procedures because the rule involved a “foreign affairs function of the United States” and procedural delay could have negative international consequences.

Judge Tigar wrote that the agencies did not show that a public comment period would have undesirable international consequences and that the rule fails the arbitrary-or-capricious test. Under that test, judges invalidate rules that are an abuse of discretion or not in accordance with law.

What happens next?

The Ninth Circuit panel asked the district court to reconsider the reasons supporting a nationwide injunction and scheduled future arguments in the case for December 2019.

Learn more


Beyond the Headlines
In early August, Seattle held primary elections for seven of nine city council seats. Three incumbents are running for re-election, and all three advanced from the primary. Find out who supports these candidates in our latest episode of Beyond The Headlines.

Last week, Andrew Yang led in Ballotpedia pageviews for the first time since March

Each week, we report the number of pageviews received on Ballotpedia by 2020 presidential campaigns . These numbers show which candidates are getting our readers’ attention.

Andrew Yang’s campaign page on Ballotpedia received 5,656 pageviews for the week of August 11-17. Yang’s pageview figure represents 10.2% of the pageviews for all Democratic candidates during the week. Joe Biden had 8.2% of pageviews for the week, followed by Elizabeth Warren with 6.7%.

Of the 23 noteworthy Democratic candidates, all but seven had fewer Ballotpedia pageviews last week than the week before. The three largest week-over-week increases were Tom Steyer (13.30%), Wayne Messam (7.89%), and Andrew Yang (5.78%).


Learn more→

Hawaii became a state 60 years ago today

On this day 60 years ago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower admitted Hawaii as the 50th state to join the United States. Here are some quick facts about the state:

  • Democrats control both the state Senate (24-1) and the state House (46-5).
  • The state government is under a Democratic triplex, meaning the governor and attorney general are both Democratic. 
  • Hawaii does not have a secretary of state. It’s one of three states where the position doesn’t exist (Alaska and Utah are the other two).
  • No statewide ballot measures have been certified as of August 19 for the 2020 election. Twelve measures appeared on the statewide ballot between 2010 and 2018.
  • The State of Hawaii counts 137 islands in its chain, but only seven are inhabited.
  • Hawaii is the only state that grows coffee.

Learn more→


Pence will remain Trump’s running mate in 2020



Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 19, 2019: Donald Trump confirmed that he would keep Mike Pence as his running mate in 2020. Bernie Sanders released his latest policy platform on criminal justice.
There are seven new candidates running since last week, including one Democrat, two Republicans, and one Libertarian. In total, 823 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Day

“When we hear the punditry talk about what happened in the Midwest, generally speaking they’ll say the Midwest swung toward Trump, right? Well, that’s only true in two states. In Iowa and Ohio, where Trump cracked 50%, you can genuinely say he won over voters in those states. The others — Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — Trump won those states by carrying only a plurality of the vote, and I would categorize that as a win by default. He won somewhere around 46 or 47% of the vote.

The reason that neither candidate was above 50% was that a huge numbers of voters in those states cast what we call protest ballots, and in the polarized era, the average that goes to a protest ballot is about 1.5%. …

So when you understand the role that third parties made in Trump’s victory there in the Midwest, and his inability to crack 50%, you realize that it’s a path to victory which was very complex.”

– Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director of the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy


  • Michael BennetBill de BlasioJulián CastroJohn DelaneyAmy KlobucharSeth Moulton, and Andrew Yang spoke to the Hillsborough County Democrats in New Hampshire Sunday.
  • Mother Jones interviewed Bennet about his new book, Dividing America: How Russia Hacked Social Media and Democracy.
  • Joe Biden raised more than 60 percent of his $13.2 million fundraising take since April in the first week of his campaign, according to an analysis by Politico
  • In an interview with VoxCory Booker discussed his gun policy platform and its gun licensing requirement.
  • Steve Bullock criticized the Democratic National Committee’s debate criteria in an interview on Fox News Sunday.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand attended a town hall in Missouri Sunday, where she discussed reproductive issues.
  • Kamala Harris attended events and fundraisers in Martha’s Vineyard Friday and Saturday and the Hamptons Sunday.
  • Jay Inslee discussed climate change in an interview Sunday on MSNBC’s Kasie DC.
  • Moulton spoke at the Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair Saturday, making him the final candidate to take that stage.
  • Beto O’Rourke visited a gun show Saturday in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he met with gun sellers and owners to discuss his policy.
  • Tim Ryan spoke at a gun legislation rally Saturday in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Bernie Sanders issued his criminal justice plan Saturday, calling for ending cash bail, solitary confinement, and civil asset forfeiture. His plan would also establish safe injection sites for the medically supervised use of illegal drugs and require the attorney general to investigate the deaths of individuals in police custody.
  • Joe Sestak campaigned in Iowa over the weekend.
  • Tom Steyer is leaving the campaign trail for a week to report for jury duty.
  • Elizabeth Warren released several proposals related to Native American issuesFriday, including revoking the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline permits, expanding a grant program for affordable housing on reservations, and restoring tribal sovereignty over crimes on native land.
  • Marianne Williamson campaigned Saturday in Santa Barbara, California.


