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Inslee and Culp advance from Washington’s top-two gubernatorial primary

Incumbent Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and Loren Culp (R) defeated 34 other candidates to advance in Washington’s top-two primary for governor on August 4, 2020. In a top-two primary, all candidates regardless of party affiliation run in the same primary. The top-two vote-getters advance to the general election.

Eleven Republicans, five Democrats, five unaffiliated candidates, three independents, and 12 candidates affiliated with third parties were on the ballot. As of 10:15 p.m. Western Time, Inslee had received 52% of the vote followed by Culp with 17% with an estimated 50% of precincts reporting. No other candidate received more than 10% of the vote.

Inslee, first elected in 2012, is seeking a third term. One Washington governor has ever served a third consecutive term: Daniel Evans (R), who left office in 1977. Inslee was a 2020 Democratic primary candidate for president and suspended his campaign in August 2019.

Culp is the Chief of Police in Republic. He served as a combat engineer and owned Stamped Concrete, a construction business. Culp was also a police officer and narcotics detective before being appointed police chief.

Inslee last won re-election in 2016 with 54% of the vote to Bill Bryant’s (R) 45%.


Hawaii voters to decide state executive and legislative primaries

The statewide primary election for Hawaii is on August 8, 2020. The filing deadline to run passed on June 2. Candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020. Candidates are running in elections for the following state offices:
Office of Hawaiian Affairs (four seats)
State Senate (13 seats)

State House (51 seats)

Ballotpedia will also be covering elections in Honolulu. Honolulu is a consolidated city-county and is the 11th largest city by population in the United States.

Hawaii has a Democratic state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

Hawaii’s primary is the 38th statewide primary to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide primaries will be held on August 11 in the following states:
Connecticut
Minnesota
Vermont

Wisconsin

Additional reading:



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: August 5, 2020

Each day, we:

  • Track the status of reopening in all 50 states.
  • Compare the status of one industry or activity across the country.
  • Answer key questions about state school reopening plans.
  • Give you the latest stories on other reopening plans and ideas.

Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.

Since our last edition

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

  • Arkansas (Republican trifecta): Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said that public schools in the state were still on track to reopen beginning Aug. 24. “We need to have school this year. Absolutely. I’m firm on that. The educators are firm on that. Public health is firm on [that]. We need to have school,” he said.
  • Delaware (Democratic trifecta): Gov. John Carney (D) announced that schools across the state could reopen using a combination of in-person and remote learning starting in September.
  • Louisiana (divided government): Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced he will extend Phase Two of the state’s reopening plan through Aug. 28, including the statewide mask mandate. The current order is scheduled to end on Aug. 7.
  • Michigan (divided government): On Aug. 4, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) issued an executive order requiring the Michigan State Police and state departments to prioritize enforcement of her COVID-19 orders. She also ordered licensing agencies to consider license suspensions when violations occur.
  • Mississippi (Republican trifecta): Gov. Tate Reeves (R) issued a statewide mask order. Everyone five years of age or older must wear face coverings in indoor public spaces and outdoors when social distancing cannot be practiced. He also mandated that all students and teachers wear masks on school property. Reeves delayed school reopenings in eight counties to Aug. 17. Previously, the counties were allowed to set their own start dates for the academic year.
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Aug. 4, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced that the Washington Legislature had extended two of his COVID-19 proclamations through September 1. Inslee had requested the extensions in a July 23 letter. One proclamation says CARES Act payments and state and federal unemployment benefits may not be garnished for consumer debt. The other allows dental, dental hygiene, and pharmacy graduates to obtain temporary licenses.

Tracking industries: Restaurants

All 50 states are reopening in some way. Here, we give the status of one industry or activity across the states. Today’s question: in which states may you dine in at a restaurant?

We last looked at restaurants in the July 29th edition of the newsletter. Since then, no new states opened or closed dine-in services. The following policy changes regarding restaurants have occurred:

  • On July 29, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced the state’s guidance for restaurants will become requirements, effective Aug. 3. The order requires employees and patrons to wear masks at dining establishments, prohibits customers from gathering around bar areas, and limits dine-in to 50% occupancy.
  • On July 28, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) issued an executive order that prohibits restaurants, wineries, breweries, and distilleries from serving alcohol between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. The order took effect on July 31 at 11:00 p.m.

This is an in-depth summary of two state plans to reopen public K-12 schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

Delaware’s Returning to School plan

The Delaware Department of Education published its school reopening guidance on July 15. Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said, “This guidance document is meant to be used as support for district and charter leaders as they continue planning for the opening of the 2020-2021 school year. Essential safety protocols must be implemented by all Delaware schools, PreK-12. Additionally, actionable planning steps have been included for districts and charter schools to consider as they develop their own site-based plans.”

Delaware does not have a statewide date to reopen public schools, but Gov. John Carney (D) is expected to announce how schools will resume operations later in August, depending on the community spread of the coronavirus. According to EdWeek, public schools in Delaware traditionally start the academic year between Aug. 22 and Sept. 9.

On March 13, Carney closed schools from March 16 to March 27. On March 23, Carney extended the closure to May 15. The governor closed schools for the rest of the academic year on April 24.

Context

Delaware is a Democratic trifecta. The governor is a Democrat, and Democrats have majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. The state became a Democratic trifecta in 2009.

The following tables show public education statistics in Delaware, including a rank comparing it to the other 49 states. Rank one is the highest number of each figure, rank 50 is the lowest. All data comes from the Common Core of Data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Delaware public school metrics
Category Figure 50-state rank
Per pupil spending (’16-’17) $16,490 14
Number of students (’18-’19) 138,405 46
Number of teachers (’16-17) 9,208 47
Number of public schools (’18-’19) 227 50
Student:teacher ratio (’18-’19) 14.4 32
Percent qualifying for free/reduced lunch (’16-’17) 48.1% 22
Delaware public school revenue
Category Figure 50-state rank
Total revenue $2,077,887,000 45
Percent from federal sources 8.7% 28
Percent from state sources 57.7% 12
Percent from local sources 33.6% 35

Details

District reopening plans

The document does not specifically require schools to develop individual reopening plans for approval or publishing. Schools are required to follow the state’s minimum basic requirements. Districts are encouraged to develop plans for three possible situations, based on the document’s guidance: Scenario 1 (minimal community spread), Scenario 2 (minimal-to-moderate community spread), and Scenario 3 (significant community spread).

