Author

Marielle Bricker

Marielle Bricker is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at marielle.bricker@ballotpedia.org

Charlotte mayor Vi Lyles advances to general election with 86.6% of the vote

Charlotte, North Carolina, held partisan primary elections last Tuesday for mayor and city council. Twelve seats are appearing on the general election ballot on November 5, 2019. Democratic primaries were held for mayor and all city council districts except for Districts 6 and 7. City Council District 7 was the only office to hold a Republican primary. District 6 did not hold any primaries.
 
With all districts reporting, incumbent Mayor Vi Lyles (D) defeated four challengers with 86.6% of the unofficial vote total. No challengers received more than 4.2% of the vote. She faces Republican challenger David Michael Rice in November. Rice was the only Republican candidate to file for the mayoral election and automatically advanced to the general election.
 
Four at-large city council seats and Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 held Democratic primaries. All four at-large incumbents and the Districts 1 and 5 incumbents filed for re-election and advanced to the general election. Districts 2, 3, and 4 are open seats. City council District 7 incumbent Edmond H. Driggs (R) defeated one challenger in the only Republican primary of the night.
 
Four districts only have one candidate on the November ballot and were unofficially decided in the primary. Democratic incumbents Larken Egleston (District 1) and Matt Newton (District 5) will be automatically re-elected and District 3 Democratic candidate Victoria Watlington will win her first term without opposition. Republican District 7 incumbent Driggs will also be re-elected unopposed. The remaining city council seats and mayoral election are contested.
 
Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina and the 17th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


Toledo council races draw more candidates than previous three elections

The city of Toledo, Ohio, is holding general elections for six city council seats, two municipal judgeships, and the clerk of the municipal court on November 5, 2019. Primaries for the city council’s districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are being held September 10, 2019.
 
The remaining offices, including District 6, had two or fewer candidates file to run. As a result, their primaries were canceled and those candidates advanced automatically to the November general election.
 
Districts 3 and 5 are the only open seats on the primary and general election ballots. All seven other races feature incumbents; four city council members face competition in their re-election bids while the two municipal judges and one clerk of court are running unopposed. Together, the nine seats drew an average of 2.6 candidates per seat.
 
The 2019 city council election has the highest average number of candidates per seat over the past three regular election cycles. This year, 20 candidates filed for the six city council seats, an average of 3.3 candidates per seat. The last time the by-district city council seats were up for election was in 2015. Seventeen candidates filed for seven city council seats (one at-large seat was up for special election), for an average of 2.4 candidates per seat. Toledo also held elections for the six at-large city council seats in 2017. That year, 13 candidates filed for six seats—an average of 2.2 candidates per seat.
 
Toledo is the fourth-largest city in Ohio and the 66th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
 


2019 state executive offices races draw 72 Republicans and 65 Democrats; gubernatorial races draw the most candidates

In 2019, Ballotpedia is covering elections for 36 state executive offices in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Each state has its governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state offices on the ballot, along with a number of down-ballot seats (24 across the three states). In total, 139 candidates filed to run for these 36 seats.
 
As of August 2019, more Republican candidates filed to run for the executive offices than Democratic candidates. Seventy-two Republicans, 65 Democrats, and two third-party candidates filed. This is an average of 2.0 Republican candidates per seat, 1.8 Democratic candidates per seat, and 0.1 third-party candidates per seat. Overall, roughly 3.9 total candidates filed per seat.
 
Entering the election, Democrats hold eight of the offices and Republicans hold the other 28. Democrats hold one governorship, two attorneys general offices, one secretary of state office, and four down-ballot offices. Republicans hold two governorships, three lieutenant governorships, one attorney general office, two secretary of state offices, and 20 down-ballot offices.
 
Of the four top-ballot seats up for election in each state, the gubernatorial races drew the most candidates. Twenty-nine candidates filed for governor across all three states; this included nine in Kentucky, nine in Louisiana, and 11 in Mississippi. Sixteen of the gubernatorial candidates filed as Democrats, 12 as Republicans, and one as a third-party candidate. The office that drew the second-most candidates is secretary of state with 16, followed by lieutenant governor with 14 and attorney general with nine. The down-ballot elections drew 71 candidates.
 


More candidates filed per seat for Texas school board races in 2019 than in 2016

In 2019, Ballotpedia is covering elections across 63 Texas school districts for 184 school board seats. Fifty-five of the districts held elections in May, and eight districts are holding elections on November 5, 2019. The districts holding elections in November have a combined 26 out of their 58 school board seats up for election.
 
Nine seats up for election in November are uncontested (34.6%), while the May elections had 64 uncontested races (40.5%). Across all Texas school boards covered by Ballotpedia in 2019, 73 of the races (39.7%) are uncontested. Five of the eight districts holding elections in November have at least one unopposed candidate. In 2019, 43 of the 63 school board districts had or will have at least one race with an unopposed candidate.
 
Sixty-four candidates filed for the November elections, which is approximately 2.46 candidates per seat. The May elections had 314 candidates file, roughly 1.99 candidates per seat. In all, 378 candidates filed across 184 seats, so roughly 2.05 candidates filed per seat in the Texas school board elections. These figures are all higher than the 2016 Texas average of 1.79 school board candidates per seat and the 2016 national average of 1.90 school board candidates per seat.
 
Twenty incumbents (76.9%) filed for re-election in the November races. In May, 117 incumbents (74.1%) filed for re-election, meaning that 137 incumbents (74.5%) ran or are running for re-election in 2019.
 
The eight school districts holding elections in November served a combined total of 578,401 students during the 2016-2017 school year.
 


Primary competitiveness rises for state legislators compared to 2015 and 2017

In 2019, Ballotpedia published primary competitiveness data following each state’s major-party candidate filing deadline. Five states are holding regular statewide elections: Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi are holding elections for state executive offices, and Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia are holding elections for state legislative seats.
 
A contested primary is defined as one in which voters have a choice on the ballot. As of the report’s publication, 28.8% of all possible state primary races are or were contested this year. This figure is similar to the 28.9% contested primary races in 2015. Comparatively, 16.1% of primaries were contested in 2017. This year, state executive primaries are contested in 67.4% of the races, and state legislative primaries are contested in 26.8% of the races.
 
Approximately 31.2% of the incumbents running for re-election in 2019 face contested primaries. Sixty percent of state executive incumbents face challengers across 25 seats, and 30.1% of state legislative incumbents face challengers across 538 seats. The percentage of state executive incumbents facing opponents is lower than in both 2017 (66.7% across seven seats) and 2015 (68.8% across 25 seats). By contrast, the percentage of state legislative incumbents facing opponents is greater than in both 2017 (16.0% across 220 seats) and 2015 (26.9% across 398 seats).
 


New KY state legislative special election

A new state legislative special election has been added to our list. The special election is for the District 63 seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives on November 5, 2019. The Democratic and Republican parties will nominate the general election candidates.



Wichita mayor faces Kansas state representative in general election

The Wichita mayoral general election ballot is set following the August 6 primary. The nonpartisan general election takes place on November 5, 2019.
 
Nine candidates appeared on the primary ballot; Mayor Jeff Longwell faced eight challengers in the first leg of his bid for re-election. Longwell received the most votes in the primary, garnering 32.3% of the vote (7,136 votes). In second place was Kansas House of Representatives District 96 member, Brandon Whipple, with 25.9% of the vote (5,729 votes). One other candidate, Lyndy Wells, received double-digit percentage points in the race, with 25.2% of the vote (5,569 votes). The fourth runner-up received 6.4% of the vote (1,412 votes).
 
Longwell was first elected in 2015. Before becoming mayor, Longwell was a member of the Wichita City Council, representing District 5 from 2007 to 2015. He was the vice-mayor of Wichita from April 2010 to April 2011.
 
Whipple began serving in the Kansas House of Representatives in 2012. He was most recently re-elected in 2018 without opposition.
 
Although the mayoral election is officially nonpartisan, commentary in The Wichita Eagle identified Mayor Longwell as a Republican. Whipple is a Democratic member of the Kansas State Legislature.
 
Three city council seats are also on the general election ballot. None of the seats held a primary because the races did not have enough candidates to require one. Wichita is the largest city in Kansas and the 49th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
 


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