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Amee LaTour

Amee LaTour is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Shontel Brown wins Democratic primary in Ohio’s 11th District special election

Shontel Brown won the special Democratic primary for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District on Aug. 3. As of 11 p.m. ET, Brown had received 50% of the vote to Nina Turner’s 44%. Eleven other candidates split 6%.

Brown serves on the Cuyahoga County Council and chairs the county’s Democratic Party. She previously served on the Warrensville Heights City Council. Turner is a former state senator and worked on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. She also served on the Cleveland City Council and was chair of party engagement for the state Democratic Party. 

Hillary Clinton, the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) were among Brown’s endorsers. Turner’s endorsers included Sanders, the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Labor groups split endorsements in the primary.

Satellite spending groups spent more than $3 million toward the special Democratic primary. Of that, $2 million came from Democratic Majority For Israel, which endorsed Brown.

Former incumbent Marcia Fudge (D) vacated the seat to become secretary of housing and urban development in President Joe Biden’s administration. Inside Elections rates the Nov. 2 general election Solid Democratic



Mike Carey wins Republican primary in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District special election

Mike Carey defeated 10 candidates to win the special Republican primary for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District on Aug. 3. As of 9:30 p.m. ET, Carey had received 37% of the vote, Bob Peterson was second with 15%, Ron Hood was third with 14%, and Jeff LaRe was fourth with 11%.

The special election will fill the vacancy left by Steve Stivers (R), who resigned in May to become the CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

Carey was chairman of the Ohio Coal Association and is a U.S. Army National Guard veteran. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed him. LaRe, who Stivers endorsed, is a state representative. Hood, a marketing consultant, had endorsements from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.). Peterson is a state senator. The Ohio Right to Life PAC endorsed him.

The Make America Great Again Action Inc. PAC spent almost $350,000 supporting Carey. Stivers spent nearly $300,000 in remaining funds from his campaign account supporting LaRe, as well as an additional $60,740 on media supporting LaRe last week. The Protect Freedom PAC spent over $640,000 supporting Hood.

Inside Elections rates the Nov. 2 general election Solid Republican. Stivers won the past six elections by an average margin of victory of 24 percentage points.



Voters to decide mayor, city council primaries in Seattle on Aug. 3

Seattle holds top-two, nonpartisan primaries for mayor, two at-large city council seats, and city attorney on Aug. 3. Races for the mayor’s office and one city council seat are open. Incumbent City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda and City Attorney Pete Holmes are seeking re-election.

Mayoral primary

Fifteen candidates are on the mayoral primary ballot, with six leading in endorsements, fundraising, or media attention. Four of the six have served in city or state government. Casey Sixkiller was Seattle’s deputy mayor from 2020 until his mayoral campaign. Lorena González is the city council president. Bruce Harrell was city council president from 2016 to 2017 and from 2018 to 2019. Jessyn Farrell was a state representative from 2013 to 2017.

Colleen Echohawk is the executive director of Chief Seattle Club, an organization providing services to American Indian and Alaska Native people. Andrew Grant Houston, an architect, owns a business and served as Mosqueda’s interim policy manager.

City Council primaries

Seattle has nine city council seats, seven of which are elected by district and two, citywide. The seven district seats were last up for election in 2019. The two at-large seats are up this year.

Position 9 is open as González, the incumbent, is running for mayor. Three of seven candidates have led in endorsements, fundraising, and media attention: Fremont Brewing co-owner Sara Nelson, attorney and Creative Justice executive director Nikkita Oliver, and Brianna Thomas, who serves as González’s chief of staff.

Local media outlets have said the position 8 seat is uncompetitive, with Mosqueda, the incumbent, favored to win.

City councilmembers’ endorsees

Five current city councilmembers endorsed in the mayoral race. Mosqueda, Tammy Morales, Lisa Herbold, and Andrew Lewis endorsed González. Dan Strauss endorsed both Echohawk and Farrell. Harrell has the most endorsements from former councilmembers (four).

In the city council position 9 election, Thomas received endorsements from González, Herbold, Strauss, and Lewis. Mosqueda and Morales endorsed Oliver. Five former councilmembers endorsed Nelson.

Two of the three council members who have not endorsed in either race—Debora Juarez and Alex Pedersen—were the two candidates who won in 2019 with backing from the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee. They also were the two council members to oppose Seattle’s 2020 ordinance instituting a tax on companies with payrolls of $7 million or more a year. CASE is not active in the 2021 election cycle.

Kshama Sawant, the third council member who has not endorsed, is a member of Socialist Alternative and is the target of a current recall effort.

City attorney election

Incumbent Pete Holmes, Ann Davison, and Nicole Thomas-Kennedy are running. Holmes first took office in 2009. Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz (D) and state Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti (D) are among his endorsers. Davison, an attorney and arbitrator, received endorsements from The Seattle Times and former Gov. Dan Evans (R). She ran for lieutenant governor in 2020 and city council in 2019. Thomas-Kennedy is a former public defender and criminal and eviction attorney. The Stranger endorsed her.