In-person, hybrid, and online learning

The plan calls for fully in-person, hybrid, or fully remote classes, depending on the state’s rate of community spread. In Scenario 1, schools are open to fully in-person operations. Scenario 2 allows schools and districts to use a hybrid model to minimize contact and exposure. School buildings are not permitted to open in Scenario 3 and all learning must be conducted remotely. Later in August, Gov. Carney will announce which Scenario schools will need to use and if there are any regional differences in the state’s approach to reopening.

Mask requirements

All staff and students in grades 4-12 are required to wear masks in school buildings. The document recommends that students in pre-K through third grade also wear masks.

In-person health recommendations and requirements

The plan contains the following general safety guidelines for in-person operations:

  • Social distancing:
    • Students and staff should maintain the recommended distance of 6 feet or greater between individuals and must maintain a minimum of 3 feet apart with face coverings, including when seated at desks or standing in classrooms.
    • Individual desks should be used, reducing or eliminating shared table seating, to the extent practicable. When tables have to be shared, students should be seated the recommended 6 feet or greater between individuals and must be a minimum of 3 feet apart with face coverings.
    • Desks must be arranged so they are facing the same direction.
    • Hallways or corridors should flow either in one direction only or, if not possible, one direction on each side of the hallway with ample 6 feet of distance between students in single file flow on each side.
    • In group classes without tables, such as physical education, teachers should design activities that allow for social distancing.
  • Minimizing mixing and contact:
    • Students should be kept in stable groups throughout the day with little to no mixing of classes.
    • Families, outside visitors, and others entering the school should be as limited as absolutely possible. Adults who are assigned to work at the school, such as student teachers or before- and after-school staff, may be allowed as needed.
    • Off-site field trips must be discontinued.
    • Large-scale gatherings of more than 50 people should be avoided. Attendees at large-scale gatherings must be able to maintain 6 feet of social distancing at all times from non-household members.
  • Health status and monitoring:
    • Students and staff must stay home if they are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been confirmed to have COVID-19 or if required by DPH to isolate or quarantine.
    • Students and/or their families should complete a health assessment every morning before leaving for school, to the extent practicable.
    • Staff should also complete a health assessment every morning before leaving for school.
    • Schools must identify an area or room separated from others where a student or staff member who becomes ill at school can wait until they can be picked up, which should be arranged as soon as possible, or transported to a medical facility if necessary.
    • Testing educators and staff is a priority for the state. DDOE and DPH will work with all schools on how to make testing available and convenient. Additional guidance regarding testing is forthcoming.

For more specific guidelines, click here (starting on page 7).

Transportation and busing requirements and restrictions

The document directs school districts and charter schools to implement the following general mitigation tactics on buses:

  • Capacity must be limited by the number of students that can be seated between 3 or more feet apart on the school bus with face coverings (one student per row in staggered fashion, if possible). Students from the same family may sit together in one row, however. All staff and students 4th grade and higher must wear face coverings except when doing so would inhibit the individual’s health.
  • High-touch surfaces on buses (handrails, seat tops, particularly in first few rows) must be cleaned between every bus run with an EPA-approved solution.
  • Windows should be open to allow ventilation, as weather permits.

For more specific transportation guidelines, click here (starting on page 17).

Idaho’s Back-to-School Framework

On July 9, the Idaho Board of Education approved the Back-to-School Framework. The document says that it “outlines the expectations, support for local governance and decision-making, and guidance and best practices on the key operational components for safe reopening in the fall.”

The Framework replaced initial reopening guidelines that the Board had released on May 5 that was aligned with Gov. Butch Otter’s (R) reopening plan for the state as a whole.

Idaho does not have a statewide date for public schools to reopen. According to EdWeek, public schools in Idaho traditionally start the school year between late August and early September, with the exact start date varying by district.

On March 23, the board closed public schools across the state from March 24 to April 20. On April 6, the board closed public schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the school year or until social distancing protocols in the state were lifted. Officials said that individual schools could be approved to reopen if local social distancing orders were lifted and the school met criteria laid out by the board.

Context

Idaho is a Republican trifecta. The governor is a Republican, and Republicans have majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. The state became a Republican trifecta in 1995.

The following tables show public education statistics in Idaho, including a rank comparing it to the other 49 states. Rank one is the highest number of each figure, rank 50 is the lowest. All data comes from the Common Core of Data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Idaho public school metrics
Category Figure 50-state rank
Per pupil spending (’16-’17) $8,615 50
Number of students (’18-’19) 309,875 38
Number of teachers (’16-17) 16,204 39
Number of public schools (’18-’19) 759 38
Student:teacher ratio (’18-’19) 18.5 6
Percent qualifying for free/reduced lunch (’16-’17) 45.8% 28
Idaho public school revenue
Category Figure 50-state rank
Total revenue $2,294,497,000 44
Percent from federal sources 10.7% 16
Percent from state sources 65% 6
Percent from local sources 24.3% 46

Details

District reopening plans

Local school boards are responsible for developing plans and procedures for responding to the pandemic while providing student instruction. Local health districts are expected to advise these boards on health safety plans and procedures.

The framework does not specify whether plans have to be approved by the state or posted publicly for review.

In-person, hybrid, and online learning

Under the framework, local health districts will assign categories (levels) to schools based on the level of transmission within their community using criteria established in the statewide reopening plan. Each of those categories has a definition and recommended level of school operations.

  • Category 1: No Community Transmission
    • Definitions: Evidence of isolated cases, case investigations underway, no evidence of exposure in large communal setting, e.g., healthcare facility, school, mass gathering.
    • Level of Operations: School buildings open with physical distancing and sanitation
  • Category 2: Minimal to Moderate Community Transmission
    • Definitions: Widespread and/or sustained transmission with high likelihood or confirmed exposure within communal settings, with potential for rapid increase in suspected cases.
    • Level of Operations: School buildings open but option of limited/staggered use of school buildings with physical distancing and sanitation
  • Category 3: Substantial Community Transmission
    • Definitions: Large-scale community transmission, healthcare staffing significantly impacted, multiple cases within communal settings like healthcare facilities, schools, mass gatherings, etc.
    • Level of Operations: Targeted, short-term, or extended building closure

Mask requirements

The framework provides recommendations on masks based on the category assigned by local health districts.

  • Category 1: Masks recommended for students and staff but not required.
  • Category 2: Masks recommended for students, staff, and visitors when practical.
  • Category 3: If staff are allowed in the building, all staff must follow all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on the use of masks. As of Aug. 5, those guidelines recommended that people wear masks in public settings.

In-person health recommendations and requirements

The framework provides health recommendations for use in all three categories of community spread for the following school operations: preventative measures, testing, student assessment, instruction, social emotional learning, at-risk populations, food service, transportation, and student athletics. To view specific recommendations and requirements in each area, click here.

Transportation and busing requirements and restrictions

Transportation recommendations are also based on the category of community spread.

  • Category 1: Drivers and students are encouraged to wear masks.
  • Category 2: Masks required for drivers and recommended for students. Utilize spaced seating and establish protocols for loading and unloading children from different households.
  • Category 3: Limit transportation to small groups of students from the same family that need to go to school facilities to receive services. Mask requirements are not outlined in the framework.

Responses

On July 20, Idaho Education Association President Layne McInelly said:

When school buildings across the state were closed this spring, the decision-making was based on science and data. That approach seems to have been abandoned in the rush to reopen schools this fall. Idaho is at or near the highest percentage growth in COVID-19 cases in the nation. That is a troubling backdrop for a rush to reopen schools where large numbers of people will be gathering, and health precautions will be difficult to achieve.

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of other federal, state, and local government activity, as well as influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic.

  • The University of Connecticut canceled its 2020 football season, becoming the first member of the Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision to do so. “The safety challenges created by COVID-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk,” said Athletic Director David Benedict.
  • Chicago Public Schools will begin the school year with online-only classes. School officials said that meal delivery for at-risk students would continue and that free broadband would be expanded to up to 100,000 families.
  • On Aug. 3, as the result of a challenge by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), Judge J. Paul Oetken of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated portions of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA mandates that certain employers provide paid emergency sick and/or family leave to employees who are unable to work due to mandated COVID-19 quarantine or symptoms. The mandate extends to parents and guardians in the event of school or childcare unavailability. New York argued that the DOL violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) because the final rule restricts eligibility under the FFCRA in a manner that is “not authorized by, and conflicts with, the FFCRA. New York further argued the rule exceeds the FFCRA’s statutory by imposing additional burdens on employees seeking to claim benefits. In so doing, New York argued, the DOL was responsible for denying “vital financial support and exposing millions of American workers and their communities to further transmission of infectious disease in the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic.” Oetken vacated the final rule’s work-availability requirement, which made employees ineligible for leave under the FFCRA if their employer had no work for them because of COVID-related slowdowns or temporary closures. Oetken also struck down the DOL’s broad definition of a non-eligible health care provider, the requirement that an employee secure employer consent for intermittent leave, and the requirement that documentation is provided before taking leave. The remainder of the final rule was allowed to stand. Neither party has commented on the ruling, nor has the DOL indicated whether it will appeal or issue a new rule. Oetken is an appointee of Barack Obama (D).


Taylor leaves Wisconsin Legislature, replaces Karofsky on Dane County Circuit Court

Rep. Chris Taylor (D) resigned from the Wisconsin State Assembly on August 1 to be sworn in as the new Branch 12 judge on the Dane County Circuit Court that same day. Taylor fills the vacancy created by Jill Karofsky’s election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Karofsky left the circuit court to be sworn in as a state supreme court justice on August 1.

Taylor fills the third recent vacancy on the 17-branch Dane County Circuit Court, which has jurisdiction over the state capital of Madison. Gov. Tony Evers (D) appointed her to the court in June. He also appointed Mario White and Jacob Frost to the court that month. White filled the Branch 7 vacancy on the circuit court left by the resignation of William Hanrahan, who resigned to become an administrative law judge in March of this year. Frost filled the Branch 9 vacancy created by the retirement of judge Richard Niess. Judicial positions on the court are nonpartisan.

A fourth vacancy occurred on August 4, when Branch 12 judge Peter Anderson resigned. Gov. Evers is seeking applications for that and a fifth anticipated vacancy, which will occur when judge Shelley Gaylord resigns effective August 31.

Taylor, Frost, White, and the two pending appointees will each serve on the court for a term ending July 31, 2021. They must stand for retention elections in the spring of next year in order to serve full six-year terms on the court.

Additional reading:


Serafini resigns from Maryland State Senate

Maryland Sen. Andrew Serafini (R) resigned from the state legislature on August 1, citing the demands of his more than decade-long tenure in state government as a motivating factor. Serafini represented District 2A in the Maryland House of Delegates from 2009 to 2015, assuming office in the Maryland State Senate in February 2015.

Serafini wrote in a letter to his senate colleagues that “leaving my family on a Monday and not returning home until Friday late afternoon” took a toll on him. He also wrote, “Frankly, being a Republican from a rural area has also worn on me.” Before he resigned, Serafini was one of 15 Republican senators in the 47-seat chamber. Democrats have held a majority in the chamber since at least 1990.

Governor Larry Hogan (R) will appoint Serafini’s replacement from a list of candidates recommended by Republican committee officials in the district. The appointee will serve the remainder of Serafini’s unexpired term, which is set to end on January 10, 2023.

Additional reading:


Oregon Secretary of State verifies 59,000 signatures for redistricting initiative; courts to decide if it’s enough to qualify

On July 30, 2020, the Oregon Secretary of State’s office announced that People Not Politicians, the campaign behind the Independent State and Congressional Redistricting Commission Initiative, had submitted 59,493 valid signatures. People Not Politicians submitted its first batch of 64,172 unverified signatures on July 13. The campaign submitted an additional 1,819 signatures on July 17 and 1,063 signatures on July 24 for a total of 67,054 unverified signatures. The signature validity rate for the petition was 88.7%.

A federal judge ruled on July 10 that Secretary of State Bev Clarno (R) had to place the measure on the ballot or lower the threshold to 58,789 signatures and extend the signature deadline to August 17. The reduced number of signatures of 58,789 is equal to the required amount for 2018 veto referendum petitions. The original deadline was July 2, and the required number of signatures was 149,360 valid signatures.

