Franklin, Hall advance to runoff in Georgia’s 5th Congressional District special election

Robert Franklin (D) and Kwanza Hall (D) will advance to a December 1, 2020 runoff in Georgia’s 5th Congressional District special election. As of 9:25 p.m. EST, The New York Times called the race with 70% precincts reporting. Franklin had received 27.1% of the vote and Hall had received 32.4%. Mable Thomas (D) received 19.7% and Keisha Sean Waites (D) received 12.4%. No other candidate received more than 10% of the vote.

The winner of this race will serve the remainder of John Lewis’ (D) congressional term through January 3, 2021. Since the election advanced to a runoff, the winner’s tenure in Congress will last 33 days. The Democratic and Republican nominees for the November election in Georgia’s 5th, Nikema Williams (D) and Angela Stanton King (R), opted to not run in the special election.

When do election winners take office?

With the 2020 election cycle coming to a close, voters may be wondering how quickly those they elected will take office. At the federal level, members of Congress will be sworn in on January 3, 2021, and the president will be sworn in on January 20, 2021.

Wondering about state-level offices? Check out Ballotpedia’s page, “Swearing-in dates of state legislators elected on November 3, 2020.” We also have information for state executives on their office overviews.

Additional reading:

Special election called in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District after candidate’s death

The general election for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District has been postponed after the death of Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate Adam Weeks. A special election for the seat is scheduled for February 9, 2021.

According to Minnesota law, if a major party candidate dies within 79 days of the general election, a special election must be held. The Legal Marijuana Now Party is qualified as a major party in Minnesota.

The race for MN-02 will still appear on the November 3 ballot. However, any votes cast on November 3 will not count, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office. The outcome of the February special election will determine who wins the seat.

The current candidates in the race—incumbent Angie Craig (D) and Tyler Kistner (R)—automatically qualify for the special election. The Legal Marijuana Now Party will have the chance to select a new candidate.

Passed in 2013, the state law requiring the special election was inspired by the 2002 U.S. Senate race in Minnesota. Democratic incumbent Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash weeks before the general election. The Democratic Party nominated former Vice President Walter Mondale as a replacement candidate, but he was defeated by Republican Norm Coleman.

Angie Craig’s term ends on January 3, 2021. That means that Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District will be without a representative in the House until the winner of the special election assumes office.

As of September 2020, 11 special elections have been called during the 116th Congress. From the 113th Congress to the 115th Congress, 40 special elections were held.

Additional reading:

Payroll tax deferral plan subject to challenge under Congressional Review Act, GAO confirms

On September 15, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) sent a letter to U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) clarifying that a recent IRS guidance document was subject to challenge through the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

The IRS guidance related to a presidential memorandum issued by President Donald Trump on August 8 that directed the Secretary of the Treasury to defer payroll tax collection for workers who make less than $4000 per paycheck between September and December 2020.

On September 4, U.S. Representative John Larson (D-Conn.) introduced a resolution of disapproval under the CRA in an attempt to block the IRS guidance from going into effect. As of September 18, the resolution had 28 cosponsors, all members of the Democratic Party.

Larson argued in a press release that Trump’s deferral policy “is the first step towards a long-time conservative dream to end Social Security as we know it. This is a direct attack on our country’s most popular program that must be stopped.” The administration argued that the deferral would “put money directly in the pockets of American workers and generate additional incentives for work and employment.”

The CRA gives Congress a chance to review and reject any new regulatory rules created by federal administrative agencies. Since the law’s creation in 1996, 17 out of the over 90,767 rules published in the _Federal Register_ during that time have been repealed using the CRA. To block the IRS guidance, both houses of Congress would have to pass a CRA resolution of disapproval and get President Trump to sign it into law.

