State Legislative Tracker: Write-in candidate wins Pennsylvania State Senate seat

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March 24, 2014

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker includes a look at Pennsylvania's most recent special election.

Weekly highlight

Last week, no state convened a legislative session. Meanwhile, Arkansas, Georgia and Idaho adjourned their 2014 legislative sessions. Here is a brief look at issues making headlines across the country:

  • Colorado: On March 17, Colorado Democrats introduced SB 158 to change "the laws governing the conduct of recall elections." The bill would set the deadline for replacement candidates to petition onto the ballot to fifteen days before the clerks send out mail ballots. Currently, the deadline is fifteen days before the election. Proponents say this bill would allow more time for those who vote by mail to have a voice in recall elections. Senator Pat Steadman, a sponsor of the bill, said that the goal of the bill is to "give voters ample opportunity to exercise their right to vote." Additionally, the bill would remove the two-part ballot section of the recall elections that was previously ruled as unconstitutional. The two-part ballot allows for voters to only select a replacement candidate if they vote "yes" to support the recall election. Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman (R) said that the bill is "understandable" after two Democrats lost their recall elections on September 10, 2013. John Morse, former President of the Senate, was successfully recalled after passing three gun control bills. Senator Angela Giron was also recalled because of her support of gun control. The bill has been assigned to the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.[1][2][3]
  • Hawaii: Earlier this month, the Hawaii House of Representatives passed House Bill 1926, which would impose harsher penalties on prostitution customers and pimps. The legislation would have also eliminated an exemption that made it legal for undercover officers to have sex with prostitutes during investigations. Following police testimony and lobbying by the Honolulu Police Department, however, the exemption was restored and was placed in House Bill 1926. The bill has now been passed to the Judiciary and Labor Committee in the Hawaii State Senate. Derek Marsh, a human trafficking expert and police trainer on the subject said on the police exemption, "It doesn’t help your case and at worst you further traumatize someone. And do you think he or she is going to trust a cop again?" Marsh and other human trafficking experts argue that the exemption erodes the trust between the police and victims of sex trafficking and that the exemption is not needed. The police argue that the exemption is needed because they need to be able to catch lawbreakers in the actual act. A public hearing was scheduled by the Judiciary and Labor Committee to discuss the bill on March 21, 2014.[4][5][6][7]
  • Pennsylvania: Scott Wagner (R) appears to have made history last Tuesday as the first write-in candidate to win an election for the Pennsylvania State Senate. Unofficial results show write-in votes outnumbering those for Rep. Ron Miller (R) and Linda Small (D) in a special election to fill the District 28 seat vacated by Mike Waugh (R), who resigned to become executive director of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center. Wagner, barring unforeseen circumstances, will serve through November; he is running for a full term this year, which raises the possibility of a rematch with Miller in the primary. The first certification of results is expected today, with the final results due a week later. Wagner faced significant outside opposition, with the Senate Republican Campaign Committee spending around $700,000 and other groups bringing the total upwards of $1 million, including TV attack ads that characterized him as a "millionaire trash man" who benefited Small's campaign. Following the election, the York Daily Record printed a letter by Bob Wilson, chair of the York County Republican Committee, who congratulated and promised to support Wagner, but noted that the "job" of his party was to support its nominees in elections. Wagner, who owns a trucking company, said he hopes his election will spur other businessmen to win election to office, albeit not Tom Wolf, the favored Democrat in this year's gubernatorial race, who he labeled as "pro-union." Wagner has vowed to serve no more than two terms as well as to forgo state benefits.[8][9][10][11][12]

Regular sessions

Current sessions capture for the week of March 24, 2014
See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2014 session information.

Currently 31 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. One state, Virginia, is in special session.

The following states have convened their 2014 regular session:[13]

The following states have adjourned their 2014 regular session:[14]

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
There are 7,383 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,426 (46.4%)
Total Republican state legislators 3,819 (51.7%)
There are 99 Total State Legislative Chambers
Total Democratic Party-controlled chambers 41
Total Republican Party-controlled chambers 57
Total tied or nonpartisan chambers 1
2014 Session Information
Total Special Elections 15
Total Special Sessions 2

The Virginia State Legislature will meet in special session beginning this week 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.[15]

In recess

As of today, March 24, there are four state legislatures currently in recess:[16]

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[17] Red padlock.png 8/19/2014 78
Arizona Red padlock.png 5/28/2014[18] 8/26/2014 90
Arkansas Red padlock.png 3/3/2014[19][20] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 78
California Red padlock.png 3/7/2014[21][22][23] Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 88
Colorado Red padlock.png 3/31/2014[24][25] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 85
Connecticut Red padlock.png 6/10/2014[26] 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[27][28] 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[29][30] 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[31][32] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 112
Maine Red padlock.png 3/17/2014[33] Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 85
Maryland Red padlock.png 2/25/2014[34] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 119
Massachusetts Red padlock.png 6/3/2014[35] 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[31] 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 two special elections scheduled this week: one each in Alabama and California.

