Ballotpedia’s Top 15 races to watch in 2021

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While there are no federal elections taking place this year other than special elections, statewide elections for political office are taking place in three states and local elections are occurring across the country.

Ballotpedia’s top 15 races to watch this year include:

Attorney General of Virginia: Incumbent Mark Herring (D) and challenger Jason Miyares (R) are running in one of the two races that will determine Virginia’s triplex status.

Governor of New Jersey: Incumbent Phil Murphy (D), Jack Ciattarelli (R), and three other candidates are running for governor. The race will determine the status of New Jersey’s Democratic trifecta and triplex.

Governor of Virginia: Terry McAuliffe (D), Glenn Youngkin (R), and two others are running for governor of Virginia. This race will impact Virginia’s trifecta and triplex status.

Lieutenant Governor of Virginia: Hala Ayala (D) and Winsome Sears (R) are running for lieutenant governor. Virginia is one of 17 states where the governor and lieutenant governor are nominated and elected separately.

Virginia House of Delegates: All 100 House seats are up for election, with Democrats defending a 55-45 majority. If Republicans net six or more seats, they will break Virginia’s Democratic trifecta, while if Democrats lose fewer than five net seats or gain seats, they will maintain their majority.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court: Kevin Brobson (R) and Maria McLaughlin (D) are running for a 10-year term on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The court currently has a 5-2 Democratic majority.

Mayor of Atlanta: Incumbent Keisha Lance Bottoms did not file for re-election this year, becoming Atlanta’s first mayor since World War II to do so. Sixteen candidates are running in the nonpartisan election to succeed her. If necessary, a runoff will take place Nov. 30.

Mayor of Boston: Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu are running for mayor of Boston. Incumbent Kim Janey, who succeeded to the office to fill a vacancy earlier in the year, was defeated in the primary.

Mayor of Buffalo: India Walton (D) and five write-ins, including incumbent Byron Brown (D), are running for mayor. Walton defeated Brown in the Democratic primary.

Mayor of Minneapolis: Incumbent Jacob Frey (D), AJ Awed (D), Katherine Knuth (D), Shelia Nezhad (D), and thirteen others are running in a ranked-choice election for mayor of Minneapolis.

Mayor of Seattle: Bruce Harrell and Lorena González are running for mayor of Seattle. Incumbent Jenny Durkan did not file for re-election.

Minneapolis City Council: All 13 seats on the Minneapolis City Council are up for election. Fifty-eight candidates, including 11 of the incumbents, filed for the seats. Democrats currently hold 12 seats on the council and the Green Party holds one.

Seattle City Attorney: Ann Davison and Nicole Thomas-Kennedy are running for Seattle’s top prosecutorial post after defeating incumbent Pete Holmes in the primary.

Seattle City Council: The two at-large seats on Seattle’s nine-member city council are up for election. Local commentary has focused on the position 9 seat, which is open as incumbent Lorena González is running for mayor.

JeffCo Colorado Schools: Three of the five seats on the JeffCo school board are up for election. This was among 71 school boards in 18 states where we had identified conflict over responses to the coronavirus as an element in the 2021 elections, as of Oct. 26.

These elections were selected by members of Ballotpedia’s editorial department based on past election results, unique election-specific circumstances, and race ratings published by elections forecasters. The final selections were made with the goal of including a mix of state and local races in mind.

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