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Connecticut and Maryland increase minimum age to buy tobacco to 21

On Tuesday, laws went into effect in Connecticut and Maryland increasing the minimum age to buy tobacco products in each state from 18 to 21. They are among 15 states to increase their age restriction to 21 since June 2015, when Hawaii became the first state to do in the 21st century.
New Jersey imposed the first tobacco age restriction, 16 years old, in 1883. By 1920, 14 states had a minimum tobacco age of 21. However, in the 1920s and 1930s, many lowered their age restrictions from 21 to 18 or 19. In 2000, three states (Alabama, Alaska, and Utah) had a tobacco age of 19 and the remaining 47 had a tobacco age of 18.
The 15 states where the minimum age to purchase or use tobacco is now 21 comprise 42% of the U.S. population. Three states have a tobacco age limit of 19 and the remaining 32 have a tobacco age limit of 18.
On November 13, New York will be the next state to increase its tobacco age restriction from 18 to 21.
Connecticut’s tobacco increase was signed by Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont. Maryland’s was signed by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
Since June 2015, nine Democratic governors and eight Republican governors have signed increases in their states’ tobacco restrictions into law. The tobacco age restriction increases in both states were passed by a majority-Democratic state legislature, meaning that Connecticut’s was passed under a Democratic trifecta and Maryland’s was passed under divided government. Eight states have increased their tobacco age under a Democratic trifecta, four under a Republican trifecta, and six under divided government.

Special district spotlight: Miami-Dade County, Florida

The South Dade Soil and Water Conservation District is a special district in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Special districts are a form of municipal government created to fulfill a specific, stated purpose within a certain geographic area and are empowered to tax residents in order to fund operational expenditures. Common examples of special districts include airport, conservation, fire control, flood control, hospital, library, sanitation, transportation, and utility districts.
The South Dade Soil and Water Conservation District was established by the Florida Legislature with a mission to administer programs for soil conservation and for water quality and quantity improvement. The District is responsible for overseeing water and environmental conservation projects in Miami-Dade County.
The board has five members who supervise the district’s work and revenue sources. Each board member represents a geographical district within the county, distinguished by five “Group” seats. The office is nonpartisan and members are elected to a four-year term. As of October 2019, current officeholder details are as follows:
• Lovey Clayton is the Group 1 member. Clayton assumed office in 2019 for a term ending on January 3, 2023.
• Thomas Davenport is the Group 2 member. Davenport assumed office in 2017 for a term ending on January 5, 2021.
• Jeremy Weinstock is the Group 3 member. Weinstock assumed office in 2019 for a term ending January 3, 2023.
• S. Cooper McMillan is the Group 4 member. McMillan assumed office in 2017 for a term ending January 5, 2021.
• The Group 5 seat is currently vacant.
The board’s Group 2, 4, and 5 seats are scheduled for election on November 3, 2020. The election for Group 5 will cover an unexpired term ending in 2023. The candidate filing period for the election begins on June 8, 2020, and ends at noon on June 12, 2020.

New Republican state representatives elected in Georgia, South Carolina special elections

Georgia House of Representatives District 71 and South Carolina House of Representatives District 84 were up for special election October 1, 2019. Both races only featured Republican candidates, since neither had Democratic or third party candidates on the ballot. Both seats were previously held by Republican officeholders. The Georgia seat became vacant following David Stover’s resignation in June and the South Carolina seat became vacant following Ronnie Young’s death in May.
The Georgia House race was a general runoff election that featured two Republican candidates, Philip Singleton and Marcy Sakrison. Singleton and Sakrison advanced from the September 3 general election after no candidates received a majority of the vote. The general election featured four candidates–three Republicans and one Democrat. Singleton won the runoff with 2,558 votes (58.9%) to Sakrison’s 1,788 votes (41.1%).
The South Carolina general election featured one Republican candidate on the ballot, Melissa Oremus. No Democratic candidates filed for election, but six Republican candidates competed in a Republican primary on July 30. Oremus defeated Alvin Padgett in a Republican primary runoff in August. Oremus faced write-in opposition in the general election, winning 809 votes (97.4%) to 22 votes (2.6%).
As of October, 77 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 24 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

