What to track until November 2020? A general election cheat sheet


Here are 325 (and growing!) things I’m watching in the Nov. 2020 elections!

Congress, state governments, and powerful county and municipal officials like DAs and sheriffs are on the ballot, besides the presidential race. This cheat sheet contains races I find noteworthy for political or ideological stakes, with details. All states and D.C. represented for at least one non-federal election.


Expect list to grow, and stay tuned for a PDF version for Election Night.

You can follow me on Twitter @taniel for more. Also visit The Appeal’s Political Report, a project I founded, for coverage of local elections on criminal justice. Big hat-tip to, and visit, Ballotpedia, Daily Kos Elections.


STATEWIDE

Senate

Dem-held
Alabama
Michigan
Minnesota
New Hampshire
GOP-held
Alaska
Arizona
Colorado
Georgia
Georgia | special
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
North Carolina
Maine
Montana
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Democrats need a net 3 seats if Biden wins, 4 if not.

Governors

DEM-HELD
Montana
North Carolina
GOP-HELD
Missouri
New Hampshire
Vermont
Pre-election:
26 R, 24 D

Attorneys general

DEM-HELD
North Carolina
Pennsylvania
GOP-HELD
Indiana (open)
Montana (open)
Not listed:
MO, UT, and WV (GOP-held) OR , VT, and WA (Dem-held)

Secretaries of state (important for voting rights!)

DEM-HELD
North Carolina
GOP-HELD
Montana (open)
Oregon (open)
Washington
West Virginia
Not listed: MO (GOP-held), VT (Dem-held)

Other statewide officials

NC: Lieut. Gov (D vs R)
WA: Lieut. Gov. (all-Dem runoff)
WA: Super. of public instruction
AZ: Corporate Commision (powerful body Dems may flip)
LA: Public service commission
TX: Railroad Commission is very important for climate politics and energy policy
See right-most column for statewide Supreme Court elections

Other statewide stakes

NY: Will WFP keep its NY ballot line, i.e. will enough NYers vote for Biden on the WFP line? Context.
MI: Will Michigan Supreme Court flip? (See right for details)
OH: Will Ohio Supreme Court flip? (See right for details)
Oh, and there’s the presidential election too!

U.S. HOUSE

GOP-held

Districts won by Clinton (all)
CA-25
NC-02
NC-06
NY-24
PA-01
TX-23
Districts won by Trump ’16 (if competitive)
AK-AL (incumbent since 1973!)
AR-02
AZ-06
CA-50
CO-03 (now open)
FL-15
GA-07
IL-13
IN-05
MI-03
MI-06
MN-01
MO-02
MT-AL
NC-08
NC-11
NE-02 (Omaha)
NJ-02
NY-01
NY-02
OH-01
PA-10
TX-03
TX-10
TX-21
TX-22
TX-24
VA-05

Dem-held

Districts won by Trump ’16 (all 30)
AZ-01
GA-06
IL-14
IL-17
IA-01
IA-02
IA-03
ME-02
MI-08
MI-11
MN-02
MN-07
NV-03
NH-01
NJ-03
NJ-05
NJ-11
NM-02
NY-11
NY-18
NY-19
NY-22
OK-05
PA-08
PA-17
SC-01
UT-04
VA-02
VA-07
WI-03
Districts won by Clinton ’16 (competitive)
CA-10
CA-21
CA-48
FL-26
WA-08
See also: ratings by Cook Political, UVA’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections.

See DKE’s resources for how each district votes.

All-Dem runoffs

CA has seven:
Only open one: CA-53
Inc. challenged: CA-12, CA-18, CA-29, CA-34, CA-38, CA-44
WA has one:
—WA-10, Doglio vs. Strickland