Voters to decide special Democratic primary in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District on Aug. 3

Thirteen candidates are running in the Aug. 3 special Democratic primary for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District. Former incumbent Marcia Fudge (D) vacated the seat to become secretary of housing and urban development in President Joe Biden’s (D) administration.

The Hill‘s Julia Manchester wrote that the race “has become a proxy battle for the Democratic Party establishment and national progressives,” referring to endorsements for candidates Shontel Brown and Nina Turner. Brown is on the Cuyahoga County Council. Turner is a former state senator and worked on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. 

Hillary Clinton, the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) endorsed Brown. Sanders, the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) endorsed Turner. Ocasio-Cortez campaigned in Cleveland for Turner on July 24. Clyburn and Sanders are scheduled to campaign in the district for Brown and Turner, respectively, over the weekend.

Seth Richardson of Cleveland.com wrote that local endorsements don’t break down along the same dividing lines as national endorsements, citing in part Turner’s endorsements from local officials who supported Biden’s presidential primary campaign, including Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, and Brown’s share of endorsements from labor groups.

Both candidates say they have a record of delivering for the district and have the relationships needed to do so in the House. Brown emphasizes her relationship with Fudge and her support for the Biden administration. She said in a campaign ad, “For some, it’s about the limelight. For me, it’s about results.” Turner said at a debate that the district needs someone “who does have a vision, that understands being a partner does not mean being a puppet.”

Inside Elections rates the November general election Solid Democratic. 



Recent polls, satellite spending in Seattle’s mayoral and council races

Seattle voters have just over one week to cast their ballots in the Aug. 3 top-two primaries. A poll released July 16 showed a plurality of voters unsure who they’d choose for mayor and the two at-large city council seats. The Northwest Progressive Institute poll, conducted by Change Research, showed 32% undecided for the mayoral race, 50% undecided for the position 9 council seat, and 55% undecided for the position 8 seat. The poll’s margin of error was +/- 4.3 percentage points.

In the mayoral primary, 20% of respondents said they supported former council president Bruce Harrell, 12% said they supported current council president Lorena González, and 10% backed Chief Seattle Club executive director Colleen Echohawk. The 12 other candidates running received less than 10% support among poll respondents.

For the position 9 council seat, attorney and Creative Justice executive director Nikkita Oliver received 26% support, Fremont Brewing co-owner Sara Nelson received 11%, and González’s chief of staff Brianna Thomas received 6%, with the four other candidates polling at 3% or less.

For the position 8 council seat, incumbent Teresa Mosqueda polled at 26%, with Kate Martin at 6%, nine other candidates below that percentage, and 55% unsure.

The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission reported more than $600,000 in satellite spending toward the mayoral race as of July 21:

  • Essential Workers for Lorena had spent $430,000 supporting González; 
  • Bruce Harrell for Seattle’s Future had spent $120,000 supporting Harrell; and 
  • Seattle United for Progressive Change had spent $70,000 supporting Farrell. 

The Progressive Equity PAC had spent $21,000 supporting Thomas in the position 9 council election.

Total satellite spending for the 2017 election cycle—the last time the city held elections for the two at-large council seats and for mayor—was around $1.3 million. In 2019, when the seven district council seats were up for election, satellite spending topped $4 million.



Local papers issue endorsements in Seattle’s Aug. 3 primary elections

In the last two weeks, The Seattle Times and The Stranger have issued endorsements in Seattle’s top-two primary elections taking place on Aug. 3. 

In the mayoral primary, featuring 15 candidates, the Seattle Times endorsed Bruce Harrell. Harrell was on the city council from 2008 to 2019, serving as council president from 2016 to 2017 and from 2018 to 2019. The Stranger endorsed current council president Lorena González, who first joined the council in 2016 and became president last year. Incumbent Mayor Jenny Durkan is not seeking re-election.

In the city council position 9 primary, The Seattle Times endorsed Fremont Brewing co-owner and former council legislative advisor Sara Nelson. The Stranger endorsed Nikkita Oliver, attorney and executive director of Creative Justice. González is the current incumbent. Seven candidates are running to succeed her. 

The position 8 council seat is also up for election this year. Incumbent Teresa Mosqueda is seeking re-election. Local media outlets have described the race as uncompetitive. The other seven city council seats, which are elected by district, were up for election in 2019.

City elections in Seattle are nonpartisan. In both the mayoral and council position 9 election, all candidates leading in campaign finances, endorsements, and media attention have endorsements from elected officials and groups affiliated with the Democratic Party. 

Primary election ballots were mailed to voters on July 14. Ballot drop boxes opened July 15.

Additional reading:

City elections in Seattle, Washington (2021)

Mayoral election in Seattle, Washington (2021)



Adams leads New York’s Democratic mayoral primary by 0.8 percentage points, according to new unofficial results

Eric Adams leads Kathryn Garcia by a margin of 0.8 percentage points—about 7,100 votes—in the eighth round of unofficial ranked-choice voting tabulations in the June 22 Democratic mayoral primary for Mayor of New York City. The New York City Board of Elections (BOE) released this third set of unofficial tabulations on July 13. It includes all but 55 pending mail-in ballots. The BOE said it expects to certify results the week of July 19. 

After the BOE released its second set of unofficial tabulations last week, Garcia and Maya Wiley—who was in third—conceded the race to Adams.

This was the first mayoral primary in the city’s history to use ranked-choice voting. Adams, Republican Curtis Sliwa, and eight third-party candidates are running in the November 2 general election. The general election will use plurality voting as opposed to ranked-choice.



Preview: Upcoming special congressional elections

Image of several stickers with the words "I voted"

Three special elections for the U.S. House will take place within the next month: a runoff election for Texas’ 6th Congressional District on July 27 and primaries in Ohio’s 11th and 15th congressional districts on Aug. 3.

Texas’ 6th

The July 27 runoff in Texas features Republicans Jake Ellzey and Susan Wright. The two advanced from a 23-candidate special general election on May 1, where Wright received 19% of the vote to Ellzey’s 14%.

The previous incumbent, Ronald Wright (R), died from complications related to COVID-19 on Feb. 7. Susan Wright is his widow. She served as district director for state Reps. Bill Zedler (R) and David Cook (R). Ellzey is a state representative, first elected in 2020. In 2018, he ran against Ronald Wright in the 6th Congressional District Republican primary, losing in the primary runoff with 48% to Wright’s 52%. 

The Club for Growth has spent more than $500,000 supporting Wright and opposing Ellzey in the special election. Former President Donald Trump endorsed Wright. Ellzey’s supporters include former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and the Texas Farm Bureau AGFUND.

Ohio’s 11th

President Joe Biden (D) appointed former incumbent Marcia Fudge (D) secretary of housing and urban development, leaving this seat vacant. Inside Elections rates the Nov. 2 general election Solid Democratic. Of the 13 candidates in the Democratic primary, Shontel Brown and Nina Turner have led in fundraising, endorsements, and media attention.

Brown is a member of the Cuyahoga County Council and chairwoman of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton (D) endorsed her. Turner was a state senator and co-chaired Bernie Sanders’ (I) 2020 presidential primary campaign. Sanders endorsed Turner.

Ohio’s 15th

Former Rep. Steve Stivers (R) resigned in May to become CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Inside Elections rates the Nov. 2 general election Solid Republican. Eleven candidates are running in the Aug. 3 special Republican primary.

Stivers endorsed Jeff LaRe, a state representative since 2019. LaRe also has a background in law enforcement. Trump endorsed Mike Carey, who served in the Army National Guard. Bob Peterson is a state senator and former president of the Ohio Farm Bureau. The Ohio Right to Life PAC endorsed him.

Seven special elections have been called during the 117th Congress so far. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held. 



Lander wins Democratic primary for New York City comptroller

Brad Lander won the Democratic primary for New York City comptroller. The primary took place on June 22, and the race was called after the New York City Board of Elections released ranked-choice voting tabulations on Tuesday, July 6. Those tabulations included early voting ballots, election day ballots, and most absentee ballots. Voters were allowed to rank up to five candidates on their ballots.

As of Wednesday morning, Lander had 51.9% of the vote after 10 rounds of tabulation, followed by Corey Johnson at 48.1%, with 24,683 votes separating them. Johnson conceded the race Tuesday night.

Lander is a member of the New York City Council and a co-founder of the council’s Progressive Caucus. He received endorsements from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and The New York Times

Johnson, who placed second, is speaker of the city council. His endorsers included Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), the United Federation of Teachers, the NY Hotel & Motel Trades Council, and several other unions.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera placed third and was eliminated in the 9th round of ranked-choice tabulations. She is a former financial analyst at CNBC and challenged Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th Congressional District last year.

The comptroller’s duties include performing audits of city agencies and managing five public pension funds. The next comptroller will also oversee how federal stimulus money issued in response to the pandemic is spent. The general election is on November 2.



Lander leads Johnson, 52% to 48%, in unofficial ranked-choice voting results for New York’s Democratic comptroller primary

The New York City Board of Elections released its first unofficial round of ranked-choice voting tabulations for the June 22 primary on Wednesday. In the Democratic primary for comptroller, Brad Lander had 51.9% of the vote after 10 rounds of tabulation, followed by Cory Johnson at 48.1%. Around 21,000 votes separated Lander and Johnson. 

Results included early and election day votes and did not include absentee ballots. More than 207,000 absentee ballots were distributed in the Democratic primary. 

In the 9th round, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera was eliminated, having 144,665 votes (22% of the total) at that stage. Johnson picked up 42,499 votes between the 9th and 10th rounds, and Lander gained 22,747.

The board is expected to release a second round of unofficial tabulations on July 6. Official tabulations are not expected until the week of July 12, due to the deadlines for voters to submit absentee ballots and fix ballot issues.

The board initially released RCV tabulations on Tuesday but later issued a statement saying it had erroneously counted 135,000 sample ballot images as votes. The board released revised tabulations Wednesday.

Voters were allowed to rank up to five candidates on their ballots. Ten candidates ran in the Democratic comptroller primary.