Today's Brew highlights Mississippi’s new law designed to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state’s flag + analyzes the number of 2020 congressional candidates  
The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Tuesday, June 30, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Mississippi legislature passes bill providing for vote on new design of state flag
  2. 3,019 major party candidates filed for 2020 Congress elections
  3. Previewing the Republican primary for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District

Mississippi legislature passes bill providing for vote on new design of state flag

Mississippi voters are expected to vote in November on a design for a new state flag after the legislature passed a resolution June 27 enabling that process to occur in 2020. House Concurrent Resolution 79 (HCR79) suspended the deadlines for introducing bills to allow for House Bill 1796 (HB 1796), which passed on June 28. HB 1796—which was approved by the state House 92-23 and the state Senate 37-14—establishes the Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (R) is expected to sign HB 1796.   

The Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag must design a new state flag and report the recommended design to the Governor and state legislature by September 14. The new flag may not include the Confederate Battle Flag and must include the words "In God We Trust." The bill provides that "the new design for the Mississippi State Flag shall honor the past while embracing the promise of the future." Mississippi’s current flag includes the Confederate battle cross and was adopted in 1894.

Mississippi voters would be presented with a picture of the proposed state flag and would vote to either adopt or reject it. If the new proposed flag is rejected by voters, the commission would reconvene, design another flag, and allow voters to approve or reject it at a special election in November 2021.

This isn’t the first time this issue has come before Mississippi voters. 

  • 1993: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People filed a lawsuit against Mississippi Gov, Kirk Fordice (R) alleging that Mississippi’s use of the Confederate emblem in the state flag violated the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to free speech, due process, and equal protection.

  • 2000: The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the inclusion of the Confederate Battle Flag in the state flag did not violate any constitutionally protected rights. The court also found that the state flag requirements were not codified in state law and thus that Mississippi did not have an official state flag. (NAACP), 

  • 2001: Mississippi’s flag became the last one to feature the Confederate battle cross when Georgia removed it from their state flag.

  • April 2001: In a statewide special election, voters decided 64% to 36% to retain the current flag design. The legislature referred this referendum to the ballot following the state supreme court's ruling in 2000. The measure asked voters to choose between Proposition A, which reaffirmed the use of the flag adopted in 1894 containing the Confederate Battle Flag, and Proposition B, a design shown on the right below  

  • 2018/2019: Five citizen initiatives related to the Mississippi state flag—one which sought to change the flag and four which sought to keep or more formally recognize it—were proposed. None of those measures made it to the ballot. Mississippi has had the only state flag containing the Confederate battle cross after Georgia removed it from their state flag in 2001. The Georgia state flag had contained the Confederate flag since 1956.


Current Mississippi flag

2001 Proposed Mississippi flag

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3,019 major party candidates filed for 2020 Congress elections

Yesterday, I gave you an update about our data on state legislative candidates this year. Today, let’s take a look at the numbers on congressional candidates. 

With two filing deadlines remaining, 3,019 major party candidates have filed to run for the Senate and House of Representatives this year. 

  • 461 candidates have filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate. There are 187 Democrats and 182 Republicans running. In 2018, 527 candidates filed with the FEC to run for U.S. Senate, including 137 Democrats and 240 Republicans.

  • 3,019 candidates have filed with the FEC to run for the U.S. House. There are 1,247 Democrats and 1,403 Republicans running. In 2018, 3,244 candidates filed with the FEC, including 1,566 Democrats and 1,155 Republicans.

  • Thirty-six members of the U.S. House are not seeking re-election in 2020. That includes 27 Republicans and nine Democrats. Four senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) are not running for re-election. In 2018, 55 members of Congress—18 Democrats and 37 Republicans—did not seek re-election.

On Nov. 3, 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election. Of those Senate seats, 33 are regularly scheduled elections, while the other two are special elections in Arizona and Georgia. Twelve are Democratic-held seats and 23 are Republican-held seats. In the House, Democrats currently hold a majority with 233 seats.

Filed candidates


FIled candidates

Previewing the Republican primary for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District

Today we’ll be covering statewide elections in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Utah. Leading up to June 30, we’ve been previewing some of the battleground elections in the Brew. As I wrote yesterday, Oklahoma voters will decide a Medicaid expansion question tonight. We’ve also looked at:

Let’s finish our previews today with an overview of the Republican primary for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District.

Nine candidates are running. Four had raised more than $1 million as of June 10. Stephanie Bice led in fundraising with $1.1 million. Terry Neese was second with $983,000. Janet Barresi had raised $596,000, and David Hill had raised $511,000. Also running are Michael Ballard, Shelli Landon, Jake Merrick, Charles Tuffy Pringle, and Miles Rahimi.

As of June 29, nearly all satellite spending toward the primary came from Club for Growth Action and American Jobs & Growth PAC. Club for Growth Action had spent $307,000 opposing Bice. The group did not endorse a candidate in the race. American Jobs & Growth PAC spent $50,000 supporting Bice.

In 2018, Kendra Horn (D) defeated incumbent Steve Russell (R) 50.7% to 49.3%. Trump won the 5th District by 13.4 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election. Three election forecasters rate the general election a toss-up.

Follow along with us tonight as the election results come in!

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