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Melanie Stansbury sworn in to Congress on June 14

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D) was sworn in to represent New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District on June 14. Stansbury defeated Mark Moores (R), 60% to 36%. to win a special election for the seat on June 1. The seat became vacant when former Rep. Debra Haaland (D) left office to become secretary of the interior. 

At the time of her election to Congress, Stansbury served in the New Mexico House of Representatives, representing District 28. She was first elected in 2018, defeating incumbent Jimmie Hall (R), 54% to 46%. Before running for office, Stansbury worked for the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Office of Management and Budget. She has also worked as a science educator with the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. 

When a vacancy occurs in the New Mexico House of Representatives, the governor appoints a replacement from a list provided by the board of county commissioners representing the vacant seat. The governor is not required to appoint someone of the same party as the last person who held the seat. 

With Stansbury taking office, the partisan breakdown of the U.S. House is 220 Democrats, 211 Republicans, and four vacancies. The partisan balance of the New Mexico House is 44 Democrats, 24 Republicans, one independent, and one vacancy. 

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Democrat Melanie Ann Stansbury wins special election in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District

Melanie Ann Stansbury (D) defeated Mark Moores (R) and four other candidates in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District special election. Stansbury received 63% of the vote to Moore’s 33%.

The election took place after the U.S. Senate confirmed incumbent Debra Haaland (D) as secretary of the on March 15, 2021.

Stansbury served in the New Mexico House of Representatives since 2019. She led the race in fundraising and spending. According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, as of May 12 she had $1,348,453 in receipts and $874,861 in disbursements. Moores had raised $595,423 and spent $469,868.

Christopher Manning (L), Aubrey Dunn (I), write-in Laura Olivas (I), and write-in Robert Ornelas (I) also ran.

The outcome of this race affected partisan control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 117th Congress. Leading up to the election, Democrats had a 219 to 211 majority over Republicans. When Stansbury is sworn in, Democrats will have expanded their majority to 220-211.

As of June 1, 2021, seven special elections have been called during the 117th Congress. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held.

To read more about New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District special election, click here.



Melanie Ann Stansbury (D), Mark Moores (R), four others running in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District special election on June 1

Melanie Ann Stansbury (D), Mark Moores (R), and four other candidates are running in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District special election on June 1, 2021. The election was called following incumbent Debra Haaland’s (D) appointment as secretary of the interior in Joe Biden’s (D) presidential administration. 

Stansbury and Moores were elected to run at Democratic and Republican Party conventions, respectively. Stansbury has served in the New Mexico House of Representatives since 2019. She has received endorsements from incumbent Debra Haaland (D) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D), EMILY’s List, and the Sierra Club.

Moores has served in the New Mexico State Senate since 2013. He has been endorsed by Rep. Yvette Herrell (R), the Albuquerque Journal, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses. 

As of May 12, Stansbury led in fundraising and spending, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. She had $1,348,453 in receipts and $874,861 in disbursements. Moores had raised $595,423 and spent $469,868.

Christopher Manning (L), Aubrey Dunn (I), write-in Laura Olivas (I), and write-in Robert Ornelas (I) are also running.

Haaland had represented New Mexico’s 1st since after the 2018 election. She was re-elected in 2020 58.2% to 41.8%. In the 2020 presidential election, Biden defeated Donald Trump (R) in the district 60.2% to 37.4%. The district last elected a Republican to Congress in 2006 when it backed incumbent Heather Wilson.

The outcome of this race will affect partisan control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 117th Congress. Democrats have a 219 to 211 majority over Republicans. Five seats are vacant.

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Candidate list for special election in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District certified on May 24

The Franklin County Board of Elections certified the candidates for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District special primary in a meeting on May 24. Candidates interested in running had until May 17 to file. The primary is scheduled for Aug. 3, and the general election is set for Nov. 2.

Fourteen candidates were certified to the ballot: two Democrats and 12 Republicans. The candidates are:

  1. Greg Betts (D)
  2. Allison Russo (D)
  3. John Adams (R)
  4. Mike Carey (R)
  5. Eric M. Clark (R)
  6. Thad Cooperridder (R)
  7. Ruth Edmonds (R)
  8. Ron Hood (R)
  9. Tom Hwang (R)
  10. Stephanie Kunze (R)
  11. Jeff LaRe (R)
  12. Bob Peterson (R)
  13. Brian Stewart (R)
  14. Omar Tarazi (R)

Write-in candidates have until May 28 to file declarations of intent with the county board.

