Author

Daniel Anderson

Daniel Anderson is a managing editor at Ballotpedia and can be reached at daniel.anderson@ballotpedia.org

U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney (R) announces 2020 retirement

On October 19, Rep. Francis Rooney (R) announced that he would not seek re-election in Florida’s 19th Congressional District in 2020. He was first elected to Congress in 2016; he won an open-seat race to replace Rep. Curt Clawson (R). Rooney won his second term in 2018 with 62.3% of the general election vote.
 
Rooney’s announcement was made on the Fox News television channel. He said, “I’ve done what I came to do. And I want to be a model for term limits. […] I thought the idea was you came and did your public service and left, you accomplish what you want to accomplish and you left. And that’s what I want to be an example to do. And I’m also really tired of the intense partisanship that seems to stop us from solving the big questions that America needs solved.”
 
His retirement creates an open-seat race in the district. The candidate filing deadline to run is June 12, 2020. The primary is scheduled for August 18, and the general election is on November 3, 2020.
 
Rooney is the 18th Republican member of the U.S. House to announce he would not seek re-election in 2020. Six Democratic members of the U.S. House have also announced their intention not to seek re-election.
 
Democrats hold a 234-197 majority in the U.S. House with three vacancies and one independent member of the chamber. In November 2020, all 435 seats will be up for election. Ballotpedia has identified 71 U.S. House races as general election battlegrounds. Of the 71 seats, 42 are held by Democrats and 29 are held by Republicans.
 


Three open-seat Boston City Council races in November

Primaries took place for four at-large seats and four district seats on the 13-seat Boston City Council on September 24, 2019, in Massachusetts. The council’s other five seats are also on the ballot this year, but they did not hold primaries because two or fewer candidates filed per seat. The primary winners advanced to the general election on November 5.
 
  • At-large (four seats): All four at-large incumbents—Michael Flaherty, Althea Garrison, Annissa Essaibi George, and Michelle Wu—and challengers David Halbert, Julia Mejia, Erin Murphy, and Alejandra St. Guillen advanced from the 15-candidate primary. Eight candidates advanced from the primary because there are four at-large seats up for election, and two candidates advance per seat.
  • District 5: Ricardo Arroyo and Maria Esdale Farrell advanced from the eight-candidate primary. Incumbent Tim McCarthy did not run for re-election.
  • District 7: Incumbent Kim Janey and challenger Roy Owens defeated Valerie Hope Rust to advance from the primary.
  • District 8: Kenzie Bok and Jennifer Nassour advanced from the five-candidate primary. Incumbent Josh Zakim did not run for re-election.
  • District 9: Liz Breadon and Craig Cashman advanced from the seven-candidate primary. Incumbent Mark Ciommo did not run for re-election.
 
The five city council races not on the primary ballot were for Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. District 4 is scheduled to hold a contested general election between incumbent Andrea Campbell and challenger Jeff Durham in November. The incumbents in the other four seats—Lydia Edwards in District 1, Edward Flynn in District 2, Frank Baker in District 3, and Matt O’Malley in District 6—are all running unopposed for re-election.
 
Boston is the largest city in Massachusetts and the 24th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


Primaries for 8 Boston City Council seats on Tuesday

In Massachusetts, four at-large seats and four district seats on the Boston City Council are up for primary on September 24, 2019. The council has 13 seats; the other five seats are also on the ballot this year but are not holding a primary because two or fewer candidates filed per seat. The candidate filing deadline was May 21, and the top two vote recipients in each primary will advance to the general election on November 5.
 
Incumbents are making re-election bids in five of the eight races on the primary ballot. All four at-large incumbents—Michael Flaherty, Althea Garrison, Annissa Essaibi George, and Michelle Wu—are running for re-election, and they face 11 challengers in the primary. Since there are four at-large seats up, the top eight vote recipients in this primary will advance to the general election.
 
The four district races on the primary ballot are Districts 5, 7, 8, and 9; only the District 7 incumbent, Kim Janey, is running for re-election, and she faces two challengers. The District 5 race features eight candidates running to succeed Tim McCarthy, the District 8 contest to succeed Josh Zakim has five candidates on the ballot, and the District 9 election to replace Mark Ciommo has seven candidates.
 
The five city council races not on the primary ballot are for Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. District 4 is scheduled to hold a contested general election between incumbent Andrea Campbell and challenger Jeff Durham in November. The incumbents in the other four seats—Lydia Edwards in District 1, Edward Flynn in District 2, Frank Baker in District 3, and Matt O’Malley in District 6—are all running unopposed for re-election.
 
Boston is the largest city in Massachusetts and the 24th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


Charlotte mayor faces four Democratic primary challengers on Tuesday

In North Carolina, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles is running for re-election in the Democratic primary on September 10, 2019. Four opponents—Roderick Davis, Tigress Sydney Acute McDaniel, Joel Odom, and Lucille Puckett—are challenging her in the primary. The winner will advance to the general election on November 5 and face the Republican nominee, David Michael Rice. Rice was the only Republican candidate who filed to run, and he advanced automatically to the general election.
 
