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Samuel Wonacott

It’s that time of year…Ballotpedia’s fifth annual Holiday Cookie election!

Welcome to the Tuesday, December 12, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. Polls open today for the official Holiday Cookie primary! 
  2. Sanders, Biden, Harris, and Trump endorsed 58 candidates this year 
  3. Save Our States Executive Director Trent England makes the case against RCV

Polls open today for the official Holiday Cookie primary! 

The 2023 election cycle isn’t over just yet. In fact, the most mouthwatering one begins today! We’re stocking up on flour, breaking out the sprinkles, and dusting off the cookie cutters—‘tis the season to elect this year’s official holiday cookie

Last year, voters selected Gingerbread Cookie as the Official Holiday Cookie. Gingerbread received 32% of the vote, beating Sugar Cookie (30%), Snickerdoodle (26%), and several write-in candidates. In 2021, following an unsettling incident in which salt was used instead of sugar, voters ousted incumbent Sugar Cookie in a recall election. 

The field this year is a crowded one, with eight candidates vying to come out on top:

  • Sugar Cookie 
  • Chocolate chip cookie
  • Chocolate peppermint bark cookie
  • Gingerbread cookie
  • Peanut butter blossom
  • Snickerdoodle
  • Thumbprint cookie
  • Oatmeal raisin

Click here for a neutral summary of each candidate, including each campaign’s key messages. 

Voters will select their top three candidates in the primary, and polls will remain open until 5:00 pm E.T. on Dec. 15. The top three vote-getters will then advance to a general election, which will run Dec. 18-21.  

Voters who provide their email addresses will receive a discount code for the newly reopened Ballotpedia merchandise shop

Cast your vote today!

Sanders, Biden, Harris, and Trump endorsed 58 candidates this year 

Since 2016, we’ve tracked endorsements issued by the following public figures—U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Vice President Kamala Harris (D), former President Barack Obama (D), former Vice President Mike Pence (R), President Joe Biden (D), and former President Donald Trump (R).

In 2023, Biden, Sanders, Trump, and Harris endorsed 58 candidates running for offices up and down the ballot in primary or general elections. Let’s look at those endorsements and how the candidates they backed fared.

Neither Pence nor Obama endorsed candidates in 2023. 

The four public figures had the following general election success rates: 

  • Sanders had the highest success rate for general election endorsements—every candidate he endorsed won. 
  • Trump had a success rate of 80%. 
  • Biden had a success rate of 71%.
  • Harris had a success rate of 70%. 

Looking at primary election endorsements only, Trump led the field with a 67% success rate, followed by Sanders with 33%. The other two—Biden and Harris—did not endorse primary candidates. 


Biden issued a total of 24 endorsements, all in general elections. Sixteen of those endorsements were of candidates running for districts in the Virginia House, while seven were for candidates running for the Virginia Senate. Thirteen of the 16 endorsed candidates for the Virginia House won election, while four of the seven endorsed candidates won in the Virginia Senate. 

The remaining endorsement was for the special election in Pennsylvania’s 163rd House District. The candidate Biden endorsed in that race won the election.  


Harris endorsed the same 16 candidates as Biden in the Virginia House and the same seven candidates in the Virginia Senate. She did not publicly back a candidate in the Pennsylvania House District 163 special election.   


Sanders endorsed four candidates overall—two for primaries only, one in a primary and general, and one in a general and general runoff. He supported J. Aaron Regunberg (D), who lost in the Special Democratic primary for U.S. House Rhode Island District 1 on Sept. 5, and Helen Gym (D), who lost in the Democratic primary for mayor of Philadelphia on May 16. Sanders also endorsed Brandon Johnson (nonpartisan), who won in the general runoff for mayor of Chicago on April 4, and Sara Innamorato (D), who won in the general election for Allegheny County Executive on Nov. 7. 


Trump backed seven candidates, six of whom ran in elections for state executive offices in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Two of the candidates lost—Janel Brandtjen (R), who lost in the special primary for Wisconsin Senate District 8 on Feb. 21 and Daniel Cameron (R), who lost in the general election for governor of Kentucky on Nov. 7. Trump’s remaining five candidates won their elections, including Jeff Landry (R), who will be sworn in as governor of Louisiana in January, and Tate Reeves (R), who ran for re-election as governor of Mississippi

In 2021, Pence had the highest success rate for general election endorsements—100%. He was followed by Sanders with 75%, Harris and Trump with 67% each, Obama with 59%, and Biden with 50%. For primary elections, Trump led the field with a 100% success rate, followed by Sanders with 61%. In total, the six influencers endorsed 56 candidates for 2021.

As of this writing, only Trump has backed 2024 candidates so far. Three of those endorsements are for candidates in U.S. Senate races, five are in U.S. House races, and two are in gubernatorial races. 

Keep reading 

Save Our States Executive Director Trent England makes the case against RCV

On the Ballot, Ballotpedia’s weekly podcast covering all things elections and American politics, is taking a deep dive into ranked-choice voting (RCV). The four-part series provides a comprehensive look at the emergent electoral system, featuring four guests taking on different parts of—and perspectives on—the RCV story. We previewed part one in the Brew on Dec. 6 and part two in the Brew on Dec. 8.  

  • In our first installment, Ballotpedia Staff Writer Joe Greaney introduced RCV and walked us through this year’s legislation and ballot measures—and what we can expect to see in 2024. 
  • Our second installment, released last week, featured FairVote Director of Research and Policy Deb Otis, who made her case for RCV.

In our third episode, which comes out today, Save Our States Executive Director Trent England joins us to make his case for repealing and stopping the spread of the voting system. England walks listeners through his major arguments against RCV, highlights elections where he says it caused concern among some voters, and shares ideas for alternative election reform methods. 

Ballotpedia recently unveiled a new RCV Info Hub, a resource to address the lack of neutral resources to help voters understand what RCV is, how it’s used, its history, and why people support or oppose its use.  

Keep an eye out for our final On the Ballot RCV episode featuring Jack Santucci from Queens College CUNY, who’ll provide us with a comprehensive view of what’s to come for RCV. That episode releases Dec. 14

You can listen at the link below, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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