Ballot Box Weekly: 1, 2, 3 days of elections this week
Edited by Jamie Applegate
Welcome to the second 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 our projects, 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 a high profile special election in New Jersey as well as several other special elections across the United States. In total, voters are heading to the polls on three different days this week across the country. Read about this and more in this week's report.
|This Week in Elections|
|States with Elections:||4|
|States with filing deadlines:||0|
|**Elections include two primary elections and two general elections.|
What happened at the polls?
The two major election events took place in Florida and New Jersey.
Florida House of Representatives
Florida House of Representatives District 36 held a special election on October 15 and saw the seat flip party control. Amanda Murphy (D) won the seat, defeating Bill Gunter. Republican Rep. Mike Fasano previously held the seat, but resigned on August 15, 2013 following his appointment as Pasco County Tax Collector.
Of the 54 special elections held so far this year, only six seats have changed party control -- three each for Democratic and Republican seats. In 2012, seven seats total flipped control out of 45 special elections. Of those races, five seats swung to Democratic control while two changed to Republican partisanship. In 2011, 11 seats flipped out of 94 special elections -- six seats for Republicans, four for Democrats and one seat previously held by a Democratic incumbent was won by an Independent.
Republicans comfortably control both chambers of the Florida State Legislature.
Florida State Senate Partisan Breakdown
|Party||As of February 2015|
Florida House of Representatives Partisan Breakdown
|Party||As of February 2015|
New Jersey Congressional Election
Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) and former Mayor of Bogota Steve Lonegan (R) will face off in the special election, held to fill a seat left empty by the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) earlier in the year. Booker is highly favored in the election, as New Jersey has not elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 40 years.
The winner will replace interim senator Jeff Chiesa, who was appointed by Governor Chris Christie in June to temporarily fill the seat. The winner of today's race will serve the rest of the term and face the voters again in 2014 for a full six-year term.
A win for Booker could prove important due to how it might change the composition of the senate. A Booker win would shift the balance of power in the Senate to a 55-45 advantage for Democrats, meaning Republicans would need to win six seats in next year's midterm elections to gain control of the Senate. It would also make him the country's only elected black senator currently in office.
|Election Coverage across Ballotpedia/Judgepedia -- October 14-18, 2013|
|Race||Date||Number of Seats Up for Election|
|Massachusetts' 5th Congressional District primary||October 15, 2013||1|
|Florida House of Representatives District 36||October 15, 2013||1|
|Alabama House District 104 primary||October 15, 2013||1|
|US Senator from New Jersey||October 16, 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.
|Quote of the Week|
- 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.
- October 19: Louisiana's 5th District congressional district will hold a special election primary on October 19th for an open seat, with a runoff general election to be held November 16, 2013, if required. The special election will be held to fill the upcoming vacancy that will be left by the resignation of Rep. Rodney Alexander (R), who has been appointed the next Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs.
- October 22: Two special primary elections will be held in Wisconsin on October 22 for Wisconsin Assembly Districts 21 & 69. The District 21 seat will be filled following the resignation of Rep. Mark Honadel (R), who resigned on September 16, 2013, to take a job in the private sector. The District 69 seat will be filled following the resignation of Rep. Scott Suder (R) on September 2 of this year to take a job as an administrator with the state Public Service Commission.
- October 22: A special election for Iowa House of Representatives District 33 will be held on October 22. The seat became vacant after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (D) resigned on August 15, 2013, to work in the Iowa Attorney General's office.
Anne Ma is a candidate for an at-large seat on the Rowland Unified School District Board of Education in California. The seat is up for general election on November 5, 2013. Ma, the artistic director of Dance Impressions Productions in the area, previously served as a professional performer with the Walt Disney Company where she portrayed the character Mulan and has adopted the moniker the “Mulan of Education” during the race.
She is running against five other candidates, including incumbent Cary C. Chen and Gilbert G. Garcia as well as Lynne Ebenkamp, Phillip R. Estrada, Wild Chang and Angelena Marie Pride for three seats in the general election on November 5, 2013. The election is one of several happening on the 5th and is one of dozens of school board elections taking place that day across the country.
Rowland Unified School District is located on the southwestern edge of Los Angeles County, California. It is located in the largest county in California. According to the 2010 Census, it is home to 48,993 residents. The school board consists of five members, all of whom are elected to four-year terms. All board members are elected to at-large districts. Board terms are staggered so that at least two members, but no more than three are to be elected each odd numbered year on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. There are no primary elections. Three seats are up for election on November 5, 2013. The two remaining seats are up for election on November 3, 2015.
There were two general elections and two primary elections this week. As of publication, the New Jersey U.S. Senate polls had not yet closed.
|Elections Scoreboard -- Breaking Down the Ballot Box|
|General Election Results Analysis|
|Total uncontested races||0|
|% seats won by Democratic candidate||100%**|
|% seats won by Republican candidate||0%**|
|% seats won by Independents||0%|
|Primary Elections Results Analysis|
|Total primary elections||4|
|Incumbents running for re-election||0|
|Total contested primaries||3|
|Total uncontested primaries||1|
|**Note: Voting had not ended in the New Jersey special election by publication and so those results were not factored into the percentage.|
It's always election season somewhere. Here are some snippets of election news across the various Lucy Burns Institute project areas.
- State legislatures
- School Board
- State executive officials
- State courts
- State and local ballots
Legislative elections covered this week consisted entirely of special elections.
Alabama House District 104 held a special election primary on October 15 for a seat left open in its legislature. Rep. Jim Barton (R) resigned on August 7, 2013, to work for the Kinney Capitol Group, leaving his seat open. A special election was called for December 3, but pushed back to January 28, 2014. A runoff will take place on December 3 for the Republican candidates, as no candidate secured a majority of the vote.
- October 15 Democratic primary:
While this week was a slow one for school board elections, November 5 will hardly be a slow day. A total of 203 school districts among the largest districts by enrollment in the United States will be holding elections for 663 seats on that day. States electing school board members include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington. Major issues include financial policies and changing education standards, including the implementation of new federal Common Core standards in some states. The number of seats up in different states include:
- California: 114 seats
- Colorado: 51 seats
- Connecticut: 35 seats
- Massachusetts: 40 seats
- Ohio: 54 seats
- Pennsylvania: 60 seats
- Texas: 32 seats
- Virginia: 28 seats
- Washington: 78 seats
The 2014 Wisconsin gubernatorial election gained a new candidate in recent weeks. Mary Burke, who currently serves on the Madison, Wisconsin school board but previously served as a Trek Bicycle Corporation executive and state Commerce secretary, declared her candidacy on October 7. She is running as a Democratic candidate. The election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Scott Walker (R) is eligible for re-election, as Wisconsin has no gubernatorial term limits. The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office.
- Scott Walker - Incumbent
- Mary Burke (Declared)- Former Trek Bicycle Executive and member of the Madison school board
- Peter Barca - State Assembly Minority Leader
Upcoming court elections include a primary for Louisiana court seats on October 19. Judges compete in a primary election against candidates of all parties. If no candidate receives 50% of the vote (a "majority vote"), the top two candidates run against each other in the general election. Seats on some district courts, juvenile courts, justice of the peace courts, parish courts, magistrate courts, and traffic courts are up for election. 26 seats total are up for election. The Louisiana judicial elections consist of a municipal primary on April 6th, a municipal general on May 4th, an open primary on October 19th and a open general on November 16th.
Tuesday marked the deadline for third quarter Federal Election Commission filings for federal candidates. Also, Massachusetts hosted a special election primary for an empty Congressional seat and New Jersey held a general election.
A large field of candidates competed in the special election primary Massachusetts' 5th Congressional District special election on October 15. Ten candidates total ran in the election, with seven Democratic candidates and three Republican candidates. Ultimately, Katherine Clark (D) and Frank Addivinola (R) defeated challengers in their respective party's primaries to win the nominations. Clark will face off against Addivinola in the general election on December 10, 2013.