To learn more about the Congressional Review Act or guidance documents, see here:
Congressional Review Act
Guidance (administrative state)

Additional reading:
Presidential memorandum
Administrative state
Federal government responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020
U.S. Government Accountability Office
Internal Revenue Service

Former U.S. Sen. Kassebaum (R) endorses Bollier (D) in KS race

Former U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum (R) endorsed Barbara Bollier (D) in the Senate race in Kansas. Kassebaum held the seat from 1978 until 1997. Pat Roberts (R), the retiring incumbent in 2020, succeeded her. Bollier, Roger Marshall (R), and Jason Buckley (L) are on the ballot.

Bollier, a state senator, served in the state House and Senate as a Republican until switching her affiliation to Democrat in December 2018. She cited school funding and Medicaid expansion among the issues influencing her switch. Bollier has endorsements from several current and former Republican state legislators.

Marshall has served in the U.S. House since 2017. Roberts and President Donald Trump (R) endorsed him. Sheila Frahm (R), who was appointed to the state’s other U.S. Senate seat in 1996 and lost that year’s primary to Sam Brownback, endorsed Marshall the same day Kassebaum endorsed Bollier.

The Wichita Eagle’s Jonathan Shorman wrote, “Both Frahm and Kassebaum hail from an era of moderate Republicanism in Kansas. … Both Frahm and Kassebaum endorsed Democrat Laura Kelly in the 2018 governor’s race.”

Kansas has not elected a Democratic senator since 1932. No Democrat appeared on the 2014 general election ballot, and Roberts won re-election with 53% of the vote to independent Greg Orman’s 43%. In the 2018 gubernatorial race, Kelly defeated Kris Kobach (R) 48% to 43%. Marshall defeated Kobach and nine others in the 2020 Republican primary.

The outcome of this race will affect the partisan control of the U.S. Senate. Thirty-five of the 100 seats will be up for election, including two special elections. As of September 2020, the Republican Party has a 53-seat majority in the chamber. Democrats have 45 seats. Independents who caucus with the Democrats hold the two remaining seats. Republicans face greater partisan risk in the general election, as they are defending 23 seats while Democrats are defending 12. Both parties have two incumbents representing states the opposite party’s presidential nominee won in 2016.

Additional reading:
U.S. Senate delegation from Kansas

All candidates in New York’s 10th Congressional District election complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection Survey

All three candidates running in the election for New York’s 10th Congressional District—Incumbent Jerrold Nadler (D), Cathy Bernstein (R), and Michael Madrid (L)—completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection Survey. Ballotpedia asks all federal, state, and local candidates to complete a survey so voters can discover what motivates them on political and personal levels.

One question in the survey asks candidates to list three key messages of their campaigns. Each candidate’s responses are below.

• Strengthen Democracy & Rule of Law
• Reduce Economic Inequality
• Fight Climate Change

• Housing Costs Are Sky High
• Helping Our Small Businesses To Succeed

• Simplify: life is hard enough without needless regulation making it more so
• Legalize Housing: Rents are too high and homelessness is a huge problem. Our community needs housing. Let’s get rid of the barriers to building housing…and build housing.
• Basic Income: We need an simple, efficient, always on safety net there during crisis and normal times, not the huge tangle of wasteful, mis-targeted, inaccessible services we purport to offer now

In 2018, 1,957 candidates completed a Candidate Connection survey. This number represents 6.9% of all 28,315 candidates Ballotpedia covered during that cycle. Out of the 1,957 respondents, 477 (24.4%) won their elections.

To read the candidates’ responses and learn more about the race, click here: New York’s 10th Congressional District election, 2020

To read more about Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey or if you are a candidate who would like to submit a survey, click here: Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection

Nearly three in four of this year’s federal races will not be competitive, election forecasters say

Five hundred and twenty-one federal elections are taking place this November, including elections for president in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, elections for 35 seats in the U.S. Senate, and elections for all 435 voting seats in the U.S. House. A Ballotpedia review of election forecasts found forecasters project 137 of those races (26.3%) will be competitive, with the remaining 384 all but certain to be won by one of the two major parties.

