Taggubernatorial

Three candidates answer Ballotpedia’s survey in Virginia governor’s race

Virginia voters will elect a new governor this November. Incumbent Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is term-limited, leaving the seat open. Three candidates—Terry McAuliffe (D), Glenn Youngkin (R), and Princess Blanding (Liberation)—will appear on the general election ballot. A fourth, Paul Davis (I), is running as a write-in candidate.

Youngkin, Blanding, and Davis have all completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, which allows candidates to speak directly to Ballotpedia readers, describing who they are, why they are running, and what they would prioritize if elected.

One question asks candidates to list three key messages from their campaigns, the main points they want voters to remember about their goals. Here are a few responses:

  1. Youngkin: “Virginia’s economy has stalled while neighboring states thrive. Virginia’s businesses are drowning in high costs and redtape . [sic] We need a governor with real-world experience who can create jobs, keep businesses from leaving, put an open-for-business sign on Virginia, and create a rip-roaring economy that lifts all Virginians.”
  2. Blanding: “Empowering and supporting courageous leadership that will put people over profit and politics.”
  3. Davis: “Stop Criminal Corrupt politicians and hold legislative bi partisan accountability”

Ballotpedia is seeking 100% participation among candidates in this race. To ask McAuliffe to complete the survey, tweet at his campaign account or send him an email.

An average of the five most recent polls in the race shows 48% of respondents favoring McAuliffe and 42% supporting Youngkin. Blanding, included in three of those polls, received support from 3% of respondents, on average. Davis has not been listed in a poll to date.

Democrats have won four of the last five gubernatorial elections and all thirteen statewide elections in Virginia since 2012. In 2019, Democrats won majorities in both the state House and Senate, creating a Democratic trifecta in the state for the first time since 1994. Most recently, Joe Biden (D) won the state in the 2020 presidential election, receiving 54% of the vote to Donald Trump’s (R) 44%.



Voter registration and write-in candidate deadlines approach in Newsom recall

August 30 is the deadline for California residents to register to vote in order to participate in the recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). Voters must postmark or deliver their ballot to a county elections office by that date. Newly registered voters may either participate in in-person early voting in specific counties or request a mail ballot.

Additionally, August 31 is the filing deadline for write-in candidates to run in the recall election. While voters may write in any person on the ballot, only write-in votes for candidates who have filed this paperwork will count in the final results. The secretary of state’s office is expected to publish a list of these write-in candidates on September 3.

The recall election will take place on September 14. The recall election will present voters with two questions. The first will ask whether Newsom should be recalled from the office of governor. The second will ask who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled. A majority vote is required on the first question for the governor to be recalled. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election, no majority required.

Forty-six candidates, including nine Democrats and 24 Republicans, are running in the election. The candidates to receive the most media attention and perform best in polls so far are YouTuber Kevin Paffrath (D), 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), radio host Larry Elder (R), former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), California State Board of Equalization member Ted Gaines (R), former Olympian and television personality Caitlyn Jenner (R), and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R).

Since 1911, there have been 55 attempts to recall a California governor. The only successful recall campaign was in 2003 when voters recalled then-Gov. Gray Davis (D). Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was elected as Davis’ replacement.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigns, Hochul sworn in as successor

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned on Aug. 24, effective at 12:00 a.m. Eastern. He first announced his plans to step down on Aug. 10.

Immediately after Cuomo’s resignation took effect, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul (D) was sworn in as the 57th governor of New York. Hochul is the first female to serve as governor in the state. She will serve the remainder of Cuomo’s term, which ends on Jan. 1, 2023. New York’s next gubernatorial election will take place in November 2022.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) released a report on Aug. 3 that said Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees. James began the investigation in February.

The New York State Assembly had initiated impeachment proceedings against Cuomo in March, examining the allegations of sexual misconduct among other accusations of impeachable conduct.

Cuomo has repeatedly denied these allegations. On August 23, in his final public address as governor, he said, “The attorney general’s report was designed to be a political firecracker on an explosive topic and it worked. There was a political and media stampede, but the truth will out in time.”

Lt. Gov. Cuomo was first elected governor in 2010 and re-elected in 2014 and 2018. He was New York’s attorney general from 2007 to 2010. Cuomo also served in President Bill Clinton’s (D) cabinet as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1997 to 2001.

Cuomo is the ninth governor of New York to resign. Six resigned to take another office, and three resigned following allegations of misconduct. New York’s last elected governor, Eliot Spitzer (D), resigned in 2008 amid allegations of misconduct. Spitzer’s lieutenant governor, David Paterson (D), served through 2010. Twelve governors of New Jersey have resigned, more than any other state. 

Since 1776, 218 state governors have resigned before the expiration of their term. Of those, 76% took place because the governor was elected or appointed to another office, 7% took place following allegations of misconduct, and 17% were for various personal reasons, such as illness or policy disputes with the state legislature.

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BPI Update: With less than a month until the California recall, 73% chance Newsom is retained

On Sept. 14, California voters will decide whether to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). The Ballotpedia Power Index (BPI) estimates that, as of Aug. 20, there is a 73% chance Newsom is retained and a 27% chance that he is recalled. Should he be recalled, Newsom would be the second California governor in history to be recalled and voters would choose his replacement on the same ballot.

The BPI is an election forecasting tool that factors in polling averages from RealClearPolitics and share prices on PredictIt to project the overall chances of an outcome occurring in an election. The chart below shows the BPI for the first recall question in this election. In other words, a 60% score for no and a 40% score for yes would mean that, according to the combination of polling averages and PredictIt prices, there would be a 60% chance of voters not recalling Newsom and a 40% chance of voters recalling Newsom. We update this figure weekly.

Forty-six candidates, including nine Democrats and 24 Republicans, are running in the election. The candidates to receive the most media attention and perform best in polls so far are YouTuber Kevin Paffrath (D), 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), radio host Larry Elder (R), former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), California State Board of Equalization member Ted Gaines (R), former Olympian and television personality Caitlyn Jenner (R), and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R).

Since 1911, there have been 55 attempts to recall a California governor. The only successful recall campaign was in 2003 when voters recalled then-Gov. Gray Davis (D). Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was elected as Davis’ replacement. In that election, 135 candidates ran and Schwarzenegger received 48.6% of the vote.



CA GOP votes “No endorsement” for recall election; SoS releases campaign finance summaries

On August 7, the Republican Party of California voted not to endorse a candidate in the September 14 recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). About 90% of the delegates attending the virtual party meeting voted to skip the endorsement vote and not endorse a candidate. The vote came amid concerns from delegates and party leaders that an endorsement of one candidate would decrease turnout among voters who support other candidates.

Last week, the California Secretary of State’s office also released summary campaign finance data for reports filed through July 31. On the recall question, committees supporting a “Yes” vote have raised $8.7 million and spent $8.5 million. Committees supporting a “No” vote have raised $49.7 million and spent $21.5 million.

As of August 9, summary data was available for 16 candidate campaign committees. The five candidates that raised the most money so far were all Republicans: John Cox ($6.9 million), Larry Elder ($4.5 million), Kevin Faulconer ($1.9 million), Kevin Kiley ($834k), and Caitlyn Jenner ($747k). The Democrat to raise the most money was Kevin Paffrath ($388k). The top five spenders were Cox ($6.4 million), Elder ($2.2 million), Faulconer ($1.0 million), Jenner ($910k), and Paffrath ($398k).



A closer look at major-party expenditures in the Virginia gubernatorial election

In the race for Governor of Virginia, investment executive Glenn Youngkin (R) has outspent former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) according to the most recent campaign finance reports covering spending through June 30, 2021. Youngkin, who launched his campaign three months after McAuliffe, has spent $16.9 million dollars to McAuliffe’s $11.3 million.

McAuliffe recorded his first expenditure on Sept. 6, 2020. Youngkin recorded his first on Jan. 14, 2021, and passed McAuliffe’s total expenditures on Feb. 8, 2021. Since then, Youngkin has exceeded McAuliffe in total expenditures throughout the campaign.

The chart below shows the progression of campaign expenditures since Jan. 1, 2021. McAuliffe’s largest single-day expenditure was $995,982 on April 29 and Youngkin’s largest was $1.2 million on June 18. For both campaigns, these expenditures primarily consisted of media buys, where campaigns spend money to reserve digital, television, and radio ad space.

Producing and placing media ads make up the majority of both campaigns’ total expenditures.

Roughly 41% of all of McAuliffe’s expenditures have gone to a single vendor: Grassroots Media LLC, which offers strategic media planning services and carries out media buys. Similarly, 42% of all of Youngkin’s expenditures have gone to Smart Media Group LLC, an advertising agency and media buy company.

Princess Blanding, the Liberation Party candidate, will also appear on the general election ballot. She spent $11,043 as of June 30 and has $7,739 on hand according to the most recent campaign finance reports. Her expenditures primarily have been for campaign supplies and canvassing costs, with her largest expenditure—$1,193 on March 4, 2021—going towards yard signs.

Virginians will elect their new governor on Nov. 2, 2021. Democrats have won four of the five most recent gubernatorial elections and all thirteen statewide elections in Virginia since 2012. In 2019, Democrats won majorities in both the state House and Senate, creating a Democratic trifecta in Virginia for the first time since 1994.



Judge rules California Gov. Newsom will not have party designation on recall ballot

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge James P. Arguelles ruled on July 12 that California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) party affiliation will not appear on the September 14 recall ballot. Newsom sued Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) on June 28 seeking to have his party affiliation added to the ballot. Weber cited Newsom’s February 2020 response to the recall petition, in which he did not file a party preference form, as the reason for leaving the party affiliation off the recall ballot.

In the ruling, Arguelles wrote: “First, Governor Newsom’s failure to designate a party preference will not result in a ballot identifying him as ‘Party Preference: None.’ Rather, there will be no reference to party preference next to his name one way or the other. Instead, the recall ballot will simply ask whether he should be recalled.”

A recall election seeking to remove Newsom will take place on September 14. Organizers of the recall campaign submitted 2.1 million signatures by the March 17 filing deadline. Weber’s office found 1,719,943 signatures to be valid – more than the 1,495,970 necessary to trigger a recall election. Voters who signed the petition had until June 8 to request removal from the petition. Forty-three signatures were removed during the removal period, leaving 1,719,900 valid signatures on the petitions.

The filing deadline for candidates to run in this election is July 16. As of July 12, 70 individuals had filed to run, including former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose (R), and Caitlyn Jenner (R).

Newsom was elected as California’s governor in 2018 with 61.9% of the vote. Since 1911, there have been 55 attempts to recall an incumbent California governor. The only successful recall campaign was in 2003 when voters recalled then-Gov. Gray Davis (D). Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was chosen as Davis’ replacement.

The recall election will present voters with two questions. The first will ask whether Newsom should be recalled from the office of governor. The second will ask who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled. A majority vote is required on the first question for the governor to be recalled. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election, no majority required. In the 2003 recall of Davis, 135 candidates ran and the winner received 48.58 percent of the vote.



How much did your governor make last year?

Eighteen states paid their governor more last year than in 2019, according to the Council of State Governments’ Book of the States. Gubernatorial salaries in 2020 ranged from a low of $70,000 in Maine to a high of $225,000 in New York, with the average governor making $145,370. In the 18 states where a governor’s salary increased, the average increase was $6,604, or 4.3%. Washington was the only state to decrease its governor’s salary, registering a 0.5% decrease over the 2019 rate.

The states with the five highest gubernatorial salaries in 2020 were New York ($225,000), California ($209,747), Pennsylvania ($201,729), Tennessee ($198,780), and Massachusetts ($185,000). The states with the five lowest gubernatorial salaries were Maine ($70,000), Colorado ($92,700), Arizona ($95,000), Oregon ($98,600), and Nebraska ($105,000). Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Oregon have been in the bottom five states for gubernatorial compensation since at least 2010. Only New York has been in the top five in every year since 2010. New York was also the state with the largest increase in gubernatorial salary in 2020, with a $25,000 increase relative to 2019.

Gubernatorial salaries are typically determined either by a state’s constitution or by statute. Most often, the salary portion of a governor’s compensation is defined by law, but additional benefits (insurance, official residence, and other work-related equipment) may be established by state agencies, custom, or other factors. For instance, 45 states subsidize the governor’s travel and 45 states have official gubernatorial residences.

In some cases, salaries automatically increase each year either at the rate of inflation or by another percentage chosen by the legislature. In other states, the legislature must pass salary increases for the governor.

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California secretary of state determines there are enough signatures for recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom to proceed

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) announced that the recall campaign against Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) had enough signatures following the removal period to move forward. She directed the state Department of Finance to begin its cost analysis for the election.

Voters who signed the recall petitions had until June 8 to request their signature’s removal. Forty-three signatures were removed during the removal period, leaving 1,719,900 valid signatures on the petitions, more than the 1,495,709 required to trigger a recall.

Based on the remaining procedural steps required by state law, an election is likely to take place in October or November 2021. Political analysts and legislators have speculated that an election could take place as early as August, while the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials wrote a letter to Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D) requesting that a recall not take place before September 14, citing supply chain issues with paper and envelopes given the unknown number of candidates. Kounalakis is the official responsible for setting the date of the recall election.

Newsom was elected as California’s governor in 2018 with 61.9% of the vote. Since 1911, there have been 55 attempts to recall a sitting California governor. The only successful recall campaign was in 2003 when voters recalled then-Gov. Gray Davis (D). Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was chosen as Davis’ replacement.

A recall election would present voters with two questions. The first would ask whether Newsom should be recalled from the office of governor. The second would ask who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled. A majority vote is required on the first question for the governor to be recalled. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election, no majority required. In the 2003 recall of Davis, 135 candidates ran and the winner received 48.58 percent of the vote.



Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signs legislation replacing state’s presidential caucus

Earlier this month, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed a bill into law that replaces the state’s presidential caucus with a primary and seeks to make that primary the first presidential nominating event in 2024.

Sisolak said, “This brings me great pride, as the diversity and culture found in the people in the great state of Nevada undoubtedly represent the demographical composition of who we are as a nation.”

Democrats and Republicans in Nevada are not unified in the push. Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael J. McDonald said in a joint statement with Republican leaders from Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, “As the GOP leaders of the four carve out states, we want to make clear that we stand together in protecting the Presidential nominating schedule as it has existed for many years. Our alliance is strong and we will continue to work together to preserve this historic process.”

The Democratic National Committee, which can penalize or reward states through delegate allocation based on when they hold their primaries, has not yet released its plans for the 2024 presidential calendar.

The debate over which state should cast its presidential primary votes first has centered on voter demographics, candidate viability, regional diversity, and structural issues.

After the results of the Iowa Democratic caucus were delayed for several days in 2020, Democratic leaders from Nevada and South Carolina renewed the call for a change to the primary calendar.

Click here to learn more about the arguments for replacing or maintaining Iowa and New Hampshire as the first states to vote during the presidential primary.

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