electionlineWeekly Updates 2014 SoS Races


[Image courtesy of theexaminer]

Last Friday, I blogged about the Minnesota Secretary of State race (and the debate we’ll be hosting Monday, October 20) … my friend and colleague Mindy Moretti has gone one better and in the latest electionlineWeekly rolled out a rundown of ALL the SoS races across the country that will be on the ballot this fall. Several of these races have the potential to alter the local election administration landscape significantly so it’s worth a look:

In addition to making sure all the I’s are dotted and all the T’s are crossed for the upcoming November election, the top elections chief in 24 states is also on the ballot in November.

Although we won’t know who is in charge till sometime after November 4, one thing is certain that 12 states will have a new chief elections official since that many incumbents are not seeking re-election.

This is just a brief look at all the candidates with links to their campaign websites where available.

When Secretary of State Jim Bennett stepped in to complete the term of Beth Chapman, he said he would not seek election to the seat so facing off are Republican John Merrill and Democrat Lula Albert-Kaigler in what the Montgomery Advertiser referred to as a “quiet campaign.”

Merrill, a former Democrat served as director of community relations and education for the Tuscaloosa County board of education before being elected to the Alabama House. In 2013, Albert-Kaigler ran for a vacant seat in the U.S. House of Representatives but lost the Democratic nomination. Albert-Kaigler told the paper she hopes to use her office to help educate voters on the issues.

Current Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell chose to run for the U.S. Senate (he lost in the primary) instead of seeking re-election in 2014 therefore opening up his seat.

In Alaska, like many states, the lieutenant governor runs on a ticket with the gubernatorial candidates. The candidates include Republican Dan Sullivan, Maria Rensel (Constitution Party), Libertarian Andrew Lee and Democrat Byron Mallott.

Sullivan is currently mayor of Anchorage. Rensel is the founder and executive director of the Interior Alaska Conservative Coalition and served as an administrative specialist in the Utah Air National Guard. Lee, a Libertarian is running under the motto of “Sufficiently Adequate For Our Needs At This Time Democrat Bryron Mallott is running on a ticket with Independent Bill Walker. Walker and Mallott were the subject of an unsuccessful lawsuit over their merged ticket. Mallott is of Tlingit heritage is a business executive and served as mayor of Juneau.

Incumbent Secretary of State Ken Bennett chose to run for governor instead of seek re-election. Vying to replace Bennett are Republican Michele Reagan and Democrat Terry Goddard.

Regan, who is currently a state senator and before that served in the state House of Representatives, has received the endorsements of several organizations and newspapers. Goddard previously served two terms as the state’s attorney general and also served four terms at the mayor of Phoenix. On of Goddard’s top campaign themes is the emphasis on getting “dark money” out of political races in Arizona. Goddard has also received his own endorsements from major newspapers.

The candidates recently met for a debate where voting rights took center stage.

In Arkansas, incumbent Secretary of State Mark Martin R will face two challengers: Democrat Susan Inman and Libertarian Jacob Holloway.

Martin is running for his second term in office. Inman is the president of the Arkansas County Election Commissions Association, serves on the Board of Election Commissioners and the Pulaski County Election Commission. Holloway is a freelance political activist and an advocate for community agriculture.

With current Secretary of State Debra Bowen term-limited two candidates are vying to replace her. Republican Pete Peterson and Democrat Alex Padilla.

Padilla is a state senator and former member of the Los Angeles city council.

Peterson is a businessman making his first foray into elected office. Peterson was the first executive director of Common Sense California, which later joined with the Davenport Institute at Pepperdine University.

Papers in California have covered this race closely. A recent news article noted that the candidates are really quite similar in their policies despite their different political backgrounds.

When incumbent Secretary of State Scott Gessler decided to seek higher office instead of run for re-election (he lost the GOP primary for governor), El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams sought the Republican nomination and Joe Neguse, an attorney and University of Colorado regent will represent the Democrats.

Neguse is a first generation American who serves on the CU board of regents and has served on several committees on the board of regents. Williams has been the El Paso County clerk since 2010.

Incumbent Secretary of State Denise Merrill D will face Peter Lumaj R/IP and Mike DeRosa Green in November.

Merrill, is seeking her second term as secretary of state. Lumaj is an attorney and a native of Albania. DeRosa is the founder of the nonpartisan citizen’s organization V.O.T.E.R. (Voter Opportunity Through Election Reform).

Incumbent Secretary of State Brian Kemp R will face off against Democrat Doreen Carter in November.

Kemp is seeking his second term as secretary of state. Carter is businesswoman and entrepreneur and has served on the Lithonia city council.

The race was relatively quiet until recently when Kemp pushed a voter fraud investigation against a Democratic organization.

With longtime Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa retiring at the end of his term, Lawrence Denney R and Holli High Woodings D are facing off to be his replacement.

Denney is currently a member of the state Legislature and has served as assistant majority leader and majority leader. Woodings is also a member of the state Legislature and founder of an energy consulting group.

The two recently faced off in a debate.

Incumbent Secretary of State Connie Lawson R is facing Marion County Clerk Beth White D in November for the state’s top elections spot.