OIRA reviewed 42 significant regulatory actions in September 2019

In September 2019, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed 42 significant regulatory actions issued by federal agencies. The agency approved three rules without changes and approved the intent of 35 rules while recommending changes to their content. Agencies withdrew two rules from the review process. Two other rules were improperly submitted by agencies.
OIRA reviewed 21 significant regulatory actions in September 2018—21 fewer rules than the 42 significant regulatory actions reviewed by the agency in September 2019. During the Obama administration from 2009-2016, OIRA reviewed an average of 45 significant regulatory actions each September.
OIRA has reviewed a total of 326 significant rules so far in 2019. The agency reviewed a total of 355 significant rules in 2018 and 237 significant rules in 2017.
As of October 1, 2019, OIRA’s website listed 129 regulatory actions under review.
OIRA is responsible for reviewing and coordinating what it deems to be all significant regulatory actions made by federal agencies, with the exception of independent federal agencies. Significant regulatory actions include agency rules that have had or may have a large impact on the economy, environment, public health, or state and local governments and communities. These regulatory actions may also conflict with other regulations or with the priorities of the president.

Last week, Elizabeth Warren led in Ballotpedia pageviews for the first time since February

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.
Elizabeth Warren’s campaign page on Ballotpedia received 3,975 views for the week of September 22-28. Warren’s pageview figure represents 11.1% of the pageviews for all Democratic candidates during the week. Joe Biden had 10.7% of the pageviews for the week, followed by Andrew Yang with 9.9%. This is Warren’s first time leading Democratic candidates in Ballotpedia pageviews since February.
Of the 19 noteworthy Democratic candidates, nine received more pageviews last week than the week before and nine received fewer. Kamala Harris received the same number of pageviews (2,369) in each week. The campaigns with the three largest week-over-week increases were Joe Biden (17.1%), Tom Steyer (16.2%), and Steve Bullock (14.6%).
Yang remains the leader in overall pageviews this year with 121,834. He is followed by Pete Buttigieg with 118,499 and Kamala Harris with 107,579.
On the GOP side, Joe Walsh led with 5,339 pageviews, followed by Bill Weld with 4,956.

Janus comes to Alaska

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Wednesday, October 2, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Alaska issues administrative order requiring opt-in procedure for state employee unions
  2. 12 Democrats expected to qualify for October presidential primary debate
  3. 1,732 candidates have filed to run for Congress in for 2020

Alaska issues administrative order requiring opt-in procedure for state employee unions

I find it interesting when news events overlap across two or more of our coverage areas here at Ballotpedia. Alaska recently adopted a new procedure regarding membership in state employee unions via an administrative order that is significant both for public-sector union policy and regulatory procedures.

Alaska officials announced the enactment of an opt-in membership procedure for public-sector unions representing state employees. Previously, Alaska had set an annual 10-day period during which public-sector employees could opt out of union membership. Governor Mike Dunleavy (R), Attorney General Kevin Clarkson (R), and Commissioner of Administration Kelly Tshibaka announced the change via administrative order on September 26. 

Dunleavy was elected as governor of Alaska in 2018 by a 7-point margin. Prior to his election, the state had been governed by independent Bill Walker, who was elected in 2014. Following the 2018 elections, there were 23 Democratic and 27 Republican governors in the U.S. 

Here’s a brief summary of how this policy change affects both public-sector unions and regulatory policy: 

Public-sector union policy: Dunleavy said in a statement, “As Governor of Alaska, I am legally obligated and compelled to ensure state employees’ free speech rights are protected.” Dunleavy directly cited Janus v. AFSCME, a 2018 decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that public-sector unions and employers cannot compel employees to become members of or give any financial support to unions as a condition of employment. The Court held that such requirements infringe upon employees’ free-speech and associational rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. 

