TagState executive

Glenn Youngkin wins Republican nomination for governor of Virginia

The Republican Party of Virginia selected Glenn Youngkin as its nominee for governor in an unassembled convention on May 8. Youngkin received 55% of the delegate vote in the sixth and final round of vote-counting, which ended on May 10.

Incumbent Ralph Northam (D) is unable to seek re-election due to term limits, leaving the position open.

Youngkin is the former president of The Carlyle Group, a global investment firm. He defeated six other candidates, including business owner Pete Snyder, state Sen. Amanda Chase, and former House Speaker Kirk Cox. Peter Doran, Octavia Johnson, and Sergio de la Pena also ran in the convention. The Republican Party chose to use ranked-choice voting in 2021. Results from each round of the vote-counting are shown below:

Youngkin submitted a Candidate Connection survey to Ballotpedia ahead of the convention. In it, he said, “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.”

Youngkin led the field of Republican candidates in fundraising. According to campaign finance reports, he raised $7.7 million as of March 31. Youngkin was also the largest target of satellite spending during the convention. Two organizations, Patriot Leadership Trust and Virginia Cornerstone PAC, spent a combined total of roughly $459,000 on advertisements and mailers opposing his candidacy.

The general election for Governor of Virginia will be held on Nov. 2, 2021. Youngkin will face the winner of the June 8 Democratic primary and independent candidates Princess Blanding, Paul Davis, and Brad Froman.

The last Republican to win the governorship in Virginia was Bob McDonnell (R), elected in 2009. 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.

To learn more about the Republican convention for Governor of Virginia, click here.



Virginia GOP nominates Jason Miyares for attorney general in statewide convention

Jason Miyares defeated Leslie Haley, Chuck Smith, and Jack White to win the Republican Party of Virginia’s nomination for state attorney general at the 2021 convention.

Due to coronavirus crowd-size restrictions, the 2021 Virginia Republican convention was an unassembled convention held across 39 satellite locations. Unlike previous conventions, there was no limit on how many delegates could cast votes, which were weighted according to the number of delegate votes allocated to each locality. Delegates cast a single ballot using ranked-choice voting to determine a majority-vote winner. Over 53,000 people registered as delegates in 2021.

Miyares was announced as the winner of the attorney general convention on May 9, after three rounds of ranked-choice vote re-allocation. The final, weighted count showed Miyares with 51.7% of the vote to Smith’s 48.3%.

Miyares has served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates since 2016. His campaign platform included reducing the rate at which the Virginia Parole Board granted early release to violent offenders and punishing manufacturers and marketers who he said played a role in the opioid addiction epidemic.

The general election for Virginia attorney general will take place on November 2, 2021. The Democratic nominee will be decided in a primary on June 8. As of May 10, votes were still being counted for the Republican nominations for governor and lieutenant governor.

Incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring (D) won re-election in 2017 with 53.4% of the vote to John Adams’ (R) 46.6%. The last Republican attorney general in Virginia was Ken Cuccinelli, who served from 2010 to 2014. Cuccinelli’s election in 2009, along with that year’s election of former Governor Bob McDonnell (R), was the last time a Republican candidate won statewide office in Virginia.



Charlie Crist announces he’s running for governor of Florida

U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D) announced he is running for governor of Florida on May 4. Crist is the first Democrat to declare he’s challenging incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who was first elected in 2018. Crist currently represents Florida’s 13th Congressional District and served as governor of Florida as a Republican from 2007 to 2011. 

As reported in The Hill, Crist said when announcing his candidacy, “we can build a Florida for all Floridians. We can create a society that values every person. We can break the fever of division and hatred that has afflicted our politics.”

Crist began his political career serving as a Florida state senator as a Republican from 1993 to 1999. He also served as Florida’s state education commissioner and then its attorney general before running for governor in 2006. Rather than running for a second term as governor, Crist mounted a campaign for Senate in 2010, losing to Marco Rubio (R). 

Crist became an independent after his loss to Rubio in the Republican primary, and became a Democrat in 2012. In 2014, Crist ran for governor, losing to Rick Scott (R). He was elected to the U.S. House in 2016 from Florida’s 13th congressional district. 

Crist is the 11th member of the U.S. House to announce they are retiring or running for another office. Thirty-six members of the U.S. House did not run for re-election in 2020—26 Republicans, nine Democrats, and one Libertarian. In 2018, 52 members of the U.S. House did not run for re-election, including 34 Republicans and 18 Democrats.

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Geri Huser begins new term as chair of Iowa Utilities Board

Geri Huser began another six-year term as chair of the Iowa Utilities Board on May 1. The Iowa Utilities Board is a three-member board in the Iowa state government, which is responsible for regulating the rates and services of electric, natural gas, and water utilities.

Governor Terry Branstad (R) originally appointed Huser to the board on May 1, 2015. Governor Kim Reynolds (R) reappointed Huser on Jan. 29 to another six-year term beginning on May 1 and ending on April 30, 2027. The governor also reappointed Huser as chair of the board. On April 28, the Iowa State Senate confirmed Huser for both the board member and chair positions. 

Huser served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1997 to 2011, representing the 42nd District as a Democrat. While in office, she served on the Judiciary, Local Government, and Rebuild Iowa and Disaster Recovery committees. 

All 50 states have public service commissions, which are multi-member boards responsible for the regulation of utilities. Most state commissions have three seats, though some states have as many as seven seats. Public service commissioners are elected in 11 states and appointed in the other 39. Of those states that appoint public service commissioners, all but Virginia and South Carolina give that appointment power to the governor.

As of May 6, 10 states have commissions that are majority Republican, while two are majority Democrat. Of the two states that have majority-Democratic commissions, one (Illinois) consists of members appointed by the governor. 

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Alaska ends coronavirus state of emergency for second time

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) lifted the state’s coronavirus emergency order on April 30. Dunleavy’s emergency powers originally expired Feb. 14, causing his emergency declaration to end. But the emergency order’s expiration prevented the state from accessing an additional $8 million of federal food assistance benefits for April.

In response, the legislature passed House Bill 76, and Dunleavy signed the legislation on April 30. The bill retroactively extended the disaster emergency from Feb. 14 through the end of 2021. The retroactive extension allowed the state to access the federal food assistance benefits. 

The bill also allowed Department of Health and Social Services Director Adam Crump to issue a limited disaster emergency order April 30 to secure future federal assistance. After Gov. Dunleavy signed the legislation and Crump signed the limited order, the governor re-ended the state’s emergency order, effective April 30.

HB 76 passed the state Senate April 28. The state House approved the legislation April 29. The new law also enacts legal immunity for businesses against claims related to COVID-19.



Newsom recall meets signature requirement; signees can remove names until June 8

The California Secretary of State announced that 1,626,042 signatures were valid in the recall campaign against Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). Voters have until June 8 to request the removal of their signature from the petition. The request must be sent in writing to a county election official. If enough valid signatures remain following the June 8 deadline, the recall campaign will enter a budgeting and scheduling phase.

Supporters needed to collect at least 1,495,709 valid signatures to trigger a recall election. They turned in more than 2.1 million signatures by the March 17 deadline. More than 80% of the signatures processed by the secretary of state were deemed valid. This validity rate is higher than the average for propositions in California from 2018-2022 (76.5%).

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.

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.

Several individuals have announced campaigns as candidates if the recall goes to the ballot. Among those are former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), and Caitlyn Jenner (R).



A look back at government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, April 27-May 1, 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 March and April, states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. 

Here are the policy changes that happened April 27-May 1, 2020. This list is not comprehensive. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Monday, April 27, 2020:

Stay-at-home orders:

  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) allowed the statewide stay-at-home order to expire. He first enacted it on April 3. Mississippi’s stay-at-home order was the fourth to expire. Alaska ended its stay-at-home order first on April 24, while Montana and Colorado each ended theirs on April 26. 

Election changes:

  • The New York State Board of Elections canceled the Democratic presidential preference primary, which had been scheduled to take place on June 23, 2020.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Federal government responses:

  • President Trump (R) signed an executive order aimed at keeping meat processing plants open throughout the country. Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to designate meat processing plants as critical infrastructure.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

School closures:

  • Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) extended the statewide closure of schools to in-person instruction from April 30 to May 15.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Stay-at-home orders:

  • Stay-at-home orders in Texas, Tennessee, Idaho, Georgia, and Alabama expired. By this point, governors had lifted nine stay-at-home orders. Thirty-four stay-at-home orders remained in place.  

Friday, May 1, 2020

Travel restrictions

  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced he was ending the executive order requiring visitors from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and New Orleans to self-quarantine for two weeks.

School closures:

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that public, private, and collegiate schools would remain closed for in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through May 15.
  • North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) announced that public schools would remain closed for in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed indefinitely.

For the most recent coronavirus news, including the latest on vaccines and mask mandates, subscribe to our daily newsletter, Documenting America’s Path to Recovery



Hunter Roberts appointed secretary of South Dakota’s new Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources 

Hunter Roberts assumed office on April 19 as secretary of the newly-formed South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Governor Kristi Noem (R) appointed Roberts to the position in August 2020.

The Department of Agriculture and Department of Environment and Natural Resources officially merged on April 19. Noem had announced her intention to combine the two departments last August and signed an executive order establishing the new department on Jan. 19, 2021. He had served as the state’s secretary of environment and natural resources since 2019.

Roberts was appointed interim secretary of agriculture in September 2020 and served in both roles until the departments merged in April 2021. South Dakota also has an elected state office—commissioner of school and public lands—that is responsible for supervising lands designated for educational use by the federal government.

Agriculture commissioners are elected in 12 states and appointed in 38, while natural resources commissioners are appointed in 44 states and elected in five. Of those five states, three—Arkansas, New Mexico, and South Dakota—have both an appointed and elected officeholder responsible for managing natural resources. Wyoming is the only state without a natural resources commissioner. 

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A look back at government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, April 20-24, 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 March and April, states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. 

Here are the policy changes that happened April 20-24, 2020. This list is not comprehensive. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Monday, April 20, 2020:

School closures:

  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the rest of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through May 1.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the rest of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through May 1.

Election changes:

  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Judge Terrence Berg issued an order reducing the petition signature requirements for primary candidates in Michigan to 50 percent of their statutory requirements. Berg also extended the filing deadline from April 21 to May 8, and directed election officials to develop procedures allowing for the collection and submission of electronic petition signatures.

Federal government responses:

  • Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced that travel restrictions with Canada and Mexico would be extended another 30 days. The restrictions, implemented in agreement with Canada and Mexico in late March, prohibited nonessential travel.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Travel restrictions

  • Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) extended the 14-day quarantine requirement for international and out-of-state travelers through May 19.

School closures:

  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the rest of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.
  • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the rest of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through May 1.
  • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the rest of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.

Federal government responses:

  • The U.S. Senate passed the $484 billion Paycheck Protection and Health Care Act. The package included renewed funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and funding for hospitals and testing. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

School closures:

  • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced that he would rescind the statewide school closure order on May 7, but that individual districts would be allowed to decide whether to reopen for in-person instruction.
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the rest of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.
  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the rest of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.

Election changes:

  • The Republican Party of Wisconsin postponed its state convention, originally scheduled to take place in May, to July 10-11.
  • Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R) signed HB3005 into law, canceling in-person Election Day voting, in-person early voting, and in-person voter registration in the June 30 election.

Federal government responses:

  • President Donald Trump (R) signed an executive order temporarily suspending the issuance of new green cards. The order only covered applicants residing outside of the country at the time Trump issued the order.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

School closures:

  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the rest of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through May 1.
  • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.

Federal government responses:

  • The U.S. House passed the $484 billion Paycheck Protection and Health Care Act 388-5. The bill increased funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), as well as for hospitals and testing.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Stay-at-home orders:

  • Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) ended the statewide stay-at-home order, becoming the first state to do so. The new order allowed several types of nonessential businesses to reopen with restrictions, including barbershops, tattoo parlors, and nail salons. 

School closures:

  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through May 15.
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through May 15.

Election changes:

  • Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear (D) issued an executive order directing all voters to utilize absentee voting by mail for the June 23 primary election if they are able to do so.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) issued Executive Order No. 202.23, requiring that all eligible voters in the June 23 election be sent absentee ballot applications.

Federal government responses:

  • President Donald Trump (R) signed the $484 billion Paycheck Protection and Health Care Act passed by Congress earlier in the week. The law included renewed funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and funding for hospitals and testing.  

For the most recent coronavirus news, including the latest on vaccines and mask mandates, subscribe to our daily newsletter, Documenting America’s Path to Recovery.



Sabina Matos sworn in as Rhode Island lieutenant governor 

The Rhode Island Senate unanimously confirmed Sabina Matos (D) as lieutenant governor on April 13. She was sworn in the following day. 

Governor Daniel McKee (D) nominated Matos as lieutenant governor on March 31. McKee resigned as lieutenant governor to be sworn in as governor on March 2, replacing Gina Raimondo (D) when she became U.S. secretary of commerce under the Biden administration.

Before serving as lieutenant governor, Matos served on the Providence City Council since 2011. She became president of the council in January 2019.

According to NBC, around 80 people applied to be the state’s lieutenant governor. After selecting Matos, McKee said, “I was looking for someone to be a true governing partner…someone who shares my commitment to supporting our 39 cities and towns and our small businesses, and that’s exactly what I found in Sabina.” Matos is the first person of color and second woman to serve as lieutenant governor of Rhode Island.    

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