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Amee LaTour

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

Seattle mayoral, city council races decided

Bruce Harrell won the election for mayor of Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 2. Incumbent Teresa Mosqueda was re-elected to at-large city council position 8, and Sara Nelson won the at-large position 9 council seat.

The following results were reported as of Nov. 4. Mail ballots were still being counted.

  • Bruce Harrell: 62%/Lorena González: 38%
  • Teresa Mosqueda: 56%/Kenneth Wilson: 44%
  • Sara Nelson: 57%/Nikkita Oliver: 43%

Harrell, a former city council president, ran against current Council President Lorena González. González currently holds the position 9 council seat. Mayor Jenny Durkan did not run for re-election.

In the council races, Mosqueda ran against bridge structural engineer Kenneth Wilson, and Nelson ran against attorney Nikkita Oliver. 

Harrell and Nelson both had backing from the National Association of Realtors Fund, the Seattle Fire Fighters Union, and The Seattle Times in their races.

Mosqueda had endorsed González and Oliver in their races. The Washington Working Families Party endorsed all three. The Progressive Voter Guide, presented by the organization Fuse Washington, recommended the three as well.

Additional reading:



Jacob Frey (D) re-elected as Minneapolis mayor

Jacob Frey (D) won the mayoral election in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Nov. 2. Seventeen candidates ran.

Voters could rank up to three candidates on the ballot under the city’s ranked choice voting system. Under that system, if no candidate receives a majority in the first round of tallying, candidates who mathematically cannot win are eliminated from the running and votes are redistributed to second and then third choices on those ballots. In the second round of tabulations, unofficial results showed Frey with 56.2% to Katherine Knuth’s 43.8%. Both Frey and Knuth ran as Democrats.

One of the biggest issues in the race, taking place the year after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, was policing. Frey opposed and Knuth supported a proposed charter amendment to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Public Health. That amendment, Question 2, was defeated on Nov. 2 by 56.2% of voters, with 43.8% supporting it. 

Frey has been in office since 2017. Frey said his administration “consistently supported a both-and approach to community-led public safety solutions beyond traditional policing, as well as working alongside Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) leadership to build a better and more accountable department.” He also campaigned on his record on affordable housing, what he called “racially equitable economic growth,” and climate issues.

Knuth is a former state representative. She filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate survey, where she wrote, “Minneapolis is demanding a public safety system founded on one key value. Every person – regardless of race, gender, age, income, ability, or zip code – should be safe in our city. Voters are rightly asking for this vision and a concrete path toward it.” She also said the city needed an “unabashed climate justice champion” and new leadership.

Minneapolis also held elections for city council and other charter amendments. Click below for more on these elections.

Additional reading:



Tracking mayoral partisanship changes in the 100 largest cities

As of 12:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 3, no partisan changes in mayor’s offices in the 100 largest cities had occurred as a result of the Nov. 2 elections. Election results were pending in six of those cities, all of which had Democratic incumbents. New Orleans, Louisiana, will hold a mayoral election on Nov. 13, with a possible second election on Dec. 11.

Two partisan changes in the 100 largest cities’ mayoral offices occurred earlier in 2021:

  • North Las Vegas Mayor John J. Lee announced that he was changing his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican on April 6, 2021.
  • David Bronson (R) assumed office as mayor of Anchorage, Alaska on July 1, 2021, replacing nonpartisan Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson.

Twenty-eight of the 100 largest cities held mayoral elections this year. In 19 of those 28 cities, the incumbent was Democratic at the start of 2021. Seven incumbents were Republican, one was independent, and one was nonpartisan.

Currently, 63 of the 100 largest cities’ mayors are Democrats, 26 are Republicans, and 10 are either nonpartisan or independent. One mayor’s affiliation is unknown.



Initial, non-tabulated results for Minneapolis’ RCV mayoral race

Photo of the city of Minneapolis' skyline.

Minneapolis, Minn.’s mayoral election on Nov. 2 remained uncalled as of 1 p.m. ET on Nov. 3. The city used ranked choice voting. Voters could rank up to three candidates on their ballot. Initial election results showing voters’ first-choice candidates were available.

  • Incumbent Jacob Frey received 43% of first-choice votes
  • Sheila Nezhad had 21%
  • Katherine Knuth had 18%

Initial results also showed who voters selected as their second and third choices.

  • Frey was the second choice on 12% of ballots and third choice on 15%
  • Nezhad was the second choice on 20% and third on 11%
  • Knuth was second on 32% and third on 11%

Seventeen candidates ran in the election.

In ranked-choice voting, a candidate is declared the winner if he or she wins a majority of first-preference votes. In Minneapolis, if no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, either the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes or a group of candidates with no mathematical chance of winning are eliminated. First-preference votes cast for those candidates are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.

Elections in Minneapolis are officially nonpartisan, but the Minneapolis City Charter allows mayoral and city council candidates to choose a party label to appear below their name on the official ballot. The three candidates leading in initial results all identify as Democrats. Overall, eight candidates identified as Democrats and two identified as Republicans. The remaining seven candidates identified with a mixture of minor parties or identified as independents.

Additional reading:



31 votes separate two candidates in FL-20 special Democratic primary

As of 1:45 a.m. Eastern Time on Nov. 3, 31 votes separated candidates Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick and Dale Holness in Florida’s 20th Congressional District special Democratic primary election.

Politico reported shortly before 11:30 Eastern that the race would go to a recount based on results available at that time. Under Florida law, a machine recount is required if the initial election night result is within 0.5 percentage points. If the machine recount results in a margin within 0.25 percentage points, a manual recount occurs. 

Cherfilus-McCormick had 23.8% of the vote and Holness, 23.7%. Barbara Sharief was third with 17.7% and Perry Thurston fourth with 14.7%.

Cherfilus-McCormick is CEO of Trinity Health Care Services. She ran against the previous incumbent, Alcee Hastings (D), in the 2020 and 2018 Democratic primaries, receiving between 26% and 31% of the vote.

Holness serves on the Broward County Commission. He previously served as the county’s mayor and vice mayor, as vice mayor of Lauderhill, and as a Lauderhill commissioner.

Eleven candidates ran in the special Democratic primary. The special election on Jan. 11, 2022, will fill the vacancy left by Hastings, who died on April 6, 2021. Hastings had been in office since 1993. As of September, Inside Elections rated the special election Solid Democratic.



Where things stand in Seattle’s elections

Seattle, Washington, held elections for mayor, two at-large city council seats, and city attorney on Nov. 2. Ballots needed to be postmarked by that day to be counted in the election. King County Elections will continue counting ballots until results are certified on Nov. 23.

The following are preliminary results reported on election night.

Mayor

  1. Bruce Harrell: 65%
  2. Lorena González: 35%

City Council Position 8

  1. Teresa Mosqueda (incumbent): 53%
  2. Kenneth Wilson: 47%

City Council Position 9

  1. Sara Nelson: 60%
  2. Nikkita Oliver: 40%

City Attorney

  1. Ann Davison: 58.7%
  2. Nicole Thomas-Kennedy: 41.3%

According to The Seattle Times, “In Seattle races, ballots that arrive and are tallied later tend to favor left-lane candidates. In their crowded Aug. 3 primary, Harrell’s nine point lead over González on election night narrowed to less than two points by the time all of the votes were tabulated.”

Additional reading:

https://ballotpedia.org/City_attorney_election_in_Seattle,_Washington_(2021)

https://ballotpedia.org/City_council_elections_in_Seattle,_Washington_(2021)

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/bruce-harrell-is-leading-m-lorena-gonzalez-in-seattle-mayor-race/



Wu wins Boston mayoral race

Michelle Wu defeated Annissa Essaibi George in the nonpartisan mayoral election in Boston, Massachusetts, on Nov. 2. As of 11:15 p.m. ET, Wu had 61% of the vote to Essaibi George’s 39%. Both candidates are at-large city councilors.

Wu called the race a “choice about whether City Hall tackles our biggest challenges with bold solutions or we nibble around the edges of the status quo.” She highlighted her prioritization of climate issues and her support for rent control to provide short-term relief for renters. Wu’s endorsers included The Boston Globe, Democratic Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), and several unions.

Following the primary, Essaibi George said, “I want progress to be made — real progress — not just abstract ideas that we talk about. … Instead of just advocating and participating in academic exercises and having lovely conversations as mayor, I will do these things.” She emphasized her background as a teacher and her opposition to decreasing the police department budget. Essaibi George’s endorsers included The Boston Herald, former Boston Police Commissioner William Gross, and several unions.

Former incumbent Marty Walsh left office in March 2021 to become secretary of labor in President Joe Biden’s (D) Cabinet. Kim Janey (District 7)—the city council president at the time—succeeded Walsh. Janey ran in the primary, placing fourth. Janey endorsed Wu in the general election.

The Boston Globe‘s Laura Crimaldi wrote, “Although census figures show about 65 percent of city residents identify as people of color, the upcoming election will be the first in Boston history that won’t result in a white man becoming mayor.” Wu’s parents immigrated from Taiwan.



Miami Commissioner Carollo wins re-election, King defeats incumbent Watson

Two of five seats on the Miami Board of Commissioners were up for election on Nov. 2. District 3 Commissioner Joe Carollo won re-election, and Christine King defeated District 5 Commissioner Jeffrey Watson. Watson was appointed to the position in November 2020 to serve the remainder of Keon Hardemon’s term.

Four candidates total ran for District 3, and seven ran for District 5.

Additionally, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez was re-elected. Though the election was officially non-partisan, Suarez is affiliated with the Republican Party. Seventeen of the 100 largest U.S. cities by population held general elections for mayor on Nov. 2. In total, 28 top-100 cities are electing mayors in 2021. Heading into election day, 63 top-100 mayors were affiliated with the Democratic Party, 26 were affiliated with the Republican Party, four were independents, six identify as nonpartisan or unaffiliated, and one mayor did not respond to inquiries about his partisan affiliation.

The Miami Herald described the relationship between the mayor’s and the city commission’s powers as follows:

“Miami’s executive mayor, elected citywide, is a mostly ceremonial position that comes with little legislative power. The mayor can veto legislation, which can be overridden by the five-person City Commission. The mayor can hire and fire the city manager, city government’s chief executive, though the commission can fire the manager, too. To push an agenda, Miami’s figurehead mayor has to convince commissioners to support their issues and promote their initiatives to the public.”



Satellite groups involved in final week of FL-20 special Democratic primary

Eleven candidates are running in the special Democratic primary for Florida’s 20th Congressional District. The special election on Jan. 11, 2022, will fill the vacancy left by Alcee Hastings (D), who died in April. Hastings had been in office since 1993. As of September, Inside Elections rated the special election Solid Democratic

Satellite groups got involved in the week leading up to the primary. The Florida Democratic Action PAC spent $102,000 on a cable ad supporting state Rep. Omari Hardy. The Democratic Majority for Israel PAC ran a newspaper ad criticizing Hardy. 314 Action Fund, a group that aims to get more scientists elected, aired an ad supporting Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, who has a background in nursing. Expenditure amounts weren’t available for the latter two ads.

The primary field includes three other current elected officials in addition to Hardy and Sharief: state Rep. Bobby DuBose, Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, and state Sen. Perry Thurston.

The fundraising leader as of Oct. 13 was Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick with $3.8 million, $3.7 million of which she loaned her campaign. Cherfilus-McCormick ran against Hastings in the 2020 and 2018 Democratic primaries, receiving between 26% and 31% of the vote. She is CEO of Trinity Health Care Services. Sharief was second in fundraising with $895,000, including $756,000 she loaned her campaign.

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



Seattle’s mayoral and city council races, by the numbers

Seattle holds city elections on Nov. 2 for mayor, two at-large city council seats, and other local offices. Recent polling, campaign finance data, and satellite spending provide insight into these races just over one week out.

Polls

City Council President Lorena González and former City Council President Bruce Harrell face each other in the mayoral election. A recent Change Research poll showed Harrell with 48% support to González’s 32%, and 18% of respondents were undecided. The margin of error was 4.1%.

In the Change Research poll for city council position 9—the seat González currently holds—Sara Nelson received 41% support to Nikkita Oliver’s 37%. Twenty-one percent were undecided.

The council position 8 poll showed Mosqueda with 39%, Wilson with 31%, and “Not sure” with 26%.

Campaign finance

In the mayoral race, Harrell has raised $1.2 million, and González has raised $900,000. My Northwest reported that the combined $2.1 million is the highest amount raised by two general election candidates of any mayoral contest since at least 2005. The second-highest was in 2017, when Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon raised $1.6 million combined.

For position 9 on the council, Nelson has raised $510,000 to Oliver’s $400,000. Mosqueda has raised $255,000 and Wilson, $80,000, in the position 8 race.

Satellite spending

The two highest-spending groups in the mayoral race are Bruce Harrell for Seattle’s Future, which has spent around $1 million supporting Harrell and opposing González, and Essential Workers for Lorena, which has spent around $900,000 supporting González and opposing Harrell.

The National Association of Realtors has spent around $100,000 and the Seattle Fire Fighters PAC has spent around $50,000 supporting Harrell.

Those two groups have also spent in the position 9 council race—a combined $130,000 supporting Nelson. Civic Alliance for a Prosperous Economy has spent almost $50,000 supporting Oliver. This group was active in the 2019 council elections—see our coverage, linked below, for more details on that activity.

Satellite spending in the position 8 council race has not reached $1,000.

Additional reading: