Welcome to the Tuesday, March 15, Brew.
By: Douglas Kronaizl
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Twenty-four of the largest 100 cities are holding mayoral elections this year
- Wyoming voters to decide ballot measure raising mandatory judicial retirement age to 75
- Voters in Augusta, Maine, will decide a $4.5 million bond next week
Twenty-four of the largest 100 cities are holding mayoral elections this year
Twenty-four of the 100 largest U.S. cities by population are holding mayoral elections this year. In 15 of those cities, the incumbent is a Democrat. Five incumbents are Republicans, one is independent, and three are nonpartisan.
Twenty-one of these elections will take place on Nov. 8. Elections in Milwaukee, Lubbock, and Newark are coming up this spring. In Oklahoma City, incumbent David Holt (R) won re-election against three challengers on Feb. 8.
Two cities—Charlotte and Louisville—are holding partisan elections. The 22 other elections are officially nonpartisan, meaning party labels will not appear on the ballot. In cities with nonpartisan mayoral elections, Ballotpedia identifies each officeholder’s partisan affiliation either through direct communication, examining current or previous candidacies for partisan offices, or reviewing media coverage.
Democrats currently hold 62 of the mayorships in the country’s largest cities and Republicans have 26. Independent and nonpartisan mayors hold four and seven of the mayorships, respectively. One mayor has not responded to inquiries about his partisan affiliation.
Last year, two mayorships in the 100 largest cities changed partisan control. In Anchorage, Alaska, David Bronson, a Republican, was elected mayor in an open race. The previous incumbent, Austin Quinn-Davidson, identified as nonpartisan. The second change came In North Las Vegas, Nevada, where incumbent John J. Lee changed his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican.
At the start of this year, the number of Democratic mayors decreased from 63 to 62 and that of nonpartisan mayors increased to seven as a result of population changes following the 2020 census. Two cities left the top 100: Birmingham, Ala., with a Democratic mayor, and San Bernardino, Calif., with a Republican. They were replaced by Santa Clarita, Calif., with a Republican mayor and Spokane, Wash., with a nonpartisan mayor.
Eleven state capitals are also holding mayoral elections in 2022, including eight that aren’t among the nation’s largest 100 cities. In nine of those 11 capitals, the incumbent is a Democrat and two incumbents are Republicans.
Wyoming voters to decide ballot measure raising mandatory judicial retirement age to 75
On March 3, the Wyoming Legislature approved House Joint Resolution 1 (H.J.R. 1), a constitutional amendment that would raise the state’s mandatory retirement age for supreme court and district court judges from 70 to 75.
With more than two-thirds approval from both in both legislative chambers, H.J.R. 1 will now appear on the November ballot where voters will decide to either support or oppose the measure.
Voters last addressed this topic in 1972, when they approved a constitutional amendment granting the legislature the power to establish rules on the selection, removal, and retirement of state judges. That measure passed with 67% of the vote.
Wyoming is one of 31 states that have set mandatory judicial retirement ages as of 2022. Seventeen states with mandatory retirement ages have them set at 70 and eight have them set at 75. In 2003, Vermont established the highest mandatory judicial retirement age at 90 years old.
Since 2016, voters in six states have decided constitutional amendments to increase or eliminate the judicial retirement age. Two of the constitutional amendments were approved. Both of them, like the Wyoming amendment, proposed increasing the judicial retirement age from 70 to 75. The other four were rejected. Two proposed increasing the age from 70 to 80 and two proposed eliminating the judicial retirement age.
Wyoming voters will decide one other constitutional amendment on the November ballot with three other potential measures still pending. Click here to learn more.
Voters in Augusta, Maine, will decide a $4.5 million bond next week
The next statewide election date is April 5, but there is still plenty of local elections activity.
On March 22, voters in Augusta, Maine, will decide whether to authorize $4,455,000 in bonds to fund capital improvements to fire services, city streets, and city facilities. A simple majority vote is required to approve the measure.
The Augusta City Council voted 6-0 on Jan. 20 to refer the measure to the ballot. At the same meeting, the council also approved $750,000 in bonds for rescue equipment and other infrastructure projects.
The city charter authorizes the council to borrow up to $750,000 without voter approval. Anything greater must be submitted to the voters.
City Councilor Linda Conti said, “I want to say to everybody who hates to borrow money, because I hate to borrow money too, that this is an investment in the city and we have a great credit rating, so don’t be afraid. This is not something we lightly undertake, and we need to do this.”
Last year, Augusta voters approved a $20.5 million bond measure to fund land acquisition for the construction of a police station. Voters approved the measure with 84% of the vote.
We provide comprehensive coverage of local ballot measures within the top 100 largest cities and all state capitals, including those, like Augusta, that aren’t among the top 100 largest cities. We also cover all local measures in California and, this year, will include a selection of notable police-related measures outside of our regular scope.