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Seventy candidates file to run for Seattle City Council and school board seats

Seventy candidates filed to run for the November 5 general election in Seattle, Washington. Seven of the nine city council seats and four of the city’s seven school board seats are on the ballot. A primary is scheduled for August 6. The filing deadline for this election was May 17.
Three of the seven city council incumbents whose seats are up for election filed to run for another term. In District 1, incumbent Lisa Herbold faces two challengers. District 3 incumbent Kshama Sawant and District 5 incumbent Debora Juarez face five challengers each. The open District 2, 4, 6, and 7 seats attracted between seven and 14 candidates each, for a total of 56 candidates running for city council in 2019. In 2015, 37 candidates filed to run for the same seats on the ballot.
A total of 14 candidates are running for Seattle school board seats in 2019. Leslie Harris is the only incumbent running for re-election. She faces two challengers for the District 6 seat on the board. Three candidates each are running for the open District 2 and 3 seats, and five candidates campaigning for the open District 1 seat. When these same seats were last up for election in 2015, 11 candidates filed to run.
Seattle is the largest city in Washington and the 21st-largest city in the U.S. by population. Seattle Public Schools served 54,215 students during the 2016-2017 school year.

Glen Casada resigns as speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives

Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada (R) announced Tuesday that he would resign his leadership role at a yet-to-be-determined date. On May 20, 2019, the House Republican Caucus approved a resolution of no confidence in Casada by a 45-24 vote. Casada said that he would not be resigning his seat in the house.
The announcement followed revelations that Casada’s chief of staff Cade Cothren had engaged in professional misconduct. Cothren was accused of inappropriate treatment of female lobbyists and interns and use of cocaine in the legislative office building. Casada and Cothren were also accused of exchanging text messages containing sexually explicit comments.
Casada was first elected speaker in January 2019. He said that he would set a date for his resignation after meeting with other legislative leaders on June 3.
Speaker pro tempore Bill Dunn (R) will succeed Casada on an interim basis. Republicans hold a 73-26 majority in the chamber.
Additional reading:

Texas voters will decide constitutional amendment prohibiting income tax

In November, voters in Texas will decide a constitutional amendment to prohibit the state from levying an income tax on individuals. Legislative Republicans supported the amendment but did not have the two-thirds majorities required in each legislative chamber to pass the amendment without support from some Democrats. In the Texas State House, 100 votes were needed, and 80 Republicans and 20 Democrats voted to pass the amendment. In the Texas State Senate, 21 votes were needed, and 19 Republicans and three Democrats voted to pass the amendment.
Texas is one of seven states without a personal income tax. Currently, enacting an income tax requires a simple majority vote each legislative chamber and voter approval through a statewide referendum. As the 2019 ballot measure would ban the income tax in the constitution, a constitutional amendment, requiring a two-thirds vote in each legislative chamber and voter approval, would be required to enact an income tax in the future.
Democratic Sen. Royce West (D-23) said the Legislative Budget Board’s analysis of the constitutional amendment was concerning. The proposed amendment would ban an income tax on individuals, whereas the existing language described an income tax as being imposed on natural persons. The Legislative Budget Board’s analysis stated, “The term ‘individuals’ is not defined and could be interpreted to include entities that are currently subject to the state’s franchise tax. To the extent the joint resolution might exempt some entities from the franchise tax, there could be a loss to state revenue.” Sen. West argued that the term individuals should be replaced with natural persons to “bring clarity to exactly what we’re attempting to do,” but his motion to amend the language was rejected. Republican Sen. Pat Fallon (R-30) responded to West, saying that “‘Individual’ is synonymous with ‘natural person.’” According to the House Research Organization, supporters also argued that the amendment would “keep the Texas economy strong by making certain that the state never could impose a state individual income tax.”
As of May 21, 2019, six statewide ballot measures were certified for the ballot on November 5, 2019, in Texas. The state legislature is expected to adjourn on May 27, 2019, and could refer additional constitutional amendments before adjournment. An average of 13 measures appeared on odd-year statewide ballots in Texas between 1995 and 2017. Voters approved 91 percent (145 of 159) and rejected 9 percent (14 of 159) of the constitutional amendments on the ballot during this 22-year period. Across the U.S., 10 statewide ballot measures in four states had been certified for 2019 ballots as of May 21.
Additional reading:

Bennet releases $1T climate change proposal

May 21, 2019: Michael Bennet released his land management-focused climate change proposal. Libertarians call on Justin Amash to leave the Republican Party and run for president.

