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Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: December 7-13, 2019

Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News Briefing
Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the events that matter in the 2020 presidential election.

Now, we’re bringing you the highlights from our daily briefings in a weekly format so you can stay up-to-date on the 2020 election with one weekly email.        

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

Candidates by the Number

There are 14 new candidates running since last week, including two Democrats, three Republicans, and two Libertarians. In total, 986 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quotes of the Week

“There’s always a risk in any campaign, when two candidates go after each other and go after each other hard, it lets a third or fourth candidate rise because voters get sick of the attacks. In 2004, it was a big back and forth between Dean and Gephardt, and Kerry rose from behind and just ran up the middle and surprised everyone.”

– Steve Elmendorf, Democratic adviser

“Strange things happen at contested conventions. At the last such Democratic confab in 1952, the nominee was neither the front-runner, Sen. Estes Kefauver, nor Vice President Alben Barkley, ostensibly supported by President Harry S. Truman. Instead, on the third ballot, Democrats nominated Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson II.

Party elders felt that only Stevenson could keep Northern and Southern Democrats united, and had tried unsuccessfully to draft him to run. Only after a platform fight about civil rights; a disastrous meeting between Mr. Barkley and labor leaders; and wrangling over a loyalty oath aimed at Southern Democrats that threatened to fracture the party, as happened in 1948, did Stevenson reluctantly agree to run. Truman then arrived in Chicago and ordered some of the candidates out of the contest and favorite-son delegations to swing to the Illinois governor. The party left largely unified and mostly happy.

It is hard to see any of the Democratic ex-presidents playing Truman’s calming role in 2020.”

– Karl Rove, Republican political consultant

Week in Review

Seven Democrats qualify for December debate, down from 10 in November

Seven Democrats qualified for the sixth presidential primary debate on Dec. 19: Joe BidenPete ButtigiegAmy KlobucharBernie SandersTom SteyerElizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.

Two candidates who participated in the Nov. 20 debate will be missing from the stage: Cory BookerTulsi Gabbard, and Kamala Harris, who withdrew earlier this month.

Thursday’s debate will take place at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs in Los Angeles. PBS NewsHour and Politico are hosting the event with Judy Woodruff, Tim Alberta, Amna Nawaz, and Yamiche Alcindor moderating.

Six more primary debates are planned in 2020. The Democratic National Committee announced on Thursday the timing and location of the next four:

  • Jan. 14, 2020 (Des Moines, Iowa)
  • Feb. 7, 2020 (Manchester, New Hampshire)
  • Feb. 19, 2020 (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • Feb. 25, 2020 (Charleston, South Carolina)

House Judiciary Committee approves two articles of impeachment against Trump

House Democrats introduced two articles of impeachment charging Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Tuesday. Following a full day of hearings on Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee approved both articles on Friday by a party-line vote of 23-17.

A full House vote is expected next week before Congress goes on recess for the holidays.

Bloomberg builds campaign infrastructure, donates $10 million to House Democrats

Since launching his campaign in late November, Michael Bloomberg has hired 200 employees at his campaign headquarters in Manhattan and nearly 100 staffers across 15 states.

He also announced this week that he is donating $10 million to House Majority PAC to support House Democrats being targeted for supporting the impeachment inquiry.

South Carolina, Hawaii will not hold Republican primaries

Circuit Judge Jocelyn Newman upheld on Wednesday the South Carolina Republican Party’s decision to cancel its 2020 presidential primary.

