Mandy Gillip

Mandy Gillip is a project director at Ballotpedia and can be reached at

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.

Lee defeats Lundquist in Los Angeles special election

The city of Los Angeles, California, held a nonpartisan special general election on August 13 for one of the 15 seats on the city council. John Lee and Loraine Lundquist faced off after both advanced from a pool of 15 candidates in the June 4 special primary. Lee won with 52.1% of the vote in the general election.
The vacancy on the city council was created when District 12 representative Mitchell Englander stepped down on December 31, 2018, to work for a sports and entertainment firm.
Lee was endorsed by the L.A. Jobs PAC, which is sponsored by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. Lundquist was endorsed by the Los Angeles Times, the Green Party of Los Angeles County, and a number of Democratic Party clubs.
Los Angeles is the largest city in California and the second-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Six candidates vie for Fresno seat in special election

The city of Fresno, California, is holding a nonpartisan special election for the District 2 seat on the city council Tuesday. A runoff election is scheduled for November 5 if no candidate wins at least 50 percent of the votes cast in the election. The candidate filing deadline was May 17. Six candidates filed in the race, including declared 2020 Congressional candidate Phil Arballo.
The District 2 city council seat was previously held by Steve Brandau. He was first elected to the seat in 2012. Brandau stepped down in April 2019 after winning the District 2 seat on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors in a special election on March 5.
The District 2 city council seat was last up for election in 2016. Brandau won re-election without opposition that year. The winner of the 2019 special election will serve the remainder of Brandau’s term, which ends in 2020. Though the seat is nonpartisan, Brandau was known to be affiliated with the Republican Party.
Fresno is the sixth-largest city in California and the 34th-largest city in the U.S. by population. Its city council has a total of seven members elected by district.

At least 11 seats advance to runoffs after Nashville general election

On Thursday, the city of Nashville held nonpartisan general elections for all 41 metro council seats, including vice-mayor. The filing deadline for this election was May 16, and the runoff election is on September 12.
Thirty-five city council members are elected by district, and five members are elected at large. A candidate must receive 50% or more of the vote in order to avoid a runoff. No candidate did so in the races for Districts 2, 13, 16, 21, 23, 26, and 30. Four of the five seats elected at large also advanced to runoffs after no candidate met the 10% threshold requirement in those races. Lone at-large incumbent Bob Mendes was re-elected outright with 10.9% of the total votes cast.
The races in Districts 5, 7, and 18 were too close to call.
The position of vice-mayor was also up for election and featured two candidates. Incumbent Jim Shulman defeated challenger Robert Sawyers to win another term.
In all, 98 candidates and 26 incumbents filed in the 40 metro council races, not including the vice-mayoral race. Seventeen incumbents won re-election and seven advanced to runoffs. The position of mayor was also up for election; incumbent David Briley and challenger John Cooper both advanced to the runoff election.
In 2015, elections for the same city council positions drew 113 candidates, including 15 incumbents who were all re-elected.
Nashville is the second-largest city in Tennessee and the 24th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Nashville Metro Council elections draw 100 candidates

In Tennessee, the city of Nashville is holding nonpartisan general elections for mayor and all 41 metro council seats on August 1. The candidate filing deadline passed on May 16, and a runoff election is scheduled for September 12, if necessary. The runoff will only be held if an election occurs where no single candidate receives a majority of the vote.
The Nashville Metro Council’s 41 seats include 35 members elected by district and six members elected at large. One of the at-large members is the city’s vice-mayor, who is elected separately from the other at-large members.
The vice-mayoral election drew two candidates, incumbent Jim Shulman and challenger Robert Sawyers. The other 40 council races feature a total of 98 candidates, which includes 26 incumbents. Fourteen of the 35 district seats are open elections without an incumbent in the race, while all five at-large incumbents filed for re-election. In 2015, the Nashville Metro Council elections drew 113 candidates. This included 15 incumbents.
Nashville is the second-largest city in Tennessee and the 24th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Three Republicans declare their candidacies ahead of Louisiana Supreme Court special election filing deadline

The District 1 seat on the Louisiana Supreme Court is up for a special primary election on October 12. If no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, a general election is scheduled for November 16. The filing deadline for interested candidates is August 8. The court comprises seven justices from seven districts elected to 10-year terms.
Three Republicans have declared their candidacy ahead of the August filing deadline:
  • Judge Will Crain of the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Richard Ducote, a private practice attorney. In 2018, Ducote ran unsuccessfully for the District 1 seat against incumbent Greg Guidry (R).
  • Judge Scott Schlegel, the Division D judge for Louisiana’s 24th Judicial District.
Justice Guidry vacated the seat after President Donald Trump (R) appointed him to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. President Trump nominated Guidry on January 17, and the U.S. Senate confirmed him on June 19 by a vote of 53-46. He received his commission on June 21.

Independent filing deadline passes in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne

The deadline for independent candidates to run for office in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne passed on June 1.
In Indianapolis, the elections for mayor and all 25 city council seats are on November 5. The filing deadline for major-party candidates was February 8, and partisan primaries were held on May 7. Mayor Joseph Hogsett (D) was first elected in 2015 and is seeking a second term. Two independents, Javontae Bibbs and John Schmitz, filed to run in the mayoral election. Entering the 2019 election, the Indianapolis City Council has 14 Democrats and 11 Republicans.
In Fort Wayne, the elections for mayor, city clerk, and all nine seats on the city council are also on November 5. Mayor Tom Henry (D) first took office in 2008 and is seeking a fourth term. City Clerk Lana Keesling (R) was first elected in 2015 and is seeking a second term. No independents filed to run for either position. Entering the 2019 election, the Fort Wayne City Council has two Democrats and seven Republicans.
Indianapolis is the largest city in Indiana and the 12th-largest city in the U.S. by population. Fort Wayne is the second-largest city in Indiana and the 75th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Six Republicans, zero Democrats file in South Carolina special election

The candidate filing deadline passed on June 15 for a special election to fill the vacant District 84 seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives. A primary is scheduled for July 30 and the general election is on October 1. If necessary, a primary runoff has been scheduled for August 13.
The seat became vacant after Ronnie Young (R) passed away on May 19. Six Republican candidates filed in the special primary: Cody Anderson, Danny Feagin, Ralph Gunter, Melissa Oremus, Alvin Padgett, and Sean Pumphrey. No other candidates filed in the race.
As of June 18, 60 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 23 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
Entering the special election, the South Carolina House of Representatives had 44 Democrats, 78 Republicans, and two vacancies. South Carolina has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.