What We’re Reading

Flashback: August 19, 2015

Martin O’Malley held a press conference in front of Trump International Hotel Las Vegas on labor issues and the 2016 election.


Castro is 10th candidate to qualify for September and October debates



Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 20, 2019: Julián Castro qualified for the third and fourth Democratic primary debates. Roughly half of the Democratic field will speak at the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum.


Since 1824, how many winning presidential candidates have lost their home state?

Notable Quote of the Day

“There’s a fundamental values gap between the mainstream Democratic Party, which tends to be more socially liberal and cosmopolitan in its outlook, and rural and small-town voters. Unless a candidate can build bridges across that gap on the basis of values, it’s very difficult to make any policy proposal matter.

Right now, no one is building those bridges … [but] if you can move rural voters, even a few points, it becomes possible to win in states you can’t otherwise win.”

– Mark Mellman, Democratic pollster



  • Mike Pence spoke at the Detroit Economic Club Monday, reiterating Donald Trump’s messaging that the economy will decline if Trump is not reelected.
  • The Washington Post Magazine profiled Bill Weld in an article titled, “Is Bill Weld the Hero Never Trumpers Have Been Waiting For?”

What We’re Reading

Flashback: August 20, 2015

TIME published its cover story interview with Donald Trump about presidential temperament, immigration, tax policy, and other issues.


Two public-sector labor bills vetoed by New Hampshire governor

On July 10 and July 12, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) vetoed two public-sector labor bills, SB18 and SB148.

  • What would the bills do?
    • SB18: This bill would allow public-sector employees to authorize voluntary wage deductions for insurance or employee benefits offered in conjunction with their membership in a recognized union. It would allow employees to withdraw authorization with 30 days written notice.
    • SB148: This bill would require unions to notify new public-sector employees of their right to join or refrain from joining a union. The notification would also include the estimated annual cost of union membership. This bill would also require employers to provide unions with certain personal information about the employees it represents.
  • Why did Sununu veto the bills?
    • In his veto statement for SB18, Sununu said, “Continuing the payroll deduction for a month after a worker has chosen not to continue union membership falls outside the spirit of the Janus ruling and could potentially expose the state, counties, and municipalities to litigation.”
    • In his veto statement for SB148, Sununu said, “Ensuring that public employees are informed of their options related to union membership is important. However, the other provisions laid out in this bill are items that should be negotiated through the collective bargaining process rather than enacted into law through the legislative process.”
  • What is the political makeup of New Hampshire’s state government? Democrats control 58 percent of all House seats and 58 percent of all Senate seats, falling short of the two-thirds majorities required in each chamber to override a veto. Sununu, a Republican, was first elected in 2016 with a margin of victory of 2.3 percent. Sununu was re-elected in 2018 with a margin of victory of 7 percent.
  • What comes next? Because they do not hold veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate, Democrats cannot act unilaterally to override Sununu’s vetoes. Lawmakers will not be able to consider a veto override until they reconvene in September.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 102 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 August 16, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart August 16, 2019.png

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

Union Station partisan chart August 16, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

No legislative actions have occurred since our last issue.

Proponents of 2020 California split-roll property tax initiative start over with revised version