REFERENDA

Expand voter eligibility

CA: Voting rights for people on parole (#17)
CA: Enable 17-year olds to vote in primaries (#18)
San Francisco: Lower voting age to 16 for city elections (#G)
Oakland: Lower age to 16 for races for school board
Drug policy
OR: Decriminalize drugs (#110)
Legalize marijuana:
AZ (#207)
MT
NJ
SD (#A)
Legalize medical marijuana:
MS
NE [OFF?]
SD (#26)
OR: Legalize psilocybin (#109)
DC: Deprioritize psilocybin
Criminal justice
CA: Roll back sentencing reform (#20)
CA: Restore cash bail (#25)
OK: Sentencing reform (#805)
KY: Marsy’s law (context)
Policing
Portland, ME: Ban facial recognition
Set up civilian oversight boards with subpoena power:
Philadelphia
San Diego
Portland, OR
Columbus, OH
San Francisco (#D)
Pittsburgh: Strengthens civilian oversight board
San Francisco: End mandate for minimal size of police force (#E)
Los Angeles: Boost funding for housing, health, jobs, not L.E. (#J)
King County, WA: May shrink sheriff powers (and make sheriff appointed)
Ballotpedia round-up of local policing measures covers more.
Labor
FL: $15 minimum wage (#2)
CA: End mandate that gig economy workers be employees (#22)
CO: Paid medical & family leave (#118)
AZ: Min. wage for hospital workersOff ballot
Housing
CA: Expand rent control (#21)
Burbank, CA: Rent control measure
Boulder, CO: “No eviction without representation
San Francisco: Enable 10K units of affordable housing (#K)
Election rules
Initiatives to make ballot initiatives harder:
AR (#3)
FL (#4)
ND (#4001)
CO: Stay in popular vote compact
Enable ranked-choice voting:
MA (statewide)
AK (mixed system)
Albany, CA
Eureka, CA
Bloomington, MN
Minnetonka, MN
Boulder, CO
ME: End RCV (pres. race). OFF BALLOT?
Redistricting reform:
MO: Overturn it
VA: Approve it
Create Top 2/Top 4 systems:
—FL
: “Top 2”
AK: “Top 4” (and ranked choice)
St. Louis, MO: Mix of approval voting & runoff
Inscribe in state constitutions that only U.S. citizens can vote (would preempt enabling bigger electorate in local races):
AL
CO
FL
MS: End “electoral college”-like system in statewide races
Governance rules
MO: New term limits
MD: Transfer budgetary authority from Gov to legislature
San Francisco: Allows noncitizens on local advisory boards (#C)
Reproductive rights
CO: 22-week abortion ban
LA: Anti-abortion declaration (#1)
Taxation
AZ: Tax hike for high incomes (#208)
CA: Changes property tax structure, undoing part of Prop 13 (#15)
CO: lowers income tax
IL: Enable a progressive income tax
NM: Various bond initiatives
San Francisco:
—$489 mill. bond measure (parks, health, homelessness)
—Hike property tax on “big sales” 
Nashville, TN: Koch-funded initiative to roll back property tax hike. May be on Dec. 5 ballot.
Transportation
Arkansas: Sales tax to fund transportation
Austin, TX: A tax plan for new light rail lines, BRT, and more
Gwinnett Co, GA: Sales tax to fund transit expansion
Portland, OR: Tax plan to expand public transit
SF, Santa Clara, San Mateo: Hike sales tax for Caltrain (#RR)
Find out more about transit elections on the Transport Politic!

Education

CA: Lifts ban on affirmative action in universities (and gov. contracts) (#16)
WA: Blocks law requiring sex ed (#90)
Multnomah Co., OR: Preschool for all

Other topics

Removes slavery as punishment from state law [past coverage of issue]:
NE
UT
MT: Makes local gun control harder
MS: Approves new state flag
Puerto Rico: Vote on statehood
WY: Lifts constitutional “debt ceiling” on sewer projects.

STATE GOV.

Legislatures

Dem-held chambers
MN | House
NH | House
NH | Senate
NV | Senate
WA | Senate
AK | House (sort of)
GOP-HELD CHAMBERS
AZ | House*
AZ | Senate*
FL | Senate
GA | Senate
GA | House
IA | House
MI | House*
MN | Senate*
NC | Senate
NC | House
PA | House
PA | Senate
TX | House*
Can GOP gain supermajority?
WI | House
WI | Senate
NE | Senate
Can Dems break GOP supermajority?
KS | House
KS | Senate
Listed if competitive. Read Lou Jacobson’s ratings. | * means most competitive.

Trifectas: Every state listed

Now under Dem control: 15
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Illinois
Hawaii
Maine
New JerseyDEM
New Mexico
Nevada
New York
Oregon
Rhode Island
VirginiaDEM
Washington
Now under GOP control: 21
AlabamaGOP
Arkansas
Arizona
Florida
Georgia
Idaho
Indiana
Iowa
MississippiGOP
Missouri
Nebraska
North Dakota
Oklahoma
Ohio
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
West Virginia
Wyoming
Currently split: 13)
Alaska
Kansas*
Kentucky
LouisianaSplit
Maryland*Split
Massach.*Split*
MichiganSplit
Minnesota
Montana
North Carolina
New Hampshire
Pennsylvania
Vermont*
Wisconsin
* (Starred) if, in split situation, non-Gov. party has a leg. super-majority.

