Last night at the polls

Welcome to the Wednesday, September 15, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Newsom recall results
  2. Mayoral primary results in Boston and Cleveland
  3. Loudoun County Circuit Court judge recuses himself, delays recall hearing

California voters retain Gov. Gavin Newsom

Among the replacement candidates, Larry Elder (R) received the largest share of the votes at 42.1% followed by Kevin Paffrath (D) at 11.2%. 

The recall election presented voters with two questions. The first asked whether Newsom should be recalled from the office of governor. The second asked who should succeed Newsom if he was recalled. If Newsome had been recalled, the candidate with the most votes on the second question would have won the election, no majority required.

Forty-six candidates, including nine Democrats and 24 Republicans, ran in the election. The candidates to receive the most media attention and perform best in polls before the election were YouTuber Kevin Paffrath (D), 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), radio host Larry Elder (R), former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), California State Board of Equalization member Ted Gaines (R), former Olympian and television personality Caitlyn Jenner (R), and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R).

Recall supporters said Newsom mishandled the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, did not do enough to address the state’s homelessness rate, and supported sanctuary city policies and water rationing. In a March 2021 response, Newsom called the effort a “Republican recall — backed by the RNC, anti-mask and anti-vax extremists, and pro-Trump forces who want to overturn the last election and have opposed much of what we have done to fight the pandemic.” Newsom was elected as governor in 2018 with 61.9% of the vote.

Since 1911, there have been 55 attempts to recall a California governor. The only successful recall campaign was in 2003 when voters recalled then-Gov. Gray Davis (D). Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was elected as Davis’ replacement. In that election, 135 candidates ran and the winner received 48.6% of the vote. 

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Mayoral primary results in Boston and Cleveland

The Newsom recall wasn’t the only election we were watching yesterday. Nonpartisan mayoral primaries were held in Boston and Cleveland. The November elections in both cities will be between the top two finishers in each primary.

In Cleveland, Justin Bibb and Kevin Kelley advanced from the mayoral primary. As of 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time, Bibb had 27.1% of the vote to Kelley’s 19.4%. Dennis Kucinich was third with 16.5%.

Seven candidates ran in the nonpartisan primary to succeed Frank Jackson (D), who chose not to seek election to a fifth four-year term. November’s mayoral election will be the first without an incumbent on the ballot since 2001.

Three of the candidates currently hold elected office — Basheer Jones and Kelley are members of the city council, while Sandra Williams is a state senator. Two more have held political office in the past — Dennis Kucinich served as mayor in the 1970s and was a member of the U.S. House from 1997 through 2013. Zack Reed served for 17 years on the city council before running for mayor in 2017, losing to Jackson 59.5% to 40.5% in the general election. Bibb, a chief strategy officer with technology firm Urbanova, and Ross DiBello, a document review attorney, have not held elected office.

Results for Boston’s mayoral primaries were delayed as city officials processed ballots on election night. As of midnight Eastern Time, a few hundred ballots had been counted.

Seven candidates ran for mayor of Boston after former incumbent Marty Walsh (D) left office in March 2021 to become President Joe Biden’s (D) secretary of labor. The four candidates who led in polling and fundraising before the primary were Acting Mayor Kim Janey, Andrea Campbell, Annissa Essaibi George, and Michelle Wu. All four are members of the city council.

Three independent polls conducted over the past three weeks each showed Wu leading the other six candidates by more than the margin of error. Local political observers noted the candidates’ ideological differences, with Campbell, Janey, and Wu running as progressives and Essaibi George as a moderate. Although the office is officially nonpartisan, Boston hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1930.

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Loudoun County Circuit Court judge recuses himself, delays recall hearing

A hearing on a recall petition seeking to remove Beth Barts from her position as the Leesburg District representative on the Loudoun County Public Schools school board in Virginia was delayed after Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Stephen E. Sincavage recused himself. The hearing, initially scheduled for Sept. 13, was delayed until Sept. 15 (today). In Virginia, recall efforts are determined in circuit court rather than at the ballot box. 

Recall supporters are also circulating petitions against another six members of the nine-member school board. Recall backers say they launched the effort due to school board members’ involvement in a private Facebook group. 

Barts’ attorney, Charlie King, filed a motion to dismiss the petition against her since it did not have an attorney’s signature. King also asked the circuit court judges to recuse themselves from the case because it involved local officeholders.

Barts was first elected to a four-year term on the board on November 5, 2019. Barts received 54.8% of the vote and defeated one other candidate. Though school board elections are nonpartisan, the Loudoun County Democratic Committee supports Barts.

There were 83,606 students enrolled in the Loudoun County Public Schools during the 2019-2020 school year.

Ballotpedia has tracked 64 school board recall efforts against 165 board members so far in 2021—the highest number of school board recall efforts we have ever tracked in one year. The next-highest year was in 2010 with 38 recall efforts against 91 school board members.

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