A group of legislators have asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to move the May 19th Georgia state primary to the “latest possible date” as a COVID-19 precaution. Mr. Raffensperger responded that he has no such power and that the legislature and Governor would have to act. He pointed out that the Georgia presidential primary was moved from March 24th to May 19th because the state was under an Emergency Order from the Governor. By May 19th, Mr. Raffensperger explained, the Order will have expired.
Last week Hawaii election officials suspended the April 4th stand-alone presidential primary and turned the vote into an all-mail procedure. Now, the date of May 22nd has been established as the deadline for local county election officers to receive all ballots. The regular Hawaii primary is still scheduled for August 8th.
Surprisingly, a group of Maryland Democratic state legislators have asked Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to reinstate an in-person option for the state’s June 2nd primary. Originally, the vote was scheduled for April 28th. This move is opposite of most requests we see being made in other places, which center around moving to all-mail voting. Gov. Hogan has reportedly not yet responded to the request.
Despite one of the lowest confirmed COVID-19 totals in the country, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced yesterday that he is moving the May 12th state primary to June 2nd. At this point, in-person voting remains the procedural format.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution published another story about appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s (R) major stock transactions around the time she was participating in closed door Senate meetings about the Coronavirus. According to the article, Ms. Loeffler sold over $18 million in stocks, and purchased some for a company that makes COVID-19 protective garments. Additionally, Ms. Loeffler’s husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, which will certainly be an issue in the coming campaign.
Sen. Loeffler is a filed candidate for the Senate special jungle primary that is scheduled for November 3rd. Her opponents include Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville), businessman Matt Lieberman (D), Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) who the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has endorsed, and former US Attorney Ed Tarver (D). If no one receives 50% support on November 3rd, the top two finishers regardless of political party affiliation, advance to the special general runoff on January 5, 2021.
Presumed presidential nominee Joe Biden is acknowledging that the Democratic National Convention format may have to be altered because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Others within the party are questioning whether they can move forward with such a large gathering in the current state. No decisions have been made yet. The convention is scheduled to commence in Milwaukee on July 13th, though key committee meetings are planned for the previous week. The Republican National Convention is not scheduled until August 24th, so there are no plans to make any substantive changes at this point in time.
With North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows (R-Skyland/Buncombe County) now officially out of the House in order to assume his new duties as White House Chief of Staff, the next political question to be decided is whether there will be a special election to replace the now former Congressman for the balance of the current term.
Gov. Roy Cooper (D) just yesterday announced a 30-day stay at home order as a COVID-19 virus precaution, and now will have to decide if and when another special congressional election will be scheduled. The state already hosted two such congressional specials in 2019. The 11th District situation becomes complicated because the Republicans are currently in a runoff election between former Haywood County GOP chair Lynda Bennett and real estate investment company owner Madison Cawthorn that has already been postponed from May 12th to June 23rd. Democrats nominated retired Air Force officer Moe Davis for the regular election in the March 3rd primary.
Gov. Cooper could create a new election calendar for the 11th District special election, which would mean a new candidate filing period, hold a stand-alone election on a separate primary date, and determine whether to make the special general concurrent with the regular November 3rd election. Or, he could let the seat remain vacant for the rest of this year. If he chooses the latter course, this would be the second North Carolina seat this term to remain vacant for the better part of a year. The 9th District, because of the 2018 general election ending without a certified winner, wasn’t filled until September of last year.
The economic conservative organization Club for Growth has reportedly reserved $2.1 million in media time for the Kansas Senate race though they have yet to endorse a candidate. They are, however, opposing one. The Club will run an electronic messaging operation against Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend) who is running for the open Senate seat from which veteran incumbent Pat Roberts (R) is retiring. The group will attack Rep. Marshall over his spending and certain tax votes, which they say will enlarge the federal deficit even beyond its current status.
The Kansas primary is scheduled for August 4th. Rep. Marshall’s principal GOP opponents are former Secretary of State and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach and state Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita). Kansas City businessman Bob Hamilton, who has advertised on local television for decades, also may join the race. Democrats have coalesced around party-switching state Sen. Barbara Bollier (D-Mission Hills).
Massachusetts Democratic Party chairman Gus Bickford is recommending to the organization’s Executive Committee, according to WBUR News in Boston, that the May 30th state convention be cancelled as a COVID-19 virus precaution. The committee’s top business item was an endorsement vote in the US Senate Democratic primary between Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton).
Mr. Bickford is telling the committee that the two campaigns have reached an agreement where Sen. Markey would be awarded the party endorsement based upon his strength at county conventions, while Rep. Kennedy would be given automatic ballot placement for the Senate race. Under party rules, a candidate must receive 15% of the state convention vote to attain a statewide ballot slot. The Executive Committee is meeting on Saturday to consider the Bickford proposal. The Massachusetts primary is scheduled for September 1st.
The Texas Democratic Party leadership has decided to cancel its in-person state convention that was scheduled to occur between the June 4-6 period as part of COVID-19 precautions, and instead will handle the party business virtually. The state convention will move forward as planned, but party officers, dignitaries, delegates, alternate delegates, and guests will be participating online. Logistics are being planned for how the party officials and staff will organize and implement the online convention.
At this point, neither national party is converting to an online option, though Democratic officials, whose convention is scheduled first and will begin on July 13th, are reportedly in the process of discussing such an option. One top official was quoted as saying that since the Olympics, which were slated to start a week later than the DNC, are postponed for a year, that it would be appropriate for the party to adopt the online option. The Republican National Convention is not slated to begin until August 24th.
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