Bolded if worth watching most closely.

Noteworthy legislative races

AZ | H & S
Dems aiming for majorities (need +3 in Sen, +2 in House). AZ Central flags key targets. In Senate, LD6, LD28, LD17. In House, LD6, LD20, LD21 LD23. (GOP targeting LD4, LD17, LD18.)
CA | Senate
AD64 (LA) & SD11 (SF): Dem incumbents face challenges from their left.
CT | H & S
Watch GOP-held HD17/132 & Dem-held HD48. Also SD26: Sen. Haskell (D), who’s led on progressive CJ bills, vs. Kim Healy (R).
DE | H & S
Can Dems grow majority facilitate change? Watch Dem-held SD14 and GOP-held SD5, SD7, HD21.
FL | Senate
The Nation reports on SD20 & its Dem challenger.
IA | House
Dems need 4 to break GOP trifecta. Laura Belin flags: HD-16, 37, 55, 67, 73, 82, 91, 95,
MA | Senate
After scandal, GOP Sen. Tran vs. Dem Cronin.
MN | Senate
Dems need +2 to gain full trifecta. MinnPost lists targets: SD44, 56, 14, 25, 26, 45. But Dems defending Trump-won SD58, 27, 37, 54.
NH | Senate
Watch SD1 as Dems best shot to grow narrow majority.
NM | Senate
Progressives beat 5 cons. incumbents in Dem primary. Watch their generals in SD30, SD28, SD35
NY | Senate
Police unions endorsed GOP challengers to Dem Sens in SD3, SD5, SD6, SD40, SD42. Also GOP candidates in open SD1. (This comes after unions’ push against pretrial reform.)
RI | Legislature
Progressives targeting GOP-held SD34 & HD39. Also: Conserv. Dem Speaker vulnerable in Trump-won HD15.
TN | House
Rep. Deberry (I, was D) backed law criminalizing protests. Now faces Torrey Harris (D).
TX | House
Watch HD28, where Rep. Gates is up after evicting dozens during pandemic. More broadly, Dems need 9 of these 22 seats.
WA | House
Watch HD23, ft. Tarra Simmons (D), a formerly incarcerated advocate.
WI | Legislature GOP hopes to flip 3 seats in each chamber for veto-proof majority. Preview in Wisconsin State-Journal flags: SD10, SD30, SD32, AD14, AD73, AD74, AD94.

LOCAL & JUDICIAL

Prosecutors

CA: Los AngelesCriminal justice is on the line in clash between DA Lacey and George Gascon. (My pre-primary preview.)
AZ: MaricopaIn a county with punitive policies, a Dem gain would be a boon for criminal justice reform.
CO: District 1 (Jefferson Co.)Preview: Dems could flip. Big contrasts on drug policy.
CO: District 18 (Arapahoe Co., Douglas Co.)Preview: Reform-touting Dem vs. deputy DA under retiring punitive GOP incumbent.
FL: OrlandoProgressive Monique Worrell is favored in the general after winning a high-stakes primary.
HI: HonoluluRunoff: S. Alm (some reform language) vs. M. Kau (who’s rejected reform premises). Context.
IL: DeKalbDem challenger campaigning on reform vs GOP incumbent. Preview
IL: LakeDem challenger campaigning on reform vs GOP incumbent. Context.
LA: NoLaOne of the nation’s most anti-reform DAs is retiring. What’s next? [May go to Dec. runoff.]
KS: Johnson CoIn state’s biggest county, Dem challenger with some reform language against GOP DA.
MI: Oakland Co.A challenger ousted a punitive Dem DA in primary, now faces GOP in blue-leaning county.
NH: Hillsborough, Merrimack2 first-term Dems got major pushback for some reform, face GOP challengers.
NY: WestchesterMimi Rocah ousted the Dem incumbent in primary, now faces Bruce Bendish (R).
OH: HamiltonCincinnati’s punitive GOP prosecutor faces Dem challenger. Preview.
SC: Berkeley & CharlestonUnder-radar bid by a progressive challenger. Q&A/context.
TX: Travis (Austin)A progressive won the Dem nomination & is now heavily favored in the fall.
TX: NuecesDem DA won on reform in 2016.
WisconsinDA races from WI should be on the list, but landscape is staggeringly desolate even by low national standards of contestation.
Elections already settled earlier this year in Portland, OR, in Ann Arbor, MI, in Tucscon, AZ, in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, in St. Louis, MO, in Chicago, and in Houston.

Also see: List of candidates running for DA.