The administrative order establishing this policy change applies to the approximately 15,000 workers employed by the state government; it does not apply to municipal government workers. After the new system takes effect, employees will be able to opt in or out of union membership at any time. The opt-in system appears to be the first of its kind issued in the wake of Janus.   

Implementing policy through executive action: Dunleavy announced the policy change through an administrative order. This type of executive action is called an executive order at the federal level and in many other states. The Alaska Constitution grants the governor the authority to issue administrative orders as part of his exercise of executive power and his duty to supervise the departments and agencies of the executive branch. 

To continue to follow this story—and more like it—you’ll want to subscribe to Union Station, our newsletter about public-sector union policy, or Checks and Balances, our monthly newsletter about administrative and regulatory policy. Or you could do what I do and subscribe to both!

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12 Democrats expected to qualify for October presidential primary debate

Tuesday was the final day for candidates to qualify for the fourth Democratic presidential primary debate on Oct. 15. Candidates were required to reach both the polling threshold of 2% support or more in four national or early state polls and a fundraising threshold of 130,000 unique contributors.

Twelve Democratic candidates were expected to meet the requirements:

    •    Joe Biden
    •    Cory Booker
    •    Pete Buttigieg
    •    Julián Castro
    •    Tulsi Gabbard
    •    Kamala Harris
    •    Amy Klobuchar
    •    Beto O’Rourke
    •    Bernie Sanders
    •    Tom Steyer
    •    Elizabeth Warren
    •    Andrew Yang

The first two Democratic debates were held over two nights so that no more than 10 candidates were on stage at one time. The third Democratic debate—on September 12—featured only 10 participants on a single night; Gabbard and Steyer did not appear.

The Democratic National Committee announced September 27 that this fourth debate will take place on one day.  With 12 participants, it will be the most candidates on stage in a single presidential primary debate. Eleven Republican candidates debated on September 16, 2015.

This debate will be held at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. It will be broadcast on CNN and Erin Burnett, Anderson Cooper, and Marc Lacey are scheduled to moderate.

1,732 candidates have filed to run for Congress in 2020

The Democratic presidential race isn’t the only 2020 election starting to take shape. On Monday—September 30—Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) announced that he would not run for re-election in 2020. And yesterday—October 1—Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) resigned from the House.

Four Senators—three Republicans and one Democrat—and 22 Representatives—17 Republicans and five Democrats—have announced they are not running for re-election. Five Republican members of Congress—one senator and four representatives—have resigned or otherwise. In 2018, 55 members of Congress—18 Democrats and 37 Republicans—did not seek re-election.

As of September 30, 1,732 candidates have filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to run for Congress in 2020, broken down as follows:

  • 254 candidates filed with the FEC to run for the U.S. Senate. Of those, 226—121 Democrats and 105 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.

  • 1,478 candidates have filed with the FEC to run for the U.S. House in 2020. Of those, 1,385—717 Democrats and 668 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, 2020, 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, there are currently 235 Democrats, 197 Republicans and one independent with two vacancies.

Vaping, ride-share taxes, minimum wage, and housing among California’s 45 local ballot measures on Nov. 5

Voters across 13 different California counties will decide the outcome of 45 local ballot measures on November 5, 2019. Below is a breakdown of the different topics the measures address:
  • 14 parcel tax measures
  • nine sales tax measures
  • four local hotel tax measures
  • four measures that would make city clerks, city treasurers, or both appointed instead of elected
  • two marijuana tax measures
  • two local spending limit increases
  • two measures concerning development and land use
  • two local business taxes, including a tax on ride-share companies in San Francisco
  • two measures concerning affordable housing (bonds and zoning/development regulations)
  • one campaign finance limits and disclosure requirements measure in San Francisco
  • one vaping authorization and regulation measure in San Francisco
  • one charter amendment in San Francisco concerning the city’s disability and aging services commission
  • one measure to increase the minimum wage for hospitality workers in Rancho Palos Verdes
An average of 64 local measures appeared on November ballots in the previous three odd-numbered years in California:
  • November 2017: 62 local measures
  • November 2015: 60 local measures
  • November 2013: 70 local measures
If you know of a local measure on the November 5 ballot in California that we missed, please email us at

12 Dems qualify for October presidential primary debate

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

October 2, 2019: Twelve Democratic candidates qualified for the Oct. 15 presidential primary debate. Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee together raised $125 million in the third quarter of 2019.

Presidential Facebook ads, 2019-2020 (September 23-29, 2019)

Notable Quote of the Day

“By now, the New Hampshire primary is usually all but decided.

But for the first time in recent memory, there’s no clear frontrunner among the top Democratic candidates as they enter the final stretch before February — intensifying the pressure they face to avoid a distant second or third-place finish that could sink their campaigns.

It’s been years since New Hampshire had a Democratic primary this close, this late in the election cycle. At this point in the 2008 cycle, Hillary Clinton had a 20-point lead over Barack Obama. At this point in the 2016 race, Sen. Bernie Sanders had a double-digit lead over Clinton, and he went on to win the state by 22 points.”

– Daniel Bush, PBS NewsHour digital politics editor 



Resource Spotlight

The Archive of Political Emails was founded in July 2019 to compile political fundraising and advocacy emails sent by candidates, elected officials, PACs, nonprofits, NGOs, and other political actors.

Web developer Chris Herbert said in an interview with Ballotpedia that the project could fill a gap in the public record.

“The dream is for it to be something like the Wayback Machine for political emails,” Herbert said. “Ideally, it would be something that is around for years or decades so that people can look back and say, ‘This is someone’s first congressional campaign and now they’re running for president.’ It’s a glimpse into how they communicated long ago.”

Presidential email campaigns present a unique technical challenge to capture, however. 

Herbert explained, “These campaigns are very sophisticated and they are going to segment their list down to the point where someone in a different zip code is going to potentially get a different message than someone in another zip code, or someone who has donated vs. someone who hasn’t donated, or someone who is male vs. female. There are a lot of ways they are segmenting their lists, so this is a narrow window into what they are sending out.”

To learn more about the Archive and view screenshots and searchable text from emails sent by 2020 presidential candidates, click here.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: October 2, 2015

Former President George W. Bush attended a fundraiser for his brother, Jeb Bush.

California could vote on 2020 ballot initiative regarding consumer privacy

 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Tuesday, October 1, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. California could vote on 2020 ballot initiative regarding consumer privacy
  2. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts sworn in 14 years ago this week
  3. 56% of Brew readers have voted in a special election

California could vote on 2020 ballot initiative regarding consumer privacy 

California voters may decide a ballot measure regarding consumer privacy in 2020—two years after the state legislature passed legislation on the issue in 2018. A ballot initiative was filed September 25 to create a state agency to implement that law and expand its provisions. 

The proposed 2020 ballot initiative would create a state agency to oversee and enforce the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA). That law allows consumers to request that businesses not share, sell, or retain their personal information. The proposed initiative would add other provisions to the law, including requiring that businesses: 

  • provide consumers with the ability to opt out of having personal information used or disclosed for advertising or marketing; 
  • obtain permission before collecting data from consumers younger than 16 and from a parent or guardian for consumers younger than 13; 
  • disclose information regarding profiling algorithms used to determine a consumer’s eligibility for financial or lending services, housing, and insurance; and 
  • that collect personal information for political purposes disclose the candidates and committees for which the information was used.

Alastair Mactaggart—a San Francisco-based real estate developer—filed the ballot initiative. After the California Secretary of State writes the petition language, proponents will have 180 days to collect at least 623,212 valid signatures—5 percent of the votes cast in the 2018 gubernatorial election—for the measure to make the ballot. 

