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Maine Supreme Court Justice Hjelm is retiring

Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Jeffrey Hjelm announced on September 20 that he is retiring, effective upon the confirmation of his successor.
Selection of state supreme court justices in Maine occurs through gubernatorial appointment, although the governor’s nominee must be confirmed by the Maine State Senate. Once confirmed, justices serve seven-year terms and must be reappointed if they wish to serve additional seven-year terms.
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court is the court of last resort in the state. It currently includes the following justices:
  • Chief Justice Leigh Ingalls Saufley – first appointed by Gov. Angus King (I)
  • Justice Ellen Gorman – first appointed by Gov. John Baldacci (D)
  • Justice Thomas Humphrey – first appointed by Gov. Paul LePage (R)
  • Justice Joseph Jabar – first appointed by Gov. John Baldacci (D)
  • Justice Andrew Mead – first appointed by Gov. Paul LePage (R)
  • Justice Donald Alexander – first appointed by Gov. Angus King (I)
  • Justice Jeffrey L. Hjelm – first appointed by Gov. Paul LePage (R)
Hjelm was nominated to the court by LePage on May 7, 2014, to succeed Jon Levy. Hjelm’s appointment was confirmed July 24, 2014. He previously served on the Knox County Superior Court from 1998 to 2014 and the Maine District Courts from 1992 to 1998. Hjelm received his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College and his J.D. from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
In 2019, there have been 19 supreme court vacancies across 13 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. Of those 19 vacancies, 12 are in states where a Republican governor appoints the replacement. Six vacancies occurred in a state where a Democratic governor fills vacancies, while another occurred in a state where a Republican-controlled legislature appoints replacements.

Mississippi Senate district to hold partial special election in November

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) has called a special election for Mississippi State Senate District 50 on November 5, 2019. The election was deemed necessary after a Harrison County Circuit Court judge vacated the August 6 regular primary’s results in five of the district’s 16 precincts and ordered a new election to be held.
Candidates Scott DeLano and Dixie Newman had both competed in the August Republican primary, and certified results showed Newman received 3,184 votes to DeLano’s 3,183 votes. On August 26, DeLano filed a petition with the Republican County Executive Committee of Harrison County contesting the certified primary results. He cited his concern that not all votes cast in the district were counted. The committee ruled that a special election should be held and requested that the judge call a new election.
Voters in five precincts will return to the polls in November, but voters in the other 11 precincts will not re-vote and their original votes from the August 6 primary will be combined with the results of the November re-vote. Since no other candidates filed for the seat, the person who wins the most votes in the combined primaries will be declared the winner.
Excluding the five precincts headed to a re-vote and counting only the results from the 11 precincts where the results are finalized, Newman received 2,287 votes (51.4%) and DeLano received 2,161 votes (48.6%).
Entering the 2019 election, the Mississippi State Senate has 18 Democrats, 31 Republicans, and three vacancies. All 52 seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 27 seats. Mississippi has a Republican state government trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.

Recall begins against three Louisiana school board members

In Louisiana, an effort to recall three of the eight members of the Vermilion Parish School District Board of Education was approved for circulation on September 9, 2019.
The targeted officeholders are District A member David Dupius, board president and District C member Laura LeBeouf, and District D member Dale Stelly. Vice president and District F member Kibbie Pillette was also considered for recall, but no petition had been filed as of September 24, 2019.
According to Lynn Vincent, who chairs the recall committee, the school board’s decision to place district superintendent Jerome Puyau on paid administrative leave for a second time is the cause of the recall effort. Vincent told KLFY News 10 that the superintendent’s suspension was a waste of taxpayer money and politically motivated. The recall petition alleges that the board members “are more concerned about political and/or personal agendas than the concerns of their own constituents and the children of Vermilion Parish.”
Puyau was placed on administrative leave in July 2019 after he was accused of failing to put items on agendas as requested by board members, hiring personnel who did not meet board-specified qualifications, and using board funds to pay private attorneys’ fees without the board’s knowledge or approval.
All three of the recall targets provided responses to the petition to KLFY News 10:
  • David Dupius said, “I work with my constituents. I speak with my constituents. I stand by my constituents. That’s all I have to say about it.”
  • Laura LeBeouf said, “Basically, I think this recall committee is a tactic and aim at board members when you have five board members that are addressing issues to come at us. I see it as a political tactic.”
  • Dale Stelly said, “Everyone has their views and their rights to do what they see fit. In my base, precinct, and those people there by a large margin, basically elected me, and told me when I went house to house that they wanted to elect me to make a change.”
Recall supporters have until March 9, 2020—180 days—to collect the signatures of one-third of the total registered voters across the three school board districts represented by the targeted board members.
In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.

