Marielle Bricker

Marielle Bricker is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at

All 11 Jacksonville City Council members who filed for re-election won following general runoff

All 19 Jacksonville City Council seats were up for election in 2019. Fourteen races were decided outright in the general election on March 19, but five advanced to a runoff election held on May 14. Those seats were At-large Positions 1 and 3 and Districts 8, 10, and 14.
Eleven of 19 incumbents filed for re-election. City council members are term-limited and restricted to serving two consecutive four-year terms. Two incumbents advanced to the runoff election and were re-elected: At-large Position 3 member Tommy Hazouri (D) and District 8 member Ju’Coby Pittman (D). The remaining three seats in the runoff were open. All 11 incumbents who ran for re-election won another term.
The incoming city council will have six Democratic and 13 Republican members. Currently, Democrats hold seven seats and Republicans hold 12. The open At-large Position 2 seat changed from a Democrat-held seat to a Republican-held seat in the general election. There were no flipped seats in the general runoff election.
Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida and the 13th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
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Baird wins Lincoln, Nebraska, mayoral election

Lincoln, Nebraska, held general elections for mayor, city council, and one seat on its airport authority on May 7, 2019. City elections are officially nonpartisan and political parties do not appear on the ballot, but candidates have the option to file with political parties. Of the six seats up for election, four were won by Democrats, one by a Republican, and one by a nonpartisan candidate.
Incumbent Mayor Chris Beutler (D) could not run for re-election due to term limits. At-large city council member Leirion Gaylor Baird (D) defeated District 1 city council member Cyndi Lamm (R) in the general election. Baird received 54.4% of the vote to Lamm’s 45.4% of the vote. They faced three other candidates (one Democrat and two nonpartisan candidates) in the officially nonpartisan primary.
The Lincoln city council is made up of four by-district seats and three at-large seats. All four by-district seats were on the ballot. District 3 council member Jane Raybould (D) was the only incumbent to seek re-election. She won another term on the board with 67.8% of the vote. Newcomers James Michael Bowers (D-District 1), Richard Meginnis (R-District 2), and Tammy Ward (D-District 4) all won terms on the board. The last time these seats were on the ballot was in 2015. That year, two Democratic candidates and two Republican candidates were elected.
One of five seats on the Lincoln Airport Authority was also on the ballot. Incumbent Nick Cusick (nonpartisan) received 66.1% of the vote to challenger Aurang Zeb’s (D) 33.1% of the vote.
Lincoln is the second-largest city in Nebraska and the 71st-largest city in the U.S. by population.

No incumbents defeated in Fort Wayne primary, incumbent mayor advances with 86% of the vote

Fort Wayne, Indiana, held partisan primaries for mayor, city clerk, and all nine city council seats on May 7, 2019. Nine incumbents filed for re-election and all advanced to the general election on November 5, 2019.
Current Mayor Tom Henry (D) defeated two challengers in the Democratic primary, Gina Burgess and Tommy Schrader, receiving 86.2% of the vote. Henry will face Tim Smith (R) in the general election. Smith received 56.4% of the vote in the Republican primary. He faced candidates John Crawford and David Roach.
The Fort Wayne City Clerk Democratic and Republican primary elections both featured unopposed candidates. Incumbent Lana Keesling is facing Katie Zuber in the general election.
A total of 25 candidates filed for the nine city council seats. Seven incumbents are seeking another term on the board; one at-large incumbent and the District 6 incumbent did not file for re-election. District 1 incumbent Paul Ensley (R) and District 2 incumbent Russ Jehl (R) did not face challengers in the primary and are unopposed in the general election. District 5 incumbent Geoff Paddock (D) was also unopposed in the primary but faces Taylor Vanover (R) in the general. District 6 candidate Sharon Tucker (D) is the last unopposed candidate in the general election. She defeated two other candidates in the Democratic primary. The remaining six races are all contested.
Independent candidates have until July 1 to file for election. Fort Wayne is the second-largest city in Indiana and the 75th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Are 2019’s state primaries on track to be more or less competitive than in recent election cycles?

