Latest stories

Buttigieg issues $700B childcare and education platform


Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

December 9, 2019: Pete Buttigieg released a $700 billion childcare and education platform. Donald Trump attended a private fundraiser in Florida.

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 Quote of the Day

“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



  • Donald Trump attended a private fundraiser in Florida on Saturday that raised $3.5 million for the state Republican Party. He featured Clint Lorance and Mathew Golsteyn, two former soldiers who received presidential pardons related to war crimes.

  • HuffPost profiled Joe Walsh and his change from being a Trump supporter to Trump critic.


Flashback: 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.


Click here to learn more.

House Democrats announce two articles of impeachment against Trump

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

December 11, 2019: House Democrats introduced two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump. Andrew Yang qualified for the sixth Democratic presidential primary debate.


Notable Quote of the Day

“Though the Harris campaign’s stumbles wore on her ability to raise money — she was on track to bring in only $4 million during the last three months of the year, POLITICO reported — the network of established fundraisers she built during her presidential bid was one of the largest in the race.

Harris nabbed the second-most contributions from former bundlers for Obama and Clinton this cycle, surpassed only by Biden, the former vice president. Of the 401 former bundlers who have given money to a candidate by the end of September, 86 — or almost one in four — had supported Harris, according to a POLITICO analysis.

But Harris’ donors won’t be easy to win over, cautioned California-based political strategist Garry South.

‘The donor base is highly discriminating,’ South said. ‘I don’t think that, with Harris’ withdrawal, donors who gave to her are going to flock en masse to some other candidate. They’re going to step back, see who’s running a good campaign and see where they might move.’”

– Maggie Severns, Politico


  • Michael Bennet appeared on Boston 25 News’ “Coffee with Candidates” series on Tuesday.

  • Joe Biden is considering making a public pledge to only serve for one term if elected, Politico reported. He will speak at the UNITE HERE’s Culinary Union Town Hall on Wednesday in Las Vegas.

  • Michael Bloomberg appeared at the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Madrid on Tuesday.

  • In an interview on KUNR, Cory Booker discussed gun violence legislation and the rural-urban divide.

  • Pete Buttigieg released the names of clients he worked with during his time at McKinsey, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Best Buy, and the U.S. Department of Defense. He is attending a fundraiser in New York City on Wednesday.

  • Julián Castro is holding a town hall at Grinnell College in Iowa on Wednesday.

  • Amy Klobuchar is delivering a foreign policy address at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

  • Deval Patrick campaigned in South Carolina on Tuesday with stops in Columbia and Hartsville.

  • The Center for Popular Democracy Action, which represents 600,000 members from more than 40 progressive organizations, endorsed Bernie Sanders on Tuesday.

  • Tom Steyer issued a proposal on Tuesday to invest $125 billion in historically black colleges and universities.

  • Elizabeth Warren released a “Blue New Deal” on Tuesday that would increase environmental protections for the ocean and the number of offshore renewable energy projects.

  • Marianne Williamson is campaigning in Iowa on Thursday with stops in Council Bluffs and Fairfield.

  • Andrew Yang qualified for the sixth Democratic presidential primary debate on Tuesday, receiving 4 percent support in a national Quinnipiac University poll.


Flashback: December 11, 2015

New Day for America, a pro-John Kasich super PAC, released a digital ad criticizing Donald Trump’s steak business.


Click here to learn more.

Trump rallies in Pennsylvania swing county


Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

December 10, 2019: Donald Trump is holding a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Pete Buttigieg announced that he would open fundraisers to the press and release the names of his bundlers this week.

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

Notable Quote of the Day

“In summary, it looks like Biden and to a lesser extent Warren would start out with the advantage on Super Tuesday. Biden leads in two of the three biggest states (Texas and North Carolina), plus probably multiple Southern states (Tennessee, Alabama, maybe Virginia and Arkansas). Warren likely leads in two mid-size states (Massachusetts and Minnesota) but also figures to amass a significant delegate haul from California, which currently looks like a jump ball. And while we can only say with confidence that Sanders is favored to win one state, he definitely has a chance to pick up plenty of delegates by finishing a respectable second or third in many other places.”

– Nathaniel Rakich, FiveThirtyEight


  • Michael Bennet said he will hold 50 town halls in New Hampshire before the state’s primary on Feb. 11.

  • In an interview published by NPR on Monday, Joe Biden discussed the impeachment inquiry and potential subpoenas issued to him or his son, Hunter.

  • San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo endorsed Michael Bloomberg on Monday. Liccardo previously backed Kamala Harris.

  • Pete Buttigieg announced on Monday that he would open fundraisers to the press and release the names of his bundlers this week. McKinsey & Company also said it was releasing Buttigieg from a nondisclosure agreement that had prevented him from discussing consulting clients from his time with the firm from 2007 to 2010.

  • Julián Castro is hosting a town hall in Iowa on Tuesday on the role of Iowa and New Hampshire as the first caucus and primary states.

  • John Delaney will speak Tuesday at a candidate forum series on the economy co-sponsored by The New Hampshire Union Leader and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses.

  • Tulsi Gabbard said on Monday that she will not attend the December presidential primary debate if she qualifies. “I instead choose to spend that precious time directly meeting with and hearing from the people of New Hampshire and South Carolina,” she tweeted. Gabbard needs one more poll to qualify.

  • Bernie Sanders will speak at the UNITE HERE’s Culinary Union Town Hall on Tuesday in Las Vegas.

  • Tom Steyer conducted outreach to black voters during a campaign stop in Columbia, South Carolina, on Monday.

  • Elizabeth Warren spoke at the UNITE HERE’s Culinary Union Town Hall on Monday in Las Vegas.

  • Marianne Williamson continues to campaign in Iowa on Tuesday.

  • Andrew Yang is kicking off his “A New Way Forward” bus tour in central and eastern Iowa on Tuesday.


Flashback: December 10, 2015

The New England Police Benevolent Association, a union of police and corrections officers, endorsed Donald Trump.


Click here to learn more.

U.S. Supreme Court to review truncated immigration enforcement procedures

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide a case next year that may restrict the ability of the executive branch to use expedited procedures in some asylum cases. At issue is whether asylum seekers may challenge the procedures used by immigration officials to deny an asylum application.
In Department of Homeland Security (DHS) v. Thuraissigiam, the U.S. Supreme Court will review a decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed a man to challenge in court the expedited procedures that an immigration judge and other executive branch officials used to deny his asylum application.
DHS argues that people who apply to enter and stay in the United States are only entitled to the procedural rights Congress grants to them. The agency also argued that the administrative procedures followed by officials in this case were adequate. Thuraissigiam’s lawyers disagreed, arguing that expedited removal procedures “drastically limit the administrative and judicial review that is ordinarily available.”
Allowing Thuraissigiam to sue in court “hinders the Trump administration’s desire to more quickly deport undocumented immigrants after their requests for asylum have been denied,” according to reporter Robert Barnes writing for The Washington Post. “If full habeas review does not cover expedited-removal cases, ICE agents may soon be able to seize immigrants anywhere in the U.S. and hustle them out of the country without any meaningful procedures,” according to writer Garrett Epps at The Atlantic, discussing the potential impact of the case.
The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral argument in this case on March 2, 2020.
To learn more about the case and adjudication in the administrative state, click here.

Governor Brad Little says Idaho is the least-regulated state in the nation

Idaho Governor Brad Little says that Idaho became “the least-regulated state in the country by cutting and simplifying 75 percent of regulatory rules in one year,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.
In April of 2019, the Idaho State Legislature failed to pass legislation that would have reauthorized administrative rules in the state—essentially repealing the state’s entire regulatory code.
Governor Little subsequently announced a goal to simplify up to 60 percent of the state’s regulations by the end of 2019. He said he directed agencies to get rid of duplication and not to change fundamental policies.
Little said that since January he has worked with the state legislature to cut 1,804 pages from the administrative code. He calculated that for every chapter he and the legislature added to the code they cut another 83 chapters.
Click here to learn more.

Federal Register weekly update; a week without significant regulations

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 December 2 to December 6, the Federal Register increased by 1,262 pages, bringing the year-to-date total to 67,168 pages. The week’s Federal Register featured a total of 444 documents, including 364 notices, four presidential documents, 36 proposed rules, and 40 final rules.
No proposed or final rules were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—meaning that they could have large impacts 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 1,142 pages for a year-to-date total of 63,382 pages. As of December 6, the 2019 total led the 2018 total by 3,786 pages.
The Trump administration has added an average of 1,371 pages to the Federal Register each week in 2019 as of December 6. 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.
Click here to find more information about weekly additions to the Federal Register in 2018 and 2017.  Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2016.

Previewing the 2020 gubernatorial elections: a look back at the most recent election by state

Eleven states are holding elections for governor in 2020, including seven of the 26 states with Republican governors and four of the 24 states with Democratic governors. New Hampshire and Vermont last elected a governor in 2018, while the other nine last held a gubernatorial election in 2016.
Here’s what happened in the most recent gubernatorial election in each state:
  • In Delaware’s 2016 election, Rep. John Carney Jr. (D) defeated state Sen. Colin Bonini (R) by a margin of 19.2 percentage points. Incumbent Jack Markell (D) was term-limited. Carney’s margin of victory was the smallest in Delaware gubernatorial elections since 2004.
  • In Indiana’s 2016 election, Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb (R) defeated former state House Speaker John Gregg (D) by a 6.0 percent margin. Holcomb replaced incumbent Mike Pence (R) on the ticket after he dropped out in July to serve as Donald Trump’s running mate. Holcomb expanded on Pence’s margin of 2.9 percentage points in 2012 when Pence also ran against Gregg.
  • In Missouri, nonprofit executive Eric Greitens (R) defeated state Attorney General Chris Koster (D) by a 5.9 percent margin. This was the widest margin of victory for a Republican governor of Missouri since 1988. Greitens’ win gave the Republican party control of the governorship—and a trifecta in Missouri—for the first time since 2008.
  • In Montana, incumbent Steve Bullock (D) defeated businessman Greg Gianforte (R) by a 3.9 percent margin. Bullock expanded on his margin from 2012 when he won by 1.6 percentage points. It was the fourth consecutive Democratic victory in a Montana gubernatorial election.
  • In the 2018 New Hampshire gubernatorial election, incumbent Chris Sununu defeated former state Sen. Molly Kelly (D) by a 7.0 percent margin. Sununu expanded on his 2.3 percent margin in 2016, when he became the first Republican to win election as governor of New Hampshire since 2002.
  • North Carolina’s 2016 gubernatorial election was the closest of the year. State Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) defeated incumbent Pat McCrory (R) by a margin of 0.2 percentage points. McCrory was the first governor in North Carolina history to lose re-election.
  • In North Dakota, businessman Doug Burgum (R) defeated state Rep. Marvin Nelson (D) by a 57.1 percent margin. Incumbent Jack Dalrymple (R) did not run for re-election. It was the seventh consecutive Republican win in a North Dakota gubernatorial election.
  • In Utah, incumbent Gary Herbert (R) defeated businessman Mike Weinholtz (D) by a 38.1 percent margin. This was Republicans’ tenth consecutive win in a Utah gubernatorial election. The longest current winning streak by a single party in gubernatorial elections is 11 elections, set by Oregon Democrats in 2018. Utah Republicans will match this streak if they win the 2020 election.
  • In Vermont’s 2018 gubernatorial election, incumbent Phil Scott (R) defeated businesswoman Christine Hallquist (D) by a 14.9 percent margin. Scott was first elected in 2016 by an 8.8 percent margin.
  • In Washington, incumbent Jay Inslee (D) defeated Seattle port commissioner Bill Bryant (R) by an 8.8 percent margin. This was the tenth consecutive win for a Democratic candidate for governor of Washington and the widest margin of victory there since 2000.
  • In West Virginia, businessman Jim Justice (D) defeated state Senate President Bill Cole (R) by a margin of 6.8 percent. Incumbent Earl Ray Tomblin (D) was term-limited. Justice, who joined the Republican Party in 2017, was the fifth consecutive Democrat to win a West Virginia gubernatorial election.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:

Oklahoma City voters to decide sales tax proposition Dec. 10

On Dec. 10, OKC voters will decide whether to approve a 1% sales tax proposition to fund the city’s MAPS 4 program of city infrastructure and facility projects. The tax was designed to go into effect in April 2020 when the city’s existing 1% transportation sales tax expires, thereby leaving the total sales tax rate in the city unchanged at 8.625% (state and local). It would expire in eight years and raise an estimated $978 million over that time. The three largest funded projects would be Parks ($140 million), Youth Centers ($110 million), and the Chesapeake Energy Arena and related facilities ($115 million).
The measure was put on the ballot by the city council, which approved the proposed tax ordinance on September 24, 2019.
Another sales tax measure, a 0.125% tax to provide about $15 million per year for parks, could be on the ballot for city voters next year. Former City Council Member Ed Shadid filed signatures for a city citizen initiative proposing the tax on December 2. If more than the required 6,499 signatures are found valid by city officials, voters would see the measure in March 2020.
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.
Click here to learn more.

Three 2020 Congressional retirements announced last week; more than 2,200 candidates filed to run for House or Senate

In the past week, three members of Congress announced 2020 retirements: Reps. Denny Heck (D-Wash.), Tom Graves (R-Ga.), and George Holding (R-N.C.). To date, four Senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) and 31 Representatives (22 Republicans and nine Democrats) are not running for re-election. In 2018, 55 members of Congress—18 Democrats and 37 Republicans—did not seek re-election.
As of December 9, 2019, 308 candidates are filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate in 2020. Of those, 265—141 Democrats and 124 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.
1,923 candidates are filed with the FEC to run for U.S. House in 2020. Of those, 1,802—895 Democrats and 907 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, while the other two are special elections in Arizona and 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 233-seat majority.
Click here to learn more.
Additional reading:

Top-Two Primaries measure is the third amendment to be certified for Florida’s 2020 ballot

A measure to establish a top-two open primary system in Florida was certified on Dec. 6 to appear on the 2020 ballot. All Voters Vote, Inc. submitted 769,545 valid signatures for the initiative. To qualify, 766,200 valid signatures were required.
The measure would establish a top-two open primary system for primary elections for state legislators, the governor, and other state offices in Florida.
Currently, in Florida, primaries are closed, meaning a voter must be registered with a political party to vote in that party’s primary election. Under the measure, all candidates would be placed on one ballot regardless of political affiliation and the top two candidates with the most votes would advance to the general election. Under the measure, anyone, regardless of political affiliation, could vote in the primary election.
In cases where only two candidates qualify for the primary election, the primary would be canceled and the election winner would be decided in the general election.
If approved by 60% of voters at the 2020 general election, the measure would become effective on January 1, 2024.
All Voters Vote wrote, “The vast majority of races in Florida are decided in the closed party primaries—which excludes most voters. Those closed primaries are decided by the small, extreme wings of each party. Because of this, our elected leaders no longer have to answer to the majority of people, but only to a very small group of hyper-partisan voters. By giving all voters a chance to vote, politicians will become answerable to the majority of voters, not just a select few.”
In a poll by St. Pete Polls conducted in October, 3,283 registered Florida voters were asked if they supported the measure. 47.6% of respondents said they opposed the measure; 38.1% said they supported it, and 14.3% were unsure.
In 2004, Washington became the first state to adopt a top-two primary system for congressional and state-level elections. California followed suit in 2010. In Nebraska, a top-two primary system is utilized for state legislative elections. Twenty-one (21) states conduct open primaries for congressional and state-level offices. In Alaska, the law stipulates that political parties can determine for themselves who may participate in their primary elections.
Two other measures are certified to appear on Florida’s 2020 ballot. Amendment 1 would state in the constitution that only U.S. citizens can vote in federal, state, local, or school elections. Amendment 2 would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2026.
From 1996 to 2018, a total of 91 measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Florida, of which 75.8% (69 of 91) were approved and 24.2% (22 of 91) were defeated. Between 1996 and 2018, an average of between seven and eight measures appeared on the ballot during even-numbered years in Florida.
Click here to learn more.
Additional reading: