State Legislative Tracker: Party switch bolsters Kansas Republican caucus

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June 9, 2014

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker includes a look at a party switch in Kansas, which leaves citizens west of Wichita without a Democratic legislator and gives Republicans their largest caucus ever.

Weekly highlight

Last week, Louisiana, South Carolina and Wisconsin adjourned their legislative sessions. Here is a brief look at issues making headlines across the country:

  • Kansas: With the legislative session now over, western Kansas no longer has Democratic representation in the state legislature. Shortly after the legislature's adjournment on May 30, Rep. Jan Pauls announced her change in party affiliation to Republican, bolstering the party's majority in the state House to 93 members, which the Republican House caucus says is the most it has ever had. House Speaker Ray Merrick (R), state party chairman Kelly Arnold and other Republican legislators joined Pauls for the announcement. While Kansas is already home to a strong Republican state government trifecta, Pauls was the last Democratic legislator representing a district west of Wichita. Pauls, the District 102 incumbent who previously fashioned herself a "Blue Dog Democrat," is a social conservative who co-authored the state's same-sex marriage ban. Pauls cited what she perceived as a shift away from support of the labor movement, saying in a statement, "I have watched over the years as the party leadership has refused to acknowledge the public rebuke of the political correctness now associated with the Kansas Democrat party. By giving priority to those who advocate for abortion, the homosexual agenda, and even gun control, the Democrats have lost much public support and lost elected representatives because of their ever more leftist image." Equality Kansas, a group advocating for LGBT rights, has supported primary challenges against her as well as an attempt at having the state Democratic Party censure her, leading Pauls to suggest that executive director Tom Witt "was running the state party." Witt responded with doubt over whether Pauls could survive a Democratic primary this year, positing that the switch "is not going to save her." In 2012, Pauls courted controversy by moving into a former church to maintain her residency following redistricting; Equality Kansas unsuccessfully challenged the move. Pauls filed for re-election on the day of her switch; unopposed in the August 5 Republican primary, she will face the winner of the Democratic primary between Brian Davis and Chris Given in the November 4 general election.[1][2][3][4][5][6]
  • North Carolina: Last week, the North Carolina Senate and House voted on separate bills to repeal Common Core standards. The House voted 78-39, while the Senate voted 33-15 to remove the standards. Under House Bill 1061, an advisory group would be created that would make recommendations to the state educational board on new standards, which would then be implemented in the 2016-17 school year. Similar to the House bill, under Senate Bill 812, an advisory group is created for the same purpose, with the primary difference being the size of the appointed advisory group. Until the advisory group makes recommendations, public schools would continue to use Common Core. The next step is for the Senate and House to hammer out the differences in the two bills and develop a compromise version that could be passed by both chambers. It is unclear whether Gov. Pat McCrory (R) will sign the legislation. McCrory said of the legislation that "he favors high education standards but that he has concerns with the way Common Core standards were being implemented." If Common Core is repealed, North Carolina would become only the second state (after Indiana) to repeal the standards.[7][8][9][10][11]
  • Virginia: Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is hoping to include expanding Medicaid in the budget before the July 1 deadline. The expansion will allow for an extra 400,000 Virginians to have Medicaid, including war veterans. In May, CNN news show "AC360" interviewed post-deployment clinic medical director, Dr. Katherine Mitchell, who said that the waiting lists for veterans injured in combat can be "six months, nine months or longer" to see a doctor. McAulliffe believes that Virginia taxpayers have lost $740 million, in an undeclared time frame, to the federal government. The money should have come back to the state, but instead is helping 27 other states expand Medicaid. He argued that expanding Virginia's Medicaid would not only provide health care, but also bring in money that could create 30,000 jobs throughout the state. The House of Delegates is opposed to the expansion. Craig DiSesa, head of Middle Resolution, told Watchdog that "the House Republicans are ready to fight any attempt by the governor to expand without their approval." The Washington Post stated that the Republicans are "questioning Washington's ability to make good on its promise to pick up most of the $2 billion-a-year tab" that the expansion would cost. Attorney General Mark Herring (D), however, "believes McAuliffe wants legislative support." The Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC), a bipartisan panel, recommended to separate the Medicaid expansion from the current budget. The House leaders believe that MIRC has the authority for the expansion, but it is suspected that McAulliffe may use an executive order, like the governors of Ohio and Kentucky did, that would bypass the legislature to expand Medicaid.[12][13][14][15][16]

Regular sessions

Current sessions capture for the week of June 9, 2014
See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2014 session information.

Currently 12 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. One state, Virginia, is in special session. California is in special session concurrent with its regular session.

The following states have convened their 2014 regular session:[17]

The following states have adjourned their 2014 regular session:[18]

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Saturday, August 23, 2014
There are 7,383 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,426 (46.4%)
Total Republican state legislators 3,820 (51.7%)
There are 99 Total State Legislative Chambers
Total Democratic Party-controlled chambers 40
Total Republican Party-controlled chambers 58
Total tied or nonpartisan chambers 1
2014 Session Information
Total Special Elections 31
Total Special Sessions 6

The California State Legislature is meeting in a special session concurrent with its regular session to discuss a proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) to change the state's rainy day fund. Brown's proposal would require the state to save some of the revenue from capital gains taxes. He hopes to have his proposal approved by the legislature and on the 2014 ballot. California's rainy day fund has existed since 2004 but has been empty for a majority of that time.[19]


The Virginia State Legislature is meeting in special session to try and pass an estimated $96 billion budget for the next two years. The session is not expected to end quickly, as Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and the Republican-led House disagree over whether the state should accept further Medicaid funding from the federal government. This special session is required as the legislature failed to pass a budget during the yearly regular session. Should no agreement be reached by July 1, Virginia's government could shut down.[20]

In recess

As of today, June 9, there is one state legislature currently in recess:[21]

See also: State legislative elections, 2014

A total of 87 of the 99 chambers will hold state legislative elections on November 4, 2014.

The 87 chambers with elections in 2014 are in 46 states. They are:

The Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico and South Carolina senates also typically hold elections in odd years. However, senators are elected to 4-year terms in those states and those will not be up for election again until 2015.

1090 of the country's 1,972 state senate seats are up for re-election in November 2014, and 4,958 of the country's 5,415 state house seats are up for re-election. Altogether, 6,048 of the country's 7,387 state legislative seats are up for re-election on November 4, 2014.

Primary Information

See also: Signature requirements and deadlines for 2014 state legislative elections

The state legislative filing deadlines and primary dates are as follows:

Note: Ballot access is a complicated issue. The dates in the table below are primarily for candidates filing for access to the primary. For more detailed information about each state's qualification requirements -- including all relevant ballot access dates for the primary and general election -- click to our detailed pages in the state column.

2014 State Legislative Primary Information
State Filing Deadline Primary Date Days from Deadline to Primary
Alabama Red padlock.png 2/7/2014 Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 116
Alaska Red padlock.png 6/2/2014[22] Red padlock.png 8/19/2014 78
Arizona Red padlock.png 5/28/2014[23] 8/26/2014 90
Arkansas Red padlock.png 3/3/2014[24][25] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 78
California Red padlock.png 3/7/2014[26][27][28] Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 88
Colorado Red padlock.png 3/31/2014[29][30] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 85
Connecticut Red padlock.png 6/10/2014[31] Red padlock.png 8/12/2014 90
Delaware Red padlock.png 7/8/2014 9/9/2014 63
Florida Red padlock.png 6/20/2014[32][33] 8/26/2014 67
Georgia Red padlock.png 3/7/2014 Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 74
Hawaii Red padlock.png 6/3/2014[34][35] Red padlock.png 8/9/2014 67
Idaho Red padlock.png 3/14/2014 Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 78
Illinois Red padlock.png 12/2/2013 Red padlock.png 3/18/2014 106
Indiana Red padlock.png 2/7/2014 Red padlock.png 5/6/2014 88
Iowa Red padlock.png 3/14/2014 Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 81
Kansas Red padlock.png 6/2/2014 Red padlock.png 8/5/2014 65
Kentucky Red padlock.png 1/28/2014[36][37] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 112
Maine Red padlock.png 3/17/2014[38] Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 85
Maryland Red padlock.png 2/25/2014[39] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 119
Massachusetts Red padlock.png 6/3/2014[40] 9/9/2014 98
Michigan Red padlock.png 4/22/2014 Red padlock.png 8/5/2014 105
Minnesota Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 Red padlock.png 8/12/2014 70
Missouri Red padlock.png 3/25/2014 Red padlock.png 8/5/2014 133
Montana Red padlock.png 3/10/2014 Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 85
Nebraska Red padlock.png 3/3/2014[36] Red padlock.png 5/13/2014 85
Nevada Red padlock.png 3/14/2014 Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 88
New Hampshire Red padlock.png 6/13/2014 9/9/2014 88
New Mexico Red padlock.png 2/4/2014 Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 119
New York Red padlock.png 7/10/2014 9/9/2014 61
North Carolina Red padlock.png 2/28/2014 Red padlock.png 5/6/2014 67
North Dakota Red padlock.png 4/7/2014 Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 64
Ohio Red padlock.png 2/5/2014 Red padlock.png 5/6/2014 90
Oklahoma Red padlock.png 4/11/2014 Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 74
Oregon Red padlock.png 3/11/2014 Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 70
Pennsylvania Red padlock.png 3/11/2014 Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 70
Rhode Island Red padlock.png 6/25/2014 9/9/2014 76
South Carolina Red padlock.png 3/30/2014 Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 72
South Dakota Red padlock.png 3/25/2014 Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 70
Tennessee Red padlock.png 4/3/2014 Red padlock.png 8/7/2014 126
Texas Red padlock.png 12/9/2013 Red padlock.png 3/4/2014 85
Utah Red padlock.png 3/20/2014 Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 96
Vermont Red padlock.png 6/12/2014 8/26/2014 75
Washington Red padlock.png 5/17/2014 Red padlock.png 8/5/2014 80
West Virginia Red padlock.png 1/25/2014 Red padlock.png 5/13/2014 108
Wisconsin Red padlock.png 6/2/2014 Red padlock.png 8/12/2014 71
Wyoming Red padlock.png 5/30/2014 Red padlock.png 8/19/2014 81

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See also: State legislative special elections, 2014

There are no special elections scheduled this week. The next special election will take place on August 5 in Texas.

