Author

Abbey Smith

Abbey Smith is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at abbey.smith@ballotpedia.org

May 17 filing deadline for Fresno special election

The city of Fresno, California, is holding a nonpartisan special election for the District 2 seat on the city council on August 13. A runoff election is scheduled for November 5. The filing deadline for this election is May 17.
 
The District 2 city council seat was previously held by Steve Brandau. He was first elected to the seat in 2012. Brandau stepped down in April 2019 after winning the District 2 seat on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors in a special election on March 5.
 
The District 2 city council seat was last up for election in 2016. Brandau won re-election without opposition that year. Winners of the 2019 special election will serve the remainder of Brandau’s term, which ends in 2020. Though the seat is nonpartisan, Brandau is affiliated with the Republican Party.
 
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Seven of 16 Denver races head to June 4 runoff; others decided outright in general election

Nearly half of the city offices that were on the ballot in Denver’s May 7 general election are heading to a runoff election on June 4. The District 1, 3, 5, 9, and 10 seats on the city council as well as the offices of mayor and clerk and recorder will be decided in the runoff election since no candidate received a majority of votes in the general election.
 
Incumbent Michael Hancock and Jamie Giellis received the most votes in the mayoral race, defeating eight other candidates (including four write-ins) to advance to the runoff. The general election for the open clerk and recorder position had three candidates. Paul López and Peg Perl defeated Sarah McCarthy to advance to the runoff.
 
The five city council seats advancing to runoff elections all had at least four candidates running in the general election. The District 5, 9, and 10 incumbents all moved on to the runoff. No incumbents ran for the District 1 and 3 seats.
 
In the race for city auditor, incumbent Tim O’Brien ran unopposed and won re-election outright in the general election. Incumbents also won re-election to all eight city council seats that did not advance to a runoff. Three won re-election unopposed, while the others defeated between one and six opponents each to win another term on the council.
 


Five running in California school board special election next week

The Trustee Area 5 seat on the Moreno Valley Unified School District Board of Education in California is up for special election on May 7. Five candidates are running for the seat. The filing deadline was February 8. None of the other four seats on the board are scheduled to hold an election in 2019.
 
The Trustee Area 5 seat was originally vacated in August 2018 when Evan Morgan resigned his position following criminal charges that Morgan said he feared would distract from his work on the board. The Board of Education appointed Darrell Peeden to the seat in October 2018, but the community had 30 days following Peeden’s appointment to gather 231 signatures from Trustee Area 5 voters for a special election to be held in lieu of the appointment. A total of 318 valid signatures were turned in, and the appointment was overturned in December 2018. Peeden filed to run for the seat in the special election.
 
This is the second such special election to be called in Moreno Valley USD this decade. In May 2013, the school district appointed Gary Baugh to a vacant at-large seat on the board. Following a similar petition drive, Baugh vacated the seat in June of that year and stood for election in November. He won the special election and served until 2018.
 
The Moreno Valley Unified School District served 33,408 students during the 2016-2017 school year.
 


School board recall effort begins in California

An effort to recall three of the five members of the Antelope Valley Union High School District Board of Trustees in California started in April. Board President Robert Davis, Vice President Victoria Ruffin, and Clerk Amanda Parrell were targeted for recall due to allegations of excessive, unnecessary, and duplicative expenditures, troubling contracts with friends and associates, a failure to support student families, and a lack of respect toward members of the community according to the notice of intent to recall filed with the county.
 
In response to the recall, Davis said that the board had a new vision for the district and that change was hard to accept. He said he believed the board was on the right track.
 
Ruffin and Parrell were first elected to the board on November 6, 2018. Davis was first elected to the board on November 3, 2015.
 
If the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk approves the recall petitions, recall supporters will have 160 days to collect signatures from 10% of registered voters in each of the board member’s districts. A total of 3,982 signatures are needed from Davis’ district, 3,416 signatures are needed from Parrell’s district, and 3,694 signatures are needed from Ruffin’s district.
 
Ballotpedia has tracked six school board recall efforts targeting 13 board members so far in 2019.
 
In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.
 


Colorado school board recall moves forward

An effort to recall three of the five members of the Cripple Creek-Victor School District RE-1 school board in Colorado was approved to move forward on April 17. Board President Timothy Braun, Treasurer Dennis Jones, and Secretary Tonya Martin were targeted for recall due to “multiple violations of Colorado state statutes, school board policies and resolutions, Sunshine laws and the Colorado Open Records Act,” according to Patty Waddle, a leader of the recall effort.
 
Braun, Jones, and Martin disputed all of the claims listed on the recall petitions. Braun said Waddle was a disgruntled former employee. The three board members have until May 2 to file protests against the recall election. If they protest the recall, a hearing will be held on the validity of the petition signatures and the length of the ballot summary. If they do not file protests, the county will schedule a recall election within 60 days.
 
The recall petitions were approved for circulation by the Teller County Clerk and Recorder in January 2019. To get the recall on the ballot, recall supporters had to submit the petitions with 400 signatures from active, registered voters in the school district for each targeted board member by March 11. The county did not verify enough of the signatures that were first submitted, and recall supporters were given until April 10 to submit more signatures. They submitted the additional signatures, which the county approved on April 17.
 
Ballotpedia has tracked five school board recall efforts in 2019 targeting 10 board members. One recall effort against two board members was on the ballot so far this year. In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.
 


Three state executives ineligible to run for re-election in 2019 due to term limits

Ten of the 23 state executive positions up for election in 2019 are subject to term limits. That includes all seven of Kentucky’s state executive offices on the ballot, as well as Louisiana’s governorship and Mississippi’s governorship and lieutenant governorship.
 
Of the 10 positions subject to term limits, three are held by incumbents who are prevented from running for re-election in 2019 due to being term-limited. These incumbents are Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R), and Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves (R). All three officials were first elected in 2011 and re-elected in 2015. Reeves is running for governor in the Republican primary on August 6, 2019. Neither Grimes nor Bryant have announced future plans in politics.
 
Kentucky and Mississippi are both Republican trifectas. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
 
A total of 37 states have laws limiting the number of terms state executive officials can serve. In 2018, 131 of the 303 state executive positions on the ballot were subject to term limits, and 49 state executive officials were ineligible to run for re-election.
 
This included the following two Democratic and 11 Republican governors: Jerry Brown (D-CA), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Rick Scott (R-FL), Nathan Deal (R-GA), Paul LePage (R-ME), Rick Snyder (R-MI), Brian Sandoval (R-NV), Susana Martinez (R-NM), John Kasich (R-OH), Mary Fallin (R-OK), Dennis Daugaard (R-SD), Bill Haslam (R-TN), and Matt Mead (R-WY). Four of those 13 offices changed party hands and were won by Democrats. Those open-seat winners were Janet Mills (D) in Maine, Gretchen Whitmer (D) in Michigan, Steve Sisolak (D) in Nevada, and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) in New Mexico.
 


April 16 special election to fill Connecticut House seat

A special election for the District 19 seat of the Connecticut House of Representatives is being held April 16. Candidates running for special elections in Connecticut are nominated through party conventions. The March 8 Republican nominating convention chose Robert Margolis as the party’s candidate, and the March 9 Democratic nominating convention chose Tammy Exum.
 
The seat became vacant after Democrat Derek Slap won the February 26 special election to fill the vacant District 5 seat in the Connecticut State Senate.
 
The April 16 election is the sixth state legislative special election the state has held in 2019. A seventh is scheduled for May 7.
 
Entering this election, the Connecticut House of Representatives has 89 Democrats, 60 Republicans, and two vacant seats. Connecticut has a Democratic trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
 


Five candidates in open-seat mayoral primary in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Tuesday

The city of Lincoln, Nebraska, is holding primaries for mayor, four city council districts, and one of five elected seats on the airport authority on April 9. A general election is scheduled for May 7. The filing deadline for this election was March 7.
 
The open mayoral primary includes five candidates—Leirion Gaylor Baird, Krystal Gabel, Jeff Kirkpatrick, Cyndi Lamm, and Rene Solc. Mayor Chris Beutler is not seeking re-election in 2019 due to term limits.
 
One of the four city council incumbents whose terms are on the ballot in 2019 is running for re-election. District 3 incumbent Jane Raybould faces Colten Zamrzla. The District 1 race includes two candidates, and the District 2 and 4 races each have three candidates. In the airport authority race, incumbent Nick Cusick faces Aurang Zeb.
 
Lincoln is the second-largest city in Nebraska and the 71st-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


St. Louis Metro Council sees 100% incumbent re-election rate

Municipal and school board elections were held in Missouri on April 2. In St. Louis, a general election was held for metro council president and 14 council seats, and in Kansas City, a primary was held for mayor and all 12 city council seats. Ballotpedia also covered school board general elections in 11 school districts in the state.
 
In St. Louis, all 12 metro council incumbents who ran for re-election won additional terms, while newcomers were elected to the open Ward 18, 24, and 26 seats.
 
In Kansas City, city council members Jolie Justus and Quinton Lucas received the most votes in the 11-person mayoral primary and advanced to the general election on June 18. Mayor Sly James was term-limited and could not run for re-election. Six of the 12 city council incumbents whose seats were on the ballot ran for re-election in the primary. Five officially advanced to the general election. The sixth incumbent’s race was too close to call with unofficial election night results.
 
A total of 29 school board seats were up for election on April 2 in the 11 school districts Ballotpedia covered in Missouri. Two races for three seats are still pending as they were too close to call with unofficial election night results. In the races that could be called, incumbents won 13 seats and newcomers won 13 seats. Ten of the seats won by newcomers were open after incumbents did not file to run for re-election, and the other three were won by challengers who defeated incumbents. Overall, school board incumbents who did run for re-election had an 81.25 percent success rate.
 
Kansas City and St. Louis are Missouri’s largest and second-largest cities, respectively. Kansas City is the 36th-largest city in the U.S. by population and St. Louis is the 57th-largest. The 11 Missouri school districts served a combined total of 126,611 students during the 2016-2017 school year.
 


Over half of Oklahoma’s school board elections canceled due to uncontested races

General elections for Oklahoma school boards were held on April 2. Of the 26 school districts Ballotpedia covered in the state, 16 canceled their general elections for 17 seats. Fourteen of those districts canceled due to lack of opposition, while the other two canceled after incumbents took more than 50 percent of the vote in the February 12 primaries, winning the seats outright.
 
Of the elections canceled due to lack of opposition, 13 incumbents automatically won re-election and four newcomers won new terms by default.
 
In the 10 school districts that did hold general elections on April 2, a total of 10 seats were on the ballot. Seven of the incumbents ran to retain their seats, leaving three open for newcomers. Six incumbents won new terms, and one was defeated by a challenger. One of the 10 school districts—Tulsa Public Schools—had enough candidates file to run to hold a primary on February 12. The primary narrowed the field from eight candidates to two for the general election.
 
These 26 school districts served a combined total of 261,543 students during the 2016-2017 school year.
 


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