A new state legislative special election has been added to our list. The special election is for the District 38 seat in the Kentucky State Senate on January 14, 2020. There is no primary, and the filing deadline is on November 26, 2019.
Ballot initiative campaigns hoping to land a spot on the 2020 Massachusetts ballot had to submit 80,239 signatures to local registrars by Wednesday, November 20. After signatures are verified by local authorities, petitioners must submit those signatures to the secretary of the commonwealth by December 4.
On September 4, the attorney general cleared 10 initiatives for circulation. As of Thursday, Voter Choice for Massachusetts, Right to Repair Coalition, and the Massachusetts Senior Coalition reported submitting signatures. It is unclear whether the seven other campaigns met the deadline.
Voters Choice for Massachusetts is sponsoring the Massachusetts Ranked-Choice Voting Initiative that would enact ranked-choice voting for all elections in Massachusetts, excluding presidential electors, county commissioners, and regional district school committees, as well as elections in caucuses. Right to Repair Coalition is sponsoring Massachusetts Right to Repair Initiative which concerns access to mechanical data in a vehicle’s on-board diagnostics or telematics system. Massachusetts Senior Coalition is sponsoring the Massachusetts Nursing Homes Medicaid Ratemaking Initiative, which would change the formula that state healthcare programs, such as MassHealth (Medicaid), use to determine payments to nursing homes and rest homes.
The Wednesday deadline required at least 80,239 signatures, which equals 3% of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. If enough signatures are submitted in the first round, the legislature must act on a successful petition by May 6, 2020. If the legislature fails to adopt the proposed law, petitioners then have until July 1, to request additional petition forms and submit the second round of 13,374 signatures. If successful, the initiative will be placed on the 2020 ballot.
November 21, 2019: Ten Democratic presidential candidates debated Wednesday night in Atlanta. Wayne Messam ended his presidential campaign.
Notable Quotes of the Day
“This debate was not a competition, as the first debate outings last summer were, over who could sound most unhesitantly progressive, or most flamboyantly impatient with conventional politics or the incremental liberalism of Barack Obama. Instead it was a competition over who could sound most credibly in touch with the political, policy, and even psychic needs of a country they see as ready to move beyond the traumas of the Trump era.”
“The debate seemed like a series of bilateral boxing matches rather than a group debate. … The paired contests made for good television and easy to follow narratives that emphasized specific points of difference between candidates on wealth inequality, racial justice, foreign policy and gender equality. In a race between candidates who largely agree on issues, the event provided a window into substantive and stylistic distinctions between the candidates in a way that seemed productive.”
The candidates discussed impeachment, healthcare, tax policy, national security, climate change, voting rights, border policy, and abortion. Warren had the most speaking time at 13.5 minutes. Yang spoke the least at 6.8 minutes.
For highlights from the debate for each candidate, click here.
Booker, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Steyer, and Yang are speaking with Rev. Al Sharpton about civil rights and racial equality at the National Action Network’s regional conference in Atlanta on Thursday.
Biden is hosting a town hall on Thursday in Greenwood, South Carolina.
Steve Bullock aired his latest ad on prosecutorial authority in Iowa markets during the fifth Democratic primary debate.
Julián Castro wrote an op-ed in Shondaland on Wednesday about why he chose to continue his campaign after not qualifying for the November debate.
John Delaney continues to campaign in Iowa on Thursday with stops in Des Moines and Estherville.
Wayne Messamended his presidential campaign on Wednesday. He wrote in a statement, “I will continue to be engaged during this 2020 cycle to ensure that we defeat Donald Trump. My state of Florida will be ground zero and I intend to be a factor to mobilize our state.”
Sanders is holding a rally at Morehouse College in Atlanta on Thursday.
Joe Sestak wrote about China’s 5G wireless infrastructure in an op-ed in the Harvard International Review.
Warren will discuss workers’ issues at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia on Thursday.
Supporters of the effort to recall Michigan state Rep. Larry Inman (R) have until November 22 to submit 12,201 signatures to force a recall election. The recall effort was submitted to the Michigan Board of State Canvassers on July 19, 2019, and it was approved on August 1.
According to the petition language, recall supporters are trying to recall Inman due to his indictment on three felony counts and missing more than 80 votes during the 2019 legislative session. Federal prosecutors charged Inman with extortion, lying to the FBI, and lying to investigators about texts soliciting contributions. His trial is expected to begin on December 3. In August 2019, the state House passed a resolution by a 98-8 vote urging him to resign.
