State Legislative Tracker: Nevada representative passes away

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 11:19, 8 February 2014 by Colin O'Keefe (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
SLP badge.png


October 14, 2013

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker includes a look at the death of a Nevada representative.

Weekly highlight

Last week, no state ended its legislative session. Here is a brief look at issues making headlines across the country:

  • Arizona: Last week an Arizona state representative came under intense scrutiny for her comparison of President Obama to Adolf Hitler. The remarks in question were said on the Facebook page of Rep. Brenda Barton (R). The lawmaker's Facebook post said, "Someone is paying the National Park Service thugs overtime for their efforts to carry out the order of De Fuhrer." After her post gained national attention, Barton explained that the use of the word Fuhrer was not comparing Obama to Hitler, but instead referring to the German meaning of Fuhrer which is leader. Fuhrer does mean leader in German, but the word is most typically associated with Hitler. Barton told the Arizona Capitol Times that Obama and Hitler are similar in their leadership styles and their position on national healthcare and gun control. She stated that Obama is "dictating beyond his authority." Arizona state House Minority Leader Rep. Chad Campbell has called for Barton to apologize or resign from office. On his Facebook page, Campbell posted, "Rep. Brenda Barton is an embarrassment. Disgraceful doesn't begin to describe her statements comparing our President to Hitler. The only thing that matters is Rep. Barton should apologize immediately or resign from office." In response to Campbell's statement, Barton has said that she doesn't believe that she owes Obama an apology and will not resign.[1][2][3][4]
  • Colorado: After successfully ousting two Democratic members from the Colorado State Senate in the state’s first legislative recalls, organizers are rekindling failed efforts to recall Sen. Evie Hudak (D). In May 2013, Hudak, along with fellow Democrats John Morse and Angela Giron, was targeted for recall due to her support of controversial gun control legislation. Supporters of the recall needed to collect 19,000 valid signatures by June 3 to force a recall election of Hudak, but the recall effort was suspended on May 22. Both Morse and Giron were successfully recalled in an election on September 10. On October 4, organizers were granted the green light to reignite efforts to recall Hudak, one day after Republicans Bernie Herpin and George Rivera — elected to fill the vacancies of Morse and Giron — were sworn into office. Supporters of the renewed effort have until the last week of November to gather the 18,900 signatures needed to force a recall election of Hudak. According to an excerpt of the recall petition language, Hudak "...has infringed upon our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. She has voted to make all citizens less safe and to drive hundreds of jobs from Colorado." Commenting on the effort, Hudak said, "A small group is seeking to undo the will of voters, who re-elected me to the Senate last November. Unable to defeat me then, they are now attempting a political power grab using a low-voter-turnout, no-mail-ballot recall election strategy."[5][6] [7][8]
  • Nevada: A Nevada assemblywoman known as the liberal conscience of her caucus has died. Peggy Pierce (D), the District 3 representative who was first elected in 2002 and was serving her sixth and final term per the state limit, passed away Thursday from cancer, which she was battling for the third time in a decade according to her partner, Jon Sasser. She was 59. Pierce served as Chief Deputy Majority Whip in the last legislative session. Pierce, whose professional experience included working for the United Labor Agency of Nevada, was known for her steadfast support of tax increases, education, workers' rights and environmental causes. As her colleagues shied away from liberal approaches to revenue, Pierce pushed for heavy hikes on cigarettes and alcohol, as well as decreases on the amount of deductions made by the mining industry. She was a vocal supporter of a 2 percent increase on profit margins to fund education; the initiative will appear on next year's ballot. In 2011 alone, Pierce sponsored five bills raising taxes, none of which passed. The tribute to Pierce was bipartisan, with Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) praising her in a statement as a passionate "longtime advocate for the people of Nevada." The Assembly posted a tribute video on its website soon after Pierce's death. Pierce, who was born in Milton, Mass., came to Nevada from San Francisco after an unsuccessful attempt at singing professionally in San Francisco; her work in hospitality and food service led her to the union. According to the Legislative Counsel Bureau, because there is no legislative session before the 2014 general election, the seat is likely to remain vacant until November of that year.[9][10][11][12][13]
  • Utah: Governor Gary Herbert is requesting control of the five national parks within the state if the government is to stay shutdown. On Monday, October 7, Representative David Lifferth was researching the costs of managing the national parks to find if they would be self-sufficient. Herbert believes that Utah could lose $1 billion without the tourists that the national parks attract. In a letter to President Obama, Herbert requested "'…literally, the keys to the gates'" of the national parks, claiming that Utah's peak tourist season is in October. He argued that the shutdown was detrimental to "bed-and-breakfast business owners, outfitters and restaurant owners" who relied on the tourists to support their businesses, making the national parks being closed personal to business in Utah. On Thursday, it was announced that Utah would be allowed to use state funds to reopen the national parks. Although funds will initially be provided by Utah's Division of Natural Resources, the Utah State Legislature will meet during the week of October 14 to discuss how to further fund the parks if the government shutdown continues. Other states, however have already been denied control of their national parks. Arizona's request to use state and private funds to reopen the Grand Canyon was rejected, and South Dakota has not been allowed control over Mount Rushmore. While the government is starting the process of allowing some states to reopen their national parks with state funds, it "will not surrender control of national parks or monuments to the states." Utah intends to return management of the parks when the government is no longer shutdown.[14][15][16][17][18]
  • Wisconsin: State Senator Robert Jauch (D) announced his decision not to run for re-election in the 2014, and he used the occasion to criticize the partisan political environment at the state capitol. Citing his inability to muster the energy required to "maintain [his] commitment [to Wisconsin citizens] in a political landscape where representative democracy is on life support," Jauch said his decision to retire was difficult and emotional. In a press release, he noted that he had "spent my career reaching out to those with different ideas in search of solutions that are fair and lasting. It is the tradition where elected officials respect each other. ...Recent efforts to achieve common ground have been rejected by those who act as though compromise is a sin. Moderation, which has always been a mainstay in Wisconsin politics that has led to common sense compromise serving the common good, has been suffocated by those who seek to win at any cost." Jauch joins fellow moderate Senator Tim Cullen (D) in announcing his retirement, who also lamented the partisanship at the capitol. Other state legislators, including former Assemblymen Richard Spanbauer (R) and Alan Lasee (R), retired from the chamber in recent years after citing political gridlock, and Senator Dale Schultz (R) has also denounced the increased partisanship and may be preparing to retire ahead of 2014. Both Cullen and Jauch represented very Democratic districts, so their retirements are unlikely to change the balance of power in the Wisconsin State Senate.[19][20][21][22][23]