Mactaggart was also the proponent of a 2018 initiative on consumer privacy which was withdrawn after the state legislature passed the CCPA. He said he is supporting the new measure to prevent the state legislature from altering the 2018 law in the future. A ballot initiative couldn’t be amended without the approval of voters due to the state constitution’s limits on legislative alteration.

Opponents of Mactaggart’s previous initiative raised $2.15 million—including contributions from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and Uber. Opponents stated it was “unworkable, requiring the internet and businesses in California to operate differently than the rest of the world — limiting our choices, hurting our businesses, and cutting our connection to the global economy.” 

California is one of two states—along with Arizona—that require voter approval for changes to or the repeal of citizen-initiated state statutes, thereby preventing legislative alteration of citizen initiatives. Eleven of the 21 states that feature the initiated state statute power have no restrictions on how soon or with what majority state legislators can repeal or amend initiated statutes. The other states restrict how soon the legislature can amend or repeal an initiative, require a supermajority vote of legislators, or a combination of the two.

Learn more



Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts sworn in 14 years ago this week 

Fourteen years ago this week, John Roberts was sworn in as the chief justice of the Supreme Court. He was initially nominated to the Court on July 19, 2005, by President George W. Bush (R), to fill the vacancy left by Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement. President Bush withdrew Roberts’ nomination to be an associate justice when Chief Justice William Rehnquist passed away and renominated him to be the 17th Chief Justice on September 6, 2005. 

Roberts was confirmed 23 days after his nomination. He was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 13-5, with Senators Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) casting the dissenting votes. Durbin, Feinstein, and Schumer are still serving in the Senate. The full U.S. Senate confirmed Roberts on September 29, 2005, by a vote of 78-22.

Roberts attended Harvard for both his undergraduate and law degrees, receiving an undergraduate degree from Harvard College in 1976 after only three years. He clerked under Rehnquist after graduating from law school. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Roberts served on the D.C. Court of Appeals from 2003 to 2005. Before that, he worked as a lawyer in private practice and in the Department of Justice in the administrations of Republican Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. 

As I prepared for this Brew entry, I was reading over Roberts’ article on Ballotpedia. We’ve added new tables showing the number of opinions each justice has written per year, how often each justice has agreed with other justices in their opinions, and how often each judge has been in the majority dating back to 2011. For example, Chief Justice Roberts was in the majority in 85 percent of decisions last term—which was the second-most on the Court.

And of course, the 2019-20 Supreme Court term begins next week—on October 7. Our free newsletter, Bold Justice, covers all the news about the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary. Click here to subscribe and you’ll receive the next issue that comes out Monday.

Learn more→

56% of Brew readers have voted in a special election

Two state legislative special elections take place today—in Georgia and South Carolina—to fill vacancies due to legislators that died or resigned. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 state legislative special elections took place each year. 

At the federal level, three special elections for the U.S. House of Representatives have already occurred and one—in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District—has been scheduled for January 2020.

So I was curious about how many Brew readers had voted in a special election:

Learn more→


Early voting underway in Louisiana’s October 12 gubernatorial primary

The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Monday, September 30, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Early voting underway in Louisiana’s October 12 gubernatorial primary
  2. Join us for today’s Ballotpedia Insights session on urban planning
  3. Mississippi state Senate district will hold partial special election November 5

Early voting underway in Louisiana’s October 12 gubernatorial primary

Three states—Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi—are holding gubernatorial elections in 2019. Nominees were selected in partisan primaries in Kentucky in May and in Mississippi in August.

Louisiana uses what’s known as a blanket primary, where all candidates appear on the ballot—regardless of party. A candidate can win the election outright by receiving more than 50 percent of the vote in the October 12 primary. Otherwise, a general election for the top two finishers will be held November 16. Of the five gubernatorial elections between 1999 and 2015, three were won outright in the primary and two—in 2003 and 2015—were decided in the general election.