Ballotpedia’s 2020 election forecasts hub contains an overview of presidential and congressional race ratings from major forecasters as of Sept. 1, 2020. This review looked at race ratings from the Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and the Bitecofer model as of Sept. 1, 2020.

As of Sept. 1, election forecasters saw President Donald Trump (R) as all but certain to win 13 states in his bid for re-election, with challenger Joe Biden (D) all but certain to win 13 states plus the District of Columbia. Forecasters identified eight states as battlegrounds where both Biden and Trump have a substantial chance of winning, including three toss-ups: Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina.

In the U.S. Senate, 35 seats are up this year, including 23 held by Republicans and 12 held by Democrats. Forecasters projected 10 seats are all but certain to go to Republicans and eight are all but certain to go to Democrats, leaving 17 competitive races. Two of those—Iowa and North Carolina—are toss-ups. Forecasters also identified two seats that tilt towards each party, with Montana and the regularly-scheduled election in Georgia tilting towards Republicans and the races in Colorado and Maine tilting towards Democrats. All six toss-up and tilt seats are currently held by Republicans.

In the U.S. House, all 435 voting seats are up for election. Forecasters projected that 339 are all but guaranteed to one of the two major parties—186 seats to Democrats and 153 to Republicans. Ten seats were identified as toss-ups where neither party has a clear advantage, including seven seats currently held by Democrats and three currently held by Republicans. There were five U.S. House races where forecasters differed on which party was ahead: Illinois’ 13th, Indiana’s 5th, North Carolina’s 11th, Texas’ 3rd, and Texas’ 21st.

Additional reading:
Race rating definitions and methods
Presidential election, 2020
United States Senate elections, 2020
United States House of Representatives elections, 2020

Special election approaches for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District

The special general election for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District is on September 29, 2020. A runoff election is scheduled for December 1. If no candidate wins a majority of the vote in September, the top-two vote recipients will advance to the runoff.
Seven candidates are competing in the special election:
Robert Franklin (D)
Kwanza Hall (D)
Barrington Martin II (D)
Mable Thomas (D)
Keisha Sean Waites (D)
Chase Oliver (L)
Steven Muhammad (Independent)
The winner of the special election will serve until January 3, 2021. The seat is also up in a regularly scheduled election on November 3.
The special election was called after John Lewis (D) passed away on July 17. Lewis served from 1987 to 2020.
As of September 16, 10 special elections have been called during the 116th Congress. Eight of those were called for seats in the U.S. House, and two were called for seats in the U.S. Senate. From the 113th Congress to the 115th Congress, 40 special elections were held.

Additional reading:

Major party candidates for Congress elections, 2016-2020

As of September 10, 2020, 3,169 major party candidates filed to run for U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

For U.S. Senate, 519 candidates filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Of those, 402—199 Democrats and 203 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties.

• In 2018, 529 candidates filed to run for Senate, including 138 Democrats and 241 Republicans.

• In 2016, 474 candidates ran, including 133 Democrats and 175 Republicans.

For U.S. House, 3,263 candidates have filed with the FEC to run. Of those, 2,767—1,291 Democrats and 1,476 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties.

• In 2018, 3,242 candidates filed to run for House, including 1,576 Democrats and 1,149 Republicans.

• In 2016, 2,430 candidates ran, including 898 Democrats and 1,025 Republicans.

Thirty-seven members of the U.S. House are not seeking re-election in 2020. That includes 27 Republicans, nine Democrats, and one Libertarian. Four senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) are not running for re-election.

• In 2018, 55 members of Congress—18 Democrats and 37 Republicans—did not seek re-election.

• In 2016, 45 members of Congress—19 Democrats and 26 Republicans—did not seek re-election.

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, Democrats currently hold a majority with 232 seats.

Additional reading

Heart of the Primaries 2020, Republicans-Issue 33 (September 2, 2020)

This week: Recapping Kansas’ state legislative primaries and looking ahead to New Hampshire

With Labor Day just around the corner and general election season in full swing, this will be the last regular edition of 2020’s Heart of the Primaries. Notable election results from the primaries in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Delaware will be featured in Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew. We hope you have enjoyed our reporting on 2020’s primaries as much as we have enjoyed bringing you this newsletter. Heart of the Primaries will return ahead of the 2022 midterms.

On the news

Where do Republican and conservative pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

On 2024:

“I don’t believe that a candidate who runs for the nomination, let’s say in 2024, is going to be able to go back to free trade, globalism, or interventionism … because …  the Republican Party has been changed and reoriented to a great degree by Donald Trump.

“So I think that’s what controls it. … [T]he Republicans today, many of them are … basically establishment Republicans, Conservative Inc., and all the rest of it and they may not believe what they are mouthing, but the fact that they are required to speak in a certain way and address these issues indicates a realization on their part that, intellectually, they have lost the battle for the party’s issues and the party’s identity. And frankly if someone came in and attempted to impose free trade and open borders on the Republican Party, he would not be nominated by the GOP.”

Pat Buchanan, Newsmax TV, Aug. 29, 2020


“Donald Trump took over the Republican Party, but it’s still discernibly the Republican Party. …

“There … are notable differences of substance. Trump’s party has reversed itself on trade and jettisoned concern over deficit spending. The party is much less hawkish than George W. Bush’s GOP and much more skeptical of immigration than Ronald Reagan’s. It doesn’t have the focus of the 2004 Republican convention on terrorism or the 2012 Republican convention on out-of-control entitlement spending.

“And yet there is a clear throughline between today’s Republican Party and the GOP of the past several decades. …

“Take Don Trump Jr.’s forceful speech, which by lineage and inclination should be most representative of the Trump GOP. …

“Trump Jr. argued that “Biden’s radical left-wing policies would stop our economic recovery cold,” in part by raising taxes.

“This contrast with Democrats is a GOP commonplace. …

“Trump Jr. underlined the importance of safety and security and hailed the police as American heroes.

“Again, back in 1984, Vice President Bush said, ‘President Reagan and I think it’s time that we worried less about the criminals and more about the victims of crime.’ …

“This perspective sheds some light on the future of a post-Trump GOP. In the main, it’s not likely to be radically different from the current Trump GOP. …

“If this week’s convention has again demonstrated Trump’s personal grip on the party, it also showed that the Republican Party as it has existed for decades isn’t going away.”

Rich Lowry, The National Review, Aug. 28, 2020

U.S. Congress

Previewing the U.S. Senate Republican primary in New Hampshire

Four candidates are running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire on Sept. 8. Don Bolduc and Bryant “Corky” Messner have led in media attention, endorsements, and campaign finance. 

The Concord Monitor’s Ethan DeWitt wrote:

“In Bolduc, voters can choose a career military servant, a brigadier general who rose through the ranks under a long line of presidents and now seeks change from the outside. In Messner they can pick an avowed capitalist, a Trump-endorsed corporate lawyer who built a Denver-based law firm and is running to stand up for small businesses.”

Bolduc received endorsements from the Senate Conservatives Fund, New Hampshire’s former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith (R), and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who said Bolduc “has the integrity, courage, and conviction to lead a positive strategy, and keep America safe.” Messner received endorsements from U.S. President Donald Trump (R), who said Messner was “Strong on jobs, crime, veterans, and the Second Amendment”, and the National Association for Gun Rights.

According to pre-primary campaign finance reports, Messner has raised more than $4.4 million, including $3.9 million he loaned to his campaign. Bolduc had raised $889,000. The candidates have $2.5 million and $178,000 cash on hand, respectively.

Gerard Beloin and Andy Martin are also running in the primary.

Incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D), first elected in 2008, is seeking re-election. In 2014, Shaheen defeated Scott Brown (R), 51.5-48.2%. New Hampshire most recently held a U.S. Senate election in 2016, when Maggie Hassan (D) defeated incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R), 48-47.9%.

Previewing New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District Republican primary

Five candidates are running in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District Republican primary on Sept. 8. Matt Mayberry and Matt Mowers lead the field in noteworthy endorsements and fundraising.

Mayberry, a former Dover City Councilor and chairman of the N.H. Commission on Human Rights, received endorsements from U.S. Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R). Mowers worked as the executive director of the N.H. Republican State Committee and a senior White House advisor in the U.S. State Department. He received endorsements from U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

According to pre-primary campaign finance reports, Mowers has raised $693,000 and has $373,000 cash on hand. Mayberry has raised $173,000 and has $22,000 cash on hand.

Michael Callis, Jeff Denaro, and Kevin Rondeau are also running in the primary.

Denaro, Mayberry, and Mowers completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Read their full responses here. Each candidate is asked to provide three key messages, excerpts of which include:

  • Denaro: “Our National Debt at this time is 26.6 Trillion. I want to propose bills to lower our debt.”
  • Mayberry: “Matt Mayberry is a true New Hampshire Conservative. He believes in smaller government, lower taxes and more personal freedom.”
  • Mowers: “It’s time for a new generation of conservative leadership that will stand up for New Hampshire.”

The winner of the primary will face incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas (D), first elected in 2018 after defeating Eddie Edwards (R), 54-45%. Pappas’ victory made the 1st District one of 30 House Districts represented by a Democrat in 2020 that voted for Trump in 2016. During the presidential election, Trump received 48% of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s (D) 47% in the 1st District.

State legislatures

Race recap: Kansas’ state legislative elections

Kansas’ state legislative primaries took place on Aug. 4. Over one-quarter of the Republican incumbents seeking re-election faced primary challenges this year, and roughly 40 percent of them lost to their challengers.

The Wichita Eagle’s Jonathan Shorman said these primary challenges illustrated a longstanding, intra-party ideological divide in the state’s legislature: “The influence of Kansas Republican moderates has waxed and waned. Gov. Sam Brownback [(R)] helped oust them in 2012. Voters then swept them back into office in 2016 to end his signature income tax cuts and stabilize the budget.” Shorman continued, “But with last week’s primary losses, their ranks have been depleted to levels not seen for years.”

Below are the results of Republican primaries that featured this ideological divide, according to local media sources like The Wichita Eagle, Shawnee Mission Post, and The Kansas City Star.

In the state Senate races listed below, all of the incumbents who lost primaries this year were first elected in 2016, the last time state Senate elections took place. Four of the 2020 incumbents—Skubal, Givens, Hardy, and Berger—all defeated Republican incumbents themselves in 2016.

The House last held elections in 2018. Of the four incumbents defeated below, Dirks was first elected in 2012 and Moore in 2018. Kessinger and Karleskint were both elected in 2016 after defeating Republican incumbents in their respective primaries.

Power players

“Making the change one outsider at a time.” – Conservative Outsider PAC website

Conservative Outsider PAC (COPAC) is a political action committee founded in 2020. Its current treasurer is Kate Teasdale, who works as a Republican political consultant. Notable contributions to COPAC during the 2020 election cycle include $315,000 from Club for Growth and $750,000 from Protect Freedom PAC.

COPAC has not made any direct campaign contributions during the current election cycle, but it has made independent expenditures in Republican primaries totaling $1,376,922. Most recently, it spent $385,000 on television ads opposing Bill Hagerty’s (R) bid for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee, bringing its total spending in opposition to Hagerty to $968,000. COPAC also spent $250,835 and $102,468 to oppose Dane Eagle’s (R) campaign in Florida’s 19th Congressional District and Tracey Mann’s campaign in Kansas’ 1st Congressional District. Both Hagerty and Mann won their primary elections, while Eagle lost his by a margin of .7 percentage points.