In September 2019, Inman responded to the recall petition by saying, “I can’t really measure the public and their wishes, but people right now that I [run] into in Traverse City, in the grocery store and gas stations, they all shake my hand and give me words of encouragement.”
Inman was elected to District 104 in the state House in 2014. He was re-elected in 2018 with 50.4% of the vote. His seat is on the ballot in 2020 for a two-year term.
Since 2011, 85 recall petitions have been filed against state lawmakers. Nine recalls were successful, nine were defeated at the ballot, 63 did not go to a vote, and four are still ongoing. California state Sen. Josh Newman (D) was recalled in 2018. Two Colorado state senators were successfully recalled in 2013.
Michigan is under a divided government. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 22-16 margin and the state House by a 58-51 margin with one vacancy. Democrat Gretchen Whitmer was elected to the governor’s office in 2018.
Age to purchase tobacco in New York increases to 21
The United States House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill Tuesday that would ban the sale of flavored tobacco products and increase the minimum age to 21 to buy tobacco nationwide. Meanwhile, 18 states have enacted laws since 2015 to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco.
New York’s age requirement to buy tobacco increased from 18 to 21 last week when a bill signed in July by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) took effect. This legislation passed the state Assembly by a 120-26 vote and passed the state Senate, 52-9.
New York is among eight states with a Democratic trifecta to pass a tobacco age increase. Four states passed a tobacco age increase under a Republican trifecta, and six passed a tobacco age increase under divided government. Nine Democratic governors—including Cuomo—and eight Republican governors have signed tobacco age increases into law. One state—Maine—passed its tobacco age restriction over a veto by Gov. Paul LePage (R).
The increase means that there are now 16 states where the minimum age to purchase or use tobacco is 21, comprising 49% of the U.S. population. Three states have a minimum age of 19 and the remaining 31 have a minimum age of 18. The next state where the minimum age to buy tobacco will rise is Washington, where the age will increase from 18 to 21 on January 1, 2020.
Five more facts about the history of tobacco age regulations in the United States:
The first age limit to buy tobacco in U.S. history was imposed in 1883 in New Jersey and set a minimum age of 16.
By 1920, 46 states had implemented an age limit for tobacco sales, of which 14 set the limit at 21.
During the 1920s and 30s, many states with age restrictions of 21 lowered the age to buy tobacco, often to 18.
At the turn of the 21st century, three states—Alabama, Alaska, and Utah—had a tobacco age limit of 19 and the remaining 47 had a minimum age of 18.
Hawaii was the first state to raise the age to buy tobacco to 21 this century, enacting its increase in June 2015.
Here’s our weekly summary of the local election results we’re covering…and which you may have missed. And please feel free to email me to suggest some interesting local election coverage in your area—I’d love to hear about it!
Voters in New Orleans approved three ballot measures and rejected one in the statewide general election Nov. 16. All four measures were referred to the ballot by the New Orleans City Council.
A tax measure that authorized an additional 6.75% tax on the rent or fee charged for short-term rentals to raise revenue for infrastructure improvements and a fund to promote tourism in New Orleans. The funds to promote tourism would be allocated to New Orleans & Company, formerly the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau.
A measure that amended the city charter to create a local Human Rights Commission. The city’s Human Relations Commission—created in the early 1990s—did not have the powers granted by the state to local human rights commissions because it wasn’t added to the city charter.
A measure that authorized New Orleans to issue up to $500 million in bonds to fund what the measure described as: infrastructure improvements, public buildings, affordable housing, recreational facilities, public safety equipment, and all necessary land and equipment for said improvements.
Voters rejected a measure that would have authorized a special tax of $3.00 per $1,000 of assessed value of all taxable property for twenty years to help fund infrastructure repairs and purchase equipment, software, and technology for the city. City officials estimated the tax would have generated about $10.5 million in revenue each year. Officials from the New Orleans police and fire departments supported the measure.
Colorado voters decided eight local ballot measures—in Denver, Colorado Springs, Arapahoe County, and Douglas County—on Nov. 5. Seven were approved and one was defeated.
All four Denver measures were approved, including one to create a Department of Transportation and Infrastructure in the city and a measure that establishes residency requirements for elected officials. All of the measures received at least 75% of the vote.
In Colorado Springs, Ballot Issue 2B and 2C were both approved. Ballot Issue 2B authorizes the city to retain $7 million in surplus revenue for the improvement of parks and recreational facilities rather than refunding it to taxpayers as required by law. Ballot Issue 2C renewed a sales tax used to fund road repairs and decreases the rate of the tax from 0.62% to 0.57%.