People Not Politicians filed the lawsuit against the state seeking relief from the signature deadline and requirements on June 30. The state appealed the federal court’s decision allowing the campaign to submit signatures after the original deadline. On July 23, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Oregon’s request for an emergency stay on the lower court’s ruling.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D) filed an emergency stay with the U.S. Supreme Court on July 29 that has not been decided yet. A panel of the 9th Circuit Court is expected to hear oral arguments for the lawsuit on August 13. It will also be hearing oral arguments for a similar initiative lawsuit in Idaho on the same day. Reclaim Idaho, the sponsors of the Idaho Income Tax Increases for Education Funding Initiative, filed the lawsuit back in June and a federal judge allowed the campaign to gather electronic signatures and have extra time to gather signatures. On July 30, the Supreme Court granted an emergency stay on the judge’s order.

The Oregon initiative would amend the Oregon Constitution to establish a 12-member redistricting commission. If the initiative qualifies for the ballot, it will be the third initiative appearing on the November ballot in Oregon. The Oregon Secretary of State certified the Psilocybin Program Initiative and the Drug Decriminalization and Addiction Treatment Initiative for the ballot after both met the original July 2 deadline and submitted more than the required number of valid signatures (112,020).

Additional reading:



Oklahoma campaign finance reports published show Yes on 802 campaign raised nearly 19 times as much as No on 802 campaign

Oklahoma State Question 802 was on the June primary ballot in Oklahoma where it was approved by a vote of 50.49% to 49.51%. The measure expanded Medicaid eligibility to adults between 18 and 65 whose income is 138% of the federal poverty level or below. Campaign finance reports were not due from the campaigns until after the election on July 31, 2020.

Campaign finance reports for the Oklahoma State Question 802 campaigns show aggregate totals through the life of the campaigns. The report filed by Yes on 802-Oklahomans Decide Healthcare covered information as far back as March 6, 2019. The Vote No on 802 Association‘s report covered information from June 8, 2020. Both reports covered through June 30, 2020.

The Yes on 802 campaign raised $5.5 million in cash and $295,000 in in-kind contributions. Of all the funds, 95% came from eight donors, which contributed the following amounts:

  1. Oklahoma Hospital Association: $2.5 million
  2. St. Francis Hospital: $940,000
  3. Tulsa Community Foundation: $923,000
  4. Stacy Schusterman, chair of Samson Energy Company: $500,000
  5. Ascension St John Foundation: $250,000
  6. The Fairness Project: $247,616.61 (in-kind)
  7. Chickasaw Nation: $100,000
  8. Oklahoma Medical Association: $25,000

The support campaign reported $5.47 million in cash expenditures. Sponsors of the measure hired Fieldworks LLC to collect signatures for the petition to qualify this measure for the ballot. A total of $1,836,261.73 was spent to collect the 177,958 valid signatures required to put this measure before voters, resulting in a total cost per required signature (CPRS) of $10.32.

The Vote No on 802 Association, chaired by John Tidwell, state director of Americans for Prosperity, reported $210,600 in cash contributions, $100,084 in in-kind contributions, and $114,950 in cash expenditures. Four donors contributed 100% of the funds:

  1. Americans for Prosperity: $200,000 cash and $99,850 in-kind
  2. Jim Antosh, owner of Round House Workwear LLC: $10,000
  3. Nobel Systems, Inc: $500
  4. John Tidwell: $100 in cash and $234.19 in-kind

Comparison to citizen initiatives of 2018:

Two citizen initiatives were on the 2018 ballot in Oklahoma. The CPRS for State Question 788, which was designed to legalize medical marijuana was $0.41. Sponsors spent $26,988 to collect the required 65,987 signatures. State Question 793, concerning optometrists and opticians operating in retail stores, used volunteers to collect the 123,725 valid signatures, resulting in a CPRS of $0. The number of signatures required to qualify initiatives for the ballot in Oklahoma is tied to the total votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election. The number of required signatures increased for initiated constitutional amendments and state statutes in 2020 after the gubernatorial election in 2018.

In 2018, supporters of State Question 788 raised $280,117, and opponents raised $1.26 million. It was approved. Supporters of State Question 793 raised $4.6 million, and opponents raised $3 million.

As of August 3, 2020, 110 statewide ballot measures had been certified for the 2020 ballot in 33 states. Committees registered to support or oppose these statewide measures have reported a combined total of $335.7 million in contributions and $144.2 million in expenditures so far. Of the total contributions in support of or opposition to the 110 statewide measures certified, the 32 citizen-initiated measures featured about 73% of contributions. In 2018, the 68 citizen-initiated measures featured about 83% of the $1.19 billion in campaign contributions for the 167 statewide measures.

Additional reading:



Heart of the Primaries 2020, Republicans-Issue 29 (August 5, 2020)

This week: Jake LaTurner defeats incumbent Rep. Steve Watkins, Marshall wins Kansas Senate nomination over Kobach, Hamilton, and Collins launches TV ad against Loeffler in Georgia.

Election results

Here are some key primary results from Aug. 4.

