Marielle Bricker

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

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.

August 7 filing deadline for Ohio school board hopefuls

Ballotpedia is covering school board elections in 20 Ohio school districts in 2019. The general election is on November 5, and 19 of the school districts have their candidate filing deadline on August 7. The one exception is Columbus City Schools, which had its filing deadline earlier on February 6. Columbus also had a primary scheduled for May in case more than two candidates filed per seat, but that did not happen and the primary was canceled.
Across the 20 school districts, 46 of 104 seats are up for election. Three districts—Columbus City Schools, the Olentangy Local School District, and the Washington Local School District—have a majority of their seats on the ballot this year. This means one or more of the election winners could hold the deciding vote on future board decisions.
Ballotpedia previously covered Ohio’s school board elections in 2017. That year, 57 out of 98 seats were on the ballot, and 15 of the 18 school districts covered had a majority of their school board seats on the ballot.
Ballotpedia covers the 200 largest school districts by student enrollment in the United States as well as the school districts that geographically overlap with the nation’s 100 largest cities by population.
These 20 Ohio school districts served a combined total of 270,401 students during the 2016-2017 school year.

Three of four Hialeah City Council incumbents ineligible to run for re-election due to term limits

Hialeah, Florida, is holding elections for four of its seven city council seats, and candidates have until July 29 to file to run. The primary is scheduled for November 5. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a general election will be held on November 19. Unopposed candidates do not appear on the ballot and are automatically declared winners.
The seats up for election are Groups 1, 2, 3, and 4. City council members are elected at large to specific seats. Group 2 incumbent Jose F. Caragol, Group 3 incumbent Vivian Casals-Munoz, and Group 4 incumbent Isis Garcia-Martinez have each served the maximum three consecutive terms on the council and cannot seek re-election. Group 1 incumbent Lourdes Lozano is the only incumbent who can seek another term. First elected in 2011, Lozano would be serving her third and final consecutive term if she wins in November.
All four seats were most recently on the ballot in 2015; in that race, all four incumbents and three challengers filed to compete in the election. Lozano and Garcia-Martinez held their seats automatically because they faced no challengers. Caragol and Casals-Munoz won re-election in the primary with 53.1% and 60.3% of the vote, respectively.
Hialeah is the sixth-largest city in Florida and the 88th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Memphis City Council elections draw fewer candidates than in 2015

The filing deadline to run for election in Memphis passed on July 18, and all 13 city council seats are on the October 3 ballot. As of July 19, 42 candidates had qualified for the ballot, and another four potential candidates’ papers were still being verified.
Including the four candidates who are still in the process of making the ballot, an average of 3.54 candidates filed per seat. Each seat has at least two candidates on the ballot or in the process of getting on the ballot. The District 7 seat drew the most candidates with nine facing off in October. Six city council seats drew two candidates each, two seats drew three candidates each, two seats drew four candidates each, one seat drew five candidates, and one seat drew six candidates. Nine incumbents filed to run for re-election.
The most recent election for all 13 city council seats was held in 2015. Sixty candidates appeared on the ballot, and all 13 seats were contested. An average of 4.62 candidates filed per seat. That year, District 7 also saw nine candidates file for the seat, which was again the highest number of candidates in a race. One city council seat drew two candidates, six seats drew three candidates each, one seat drew four candidates, one seat drew six candidates, two seats drew seven candidates each, and one seat drew eight candidates. Seven incumbents filed to run for re-election in 2015, and all seven won.
Memphis is the largest city in Tennessee and the 20th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Nine file to run for potential swing seat on the Atlanta school board

Nine candidates filed to run in a special election for the District 2 seat on the Atlanta Public Schools school board. They had until July 10 to file for the seat, and the special election is on September 17. A runoff election, if needed, 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 election in April. Amos had 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 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 an automatic defeat of the 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 2017 and lost the general runoff election with 49.51% of the vote. Dyer and Johnson also previously sought election to the Atlanta school board, while 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.

New York City holding Democratic primaries for city offices; no Republican primaries scheduled

New York is holding statewide primaries on June 25, 2019. This is the first year in which local and state primaries are being held in June instead of September. This change is due to a January decision by the state legislature to consolidate these primaries with the federal primary date. The general election is November 5.
New York City is holding a special primary for the city council’s District 45 seat and regular primaries for city civil court judgeships and county district attorneys.
  • The city council’s District 45 special election is the second time the seat is on the ballot in 2019. The elections were called after incumbent Jumaane Williams was elected New York City Public Advocate in February 2019. The first general election held on May 14 was nonpartisan and determined who would hold the seat until December 31, 2019. The current election, which is partisan, is being held to decide who will serve for the remainder of the unexpired term, which ends December 31, 2021.
    • Eight candidates filed for the nonpartisan May special election. Candidate Farah Louis won with 41.8% of the vote, defeating all seven challengers. The same eight candidates filed as Democrats for the second special election, which necessitated a primary. The winner of the primary will face an independent challenger in the November general election.
  • Seventeen City Civil Court seats in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island are also on the ballot. Four races require primaries after more than two Democratic candidates filed for the seat. No seats drew more than one Republican candidate. The four Democratic primaries are for Kings County’s Countywide District and 6th Municipal Court District; New York County’s 4th Municipal Court District; and Queens County’s Countywide District. The remaining seats advanced directly to the general election.
  • Elections for county district attorney are also being held in Bronx, Queens, and Richmond counties. The races in Bronx and Richmond counties each feature unopposed incumbents who advanced directly to the general election. Queens County will hold a Democratic primary for the seat after seven candidates filed for election. The winner of the primary faces a Republican candidate in the general election.

New York is the largest city in New York and the U.S. by population.


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