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

What was the first presidential election where candidates were nominated at party conventions?

  1. 1796→
  2. 1832→
  3. 1880→
  4. 1972→

Notable Quote of the Day

“You have to air these things [White House policy proposals] now. Democrats are taking up all this space because you have so many of them. We have to offer all our plans earlier because the Democrats are otherwise going to be given free rein.”

– Brad Blakeman, former George W. Bush administration senior staffer


  • Michael Bennet released his $1 trillion climate change platform focused on land management and agriculture Monday. He called for investing in biofuels, reaching 100% net zero emissions by 2050, and conserving roughly one-third of U.S. lands and ocean territory. 
  • CNN announced it will hold four more town halls in late May and early June with Bennet, Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, and Eric Swalwell.
  • Joe Biden campaigned in Nashville, Tennessee, where he framed his campaign as an effort to restore the soul of America.
  • Bill de Blasio discussed his presidential campaign and Trump on CNN’s New Day.
  • Steve Bullock said he could win in red states and that Citizens United was preventing Washington, D.C., from working properly.
  • Pete Buttigieg held a fundraiser at Wynwood Walls in Miami, Florida, Monday.
  • KUT News profiled Julián Castro and his “People First” immigration platform.
  • The Independent Journal Review launched its new “The 2020 Twenty” series by asking John Delaney 20 questions about his policy priorities, North Korea, marijuana, artificial intelligence, and other issues.
  • Tulsi Gabbard continued to criticize the Trump administration on its Iran policy and said she had not seen sufficient intelligence information on a potential threat.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand discussed abortion access during an interview on The Daily Show Monday night.
  • Forward profiled David Oks, the high school senior managing Mike Gravel’s campaign.
  • Kamala Harris said she believed fatal police shootings and alleged police brutality incidents should have independent investigations, marking a shift from her previous opposition to taking investigatory discretion from district attorneys.
  • John Hickenlooper gave his first foreign policy speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Monday, where he discussed U.S. relations with China, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, and North Korea. He said he would use an “activist, not a pacifist” approach to foreign policy.
  • Jay Inslee explained how a public healthcare option will work in Washington in an interview with Vox.
  • Amy Klobuchar discussed Alzheimer’s disease research and caregiving and shared her experience of having a parent in a memory care community.
  • Wayne Messam will campaign in New Hampshire Tuesday, holding a meet and greet with the New Hampshire Young Democrats.
  • Beto O’Rourke said he would participate in a town hall on Fox News. He is scheduled to appear in a CNN town hall Tuesday from Iowa.
  • The New York Times profiled Bernie Sanders and his time as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont. 
  • Elizabeth Warren joined Inslee in calling for a debate focused entirely on climate change.
  • Marianne Williamson discussed abortion and moral leadership in the White House on ABC News’ The Briefing Room and Bloomberg’s Balance of Power.
  • Andrew Yang will join SEIU Local 199 President Cathy Gleeson at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, Tuesday.


  • Donald Trump held a rally in Pennsylvania to support Fred Keller (R) against Marc Friedenberg (D) in the special election in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District. While discussing the 2020 election, Trump focused on Pennsylvania-born Joe Biden, saying he deserted the state by representing Delaware in the U.S. Senate.
  • Bill Weld will speak at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Massachusetts about his presidential campaign.

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

  • Libertarian National Committee Chairman Nicholas Sarwark said there was an organized recruitment effort to encourage Justin Amash to switch to the Libertarian Party and run for president after Amash became the first Republican to say he supported impeachment proceedings against Trump based on the Mueller report.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: May 21, 2015

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Donald Trump discussed Chinese currency manipulation and said he would not cut Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security.