Regular sessions

Current sessions capture for the week of October 14, 2013
See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2013 session information.

Currently four out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session.

As of April 8, all states states have convened their 2013 legislative sessions.[24]

The following states have ended their regular session:[25]

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Saturday, May 23, 2015
There are 7,387 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,445 (46.6%)
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 57
Total tied or nonpartisan chambers 2
2013 Session Information
Total Special Elections 54
Total Special Sessions 17

In recess

As of today, October 14, there are 4 state legislatures currently in recess:[26]

Redistricting Roundup.jpg

State news

Redistricting Facts
Maps submitted for vote: 140 out of 142 (98.6%)** No votes on initial maps in the following: MT (2)
States that have completed Congressional Maps 42/43 (Maps ordered redrawn: TX)
States that have completed State Legislative Maps 46/50 (Maps unfinished: ME, MT; Maps ordered redrawn: AK, TX)
**With 50 states, there are 142 possible maps. 50 State Senate, 49 State House (No House in Nebraska), and 43 Congressional (7 states have 1 seat)
See also: Status of redistricting maps after the 2010 census

While the great majority of states have completed their redistricting following the 2010 census, the issue still remains for a handful of states. Maine and Montana are not required to have their maps completed until 2014. Alaska and Texas, however, saw their maps rejected for legal reasons and will have to take up the drawing of maps once again.

See also: State legislative elections, 2013

A total of 3 of the 99 chambers will hold state legislative elections on November 5, 2013.

The 3 chambers with elections in 2013 are in 2 states. They are:

Louisiana and Mississippi also typically hold elections in odd years. However, legislators are elected to 4-year terms in those states and those will not be up for election again until 2015.

40 of the country's 1,972 state senate seats are up for re-election in November 2013, and 180 of the country's 5,411 state house seats are up for re-election. Altogether, 220 of the country's 7,383 state legislative seats are up for re-election on November 5, 2013.

Signature filing deadlines

See also: Signature requirements and deadlines for 2013 state legislative elections

The state legislative filing deadlines were as follows:

  • New Jersey:
  • April 1, 2013 (Major party)
  • June 4, 2013 (Independent)

Nomination petitions must contain the signatures of at least 100 voters in the legislative district. Candidates are required to disclose any criminal convictions.[27]

  • Virginia:
  • March 28, 2013 (Major party)
  • June 11, 2013 (Independent)

Nomination petitions must contain the signatures of at least 125 qualified voters in the legislative district. Major party candidates are required to submit a primary filing fee equal to 2% of the annual salary for the office sought in effect in the year in which the candidate files. In 2013, the primary filing fee was $352.80.[28]


The state primaries were as follows:

  • New Jersey:
  • June 4, 2013
  • Virginia:
  • June 11, 2013


New Jersey had a quiet election, with all competing incumbents winning their primaries.

There were only three hotly contested races, all in the Senate, but none resulted in the ousting of an incumbent:[29]

Republican PartyDistrict 13: Incumbent Joe Kyrillos, Jr. defeated challenger Leigh-Ann Bellew.
Democratic PartyDistrict 20: Incumbent Raymond Lesniak defeated challenger Donna Obe.
Democratic PartyDistrict 34: Incumbent Nia H. Gill defeated challengers Mark C. Alexander and Vernon Pullins, Jr..

Virginia experienced two upsets in an otherwise quiet day of primaries for the House of Delegates. Voter turnout was expected to fall below 5 percent based on projections at polling locations.[30]

Virginia's legislative primaries yielded a pair of defeats for incumbent legislators. The defeated incumbents were supporters of a recently passed transportation bill that increases sales and gas taxes to improve roadways.[31][32] The successful challengers lodged primary challenges in part to protest the bill's passage, which they called the biggest tax increase in the state's history.[33]

Republican Party Mark J. Berg defeated Beverly Sherwood in District 29.
Republican Party Dave A. LaRock defeated Joe T. May in District 33.

Five incumbents were able to fend off primary challenges in the June 11 primaries:

Republican Party C. Todd Gilbert defeated Mark W. Prince in District 15.
Republican Party Bill Howell defeated Craig E. Ennis in District 28.
Republican Party Bobby Orrock defeated Dustin R. Curtis in District 54.
Democratic Party Roz Dance defeated Evandra D. Thompson in District 63.
Democratic Party Algie Howell defeated Richard James in District 90.
SLP badge.png
See also: State legislative special elections, 2013

There are two special elections scheduled for this week: one in Alabama and one in Florida.

UncheckedBox.jpgAlabama House of Representatives District 74

Rep. Jay Love (R) resigned on August 1, 2013, to work for the Business Council of Alabama. A special election was called for December 3, with a primary on October 8. A runoff election will take place on November 19.[34][35]

Democratic Party October 8 Democratic primary:
  • No candidates filed to run
Republican Party October 8 GOP primary:
Republican Party November 19 GOP runoff:

UncheckedBox.jpgFlorida House of Representatives District 36

Rep. Mike Fasano (R) resigned on August 15, 2013, following his appointment as Pasco County Tax Collector. A special election has been called for October 15, with a primary on September 17. The filing period ended on August 27.[36][37][38]

Democratic Party September 17 Democratic Primary:
Republican Party September 17 GOP Primary:
October 15 Special election:
Democratic Party Amanda Murphy
Republican Party Bill Gunter

Recent election results

October 8, 2013

UncheckedBox.jpgAlabama House of Representatives District 74
Rep. Jay Love (R) resigned on August 1, 2013, to work for the Business Council of Alabama. A special election was called for December 3, with a primary on October 8. A runoff election will take place on November 19.[39][40]

Democratic Party October 8 Democratic primary:
  • No candidates filed to run
Republican Party October 8 GOP primary:
Republican Party November 19 GOP runoff:

UncheckedBox.jpg 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 special election was called for January 14, with a primary on October 8. A runoff will take place on November 12. The filing period for candidates ran from September 3 to September 6, 2013.[41][42][43][44]

Democratic Party October 8 Democratic primary:
Democratic Party November 12 Democratic runoff:
Republican Party October 8 GOP primary:
Republican Party November 12 GOP runoff:

UncheckedBox.jpgMassachusetts State Senate 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District
Sen. Michael Knapik (R) resigned to become the executive director of advancement at Westfield State University. A special election was called concurrent with the regularly-scheduled November 5 elections, with a primary on October 8. Candidates had until September 5 to file certified nomination papers.[45][46][47][48]

Democratic PartyOctober 8 Democratic Primary:
Republican PartyOctober 8 GOP Primary:
November 5 Special election candidates:
Democratic Party David K. Bartley
Republican Party Donald F. Humason, Jr.

UncheckedBox.jpgTennessee House of Representatives District 91
Rep. Lois DeBerry (D) passed away on July 28, 2013, from pancreatic cancer. A special election was called for November 21, with a primary on October 8 if necessary. Candidates had until August 29 to file certified nomination papers.[49][50][51][52]

Democratic PartyOctober 8 Democratic primary:
Libertarian PartyLibertarian candidates:
November 21 Special election candidates:
Democratic Party Raumesh Akbari
Libertarian Party Jim Tomasik

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • October 22: Iowa House of Representatives District 33
  • October 29: South Carolina House of Representatives District 93
  • November 5: Fifteen special elections in various states. List available here.
  • November 16: Louisiana House of Representatives District 87
  • November 19: California State Assembly District 45 (Runoff)
  • November 19: Iowa State Senate District 13
  • November 19: Wisconsin State Assembly District 21
  • November 19: Wisconsin State Assembly District 69
  • November 21: Tennessee House of Representatives District 91

See also


  1., "AZ lawmaker's Facebook post draws sharp reaction," accessed October 10, 2013
  2., "Brenda Barton Says She Didn't Compare 'De Fuhrer' Obama To Hitler," accessed October 10, 2013
  3., "State representative stands by her comparison of Obama to Hitler," accessed October 10, 2013
  4., "Arizona Republican Rep. Barton compares Obama to Hitler," accessed October 10, 2013
  5., "Recall efforts underway for lawmakers supporting gun control legislation," May 12, 2013
  6., "Colorado Sen. Evie Hudak recall effort suspended," May 22, 2013
  7. "The Huffington Post", "Sen. Evie Hudak Recall: Effort Re-Energized After Successful Recall Of Morse, Giron Over Gun Control Laws" Accessed October 7, 2013
  8. "The Denver Post", "New recall effort targets state Sen. Evie Hudak" Accessed October 7, 2013
  9. Associated Press, "Nevada Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce Dies," October 10, 2013.
  10. Las Vegas Review-Journal, "Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce of Las Vegas dies of cancer," October 10, 2013.
  11. Associated Press, "Democratic Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce dies at 59," October 10, 2013.
  12. Las Vegas Review-Journal, "Farewell, Peggy Pierce, Nevada's fiercest liberal lawmaker," October 11, 2013.
  13. KSNV, "Colleagues, friends remember Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce," October 10, 2013.
  14. Daily Herald, "Lawmaker looking to open Utah's national parks during shutdown," October 8, 2013
  15. Daily Herald, "Herbert asking Obama to keep Utah's national parks open," October 9, 2013
  16. Fox13 News, "Governor offers to fund Utah’s national parks," October 9, 2013
  17. The Tennessean "Smokies, other national parks could reopen under Obama plan," October 10, 2013
  18. Fox13 News, "Obama administration allows states to reopen national parks," October 10, 2013
  19. The Capital Times, "Sen. Bob Jauch in announcing retirement: 'Democracy in this state is at risk'," October 9, 2013
  20. The Capital Times, "Bob Jauch just the latest Wisconsin legislator to flee partisan Capitol," October 9, 2013
  21. The Associated Press, "Longtime Democratic state Sen. Bob Jauch retiring, won't seek re-election in 2014," October 9, 2013
  22. Northland's News Center, "Wis. Senator Bob Jauch retiring," October 9, 2013
  23. WEAU, "Longtime Democratic state Sen. Jauch retiring," October 9, 2013
  24. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed October 14, 2013
  25. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed October 14, 2013
  26., "Daily Session Summary," accessed October 14, 2013
  27. New Jersey Department of State, "Petition filing instruction sheet," Accessed January 14, 2013
  28. Virginia State Board of Elections, "Candidacy Requirements for House of Delegates," Accessed January 16, 2013
  29. "Polls close in 2013 N.J. primary elections as votes are tallied," June 4, 2013
  30. Washington Post, "Voter turnout sparse for down-ticket races in Virginia," June 11, 2013
  31. CBS DC, "Virginia Primary Results Roll In," June 11, 2013
  32., "Howell’s transportation PAC helping candidates," June 7, 2013
  33. WRIC, "Virginia Primary Round Up," June 11, 2013
  34., " Special elections set for Ala. House districts," August 8, 2013
  35., "Polizos, Meadows in runoff for Alabama House District 74 seat," October 9, 2013
  36., "Special Election 2013, House District 36," accessed August 19, 2013
  37., "Candidate Listing for 2013 Special Election - House 36," accessed August 27, 2013
  38., "Gunter romps in GOP primary for District 36 special election," September 17, 2013
  39., " Special elections set for Ala. House districts," August 8, 2013
  40., "Polizos, Meadows in runoff for Alabama House District 74 seat," October 9, 2013
  41., "Arkansas lawmaker steps down from Senate seat," August 20, 2013
  42., "Gov. Beebe Sets Special Election to Replace Recently Resigned Senator," August 28, 2013
  43., "Official candidate list," accessed September 9, 2013
  44., "GOP, Democrats each headed to runoff for Ark. Senate seat in special election," October 8, 2013
  45., "Dates set for Western Massachusetts state Senate special election," August 7, 2013
  46., "Special State Election - Second Hampden and Hamphshire Senate District," accessed August 23, 2013
  47. "Official candidate list," accessed September 25, 2013
  48., "David Bartley on Massachusetts Senate primary win: 'Agawam was crucial'," October 8, 2013
  49., "Political Season Heats Up With District 91 Deadline," August 28, 2013
  50., "11 File For State House District 91 Special Election," August 30, 2013
  51., "Certified Candidate List," accessed September 6, 2013
  52., "Akbari Wins Democratic State House Primary," October 9, 2013