More election coverage!

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the November 7, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. More election results from out west and there’s still time to register for today’s briefing on 2019’s ballot measures
  2. Groups submit signatures for two 2020 marijuana initiatives in South Dakota
  3. Local Elections Roundup

More election results from out west and there’s still time to register for today’s briefing on 2019’s ballot measures

In case you missed it, yesterday’s Brew detailed 10 observations from Tuesday. After some sleep and more caffeine, I wanted to update you on the results of certain late-reporting elections:

Seattle City Council

None of Seattle’s seven city council races have been called since Washington holds elections by-mail.  Officials will continue counting ballots that are postmarked on or before Nov. 5. and will certify election results Nov. 26. Three incumbents are running for election among the seven district seats.

These races saw satellite spending of more than $4 million, which was more than 5 times the amount spent in 2015, the last time the same seven council seats were up for election. Amazon contributed $1.5 million to the local chamber of commerce’s PAC, which endorsed candidates in each race, including challengers to two incumbents. PACs affiliated with labor groups endorsed and spent in support of candidates opposing those backed by the chamber in most races. 

Based on unofficial results as of Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. CT, four candidates supported by the Chamber of Commerce are leading in their districts and three candidates supported by another PAC—the Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE)—are ahead in their races. Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have both tweeted support for candidates endorsed by CAPE and opposition to the Chamber of Commerce’s efforts. 

San Francisco District Attorney 

The results of San Francisco’s district attorney election are too close to call. Under the city’s system of ranked-choice voting, voters may select multiple candidates, ranking their preferences from among their options. If no candidate receives a majority of the first-choice vote, the last-place candidate is eliminated and their voters’ votes are allocated to their next preferred candidate. This process is repeated until one candidate has a majority. 

With partial results reported from just under 100% of precincts, Chesa Boudin led with 33.0% of the first-choice vote, followed by Suzy Loftus with 30.9%, Nancy Tung with 20.8%, and Leif Dautch with 15.4%. This is the first open-seat election for San Francisco District Attorney since 1909. The race attracted national attention, with presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris making endorsements. Sanders endorsed Boudin and Harris—who held the office herself before being elected California attorney general—endorsed Loftus.

Colorado Proposition CC

Colorado voters rejected Proposition CC—54.7% to 45.3%—which would have allowed the state to keep revenue above the state spending cap to provide funding for transportation and education. Under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), passed in 1992, the state is required to refund revenue above the spending cap to taxpayers. The Colorado State Legislature placed Proposition CC on the ballot along party lines. Legislative Democrats voted for the bill referring the measure to voters, while legislative Republicans voted against the bill. 

And just a reminder that we’re hosting another briefing later today on 2019’s ballot questions. We covered 32 statewide ballot measures in seven states, as well as 141 local measures that appeared on the ballot in North Carolina and California, as well as those within the 100 largest cities in the U.S. by population. Our ballot measures expert—Josh Altic—will break down the results of all the key statewide and local measures and discuss trends that are emerging nationwide. The briefing is at 1:30 p.m. Central Time, and you can click the button below to reserve your spot. As always, if you can’t watch it live, we’ll send you a link to the recording when it’s available so you can catch up on your schedule.

Register now blank    blankblank   

Groups submit signatures for two 2020 marijuana initiatives in South Dakota 

And speaking of ballot measures, let’s look ahead a bit to 2020. Proponents of two 2020 marijuana initiatives in South Dakota submitted a combined 80,000 signatures to the Secretary of State on Nov. 4. One initiative would amend the state’s constitution while the other is an initiated state statute. 

The proposed constitutional amendment would legalize and regulate recreational marijuana and require the state legislature to pass laws providing for the use of medical marijuana and the sale of hemp by April 1, 2022. The measure was sponsored by former U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson and is supported by the committee, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws. Proponents reported submitting 50,000 signatures. To qualify for the ballot, 33,921 valid signatures are required. 

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws is also supporting an initiated state statute that would amend state laws to provide for a medical marijuana program. Proponents reported submitting 30,000 signatures for this measure. To qualify for the ballot, 16,961 valid signatures are required.

As of 2019, 11 states and the District of Columbia had legalized the possession and personal use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Nine jurisdictions had made such changes through statewide citizen initiatives, and two through bills approved by state legislatures and signed by governors. 

Recreational marijuana

Of the 33 states —and Washington, D.C.—that had approved the legalization of medical marijuana, 17 states achieved legalization via statewide ballot measure and 15 states passed laws in their state legislatures. Additionally, 13 states had legalized the use of cannabis oil, or cannabidiol (CBD)—one of the non-psychoactive ingredients found in marijuana—for medical purposes.

Local Elections Roundup

ICYMI, I discussed on our recap briefing yesterday the 2,983 races we covered Tuesday. Here are the results of some other local races:


Incumbent Sylvester Turner and former Texas A&M Board of Regents member Tony Buzbee advanced from Tuesday’s mayoral election to a Dec. 14 runoff since none of the 12 candidates received a majority of the vote. Turner received 47 percent of the vote to Buzbee’s 28 percent. Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States and has a population of 2.2 million.

Houston Independent School District

Four of nine seats on the Houston Independent School District (HISD) school board were up for election and both of the incumbents running for re-election were defeated Tuesday. The two incumbents had been endorsed by a group that includes the Houston Federation of Teachers. The two open-seat races advanced to a Dec. 14 runoff since no candidate received more than 50% of the vote; one of the two races will feature a candidate backed by the same group. 

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath informed the school district on Wednesday that the state would appoint both a new superintendent and a board of managers to oversee the district. In a letter, Morath said the action was taken due to what he described as a “failure of governance” by the school board and poor academic performance ratings at a high school in the district. The board of managers would assume the responsibilities of the school board and elected board members would not have any power until reinstated by the state. The HISD recently filed a lawsuit to prevent the state from taking control of the district. 


The Working Families Party (WFP) won one of seven at-large seats on the Philadelphia City Council for the first time in city history, according to unofficial election returns. WFP candidate Kendra Brooks was in sixth place—trailing five Democratic candidates—and incumbent David Oh (R) was in seventh.  

City rules state that a political party may nominate only five candidates for the seven at-large seats, meaning that no one party can win every city council seat. Since Philadelphia’s charter was adopted in 1951, every council election has resulted in Democrats winning five at-large seats and Republicans winning two.


Boise will hold its first-ever mayoral runoff election December 3 after no candidate won a majority of votes in Tuesday’s general election. City council president Lauren McLean finished first—receiving 46% of the vote—and incumbent David Bieter—who is seeking his fifth term—was second with 30% in a seven-candidate field. McLean is seeking to become the city’s first female mayor.


Voters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, approved 15 ballot measures and rejected one Tuesday. The measures approved included 10 bond measures for the city of Albuquerque, one bond measure for Albuquerque Public Schools, and one bond measure for Central New Mexico Community College. City voters also renewed a 0.25 percent gross receipts tax dedicated to road infrastructure, transit, and trails, a measure that made changes to the city’s public financing program for candidates, and approved the continuation of a property tax for school facilities and education technology improvements. Voters defeated a measure that would have created a program called Democracy Dollars, which would have provided residents with $25 vouchers that could be donated to participating candidates.