Author

Jaclyn Beran

Jackie Beran is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at jaclyn.beran@ballotpedia.org

Recall effort begins against Colorado Gov. Jared Polis

An effort to recall Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) was approved for circulation on July 8, 2019. Supporters have until September 6, 2019, to collect 631,266 signatures to force a recall election.
 
The recall effort has been organized by a group called Dismiss Polis. According to Colorado Politics, the group is trying to recall Polis due to legislation that he signed during the 2019 state legislative session. The legislation includes a gun bill, an oil and gas regulation bill, as well as legislation related to the national popular vote. The gun bill was designed to temporarily remove guns from people who have been deemed a threat to themselves or others. The oil and gas bill was designed to give local governments more authority to regulate the industry and also mandates that the state emphasize safety over promoting oil and gas production. Both bills were signed by Gov. Polis (D) in April 2019. Polis also signed legislation in March 2019 that would award Colorado’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
 
After the recall was announced, Gov. Polis’ office issued the following statement: “The Governor is focused on governing for all of Colorado and ensuring that every Coloradan – no matter their zip code or political affiliation – has the opportunity to succeed. During his first six months in office, the Governor has created bipartisan solutions to lower the cost of health care, ensure every kid can go to free full-day kindergarten this fall, and cut taxes for small businesses. The Governor will continue to reach across the aisle and hopes that, by tackling key issues for Coloradans, we will continue to bring people together and focus on what unites us.”
 
Two state representatives—Tom Sullivan (D) and Rochelle Galindo (D)—were also targeted by recall campaigns in 2019 due to supporting the same legislation. The recall targeting Rep. Galindo (D) ended after she resigned her seat in May 2019. The recall targeting state Rep. Sullivan (D) ended in June 2019 after recall supporters concluded the effort. Unofficial recall campaigns are also underway against state Sen. Jeff Bridges (D), state Rep. Meg Froelich (D), state Rep. Bri Buentello (D), and state Sen. Leroy Garcia (D).
 
Since 2003, Ballotpedia has tracked 17 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two recalls made the ballot and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled by voters in 2003 and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). In 2012, Wisconsin voted to retain Gov. Scott Walker (R) in a recall election. The only other governor to ever be successfully recalled was former North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) in 1921.
 
Colorado became a Democratic trifecta in 2019 after Democrats flipped the state Senate in the 2018 elections. Democrats control the state House by a 41-24 margin and the state Senate by a 19-16 margin. Gov. Polis succeeded John Hickenlooper (D) as governor in 2019. He won the 2018 election with 53.4% of the vote.
 


Filing deadline for Atlanta school board special election is July 10

Candidates interested in running in the Atlanta Public Schools school board special election for District 2 have until July 10 to file. The special election is on September 17. A runoff election, if needed, has been scheduled for October 15.
 
The special election became necessary after Byron Amos resigned his seat on January 29, 2019, to run for the Atlanta City Council. He lost in the April runoff election. Amos was first elected to the school board in 2011. The winner of the special election will fill Amos’ unexpired term, which ends in 2021.
 
As of July 5, the following seven candidates had declared their intention to run for the seat: Keisha Carey, Will Chandler, Paula Kupersmith, Chadd Jonesmith, Aretta Baldon, Davida Huntley, and Nathaniel Dyer.
 
Atlanta Public Schools served 60,133 students during the 2016-2017 school year.
 


16 candidates file to run in St. Petersburg city council races

Sixteen candidates have filed to run for four city council seats in St. Petersburg, Florida. A primary is scheduled for August 27, and the general election is on November 5. The filing deadline for this election was June 21.
 
District 1 incumbent Charlie Gerdes and District 5 incumbent Steve Kornell are both ineligible to run for re-election due to term limits. City council members serve four-year terms and are limited to two consecutive terms (eight years) in office.
 
