Posted by Kristin McCarthy on July 24, 2015 in Blog

AAI compiles a weekly roundup of election news tracking key races across the country as well as legislation that will impact voting rights ahead of the 2016 elections. For AAI’s coverage of presidential candidates races, make sure to check out our profiles over at #YallaVote’s Election Central. And for more state specific information, head over to our election map and click on your state.

Campaign Finance Laws are Still Bending

A new poll revealed just 1 in 10 Americans think the climate around campaign fundraising has improved since the controversial 2010 Citizens United ruling. But more disconcerting, campaign finance laws continue bending to permit even less transparency and accountability. An important – and unsettling – decision out of Wisconsin was issued this week that ended the criminal investigation into Governor Scott Walker’s 2012 recall election campaign. The ruling loosened Wisconsin’s fundraising and spending regulations on issue advocacy, and undermines laws that limit the ability of campaigns and tax-exempt organizations to coordinate political messaging. The ruling was issued within days of an IRS announcement on new procedures to investigate allegations of political coordination between tax-exempt organizations and campaigns. With the 2016 cycle in full swing, campaign finance laws – and the role of money, lots of money – has already made a strong showing on the campaign trail.

Florida’s Republican Voters Have Options – Many Options

The races that Florida is faced with this election season are putting the spotlight almost exclusively on Florida’s Republican voters. With two big name Floridian politicians running for President, early polls of Florida’s registered Republicans indicate a large preference for their former governor Jeb Bush over their present Senator Marco Rubio.  Earlier polls surveying the entire Republican field had Bush and Rubio much closer, but the splash made by the launch of the Trump and Walker campaigns may have stolen supporters from the Rubio camp. Florida is also facing an unnecessarily contentious Senate campaign because Rubio having announced he would not seek another term as Senator even if he does not win the Republican nomination for President (although legally he can). No less than four Republicans have thrown their hats in the ring already, making Florida a true boxing match for the various factions within the Republican Party. More news from Florida.

Pennsylvania Gets Even More Messy

The Pennsylvania Democratic party, which is playing host to the 2016 Democratic Convention in Philadelphia next year, had a bad week. Chairman Jim Burn announced his resignation as Chair of the state party, a leadership position that put him toe-to-toe with Governor Tom Wolf over staffing decisions last year. As of publishing, no successor has been announced, leaving the Pennsylvania Democrats with no official party leader. Leadership and unity is needed as the strategically important race for the open PA Senate seat has gotten more crowded. This week Katie McGinty officially announced her candidacy to challenge Senator Toomey in the 2016 race. She joins Joe Sestak in the bid for the Democratic nomination. More news from Pennsylvania.