TagSpecial Elections

Brett Geymann elected to Louisiana state House after special election is canceled

Candidates interested in running in a special election for the District 35 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives had until January 8, 2021, to file. Republican Brett Geymann was the only candidate to file by the deadline. Since only one candidate filed for the race, the February 6 primary and the March 20 general election were canceled. Geymann was deemed elected to the seat without appearing on the ballot.

Geymann previously served in the Louisiana state House from 2004 to 2016. He was term-limited from seeking re-election in 2015.

The seat became vacant after the resignation of Stephen Dwight (R) on December 1, 2020. He resigned to become the district attorney of Calcasieu Parish. He had represented the district since 2016.

Louisiana has a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 27-12 margin and the state House by a 67-35 margin with two independents and one vacancy. Democrat John Bel Edwards was elected governor of Louisiana in 2015.

As of January 2021, 16 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 11 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

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Mike Kennedy sworn in to Utah State Senate

On Jan. 5, Mike Kennedy (R) was sworn in as a member of the Utah State Senate. Kennedy won a special election on Dec. 29, 2020, to fill the seat vacated by former Sen. Daniel Hemmert (R). Hemmert resigned to take a job as the executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development under newly elected Gov. Spencer Cox (R). 

Delegates from the Utah County Republican Party chose Kennedy to replace Hemmert in an online special election. He prevailed over Jeanette Bennett, David Shallenberger, Staci Valentine Carroll, Jon Anderson, and John St. Clair.

Kennedy previously served in the Utah House of Representatives, representing District 27 from 2013 to 2018. He left the legislature to mount an unsuccessful campaign against Sen. Mitt Romney (R) in the 2018 Republican U.S. Senate primary.

The Utah Senate is the upper chamber of the Utah Legislature. With Kennedy filling Hemmert’s seat, the current partisan breakdown of the senate is 23 Republicans and six Democrats. 

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New Hampshire House of Representatives Hillsborough 21 special election set for Apr. 13, 2021

Election officials have scheduled a special election for the Hillsborough 21 seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives for Apr. 13, 2021. The seat became vacant when state House speaker Dick Hinch died on Dec. 9 from complications caused by COVID-19. The primary is on Feb. 23, but it may serve as the general election if no primary is required. The filing deadline is on Jan. 15.

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Special election to be held Jan. 19 in Alabama state House district

A special general election is being held on January 19 for District 33 of the Alabama House of Representatives. Fred Crum (D) and Ben Robbins (R) are running in the general election. The winner will serve until November 2022.

The seat became vacant after the death of Ronald Johnson (R). Johnson had represented the district since 1978. He last won re-election in 2018, earning 67% of the vote in the general election.

Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 76-28 majority in the Alabama House. Alabama has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

As of January, 15 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 10 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.

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Warnock wins Georgia’s U.S. Senate special election runoff, outcome of regular election runoff not yet determined

As of 8:30 a.m. ET on Jan. 6, one of Georgia’s two U.S. Senate runoff elections had been called. Raphael Warnock (D) was projected as the winner of the special runoff election with 50.6% of the vote to incumbent Kelly Loeffler’s (R) 49.4%, according to unofficial results available as of Wednesday morning. 

In the regular election, Jon Ossoff (D) led David Perdue (R) 50.2% to 49.8%. Ballotpedia will not project a winner until there is a consensus projection made by a pool of five national news outlets: ABC, CNN, FOX, NBC, and NYT. None of the outlets had called the election as of 8:30 a.m. ET Wednesday. 

With Warnock’s win, the Democratic caucus in the U.S. Senate will have 49 members, while there are 50 Republicans in the chamber. If Perdue wins re-election, Republicans will maintain their Senate majority with 51 members. If Ossoff wins, Democrats will split the chamber 50-50 and Kamala Harris (D) will cast tie-breaking votes.

Perdue was elected to the Senate in 2014, and his term ended Jan. 3. His seat will remain vacant until the runoff election results are certified. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Loeffler after Johnny Isakson (R) resigned at the end of 2019 for health reasons. Warnock will serve the remaining two years of the term Isakson won in 2016.

Republicans framed the fight over Senate control as a fight against socialism in America. Democrats said the incoming Biden administration needs a Democratic Senate majority to make progress on healthcare and pandemic recovery.

Warnock will be the first Black U.S. Senator from Georgia. Georgia’s last Democratic senator, Zell Miller, left office in 2005. 

Joe Biden was the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Georgia since Bill Clinton did so in 1992. 

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Five candidates file to run in Texas state House special election

Candidates interested in running in a special election for the District 68 seat in the Texas House of Representatives had until January 4, 2021, to file. The special election will be held on January 23.

Five candidates—Charles Gregory (D), John Berry (R), Jason Brinkley (R), Craig Carter (R), and David Spiller (R)—filed to run in the special election.

The special election became necessary after Drew Springer (R) won a special election to Texas State Senate District 30 on December 19, 2020. Springer was elected to the state House in 2012. He won re-election in 2020 with 85.5% of the vote.

Texas has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by an 18-12 margin with one vacancy and the state House by an 83-67 margin.

As of January 2021, 14 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 10 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

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Georgia’s two U.S. Senate runoff elections too close to call as of midnight on Jan. 6

Voters in Georgia decided runoffs in two U.S. Senate elections on Jan. 5. As of 12 a.m. EST Wednesday, both races were considered too close to call. In the regular election, Sen. David Perdue (R) led Jon Ossoff (D) by fewer than 2,000 votes, with both candidates receiving 50.0% of the vote. In the state’s special election, Raphael Warnock (D) led Kelly Loeffler (R), 50.4%-49.6%.

Ballotpedia will not project a winner for these elections until there is a consensus projection made by a pool of five national news outlets: ABC, CNN, FOX, NBC, and the New York Times. None of the five outlets had called either election as of 12 a.m. EST Wednesday. 

If Democrats win both runoffs, there will be a 50-50 tie between Democratic and Republican caucuses in the Senate, and Kamala Harris (D) would cast tie-breaking votes. If Republicans win one or both runoffs, they would maintain their majority.

The winners will be sworn in once results are certified. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) has until Jan. 22 to certify statewide results. Perdue’s term ended on Jan. 3. The seat he held will be vacant until results are certified. Loeffler was appointed to temporarily serve the term Johnny Isakson (R) won, which ends in January 2023. Loeffler will remain a Senator until the results are certified, and whoever wins the race will complete the term.

In Georgia, a candidate may request a recount within two business days of when results are certified if the margin between the candidates is less than or equal to 0.5%. Additionally, an election official may order a recount if it appears there is a discrepancy or error in the returns.

Additional reading:

https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Senate_special_election_in_Georgia,_2020_(Loeffler_vs._Warnock_runoff)

https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Senate_election_in_Georgia,_2020_(Perdue_vs._Ossoff_runoff)



Rhode Island voters will decide seven bond issues at a special election in March

On December 18, Governor Gina Raimondo (D) signed the 2021 state budget that included seven bond issues totaling $400 million. Rhode Island voters will decide the questions at a special election on March 2, 2021. The ballot titles, amounts, and purposes are listed below:

  • Question 1: Issues $107.3 million in bonds for the University of Rhode Island Fine Arts Center, the Rhode Island College Clarke Science Building, and the Community College of Rhode Island
  • Question 2: Issues $74 million in bonds for state beaches, parks, recreational facilities, and water projects
  • Question 3: Issues $65 million in bonds for building and renovating public housing projects
  • Question 4: Issues $71.7 million in bonds for transportation infrastructure
  • Question 5: Issues $15 million in bonds for the Early Childhood Care and Education Capital Fund
  • Question 6: Issues $7 million in bonds for the Cultural Arts and the Economy Grant Program and the State Preservation Grants Program
  • Question 7: Issues $60 million in bonds to fund improvements to industrial facilities infrastructure

To put a legislatively referred bond question before voters, a simple majority vote is required in both the Rhode Island State Senate and the Rhode Island House of Representatives. In Rhode Island, the state General Assembly must ask voters to issue general obligation bonds over $50,000, except in the case of war, insurrection, or invasion.

The bond measures were introduced into the Rhode Island General Assembly as provisions of Article II of House Bill 7171 (HB 7171) on January 16, 2020. On December 16, 2020, Article II of HB 7171 passed in a vote of 58-7, with 10 members not voting, in the state House. On December 18, 2020, the state Senate voted 31 to five, with one member not voting, to approve HB 7171.

Between 2008 and 2020, voters in Rhode Island decided on 22 bond measures, totaling $1.3 billion in principal value. Voters approved 100 percent of the bond measures, with support ranging from 55.23 percent (Question 2 of 2010) to 83.89 percent (Question 3 of 2016). Voters have not rejected a bond measure since 2006 when 50.56 percent of electors rejected a $4.0 million bond for improvements in Fort Adams State Park.

The last odd-year bond election in Rhode Island was in 1985 where nine bond measures were approved.

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