Abbey Smith

Abbey Smith is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at

20 candidates file for Toledo City Council elections

Twenty candidates filed to run for the November 5 general election for six of the 12 city council seats in Toledo, Ohio. A primary is scheduled for September 10 for races that had more than two candidates file. The filing deadline was July 12. Toledo’s municipal elections are nonpartisan, but party affiliations were available for each candidate.
District 1 incumbent Tyrone Riley (D) faces three Democrats and one Republican in his bid for re-election. In District 2, incumbent Matt Cherry (D) faces a Republican candidate and a Green Party candidate. Incumbent Peter Ujvagi (D) did not file to run for re-election, leaving the District 3 seat open for a newcomer. Two Democrats and one Republican are running for the seat. The District 4 race includes incumbent Yvonne Harper (D) and two other Democrats. No Republicans filed to run in that race. The District 5 race is also open for a newcomer as incumbent Tom Waniewski (R) was unable to run for re-election due to term limits. One Democrat and two Republicans are running for the seat. In District 6, incumbent [[Chris Delaney]] (D) is running for re-election against a Republican. Because only two candidates filed, no primary will be held for that race.
Elections for Toledo municipal judges and the clerk of the municipal court are also scheduled to be on the ballot in 2019. No official candidate lists were available for those races as of July 15.
Toledo is the fourth-largest city in Ohio and the 66th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Memphis candidate filing deadline set for July 18

Memphis, Tennessee, is holding nonpartisan general elections for mayor and all 13 seats on the city council on October 3. The filing deadline to run is July 18.
The same positions were last up for election in 2015. Mayor Jim Strickland won his first term that year in an open-seat race. He received 41% of the vote and defeated nine other candidates. In January, Strickland announced his intention to run for re-election to a second term. As of July 11, 18 candidates had been issued petitions to run for mayor, and six of those candidates had officially filed.
A total of 100 candidates had taken out petitions to run for city council as of July 11, including eight incumbents. Of those potential candidates, 28 had officially filed. In 2015, seven of the 13 city council incumbents ran for re-election, and they all won new terms.

When is your state holding its 2020 congressional primaries?

The first 2020 congressional primary is eight months away. Five states—Alabama, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, and Texas—have primaries on the ballot on March 3. Overall, eight states are holding their 2020 congressional primaries in March, which is the second-highest concentration of primaries throughout the year. The months of June and August are tied for the highest concentration with 14 states holding primaries each month.
The first filing deadline for the 2020 congressional primary season will pass in Alabama in four months on November 8, 2019. One other state—Arkansas—also has a November filing deadline. Another five states have filing deadlines in December. The highest concentration of state filing deadlines for the 2020 congressional primaries will occur in March with 15. The second-highest concentration of filing deadlines will occur in June with deadlines passing in eight states.

Recall efforts down by half compared to previous three years

During the first half of 2019, Ballotpedia’s coverage of recalls showed a downturn in total efforts compared to the midway points in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Through June 27, Ballotpedia covered 72 recall efforts against 115 officials. During similar time periods in the previous three years, a minimum of 134 efforts (2017) and a maximum of 189 efforts (2016) were covered. Between 178 and 265 officials were targeted for recall during the first half of those three years.
Despite having fewer recalls overall, 2019 did see a higher percentage of recall efforts targeting state legislators compared to the previous three years. Halfway through 2016, 2017, and 2018, state legislative recalls accounted for approximately 2% of recalls. In 2019, however, state legislators accounted for 8% of the year’s recall efforts.
In other ways, however, 2019 matched previous years’ recall statistics. As in 2016, 2017, and 2018, California led the way with the highest number of officials targeted for recall in 2019, and city council officials also drew the focus of more recall petitions than any other group.
Of the recall efforts covered in the first half of 2019, 37% were still underway as of June 27 and another 11% had recall elections scheduled. Conversely, 17% of the efforts did not make it to the ballot. Another 15% of the recall efforts had made it to the ballot and been approved, while 10% made it to the ballot but were defeated.

Idaho recall effort qualifies for August ballot

Recall efforts to remove Tim Winkle, Alicia McConkie, and Marianne Blackwell from their positions on the Middleton School District board of trustees in Idaho have been certified for the August 27 ballot.
The recall effort against Winkle and McConkie began after they voted to accept the superintendent’s personnel recommendations at a board meeting on May 6, 2019. Recall supporters objected to the superintendent’s recommendation since it did not renew the contract of Middleton High School’s principal, Ben Merrill. Board member Kirk Adams was also targeted for recall at that time, but his petition was rejected by the county since he had not served in office long enough to be recalled.
The recall petition against Blackwell alleged that she “set an unprofessional and unacceptable precedent for school board trustees” and violated the board’s code of ethics.
Winkle said that because the decision to not renew Merrill’s contract was a personnel matter, the board was limited in what they could share with the public. McConkie said she has served the best she could for the last two years and felt she was being targeted for recall over a single decision. Blackwell had not responded to the recall effort against her as of June 19.
In order for the board members to be removed from office in the recall election, a majority of voters must cast ballots in favor of the recall. The number of voters who cast ballots in favor of the recall must also be higher than the total number of people who voted for the officeholders when they were last up for election.
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.