Democratic and Republican delegate rules: Demystifying the presidential nominee selection process

The 2020 Democratic and Republican presidential nominees will be selected by delegates at each party’s national convention in the summer of 2020. Delegates are individuals chosen by various means to represent their state or territory at the conventions. Each party has a different number of delegates and different methods by which they are allocated to presidential primary candidates.
In 2020, the Democratic Party will have an estimated 4,532 delegates: 3,768 pledged delegates and 764 automatic delegates—more commonly known as superdelegates (who make up 16.9 percent of total delegates).
Pledged Democratic delegates are allocated proportionally based on the outcome of each state’s primary contest.
A rule change following the 2016 presidential election prohibits Democratic automatic delegates, who are not bound to vote based on states’ primary contests, from voting on the first ballot at the national convention, meaning they will only play a role in selecting the 2020 Democratic nominee if no candidate receives a majority of pledged delegates in the first round of voting.
The Republican Party will have an estimated 2,550 delegates: 2,440 pledged delegates and 110 unbound delegates (4.3 percent of total delegates). Republican pledged delegate allocation rules are largely set by state parties and state laws. States use a variety of methods to allocate Republican delegates, including winner-take-all, proportional, and hybrid methods.
A candidate from each party must win a majority of that party’s delegates to be named the nominee. Based on current estimates, a Democratic candidate must receive at least 1,885 delegates (or 2,267 if past the first convention ballot) and a Republican candidate must receive at least 1,276 delegates to become the parties’ presidential nominees.
For more information on delegate rules by party, including maps of delegate counts and allocation methods by state, charts showing percentages of pledged delegates awarded over time, and descriptions of different types of delegates, see our coverage below.

Colorado becomes the fifth state to enact net neutrality legislation

On May 17, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed SB19-078 into law, which prohibits internet service providers from throttling or blocking otherwise legal content, services, and apps, and from establishing internet fast lanes. Providers violating the law would be required to repay the state for any funding received for rural broadband initiatives.
Colorado is the fifth state to establish net neutrality rules, after California, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Implementation of California’s law is on hold pending the outcome of a lawsuit brought against the Federal Communications Commission [FCC] in federal court.
These laws follow the FCC’s 2018 repeal of its 2015 Open Internet Order, issued during the Obama administration, which declared internet service providers a public utility to be regulated like gas, water, electric, and phone service companies. The U.S. Senate voted 52-47 to reverse the 2018 ruling on May 16, 2018, but the issue was not taken up in the U.S. House.
Other states have implemented rules related to net neutrality via executive order. Governors in six states—Hawaii, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont—signed executive orders in 2018 requiring state agencies to only contract work with providers that adhere to net neutrality.

Voters in Missouri will decide constitutional amendment to limit state executive officials to two terms

Voters in Missouri will decide a constitutional amendment to limit state executive officials to two terms in office. The constitutional amendment will be on the ballot for November 3, 2020, unless the governor calls a special election for an earlier date.
As of 2019, the state constitution limited the governor and state treasurer to two terms of office but not the other executive offices. The constitutional amendment would add the limit to the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state auditor, and attorney general. None of the current officeholders have been in office for more than two terms.
In Missouri, referring a constitutional amendment to the ballot requires a simple majority vote in each chamber of the Missouri State Legislature during one legislative session. The constitutional amendment was the only one passed by the Missouri State Legislature during its 2019 legislative session, which adjourned on May 17.
State legislators are also limited in the number of terms they can serve in Missouri. In 1992, voters adopted a constitutional amendment, titled Amendment 12, to enact term limits on state legislators. Amendment 12 received 75 percent of the vote. The constitutional amendment prohibited a person from serving more than eight years in either the state House or state Senate, or a total of sixteen years in both legislative chambers.
Noting the limits on state legislators and the governor, Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer (R-34), the 2020 amendment’s legislative sponsor, said, ”The voters of Missouri have made it clear they emphatically support term limits. This measure will bring consistency to our term limits for all state officials and prevent them from becoming career politicians.” Sen. Ed Emery (R-31), who voted against the amendment in the legislature, said certain executive offices, like the auditor and attorney general, require experience and shouldn’t be term limited like other offices. He said, “We want people in there who are experienced and know the job and know what they’re doing. I do think that those are a little different categorically and functionally than those top executive positions.”

