Ballot Box Weekly: Bringing you your weekly fill of elections coverage
Edited by Jamie Applegate
Welcome to the first edition of our new publication, Ballot Box Weekly, a compilation of election coverage from across the various pages on Ballotpedia and Judgepedia. Our weekly series will be published on Wednesday afternoons and cover a range of election news from across the county, including candidate filing deadlines, primaries and elections. The report focuses specifically on the projects covered by the staff of Ballotpedia and Judgepedia: state executives, state legislatures, school boards, State courts, Congress and state and local ballot measures. We'll be bringing you an assortment of elections coverage each week from up and down the ballot. This report is generated by the non-profit, nonpartisan Lucy Burns Institute, the organization that sponsors Ballotpedia and Judgepedia.
This week's Ballot Box Weekly features a look at school board elections in North Carolina, New York court elections, and a development in Texas' gubernatorial race for 2014. Read about this and more in this week's report.
|This Week in Elections|
|States with Elections:||6|
|States with filing deadlines:||0|
|**Elections include four primaries and three school board elections.|
What happened at the polls?
This week was a busy one for elections, with four primary elections and three school board elections as well as one bond measure election.
North Carolina's Wake County Public School System
North Carolina's largest school board held an election on October 8, 2013 for four seats. The election came amidst both controversy and changes, most notably new term limits on the seats. The four seats up for election are subject to new term limits set by a recent measure passed by the North Carolina state legislature. Terms beginning in January 2014 and after will last three instead of four years. While the board is officially identified as nonpartisan, board members frequently identify publicly with political parties. Taking public identifications into account, the election has resulted in a Democratic majority on the board, with seven of the nine board members now identifying as Democrats. Incumbent Bill Fletcher is the only remaining Republican member of the board. Prior to the election yesterday, the Wake County Board was composed of 5 Democrats, 3 Republicans and 1 unaffiliated.
Voters in this election were also called upon to vote on a school bond referendum. The $810 million bond measure, which was approved by approximately 58% of voters will cover most of the cost of a $939.9 million construction project that includes 16 new schools, six major renovation projects, and repairs at 79 district schools. The bond measure proved controversial with some board member candidates and community members. Don McIntyre and Matt Scruggs, candidates from Districts 1 and 2 respectively, did not support the bond issue. Their opponents, Tom Benton and Monika Johnson-Hostler, did support the construction bond. All the candidates in Districts 7 and 9 supported the bond referendum. Scruggs and McIntyre both lost in their districts while Johnson-Holster and Benton, their opponents, won. For full election results, see the School Board election highlights section below.
Terry McAuliffe is the Democratic nominee for Governor of Virginia in 2013. He ran unopposed in the June 11 Democratic primary election and will face Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Libertarian Robert Sarvis in the general election on November 5, 2013. McAuliffe ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2009. Republicans currently have a trifecta in Virginia, providing them with control over the executive and legislative branches of government.
|Election Coverage across Ballotpedia/Judgepedia -- October 7-11, 2013|
|Race||Date||Number of Seats Up for Election|
|Wake County Public School System, North Carolina||October 8, 2013||4|
|Birmingham City School District Runoff elections||October 8, 2013||3|
|New Bedford, Massachusetts Public Schools Primary Election||October 8, 2013||4|
|Alabama House District 74 Primary||October 8, 2013||1|
|Arkansas Senate District 21 Primary||October 8, 2013||1|
|Massachusetts State Senate 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District Primary||October 8, 2013||1|
|Tennessee House of Representatives District 91 Primary||October 8, 2013||1|
Upcoming Candidate Filing Deadlines
There are no upcoming candidate filing deadlines within the next week.
Looking ahead: upcoming elections
Here are some noteworthy elections coming up in the next few weeks.
- October 15: Florida House of Representatives District 36 is up for grabs following the resignation of Rep. Mike Fasano (R) on August 15, 2013, to take up his post as Pasco County Tax Collector. Amanda Murphy (D) and Bill Gunter (R) will face off for the seat after winning their respective September 17th primaries, with Murphy running unopposed. Fasnao ran unopposed in the general election in 2012, facing only a write-in candidate.
- October 15: Massachusetts' 5th Congressional District will hold a special election primary to fill the U.S. House of Representatives seat left vacant by Ed Markey after he assumed office in the U.S. Senate. The winners will go on to the special election on November 4, 2014.
- October 16: New Jersey will hold a special election for the U.S. Senate next week. The special election will be held to fill the vacancy left by the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) on June 3, 2013. His seat was filled with a temporary replacement appointed by Governor Chris Christie until the special election elects a permanent successor. The race pits current Newark mayor Cory Booker (D) against Steve Lonegan (R).
|Quote of the Week|
- October 15: A primary election will be held for Alabama House of Representatives District 104 following the resignation of Rep. Jim Barton on August 7, 2013. Five Republicans and one Democrat are running in the primary.
- October 19: An open primary will be held for District Courts, Justice of the Peace courts and Juvenile courts in Louisiana. They will be followed by an open general election on November 16th. A total of 17 seats are up for election.
All of the elections this week were either nonpartisan or partisan primaries.
|Who Won and Who Lost Yesterday's Elections?|
|Seats/Measures on the Ballot||16|
|States with an election||6|
|Number of partisan elections||0|
|Number of primary elections||5|
|Number of nonpartisan elections||2|
|Total Incumbents Defeated||1|
|Percentage of Incumbents Defeated||33%|
|% seats won by Democratic Candidate||N/A**|
|% seats won by Republican Candidate||N/A**|
|% seats won by Independents||N/A**|
|**The partisan races were primaries and as such a percentage would not apply.|
It's always election season somewhere. Here are some snippets of election news across the various Lucy Burns Institute project areas.
- School boards
- State legislatures
- State executive officials
- State courts
- State and local ballots
Birmingham City Schools held a runoff election for three seats on October 8, 2013. The elections were held in Districts 1, 4 and 6 after candidates failed to receive a majority of the vote. Winners included Sherman Collins, Jr. in District 1, Daagye Hendricks in District 4 and Cheri A. Gardner in District 6. All are newcomers. The runoff came after a contentious general election on August 27 in which three incumbents were ousted. The members defeated had attempted to fire Superintendent Craig Witherspoon in 2012.
New Bedford Public Schools in Massachusetts held a primary election for four seats on its school board on October 8th. Issues at stake in the election included recent layoffs in the district, including 150 teachers. A total of 200 employees will be laid off in the district. The general election will be held on November 5, 2013.
Wake County, North Carolina voters approved a $810 million bond measure and elected four board members. Full results are below.
Several special primary elections were held for state legislatures on October 8, including elections in Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Tennessee.
A primary election was held for Alabama House District 74. The election came after Rep. Jay Love(R) resigned on August 1, 2013, to work for the Business Council of Alabama. A runoff election will take place on November 19 for Republican candidates Charlotte Meadows and Dimitri Polizos. No Democrats ran for the seat. The special election will take place on December 3rd, 2013.
A special election was also held for Arkansas Senate District 21. Sen. Paul Bookout (D) resigned on August 21, 2013, after he was fined $8,000 by the Arkansas Ethics Commission for spending campaign funds on personal items. A runoff election for both the GOP candidates and Democratic candidates will take place on November 12, with a special election following on January 14, 2014. Steve Rockwell and Radius Baker will advance to the Democratic runoff and Dan Sullivan and John Cooper will advance to the GOP runoff.
An election was held for a seat in the Massachusetts State Senate 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District after Sen. Michael Knapik (R) resigned to become the executive director of advancement at Westfield State University. Democrat David K. Bartley and Republican Donald F. Humason, Jr. will advance to the special election on November 5, 2013.
An election was also held for Tennessee House of Representatives District 91. The seat is up following the death of Rep. Lois DeBerry (D) on July 28, 2013, from pancreatic cancer. Democrat Raumesh Akbari and Libertarian Jim Tomasik will advance to the special election on November 21, 2013.
- October 8 Democratic primary:
- Libertarian candidates:
On October 3, 2013 Texas State Senator Wendy Davis (D) officially announced her candidacy for Governor of Texas in the 2014 elections. Davis garnered national media attention when, on June 26, 2013, she led a filibuster of a controversial abortion bill under debate in the Texas State Senate that lasted for nearly 11 hours. She reportedly explored governor, Lieutenant Governor and Congress, but Davis told reporters that she would only be interested in running for her state senate seat or for governor in 2014.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R) announced this week that he would not seek a third term in 2014. Van Hollen defeated Kathleen Falk (D) in 2006 to win election to the seat, succeeding Democratic incumbent Peg Lautenschlager. He was re-elected to a second term as attorney general on November 2, 2010 and named President of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) in June 2013.
Several court seats are up for election this year in New York.
This year, several municipal court seats in New York state will be up for election. The New York judicial elections will consist of a general election on November 5th. Seats up throughout the state include seats on the Supreme Court, County courts, Family courts, Surrogate courts, and Town and Village courts. Judges in New York participate in partisan elections. Unlike other states, those elections do not just involve two parties. Instead, candidates are cross-filed and endorsed by a wide range of political parties. Closed primary elections are held in which members of political parties nominate their respective candidates. The candidate who wins the Democratic primary, for example, will go on to be the Democratic nominee in the general election. Independent candidates may also run in the general election, bypassing the primary. Click here for an exclusive list of town and village court offices up for election.
As the government shutdown enters its second week it seems as though it could have a serious impact on Congressional elections in the future. Congressional approval ratings are now estimated to be approximately 11% as of October 6, 2013.
Polling during the shutdown
|Congressional approval rating|
|Poll||Total approve||Total disapprove||Margin of Error||Sample Size|
|The Economist/YouGov (September 21-23, 2013)||9%||72%||+/-5.1||690|
|CBS/New York Times (September 19-23, 2013)||14%||80%||+/-3||1,014|
|CNN/ORC (September 27-29, 2013)||10%||87%||+/-3.5||803|
|Gallup (October 3-6, 2013)||11%||85%||+/-4||1,028|
|Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to|
A lawsuit in Colorado could be delayed to avoid influencing voting on a ballot measure. Amendment 66 were on the November 5, 2013 ballot in Colorado. If approved, the amendment will, among other things, increase the state income tax to raise money for school spending.
The Colorado Education Association (CEA), Colorado's largest teacher union and one of the heaviest supporters of Colorado Commits to Kids, may be planning to file a lawsuit seeking to overturn parts of Senate Bill 191, which would be funded in part by Amendment 66 revenue. SB 191 reforms the evaluation process and tenure qualification for principals, teachers and education service providers, making tenure revocable after two years of poor performance. According to some observers the CEA may wait to file their lawsuit while supporting Amendment 66 and the potential move is already generating controversy and generated accusations of deception. A little over a third of Amendment 66 funds - over $350 million - would go toward "highly effective teachers and principals" or, in other words, towards implementing the goals of SB 191. If a potential lawsuit is successful, it is unclear how the $350 million portion of Amendment 66 would be spent. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D) responded to allegations of deception, saying, "We understand that some may use this lawsuit as a reason to oppose Amendment 66. We respectfully disagree. The best way to protect Colorado's education reforms is to support Amendment 66 this November.
- Ballot Box Weekly
- Wake County School Board voters elect Democratic majority, approve $810 construction bond
- New York judicial elections, 2013 - Town and Village Courts
- The Tuesday Count: Ballotpedia announces 5 most important 2013 ballot measures
- T. Keung Hui, News Observer, "Wake school board member Tom Benton to run for election this fall," July 3, 2013
- WRAL "Wake School Board Races," accessed October 9, 2013
- WRAL.com, "Wake voters approve $810M school construction bond," October 8, 2013
- Paul A. Specht, News Observer, "School board candidates argue over Eastern Wake issues," September 20, 2013
- Official Campaign Website, "Terry McAuliffe for Governor," accessed February 20, 2013
- Politico, "Chris Christie calls August, October special elections in New Jersey" accessed June 4, 2013
- Huffington Post, "Frank Lautenberg Dead: New Jersey Senator Dies At 89," June 3, 2013
- Washington Post, "Sen. Frank Lautenberg dead at 89" accessed June 3, 2013
- thenewstribune.com, "Arkansas lawmaker steps down from Senate seat," August 20, 2013
- ABC News, "Democrat Wendy Davis Running for Texas Governor," October 3, 2013
- The Star-Telegram, "Is Sen. Wendy Davis poised for statewide race?," January 19, 2013
- Van Hollen for AG, "About," accessed April 11, 2013
- National Association of Attorneys General, "J.B. Van Hollen (R)," accessed April 11, 2013
- National Association of Attorneys General, "Wisconsin Attorney General Becomes NAAG President," June 20, 2013
- New York Board of Elections: Political Calendar 2013
- NYC Board of Elections: Guide to NYC Elections
- the Denver Post, "Carroll: The threat hanging over Colorado's Amendment 66," September 24, 2013