Media reports have identified incumbent John Bel Edwards (D), U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R), and businessman Eddie Rispone (R) as the leading candidates. Two polls from late September have shown Edwards with about 46% support and Abraham and Rispone tied for second place within the margin of error. 

Edwards says that Louisiana went from having a budget deficit to a budget surplus during his tenure and that he increased funding for education and expanded Medicaid in the state. Abraham and Rispone say that Louisiana’s economy ranks last in the nation. Both say they would increase jobs and lower taxes. Abraham has campaigned on his record in the U.S. House and Rispone has highlighted his background as a businessman. 

Political action committees affiliated with both the Democratic Governors Association and Republican Governors Association had each spent $2.2 million on the race as of September 2. The campaign finance figures for all three leading candidates through the date are shown below:

Early voting dataEdwards is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South and the only Democrat holding statewide office in Louisiana. Early voting began September 28 and ends October 5.

The gubernatorial election coincides with elections for the state Senate and state House, meaning that all three trifecta components will be on the ballot. Neither party will be able to form a trifecta without winning the gubernatorial election. The current makeup of the Louisiana state Senate is 25 Republicans and 14 Democrats, and in the state House is 60 Republicans, 39 Democrats, and 4 independents with one vacancy. Democrats would need to retain the gubernatorial seat and win majorities in both chambers of the state legislature while Republicans would need to maintain their legislative majorities and pick up the governor’s mansion.

Join us for today’s Ballotpedia Insights session on urban planning

I hope you’ll be able to join us for today’s Ballotpedia Insights session hosted by our Director of Outreach, Sarah Rosier at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. She’ll be talking to Charles Marohn—an engineer and urban planner—to discuss his ideas about how cities should approach growth and development.  

Ballotpedia Insights is a Q&A series with political and legal scholars, researchers, reporters, authors, and subject matter experts. Each installment features a new speaker and we ask them tailored questions designed to gain in-depth insight into their work. They’re a great opportunity to learn from some leading professionals involved in politics and policy. They’re free to register and attend.

Sarah will be talking with Marohn the day before his new book, Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity, comes out on October 1. Among the topics they’ll discuss are the author’s opinions on the best way to strengthen local communities as well as the types of investments that can best generate wealth and improve the quality of life in towns and cities.

Marohn is the Founder and President of Strong Towns. He is a professional engineer in Minnesota and a land-use planner with two decades of experience. He was also featured in the documentary film, Owned: A Tale of Two Americans, and he was named one of the 10 Most Influential Urbanists of all time by Planetizen, a website about urban planning.  

There’s still time to register and attend by clicking the link below. And if you can’t make it, don’t worry. We’ll post a recording of it and email it to you after its conclusion.

Mississippi State Senate district will hold partial special election November 5 

I told you earlier this month about a Mississippi State Senate primary on August 6 that was decided by a single vote. Here’s a recap of that election—and the latest update. 

  • Dixie Newman defeated Scott DeLano in the Republican primary for Senate District 50—3,184 votes to 3,183. 

  • DeLano challenged the certified results, claiming that some voters in five precincts were given the wrong ballot. 

  • A state circuit court judge vacated the certified results in those precincts September 17 and ordered a new election. 

  • Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) called the special election for November 5—the same date as statewide general elections for governor, other state executive offices, the state House of Representatives, and local officials.

Only voters in those five precincts—and not in the other 11 precincts in the district—will cast ballots in this race in November. The results from the November re-vote in those five precincts will be combined with results from the August 6 primary in the rest of the district. Since there is no Democratic nominee, the winner of this special election will become the district’s new state Senator.  

The results from the 11 precincts which will not re-vote have Newman leading DeLano—2,287 votes to 2,161. 

Heading into the 2019 general elections, the Mississippi State Senate has 18 Democrats, 31 Republicans, and three vacancies. All 52 seats are up for election this year.