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Exploring The Impact Of A.I. On Political News And Elections

Zenger News podcast discusses A.I.'s influence on news, misinformation, and the political media ecosystem.

To celebrate Our News’s 15th Anniversary, we’ve been highlighting five of our favorite 2023 articles and analyzes each day this week. You can find yesterday’s batch of five stories here. We hope you have enjoyed it this week. 

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Podcast: How A.I. might affect political news
  2. Seventeen noteworthy candidates are running for president in 2024
  3. Here’s which 2024 Republican presidential candidates are getting noteworthy endorsements
  4. See who is running for U.S. House and U.S. Senate in 2024 in your state
  5. The most expensive judicial election in U.S. history—and other big elections we’ve covered this year

Podcast: How A.I. might affect political news

In 2022, we launched On the Ballot, our weekly podcast in which our host, Staff Writer Victoria Rose, unpacks the top political stories with Zenger News staffers and outside experts. We’ve covered a range of issues over the last year (you can explore past episodes wherever you subscribe to podcasts). But one of our most popular episodes was one on artificial intelligence (A.I.). 

Given how prevalent A.I. has been in the news since November, when ChatGPT took the world by storm, we wanted to explore how A.I. may affect political news and elections.

Victoria sat down with Joe Amditis, assistant director of products and events at the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University, for a wide-ranging conversation about how A.I. might affect news, misinformation, and our political media ecosystem. Along the way, Victoria and Joe discussed A.I.’s capabilities and limitations, the alternative A.I. tools that have arisen since ChatGPT became widely known last November, and Joe’s recent eBook, “Beginner’s prompt handbook: ChatGPT for local news publishers.”

Keep reading 

Seventeen noteworthy candidates are running for president in 2024 

The country’s 60th presidential election is quickly approaching (less than one month until the first Republican primary debate on Aug. 23!).

Our hub page for the 2024 presidential election serves as a vital resource for keeping track of candidates, important dates, polling, fundraising, and more. 

For example, here’s a look at the 17 noteworthy candidates running for president:

Democratic Party

  • Joe Biden
  • Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
  • Marianne Williamson

Republican Party

  • Doug Burgum
  • Chris Christie
  • Ron DeSantis
  • Larry Elder
  • Nikki Haley
  • Will Hurd
  • Asa Hutchinson
  • Mike Pence
  • Vivek Ramaswamy
  • Tim Scott
  • Corey Stapleton
  • Francis Suarez
  • Donald Trump

Third party or independent candidates

  • Cornel West (Green Party)

We use various criteria, like polling numbers, fundraising activity, and ballot access to determine who is a noteworthy presidential candidate. 

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Here’s which 2024 Republican presidential candidates are getting noteworthy endorsements

Speaking of the 2024 presidential election, one way to distinguish the 13 Republican candidates is to look at which of them are getting endorsements from party leaders, members of Congress, governors, and more.  

Currently, Trump has the most noteworthy endorsements at 90, including endorsements from 10 U.S. Senators and two governors. Trump also has the most support from U.S. House members with 66 endorsements. 

The country’s 60th presidential election is quickly approaching (less than one month until the first Republican primary debate on Aug. 23). BALLOTPEDIA.

At this point in the 2020 Democratic primary, Kamala Harris had the most (30) noteworthy endorsements, and Joe Biden had the most support from U.S. Senate members (2).

Our list of endorsers include current and former presidents and vice presidents, current and former party leaders, governors and other state executives, members of Congress, mayors of large cities, and state legislative majority and minority leaders.

Our page shows data on endorsements over time, and breaks down endorsements by type.  

 Let’s continue this theme of keeping track of 2024 candidates and turn our attention to the battle for Congress. 

In 2024, all 435 U.S. House districts and 33 of the 100 U.S. Senate seats are up for regular election (that includes 10 seats held by Republicans, 20 held by Democrats, and three held by independents who caucus with Democrats). 

According to our database, 1,056 candidates are running for Congress in 2024, including 192 for the U.S. Senate and 864 for the U.S. House.