In 2019, Ballotpedia is publishing primary election competitiveness data following each state’s major-party candidate filing deadline. Five states will hold regular statewide elections: Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana will hold elections for state executive offices, and Mississippi, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Virginia will hold elections for state legislative seats. Filing deadlines have passed in every state except Louisiana, whose filing deadline is August 8. Ballotpedia will update the data set after that final candidate filing deadline has passed.
A contested primary is defined as one in which voters have a choice on the ballot. As of the publication of this report, 20.7% of possible state primary races are contested in 2019. State executive primaries are contested in 61.1% of the races, and state legislative primaries are contested in 18.6% of the races. Comparatively, 16.1% of primaries were contested in 2017, and 28.9% were contested in 2015.
Approximately 25.6% of incumbents face contested primaries in 2019. Twenty-five percent of state executive incumbents face challengers across 18 seats, and 25.6% of state legislative incumbents face challengers across 394 seats. The number 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 number of state legislative incumbents facing opponents is greater than in 2017 (16.0% across 220 seats) but lower than in 2015 (26.9% across 398 seats).

Runoff elections determine winners in three Tampa City Council races

Tampa held general runoff elections for mayor and three of seven city council seats on April 23, 2019. Runoffs were required for these four races after no candidate received a majority of the general election vote on March 5.
In the city council’s District 1 race, Joseph Citro defeated Walter Smith with 57.4% of the unofficial election night vote total. In District 3, John Dingfelder defeated Stephen Lytle with 64.0% of the vote, and in District 5, Orlando Gudes defeated Jeffrey Rhodes with 50.8% of the vote.
Races in Districts 2, 4, 6, and 7 were all decided in the general election. Incumbents Charlie Miranda, Guido Maniscalco, and Luis Viera won the Districts 2, 6, and 7 races, respectively. The District 4 election did not feature an incumbent and was won by Bill Carlson. 
In the mayoral runoff election, unofficial results showed Jane Castor defeating David Straz with 73.1% of the vote. FOX 13 identified both candidates as members of the Democratic Party. Castor had received 48.0% of the vote in the general election, and Straz received 15.5%.

Special elections on Tuesday for South Carolina and Tennessee state legislatures

Two state legislative special elections are being held on April 23 in Tennessee State Senate District 22 and South Carolina House of Representatives District 14. Republican legislators previously held both seats. The results of both elections will not change partisan control of either chamber, which both feature Republican supermajorities.
The Tennessee special election was called after Mark Green (R) won election to Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District in November 2018. Rosalind Kurita (I) was appointed to fill the seat on January 14, 2019. Kurita is not running in the special election. Bill Powers defeated three other candidates in the Republican primary on March 7, and he faces Democrat Juanita Charles—who was unopposed in the Democratic primary—and independent candidates Doyle Clark and David Cutting.
The South Carolina House seat was vacated by Michael Pitts (R), who resigned on January 3 for health reasons. Garrett McDaniel defeated one other candidate in the Democratic primary on February 19, 2019. He faces Stewart Jones, who defeated three other candidates in the Republican primary.
As of April, 52 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 20 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year. Both Tennessee and South Carolina have 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.

Honolulu voters choose different winner in April re-do of November election

A special election for District 4 on the Honolulu City Council was held on April 13, 2019. It was called after the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated the results from the district’s regular election on November 6, 2018. Both candidates who ran in the regular election, Trevor Ozawa and Tommy Waters, were on the ballot in the special election.
Ozawa previously held the District 4 seat but was removed on January 2 pending the special election. A total of 34,005 votes were cast in the re-do election, with Waters receiving 51.4% of the vote to Ozawa’s 48.5%. In the November 2018 regular election, then-incumbent Ozawa had defeated Waters by 22 votes out of over 36,000 ballots cast, a margin of 0.06 percentage points.
Waters challenged the November results, arguing that some mailed absentee ballots should not have been counted. The court determined that 350 absentee mail-in ballots were received after the 6:00 pm election-day deadline and were incorrectly counted and added to the valid ballots. Because there was no way to distinguish between valid and invalid ballots and more ballots were incorrectly counted than the number of votes that separated the two candidates, the court called for a new election.
Waters and Ozawa previously faced off in the 2014 general election. In that race, Ozawa defeated Waters by 47 votes out of 37,162 ballots cast, a margin of 0.2 percentage points. Waters challenged those results and asked the Hawaii Supreme Court to call for a recount, but his request was rejected.
Honolulu is the largest city in Hawaii and the 53rd-largest city in the U.S. by population.

New members could make up majority of Buffalo school board following election

All nine seats on the Buffalo Public Schools school board in New York are up for general election on May 7, 2019. Three at-large seats and six by-district seats are on the ballot. At-large members are elected to five-year terms, and by-district members are elected to three-year terms. The filing deadline was April 9.
Five incumbents are seeking another term; they all hold by-district seats. All three at-large seats and the East Seat are open. Four incumbents are unopposed, and one incumbent faces a challenger. Louis Petrucci was appointed to the Park Seat in 2018 after previously serving in the district from 2007 to 2013. He faces Austin Harig, who previously ran for the seat in 2016.
The three open at-large seats drew eight candidates, and the East Seat drew two candidates. If Harig wins election to the Park Seat, five newcomers—a majority on the Board of Education—will be sworn in. If Petrucci wins, incumbents will retain a majority on the board.
During the district’s last election in 2016, the six by-district seats were on the ballot. Four incumbents sought re-election, and 1.5 candidates filed per seat compared to the 1.78 per seat in 2019. No race had more than two candidates on the ballot. Three incumbents and three newcomers were elected to the board. The 2014 election had the three at-large seats on the ballot, and two incumbents sought re-election. A total of 13 candidates, or 4.33 per seat, were on the ballot. One incumbent and two challengers were elected to the board.
Buffalo Public Schools served 34,293 students during the 2016-2017 school year.

Madison Mayor Soglin loses re-election bid, nine new members will join city’s Common Council

In Madison, Wisconsin, Satya Rhodes-Conway defeated incumbent Mayor Paul Soglin in the general election on April 2, 2019. With all precincts reporting, unofficial results showed Rhodes-Conway received 61.9 percent of the vote to Soglin’s 37.7 percent of the vote.
The general election candidates advanced from a five-way primary on February 19. Soglin came in first place, receiving 28.6 percent of the vote. Rhodes-Conway trailed him by less than 1 percentage point, receiving 27.7 percent of the vote.
Rhodes-Conway will be the second woman to serve as mayor of Madison. She previously served on the city council from 2007 to 2013. Soglin first served as mayor from 1973 to 1979. He was re-elected in 1989 and served until 1997. He was elected again in 2011 and re-elected in 2015. In all, he has served as mayor of the city for a combined 22 years. Soglin also ran for governor of Wisconsin in 2018 but lost in the Democratic primary.
All 20 seats on the Madison Common Council were also up for election. Of the 11 incumbents seeking re-election, nine were unopposed. The two incumbents who faced challengers were re-elected. Nine new members will join the council.
Madison is the second-largest city in Wisconsin and the 82nd-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Las Vegas mayor wins third term in seven-way primary with 83.5 percent of the vote

The general election for mayor of Las Vegas was canceled following the primary election on April 2, 2019. In Nevada, candidates who receive a majority of the vote in the primary win election outright. Incumbent Carolyn Goodman faced six challengers and received 83.5 percent of the vote. The next-highest vote recipient, Phil Collins, received 5.3 percent of the vote. This will be Goodman’s third and final term as mayor due to term limits.
The Las Vegas City Council’s Ward 5 election was also decided outright in the primary since incumbent Cedric Crear received 59.7 percent of the vote. No candidates in Wards 1 or 3 received a majority of the vote, requiring a general election to be held on June 11. In Ward 1, Brian Knudsen faces Robin Munier in the general election. The Ward 3 race remains too close to call with all districts reporting.
The cities of Henderson and North Las Vegas also held primaries. Three city council seats and one municipal court judge seat were up for election in Henderson and were won outright, meaning the city will not hold elections on June 11. In North Las Vegas, one of two city council seats advanced to the general election. The Ward 4 incumbent, Richard Cherchio, faces Pete Shields in the general election.
Las Vegas is the largest city in Nevada and the 29th-largest city in the U.S. by population. Henderson is the second-largest city in Nevada and the 70th-largest city in the U.S. by population. North Las Vegas is the fourth-largest city in Nevada and the 95th-largest city in the U.S. by population.