Here are the five Democratic primary candidates:
 
  • Mayor Vi Lyles won her first two-year term in 2017 after defeating the sitting incumbent, Jennifer Roberts, in the Democratic primary. Lyles won the general election against her Republican opponent with more than 59% of the vote. On September 2, The Charlotte Observer reported that only Lyles’ campaign had cash on hand as of the most recent campaign finance reports.
  • Roderick Davis, who works as a business manager, previously campaigned for Charlotte mayor in 2015, Charlotte City Council in 2017, and state senate in 2016 and 2018.
  • Tigress Sydney Acute McDaniel, who works as a consultant, previously campaigned for Greensboro City Council in 2013 and both Mecklenburg County commissioner and soil and water conservation district supervisor in 2018.
  • The 2019 primary is Joel Odom’s first time running for office.
  • Lucille Puckett, who works as a community advocate, previously campaigned for the Charlotte school board in 2005, Charlotte mayor in 2013 and 2017, and state house in 2018.
 
As of September 4, the mayors of 62 of the country’s 100 largest cities are affiliated with the Democratic Party. Republican-affiliated mayors hold 30 offices, independents hold four, and mayors with unknown party affiliations hold the remaining four.
 
All 11 seats on the Charlotte City Council are also up for election in 2019. A partisan primary is scheduled for 10 of the 11 seats on September 10. The other seat, District 6, had its primary canceled since only one candidate from each party filed to run. Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina and the 17th-largest city in the U.S. by population. The only other municipality in North Carolina that could have had a September 10 primary was Sanford in Lee County. However, their four city council primaries were also canceled due to the number of candidates who filed from each party.
 
In 2019, Ballotpedia is expanding its coverage of North Carolina in order to provide voters with a comprehensive statewide sample ballot. This coverage includes North Carolina elections spanning 503 cities, towns, and villages, nine school districts, and 17 special districts. No North Carolina counties are holding elections in 2019. Most North Carolina localities are holding nonpartisan general elections on November 5, although 32 are holding either nonpartisan primaries or general elections on October 8.
 


Incumbents lead in St. Petersburg primaries

Four seats on the St. Petersburg City Council in Florida are up for election in 2019, and three of those seats held primaries on August 27. The top two vote recipients in each of the primaries advanced to the general election, which is scheduled for November 5.
 
In two council districts, the incumbents—John “Ed” Montanari in District 3 and Lisa Wheeler-Bowman in District 7—both received the most votes in their primaries. According to the unofficial election night results, Montanari received 70.6% of the vote compared to his challengers, Orlando A. Acosta (20.0%) and Zachary James Collins (9.4%). In District 7, Wheeler-Bowman led a four-candidate field with 57.4% of the vote. The second-place finisher, Eritha Brandis Cainion, received 23.9%.
 
The District 5 primary was an open-seat race; incumbent Steve Kornell was prevented by term limits from seeking re-election. Trenia Cox led the field with 35.0% of the vote, which was followed by Deborah Figgs-Sanders at 29.6% and Beth Connor at 21.2%. The other candidates received single-digit percentage support. The primary for the District 1 seat on the council was canceled after only two candidates, Robert G. Blackmon and John Hornbeck, filed to run. Both automatically advanced to the general election. The District 1 race is an open-seat election since incumbent Charlie Gerdes was also term-limited.
 
The St. Petersburg City Council has eight members, each of whom serves a four-year term. St. Petersburg is the fifth-largest city in Florida and the 77th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


Ballotpedia launches comprehensive coverage of North Carolina local elections

There are 503 cities, towns, and villages across North Carolina holding elections for 1,900 positions this year, and for the first time ever, Ballotpedia’s sample ballot is expanding to encompass every election in a state, even in the smallest villages. In addition to the municipal races, there are nine school districts holding elections for 23 school board seats and 17 special districts holding elections for 52 seats; no counties are holding elections. This adds up to 529 localities holding elections for 1,975 positions in North Carolina this year.
 
Local elections in North Carolina can follow four different methods during odd-numbered years:
 
1.) In partisan elections where runoffs are possible, the primary is on September 10, the primary runoff is on October 8, and the general election is on November 5. Primary runoffs may be held if no candidate receives at least 30% of the primary vote; however, the primary runoff is only held if the second-place candidate requests it. In 2019, only Charlotte and Sanford are following this method.
 
2.) In nonpartisan elections where runoffs are possible, the general election is on October 8 and the general runoff election is on November 5. General runoffs may be held if no candidate receives at least 50% of the general election vote; however, the general runoff is only held if the second-place candidate requests it. In 2019, only Atlantic Beach, Cary, Dobbins Heights, Dunn, Elizabeth City, Erwin, Henderson, Monroe, Raleigh, Rocky Mount, and Statesville are following this method.
 