We’ve made it easy to see all the candidates we’re keeping tabs on in 2024 congressional races, including declared and official candidates. Declared candidates are those who have not completed the steps to become an official candidate but may have informally announced their candidacy through, among other things, media interviews or publishing a campaign website. 

Keep reading

The most expensive judicial election in U.S. history—and other big elections we’ve covered so far 

This is a relatively slower year for elections (that’s true of off-cycle years in general), but that doesn’t mean electoral politics has stopped altogether. This year, we’ve covered elections at the state and local levels, including state legislative, judicial, municipal, and school board races. And the year is far from over! In the coming months, we’ll cover even more elections, including state legislative general elections in Mississippi, New Jersey, Virginia, and Louisiana. 

For now, let’s take a look back at some of the bigger races we’ve covered since January, beginning with the most expensive judicial election in U.S. history. 

Wisconsin Supreme Court

The election determined who would succeed retiring Justice Patience Roggensack, whose term expires in a few days. While supreme court elections are officially nonpartisan, justices and candidates are considered to be liberal or conservative. With Roggensack—a member of the court’s conservative majority—retiring, the election determined the ideological control of the court.

Janet Protasiewicz defeated Daniel Kelly in the April 4 general election. Protasiewicz, a former assistant district attorney, had served on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court since 2014. Kelly previously served on the supreme court from 2016, when Gov. Scott Walker (R) appointed him to fill a vacancy, to 2020, when he lost re-election to Jill Karofsky 55.2% to 44.7%.

The election set a new record for campaign spending in state judicial elections—more than $44 million. That was three times the $15 million spent on an Illinois Supreme Court race in 2004. The liberal majority is now 4-3, and one seat will be up for election in 2025. 

Chicago mayoral election

Chicago, the country’s third-largest city, held one of the 40 mayoral elections we’re covering this year. The general election happened on Feb. 28, where more than nine candidates ran—including incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D). Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas advanced to an April 4 runoff election because they received the most votes, but neither got more than 50% (Lightfoot came in third with 16.8% of the vote, becoming the first mayoral incumbent in the city to lose re-election since 1989). In the runoff, Johnson defeated Vallas 51.4% to 48.6%.

Johnson was elected to the Cook County Board of Commissioners as a Democrat in 2018. He was also a teacher with Chicago Public Schools and an organizer with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). Vallas was the 2014 Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor. He worked as chief administrative officer at Chicago State University and was the CEO of Chicago Public Schools.

Oklahoma Marijuana Legalization Initiative

On March 7, Oklahoma residents defeated Oklahoma State Question 820, a ballot measure, 61.67% to 38.33%. 

State Question 820 would have legalized marijuana for adults 21 years old and older.

Oklahoma is one of 37 states—and D.C.—where medical marijuana is legal. Eighteen of those states, including Oklahoma, established medical marijuana through the ballot initiative process.

Yes on 802-Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws sponsored the initiative. “Fewer arrests also means our courts aren’t clogged with petty marijuana cases. State Question 820 will create a sensible program tailored to Oklahoma, carefully balancing personal freedom with responsible regulation. Products will be tested, labeled, and tracked from seed-to-sale; employers will be able to maintain a drug-free workplace; and it keeps penalties in place for anyone who gives marijuana to someone under 21,” said the campaign.

Protect Our Kids-No 820 led the campaign in opposition to the measure. “SQ 820 does NOT limit THC content. This puts our kids at even more risk. According to medical doctors, when children ingest high THC edibles that look like candy, cookies, or chips they are at risk for seizures or even coma. SQ 820 will encourage more violence. We have already had execution style killings in Oklahoma related to the marijuana black market. Law enforcement agrees passage of SQ 820 will provide more cover for illegal activity. SQ 820 fails to address the very real concerns of foreign ownership of our land, as well as excessive water and electricity usage that strains our infrastructure,” said Protect Our Kids.

Including Oklahoma State Question 820, there are two marijuana-related measures certified for the 2023 ballot and eight for 2024. 

Produced in association with Ballotpedia

Edited by Priscilla Jepchumba and Judy J. Rotich

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