Alabama House of Representatives District 53

See also: Alabama state legislative special elections, 2014

Anthony "Alann" Johnson (D) defeated Willie "W.A." Casey (R) in the special election, which took place on April 1.[36][37] Johnson, Arthur D. Shores Lee, Demetrius C. Newton Jr. and Frank Topping faced off in the Democratic primary.[38] As no candidate received more than fifty percent of the vote, the top-two vote-getters - Johnson and Lee - met in the Democratic primary runoff on February 4, which Johnson won.[39] Casey was unopposed in the Republican primary.[40]

The seat was vacant following Demetrius Newton's (D) death on September 11, 2013.[41]

A special election for the position of Alabama House of Representatives District 53 was initially called for January 28, with a primary on December 3, 2013. Because a runoff on January 28, 2014, was required, the special election was scheduled to take place on March 25 instead. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was October 10, 2013.[41] Due to inclement weather, the runoff was pushed back a week to February 4. The special election instead took place on April 1.[42]

Alabama House of Representatives, District 53, Special Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngAnthony "Alann" Johnson 68.1% 320
     Republican Willie "W.A." Casey 31.9% 150
Total Votes 470

March 25 Special election candidates:

Democratic Party Anthony "Alann" Johnson
Republican Party Willie "W.A." Casey

California State Senate District 23

See also: California state legislative special elections, 2014

Mike Morrell (R) defeated Ameenah Fuller (D), Ronald J. O'Donnell (D), Crystal Ruiz (R) and Jeff Hewitt (L) in the special election, which took place on March 25.[43][36]

The seat was vacant following William Emmerson's (R) resignation on December 1, 2013, when he stated his passion for the position had waned.[44]

A special election for the position of California State Senate District 23 was called for March 25, with a runoff if necessary on June 3. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was January 31.[45]

California State Senate, District 23, Special Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngMike Morrell 62.6% 43,447
     Democratic Ronald J. O'Donnell 15.2% 10,531
     Democratic Ameenah Fuller 9.7% 6,705
     Libertarian Jeff Hewitt 6.5% 4,479
     Republican Crystal Ruiz 6% 4,187
Total Votes 69,349
March 25 Special election candidates:
Democratic Party Ameenah Fuller
Democratic Party Ronald J. O'Donnell
Republican Party Mike Morrell
Republican Party Crystal Ruiz
Libertarian Party Jeff Hewitt

Recent election results

March 18, 2014

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Pennsylvania State Senate District 28

See also: Pennsylvania state legislative special elections, 2014

Write-in candidate Scott Wagner (R) defeated party-nominated candidates Linda E. Small (D) and Ron Miller (R) in the special election, which took place on March 18, 2014.[40][46]

The seat was vacant following Mike Waugh's (R) appointment as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Farm Show on January 12.

A special election for the position of Pennsylvania State Senate District 28 was called for March 18. Candidates were nominated by their party rather than chosen through a primary[47]

March 18 Special election candidates:
Democratic Party Linda E. Small
Republican Party Ron Miller
Republican Party Scott Wagner Green check mark transparent.png (Write-in)

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • April 1: Massachusetts State Senate Fifth Middlesex District
  • April 1: Massachusetts House of Representatives Fourth Hampden District
  • April 1: Massachusetts House of Representatives Second Suffolk District
  • April 1: Massachusetts House of Representatives Thirteenth Suffolk District
  • April 1: Massachusetts House of Representatives Sixteenth Suffolk District
  • April 8: Florida House of Representatives District 44
  • April 11: Connecticut House of Representatives District 61