Supreme Courts

North CarolinaTHREE huge elections. Dems now up 6-1 (can’t lose majority).
OhioOne of 2020’s main flip prospect: Dems could flip court if they beat both GOP incumbents on the ballot. (They did in 2018!)
KentuckyA Dem vs an arch-conservative. Incumbent already ousted.
MichiganDems need to flip one seat to flip this one.
MinnesotaP. Thissen (Dem-appointed inc) vs M. MacDonald (conservative with eventuful past bid)
MississippiGOP-backed incumbent Kenny Griffis faces Dem-backed Latrice Westbrooks, who’d be the first African American woman to be a MS Justice.
NevadaOpen race between a former prosecutor (Herndon) & a former Dem lawmaker (Fumo)
TexasOn 2 highest courts, 7 GOP incumbents face Dem challengers.
WashingtonTwo new Inslee appointees face opponents. Some context.
See DKE’s nationwide analysis on gerrymandering stakes. More on a few of these soon.

Sheriffs

AZ: MaricopaJoe Arpaio’s former deputy (GOP) challenges Sheriff Penzone (D). Preview.
AZ: PimaFormer Dem sheriff is talking of bail reform while challenging GOP successor.
FL: PinellasA GOP sheriff who’s led the state in cooperating with ICE and has a conservative record faces a Dem challenger.
GA: AthensProgressive challenger ousted the incumbent Dem, in part on ICE; now favored in general.
GA: CobbGOP sheriff faces a Dem challenger. On the line: membership in ICE’s prized 287(g) program. Preview.
GA: GwinnettOpen race in a hotspot for cooperation with ICE. Dem nominee has pledged to quit ICE’s 287(g) program. Preview.
MA: NorfolkGOP Sheriff vs. Dem challenger. One contrast: whether sheriffs should be allowed to honor ICE detainers. Preview.
MI: OaklandProminent Republican sheriff faces re-election in a populous suburban jurisdiction.
OH: HamiltonDem nominee ousted the Dem sheriff in primary, ran on curbing detention & ICE ties. Sheriff then endorsed the GOP nominee.
SC: CharlestonGOP sheriff faces Dem challenger. At stake: Jail conditions; will county stay in ICE’s 287(g) program?
TX: Harris (Houston)Dem incumbent, who’s pushed some reforms, faces GOP challenger.
TX: Tarrant (Fort Worth)GOP-held. At stake: Horrid jail conditions; will county stay in ICE’s 287(g) program?
TX: WilliamsonGOP-held .At stake: Will county stay in ICE’s 287(g) program?

Mayors and county executives

CA: San DiegoAn all-Dem runoff (Todd Gloria vs. comparatively moderate Barbara Bry). Stakes for transit.
CA: IrvineMayor Christina Shea (R) versus Councilmember Farrah Khan (D)
FL: Miami-Dade Co.Steve Bovo (R) vs. Daniella Levine Cava (D). Context.
HI: HonoluluR. Blangiardi (running more as a moderate, endorsed by police union) vs K. Amemiya.
NY: Erie Co. (Buffalo)The GOP is hoping to gain back a foothold.
OR: PortlandMayor Ted Wheeler, faces a challenger (Sarah Iannarone) from the left.
VA: RichmondMayor Levar Stoney faces re-election. More soon.
UT: Salt Lake Co.More coming up

Other judges

NC: AppealsMore coming
New OrleansMore coming up

Other local officials

Los Angeles: CouncilIncumbent David Ryu versus progressive challenger Nithya Raman. Preview.
San Jose: CouncilIncumbent Dev Davis (formerly in GOP) now faces Green challenger Jake Tonkel
Washington D.C.: CouncilCrowded field for at-large seat meant for a non-Dem, amid efforts to push council left.
Maricopa Co., AZCan Dems flip the county board in the 4th biggest county in the nation? Preview of races.
San Diego, CA: BoardDems can flip board, with stakes for planning, if they flip the 3rd District. (Would go along gains at city-level.)
Arapahoe Co., CO: CommissionCould board in this populous county flip to Dems?
Douglas Co., CO: CommissionCOVID-19 & health regulations major issue as Dems hope to break unanimous GOP board.
Ada County, ID: CommissionDems flipped this (2-1) in 2018; now defending D2 (Diana Lachiondo) & targeting D3.
Oklahoma County, OK: CommissionCounty commission could flip to Dems if Spencer Hicks were to unseat Brian Maughan.
San Francisco‘s BART board & AC transit boardPolicing and equity at heart of these elections. More soon.
VT: High bailiffsNumerous candidates are running to promote criminal justice reform via the high bailiff’s office.