The special election was called after Steve Stivers (R) left office to become the President and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, effective May 16. Stivers served from 2011 to 2021.

After Stivers’ resignation, the partisan breakdown of the U.S. representatives from Ohio will be three Democrats, 11 Republicans, and two vacancies. The U.S. House will have 219 Democrats, 211 Republicans, and five vacancies. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats. 

As of May 14, seven special elections have been called during the 117th Congress. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held.

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U.S. Senate approves resolution to reverse Trump-era methane rule and restore standards set by Obama administration

The U.S. Senate passed a resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) on April 28 to block a rule made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Sept. 2020. 

The final vote was 52-42, with three Republicans, Susan Collins (Maine), Lindsay Graham (S.C.), and Rob Portman (Ohio), voting in favor of the resolution. 49 Democrats voted in favor of the resolution. The following 6 senators did not vote: Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). 

The Congressional Review Act gives Congress a chance to review and reject any new regulatory rules created by federal administrative agencies. Both houses of Congress have to pass a resolution disapproving the EPA rule and President Biden would then have to sign that resolution into law to block the rule. Since the law’s creation in 1996, Congress has used the CRA to repeal 17 out of the more than 90,767 rules published in the Federal Register during that time.

The EPA rule went into effect on Sept. 14, 2020. According to the _Congressional Record_, Congress has 60 days from Feb. 3, 2021, to use the CRA to block regulatory activity taken near the end of the Trump administration. Rules published by the Trump administration after Aug. 21, 2020 fall within the CRA lookback window.

U.S. Representative Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) introduced a companion resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 26, 2021. 

To learn more about the Congressional Review Act (CRA), see here: https://ballotpedia.org/Congressional_Review_Act

Additional reading:

Link to the U.S. Senate Resolution:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-joint-resolution/14?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22heinrich+S.j.%22%5D%7D&s=1&r=1



Voters to decide special election on May 1 for Texas’ 6th Congressional District

A special election to fill the vacancy in Texas’ 6th Congressional District will be held May 1. Twenty-three candidates are running to represent this district in the Fort Worth suburbs. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters will compete in a runoff election. The previous incumbent, Ronald Wright (R), died from COVID-19 related complications on February 7, 2021.

Media attention has focused on eight candidates in the race: Lydia Bean (D), Shawn Lassiter (D), Jana Lynne Sanchez (D), Jake Ellzey (R), Brian Harrison (R), Sery Kim (R), Michael Wood (R), and Susan Wright (R).

Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Wright this week. Harrison received endorsements from several Trump administration officials, including former Cabinet members Alex Azar, Betsy DeVos, and Linda McMahon. U.S. Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who voted to impeach Trump, endorsed Wood. 

Ellzey was endorsed by former Gov. Rick Perry (R), the Texas Farm Bureau, and three Ellis County Commissioners. He has faced opposition from the Club for Growth and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R).

Kim, a Korean-American, was endorsed by the two Korean-American members of Congress, but those endorsements were later rescinded following comments she made about Chinese immigrants.

Among the Democratic candidates, Bean received endorsements from several unions, including the Texas AFL-CIO, the local Teamsters, and the local United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Lassiter received endorsements from local school board officials, a former state board of education member, the 314 Action Fund, and the Voter Protection Project. Sanchez was endorsed by a pair of Arlington City Council members and the campaign arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

The district has become more competitive in both presidential and congressional elections since 2012. In 2020, Trump won the district 51-48, running behind Wright, who won 53-44. In 2016, Trump won the district 54-42, while Wright won 58-39. In 2012, Mitt Romney (R) won the district 58-41 while then-Rep. Joe Barton (R) won re-election 58-39. Midterm elections in the district have followed the same trend. In 2018, Wright won re-election 53-45, while Barton won 61-36 in 2014.



New apportionment data released – six states gain congressional seats, seven states lose seats

The United States Census Bureau released its post-2020 census apportionment counts on April 26, 2021. Apportionment is the process whereby the 435 districts in the U.S. House of Representatives are allotted to the states on the basis of population.

Six states gained seats. Texas gained two, while Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon gained one each. Seven states—California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia—each lost a seat.



Congressional resolution would reverse Trump-era rule specifying when Social Security administrative appeals judges would decide cases

On April 1, 2021, U.S. Representative John Larson (D-Conn.) introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to block a rule made by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in November 2020. 

The rule, published in the Federal Register on November 16, 2020, aims to clarify when administrative appeals judges on the Social Security Administration Appeals Council may hold hearings and issue decisions.

The Congressional Review Act gives Congress a chance to review and reject any new regulatory rules created by federal administrative agencies. Both houses of Congress have to pass a resolution disapproving the SSA rule and President Biden would then have to sign that resolution into law to block the rule. Since the law’s creation in 1996, Congress has used the CRA to repeal 17 out of the over 90,767 rules published in the Federal Register during that time.

The SSA rule went into effect on December 16, 2020. A recent edition of the Congressional Record clarified that Congress has 60 days from February 3, 2021, to use the CRA to block regulatory activity taken near the end of the Trump administration. Rules published by the Trump administration after August 21, 2020 fall within the CRA lookback window.

Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) cosponsored the resolution. 

To learn more about the Congressional Review Act and its use, see here. Want to go further? Sign up today for our Learning Journey on the Congressional Review Act.

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Federal judge strikes down 5% petition requirement for minor-party and unaffiliated U.S. House candidates in Georgia

On March 29, 2021, Judge Leigh Martin May, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, struck down a Georgia law requiring minor-party and unaffiliated candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives to submit petitions signed by at least 5 percent of the district’s registered voters in order to appear on the ballot. May ruled this requirement “overburdens [voters’ and candidates’] rights to vote and to associate with their preferred political party, and so it violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.”

May contrasted the 5-percent signature requirement for U.S. House candidates with the 1-percent requirement for statewide candidates, “The [Georgia] General Assembly has deemed a 1% petition signature requirement adequate to guard against ballot crowding and frivolous candidacies on a statewide basis. It is not immediately clear why candidates for non-statewide office must clear a proportionally higher hurdle, the 5% petition signature requirement. [The state] has not offered any explanation for this disparity.” 

May has not yet ordered a remedy. She directed the plaintiffs (the Libertarian Party of Georgia) to submit a brief within three weeks on proposed remedies. The state will then have an opportunity to respond to this proposal before May issues further guidance. 

Under the 5-percent signature requirement, originally enacted in 1943, no minor-party candidate for the U.S. House has qualified for placement on the general election ballot. In 2020, minor-party or unaffiliated candidates would have needed between 19,777 and 26,539 signatures in order to qualify for the ballot (the number varies by congressional district). 

It is not clear whether the state will appeal the decision.

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Congressional resolution would reverse Trump-era rule about how banking laws apply to certain loans

On March 25 and 26, 2021, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and U.S. Representative Jesus Garcia (D-Ill.) introduced companion resolutions in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to block a rule made by the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) in October 2020. 

The rule, published in the Federal Register on October 30, 2020, aims to clarify when banks are the true lender in situations where banks provide the money for third-party organizations to extend credit to borrowers. 

The Congressional Review Act gives Congress a chance to review and reject any new regulatory rules created by federal administrative agencies. Both houses of Congress have to pass a resolution disapproving the OCC rule and President Biden would then have to sign that resolution into law to block the rule. Since the law’s creation in 1996, Congress has used the CRA to repeal 17 out of the over 90,767 rules published in the Federal Register during that time.

The OCC rule went into effect on December 29, 2020. A recent edition of the Congressional Record clarified that Congress has 60 days from February 3, 2021, to use the CRA to block regulatory activity taken near the end of the Trump administration. Rules published by the Trump administration after August 21, 2020 fall within the CRA lookback window.

The U.S. Senate version of the resolution has the following 6 cosponsors: Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), Catherine Cortez Mastro (D-Nev.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) 

The U.S. House version of the resolution has no cosponsors. 

To learn more about the Congressional Review Act and its use, see here: https://ballotpedia.org/Congressional_Review_Act

Want to go further? Sign up today for our Learning Journey on the Congressional Review Act: https://ballotpedia.org/Journey:_Congressional_Review_Act

Additional reading:

Link to the U.S. Senate CRA resolution:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-joint-resolution/15/text?r=2&s=5

Link to the U.S. House of Representatives CRA resolution:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-joint-resolution/35?s=5&r=2

Text of the OCC rule:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/10/30/2020-24134/national-banks-and-federal-savings-associations-as-lenders

Link to Van Hollen’s press release:

https://www.vanhollen.senate.gov/news/press-releases/van-hollen-brown-garcia-announce-congressional-review-act-legislation-to-repeal-trump-era-rent-a-bank-rule

Link to Garcia’s press release:

https://chuygarcia.house.gov/media/press-releases/representative-garc-senators-van-hollen-brown-announce-congressional-review-act

Link to the Congressional Record:

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CREC-2021-02-03/pdf/CREC-2021-02-03-house.pdf