Author

Mandy Gillip

Mandy Gillip is a project director at Ballotpedia and can be reached at mandy.gillip@ballotpedia.org

Ballotpedia covering 2,983 seats up for election on November 5

On Tuesday, 27 states are holding elections for 2,983 seats within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope. Regular elections are being held for 2,894 seats, and special elections are being held for 89 seats. Here is a breakdown of the type and number of elections Ballotpedia is covering on November 5:
 
  • There are no congressional seats up for election.
  • Two states—Kentucky and Mississippi—are holding elections for 21 state executive positions, including governor and lieutenant governor.
  • 12 states are holding elections for 413 state legislative seats. The majority of these races are being held in Mississippi and Virginia with 174 state legislative seats and 140 state legislative seats up in each state, respectively.
  • Three states are holding elections for seven state court judgeships.
  • Five states are holding elections for 81 local court judgeships.
  • 19 states are holding elections for 2,201 municipal positions.
  • 16 states are holding elections for 260 school board seats.
 
Many of the municipal elections covered by Ballotpedia in 2019 are taking place in North Carolina. This year, Ballotpedia expanded its coverage of North Carolina in order to provide voters with a comprehensive statewide sample ballot. This coverage includes elections spanning 503 cities, towns, and villages, nine school districts, and 17 special districts across the state. No North Carolina counties are holding elections in 2019. Most North Carolina localities are holding nonpartisan general elections on November 5, although 32 held either nonpartisan primaries or general elections on October 8.
 


Mississippi State House elections to take place Nov. 5

This year, all 122 seats in the Mississippi House are on the ballot. The primary was held on August 6, and the general election is scheduled for November 5. A primary runoff was held on August 27 for those districts where no candidate received at least 50 percent of the vote in the primary. The candidate filing deadline passed on March 1, 2019.
 
Heading into the election, the Republican Party holds a majority in the Mississippi House. Democrats occupy 44 seats, Republicans occupy 74 seats, independents occupy two seats, and the final two seats are vacant.
 
After the filing deadline, 224 candidates ran in the primary. Of these, 99 were Democrats, 124 were Republicans, and one was a Libertarian. Overall, 45% of incumbents filed for re-election, and 56 of the 122 races are uncontested after only one candidate filed.
 
Mississippi last held elections for its House of Representatives on November 3, 2015. Republicans gained seven seats and maintained control of the chamber. At the time, House Republicans went from a 67-55 majority to a 74-48 majority.
 
The Mississippi House of Representatives is one of seven state legislative chambers holding elections in 2019. The remaining states holding regular legislative elections are: Louisiana, New Jersey, and Virginia. There are 99 legislative chambers throughout the country.
 
 


Fulton County Commissioner seat won by Carn in special runoff

Fulton County, Georgia, held a special runoff election for District 6 of the county’s board of commissioners on Tuesday. Joe Carn defeated Gordon Joyner after the two advanced from the special general election on September 17. Nine candidates ran in that race, but no candidate won at least 50% of the vote, which caused the runoff election to be held. The filing deadline for this election passed on June 28, 2019.
 
Ballotpedia provides comprehensive coverage of the 100 largest cities in America by population. This encompasses all city, county, and special district elections appearing on the ballot within those cities. Fulton County is part of that coverage scope. The Fulton County population was 996,319 in 2014, according to the United States Census Bureau, and its county seat is Atlanta.
 
 


Baldon wins special runoff for Atlanta school board

A special runoff election was held on Tuesday for the District 2 seat on the Atlanta Public Schools school board. Aretta Baldon won the election with 551 votes over fellow candidate David Huntley’s 405. A nine-candidate general election had previously been held on September 17, and the top two vote recipients, Baldon and Huntley, advanced to the runoff since neither had won at least 50% of the vote.
 
The special election was called after Byron Amos resigned his seat in January 2019 to run for the Atlanta City Council. He was defeated in the runoff election for that position in April. Amos had served on the board from 2011 to 2019, most recently winning re-election in 2017. Baldon will fill the remainder of Amos’ unexpired term, which ends in 2021.
 
In a June 20 article, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote that the vacant seat “could be a critical swing vote on the board.” Due to the unoccupied seat, the board has had at least one vote end in a 4-4 tie, which led to the automatic defeat of a motion.
 
Atlanta Public Schools served 60,133 students during the 2016-2017 school year.
 


Open mayoral seat advances to runoff in Raleigh

In North Carolina, all eight seats on the Raleigh City Council, including the mayor’s seat, were up for nonpartisan general election on Tuesday. Six incumbents ran for re-election, while two seats were open.
 
Mayoral candidates Mary-Ann Baldwin and Charles Francis advanced to a runoff election scheduled for November 5, since no candidate won a majority of the vote. Mayor Nancy McFarlane did not run for re-election in 2019.
 
In the election for city council, the five seats elected by district were all decided on Tuesday night. The two at-large races were still too close to call as of October 10. The Raleigh City Council is made up of eight members, including the mayor. Five members are elected by the city’s five geographic districts, while two other members and the mayor are elected at large.
 
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.
 
Raleigh is the second-largest city in North Carolina and the 43rd-largest city in the U.S by population.
 


Recall begins against three Louisiana school board members

In Louisiana, an effort to recall three of the eight members of the Vermilion Parish School District Board of Education was approved for circulation on September 9, 2019.
 
The targeted officeholders are District A member David Dupius, board president and District C member Laura LeBeouf, and District D member Dale Stelly. Vice president and District F member Kibbie Pillette was also considered for recall, but no petition had been filed as of September 24, 2019.
 
According to Lynn Vincent, who chairs the recall committee, the school board’s decision to place district superintendent Jerome Puyau on paid administrative leave for a second time is the cause of the recall effort. Vincent told KLFY News 10 that the superintendent’s suspension was a waste of taxpayer money and politically motivated. The recall petition alleges that the board members “are more concerned about political and/or personal agendas than the concerns of their own constituents and the children of Vermilion Parish.”
 
Puyau was placed on administrative leave in July 2019 after he was accused of failing to put items on agendas as requested by board members, hiring personnel who did not meet board-specified qualifications, and using board funds to pay private attorneys’ fees without the board’s knowledge or approval.
 
All three of the recall targets provided responses to the petition to KLFY News 10:
 
  • David Dupius said, “I work with my constituents. I speak with my constituents. I stand by my constituents. That’s all I have to say about it.”
  • Laura LeBeouf said, “Basically, I think this recall committee is a tactic and aim at board members when you have five board members that are addressing issues to come at us. I see it as a political tactic.”
  • Dale Stelly said, “Everyone has their views and their rights to do what they see fit. In my base, precinct, and those people there by a large margin, basically elected me, and told me when I went house to house that they wanted to elect me to make a change.”
 
Recall supporters have until March 9, 2020—180 days—to collect the signatures of one-third of the total registered voters across the three school board districts represented by the targeted board members.
 
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.
 


Parties announce nominees in Kentucky special election

A special election to fill the vacant District 18 seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives is scheduled for November 5. Political party county executive committees had until September 17 to select their nominees, and they chose Becky Miller (D) and Samara Heavrin (R) to run in the general election.
 
The seat became vacant after Tim Moore (R) resigned on September 10, 2019, citing his belief in term limits and plan to transition into a Christian ministry role.
 
As of September, 76 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 24 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 
Entering the special election, the Kentucky House of Representatives has 39 Democrats, 59 Republicans, and two vacancies. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats. Kentucky has a Republican trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
 


Nine vie for open Atlanta school board seat in bid to hold swing vote

A special election will be held on Tuesday for the District 2 seat on the Atlanta Public Schools school board. Nine candidates filed to run in the election. They had until July 10, 2019, to file for the seat and, if needed, a runoff election is scheduled for October 15.
 
The special election was called after Byron Amos resigned his seat in January 2019 to run for the Atlanta City Council. He was defeated in the runoff city council election in April. Amos served on the board from 2011 to 2019, most recently winning re-election in 2017. The winner of the special election will fill Amos’ unexpired school board term, which ends in 2021.
 
In a June 20 article, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote that the vacant seat “could be a critical swing vote on the board.” Due to the unoccupied seat, the board has had at least one vote end in a 4-4 tie, which led to the automatic defeat of a motion.
 
The nine candidates vying for the seat are Aretta Baldon, Christopher Brown, Keisha Carey, Will Chandler, Nathaniel Borrell Dyer, Davida Huntley, Ed Johnson, Chadd Jonesmith, and Paula Kupersmith. Carey challenged Amos in the 2017 election, losing the general runoff election with 49.51% of the vote. Dyer and Johnson also previously sought election to the Atlanta school board. Brown was previously a candidate for Atlanta City Council, and Chandler sought election to the Georgia House of Representatives.
 
Atlanta Public Schools served 60,133 students during the 2016-2017 school year.
 


Recalls targeting 3 Idaho school board members fail

Recall elections seeking to remove Tim Winkle, Alicia McConkie, and Marianne Blackwell from their positions on the Middleton School District board of trustees in Idaho were held on Tuesday. The recall against McConkie was approved by a majority of voters, but there were not enough “yes” votes for the recall to be counted. In order for her to be recalled, a higher number of people would have needed to vote for the recall than voted for McConkie in her last election in 2017, which did not happen. The recalls against Winkle and Blackwell were defeated with simple majorities. All three board members retained their seats.
 
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 because 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.
 
A separate recall petition against Blackwell was certified for the ballot on June 14. The recall petition against her said she “set an unprofessional and unacceptable precedent for school board trustees” and violated the board’s code of ethics. Blackwell was the only board member to vote against not renewing Merrill’s contract.
 
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 had served the best she could for the last two years and felt she was being targeted for recall over a single decision. Blackwell did not respond to the recall effort against her.
 
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.
 


Tucson Democrats vie for spot on general election ballot in partisan primary for mayor

Tucson is holding partisan primary elections for mayor and three of seven city council seats on Tuesday. Six of the city council seats are elected at large, and the mayor occupies the seventh seat. The general election is scheduled for November 5, and the filing deadline passed on May 29.
 
Four candidates filed in the mayoral race. Three of the four candidates—Randi Dorman, Steve Farley, and Regina Romero—are competing in the Democratic primary. The fourth candidate, independent Edward Ackerley, will face the Democratic primary winner on the general election ballot. No Republican candidates filed to run. Incumbent Jonathan Rothschild (D) 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.
 
Tucson City Council Wards 1, 2, and 4 are also on the ballot. In Ward 1, incumbent Regina Romero chose to run for mayor rather than 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.
 


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