San Francisco mayoral race draws six candidates

Six candidates filed to run in San Francisco’s nonpartisan mayoral election on November 5. The offices of city attorney, district attorney, public defender, sheriff, and treasurer as well as the District 5 seat of the board of supervisors and one community college district seat will also be on the ballot. The filing deadline for the mayoral election and the special election for the board of supervisors was June 11. The filing deadline for the other offices is August 9.
In her bid for re-election, incumbent London Breed faces Robert Jordan, Wilma Pang, Paul Robertson, Joel Ventresca, and Ellen Lee Zhou. Breed was elected to the position in a special election on June 5, 2018. Prior to that, she served as acting mayor starting on December 12, 2017, following the death of Mayor Ed Lee. Breed served as acting mayor until January 23, 2018, when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to replace her with District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell. Breed represented District 5 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 2013 to 2018.
Four candidates filed to run in the special election for the District 5 seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Incumbent Vallie Brown faces Ryan Lam, Nomvula O’Meara, and Dean Preston. Brown was appointed to the seat on July 16, 2018, by Breed after she vacated the seat following her election as mayor.
San Francisco is the fourth-largest city in California and the 14th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Judge and state senator file to run in Kentucky Supreme Court special election

Two candidates filed to run in the November 5 nonpartisan special election for one of the seven seats on the Kentucky Supreme Court. Christopher Nickell, a judge on the Kentucky Court of Appeals, and Whitney Westerfield, a Republican member of the Kentucky State Senate, are competing in the general election. The filing deadline was June 4.
The special election will fill the 1st District seat, which was previously held by Bill Cunningham. He resigned from the court on January 31. His term was set to expire in January 2023. A full term on the court is eight years. Cunningham was first elected to the court in 2006 and re-elected in 2014.

California school board recall approved to circulate petitions

An effort to recall three of the five members of the Antelope Valley Union High School District Board of Trustees in California was approved to circulate petitions on June 3. 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. To get the recall on the ballot, supporters must submit petitions to the county by October 1. Davis’ petition requires 7,964 signatures, Ruffin’s requires 7,388 signatures, and Parrell’s requires 6,833 signatures.
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 said, “When we’re doing the hard work in social justice and we’re doing the hard work of being equity warriors, it does mean that people get an opportunity to look at your ways and your practices. […] I can understand why that would be something that is scary.”
Ruffin and Parrell were first elected to the board on November 6, 2018, in the school district’s first by-district election. Prior to that, elections were held at large. Davis was first elected to the board on November 3, 2015.
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%. That was higher than the 56.9% rate and 56.3% rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.

12 candidates file to run in Tucson mayor and city council races

Four mayoral candidates and eight city council candidates filed to run in the 2019 city elections in Tucson, Arizona. A primary is scheduled for August 27, and the general election is on November 5. The filing deadline was May 29.
Three of the four mayoral candidates—Randi Dorman, Steve Farley, and Regina Romero—will compete in the Democratic primary. The fourth candidate, independent Edward Ackerley, will face the Democratic primary winner on the general election ballot. Incumbent Jonathan Rothschild announced in December 2018 that he would not seek re-election, ensuring a newcomer will take the office. Rothschild was first elected mayor in 2011 and re-elected in 2015.
Three of the six seats on the city council—Wards 1, 2, and 4—are also on the ballot in 2019. Ward 1 incumbent Regina Romero is running for mayor instead of for re-election. Four Democrats filed to run for her seat. In Ward 2, Democratic incumbent Paul Cunningham is running for re-election against Republican Ewart Williams Jr. Ward 4 incumbent Shirley Scott did not file to run for re-election. Democrat Nikki Lee and Republican Michael Hicks are running for that open seat.
Tucson is the second-largest city in Arizona and the 32nd-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Seventy candidates file to run for Seattle City Council and school board seats

Seventy candidates filed to run for the November 5 general election in Seattle, Washington. Seven of the nine city council seats and four of the city’s seven school board seats are on the ballot. A primary is scheduled for August 6. The filing deadline for this election was May 17.
Three of the seven city council incumbents whose seats are up for election filed to run for another term. In District 1, incumbent Lisa Herbold faces two challengers. District 3 incumbent Kshama Sawant and District 5 incumbent Debora Juarez face five challengers each. The open District 2, 4, 6, and 7 seats attracted between seven and 14 candidates each, for a total of 56 candidates running for city council in 2019. In 2015, 37 candidates filed to run for the same seats on the ballot.
A total of 14 candidates are running for Seattle school board seats in 2019. Leslie Harris is the only incumbent running for re-election. She faces two challengers for the District 6 seat on the board. Three candidates each are running for the open District 2 and 3 seats, and five candidates campaigning for the open District 1 seat. When these same seats were last up for election in 2015, 11 candidates filed to run.
Seattle is the largest city in Washington and the 21st-largest city in the U.S. by population. Seattle Public Schools served 54,215 students during the 2016-2017 school year.