In California, Schools & Communities First announced that it would file a new version of an initiative to require commercial and industrial properties, except those zoned as commercial agriculture, to be taxed based on their market value. Currently, Proposition 13 (1978) requires the taxable value of residential, commercial, and industrial properties to be based on the property’s purchase price, with an annual adjustment equal to the rate of inflation or 2 percent, whichever is lower. The change was estimated to provide $6.5 billion to $10.5 billion in additional revenue. Both the version of the initiative that has already qualified for the 2020 ballot and the refiled version would allocate revenue from the increased commercial and industrial property taxes to local community college and school districts and to local governments.
In 2018, proponents spent $3.5 million to qualify their initiative for the 2020 ballot after initially targeting the 2018 ballot. They filed a new version of the initiative on August 13, however, and announced they would be focusing on a new signature petition drive to put the revised version on the ballot.
Tyler Law, a spokesperson for Schools & Communities First, said that the campaign would not officially withdraw the currently qualified initiative from the ballot until the refiled initiative qualifies. Law also said of the new effort, “The committee’s got the money. We’re going to get it on the ballot.”
What’s different about the new initiative?
  • The qualified initiative would provide an exception from reassessment under the new rules for businesses with property value up to $2 million. The revised version would increase that exception threshold to $3 million.
  • Both versions provide a full property tax exemption for businesses with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees. The new initiative would add additional requirements for a business to qualify for the exemption:
    • independently owned and operated;
    • located in California;
    • owned by California residents; and
    • no major statewide influence on its industry.
  • Both initiatives allocate a portion of revenue to a fund for community college and local school districts, with the fund distributed to schools based on state formulas. The new initiative, however, specifies that 11% of the school fund would go to community colleges, and 89% would go to public schools, charter schools, and county education offices. It would also require a minimum of $100 per full-time student (adjusted annually based on revenue) for each community college and school.
  • The currently qualified initiative would go into effect on January 1, 2020. The new version would go into effect on January 1, 2022, and would phase in the reassessment rules over up to three years for property at least 50% occupied by small businesses.
Another difference between the two initiatives is the signature requirement for qualifying them for the ballot. Based on the low turnout of 2014, the currently qualified initiative required 585,407 valid signatures. Proponents spent $3.5 million to collect 855,623 signatures, with 661,306 of them deemed valid. The revised initiative will need to qualify for the ballot according to requirements determined by turnout at the 2018 election. This means they’ll need 997,139 valid signatures, which is the largest initiative signature requirement in California’s history.
Ballotpedia’s aggregation of polling on the initiative that has qualified for the ballot showed support for the measure ranging from 46% to 56%, with an average of 51% and the most recent poll showing 54% approval.
Law said, “For forty years, California’s novel approach to taxing commercial and industrial property has starved funding for schools and local communities, disadvantaged small and startup businesses, and exacerbated our housing crisis.” Explaining the revised initiative effort, he said, “[A] robust statewide signature gathering organization began prior to the 2018 election, but the ultimate submission and qualification process placed the initiative on the 2020 ballot. As a result, we are refiling the initiative to substantively strengthen the measure, including expansive new small business tax relief, and widen the path to victory in November 2020.”
In response to the new initiative, California Business Roundtable President Rob Lapsley said, “This is just another, equally flawed measure aimed at dismantling Proposition 13. Proponents should at least withdraw their existing measure, which they now acknowledge is fatally flawed. However, there are no tweaks or amendments that can be made to this split roll measure that will prevent it from being a major, multi-billion-dollar tax on all Californians in the form of higher prices on everything we buy – from groceries and gasoline to diapers and day care.” Lapsley is the co-chair of Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes, the committee registered to oppose the qualified initiative.

Judge dismisses GOP petition challenge, leaving the Tucson sanctuary city initiative on the November ballot

On Friday, Pima County Superior Court Judge Douglas Metcalf rejected a lawsuit challenging the initiative signature petition for Tucson’s sanctuary city initiative. The ruling means the initiative will remain on the city’s November 5 ballot after being officially certified on August 6. If the initiative is approved, Tucson would become the first sanctuary city in Arizona.
The initiative would include in city code a declaration of the city’s sanctuary status and add a new section that includes provisions to:
  • restrict law enforcement officers from actions to determine a person’s immigration status under certain conditions;
  • prohibit officers from contacting federal law enforcement agencies to determine a person’s immigration status; and
  • prohibit city employees from inquiring about a person’s immigration status, among other policies.
The group Tucson Families Free and Together submitted about 18,000 signatures for the initiative on July 3, 2019. They needed to collect 9,241 valid signatures by July 5 to qualify the initiative for the November general election ballot. Through a random sampling of 871 signatures, the Pima County Recorder found that a projected 71.8% of the submitted signatures were valid. This sent the initiative to the city council, which had two options: (1) approve the initiative, enacting it into law without an election, or (2) put it on the ballot.
Three Tucson voters, assisted by the Pima County Republican Party, filed a legal challenge against the sufficiency of the initiative petition. The lawsuit argued that the signature requirement calculated by the city clerk for the initiative of 9,241 was too low and that, according to state law, the requirement should be 12,821. The lawsuit also argued that the Pima County Recorder “only conducted a cursory review of the signatures submitted by the Petitioners, failed to satisfy his statutorily defined duties, and only disqualified 798 signatures despite thousands of facially invalid signatures.” Judge Metcalf rejected the arguments and confirmed that the measure had been properly certified for the ballot.