TagState executive

Newsom signature removal deadline passes; counties have until June 22 to verify the number of remaining signatures

June 8 was the deadline for voters who signed the petition to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to request their names be removed from the petitions. County election offices now have until June 22 to report the number of remaining signatures to the California Secretary of State.

If at least 1,495,709 signatures remain following the removal request deadline, the recall will be certified and move to a budgeting and scheduling phase. Supporters turned in 1,719,943 valid signatures by the March 17 submission deadline. Based on the remaining procedural steps required by state law for the recall campaign, an election is likely to take place in October or November 2021.

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.

Jack Ciattarelli wins New Jersey gubernatorial Republican primary, will face Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in general election

Former New Jersey Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli defeated Philip Rizzo, Hirsh Singh, and Brian Levine for the Republican nomination in New Jersey’s gubernatorial election. Ciattarelli received 49.5% of the vote, followed by Rizzo with 25.8%, Singh with 21.5%, and Levine with 3.3%.

Ciattarelli will face Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in the general election on November 2, along with Gregg Mele (L), Joanna Kuniansky (Socialist Workers), Justin Maldonado (I), and David Winkler (I).

The general election will determine New Jersey’s trifecta status for the next four years. A Murphy victory would maintain Democratic trifecta control, while a Ciattarelli victory would create a divided government. Election forecasters expect the Democratic party to maintain control of the state legislature.

As of June 1, 2021, two of the three major race rating outlets rated the general election as Solid Democratic and the third rated it as Likely Democratic, but Republicans have had success in the state’s gubernatorial races in the recent past. Between 1992 and 2021, Republicans held the governorship for 16 years and Democrats held the governorship for 14 years.

Heading into the 2021 election, the last Democratic governor to win re-election was Brendan Byrne in 1977. Since then, two sitting Democratic governors, Jim Florio (1993) and Jon Corzine (2009), lost re-election to Republican challengers.

Hala Ayala wins Virginia’s lieutenant governor Democratic primary

Hala Ayala (D) won the Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial Democratic primary on June 8, 2021, defeating five other candidates. Ayala received with 39.1% of the vote, followed by Sam Rasoul (D) with 25.2% and Mark Levine (D) with 11.7%.

Andria McClellan, Sean Perryman, and Xavier Warren also ran in this election. At the time of the election, Ayala, Levine, and Rasoul all served in the Virginia House of Delegates. McClellan was elected to the Norfolk City Council in 2015. Perryman’s career experience includes working as the director of social impact at the Internet Association. Warren has worked as an NFL sports agent and lobbyist for non-profit organization.

Ayala will face Republican nominee Winsome Sears in the Nov. 2 general election. Sears won his party’s nomination at a May 8 nominating convention.

The lieutenant governor serves as the president of the Virginia State Senate and may cast tie-breaking votes. The lieutenant governor is first in the line of succession to the governor; in the event the governor dies, resigns, or otherwise leaves office, the lieutenant governor becomes governor.

Of the four lieutenant governors who have been elected since 2002, three were Democrats and one was a Republican. Two of them, Tim Kaine (D) and Ralph Northam (D), went on to become governor. The lieutenant governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and, unlike the governor, may run for re-election.

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Incumbent Mark Herring wins Democratic attorney general primary in Virginia

Incumbent Mark Herring (D) defeated Jerrauld “Jay” Jones (D) in the Democratic primary for attorney general on June 8, 2021. Herring received 56.5% of the vote to Jones’ 43.5%.

Herring has served as Virginia’s attorney general since 2014. He was endorsed by U.S. Reps. Gerry Connolly (D) and Don Beyer (D), and The Washington Post. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) endorsed Jones.

Herring led the race in fundraising between January 1, 2020 and May 27, 2021. He raised $3.1 million and spent $1.9 million, while Jones raised $2.2 million and spent $2.0 million.

The general election for attorney general will take place on November 2. The Republican candidate is Jason Miyares (R), who won the May 8 Republican convention.

Herring was first elected in 2013, defeating Republican Mark Obenshain by 907 votes. A Republican candidate has not won statewide office in Virginia since 2009.

Former Virginia Gov. McAuliffe wins Democratic gubernatorial nomination

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe defeated four candidates to win the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination in Virginia. McAuliffe received 62.3% of the vote followed by former state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy with 19.8% and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan at 11.5%. Two other candidates—Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and state Del. Lee Carter—received less than 5% of the vote each.

In addition to his tenure as Governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018, McAuliffe chaired the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005 and was the national chairman of Hillary Clinton’s (D) 2008 presidential campaign.

Democratic Party leaders in Virginia supported McAuliffe’s primary campaign. He received endorsements from incumbent Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and 36 Democratic members of the Virginia General Assembly, including House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D) and Senate President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas (D).

McAuliffe will face Glenn Youngkin (R) in the general election. Three independent candidates—Princess Blanding, Paul Davis, and Brad Froman—will also appear on the general election ballot.

This was the fourth contested Democratic gubernatorial primary in Virginia since 1977. It was also the largest Democratic primary field for a gubernatorial nomination in the state’s history. Democrats have won every statewide election in Virginia since 2012.

Virginia became a Democratic trifecta in 2019 after Democrats gained majorities in the state House and Senate. In addition to the gubernatorial election, all 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates will be up for election in November.

A look back at government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, June 8-12, 2020

Although the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020, it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout the year, states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, issued mask mandates, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. 

Here are the policy changes that happened June 8-12, 2020. This list is not comprehensive. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Monday, June 8, 2020

  • Travel restrictions:
    • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced that out-of-state visitors from New Hampshire and Vermont no longer had to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
    • Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) eased the quarantine requirement on out-of-state travelers from counties across New England with similar COVID-19 caseloads to Vermont. The Agency of Commerce and Community began releasing a weekly map identifying quarantine and non-quarantine counties based on COVID-19 case rates. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) ended the state’s stay-at-home order. Murphy first issued the order on March 21. 
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Department of Defense announced that it was lifting travel restrictions on installations in 38 states, Washington D.C., and five countries (Bahrain, Belgium, Germany, the U.K., and Japan). Service members could travel between those areas without needing permission. Travel restrictions remained in place in 12 states.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

  • Travel restrictions
    • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) announced he was extending the quarantine requirement for out-of-state and returning travelers through July 31. He first issued the two-week quarantine requirement on March 17.
  • Election changes:
    • Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) signed HB167 into law, extending the deadline by which a ballot-qualified party must notify the state of its presidential nominee from August 18 to August 25.

Friday, June 12, 2020

  • Election changes:
    • North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D) signed HB1169 into law, reducing the witness signature requirement on completed absentee ballots from two to one.
    • California Judge Perry Parker, of the Sutter County Superior Court, issued a temporary restraining order suspending Executive Order N-67-20, which had authorized counties to consolidate polling places in the November 3 general election, provided they offer three days of early voting.

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Idaho governor rescinds lieutenant governor’s executive order banning mask mandates

Idaho Governor Brad Little (R) on May 28 rescinded an executive order issued in his absence by Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin (R) that banned mask mandates in the state. Little called McGeachin’s executive order an “irresponsible, self-serving political stunt” that, in his words, “amounts to tyranny—something we all oppose.”

McGeachin issued the executive order on May 27 in her capacity as acting governor while Little traveled to a conference out of state. The order prohibited state and local government entities from issuing mask mandates in order to mitigate the spread of contagious diseases, such as COVID-19. 

In a statement posted to her gubernatorial campaign website, McGeachin claimed that she signed the order, “to protect the rights and liberties of individuals and businesses by prohibiting the state and its political subdivisions—including public schools—from imposing mask mandates in our state.”

Little told the _Idaho Capital Sun_ that McGeachin issued the executive order without his knowledge or approval. He rescinded the executive order the following day.

“Taking the earliest opportunity to act solitarily on a highly politicized, polarizing issue without conferring with local jurisdictions, legislators, and the sitting Governor is, simply put, an abuse of power,” said Little in a statement.

Idaho Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane on May 28 issued an opinion stating that, in his view, McGeachin’s executive order exceeded her authority as acting governor. “Oddly, it seems to have been issued in an effort to undermine the existing authorities of the state and its political subdivisions to issue mask mandates,” wrote Kane. “This executive order appears to run counter to both the Idaho Constitution and the Governor’s statutory executive order authority.” 

McGeachin on May 19 announced her candidacy for Idaho governor in the 2022 election. Little, a first-term governor, had yet to announce whether he will run for reelection as of June 3. The Idaho governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately and do not run on a joint ticket.

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Massachusetts, Ohio end face-covering requirements

Two states ended statewide public mask requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated people between May 29 and June 4.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) ended the statewide mask mandate on May 29, along with other COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and individuals. The state will still require masks in state offices open to the public, schools and childcare centers, on public transportation, and in health care settings. Baker recommended unvaccinated individuals continue wearing masks in public settings.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) ended most statewide COVID-19 restrictions including the statewide mask mandate on June 2. The state left mask requirements in place in nursing homes and residential care settings. DeWine recommended unvaccinated individuals continue wearing masks in public indoor settings.

Thirty-nine states issued statewide public mask requirements during the pandemic. Fifteen states had statewide mask orders as of June 3, including 13 of the 23 states with Democratic governors and two out of the 27 states with Republican governors. Of those 15 states, at least 13 exempted fully vaccinated people.

Of the 24 states that have fully ended statewide public mask requirements, 14 have Republican governors and ten have Democratic governors. Twenty-one states ended mask requirements through executive order, two (Kansas and Utah) ended mask requirements through legislative action, and one (Wisconsin) ended its mandate through court order.

Amy Beard appointed commissioner of Indiana’s Department of Insurance

Amy Beard assumed office on June 2 as commissioner of the Indiana Department of Insurance. Governor Eric Holcomb (R) appointed Beard to the position in May to replace outgoing commissioner Stephen Robertson. Robertson announced in April he would resign as commissioner, effective June 1.

Beard has worked at Indiana’s Department of Insurance since 2013, serving as a legal counsel from 2013 to 2017 and a general counsel from 2017 to 2021.

The Indiana Commissioner of Insurance is an appointed state executive position in the state government. The commissioner is appointed by the governor and is responsible for overseeing the Department of Insurance, which regulates insurance companies operating in the state.

Insurance commissioners are elected in 11 states and appointed in 39. Of the 39 states in which the insurance commissioner is appointed, 37 give the power of appointment to the governor; in New Mexico and Virginia, the insurance commissioner is appointed by a multi-member commission.

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Ruth Ruggero Hughs resigns as Texas Secretary of State

Ruth Ruggero Hughs resigned as Texas secretary of state effective May 31, after the Nominations Committee of the Texas State Senate did not take up her nomination for another term.

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) appointed Hughs on August 19, 2019, to succeed David Whitley after he did not receive enough confirmation votes from the state Senate to remain in office. Hughs previously served as the chair of the Texas Workforce Commission.

The Texas secretary serves as the chief election officer for Texas, assists election officials at the county level, and ensures that election laws are uniformly throughout Texas. Additionally, the secretary publishes government rules and regulations and commissions notaries public.

Texas is one of nine states where the governor selects the secretary of state. So far, Gov. Abbott has appointed four secretaries of state.

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