Labor Day 2020 Election Primer: A Look Ahead to November

As the saying goes, “Eight weeks before an election is a lifetime in politics.” If you have any doubts about the truth of this adage, we suggest speaking with “Presidents” Michael Dukakis or Hillary Clinton! Simply put, there are few, if any, slam dunks in politics. Elections continue to have the capacity to surprise and confound. When the Democratic primary process began with over 25 candidates, who would ever have thought that we would end up with an election between two of the oldest candidates ever to run for the office?

Current polling indicates that, if the election were held today, Vice President Biden is near or above the 270 electoral votes he needs to win election. These same polls say the Senate would flip, ever so narrowly, to Democratic control and the House Democratic majority would be relatively unchanged.

However Labor Day is certainly not Election Day (see Dukakis and Hillary mentions above). And now is, historically, when the race officially begins.

This Election Primer, the first in Dentons’ Election Series, sets the stage for the race to November. From the “top of the ticket” to the down-ballot congressional and state house contests across the country, we track the races that could change majorities in November. More detailed reports will be released as we get closer to election day. We hope this 10,000-foot view helps get you up to speed.

Download the Labor Day 2020 Election Primer

Georgia’s 2020 Primary Election Results

The 2020 Georgia Primary is behind us. Unfortunately, in some respects, the administrative process has overshadowed the results. Adjusting to the new normal caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, problems with getting absentee ballots to folks wishing to vote by mail, a new electronic voting machine system, difficulties with training new poll workers, and long lines and delays at Primary Election Day precincts have led to finger pointing between the Georgia Secretary of State’s office and local county election boards. All of this will need to be worked out before the November General Election.

There are still thousands of absentee votes still to be counted statewide so many close races are still in play. With that said, here are some of the more interesting election results from Tuesday’s primary that we know at the present time:

Presidential Primary

As expected, Joe Biden won handily with 83% in the Democratic Primary. Still, Bernie Sanders received 10% despite having dropped out of the race and conceding in March.

US Senate — Democratic Primary

Despite a crowded seven way primary, Jon Ossoff has a commanding lead hovering back and forth at the needed 50% + 1 position to avoid a runoff against his second place rival former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson at 15%. If late returns cannot push him over 50%, he will be forced into an August 11th runoff against Tomlinson. The winner will take on incumbent Senator David Perdue in November.

Contested Supreme Court Races

Two Supreme Court appointees by former Governor Nathan Deal beat back challenges to win a full term. Justice Sarah Warren easily won with 78% while Justice Charlie Bethel beat back a strong challenge from former State Representative Beth Beskin 53% to 47%.

Congressional Races

Georgia has three open congressional races — the 7th in Gwinnett and Forsyth Counties, the 9th in the mountains of North Georgia, and the 14th in Northwest Georgia. The 7th is most likely to be a close race in November given the fact that retiring Republican Rob Woodall only squeaked to re-election in 2018 by a few hundred votes.  Woodall’s 2018 Democratic challenger Georgia State Professor Carolyn Bourdeaux holds a commanding lead in a crowded race over second place finisher State Representative Brenda Romero, 46 to 14%. A runoff between Bordeaux and Romero will be held August 11th. On the Republican side, former Army doctor Rich McCormick won his crowded primary with 55%.

In the 9th Congressional race, State Representative Matt Gurtler and Gun Store Owner Andrew Clyde, with 22 and 19% respectively, edged out a crowded Republican field for runoff spots on August 11th. The winner of the runoff will face Brooke Siskin in November in this historically overwhelmingly Republican district.  

In the 14th Congressional Race, Tea Party favorite Marjorie Greene and Rome Doctor John Cowan are headed to a Republican Party runoff August 11th. There is no Democrat running in November.

One other Congressional race is likely to draw attention in November. Former Republican Congresswoman Karen Handel won her primary easily to set up a rematch against Congresswoman Lucy McBath in the 6th Congressional District. McBath defeated Handel in 2018.

