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Megan Feeney

Megan Feeney is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Seven Oklahoma school districts hold primaries on February 8

Eight school board seats in seven Oklahoma school districts covered by Ballotpedia were up for nonpartisan primary elections on Feb. 8, 2022. Candidates competed to advance to the general election scheduled for Apr. 5.

The districts holding primaries included Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Edmond, Mustang, Piedmont, Tulsa, and Union Public Schools. 

Three candidates won the election outright on Feb. 8 by earning more than 50% of the vote in the primary. Katie Cornman, Stefan Swaggerty, and Debbie Taylor won a seat on the board for Piedmont, Catoosa, and Broken Arrow Public Schools, respectively. Candidates advanced to the general election for the remaining five seats.

  1. In the Edmond Public School District, Courtney Hobgood and Cheryl Williams advanced to the general election for the District 2 seat. Incumbent Marcus Jones and Michael Grande advanced to the general in the special election for District 5.
  2. Robert Rader and Audra Tucker advanced to the general election for Seat 2 on the Mustang Public Schools Board of Education.
  3. Incumbent Chris McNeil and challenger Shelley Gwartney advanced to the general election for Union Public Schools Board of Education Zone 2.
  4. In the Tulsa Public School District, Susan Lamkin and Tim Harris advanced to the general election for the District 7 seat.

Primaries in 19 other school districts covered by Ballotpedia were canceled after fewer than three candidates filed to run for each seat up for election. Twenty out of the 28 Oklahoma school board races covered by Ballotpedia this year, which represents 71% of these races, were not competitive enough to include a primary. In 2021, primaries were canceled in 30 out of 35 races (86%). In 2020, 24 out of 30 races (80%) had canceled primaries.

The 26 Oklahoma school boards covered by Ballotpedia served a total of 267,432 students during the 2017-2018 school year.

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Number of recall efforts soars to highest level since 2012

Ballotpedia tracked more recall efforts this year than any other year since we started compiling data on recalls in 2012. We identified 529 officials targeted for recall in 2021, compared to 301 in 2020 and 233 in 2019. The year with the second-most recalls was 2014 with 387 officials targeted for recall.

Despite the increase in recall efforts, there were fewer officials successfully removed from office in 2021 than any other year since 2012. Twenty-five recall efforts were successful in 2021, compared to 35 in 2020 and 38 in 2019. Meanwhile, 42 recalls were defeated in 2021, and 342 recalls did not qualify for the ballot.

For the first time since Ballotpedia began tracking, school board members drew more recall petitions than any other type of office. A total of 233 school board members faced recall campaigns, while city council members faced the second-most with 148. City council members drew the most recall petitions from 2014 to 2020. 

California led the way in officials targeted for recall with 129 in 2021. Arizona and Michigan followed with 51 officials each. From 2016 to 2020, California had the most officials targeted in four of the five years. When the number of recalls is adjusted for state population, Nebraska emerges as the recall leader in 2021 with 1.33 officials included in recall efforts per 100,000 residents. 

Ballotpedia closely followed several notable recalls in 2021. These include the recall election for California Governor Gavin Newsom (D), two recall efforts against San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, and the recall election for Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant. Our year-end report also highlights school board recalls in the Loudon County Public School District in Virginia, the Mequon-Thiensville School District in Wisconsin, and the San Francisco Unified School District in California.



Filing deadline approaches for two California State Assembly special elections

Candidates interested in running in special elections for California State Assembly Districts 17 and 49 have until Dec. 22 to file. The primary election for both races is scheduled for Feb. 15, and the general election is set for April 19.

California uses a top-two primary system, in which all candidates are listed on the same primary ballot. A candidate can win the special election outright by earning more than 50% of the vote in the primary. Otherwise, the top two vote-getters, regardless of their partisan affiliations, advance to the general election.

The special election in District 17 became necessary after David Chiu (D) was appointed as San Francisco City Attorney and was sworn in on Nov. 1. Chiu served from 2014 to 2021. Meanwhile, in District 49, the election was called after Edwin Chau (D) was appointed to the Superior Court of Los Angeles County and resigned on Dec. 10. Chau served from 2012 to 2021.

California has a Democratic trifecta, meaning that the Democratic Party controls the office of governor and both chambers of the state legislature. Democrats have a 58 to 19 majority in the state Assembly with one independent member and two vacancies.

As of December 2021, 15 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2022 in nine states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. California held 32 special elections from 2010 to 2020.



Jodi Nelson (R) defeats Mary Eisner (D) in New Hampshire House special election

A special general election was held for the Rockingham 6 District of the New Hampshire House of Representatives on Dec. 7. Jodi Nelson (R) defeated Mary Eisner (D), earning 58.8% of the vote to Eisner’s 41.2%.

Nelson earned 77.7% of the vote in the Republican primary held on Oct. 19, defeating Neil Wetherbee and Thomas Cardon. Eisner was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

The special election was called after Anne Copp (R) left office on Aug. 5 in order to move out of the district. Copp served from 2020 to 2021. She previously represented Merrimack 1 in the state House from 2016 to 2018.

As of December 2021, 66 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 21 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. New Hampshire held 29 special elections from 2010 to 2020.

New Hampshire has a Republican trifecta, meaning that the Republican Party controls the office of governor and both chambers of the state legislature. Republicans have a 206-188 majority in the state House with six vacancies.

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Special general election to be held Dec. 7 for New Hampshire House of Representatives Rockingham 6

The special general election for the Rockingham 6 District in the New Hampshire House of Representatives is on Dec. 7. Mary Eisner (D) and Jodi Nelson (R) are competing in the special election. 

Nelson advanced from the Republican primary on Oct. 19, earning 78% of the vote. Eisner was unopposed in the Democratic primary. The filing deadline to run passed Aug. 27.

The special election was called after Anne Copp (R) resigned on Aug. 5 in order to move out of the district. Copp represented Rockingham 6 in the state House from 2020 to 2021. She represented the Merrimack 1 District from 2016 to 2018.

As of December 2021, 66 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 21 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. New Hampshire held 29 special elections from 2010 to 2020.

New Hampshire has a Republican trifecta, meaning that the Republican Party controls the office of governor and both chambers of the state legislature. In the state House, Republicans have a 206-188 majority with six vacancies.



Hickman defeats Duong in Mississippi state Senate special runoff election

A special general runoff election was held for Mississippi state Senate District 32 on Nov. 23. Rod Hickman earned 59.8% of the vote, defeating Minh Duong, who earned 40.3%

State legislative special elections are nonpartisan in Mississippi, meaning that candidates’ party affiliations do not appear on the ballot. 

Hickman and Duong had advanced from the general election held on Nov. 2, where they were the top two finishers, defeating seven other candidates. A runoff was necessary because no one earned a majority of the vote during the general election.

The special election was called after Sampson Jackson (D) resigned on June 30. Jackson served from 1992 to 2021.

As of November 2021, 66 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 21 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Mississippi held 42 special elections from 2010 to 2020.

Mississippi is a Republican state government trifecta, meaning that the Republican Party controls the office of governor and both chambers of the state legislature. Republicans control the state Senate by a margin of 36 to 15, with one vacancy.



Filing deadline approaches for South Carolina State Senate special election

Candidates interested in running in the special election for South Carolina State Senate District 31 have until Dec. 11 to file. A primary election is scheduled for Jan. 25, and the general election is set for Mar. 29. If no candidate earns a majority of the vote in the primary, a primary runoff election will take place Feb. 8.

The special election was called after Hugh Leatherman (R) passed away on Nov. 12. Leatherman served from 1981 to 2021.

South Carolina has a Republican state government trifecta, meaning that the Republican Party controls the office of the governor and both chambers of the state legislature. Republicans have a 29-16 majority in the South Carolina State Senate with one vacancy.

As of November 2021, 10 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2022 in seven states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.

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Mississippi Senate District 32 special election advances to runoff

The special general runoff election for Mississippi State Senate District 32 is on Nov. 23. Rod Hickman and Minh Duong are competing in the runoff, after finishing in first and second place, respectively, at the general election on Nov. 2. 

Hickman and Duong defeated seven other candidates in the general election, earning 25.8% and 22.5% of the vote, respectively. A runoff was necessary because no candidate earned more than 50% of the vote.

State legislative special elections in Mississippi are nonpartisan, meaning that candidates’ party affiliations do not appear on the ballot.

The special election was called after Sampson Jackson (D) resigned from office effective June 30. Sampson assumed office in 1992.

Mississippi 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. Republicans control the state Senate by a margin of 36 to 14 with two vacancies.

As of November 2021, 66 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 21 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Mississippi held 42 special elections from 2010 to 2020.

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Mayor and city council races advance to runoffs in Columbia, S.C.

The general municipal election in Columbia, S.C., was held on Nov. 2. Candidates competed for mayor and three seats on the seven-seat city council. 

In the nonpartisan mayor’s race, Daniel Rickenmann and Tameika Isaac Devine advanced to a general runoff election, defeating Sam Johnson and Moe Baddourah. The runoff, scheduled for Nov. 16, is needed because no candidate earned more than 50% of the vote in the general election. 

In the race for the at-large city council seat, Aditi Bussells and Tyler Bailey advanced to a runoff, defeating five other candidates. In District 1, Tina Herbert defeated Christa Williams outright, earning 54% of the vote to Williams’ 45%. Joe Taylor won the District 4 race, in which he was unopposed.

Columbia is the capital of South Carolina. Ballotpedia covers elections for mayor, city council, and district attorney in all capital cities in the U.S.



Salt Lake City to use ranked-choice voting for the first time in November election

The general election for Salt Lake City, Utah, is on Nov. 2. The election will be the first time the city uses a ranked-choice voting system. After the Utah State Legislature gave cities the option to use ranked-choice voting, the Salt Lake City Council opted into the program in April 2021.

Candidates are competing for five seats on the seven-seat city council. Districts 1, 3, 5, and 7 are holding regular elections for a four-year term, while District 2 is holding a special election to fill a two-year term.

In a ranked-choice voting election, voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.

A primary election had originally been scheduled for Aug. 10 but was canceled when the city council voted to institute ranked-choice voting.

Salt Lake City is the capital of Utah. Ballotpedia covers elections for mayor, city council, and district attorney in all U.S. capitals.