Three candidates—Scott Orsini, Robert G. Blackmon, and John Hornbeck—have filed to run for the open seat in District 1. District 3 incumbent John “Ed” Montanari is running for re-election against Orlando A. Acosta and Zachary James Collins. In the open seat in District 5, six candidates—Anthony Cates, Philip Garrett, Deborah Figgs-Sanders, Trenia Cox, Beth Connor, and Anne Lenholt Hirsch—have filed to run. District 7 incumbent Lisa Wheeler-Bowman faces three challengers in her re-election bid. She will face Eritha Brandis Cainion, Chico Cromartie, and Sarah Elizabeth Moore in the primary.
 
St. Petersburg is the fifth-largest city in Florida and the 77th-largest city in the U.S. by population. In 2019, Ballotpedia is covering elections in 59 of America’s 100 largest cities by population.


Seven candidates running in Milwaukee special election include former state legislator

Candidates had until June 18 to file for a Milwaukee City Council special election for District 13. A primary is scheduled for July 16, and the general election is August 13.
 
Seven candidates filed by the deadline, including a former state assembly member, Josh Zepnick. The six other candidates are Patty Doherty, James Krickeberg, Jacob Krieg, Walt Love, Scott Spiker, and Patricia Torres Najera.
 
Zepnick lost his bid for re-election in 2018 following sexual misconduct allegations. He was removed from his committee assignments in 2017 by state Assembly leaders after The Capital Times reported that he had kissed two women without their consent in 2011 and 2015. Zepnick apologized and said the incidents were related to his alcohol consumption. He said, “While I have no recollection of these alleged incidents, there is never an excuse for inappropriate behavior. I take the claims seriously and respect the feelings of the women involved. I apologize to both women for my actions and for any distress that I may have caused.”
 
The special election became necessary following Alderman Terry Witkowski’s resignation on May 30, 2019. He had served on the city council since 2003.
 
Milwaukee is the largest city in Wisconsin and the 30th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


Recall effort against Colorado state Rep. Tom Sullivan ends

An effort to recall state Rep. Tom Sullivan (D) from the Colorado House of Representatives ended on June 11. Kristine Brown, the state’s Republican Party vice chair and leader of the recall, said in a Facebook post, “While we are pulling the recall today to focus on other essential efforts, Sullivan does not get a free pass. 2020 is the year to oust him, with the support of voters who now know how extreme he is.”
 
The recall was approved for circulation by the secretary of state’s office on May 13. Supporters had a July 12 deadline to collect 10,035 signatures to force a recall election. According to recall supporters, the effort against Sullivan was due to his support or sponsorship of four specific bills, including legislation designed to temporarily remove guns from people who are deemed a threat to themselves or others. That bill, which created Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) in Colorado, passed the House by a 38-25 margin with all votes in favor from Democrats and 23 Republicans joining with 2 Democrats in opposition. It was signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis (D) in April.
 
Sullivan’s son was killed in the 2012 shootings at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater. He was elected to the state House in 2018, defeating then-incumbent Cole Wist (R) in the general election with 54% of the vote. Wist, who held the seat for three years, co-sponsored an ERPO bill in 2018 and stated on Twitter that he did not support the effort to recall Sullivan.
 
Four other Democratic state lawmakers are being targeted for recall for their support of the legislation designed to give local governments more control over regulating the oil and gas industry. As of today, none of those recalls have been approved for circulation.
 
Since 2011, 80 recall petitions have been filed against state lawmakers. Nine recalls were successful, nine were defeated at the ballot, 56 did not go to a vote, and six are still ongoing. California state Sen. Josh Newman (D) was recalled in 2018. Two Colorado state senators were successfully recalled in 2013.
 
Colorado became a Democratic trifecta in 2019 after Democrats flipped the state Senate in the 2018 elections. Democrats control the state House by a 41-24 margin and the state Senate by a 19-16 margin. Gov. Polis succeeded John Hickenlooper (D) as governor in 2019.
 


Wichita’s mayor faces eight challengers in re-election bid

Nine mayoral candidates and eight city council candidates have filed to run in the 2019 elections in Wichita, Kansas. A primary for the mayoral race is scheduled for August 6. The general election is on November 5. The filing deadline was June 3.
 
Wichita’s current mayor, Jeff Longwell, filed for re-election. He is facing eight challengers, including state Rep. Brandon Whipple (D), in the primary. Longwell became mayor in 2015 after serving on the Wichita City Council from 2007 to 2015. He was elected in 2015 with 60% percent of the vote.
 
Three of the six seats on the city council—Districts 2, 4, and 5—are also on the ballot in 2019. The primaries for the three races were canceled due to an insufficient number of filed candidates. A primary is held only if four or more candidates file in a certain district. The races are on the November 5 ballot. District 2 incumbent Becky Tuttle is running for re-election against former state Rep. Joseph Scapa and Rodney Wren. District 4 incumbent Jeff Blubaugh is facing Beckie Jenek and Christopher Parisho in the general election, and District 5 incumbent Bryan Frye is competing against challenger Mike Magness.
 
The mayor and city council members each serve four-year terms and are limited to two consecutive terms (eight years) in office.
 
Wichita is the largest city in Kansas and the 48th-largest city in the U.S. by population. In 2019, Ballotpedia is covering elections in 59 of America’s 100 largest cities by population. In addition to the cities, Ballotpedia is also covering elections in 23 counties across 11 states.
 


June 3 filing deadline for Wichita mayor and city council races

Prospective candidates for mayor and city council in Wichita, Kansas, have until June 3 to file to run in the nonpartisan races. A primary will be held on August 6 for any races where three or more candidates file. The general election is scheduled for November 5.
 
The mayor and city council members each serve four-year terms and are limited to two consecutive terms (eight years) in office.
 
Wichita’s current mayor, Jeff Longwell, has filed for re-election. Longwell became mayor in 2015 after serving on the Wichita City Council from 2007 to 2015. As of May 28, three additional candidates, had also filed for the mayoral election.
 
Three Wichita City Council seats are on the ballot in 2019. District 2 incumbent Becky Tuttle, District 4 incumbent Jeff Blubaugh, and District 5 incumbent Bryan Frye have all filed for re-election. As of May 28, the candidate list showed no opponents had filed to run against any of the three incumbents.
 
Wichita is the largest city in Kansas and the 48th-largest city in the U.S. by population. In 2019, Ballotpedia is covering elections in 59 of America’s 100 largest cities by population. In addition to the cities, Ballotpedia is also covering elections in 23 counties across 11 states.
 


Republican state representative in Alaska targeted for recall due to legislative session delays

Alaska state Rep. Gary Knopp (R) has been targeted for recall due to his role in forming a majority coalition with Democrats, which recall supporters argue led to delays and disruptions to the 2019 legislative session. Prior to the session beginning, Knopp announced that he was leaving the Republican caucus in order to form a majority coalition with Democrats. He said, “A 21 member caucus cannot succeed. It’s doomed for failure and I’m not going to be on that train. I’m not joining the Democrats either. I’m doing this to try and force a true coalition.” Over 30 days in January and February, Knopp helped to form a coalition of 15 Democrats, eight Republicans, and two members unaffiliated with either party.
 
After the delays at the beginning of its session, the legislature was unable to finish all of its work. This led to Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) calling the legislature into a 30-day special session on May 15, 2019. The special session has been tasked with passing legislation related to criminal reform, the operating budget, the mental health budget, the capital budget, and education funding. The special session could cost the state between $500,000 and $1 million.
 
Recall supporters need about 1,000 signatures to request a recall petition from Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer (R). If Meyer accepts the application, supporters will need about an additional 3,000 signatures to force a recall election. Misconduct in office, incompetence, or failure to perform prescribed duties are the only grounds for recall in the state of Alaska.
 
After the recall was announced against Rep. Knopp, he said: “In the recall petition, they are welcome to do what they want to do. I don’t think they have cause, but if they want to move forward with it that’s their prerogative. I just wish it would be done by people in the district not the haters across the state who aren’t getting what they want.” Knopp was censured by the Alaska Republican Party in May 2019 for his role in the disruptions to the start of the 2019 legislative session. Because of the censure, Knopp will no longer receive support from the state party.
 
Knopp was elected to District 30 in the state House in 2016. He defeated Shauna Thornton (D) and two other candidates in the general election with 66.51% of the vote. He ran unopposed in the 2018 election.
 
Since 2011, 80 recall petitions have been filed against state lawmakers. Nine recalls were successful, nine were defeated at the ballot, 55 did not go to a vote, and seven are still ongoing. California state Sen. Josh Newman (D) was recalled in 2018. Two Colorado state senators were successfully recalled in 2013.
 
Alaska has a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 13-7 margin. Although Republicans won a majority in the state House in the 2018 elections, a coalition of 15 Democrats, four Republicans, and two independents elected Bryce Edgmon (undeclared) as House speaker on February 14, 2019. This resulted in the parties having split control of key leadership positions in a power-sharing agreement. Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) won the governor’s office in 2018.
 


One Colorado legislative recall ends and another begins

Two recall efforts against Colorado state Rep. Rochelle Galindo (D) ended on May 12 after she resigned her seat amid allegations of sexual misconduct by a former staff member. The first recall was approved by the secretary of state on April 4. Recall supporters had until June 3 to collect 5,696 signatures to force a recall election. A second recall effort against Galindo was launched by Joe Neville, the head of the Values First Colorado political action committee and brother of Senate Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R). The recall was not approved for circulation by the state. Galindo was originally targeted for recall because of her support for an oil and gas regulation bill, a gun bill, as well as legislation related to the national popular vote and sex education.
 
A different recall effort targeting state Rep. Tom Sullivan (D) was approved for circulation by the state on May 13. He is being targeted for recall due to the same legislation as Galindo. Supporters have until July 12 to collect 10,035 signatures to force a recall election. Four other Democratic state lawmakers are also being targeted for recall over the same legislation. As of May 14, none of those recalls had been approved for circulation by the state.
 
Sullivan was the main sponsor of the gun bill, which was designed to temporarily remove guns from people who are deemed a threat to themselves or others. Sullivan’s son, Alex, was killed in the 2012 shootings at an Aurora movie theater. The oil and gas bill was designed to give local governments more control over regulating the industry and also mandates that the state emphasize safety over promoting oil and gas production. Both bills were signed by Gov. Jared Polis (D) in April 2019.
 
Sullivan was elected to District 37 in the state House in 2018. He defeated incumbent Cole Wist (R) in the general election with 54% of the vote. Prior to the 2018 election, Wist had held the seat since 2016.
 
Since 2011, 79 recall petitions have been filed against state lawmakers. Nine recalls were successful, nine were defeated at the ballot, 55 did not go to a vote, and six are still ongoing. California state Sen. Josh Newman (D) was recalled in 2018. Two Colorado state senators were successfully recalled in 2013.
 
Colorado became a Democratic trifecta in 2019 after Democrats flipped the state Senate in the 2018 elections. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Democrats control the state House by a 41-24 margin and the state Senate by a 19-16 margin. Gov. Jared Polis (D) took over the governor’s office in 2019.
 


Judicial filing deadline passes in Hamilton County, Ohio

Candidates had until May 6 to file for seven seats on the Hamilton County Municipal Court in Ohio. Twelve candidates, including six incumbents, filed by the deadline. Judges will be elected in nonpartisan general elections on November 5.
 
District 6 Judge Richard Bernat did not file for re-election. Three candidates are competing for his open seat. District 1 Judge Dwane Mallory, District 3 Judge Ted Berry, and District 7 Judge Gwen Bender are all unopposed in the general election. In the three other races on the ballot, District 2 Judge Tyrone Yates, District 4 Judge Josh Berkowitz, and District 5 Judge Heather Russell will all face off against one challenger in the general election.
 
The county court is located in the city of Cincinnati and has jurisdiction over municipal ordinance violations. The court is made up of 14 judges who are elected to six-year terms.
 
In 2019, Ballotpedia is covering elections in 23 counties across 11 states. In addition to the counties, Ballotpedia is also covering elections in 59 of America’s 100 largest cities by population.
 


Bitnami