San Francisco voters recall three school board members

Welcome to the Thursday, February 17, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. Voters recall school board members in San Francisco and Nebraska
  2. Sixty-seven statewide measures in 31 states certified for the ballot this year
  3. Texas primary election preview

Voters recall school board members in San Francisco and Nebraska  

On Feb. 15, we covered recall elections against three members of the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education in California and one member of the Giltner Public Schools Board of Education in Nebraska. We also covered a school board primary election in Wisconsin. 

Let’s take a look at the results. 

San Francisco Unified School District

Voters recalled Gabriela López, Alison Collins, and Faauuga Moliga. López, Collins, and Moliga were the only members of the seven-member board eligible for recall at this time.

López, Collins, and Moliga lost their recall elections by margins of at least 44 percentage points. Collins lost by the widest margin, with 78.6% of voters supporting the recall and 21.4% opposing it. Voters approved the recall against López and Moliga 75.0% to 25.0% and 72.1% to 27.9%, respectively. 

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Annie Vainshtein wrote the “recall divided the city for the past year, with a grassroots effort of frustrated parents and community members pushing for the trustees’ removal over the slow reopening of schools during the pandemic and the board’s focus on controversial issues like renaming 44 school sites and ending the merit-based admission system at Lowell High School.”’

López, Collins, and Moliga will stay in office until the county certifies in the election results, which it is expected to do on March 1. San Francisco Mayor London Breed will appoint temporary replacements for the recalled board members, who will serve until the board’s next election on Nov. 8.

The last city official to face a recall election in San Francisco was then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein in 1983. Feinstein survived the recall with 81% of the vote in her favor.

Giltner Public Schools, Nebraska

Voters recalled Chris Waddle, president of the Giltner Public Schools Board of Education, 62.1% to 37.9%. Jamie Bendorf, a resident of Giltner, started the recall effort in August 2021. In the recall petition filing form, Bendorf wrote, “Many parents across the country are frustrated with what has been happening with their kids. I recognize and understand that schools and boards have had to make some tough decisions this past year. None of us were prepared and we all are stressed with the hand we have been dealt. My husband, being on GPS board until recently, dealt first hand with the demands that were placed on schools by COVID. I saw what that did to him and the board at our local level. Remember to come to the board from an empowering perspective and not from anger. These are your community members.”

In response to the recall petition, Waddle said, “Our board has made good decisions for the school and it has been my privilege to serve as the president and work with these individuals who bring their own perspectives and work collaboratively to solve issues to make our school better. ”

Beloit School District, Wisconsin

We also covered a school board primary on Feb. 15 in Wisconsin. Eleven candidates ran in the primary for four at-large seats. The top eight vote-getters advanced to the general election. Three incumbents ran for re-election—Megan Miller, Gregg Schneider, and Allison Semrau. 

One incumbent—Semrau—lost in the primary. The following candidates will appear on the general election ballot:

Megan Miller (12.7%)

Ryan McKillips (11.9%)

Brian Anderson (11.4%)

J’Juan Winfield (11.2%)

Gregg Schneider (11.0%)

Torie Champeny (10.6%)

Christine Raleigh (9.9%)

Katherine Larson (8.6%)

The three candidates who win the most votes in the April 5 general election will serve full three-year terms, and the candidate with the fourth-most votes will serve a one-year term.

So far in 2022, we’ve tracked 26 recall efforts against 67 school board members. Six recalls against 11 members have already gone to a vote so far this year. The recalls against school board members in San Francisco and Nebraska were the first to be approved in 2022.

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Sixty-seven statewide measures in 31 states certified for the ballot this year

Sixty-seven statewide measures have been certified for the ballot in 31 states so far this year, eight more than the average number certified at this point in other even-numbered years from 2010 to 2020. 

Here’s an update on the latest ballot measure activity:

From 2010 to 2020, the average number of statewide ballot measures certified in an even-numbered year was 164. By this time during even-numbered years from 2010 through 2020, an average of 59 statewide measures had been certified for the ballot. 

Click here to read about measures that could appear on the 2022 ballot. 

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Race spotlight: Texas’ 30th Congressional District Democratic primary

Early voting in Texas started Feb. 14 for the March 1 primaries, making Texas the first state in the 2022 election cycle to open the polls. Let’s take a look at one of the upcoming elections—the Democratic primary for Texas’ 30th Congressional District.

Nine candidates are running in the election. Incumbent Eddie Bernice Johnson (D), who has represented the district since 1992, declined to seek re-election. Johnson is one of 30 Democrats and 13 Republicans in the U.S. House who are not seeking re-election in 2022

Media attention has focused on candidates Jasmine Crockett, Jane Hamilton, and Jessica Mason.

Crockett has represented Texas House District 100 since January 2021. She said she supports “Economic recovery that includes all, fair district maps, expanding healthcare and access to the ballot box, lowering property taxes, and reforming the criminal justice and policing systems.” Johnson endorsed Crockett.

Hamilton served as an adviser on Pres. Joe Biden’s (D) Texas campaign in 2020 and worked as an online program manager. Hamilton said she supports criminal justice reform, expanding access to healthcare, and “Voters Rights legislation which prohibits States from disenfranchising people of color.” Hamilton’s endorsers include U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey (D), Texas State Rep. Chris Turner (D), State Sen. Beverly Powell (D), and several local officials.

Mason is a Navy veteran and worked as a legislative staffer in the Virginia General Assembly and as a community outreach coordinator. Mason said she supported universal healthcare and “ending cash bail, legalizing marijuana and expunging past convictions, and ensuring formerly incarcerated individuals have the right to vote and have job opportunities upon release.” Former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner (D) and former presidential candidate Marianne Williamson (D) endorsed Mason.

Barbara Mallory Caraway, Arthur Dixon, Vonciel Jones Hill, Keisha Lankford, Abel Mulugheta, and Roy Williams Jr. are also running.

Four candidates—Crockett, Dixon, Hamilton, and Lankford—have completed our Candidate Connection survey.  You can read those survey responses here

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