Although the incumbent, Lawson, a former state representative is running for election as secretary of state for the first time. She was initially appointed to the seat after former Secretary of State Charlie White was forced to resign. White is serving her second term as Marion County clerk and previously worked for the mayor of Indianapolis and served as an attorney.

Current Secretary of State Matt Schultz decided not to seek re-election. The seat is being sought by Democrat Brad Anderson, Republican Paul Pate, Libertarian Jake Porter and New Independent Spencer Highland.

Anderson served as state director for President Barack Obama in 2012 and has worked on numerous Iowa campaigns. Pate is president of small business and has served as mayor of Cedar Rapids, and Porter is a businessman and nonprofit manager.

A recent poll found the race to be quite close between Anderson and Pate.

In what is probably the most closely watched secretary of the state race in the country incumbent Kris Kobach R will face Democrat Jean Schodorf in less than a month.

Kobach is seeking his second term as secretary. Schodorf has served on local school boards as well as in the Kansas Senate for more than a decade.

Recent polls have shown the race to be much closer than it previously was.

Incumbent Secretary of State William Galvin D faces two challengers this year in Republican Dave D’Arcangelo and Green-Rainbow Party candidate Danny Factor.

Galvin is seeking his sixth term in office. D’Arcangelo is legally blind, and most recently a city councilor in Malden. Factor is a longtime community activist.

Incumbent Secretary of State Ruth Johnson R faces three challengers this November: Democrat Godfrey Dillard, Libertarian James Lewis and Natural Law candidate Jason Gatties.

Johnson is seeking her second term as secretary. Dillard is an attorney and civil rights activist. Lewis is a printing press operator and has run for several offices in Michigan. Gatties has previously run for U.S. Representative.

Four candidates are seeking to replace outgoing Secretary of State Mark Ritchie: Steve Simon, DFL; Dan Severson, R; Bob Helland, IP; and Libertarian Bob Odden.

Simon is a member of the Minnesota House. Severson is a former member of the state Legislature. Helland was a process analyst for the state. Odden is a former insurance agent.

Incumbent Secretary of State John Gale R will face Libertarian Ben Backus in November.

Gale was appointed to the secretary’s position in 2000 and first elected in 2002. Backus is a broadband services manager for a communications firm.

With incumbent Secretary of State Ross Miller seeking the attorney general’s seat, Democrat Kate Marshall will square off against Republican Barbara Cegavaske for the vacant spot.

Marshall served in the Peace Corps, worked for the U.S. Department of Justice and has been the state’s treasurer since 2006. Cegavaske served in the state Legislature for six years and has been in the Senate since 2002.

New Mexico
Incumbent Secretary of State Dianna Duran R will face off against Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver D in November.

Duran is seeking her second term as secretary of state. Toulouse Oliver has been the Bernalillo County clerk since 2007.

Media in New Mexico have closely followed the race.

North Dakota
Incumbent Secretary of State Al Jaeger R will face two challengers this year: Democrat April Fairfield and Libertarian Roland Riemers.

Jaeger is one of the longest serving secretaries of state in the nation having first been elected to office in 1992. Fairfield served in the Legislature from 1996 to 2002 and in the Senate from 2002 to 2006. She is currently the executive director of a nonprofit. Riemers is self-employed and previously ran for governor.

Incumbent Secretary of State Jon Husted R will face two challengers: Democrat Nina Turner and Libertarian Kevin Knedler.

Husted is seeking his second term as secretary. Turner currently serves in the Ohio Senate. Knedler has worked in sales for almost 40 years.

The state’s recent battles over early voting have become a focus of the race, particularly between Husted and Turner.

Rhode Island
With Incumbent Secretary of State Ralph Mollis choosing to run for Lieutenant Governor the seat was open for three candidates: Democrat Nellie Gorbea, Republican John Carlevale and Independent Pamela Azar.

Gorbea served as deputy secretary of state from 2002 to 2006 and was the executive director for HousingWorks RI. If elected, Gorbea would become the first Latina elected statewide in the Northeast. Carlevale has been a social worker and professor. He previously ran for secretary of state in 1992 and 1994. Azar is a teacher and advocate and is running a write-in campaign.

South Dakota
When Incumbent Secretary of State Jason Gant chose not to seek re-election, that left his seat open for four candidates: Republican Shantel Krebs, Democrat Angelia Schultz, Libertarian Emmet Reistroffer and Constitution Party member Lori Stacey.

Krebs was first elected to the South Dakota House in 2004 and has served on the Senate since 2010. Schulz is a children’s author and creative writing teacher. She was an intelligence officer at the Pentagon. Reistroffer is 24-years old and has experience working on political campaigns. Stacey is a writer and paralegal.

Incumbent Secretary of State Jim Condos D, faces two challengers in Liberty Union Party member Mary Alice Hebert and Progressive candidate Ben Eastwood.

Condos is seeking his second term as secretary of state. Hebert is a retired school teacher who previously ran for vice president as a candidate for the Socialist Party. Eastwood is running as part of the Progressive Party’s slate.

With Incumbent Secretary of State Max Maxfield not seeking a third team, the position is open to three candidates: Republican Ed Murray, Libertarian Howard Carson and Constitution Party candidate Jennifer Young.

Murray is a Laramie businessman. Carson is a frequent candidate for office in Wyoming and has previously run for governor. Young is a community activist and trained in search and rescue.

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