  • United States Senate, Kansas: Roger Marshall defeated Kris Kobach, Bob Hamilton, and eight others. Marshall received 40% of the vote followed by Kobach and Hamilton with 26% and 19%, respectively. No other candidate received over 10% of the vote. Incumbent Pat Roberts (R), who was first elected in 1996, is not seeking re-election. The last time Kansas had an open Senate seat was in 2010.
  • Kansas’ 1st Congressional District: Tracey Mann won. He received 54% of the vote to Bill Clifford’s 33%. Incumbent Rep. Roger Marshall (R) is running for U.S. Senate, leaving this safe Republican seat open. 
  • Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District: Jake LaTurner won with 49% of the vote to incumbent Steve Watkins’ 34% and Dennis Taylor’s 17%. Watkins and William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) were the sixth and seventh incumbent representatives defeated in a primary in 2020. Watkins was first elected in 2018, defeating Paul Davis (D) by less than 1 percentage point. 
  • On July 14, Watkins was charged with voter fraud, having used the address of a UPS store on his voter registration form. Watkins said he mistakenly used his mailing address instead of his residential address and that the charges were politically motivated. 
  • Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District: Amanda Adkins won with 31% of the vote, defeating Sara Hart Weir (23%) and Adrienne Vallejo Foster (20%). Adkins will face incumbent Sharice Davids (D) and Steve Hohe (L) in the general. Davids was first elected in 2018 after challenging and defeating incumbent Kevin Yoder (R), who had represented the 3rd District since 2011. 
  • Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District: Peter Meijer won with 50% of the vote and 51% of precincts reporting. Lynn Afendoulis received 26% and Tom Norton received 16%. The seat was left open after incumbent Justin Amash joined the Libertarian Party and decided not to pursue a third-party candidacy. 
  • Michigan’s 10th Congressional District: With 80% of precincts reporting, Lisa McClain led with 41% of the vote, followed by Shane Hernandez with 38% and Doug Slocum with 21%. Incumbent Paul Mitchell (R) did not seek re-election, leaving this safe Republican seat open. 
  • Missouri governor: Incumbent Mike Parson won the primary with 75% of the vote. Four candidates ran. 
  • Washington governor, top-two primary: Incumbent Jay Inslee (D) and Loren Culp (R) were the top two finishers among a field of 36 candidates and will compete in the general election. With half of precincts reporting, Inslee received 52% of the vote and Culp received 17%.
  • United States Senate, Arizona: Incumbent Martha McSally won with 76% of the vote, followed by Daniel McCarthy with 24%. Sean Lyons, a write-in candidate, also ran. As of 9:55 a.m. Eastern Time, write-in vote totals had not yet been reported. McSally will face Mark Kelly (D) in the general election. Both candidates have raised over $40 million for their respective campaigns as of mid-July.
  • Kansas State Senate: Ten Republican incumbents faced primary challengers. Six incumbents were defeated, three won, and one race remains too close to call. High Plains Public Radio reported that “Control of the Kansas Legislature could turn on dozens of down-ballot races … in which many of the contests … pit conservative Republicans against moderate incumbents.”
  • Arizona State Senate: Wendy Rogers defeated incumbent Sylvia Allen in Senate District 6. Rogers received 59% of the vote to Allen’s 41%. We covered this primary on July 29 after Allen received an endorsement from the Gila County GOP, which does not usually weigh in on primaries. Both candidates were opposed and supported by satellite spending totaling over $300,000.
  • Sheriff, Maricopa County, Arizona: Jerry Sheridan leads former Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the Republican primary, 37% to 36%. Arpaio lost his 2016 re-election bid to Democrat and current incumbent Paul Penzone. Sheridan was chief deputy under Arpaio. In July 2017, Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt when a judge ruled that he had violated a court order requiring him to stop detaining people suspected of being in the country illegally without reasonable suspicion that they had committed a crime. In August 2017, President Donald Trump (R) pardoned Arpaio.

On the news

Where do Republican and conservative pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

On voting by mail

“We have also seen that voting by mail can slow the counting of votes. Particularly in close races, this sometimes makes it impossible to declare a result on election night. Occasionally, as some primary races have shown us this year, it can take days or even weeks. But the fact that results take longer does not mean those results are tainted. The work of counting mail-in votes, and especially of verifying signatures and resolving disputes, can take time, but this is precisely the work of assuring that results are legitimate and reliable.

“It’s essential that public officials help the American public understand this in advance of the fall election, to help voters see that the fact that results may not be available within hours doesn’t mean the results aren’t reliable.”

Yuval Levin, National Review, July 30, 2020

“Americans should insist on their right to vote in-person in their polling places in November, where they can be sure their ballots are safely received and counted.

 

“No one disputes that those most at risk from the coronavirus pandemic may want to vote by absentee ballot. But as the New York Times correctly said back in 2012, ‘votes cast by mail are less likely to be counted, more likely to be compromised and more likely to be contested than those cast in a voting booth.’

 

“That assessment is just as true today as it was eight years ago. Voters should not be forced to deal with the problems that massive voting by mail would create.”

Hans von Spakovsky, Fox News, July 30, 2020

U.S. Congress

Collins’ first TV ad criticizes Loeffler on stock sales, wealth

Doug Collins’ first TV ad criticizes incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) over stock sales amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The ad says Loeffler is using her family fortune to attack Collins and “high-priced lawyers to help her get away with” her stock transactions.

In March, media outlets began reporting that Loeffler and her husband, Jeff Sprecher, sold $3 million in stocks at the beginning of the year following a briefing for senators on COVID-19 that Loeffler attended. Financial disclosures released in April showed more than $18 million in stock sales on Loeffler’s behalf from mid-February to mid-March. Loeffler denied wrongdoing, saying in March, “There is a range of different decisions made every day with regard to my savings and 401(k) portfolios that I am not involved in.” 

Loeffler launched a $4 million ad campaign in May defending herself against criticisms around the stock sales. The ads say the allegations of wrongdoing are lies. The ads also highlight $1 million Loeffler donated to a hospital and the use of her personal plane to bring home four Georgians stranded on a cruise ship.

Loeffler and Collins are among 21 candidates running in the all-party special election on Nov. 3—six Republicans, eight Democrats, five independents, a Green Party candidate, and a Libertarian. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, a runoff will be held Jan. 5, 2021. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Loeffler to the Senate seat after Johnny Isakson (R) resigned in December. 

Six primary candidates have filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, designed to elicit insightful and thoughtful responses from candidates on what they care about, what they stand for, and what they hope to achieve. Click on candidates’ names below to read their responses.

If you’d like to learn more about the survey, or if you are a candidate who would like to submit a survey, click here.

Club for Growth spends $2.4 million supporting Donalds, opposing Askar in FL-19

Club for Growth Action has spent $1.4 million supporting Byron Donalds and $937,000 opposing Casey Askar in Florida’s 19th Congressional District Republican primary

The group has released ads calling Donalds a true conservative who has fought for lower taxes and stands with police. The group’s ads say Askar donated to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and not Donald Trump’s.

Donalds has served in the Florida House of Representatives since 2016. Askar is a franchisee for Dunkin’ Donuts, Church’s Chicken, and other businesses. They are among nine candidates running in the primary. Incumbent Francis Rooney (R) is retiring, leaving this safe Republican district open.

Most other satellite spending in the race has surrounded Dane Eagle, who has served in the state House since 2012. Conservative Outsider PAC spent $251,000 opposing him, and Concerned Conservatives Inc. spent $167,000 supporting him.

Six primary candidates submitted responses to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. To read their responses, click on candidates’ names below. 

The primary is Aug. 18.

State executives

Riggleman considers independent gubernatorial run in 2021 after Republican primary defeat

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) said he is considering running for governor of Virginia in 2021 as an independent candidate. Riggleman lost his re-election bid for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District in June. Bob Good (R), a former member of the Campbell County Board of Supervisors, defeated him at the Republican Party’s district convention by a margin of 16 points.

“The Virginia Republican Party is so broken. Maybe it is time for a third-party run,” Riggleman said in an interview. He added that he would decide by September or October.

Former Virginia State House Speaker Kirk Cox (R) also announced this week that he was looking at joining the race. Cox would join state Sen. Amanda Chase (R), who has already declared her candidacy. 

Virginia is the only state to prevent governors from serving consecutive terms, meaning the office is open in every election year. The gubernatorial election will take place on Nov. 2, 2021. 

Virginia is currently a Democratic trifecta, where a Democrat is governor and Democrats hold majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. Except for the 2013 election, every Virginia gubernatorial race since 1973 has been won by the party that lost the previous year’s presidential election.

Legislatures

*The number of incumbents who did seek re-election is provided for the 41 states whose 2020 filing deadlines have already passed. The number of incumbents defeated in primaries is provided for the 24 states that have already held state legislative primaries in 2020.

Alaska AFL-CIO, former challenger encourage voters to support Sen. Cathy Giessel (R) in Senate District N primary

On Aug. 2, Must Read Alaska’s Suzanne Downing reported that the Alaska AFL-CIO, headed by Vince Beltrami (I), has been conducting door knocking and literature drops encouraging voters to request a Republican ballot and support Senate President Cathy Giessel (R) in the Senate District N primary.

Beltrami challenged Giessel in the district’s 2016 general election. Giessel received 52% of the vote to Beltrami’s 48%. This year, Giessel faces a primary challenge from Roger Holland (R), a state Department of Transportation employee and Coast Guard reservist.

The contest between Giessel and Holland has centered on Alaska’s Permanent Fund dividends (PDF), a yearly dividend paid out to Alaska residents. In December 2019, Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s (R) budget proposed setting the dividend at nearly $3,000 per person. Dunleavy would have used state savings to supplement the payment.

Giessel opposed the plan, saying, “Should we institute an income tax, even a statewide sales tax, for the sole purpose of paying a very large dividend?” She recommended the state modernize its formulas used to calculate the PFD rather than using savings. The 2020 PFD ultimately paid out at $992 per recipient.

On his campaign website, Holland wrote, “Now is not the time to take PFD funds from Alaskans to allow continued irresponsible spending by state government.” He said, “proposed changes should be studied by the experts and put before the people for a vote.”

The AFL-CIO is also distributing materials encouraging voters to support Rep. Chuck Kopp (R-24) in his House District 24 primary against challenger Tom McKay, which we covered on July 29.

Candidates participate in forum for open Wyoming Senate District 18 seat

On July 23, the Park County Republican Women hosted a candidate forum for the upcoming Aug. 18 primary in Wyoming’s Senate District 18. Four candidates—Stefanie Bell, Tim French, Richard Jones, and state Rep. David Northrup—are running. Incumbent Sen. Henry Coe (R-08) is not seeking re-election, leaving the seat open for the first time since he took office in 1989.

Each of the four candidates has held or currently holds a public office. Bell is a member of the Park County School District Board of Trustees, a position she has held for 20 years. French served as a Park County Commissioner from 2000 to 2018. Jones served on the Planning and Zoning Boards for the City of Cody and Park County. Northrup has represented House District 50 since 2013.

The forum’s first question asked candidates whether they supported increases in a state income tax, corporate income tax, or sales tax. Currently, Wyoming does not have a personal income or corporate income tax. 

Bell and Jones said they generally oppose tax increases and instead suggested the state take a closer look at spending and efficiencies. Bell said the budget should be simplified so more citizens can weigh in each year. Jones went into greater detail in his Candidate Connection survey, saying, “New taxes and fees may be needed but should have the approval of the voters not just imposed by legislation.”

French said he opposed raising any taxes, citing the economic conditions associated with the coronavirus pandemic. “What are you gonna tell those people,” French said, “‘I want you to cut this out of your life,’ ‘I need you to cut this’? They’re already struggling, what are they supposed to cut?”

Northrup also mentioned the economy. He said financial reserves could be used to balance the budget over the upcoming two years, but the state needed to have a longer-term strategy. “If we blow all of our … savings right off the bat trying to figure out how to get through this, then what?” Northrup said one option to explore would be an optional penny sales tax with a sunset provision.

Power players

“The NRRT focuses on the unique legal and data demands of redistricting and coordinates a nationwide redistricting strategy with the Republican Party’s national and state committees and conservative organizations around the country.” – National Republican Redistricting Trust website

Launched in 2017 in response to the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, the National Republican Redistricting Trust (NRTT) says it aims to position Republicans favorably for redistricting through litigation and data analysis. Adam Kincaid acts as executive director, and in 2019 former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was brought on as financial director.

The NRRT has previously said that it planned to raise $35 million by 2020. In May 2020, the organization filed paperwork to establish the National Republican Redistricting PAC. Kincaid told The Hill that this “would give his group access to small-dollar donors who are increasingly crucial to political success.”



Ballotpedia releases federal judicial vacancy count for July 2020

In this month’s federal judicial vacancy count, Ballotpedia tracked nominations, confirmations, and vacancies to all United States Article III federal courts from July 2, 2020, to August 3, 2020. Ballotpedia publishes the federal judicial vacancy count at the start of each month.

HIGHLIGHTS

Vacancies: There have been two new judicial vacancies since the June 2020 report. There are 73 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions on courts covered in this report. Including the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, 79 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.
Nominations: There have been no new nominations since the June 2020 report.

Confirmations: There have been two new confirmations since the June 2020 report.

New vacancies

There were 73 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions, a total vacancy percentage of 8.4.
• The nine-member U.S. Supreme Court does not have any vacancies.
• None of the 179 U.S. Appeals Court positions are vacant.
• 71 (10.5%) of the 677 U.S. District Court positions are vacant.

• Two (22.2%) of the nine U.S. Court of International Trade positions are vacant.

A vacancy occurs when a judge resigns, retires, takes senior status, or passes away. Article III judges, who serve on courts authorized by Article III of the U.S. Constitution, are appointed for life terms.

Two judges left active status, creating Article III life-term judicial vacancies, since the previous vacancy count. As Article III judicial positions, these vacancies must be filled by a nomination from the president. Nominations are subject to confirmation on the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate.
1. Judge Virginia Covington assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

2. Judge Federico Moreno assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

U.S. Court of Appeals vacancies

The following chart tracks the number of vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals from the inauguration of President Donald Trump (R) to the date indicated on the chart.

The following maps show the number of vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals at Trump’s inauguration and as of August 1, 2020.

New nominations

Trump has not announced any new nominations since the June 2020 report. Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has nominated 262 individuals to Article III positions.

New confirmations
Since July 2, 2020, the United States Senate has confirmed two of Trump’s nominees to Article III seats.
• David Joseph, confirmed to the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

• Scott Hardy, confirmed to the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

As of August 3, 2020, the Senate has confirmed 202 of Trump’s judicial nominees—145 district court judges, 53 appeals court judges, two Court of International Trade judges, and two Supreme Court justices—since January 2017.

Additional reading:


Heart of the Primaries 2020, Democrats-Issue 29 (August 5, 2020)

This week: Cori Bush defeats incumbent Rep. William Lacy Clay, Ilhan Omar releases first TV ad, and Ocasio-Cortez appears in an ad for Ed Markey.

Election results

Here are some key primary results from Aug. 4.

  • Arizona’s 1st Congressional District: Incumbent Tom O’Halleran defeated Eva Putzova. O’Halleran received 59% to Putzova’s 41% with 98% of precincts reporting. O’Halleran, a former Republican member of the state legislature, was first elected to the seat as a Democrat in 2016. He co-chairs the Blue Dog Coalition. Putzova is a former member of the Flagstaff City Council.
  • Arizona’s 6th Congressional District: Hiral Tipirneni won with 54% of the vote to Anita Malik’s 36%, with 95% of precincts reporting. In the general election, Tipirneni will run against incumbent David Schweikert (R) in a district rated lean Republican.
  • Michigan’s 13th Congressional District: Incumbent Rashida Tlaib won with 66% of the vote to Brenda Jones’ 34%, with 87% of precincts reporting. The race was a rematch. Tlaib and Jones ran against one another in both the district’s regular and special election primaries in 2018. Jones defeated Tlaib in the special primary election. Tlaib defeated Jones in the regular primary.
  • Missouri’s 1st Congressional District: Cori Bush defeated incumbent William Lacy Clay and Katherine Bruckner. Bush received 49% of the vote to Clay’s 46%. Clay is one of seven incumbent representatives who have lost in primaries in 2020, along with Steve Watkins who lost the Republican primary in Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District on Aug. 4.
  • Bush challenged Clay in the district’s 2018 primary, which Clay won with 57% of the vote to Bush’s 37%. Clay was first elected in 2000. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch endorsed his re-election bid. Bush received endorsements from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jamaal Bowman, a candidate for New York’s 16th District who defeated 16-term incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel in the district’s June 23 Democratic primary. 
  • Washington’s 10th Congressional District, top-two: As of 9:15 a.m. Eastern Time on Aug. 5, this race had not been called. Marilyn Strickland (D) led with 21.4% of the vote. Beth Doglio (D) had 14.4%, Kristine Reeves (D) had 13.2%, and Rian Ingrim (R) had 10.6%. Nineteen candidates—eight Democrats, eight Republicans, one independent, one Essential Workers Party candidate, and one Congress Sucks Party candidate—ran in the primary. Denny Heck (D), in office since 2013, sought election as lieutenant governor, leaving the seat open.
  • Washington governor, top-two primary: Incumbent Jay Inslee (D) and Loren Culp (R) were the top two finishers among a field of 36 candidates and will compete in the general election. With half of precincts reporting, Inslee received 52% of the vote and Culp received 17%.
  • St. Louis Circuit Attorney: Incumbent Kimberly Gardner won the Democratic primary for circuit attorney in St. Louis. She received 61% of the vote to Mary Pat Carl’s 39%. The race was a rematch. Gardner and Carl ran in the four-candidate Democratic primary in 2016, where Gardner received 47% of the vote and Carl was second with 24%.

On the news

Where do Democratic and progressive pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

On vice-presidential ambition

“Biden’s biggest strength is that he has from the beginning of the primary contest polled best in head-to-head matchups against Trump. ‘Electability’ was always the number one issue for most Democratic primary voters desperate to put an end to Trump’s reign … But that doesn’t mean even older, more moderate Democratic voters want Biden determining the character of the party going forward–much less the younger … progressive wing winning an increasingly larger share of the party’s internal battles. Biden is a calming caretaker for our democracy, not the face of the Democratic Party’s future. His vice-presidential pick shouldn’t be determining that, either.

 

“In short, an underrated characteristic of Biden’s vice-presidential pick should be that she not necessarily want the job in four to eight years. Not as a knock against anyone he might choose, but because after the immediate danger of Trump is passed, Democratic voters should be at liberty to freely choose the direction of the party over the next decade without being locked into the defensive, electability-driven calculations of the Biden campaign in 2020.”

David Atkins, Washington Monthly, Aug. 1, 2020

“Fourteen American vice presidents have gone to become president, including John Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, and George H.W. Bush. But even as Joe Biden vies to become the 15th, a warped, sexist narrative has emerged in recent days that his female running mate should not have presidential ambitions herself …

 

“Political ambition is tantamount to striving for power, and when it comes from women, it makes people deeply comfortable. American culture tends to like unassuming models and actresses who are discovered magically, serendipitously, plucked from obscurity, aw-shucks-ing their way up the ladder. To try is to offend the increasingly delicate status quo of white-male rule and the evident fragility of Biden’s inner circle. The truth is: Every woman on their short list is powered by ambition. They could never have become senators and governors and congressional leaders without it—especially not in the male-dominated world of politics, with people like Biden’s top donors working against them.”

Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, Aug. 3, 2020

U.S. Congress

Ilhan Omar releases first TV ad in MN-05

Rep. Ilhan Omar released her first TV ad ahead of the Aug. 11 primary in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District. 

In the ad, Omar says, “We can translate our cries for justice into legislation, and that’s the fight we have been leading in Congress.” In a second ad, Omar said Antone Melton-Meaux, one of the five primary candidates, was a partner at “one of the worst union-busting law firms in the country” and that he used nondisclosure agreements to prevent women from talking about sexual harassment.   

Melton-Meaux says he would find common ground with others to reach progressive goals. In a recent ad, he said, “I won’t be chasing cameras or selling books. I’ll work for you.” Melton-Meaux’s campaign slogan is “Focused On the Fifth.”

As we recently reported, Melton-Meaux raised $3.2 million to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s $480,000 in the second quarter of 2020. As of July 22, Omar had raised a total of $4.3 million to Melton-Meaux’s $4.2 million.

Two primary candidates have filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, designed to elicit insightful and thoughtful responses from candidates on what they care about, what they stand for, and what they hope to achieve. Click on candidates’ names below to read their responses.

If you’d like to learn more about the survey, or if you are a candidate who would like to submit a survey, click here.

Ocasio-Cortez appears in Markey ad

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) appeared in an ad for Sen. Ed Markey, who faces Joe Kennedy III in Massachusetts’ Senate primary

Ocasio-Cortez said Markey was an original cosponsor of Medicare for All legislation and that he co-authored the Green New Deal resolution with her in 2019. She said, “When it comes to progressive leadership, it’s not your age that counts. It’s the age of your ideas.”  

Markey, 74, has been in the Senate since 2013. He served in the U.S. House from 1976 to 2013. Kennedy, 39, has been in the U.S. House since 2013. 

Kennedy says he supports Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. At a recent debate, he said Markey hadn’t done enough to implement the Green New Deal. Kennedy has said the race is part of the “fight of my generation,” but also said, “This isn’t about age, and it isn’t about seniority. … It’s about meeting this moment and doing everything that you can possibly do to take it on.”

Along with Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed Markey. Recently, the Massachusetts Teachers Association backed him.

Kennedy’s endorsers include Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), and former Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who died last month. 

A recent JMC Analytics poll found Markey with 40% support, Kennedy with 36%, and 24% undecided. The poll’s margin of error was +/- 4.4 percentage points.

The poll also asked if Markey’s 44 years in Congress would make respondents more or less likely to vote for him—30% said less likely, 30% said more likely, and 40% said it made no difference. When asked about the effect of the Kennedy family name, 20% said they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate with it, 24% said less likely, and 57% said it made no difference. 

The primary is Sept. 1.

State executives

Feltes, Volinsky spar over unemployment benefits in New Hampshire gubernatorial debate

State Sen. Dan Feltes (D) and New Hampshire Executive Councilman Andru Volinsky (D) discussed the coronavirus pandemic and economic recovery plans in their first in-person gubernatorial debate on July 29.

Feltes criticized Volinsky’s position on reevaluating enhanced unemployment insurance, saying, “This election is about who’s [sic] side are you on – working people and working families. You got to be on their side full time, not part time.”

Volinsky, who said the amount of the weekly $600 federal benefit should be reconsidered, defended his record as an attorney and public servant. “No one gets to claim that mantle in this race. We’re both committed to working-class people,” Volinsky said.

The primary is scheduled for Sept. 8. On the Republican side, incumbent Chris Sununu (R), who was first elected in 2016, faces two opponents. Two election forecasters say Republicans are likely to win the general election and a third says it leans Republican.

Legislatures

*The number of incumbents who did seek re-election is provided for the 44 states whose 2020 filing deadlines have already passed. The number of incumbents defeated in primaries is provided for the 24 states that have already held state legislative primaries in 2020.

Cabrera and Farmer participate in Connecticut Senate District 17 debate

On July 28, Jorge Cabrera and Justin Farmer participated in a virtual debate sponsored by The Valley Independent Sentinel, WNHH Radio, and The New Haven Independent. Cabrera and Farmer are vying for the Democratic nomination to face incumbent Sen. George Logan (R-17). 

Cabrera is an organizing director with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 919. He received endorsements from the Connecticut branches of the AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union as well as from the District 17 Democratic Party.

Farmer is a member of the Hamden Legislative Council. The Democratic Socialists of America, Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut, and the Connecticut Young Democrats endorsed his campaign.

On a question about healthcare, Cabrera discussed his support for a public option, saying, “I’m a big believer in high-quality, affordable healthcare for everyone.” Farmer said, “I am a big proponent of Medicare for All,” adding that “We can have a Connecticut option to allow our undocumented community members to be covered.”

In Connecticut, candidates participate in conventions before proceeding to primaries. A candidate can win the nomination outright at a convention so long as no other candidates receive more than 15% of the delegate vote. On May 27, we covered the convention vote setting up the contest between Cabrera and Farmer. Delegates supported Cabrera over Farmer 39-10, enough votes to net Cabrera the party’s endorsement, but not enough to win the nomination outright.

In 2018, Logan defeated Cabrera, that cycle’s Democratic nominee, 50.1-49.9%, a margin of 85 votes. In 2016, District 17 supported Hillary Clinton (D) over Donald Trump (R), 53-44%.

Sunrise Rhode Island endorses challenger Potter in House District 16 primary against Rep. Millea

On July 29, Sunrise RI, the Rhode Island affiliate of the national Sunrise Movement, endorsed Brandon Potter (D) in the House District 16 primary, where he is challenging incumbent Rep. Christopher Millea (D-16). Sunrise Movement describes itself as “a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.”

Announcing the endorsement, Potter, a sales manager, said, “We not only have a moral obligation to protect our environment, we have a major economic opportunity to invest in renewable energy.” In addition to Sunrise RI, he received endorsements from the Rhode Island affiliates of Planned Parenthood Votes! and Our Revolution.

Millea was first elected in 2018 after defeating incumbent Rep. Robert Lancia (R), 53-47% in the general election. In his campaign announcement, Millea said that he “has been a constant champion for education reform and governmental transparency.” He added, “There is far more work to be done for the residents of District 16, but we have made tremendous progress.”

The winner of the Sept. 8 primary will face Maryann Lancia (R), the wife of former Rep. Lancia, in the general election. 

Power players

“The National Democratic Redistricting Committee is the centralized hub for executing a comprehensive redistricting strategy that shifts the redistricting power, creating fair districts where Democrats can compete.” – National Democratic Redistricting Committee website

Since 2017, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee says it has been working to position Democrats favorably for redistricting through litigation, legislation, and elections. Currently led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, it also counts President Barack Obama (D) among its notable supporters. 

As of June 30, its PAC has raised $3,899,804 and spent $2,397,598 this election cycle. Among its largest campaign contributions are $250,000 to Common Good Virginia, a committee supporting Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D), $75,000 to the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee, and $75,000 to the Virginia House Democratic Caucus.

Click the following links to view the organization’s 2019-2020 electoral targets and endorsements.



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