Dems respond to impeachment inquiry, Trump raises $1 million

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

September 25, 2019: Democratic presidential candidates respond to the impeachment inquiry announcement. Bernie Sanders proposes a wealth tax on assets over $32 million. blank    blankblank   

 Daily Presidential News Briefing - Presidential Facebook ads, 2019-2020 (September 16-22, 2019)

Notable Quote of the Day

“For Democrats running for president, breaking through on healthcare or the economy just got a lot tougher. Impeachment will be the dominant topic for a long time.”

– Doug Heye, Republican strategist




  • Mark Sanford will campaign in Iowa with meet and greet events in two cities Wednesday.

  • Donald Trump delivered his third address to the United Nations General Assembly, discussing the military, unemployment, USMCA, immigration, and foreign policy.

  • Trump and the Republican National Committee raised $1 million after sending fundraising emails Tuesday calling for supporters to donate and join the “Official Impeachment Defense Task Force.”

Flashback: September 25, 2015

Draft Biden hired paid staff in 11 states holding primaries on Super Tuesday in preparation for a possible presidential run by Joe Biden.


2016’s presidential debate schedule announced four years ago this week

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Wednesday, Sept. 25, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 2016’s presidential debate schedule announced four years ago this week
  2. Join today’s free briefing on 2020 ballot measures
  3. Follow our coverage of the Oct. 8 elections in 12 North Carolina municipalities

2016’s presidential debate schedule announced four years ago this week

It’s fun to look through previous editions of our Daily Presidential News Briefing to compare where we are in the current presidential campaign versus four years ago. It offers a unique perspective and I often learn something new.

Four years ago, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the first three presidential debates ahead of the 2016 general election would be held in Ohio, Missouri, and Nevada. And three years ago—on Sept. 26, 2016—the first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took place.

Wright State University—in Dayton, Ohio—was scheduled to host the first debate. The university asked to be removed from its hosting commitments in July 2016, however, due to higher-than-expected security costs. The debate was moved to Hofstra University—in Hempstead, New York—which had been designated as an alternate site.

The second and third debates in 2016 were held at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as originally scheduled.

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is a nonprofit organization that sponsors, organizes, and establishes guidelines for general election presidential and vice presidential debates. The CPD was founded in 1987 and has sponsored every presidential and vice presidential general election debate since 1988. The CPD’s funding comes primarily from the communities that host the debates and corporate, foundation, and private donors. It does not receive funding from the government or any political party.

Although the CPD has not yet named the venues or dates for the 2020 presidential election, it announced the six institutions that submitted applications as potential hosts in April: 

  • Belmont University, Nashville, TN
  • City of Hartford, Hartford, CT
  • Creighton University, Omaha, NE
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
  • Utah Debate Commission and the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Our page on the CPD also lists the date, location, moderators, and participants of all previous presidential and vice presidential debates since 1988. There are also links to recordings of the full debates from the 2016 cycle. And to stay up-to-date on all the news from this year’s presidential campaigns, you’ll definitely want to subscribe to our free Daily Presidential News Briefing.  

Learn more blank    blankblank   

Join today’s free briefing on 2020 ballot measures

The Nov. 5, 2019, general elections are still six weeks away but we’ve already done lots of work on 2020 elections. Forty statewide ballot measures have already been certified in 19 states for next year. And the process of certifying other 2020 ballot measures is well underway. In the last five even-numbered years—from 2010 to 2018—there were an average of 172 statewide measures. 

We’re holding a free briefing today at 11 a.m. Central Daylight Time on next year’s ballot measure landscape that you won’t want to miss. Join me and Ballot Measures Project Director Josh Altic as we discuss which measures have already been certified for the 2020 ballot and which topics are attracting the most attention. Josh will also discuss how the increase in voter turnout in the 2018 general elections may affect the number of initiatives that reach the ballot in California and any trends he’s seeing nationwide. 