See also


  1. The Colorado Independent, "Controversial recall election reform introduced; Senate debates alternative care coverage while House bickers over mandatory minimums for pedophiles," March 17, 2014
  2. Fox31 Denver, "Democrats propose recall elections mail ballot fix," March 17, 2014
  3. Colorado State Legislature, "Introduced - Senate Bill 14-158," accessed March 21, 2014
  4. NPR, "In Hawaii, Sex With A Prostitute May Be Legal For Undercover Cops," accessed March 21, 2014
  5., "Hawaii lets undercover cops have sex with prostitutes -- for now," accessed March 21, 2014
  6., "Hawaii police call for 'undercover' prostitution law," accessed March 21, 2014
  7., "Hawaii cops: We need to keep law that lets us have sex with prostitutes," accessed March 21, 2014
  8. Daily Record, "Wagner apparent winner in special state Senate election," March 19, 2014
  9. PennLive, "Scott Wagner's upstart special election victory could signal a power shift within the Pa. GOP: column," March 19, 2014
  10. York Daily Record, "GOP chair: Congrats to Scott Wagner (letter)," March 19, 2014
  11. PennLive, "Wagner wants more business leaders in politics, but not 'pro-union' Tom Wolf," March 19, 2014
  12. PennLive, "Scott Wagner makes history with his win in York County Senate race," March 19, 2014
  13. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed March 24, 2014
  14. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed March 24, 2014
  15., "Virginia General Assembly returns for special session," March 23, 2014
  16. StateNet, " Daily Session Summary," accessed March 24, 2014
  17. Alaska Statutes, "Section 15.25, Nomination of Candidates," accessed October 31, 2013
  18. Secretary of State Website, "2014 Election Important Dates," accessed November 4, 2013
  19. Running for Public Office, "A 'Plain English' Handbook for Candidates," 2012 Edition, accessed October 21, 2013
  20. Arkansas Code of 1987, "Title 7, Elections," accessed October 30, 2013
  21. Summary of Qualifications and Requirements for the Office of State Senator, Member of the Assembly, "June 3, 2014, Primary Election," accessed October 21, 2013
  22. California Elections Code, "Section 8100-8107," accessed October 28, 2013
  23. California Secretary of State Website, "Key Dates and Deadlines," accessed October 21, 2013
  24. Colorado Secretary of State Website, "Major Political Parties FAQs," accessed October 31, 2013
  25. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Elections," accessed October 31, 2013
  26. Connecticut Secretary of State Website, "Frequently Asked Questions, Nominating Papers," accessed October 31, 2013
  27. Florida Department of State Division of Elections, "2013-2014 Dates to Remember," accessed November 6, 2013
  28. 2013 Florida Statutes, "Section 99.061," accessed December 2, 2014
  29. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named hi
  30. Hawaii State Legislature, "HRS §12-6 Nomination papers: time for filing; fees", accessed May 22, 2013
  31. 31.0 31.1 2014 Kentucky Election Calendar, accessed November 12, 2013
  32. Kentucky State Board of Elections "Candidate Qualifications and Filing Fees" accessed November 26, 2011
  33. Maine Secretary of State "State of Maine 2014 Candidate's Guide to Ballot Access," accessed February 11, 2014
  34. The State Board of Elections, "Candidacy," accessed November 5, 2013
  35. 2014 Massachusetts State Primary and State Election Schedule, accessed December 2, 2013
  36. 36.0 36.1, "'This is a launching pad': Johnson, winner of state House special election, not worried about brief term," April 1, 2014
  37. Official special election results submitted to Ballotpedia by Brandon Walters from the Alabama Secretary of State's Office on May 7, 2014
  38., "Johnson, Lee in runoff for Alabama House 53," December 3, 2013
  39., "In District 53 Democratic runoff, Anthony 'Alann' Johnson defeats Arthur Shores Lee in last-minute win (updated)," February 4, 2014
  40. 40.0 40.1, "Five qualify for House District 53 seat," October 11, 2013
  41. 41.0 41.1, "Governor Announces Special Election for District 53," September 19, 2013
  42., "Citing inclement weather forecast, governor delays special election set for Mobile House seat," January 27, 2014
  43. California Secretary of State, "Official candidate list," accessed February 5, 2014
  44., "Special election for state Senate seat set for March 25," December 5, 2013
  45. California Secretary of State, "State Senate District 23* - Special Election," accessed December 9, 2013
  46., "Wagner apparent winner in special state Senate election," March 19, 2014
  47., "Lt. Gov calls special election to fill vacant Senate seat," January 13, 2014