Presidential hopefuls Harris, Buttigieg endorse Los Angeles schools Measure EE

On June 4, voters in the Los Angeles Unified School District will vote on Measure EE, a proposal to enact a special property tax to fund local schools. Approval of the measure would authorize a $0.16-per-square foot parcel tax for twelve years to fund educational improvements, instruction, and programs. School district officials have estimated that the tax would raise $500 million per year. The measure has received endorsements from 2020 presidential candidates Kamala Harris (D) and Pete Buttigieg (D).
California Senator Kamala Harris endorsed a “yes” vote on Measure EE on May 20. She tweeted, “Closing the teacher pay gap is a key part of our campaign because investing in our future starts with investing in our schools. Join me and @VoteYesOnEE on June 4 (or right now by mail) to lower class sizes and stand with teachers and students.”
On May 9, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg attended a rally in Los Angeles with Mayor Eric Garcetti where he endorsed Measure EE. Relating the issue to his presidential campaign, he said, “In our campaign we talk about three issues: freedom, security and democracy. Every one of those issues is at stake when it comes to Measure EE and supporting the men and women who make public education work.”
The group Yes on EE is leading the campaign in support of the measure. On its campaign website, the group states that Measure EE will “help our neighborhood schools retain and attract quality teachers, counselors, school nurses, librarians, support staff and principals.” The campaign reported $1.28 million in contributions between January 1 and April 20. Top donors to the “yes” campaign include the JMM Charitable Foundation, Steve Ballmer, and United Teachers Los Angeles.
The group No On Measure EE is leading the campaign in opposition to the measure. On its website, the group states that “the 16-cent per square foot tax on all properties will flow into the School District’s general fund with no requirement that revenue be spent in the classroom or on our kids.” The opposition campaign reported $358,000 in contributions between January 1 and April 20. Top donors to the No On Measure EE campaign included the National Association of REALTORS, California Business Roundtable, and the California Association of Realtors.
Measure EE requires a two-thirds supermajority vote for approval. Polls close for LAUSD voters at 8 p.m. on June 4.

U.S. Senators Lankford (R-Okla.) and Sinema (D-Ariz.) propose giving the public early access to the rulemaking process

A proposed bill would require agencies to request written feedback from interested people regarding new major rules earlier in the regulatory process. Senators James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) introduced Senate Bill 1419, the Early Participation in Regulations Act, on May 13, 2019. The act requires agencies to issue advance notices that they will be proposing a rule at least 90 days before the agency publishes the proposed rule in the Federal Register.
The act states that advance notices have to provide time for interested people to submit their views to the agency in writing and have to include the following:
  • The nature of the problem the agency plans to address with a new major rule
  • The data the agency expects to use to formulate the rule
  • A description of the regulatory alternatives the agency is considering
  • The legal authority under which the major rule may be proposed
  • An achievable objective for the major rule
S. 1419 follows other federal standards and defines major rules as those that have or are likely to have the following results:
  • An annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more
  • A major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, government agencies, or geographic regions
  • Significant effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, health, safety, the environment, or on the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets
Rules that do not require published notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register are not subject to the act. Those exempted rules include guidance documents, which are interpretive rules, policy statements, and agency rules of organization. Beyond guidance, agencies can choose not to publish NPRMs for new rules if they find good cause and explain their reasoning in the rule they issue. Finally, if the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) determines that compliance would not serve the public interest or would be too burdensome and redundant based on the requirements of other laws, then the agency does not have to publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) under the act. OIRA is an office within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that handles regulatory review, information collection requests, and oversight of government statistics and privacy policies.
Additional reading:
Text of S.1419 (The Early Participation in Regulations Act):

New Jersey governor conditionally vetoes expanded donor disclosure requirements for 501(c)(4) and 527 groups

On May 13, Governor Phil Murphy (D) conditionally vetoed S1500, legislation that would require 501(c)(4)s, super PACs, and other entities to disclose their donors who contribute $10,000 or more.

In his veto statement, Murphy said, “I commend my colleagues in the Legislature for seeking to ensure that so-called ‘dark money’ is brought out into the open. However, I am mindful that such efforts must be carefully balanced against constitutionally protected speech and association rights. Because certain provisions of Senate Bill No. 1500 (Fifth Reprint) may infringe on both, and because the bill does not go far enough in mandating disclosures of political activity that can be constitutionally required, I cannot support it in its current form.”

  • What comes next? With his conditional veto, Murphy delineated his objections to the bill and proposed amendments to address them. This differs from an absolute veto (i.e., an outright gubernatorial rejection of a proposed law). Should the legislature adopt an amended version of the bill, it will return to Murphy’s desk for his consideration.

    The legislature can also, by a two-thirds majority vote in each chamber, override Murphy’s veto and enact the bill. The Senate approved the bill 33-to-0, with seven members not voting. The Assembly approved the bill 60-to-1, with two members not voting and 17 abstaining. Democrats control both chambers of the state legislature, with a 26-to-14 majority in the Senate and a 54-to-26 majority in the Assembly.     

    • The bill’s sponsors, Sen. Troy Singleton (D) and Asm. Andrew Zwicker (D), said: “The governor says that this bill ‘falls short’ of the goal to bring greater transparency to our political process. That is a gross misrepresentation of months and, frankly, years of hard work. The only thing that fell short today was the governor’s will to truly address the behemoth of dark money that has eroded the public’s trust in our government.”
  • What does the legislation propose?
    • As adopted, S1500 would define an independent expenditure committee as any person or group of persons organized under sections 501(c)(4) or 527 of the Internal Revenue Code spending $3,000 or more annually to influence or provide political information about any of the following:
      • “the outcome of any election or the nomination, election, or defeat of any person to any state or local elective public office”
      • “the passage or defeat of any public question, legislation, or regulation”
    • Under S1500, independent expenditure committees would be required to disclose all expenditures exceeding $3,000. These committees would also be required to disclose the identities of donors contributing $10,000 or more.


What we’re reading


The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 72 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. 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.

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status:

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

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken on relevant bills in the past week. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number. Know of any legislation we’re missing? Please email us so we can include it on our tracking list.

  • Massachusetts H686: This bill would require groups producing electioneering communications to disclose to the public certain information about donations coming from foreign sources.
    • Joint Committee on Election Laws hearing May 15.
  • Missouri HB394: This bill would require any entity not a defined as a committee under the state’s campaign finance laws that spends $500 or more to support or oppose candidates or ballot measures to file quarterly donor reports. Included in those reports would be the names and addresses of donors who gave more than $50 to the entity in that quarter.
    • Referred to House General Laws Committee May 17.
  • Missouri HB513: This bill would require any committees that receive contributions or make expenditures for inaugural activities to file disclosure reports with the Missouri Ethics Commission.
    • Referred to House General Laws Committee May 17.
  • Missouri HB886: This bill would lower the disclosure threshold for contributors to ballot measure campaigns from $500 in aggregate to $25 or more in aggregate during an election cycle.  
    • Referred to House Elections and Elected Officials Committee May 17.
  • New Hampshire SB105: This bill would establish disclosure requirements for certain contributions made to inaugural committees.
    • House Election Law Committee executive session May 16.
  • New Hampshire SB156: This bill would require that political contributions made by limited liability companies be allocated to individual members in order to determine whether individuals have exceeded contribution limits.
    • House Election Law Committee executive session May 16.
  • New Jersey S1500: This bill would require disclosure of donors to 501(c)(4)s, super PACs, and other similar entities who give $10,000 or more.
    • Conditionally vetoed May 13.