Voters in Douglas County approved Ballot Issue 1A that extends a 0.13% sales tax for 15 years to fund transportation infrastructure.
Voters in Arapahoe County defeated Ballot Issue 1A. The measure would have authorized an additional property tax of $3.40 per $1,000 in assessed property value to fund public safety services.
Take our newest Learning Journey — describing American government
We’re excited to announce another in our series of Learning Journeys, and this one is about the terms that are often used to describe our system of government.
Ballotpedia has teamed up with the Center for Free, Fair, and Accountable Democracy for a Learning Journey on “liberal, republican democracy.” When discussing our system of government, the terms “democracy,” “republic,” “republican,” and “liberal” can at times be a source of disagreement and conflict. Understanding these definitions is essential for understanding our form of government. This short Learning Journey will help you sort things out.
If you’ve never taken a Learning Journey, it works like this. Each day, we’ll send you an email with information, examples, and exercises to help you understand the concept. Along the way, you’ll be able to contact us with any questions and comments you may have.
The Center for Free, Fair, and Accountable Democracy provides nonpartisan civic education for adults age 18 and above, focused on the benefits of representative democracy, the foundations of trust in representative democracy, and the role of citizens in defending their democracies.
On November 14, 2019, Judge William Nardini received commission for the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.
Nardini was nominated to the court by President Donald Trump (R) on September 19, 2019, to succeed Judge Christopher Droney, who assumed senior status on June 30, 2019. Nardini was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 7, 2019, by a vote of 86-2.
Following nomination by the president, a federal judge nominee completes a questionnaire that is reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee then holds a hearing to question the nominee regarding their judicial philosophy and their previous rulings. The committee also sends the nominee’s home state senators a blue slip, permitting them to show their approval or disapproval of the nominee.
After the hearing, the committee votes to approve or return the nominee. If approved, the full Senate votes on the nominee. If returned, the president may renominate the person. If the Senate confirms the nomination, the individual receives commission to serve as a federal judge for a life term. If the individual is not confirmed, they do not become a judge.
The United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit has 13 active Article III judges, including Nardini. The remaining 12 current active judges are:
Chief judge Robert Katzmann – nominated by President Bill Clinton (D)
Jose Cabranes – nominated by President Bill Clinton (D)
Rosemary Pooler – nominated by President Bill Clinton (D)
Raymond Lohier – nominated by President Barack Obama (D)
Debra Livingston – nominated by President George W. Bush (R)
Peter Hall – nominated by President George W. Bush (R)
Susan L. Carney – nominated by President Barack Obama (D)
Denny Chin – nominated by President Barack Obama (D)
Richard Sullivan – nominated by President Donald Trump (R)
Joseph Bianco – nominated by President Donald Trump (R)
Michael H. Park – nominated by President Donald Trump (R)
Steven Menashi – nominated by President Donald Trump (R)
The court’s 14 judges on senior status are:
Dennis Jacobs – nominated by President George H.W. Bush (R)
Jon Newman – nominated by President Jimmy Carter (D)
Ralph Winter – nominated by President Ronald Reagan (R)
Amalya Kearse – nominated by President Jimmy Carter (D)
Pierre Leval – nominated by President Bill Clinton (D)
John Walker – nominated by President George H.W. Bush (R)
Chester Straub – nominated by President Bill Clinton (D)
Guido Calabresi – nominated by President Bill Clinton (D)
Robert Sack – nominated by President Bill Clinton (D)
Barrington Parker – nominated by President George W. Bush (R)
Christopher Droney – nominated by President Barack Obama (D)
Richard Wesley – nominated by President George W. Bush (R)
Gerard Lynch – nominated by President Barack Obama (D)
Reena Raggi – nominated by President George W. Bush (R)
The United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit is one of 13 U.S. courts of appeal. They are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal court system. Appeals are heard in the Thurgood Marshall Federal Courthouse in New York City.
The 17 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president have received a combined 171 noteworthy endorsements, according to review of a list of endorsements compiled by FiveThirtyEight through Nov. 20.
Noteworthy endorsers include current and former presidents and vice presidents, current and former party leaders, governors and other state executives, members of Congress, mayors of large cities, state legislative majority and minority leaders, and Democratic National Committee members.
Joe Biden (D) leads with 40 noteworthy endorsements, followed by Kamala Harris (D) with 33 and Bernie Sanders (I) with 23. Six noteworthy candidates (Tulsi Gabbard, Deval Patrick, Joe Sestak, Tom Steyer, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang) have not received any noteworthy endorsements.
Out of 23 Democratic governors nationwide, six have endorsed a presidential candidate and one (Steve Bullock of Montana) is running for president. Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar have each been endorsed by their home state’s governors. Biden was also endorsed by Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.)
Of the 47 members of the U.S. Senate Democratic caucus, 10 have endorsed a presidential candidate and six are running for president. Five senators have endorsed Joe Biden, more than any other candidate. Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren were each endorsed by their fellow home-state senator. Kamala Harris’ fellow California senator Dianne Feinstein endorsed Joe Biden, while Michael Bennet’s colleague Cory Gardner is a Republican.
Out of the 233 Democratic members of the U.S. House, 69 have endorsed a presidential candidate and one (Tulsi Gabbard) is running for president. Joe Biden has the most U.S. House endorsements with 19, followed by Kamala Harris with 15 and Cory Booker with 11.
Three candidates have noteworthy endorsements from an early voting state. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Democratic National Committee member Jan Bauer endorsed Steve Bullock. Julián Castro was endorsed by Nevada Democratic National Committee member Allison Stephens. Elizabeth Warren was endorsed by Nevada state Controller Catherine Byrne, Nevada Democratic National Committee member Alex Goff, and Iowa state Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald.
Two of the nation’s 100 largest cities by population, Hialeah and Miami, both held nonpartisan elections on November 19 after previously holding elections two weeks earlier on November 5, 2019.
In Hialeah, November 5 was the primary election and November 19 was the general election. Four city council seats were up for election. The Group I and Group IV seats were both won outright in the primary by candidates who received more than 50% of the vote. The Group II and Group III seats, however, advanced to the general since no individual candidate met that threshold. The top two vote recipients in each primary advanced to the general election; Jesus Tundidor and Jackie Garcia-Roves ultimately won the Group II and Group III seats, respectively. None of the four seats were won by an incumbent; Lourdes Lozano in Group I was the only incumbent to file for re-election, but she lost in the primary. The council has seven members. Hialeah is the sixth-largest city in Florida and the 88th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
In Miami, November 5 was the general election and November 19 was the general runoff. Three board of commissioners seats were up for election in 2019. In District 1, seven candidates competed in an open-seat race. The top two vote recipients in the general election, Miguel Angel Gabela and Alex Diaz de la Portilla, both advanced to the runoff, which de la Portilla won. The District 1 incumbent, Wifredo Gort, was unable to run for re-election due to term limits. The District 2 seat was won outright in the general election by incumbent Ken Russell. Russell faced four challengers. In District 4, incumbent Manuel Reyes ran unopposed and won re-election by default.
The board of commissioners has five members. Miami is the second-largest city in Florida and the 44th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
Orlando is the state’s last big city scheduled to have an election in 2019. Although the mayor’s office and two city council seats were won outright in the November 5 general election by their incumbent officeholders, the District 6 seat on the city council advanced to an open-seat runoff election. Bakari Burns and Gary Siplin, the top two vote recipients in the general election, both advanced to the runoff election scheduled for December 3, 2019. The incumbent, Samuel Ings, ran unsuccessfully for mayor rather than for re-election to the council. The council has seven members. Orlando is the fourth-largest city in Florida and the 76th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
Welcome to the Wednesday, November 20, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
A summary of this fall’s top 10 elections
State legislators in California, New York receive the highest salaries
Biden leads Democratic presidential candidates in Ballotpedia pageviews for 4th straight week
A summary of this fall’s top 10 elections
Before the November elections, Ballotpedia compiled a list of the top 10 races to watch in 2019, including races for state executive and legislative offices, municipal elections, and statewide ballot measures. Here’s a quick summary of what happened in those elections.
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) defeated Gov. Matt Bevin (R) and John Hicks (L) in the state’s gubernatorial election. Beshear’s victory means that Kentucky will go from a Republican trifecta to divided government.
Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) defeated state Attorney General Jim Hood (D), Bob Hickingbottom (Constitution), and David Singletary (I) to become governor of Mississippi. Reeves’ win and Republican victories in the state House and Senate preserved the state’s Republican trifecta.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) defeated businessman Eddie Rispone (R) in the general election for governor on Nov. 16. Republicans held onto majorities in the state House and Senate, meaning that the state will remain under divided government.