Some of the other issues we’ll cover are the veto referendum deciding whether Colorado will join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which states have ballot measures on the initiative process itself, and what stories Josh will be looking for in the weeks ahead. 

This will be a really interesting discussion and it’s not too late to register. I hope you’ll join us later today!

Follow our coverage of the Oct. 8 elections in 12 North Carolina municipalities 

Last month, we highlighted that for the first time ever, we are covering all local elections across an entire state—North Carolina.  

What does that mean? To help voters understand what’s on their local ballots, we’ve deployed our sample ballot tool which allows them to see the issues and candidates hoping to earn their vote.

Our North Carolina sample ballots cover 503 cities, towns, and villages…nine school districts…and 17 special districts. That’s 529 local elections for 1,975 positions in just one state! We’re also covering North Carolina’s local ballot measures.

North Carolina is holding municipal elections on three different dates in 2019—Sept. 10, Oct. 8 and Nov. 5. The election date in each jurisdiction depends on: 

  • whether a municipality has either partisan or nonpartisan primaries; and 

  • whether the city’s laws allow for runoff elections if the first-place finisher receives less than a certain percentage of the vote. 

Twelve municipalities, including Cary, North Carolina—the state’s seventh-largest town—are holding nonpartisan general elections on Oct. 8. Cary voters will choose the mayor and three town council seats. If no candidate receives at least 50% of the general election vote, a runoff may be held Nov. 5, but only if the second-place candidate requests it.

Cary voters will also decide on two bond issues totaling $225 million—$112 million for parks and recreation and $113 million for transportation. Our research shows Cary is the only North Carolina city voting on ballot measures Oct. 8. 

North Carolina holds statewide elections in even-numbered years, but the majority of local elections to choose local governing officials—such as mayors and city council members—are held during odd-numbered years. Click the link below to explore all our coverage of North Carolina’s 2019 elections.



RNC outraises DNC by more than two-to-one for a fifth month, DSCC outraises NRSC for second month this year

The Republican National Committee (RNC) outraised its Democratic counterpart by more than two-to-one for the fourth consecutive month, while the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) outraised its Republican counterpart for a second month this year, according to September 2019 campaign finance reports filed with the FEC.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $4.7 million and spent $5.5 million last month, while the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (NRSC) raised $3.7 million and spent $3.8 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the NRSC has raised 12.3% more than the DSCC ($42.7 million to $37.7 million). The NRSC’s fundraising advantage has narrowed since the August campaign finance reports, when it had raised 16.6% more.
On the House side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $7.2 million and spent $7.1 million last month, while the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $4.0 million and spent $6.4 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the DCCC has raised 36.6% more than the NRCC ($76.2 million to $52.9 million). The DCCC’s fundraising advantage has widened since the August campaign finance reports, when it had raised 34.6% more.
At this point in the 2018 campaign cycle, Democrats led in both Senate and House fundraising, although their advantage in the House was smaller than today. The DSCC had raised 10.7% more than the NRSC ($35.8 million to $32.2 million), while the DCCC had raised 6.8% more than the NRCC ($72.5 million to $67.7 million).
Republicans continue to lead in national committee fundraising. The Republican National Committee (RNC) raised $23.5 million last month and spent $16.2 million while the Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised $7.9 million and spent $8.7 million. The RNC’s fundraising figure is its largest this year. So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC has raised 83.0% more than the DNC ($141.0 million to $58.5 million). The RNC’s fundraising advantage has widened relative to the August fundraising reports, at which point it had raised 80.0% more.
At this point in the 2016 campaign cycle (the most recent presidential election cycle), the RNC had a smaller 50.7% fundraising advantage over the DNC ($71.3 million to $42.4 million).
So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC have raised 31.5% more than the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC ($236.7 million to $172.3 million).

One 2020 Congressional retirement announced last week; 1,580 major party candidates filed for 2020 Congressional races

In the past week, one member of the U.S. House announced their 2020 retirement. Republican Paul Cook (CA-8) said he will run for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. To date, four Senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) and 20 Representatives (16 Republicans and four Democrats) are not running for re-election.
As of September 23, 2019, 250 candidates are filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate in 2020. Of those, 222—118 Democrats and 104 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 527 candidates filed with the FEC to run for U.S. Senate, including 137 Democrats and 240 Republicans.
1,448 candidates are filed with the FEC to run for U.S. House in 2020. Of those, 1,358—709 Democrats and 649 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 3,244 candidates filed with the FEC, including 1,566 Democrats and 1,155 Republicans.
On November 3, 2012, 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election. Of those Senate seats, 33 are regularly-scheduled elections, one is a special election in Arizona, and another is an expected special election in Georgia. Twelve are Democratic-held seats and 23 are Republican-held seats. In the House, where all the seats are up for election, Democrats currently hold a 235-seat majority.
Additional reading:

Joe Biden becomes fourth Democratic candidate to reach 100,000 pageviews, Andrew Yang leading in pageviews for sixth consecutive week

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 4,203 views for the week of September 15-21. Yang’s pageview figure represents 11.4% of the pageviews for all Democratic candidates during the week. Elizabeth Warren had 9.7% of the pageviews for the week, followed by Joe Biden with 8.8%. This is Yang’s sixth consecutive week with the most pageviews among Democrats.
Every noteworthy Democratic candidate other than Elizabeth Warren and Wayne Messam had fewer Ballotpedia pageviews last week than the week before. Warren’s pageviews increased by 7.8% and Messam’s increased by 1.8%.
Yang remains the leader in overall pageviews this year with 118,286. He is followed by Pete Buttigieg with 116,508 and Kamala Harris with 105,210. Joe Biden became the fourth Democratic candidate to reach 100,000 pageviews last week, with 102,180 pageviews to date.
On the GOP side, Joe Walsh led with 4,684 pageviews, followed by Bill Weld with 4,079.

Federal Register weekly update; lowest weekly page total since July

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity.
During the week of September 16 to September 20, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,088 pages, bringing the year-to-date total to 49,634 pages. The week’s Federal Register featured a total of 508 documents, including 418 notices, eight presidential documents, 39 proposed rules, and 43 final rules.
One proposed rule was deemed significant under E.O. 12866—meaning that it may have a large impact on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules.
During the same week in 2018, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,352 pages for a year-to-date total of 48,200 pages. As of September 20, the 2019 total led the 2018 total by 1,434 pages.
The Trump administration has added an average of 1,306 pages to the Federal Register each week in 2019 as of September 20. Over the course of 2018, the Trump administration added an average of 1,301 pages to the Federal Register each week. During the Obama administration, the Federal Register increased by an average of 1,658 pages per week.
According to government data, the Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.
Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.
Additional reading:
Click below to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2016. 

Four battleground elections may determine the triplex status of three states in 2019

A state government triplex describes when one political party holds the following the positions of governor, attorney general, and secretary of state within a state. Three divided triplex states, or states where no party holds a triplex, are holding state executive elections in 2019: Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Key races within those states have the potential to change the states’ triplex status.
In Kentucky, Sabato’s Crystal Ball rates the race for governor between incumbent Matt Bevin (R) and attorney general Andy Beshear (D) as Lean Republican, while Cook Political Report and Inside Elections call the race a toss-up. Daniel Cameron (R) and Gregory Stumbo (D) are competing for the open attorney general’s seat, which Beshear won by a margin of 50.1% to 49.9% in 2015. Donald Trump (R) carried Kentucky with 62.5% of the vote in 2016.
The race for Louisiana governor is also expected to be competitive. Incumbent John Bel Edwards (D), who is being challenged by five other candidates in the October 12 primary election, is the only Democrat holding statewide office in Louisiana. He won the seat 56% to 44% in 2015. Trump won 58% of the vote in Louisiana the following year. The Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball rate the race as Lean Democratic, while Inside Elections rates it a toss-up.
In Mississippi, Attorney General Jim Hood (D) and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves are competing for the governorship, leaving the attorney general’s race open. Incumbent governor Phil Bryant (R), who won election to the position with 66% of the vote in 2015, is prevented by term limits from seeking re-election. Trump won Mississippi with 58% of the vote in 2016. Inside Elections and Sabato’s Crystal Ball have rated the gubernatorial competition as Lean Republican, while the Cook Political Report rated the contest as Likely Republican.
Heading into the 2019 election, 18 states are controlled by a Republican triplex, 17 states are controlled by a Democratic triplex, and 15 states are under divided triplex control, meaning that its governor, attorney general, and secretary of state do not belong to a single political party.
Additional reading: