Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Attention: New Stateside Blogs are Found Elsewhere!

August 26, 2014

Stateside Associates is now posting all new blogs to our website, as opposed to the prior WordPress blog. Any and all new blogs can be found using two methods:

(1) Go to http://www.stateside.com/category/blogs/.

(2) Click the “Read the Full Post” link on any email notification of a new blog.

Thank you for your continued readership and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Election 2014: Summer Ballot Questions Update

June 24, 2014

By Sarah E. Hunt, Esq., Manager, State Issues and Ethics Officer

count_this_vote_400_clr_9473This election cycle’s ballot measure trends are coming into crystal focus as 38 states have already certified just over 100 ballot measures for the 2014 primary and general election ballots. Measures may continue to earn coveted ballot slots throughout the summer, as petitioners in several jurisdictions can still gather signatures in hopes of making this November’s ballot.

We already know roughly how many measures will make the fall ballot and which topics they will address. Current trends indicate the majority of direct democracy states will have between three and eight statewide ballot questions this year. A few states are experiencing a significant volume of ballot measures. Louisiana voters, for example, will settle 14 ballot questions in November, by far the most of any state.

The issues of marijuana, education and taxes will once again make a strong showing across the country. Issues surprisingly absent this cycle include gambling and tort reform. Only one state, Kansas, is currently slated to vote on a gaming ballot question, and only California has certified a civil justice system ballot question.

Here is an overview of which states are voting on trending or unique ballot questions:

Minimum Wage: Alaska and South Dakota voters will decide whether or not their states ought to increase minimum wage rates. California, Arkansas, Nebraska, Illinois, District of Columbia and Michigan have pending ballot measures, although the minimum wage is not expected to make the California ballot because the campaign was ended when it failed to garner labor support.

Judiciary: Hawaii, Oregon, Tennessee, Louisiana, Nevada and Florida will consider ballot questions on the judiciary, with topics including mandatory retirement ages, judicial selection, judicial responsibilities, and the creation of new courts.

Education: Alabama will vote on rules for local school board expenditures, Georgia will consider whether or not to extend property tax exemptions to private operators of dormitories on state college campuses, North Dakota will vote on re-organizing the State Board of Higher Education, and Oregon and Hawaii will consider school funding.

Marijuana: Marijuana advocates continue their campaign with a decriminalization measure on the ballot in Alaska and a medical marijuana measure on the ballot in Florida. Petitioners are still gathering signatures for measures in Oregon and the District of Columbia, and there was a failed campaign to put a marijuana question on the 2014 Montana ballot. In an election 2016 preview, activists in Arizona, California, and Maine are laying the groundwork to put pro-pot measures on the ballot in those states next cycle.

Fiscal: In August, Alaska will vote on the repeal of tax incentives for the oil industry. California voters will consider whether or not to increase the state’s rainy day fund. Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, Missouri, North Dakota and Tennessee will vote on tax matters, with the majority of these ballot questions limiting the ability of the government to levy or increase certain taxes.

Other: New York will vote on whether or not to create an independent redistricting commission. Arkansas voters will consider a legislative referral, HJ 1009, a comprehensive legislative ethics reform referral that will ban corporate campaign contributions. Oregon will have a referendum on a bill passed by the legislature that creates a pathway to drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants.

You can track hotly contested statewide ballot questions on our Stateside Associates 2014 Election website. Our State Ballot Initiatives FactPad insert is an additional resource Stateside Associates offers to help you keep up with direct democracy across the states. I welcome your thoughts and questions about the state of direct democracy this election year at seh@stateside.com.

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Sarah E. Hunt, Esq. is Manager, State Issues and Ethics Officer at Stateside Associates. She works with clients on a wide range of state and local government affairs issues. Sarah also helps Stateside and its clients navigate lobbying ethics, comply with campaign finance laws, and develop political giving strategies. She practiced campaign finance, election law, and non-profit management with a boutique political law firm for several years prior to joining Stateside Associates.

Election 2014: A Second Spotlight on the Gubernatorial Races

June 3, 2014

By Nick Blazer, Manager, Social Media Services and the 2014 Elections Project

canstockphoto1698022June features three more waves of primary elections in states across the country that will settle some key questions in this year’s races. Will Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R) or Neel Kashkari (R) emerge from California’s top-two primary system to compete against Governor Jerry Brown (D), who is highly likely to be one of the winners, in the general election? Who will be the Nevada Democratic Party’s nominee to face Governor Brian Sandoval (R)? Finally, who will be the official candidates seeking the open seat in Maryland? Over the next four weeks, these questions will be answered.

In total, there are fifteen primary elections and a primary runoff election scheduled in June. Alabama, California, Iowa, Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota are holding primary elections today on June 3; Maine, Nevada, North Dakota and South Carolina will hold primary elections on June 10; and Colorado, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma and Utah will hold primary elections on June 24. However, Montana, North Dakota and Utah will not be electing a governor in 2014. In addition, Arkansas will hold its primary runoff election on June 10 and South Carolina may hold a primary runoff election on June 24 if necessary.

After June 24, more than half of the gubernatorial primary elections will be settled.

In honor of the early June gubernatorial primaries, here are updates on four races. Also, be sure to check out more information on the latest polls and news headlines, plus interactive elections charts and information on ballot measures, on our companion elections websites 2014governorsraces.com and 2014attorneysgeneral.com.

California

Governor Jerry Brown (D) is seeking re-election in 2014. His two main competitors are Neel Kashkari (R) and Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R) in California’s top-two primary system, where all candidates are placed on the same primary ballot regardless of party affiliation. The two candidates with the highest amount of votes in the primary election advance to the ballot in the general election. Governor Brown is very likely to be one of the two candidates: two recent polls place Governor Brown as the definite front-runner in the race.

The Public Policy Institute of California surveyed California residents in May and included questions about the 2014 gubernatorial election. The poll found 48% of respondents likely to vote in the primary election intended to vote for Governor Brown, while 15% picked Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, 10% backed Neel Kashkari, 27% were undecided and 1% opted for a different candidate in the race. SurveyUSA also conducted a mid-May poll and discovered 57% of respondents would vote for Governor Brown, while 15% intended to cast a vote for Assemblyman Donnelly, 11% for Neel Kashkari, 4% for a different candidate and 10% of respondents were undecided.

In addition, Governor Jerry Brown possessed more than $20 million in cash on hand as of the most recent campaign finance reports, while Neel Kashkari reported holding $1.4 million in cash on hand and Assemblyman Tim Donnelly reported possessing $70,000 in cash on hand.

The California primary election is today, June 3.

Iowa

Governor Terry Branstad (R) is seeking re-election in 2014. He is challenged by Tom Hoefling (R) for the Republican Party nomination in the primary election. State Senator Jack Hatch (D) is unopposed for the Democratic Party nomination.

Governor Branstad is in a good position as indicated by the most recent poll. Public Policy Polling surveyedIowa voters in May and asked respondents to vote in two general election scenarios pitting State Senator Jack Hatch against Tom Hoefling and Governor Branstad. In a race between Governor Branstad and State Senator Hatch, 48% backed Governor Branstad, 40% supported State Senator Hatch and 12% were undecided. In a match between Tom Hoefling and State Senator Hatch, 37% opted for Jack Hatch, 30% chose Tom Hoefling and 33% were uncertain.

Governor Branstad is financially well-positioned against his competitors. The campaign finance reports for the period between January 1 and mid-May were due earlier this month. Governor Branstad raised more than $1.1million during that period and possessed more than $4.5 million in cash on hand. State Senator Hatch raised more than $262,000 and possessed more than $310,000 in cash on hand.

Lastly, Tom Hoefling and Governor Branstad squared off in a debate in early May.

The Iowa primary election is today, June 3.

Maine

Governor Paul LePage (R) is seeking re-election in 2014. He is challenged by Congressman Mike Michaud (D) and his 2010 rival Eliot Cutler (I).

The race is highly competitive and still a possible tossup, as indicated by a poll conducted by Critical Insights in April and released in early May. Critical Insights reported 37% of respondents sided with Congressman Mike Michaud, 36% backed Governor Paul LePage, 18% would vote for Eliot Cutler and 8% were undecided.

Campaign finance reports released at the beginning of June, for the reporting period of April 23 until May 27, revealed Governor Paul LePage raised the most funds of the three candidates in the reporting period. Eliot Cutler raised more than $33,000 and possessed more than $39,000 in cash on hand. Congressman Michaud raised more than $120,000 and possessed more than $570,000 in cash on hand. Finally, Governor LePage raised more than $150,000 and possessed more than $540,000 in cash on hand.

The Maine primary election is June 10.

New Mexico

Governor Susana Martinez (R) is seeking re-election in 2014. She will face one of five possible Democratic candidates in the general election. Attorney General Gary King (D), Linda Lopez (D), State Senator Howie Morales (R), Lawrence Rael (D) and Alan Webber (D) are competing for the party nomination.

A recent poll conducted by the Albuquerque Journal found Attorney General Gary King held the most support in the Democratic field among respondents, but more than a quarter still needed to decide. The poll discovered 22% of respondents backed Attorney General King, 16% supported Lawrence Rael, 16% chose Alan Webber, 12% picked State Senator Howie Morales, 5% backed Linda Lopez and 29% were undecided.

Governor Martinez is financially well-positioned relative to her field of challengers. She raised the most funds in April – $561,000 – and possessed the most cash on hand (more than $4 million). On the Democratic side for the month of April, Alan Webber raised more than $115,000 and possessed more than $455,000 in cash on hand; Lawrence Rael raised $58,000 and possessed more than $209,000 in cash on hand; Attorney General Gary King raised $12,300 and possessed more than $48,000 in cash on hand; State Senator Howie Morales raised $22,000 and possessed more than $44,000 in cash on hand; and Linda Lopez raised more than $10,000 and possessed more than $13,000 in cash on hand.

The New Mexico primary election is today, June 3.

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Nick Blazer is Manager of Social Media Services and the 2014 Elections Project.