Democrats flipped control of the Virginia state legislature. After new members are sworn in, Democrats will have a 21-19 majority in the state Senate and a 55-45 majority in the House of Delegates. Heading into the election, Republicans held a majority in both chambers. Democrats will have a state government trifecta in Virginia, as Gov. Ralph Northam (D) was not up for election.
Seattle voters elected city council members in seven districts. Three incumbents ran for re-election, and all three won. Five of the seven council races were won by candidates supported by two political action committees—Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE) and UNITE HERE!, which is affiliated with labor groups.
Colorado voters defeated Proposition CC, which would have allowed the state to retain revenue it was, at the time of the election, required to refund under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR).
A majority of Pennsylvania electors voted to approve the Pennsylvania Marsy’s Law Crime Victims Rights Amendment. This was a measure to amend the state Constitution to guarantee victims of crimes 15 specific rights. However, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court enjoined the secretary of state from certifying election results, pending a court ruling on whether the amendment violates the state constitution’s requirement that separate amendments receive separate votes.
Texas voters approved Proposition 4—a measure to amend the Texas Constitution to prohibit the state from levying an income tax.
Incumbent Mayor Sylvester Turner and former Texas A&M Board of Regents member Tony Buzbee advanced to a Dec. 14 runoff election for mayor of Houston.
State legislators in California, New York receive the highest salaries
There are 7,383 state legislators across all 50 states and the amount each is paid varies from state to state.
State legislators in California earn the highest base salary among legislators in all 50 states—making $110,459 per year. New Mexico state legislators do not earn a base salary. The March 2019 figures come from survey data collected by the National Conference of State Legislators.
The states with the highest base salaries for state legislators are:
New York: $110,000
The states with the lowest base salaries for state legislators are:
New Mexico: $0 per year
New Hampshire: $200 per two-year term
Texas: $7,200 per year
South Carolina: $10,400 per year
South Dakota: $11,379 per year
The legislators in the five highest-paying states work approximately full-time, while legislators in the lowest-paying states work part-time, or in-between part-time and full-time. Forty-three states also pay legislators a per diem or reimburse certain expenses on days the legislature is in session. Many states tie per diem pay to the federal rate set by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Nineteen states use a commission of some kind to determine the salary of legislators. The powers of these commissions vary from non-binding recommendations to reports that are implemented unless either voted down by the legislature, not approved by the governor, or overturned by citizen referenda. Some states tie legislators’ salaries to those of other state employees while other states allow the legislators themselves to set their own salaries.
Biden leads Democratic presidential candidates in Ballotpedia pageviews for 4th straight week
As we previewed yesterday, 10 Democratic presidential candidates will debate tonight in Atlanta. MSNBC and The Washington Post are hosting the debate beginning at 9 p.m. ET. It will be broadcast by MSNBC and streamed on MSNBC.com, washingtonpost.com, and NBC News’ and The Washington Post’s mobile apps.
We track and report the number of views candidates’ 2020 presidential campaign pages receive to show who is getting our readers’ attention.
For the week ending Nov. 16, Joe Biden’s campaign page on Ballotpedia received 2,448 views, more than any other Democratic candidate. This was the fourth consecutive week Biden’s page received the most pageviews among the Democratic field. Andrew Yang’s page had the second-most pageviews during this week and Elizabeth Warren’s page was third.
The only Democratic candidate to receive more pageviews last week than the week before was Tom Steyer, whose pageviews increased by 11.2%.
Yang remains the leader in overall pageviews among Democratic presidential candidates in 2019 with 141,319. He is followed by Pete Buttigieg, Biden, Kamala Harris, and Warren.
See the full data on all presidential candidates by clicking the link below.
“Immigrants who have become new American citizens in key swing states could prove influential in the 2020 election if effectively mobilized, according to a new study. …
In Georgia, new citizens constitute more than 440,000 potential voters, the group estimated. President Donald Trump won the state by roughly 200,000 votes in 2016.
In Arizona, naturalized citizens make up more than 300,000 eligible voters, more than half of whom are not registered. Trump carried the state in 2016 by less than 100,000 votes, but Democrats are hopeful they can flip it in the presidential election after winning a Senate seat there last year.
And in Michigan, new citizens make up 64,000 eligible voters as of 2016, according to the analysis. Trump won the state by 10,000 votes.”
CNN announced its debate criteria for the Republican debate on Dec. 15, 2015. To qualify for the primetime debate, a candidate needed to reach an average of at least 3.5 percent nationally or 4 percent in Iowa or New Hampshire over a six-week period.