Texas State Senate District 4

See also: Texas state legislative special elections, 2014

Gordy Bunch (R), Brandon Creighton (R), Michael Galloway (R) and Steve Toth (R) faced off in the special election, which took place on May 10.[41][42] Because no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters - Creighton and Toth - advanced to a runoff election on August 5, which Creighton won.[43][44]

The seat was vacant following Tommy Williams's (R) retirement on October 26, 2013.

A special election for the position of Texas State Senate District 4 was called for May 10. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was March 10, 2014.[45]

August 5 Runoff candidates:
Republican Party Brandon Creighton
Republican Party Steve Toth

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • November 4: Louisiana House of Representatives District 97

See also


  1. The Topeka Capital-Journal, "Pauls jumps to GOP, citing stances on abortion, gay rights," May 30, 2014
  2. The Wichita Eagle, "Kansas Rep. Pauls joins Republican Party," May 30, 2014
  3. The Hutchinson News, "Pauls drops the 'D' and joins GOP," May 30, 2014
  4. WIBW, "Western Kansas' Last Democratic State Representative Switches Sides," May 30, 2014
  5. KWCH, "Rep. Pauls switched political parties," accessed June 5, 2014
  6. Kansas Secretary of State, "Candidates for the 2014 Primary (unofficial)," accessed June 5, 2014
  7. Daily Caller, "Anti-Common Core Push Reaches North Carolina," June 5, 2014
  8. News Observer, "State House votes to replace Common Core education standards," June 4, 2014
  9. News Observer, "Senate votes out Common Core," June 5, 2014
  10. Washington Post, "North Carolina moves to repeal Common Core," June 5, 2014
  11. Charlotte Observer, "Common Core repeal moves education to front of Senate race," June 4, 2014
  12. WUSA 9, "Will Va. governor expand Medicaid by executive order?," May 29, 2014
  13. RepublicanAmerican, "VA, Medicaid in need of reform now," June 1, 2014
  14. Washington Post, "Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe shouldn’t try to impose Medicaid expansion unilaterally," June 4, 2014
  15. HamptonRoads, "McAuliffe has begun planning for Medicaid expansion," June 5, 2014
  16. Watchdog, "With Dems away, McAuliffe pushes more Medicaid," June 6, 2014
  17. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed June 9, 2014
  18. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed June9, 2014
  19. Los Angeles Times, "Jerry Brown calls legislative special session to debate reserve plan," April 16, 2014
  20., "Virginia General Assembly returns for special session," March 23, 2014
  21. StateNet, " Daily Session Summary," accessed June 9, 2014
  22. Alaska Statutes, "Section 15.25, Nomination of Candidates," accessed October 31, 2013
  23. Secretary of State Website, "2014 Election Important Dates," accessed November 4, 2013
  24. Running for Public Office, "A 'Plain English' Handbook for Candidates," 2012 Edition, accessed October 21, 2013
  25. Arkansas Code of 1987, "Title 7, Elections," accessed October 30, 2013
  26. Summary of Qualifications and Requirements for the Office of State Senator, Member of the Assembly, "June 3, 2014, Primary Election," accessed October 21, 2013
  27. California Elections Code, "Section 8100-8107," accessed October 28, 2013
  28. California Secretary of State Website, "Key Dates and Deadlines," accessed October 21, 2013
  29. Colorado Secretary of State Website, "Major Political Parties FAQs," accessed October 31, 2013
  30. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Elections," accessed October 31, 2013
  31. Connecticut Secretary of State Website, "Frequently Asked Questions, Nominating Papers," accessed October 31, 2013
  32. Florida Department of State Division of Elections, "2013-2014 Dates to Remember," accessed November 6, 2013
  33. 2013 Florida Statutes, "Section 99.061," accessed December 2, 2014
  34. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named hi
  35. Hawaii State Legislature, "HRS §12-6 Nomination papers: time for filing; fees", accessed May 22, 2013
  36. 36.0 36.1 2014 Kentucky Election Calendar, accessed November 12, 2013
  37. Kentucky State Board of Elections "Candidate Qualifications and Filing Fees" accessed November 26, 2011
  38. Maine Secretary of State "State of Maine 2014 Candidate's Guide to Ballot Access," accessed February 11, 2014
  39. The State Board of Elections, "Candidacy," accessed November 5, 2013
  40. 2014 Massachusetts State Primary and State Election Schedule, accessed December 2, 2013
  41. Texas Secretary of State, "Official candidate list," accessed March 14, 2014
  42., "ELECTION 2014: Senate District 4 race headed for runoff," May 10, 2014
  43. Texas Secretary of State, "Runoff Election Declaration," accessed June 2, 2014
  44. Texas Tribune, "Creighton Easily Wins Special State Senate Race," August 5, 2014
  45., "Special state Senate election date set," November 7, 2013