The Hawaii Republican Party also canceled its presidential primary and committed its 19 convention delegates to Donald Trump.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Kayleigh McEnany is a Republican staffer with media and presidential and gubernatorial campaign experience. McEnany graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Harvard Law School.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2006 Tom Gallagher (R-Fla.) gubernatorial campaign, intern
  • 2004 George W. Bush presidential campaign, intern

Other experience:

  • 2017-2019: Republican National Committee, spokesperson
  • 2016-2017: CNN, contributor
  • 2011-2016: Various news networks, political commentator
  • 2010-12: Mike Huckabee Show, producer

What We’re Reading

Flashback: December 9-13, 2015

  • December 9, 2015: According to Facebook’s year in review, the 2016 presidential election was the most talked about topic on the platform. Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders were the second-, fourth-, and fifth-most talked about politicians, respectively.
  • December 10, 2015: The New England Police Benevolent Association, a union of police and corrections officers, endorsed Donald Trump.
  • December 11, 2015: New Day for America, a pro-John Kasich super PAC, released a digital ad criticizing Donald Trump’s steak business.
  • December 12, 2015: Hillary Clinton applauded the adoption of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, while Bernie Sanders said it did not go far enough.
  • December 13, 2015: CNN announced the lineup for the final Republican debate of the year. Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump qualified for the primetime debate. Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, and Rick Santorum were scheduled to participate in the undercard debate.

Trivia

Since 1900, which state has backed the Republican presidential candidate in the most elections?

Click here to learn more.



Four Oregon public school employees sue union over resignation restrictions

On Dec. 5, four Oregon public school employees filed suit in U.S. District Court alleging that their union has unconstitutionally denied their resignation requests, continuing to collect dues against their wishes.

Who are the parties to the suit? Plaintiffs Dori Yates, Claudia Strickland, Tonya Sevilla, and Linda Newton work for Hillsboro United School District. They are being represented by attorneys from the Freedom Foundation. The defendants are the American Federation of Teachers, the Oregon state chapter of the AFT, AFT Local 4671, and the school district.

  • The Freedom Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose self-described aim is “to reverse the stranglehold government unions have on our state and local policymaking.”
  • According to a report filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, the Oregon state chapter of the AFT had 9,085 full dues-paying members as of Sept. 28, 2018.

What is at issue? The union’s membership agreement states that members may only revoke their dues deduction authorization during a 30-day period in June each year. The membership agreement also states that members must pay dues for a minimum of one year before resigning. The plaintiffs allege these provisions constitute compelled speech and association, a violation of the First Amendment and the precedent established last year in Janus v. AFSCME.

  • In Janus v. AFSCME, the Supreme Court ruled that unions cannot require non-member employees to pay agency fees covering the costs of non-political union activities. This overturned an earlier precedent, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which held that non-members could be required to pay fees to a union if those fees were not used for political purposes.

What are the reactions?

  • In a press release, Rebekah Millard, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said, “The issue is the union isn’t even following the terms of their own cards, which are contradictory. Instead of letting members out either a year after they signed a membership card or every June, they’re saying both rules apply and keeping people in for the maximum amount of time, which can be months longer than would be the case if they applied just one ‘window.'”
  • As of Dec. 12, neither union representatives nor school officials have publicly commented on the lawsuit.

Case information: The case name and number are Yates v. American Federation of Teachers, 3:19-cv-01975-SB. The case has been assigned to Judge Stacie Beckerman, a magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon.

What we’ve been reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 107 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Union Station map December 13, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart December 13, 2019.png

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

Union Station partisan chart December 13, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

No legislative actions have occurred since our last issue.



Seven Democrats qualify for sixth presidential primary debate

Seven Democrats qualified for the sixth presidential primary debate taking place on Dec. 19: former Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former investor Tom Steyer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
Three candidates who participated in the Nov. 20 debate will be missing from the stage: Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and Sen. Kamala Harris, who withdrew earlier this month.
Thursday’s debate will take place at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs in Los Angeles. PBS NewsHour and Politico are hosting the event with Judy Woodruff, Tim Alberta, Amna Nawaz, and Yamiche Alcindor moderating.
Each candidate had to receive 4% support or more in at least four national or early state polls or 6% support or more in at least two single state polls to meet the debate’s polling threshold. The four early states are Iowa (Feb. 3), New Hampshire (Feb. 11), Nevada (Feb. 22), and South Carolina (Feb. 29).
Candidates also had to meet a fundraising threshold with 200,000 unique donors and a minimum of 800 donors in at least 20 states.
Six more debates are planned for the Democratic Party’s presidential primary. The Democratic National Committee announced on Thursday the timing and location of the next four debates:
  • January 14, 2020 (Des Moines, Iowa)
  • February 7, 2020 (Manchester, New Hampshire)
  • February 19, 2020 (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • February 25, 2020 (Charleston, South Carolina)

Click here to learn more.



Ohio statewide filing deadline is December 18

The statewide filing deadline to run for elected office in Ohio is on December 18, 2019. The deadline for independent candidates is March 16, 2020. The primary is scheduled for March 17, and the general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.
In Ohio, prospective candidates may file for the following offices:
• U.S. House (16 seats)
• State Board of Education (six seats)
• State Senate (16 seats)
• State House (99 seats)
• State Supreme Court (two seats)
• District Courts of Appeals (21 seats)
• Ballotpedia is also covering local elections in Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, and Lucas counties
Ohio’s statewide filing deadline is the sixth to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on December 20 in North Carolina.
Ohio has a Republican trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
Click here to learn more.


Oklahoma City voters approve sales tax measure Tuesday

Oklahoma City voters approved a 1% sales tax measure by 71.7% to 28.3 percent in a special election Tuesday. The tax revenue was earmarked to fund the city’s Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) 4 program of proposed city infrastructure and facility projects.
The MAPS 4 tax will expire in eight years and is expected to raise an estimated $978 million over that time. The three largest recipients of the tax proceeds will be city parks ($140 million), youth centers ($110 million), and the Chesapeake Energy Arena and related facilities ($115 million).
The tax will go into effect in April 2020, when the current 1% transportation sales tax expires. The city’s overall sales tax rate will remain unchanged at 8.625%. The state sales tax rate in Oklahoma is 4.5%. The total Oklahoma City sales tax rate is 4.125%. There are no county-wide or other local sales taxes in Oklahoma City. If voters had not approved the measure, Oklahoma City’s overall sales tax would have decreased to 7.625%.
The average total sales tax rate (state and local) in Oklahoma is 8.77%. State law allows additional local sales taxes of up to 6.5%, making the maximum total sales tax rate in the state 11%.
The first version of the city’s MAPS program—which was also funded by a 1% sales tax—was approved by voters on December 14, 1993, with the tax expiring on July 1, 1999, after generating about $309 million in revenue. MAPS 2 and MAPS 3 followed. The MAPS 3 tax expired in December 2017 and final projects are planned for completion in 2022.
The city council voted Sept. 24 to put the measure on the ballot. The council will have final authority over the administration of the program. A volunteer advisory board will have detailed oversight. Oklahoma City’s next regular municipal election—when four of the council’s eight seats are up for election—is in 2021.
Next year, voters could decide on another 0.125% sales tax measure to fund city park maintenance and operations. Former City Council Member Ed Shadid filed petitions for a citizen initiative proposing the measure on Dec. 2. If city officials verify the petitions have the 6,499 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot, voters could decide the initiative during the state’s presidential primary on March 3 or state legislative primaries June 30. The tax is expected to generate about $15 million per year.
Click here to learn more.