State Legislative Races

Several incumbent legislators — including Democratic Senator Ed Harbison and Republicans Brandon Beach and Jeff Mullis, as well as House Minority Leader Bob Trammell — faced stiff primary opponents on Tuesday but appear to have beat back their challengers. However, Brunswick Republican Representative Jeff Jones was defeated by Buddy DeLoach, and five term Conyers Democrat Representative Pam Dickerson was beaten by newcomer Sharon Henderson. Also, three longtime Democratic Representatives Sharon Beasley-Teague and Michele Henson and Democratic Senator Horacena Tate were forced into runoffs for the first time in many years.

While many incumbents faced tough reelections, one veteran high profile legislator is making a return. Former State Representative and 2016 Gubernatorial Candidate Stacey Evans won a decisive primary victory in an Atlanta State House district. She has no Democratic opponent in the fall.  

Fulton County District Attorney Incumbent Paul Howard, who has run unopposed for Fulton County District Attorney since 2000, is currently trailing to primary challenger Fani Willis. Neither of the two are likely to break the 50% mark, Willis with 41% of the vote and Howard with 34% of the vote, and will be headed to a runoff.

State election and voting changes/updates

As COVID-19 spreads throughout the country, large gatherings and group activities have increasingly been altered, postponed or cancelled altogether. The voting process is no different. After several states delayed primaries, there has been continued preparation for the possibility that the 2020 presidential election season will look vastly different than normal. The Dentons team, along with our Dentons 50 partners, will continue to track elections developments throughout the year. As a primer, below is state by state overview of the next planned election, mail-in voting status and COVID-19 specific updates. Please contact us with any questions.