General Election Candidates
- Peter Koutoujian: Middlesex Sheriff
- Katherine Clark: State senator
- Karen Spilka: State senator
- Will Brownsberger: State senator
- Carl Sciortino: State representative
- Martin Long: Former Lexington School Committee Member
- Paul John Maisano: Stoneham resident
No ballot measures were voted on this week, but a lawsuit being decided this week could potentially have a large effect on an upcoming vote in New York.
On October 1, 2013, lawyer Eric J. Snyder filed a brief against the New York Board of Elections with the New York Supreme Court related to the measure wording controversy. Snyder is asking the court to order a rewriting of the language or a removal of the measure from the ballot. He cited a recent poll comparing a generalized question on authorizing casino gambling and the specific ballot question as evidence of biased wording. A number of newspapers have also called for a rewording. On October 11, Judge Richard Platkin heard the lawsuit. He will be deciding whether the case is to be dismissed or moved forward sometime this week. The lawsuit could change the measure wording of Proposal 1 in New York
- Ballot Box Weekly
- Financial policies, education standards at stake in November school board elections
- The Tuesday Count: Low number of initiatives on 2013 ballots
- These figures refer only to the elections that are covered by Ballotpedia and Judgepedia staff. They may not be comprehensive. If you would like to send details about an election not covered, contact us
- pascovotes.com, "Special Election 2013, House District 36," accessed August 19, 2013
- NY Times, "Cory Booker, Newark's Mayor, Handily Wins New Jersey Senate Primary," accessed October 13, 2013
- CBS News, "Cory Booker fends off Democratic challengers in N.J. debate" accessed August 6, 2013
- Yahoo News, "Christie appoints N.J. attorney general to replace Lautenberg" accessed June 6, 2013
- NY Times, "Cory Booker, Newark's Mayor, Handily Wins New Jersey Senate Primary," accessed October 13, 2013
- NJ.com, "Booker raises 8 times more cash than Lonegan in U.S. Senate race," accessed October 14, 2013
- New Jersey Elections Division, "Official General Election Candidates," accessed October 14, 2013
- New Jersey Star Ledger, "In final 48 hours of N.J. Senate campaign, Booker and Lonegan turn to turnout," October 15, 2013
- Nola.com, "Rodney Alexander to join Jindal administration, departure from Congress will trigger special election," accessed August 8, 2013
- Anne4RUSD.com, "The Mulan of Education," accessed October 14, 2013
- La Vote.net, "LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL CONSOLIDATED ELECTIONS - 11/5/2013" accessed October 14, 2013
- US Census Bureau, "Rowland Heights, California Quick Facts" accessed October 14, 2013
- Rowland Unified, "BYLAWS OF THE BOARD" accessed October 14, 2013
- timesdaily.com, " Special elections set for Ala. House districts," August 8, 2013
- FOX 6 Now, "Looking ahead to 2014, who will face Scott Walker in race for Gov.?," July 21, 2013
- Facebook: Peter Barca for Governor, accessed January 10, 2013
- Louisiana Secretary of State, "How are Candidates Elected?"
- Louisiana SOS 2013 Election Dates
- Boston Globe, "Addivinola wins Mass. Fifth District GOP primary," accessed October 15, 2013
- Politico, "Special Massachusetts House election set" accessed July 16, 2013
- WBUR "State Rep. Carl Sciortino Announces Congressional Bid" accessed June 27, 2013
- Boston.com, "Markey win sets up special election for House" accessed June 27, 2013
- Daily Journal, "7 Democrats, 5 Republicans on ballot for special election in Mass. 5th Congressional District," accessed August 19, 2013
- Metro West Daily News, "Candidates in race to fill Markey's House seat" accessed July 31, 2013
- Wicked Local.com, "FIFTH DISTRICT RACE: GOP candidate Mike Stopa declares candidacy" accessed July 31, 2013