U.S. Senate confirms 50th nominee to a U.S. Circuit Court judgeship

The U.S. Senate confirmed two nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Overall, the Senate has confirmed 174 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—120 district court judges, 50 appeals court judges, two Court of International Trade judges, and two Supreme Court justices—since January 2017. At the end of the 115th Congress in January 2019, the Senate had confirmed 85 of the president’s judicial nominees.
The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is one of 13 U.S. courts of appeal. They are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal court system.
The confirmed nominees were Patrick Bumatay and Lawrence VanDyke. The Senate confirmed Bumatay by a 53-40 vote and VanDyke by a 51-44 vote. Neither nominee received support from their home-state senators.
After they receive their judicial commission, the court will have no vacancies, 16 Democrat-appointed judges, and 13 Republican-appointed judges. This breakdown is consistent with the court’s current levels since Bumatay and VanDyke are succeeding two Republican-appointed judges who did not vacate their seats before the confirmation of their successor.
President Trump has appointed the most judges to the U.S. Courts of Appeal of the past 20 presidents on or before December 1 of their third year in office. The median number of U.S. Courts of Appeal appointees is 19. As of December 1, Trump had appointed 48 nominees to the U.S. Courts of Appeal. President Woodrow Wilson (D) appointed the fewest with five.
Click here to learn more.


Texas filing deadline passed December 9

On December 9, the major-party filing deadline passed to run for elected office in Texas. Candidates filed for the following offices:
• U.S. Senate: incumbent John Cornyn (R) filed for re-election.
• U.S. House of Representatives – 36 seats: the incumbent did not file to run for re-election in House districts 11, 13, 17, 22, 23, and 24.
• Texas Railroad Commissioner: incumbent Ryan Sitton (R) filed for re-election.
• Texas State Board of Education – eight  seats: the incumbent did not file to run for re-election in board of education districts 5, 6, 8, and 15.
• Texas State Senate – 16 seats
• Texas House of Representatives – 150 seats
• Texas Supreme Court – four seats
• Texas Court of Criminal Appeals – four seats
• Texas Court of Appeals – 24 seats
• Ballotpedia is also covering local elections in the following areas: 13 counties, eight cities, and 73 school districts
The primary is scheduled for March 3, and the general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.
Texas’ statewide filing deadline was the fifth to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on December 18 in Ohio.
Texas has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.
Click here to learn more.


Seven Democrats qualify for December debate, down from 10 in November

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
December 13, 2019: Seven Democratic candidates qualified for the sixth presidential primary debate on Dec. 19. Neither Julián Castro nor John Delaney filed petition signatures to appear on Virginia’s primary ballot.        

            Each Friday, we highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.
Daily Presidential News Briefing, Staffer Spotlight - Kayleigh McEnany

Kayleigh McEnany is a Republican staffer with media and presidential and gubernatorial campaign experience. McEnany graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Harvard Law School.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2006 Tom Gallagher (R-Fla.) gubernatorial campaign, intern
  • 2004 George W. Bush presidential campaign, intern

Other experience:

  • 2017-2019: Republican National Committee, spokesperson
  • 2016-2017: CNN, contributor
  • 2011-2016: Various news networks, political commentator
  • 2010-12: Mike Huckabee Show, producer

Notable Quote of the Day

“There’s always a risk in any campaign, when two candidates go after each other and go after each other hard, it lets a third or fourth candidate rise because voters get sick of the attacks. In 2004, it was a big back and forth between Dean and Gephardt, and Kerry rose from behind and just ran up the middle and surprised everyone.”