STATE UPCOMING ELECTIONS AS = As Scheduled PP = Previously Postponed MAIL VOTING STATUS Specific Exception = 1 Time Change No Special Exceptions Yet = Absentee Requirements not Relaxed COVID-19 UPDATES Link to Release/Order Dictating
Election Changes
Alabama July 14, 2020 (PP: Primary Runoff) Absentee/Mail Voting Permitted (Specific Exception) SOS Merrill Press Release
Alaska August 18, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting DOE Press Release
Arizona August 4, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Hobbs Press Release
Arkansas March 31, 2020 (AS: Primary Runoff) Limited (2x year) Absentee (No Special Exceptions Yet) SOS Thurston Press Release
California May 12, 2020 (AS: CD 25 Special General; State SD 28 Special General) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Padilla Press Release
Colorado June 30, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) All Mail Voting SOS Griswald Info Center
Connecticut June 2, 2020 (PP: Pres. Pref. Primary) August 11, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
SOS Merrill Press Release
Delaware June 2, 2020 (PP: Pres. Pref. Primary) September 15, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) Absentee/Mail Voting Permitted (Specific Exception) SEC Albence Press Release
Florida August 18, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Lee Press Releases
Georgia May 19, 2020 (PP: Pres. Pref. Primary; AS: Primary Election) July 21, 2020 (AS: Primary RunoffElection) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Raffensperger Press Release
Hawaii August 8, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) All Mail Voting SOE News Releases
Idaho May 19, 2020 (AS: Primary
Election)
No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Denny Press Release
Illinois November General Election No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SBE Press Release
Indiana June 2, 2020 (PP: Primary Election) Absentee/Mail Voting Permitted (Specific Exception) SOS Lawson Press Release
Iowa June 2, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Pate Press Release
Kansas August 4, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Schwab Press Release
Kentucky June 23, 2020 (PP: Primary Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
SOS Adams Press Release
Louisiana June 20, 2020 (PP: Pres. Pref. Primary) July 25, 2020 (PP: Municipal Primary Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
SOS Ardoin Press Release
Maine June 9, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Dunlap News Center
Maryland April 28, 2020 (AS: CD7 Special General) June 2, 2020 (PP: Pres. Pref.; AS: Primary Election) 4/28: All Mail Voting (Specific Exception) 6/2: No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting BOE Chair Cogan Statement
Massachusetts May 19, 2020 (PP: Senate Specials) June 2, 2020 (PP: House Specials) September 1, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) 5/19 & 6/30: Absentee/Mail Voting Permitted (Specific Exception) 9/1: Prerequisite Absentee (No Special Exceptions Yet) SOC Galvin Press Release
Michigan May 5, 2020 (AS: Municipal Election) August 4, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting (All Mail Pending) SOS Benson Press Release
Minnesota August 11, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting (Changes Pending) SOS Simon Press Release
Mississippi April 21, 2020 (AS: State HD 88 Special Election) June 23, 2020 (PP: Primary Runoff Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
SOS Watson Press Release
Missouri June 2, 2020 (PP: Municipal Election) August 4, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
SOS Ashcroft Press Release
Montana June 2, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Stapleton Update Election Calendar
Nebraska May 12, 2020 (AS: Primary
Election)
No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Evnan Press Release
Nevada June 9, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) All Mail Voting (Specific Exception) SOS Cegavske Press Release
New Hampshire September 8, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
SOS Gardner Press Releases
New Jersey May 12, 2020 (PP: Municipal & Special Elections) June 2, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) 5/12: All Mail Voting (Specific Exception) 6/2: No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting Gov. Murphy Press Release
New Mexico June 2, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Oliver Press Release
New York June 23, 2020 (PP: Pres. Pref. Primary; AS: Primary Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
BOE Website
North Carolina June 23, 2020 (PP: CD11 Primary) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting BOE ED Bell Recommendations
North Dakota June 9, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Jaegar Vote Portal
Ohio April 27, 2020 (PP: Pres. Pref. & Primary Election) All Mail Voting (Specific Exception) SOS Larose Press Release
Oklahoma April 7, 2020 (PP: Local Elections) June 30, 2020: (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting EBS Ziriax Press Release
Oregon May 19, 2020 (AS: Primary
Election)
All Mail Voting SOS Clarno Press Release
Pennsylvania April 28, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Boockvar Press Release
Rhode Island June 2, 2020 (PP: Pres. Pref. Primary) September 8, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Gorbea Press Release
South Carolina ? May 1, 2020 (PP: Municipal Elections) June 9, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
SEC Press Releases
South Dakota June 2, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Barnett Press Release
Tennessee August 6, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
SOS Hargett News
Texas July 14, 2020 (PP: Primary Runoff) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
Gov. Abbot Declaration
Utah June 30, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) All Mail Voting (In Person Optional) Gov. Herbert Press Release
Vermont August 11, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Condos Press Release
Virginia May 5, 2020 (AS: Municipal Elections) June 9, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) 5/5: Absentee/Mail Voting Permitted (Specific Exception) 9/1: Prerequisite Absentee (No Special Exceptions Yet) DOE Release
Washington August 4, 2020 (Primary Election) All Mail Voting SOS Wyman Press Release
West Virginia April 28, 2020 (AS: Special
Election) – Change Pending
May 12, 2020 (AS: Primary
Election)
Absentee/Mail Voting Permitted (Specific Exception) SOS Warner Press Release
Wisconsin April 7, 2020 (AS: Spring Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting ECA Wolfe Press Release
Wyoming May 5, 2020 (AS: Municipal Elections) August 18, 2020 (AS: PrimaryElection) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Buchanan Media Releases

Democratic Presidential Primary Tracker: The Quest for 1991 – Almost Super Tuesday

Dentons’ Public Policy group has created a series of quick-reference guides to keep you informed throughout the “Quest for 1991,” the magic number needed to secure the Democratic nomination for President. The guide provides a high-level overview on current polling, delegate count and process – all on just one page.

Democratic Presidential Primary Tracker: The Quest for 1991 – Super Tuesday

Dentons’ Public Policy group has created a series of quick-reference guides to keep you informed throughout the “Quest for 1991,” the magic number needed to secure the Democratic nomination for President. The guide provides a high-level overview on current polling, delegate count and process – all on just one page.

Democratic Presidential Primary Tracker: The Quest for 1991 – South Carolina

Dentons’ Public Policy group has created a series of quick-reference guides to keep you informed throughout the “Quest for 1991,” the magic number needed to secure the Democratic nomination for President. The guide provides a high-level overview on current polling, delegate count and process – all on just one page.

Democratic Presidential Primary Tracker: The Quest for 1991 – Nevada

Dentons’ Public Policy group has created a series of quick-reference guides to keep you informed throughout the “Quest for 1991,” the magic number needed to secure the Democratic nomination for President. The guide provides a high-level overview on current polling, looks at television ad spend – all on just one page.