3.) In nonpartisan elections with primaries where runoffs aren’t possible, the primary is on October 8 and the general election is on November 5. If only two or fewer candidates file to run per seat, the primary is not held and the candidates who filed advance automatically to the general election. In 2019, only Asheboro (and Asheboro City Schools), Bermuda Run, Burlington, Durham, Fayetteville, Flat Rock, Fletcher, Goldsboro, Hendersonville, Hickory, High Point, Jamestown, Matthews, Mooresville, Mount Airy, Pleasant Garden, Powellsville, Ramseur, Shelby, Southern Pines, and Windsor are following this method.
 
4.) In nonpartisan elections without primaries where runoffs aren’t possible, the general election is on November 5. These are plurality elections in which the candidate who receives the most votes wins; the winner does not need to meet a certain threshold of the overall vote to avoid a runoff. All other North Carolina local elections in 2019 are following this method.
 
Across the state, there are 65 local positions where no candidates filed to run. This includes the mayor’s office in 19 municipalities, the city or town council in 43 municipalities, and board positions in two special districts. These positions will be filled by write-in candidates who have been certified by their county board of elections.
 
Three of the state’s largest cities—Charlotte, Durham, and Raleigh—are among those holding elections in 2019. The mayor’s office is on the ballot in all three cities, and so are all 11 city council seats in Charlotte, three of seven city council seats in Durham, and all seven city council seats in Raleigh.
 
North Carolina’s local filing deadline passed on July 19, 2019. However, municipalities were permitted by the state government to extend their filing deadline by one week. There are also some exceptions to the statewide filing deadline; in Catawba County, Hickory Public Schools and Newton-Conover City Schools both have their filing deadline on September 6.
 


Colorado recall on Tuesday rooted in commercial activity zoning conflict

In Colorado, Estes Park Mayor Pro Tem Cody Walker is facing a recall election on August 20. Prior to the recall effort beginning, the city government had approved code changes that would allow for commercial development and activity in some areas that had been zoned for residential use.
 
Recall supporters listed six grounds for Walker’s recall. The allegations were that he (1) changed the city’s development code for personal gain, (2) did not follow proper protocol for approving development projects, (3) proceeded with a development project that violated the zoning regulation’s intended purpose, (4) failed to recuse himself from voting on matters in which he had a conflict of interest, (5) damaged the community’s relationship with the city government, and (6) did not follow the city’s code of conduct and policies.
 
In response to the recall effort, Walker told the Estes Park Trail-Gazette, “I have a long history here. I raised my family here, so I’m interested in making the community better. I think all of these statements are baseless. I was elected to work on issues like parking, housing, community and the business climate. I’m going to keep doing that because [voters] asked me to.”
 
Initially, recall supporters also targeted Estes Park Mayor Todd Jirsa on the grounds that his supervision of the city’s planning commission was inadequate. In response, Jirsa stated, “The town board nor the mayor does not supervise planning staff. In fact, to do so would be in violation of our policy governance. It isn’t our job.” The recall effort against Jirsa ended when not enough petition signatures were found valid for the recall to move forward. Petitioners were required to submit valid signatures equal to 25 percent of votes cast in the most recent election for that office—553 signatures for Jirsa and 450 signatures for Walker. The town clerk found 391 signatures against Jirsa valid and 454 signatures against Walker valid.
 
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.
 


Wichita mayor faces eight primary challenges in bid for second term

Nonpartisan primaries are scheduled on August 6 for mayor and one school board seat in Wichita, Kansas. The mayoral race features nine candidates, including incumbent Jeff Longwell. Although the position is nonpartisan, Longwell is affiliated with the Republican Party. He was first elected as mayor on April 7, 2015, with 59.4% of the vote. In the Wichita Public Schools Board of Education at-large race, incumbent Sheril Logan faces three opponents. Logan was first elected in 2011. The general election for both races is on November 5, and their candidate filing deadline passed on June 3.
 
Three city council seats could have also been on the primary ballot, but three or fewer candidates filed for each of the positions. The primaries were canceled and all candidates who filed automatically advanced to the November 5 general election. District 2 incumbent Becky Tuttle and District 4 incumbent Jeff Blubaugh each face two opponents, while District 5 incumbent Bryan Frye has one opponent.
 
Two school board seats in Wichita Public Schools also had their primaries canceled. District 3 incumbent Ernestine Krehbiel is running unopposed for re-election, while District 4 incumbent Stan Reeser faces one opponent in the November 5 general election. The school board has seven members, six of whom are elected to represent specific districts and one of whom is an at-large representative.
 
Wichita is the largest city in Kansas and the 48th-largest city in the U.S. by population. Wichita Public Schools served 50,600 students during the 2016-2017 school year.
 


Bitnami