– Steve Elmendorf, Democratic adviser

Democrats

  • Seven Democratic candidates qualified for the sixth presidential primary debate on Dec. 19: Joe BidenPete ButtigiegAmy KlobucharBernie SandersTom SteyerElizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.
  • The Democratic National Committee announced the dates and locations of the next four debates: Jan. 14 (Des Moines, Iowa), Feb. 7 (Manchester, New Hampshire), Feb. 19 (Las Vegas, Nevada), and Feb. 25 (Charleston, South Carolina).
  • Michael BennetBidenCory BookerButtigiegKlobucharSandersSteyer, and Warren are attending a town hall on education in Pittsburgh on Saturday.
  • Since launching his campaign in late November, Michael Bloomberg has hired 200 employees at his campaign headquarters in Manhattan and nearly 100 staffers across 15 states.
  • Booker is attending a campaign event in New Hampshire on Friday. Booker said he was remaining in the race despite not qualifying for the debate: ”Thanks to the outpouring of support over the past few weeks, we know there’s a path to victory, and we no longer need the debate stage to get there.”
  • Neither Julián Castro nor John Delaney filed petition signatures to appear on Virginia’s primary ballot by the deadline on Thursday.
  • Delaney will attend campaign events in Clinton and Muscatine counties in Iowa on Saturday.
  • Tulsi Gabbard will campaign in South Carolina on Friday,
  • Klobuchar will hold three campaign events in Iowa on Sunday.
  • Deval Patrick’s episode of the “Candidate Café” series in New Hampshire was released on Thursday.
  • Sanders will hold three rallies in Iowa over the weekend and meet with minor league baseball players and employees on Sunday.
  • Steyer is campaigning in Iowa on Sunday and Monday, including giving a speech on economic policy in Dubuque.
  • Warren will hold town halls in southeast Iowa over the weekend.
  • Marianne Williamson will campaign in Smithtown, New York, on Sunday.
  • Yang is concluding his four-day bus tour of Iowa on Saturday with a rally in Iowa City.

Republicans

  • The Hawaii Republican Party canceled its presidential primary and committed its 19 convention delegates to Donald Trump.
  • The Trump campaign announced it will launch three coalitions to appeal to Evangelical, Catholic, and Jewish voters in early 2020.
  • Bill Weld said he will not run as an independent candidate if he loses the Republican primary. Weld said he would instead support the Democratic or Libertarian candidate.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: December 13, 2015

CNN announced the lineup for the final Republican debate of the year. Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump qualified for the primetime debate. Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, and Rick Santorum were scheduled to participate in the undercard debate.

Click here to learn more.



Recount decides Boston City Council seat by one vote

After a three-day recount, the Boston Election Commission announced on December 9 that the fourth at-large seat on the Boston City Council was won by Julia Mejia by a margin of one vote. The recount found that Mejia received 22,492 votes, and Alejandra St. Guillen received 22,491 votes.
In the November 5 general election, unofficial results showed Mejia had received 10 more votes than St. Guillen. At-large incumbents Michael Flaherty, Annissa Essaibi George, and Michelle Wu were all re-elected in the general election. At-large incumbent Althea Garrison was defeated in the general election.
After the recount results were announced, Mejia said that, “It feels incredibly overwhelming to win by one vote. It really goes to reinforce the message we’ve been promoting all along, that every vote matters.” St. Guillen tweeted out on December 10 that she would not be contesting the results. She said, “Last night, I believed that I owed it to my supporters and the voters to fully review the results from the recount before moving forward. After weighing all the options with my team and my family, I have come to the decision to not move forward with a court challenge.”
Mejia, a community activist, will take office in January. She will be the first Latina to serve on the city council.
Click here to learn more.
Additional reading:


North Carolina statewide filing deadline is December 20

The statewide filing deadline to run for elected office in North Carolina is on December 20, 2019. In North Carolina, prospective candidates may file for the following offices:
• U.S. Senate
• U.S. House
• Governor
• Lieutenant Governor
• Attorney General
• Secretary of State
• Treasurer
• Superintendent of Public Instruction
• Auditor
• Commissioner of Agriculture
• Commissioner of Labor
• Commissioner of Insurance
• State Senate (all 50 seats)
• State House (all 120 seats)
• State Supreme Court judgeships for Seats 1, 3, and 6
• Five judgeships on the North Carolina Court of Appeals
The primary is scheduled for March 3, and the general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020. In primaries where no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the state’s primary runoff will be held on either April 21 (if no federal office requires a runoff) or May 12 (if a federal office does require a runoff).
North Carolina’s statewide filing deadline is the seventh to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on January 10, 2020, in Mississippi.
North Carolina has a divided government. A Democrat, Roy Cooper, holds the governor’s office while Republicans have majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
Click here to learn more.
Additional reading: