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Megan Feeney

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

Seven candidates running in special primary election for California Senate District 30

The special primary election for California Senate District 30 is on March 2, 2021. Seven candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for May 4. The filing deadline to run passed on January 7.

California holds top-two primary elections. The two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.

The special election was called after Holly Mitchell (D) left office to become the District 2 representative on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Mitchell represented District 30 in the state Senate from 2013 to 2020.

California has a Democratic state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Democrats control the California State Senate by a margin of 30-9, with one vacancy. 

As of February 2021, 26 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year. California held 32 special elections from 2010 to 2020.

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Special election approaches Feb. 23 in New York City Council District 31

The special general election for New York City Council District 31 is on February 23, 2021. Nine candidates are competing in the special election. The filing deadline to run passed on December 16, 2020. 

The special election was called when Donovan Richards left office after he was elected Queens Borough President in November. Richards served on the city council from 2013 to 2020.

The February 23 election will be the second election in New York City to use a ranked-choice voting system. In 2019, New Yorkers passed a ballot measure that instituted ranked-choice voting in special elections to local offices.

In ranked-choice voting, 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. 

Ranked-choice voting in New York City is the subject of an ongoing court challenge. On December 16, 2020, a state trial court declined to block the implementation of ranked-choice voting, but the decision is being appealed.  

The New York City Council consists of 51 members. New York is the largest city by population in the U.S.

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Filing deadline approaches for Texas school board elections

The filing deadline to run for school board in 57 Texas districts is on February 12, 2021. The general election is scheduled for May 1, 2021. 

If no candidate wins the majority of the vote in the general election, the top two vote-getters will advance to a runoff election. The date of the runoff election varies by school district.

Some school boards in Texas hold elections in November. Six school districts covered by Ballotpedia will have general elections on November 2, 2021.

During the 2016-2017 school year, 1,955,339 students were enrolled in the 57 districts holding elections in May.

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Dickey defeats Stewart in Iowa Senate District 41 special election

A special general election was held for Iowa State Senate District 41 on January 26, 2021. Adrian Dickey (R) won the special election with 55.3% of the vote and defeated Mary Stewart (D).

The special election was called after Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) resigned effective January 2 to be seated in the U.S. House of Representatives. Miller-Meeks served from 2019 to 2021. Dickey will fill the remaining two years in Miller-Meeks’ term. 

As of January, 24 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year. Iowa held 22 special elections from 2010 to 2020.

Iowa 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 Iowa State Senate by a margin of 32-18.

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Filing deadline approaches in Massachusetts state House special election

Candidates interested in running in the special election for Massachusetts House of Representatives Nineteenth Suffolk District have until January 26, 2021, to file. The primary is scheduled for March 2, and the general election is set for March 30. 

The special election was called after Robert DeLeo (D) resigned on December 29 to seek a position at Northeastern University. DeLeo served from 1991 to 2020.

As of January 2021, 23 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year. Massachusetts held 45 special elections from 2010 to 2020.

Massachusetts has a divided government, meaning that no political party holds a state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Democrats control the state Senate by a 37-3 margin and the state House by a 128-30 margin with one independent member and one vacancy. Charlie Baker, the governor of Massachusetts, is a Republican.

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Filing deadline approaches in New York City Council special elections

Candidates interested in running in the special elections for New York City Council Districts 11 and 15 have until January 19, 2021, to file. The general election is scheduled for March 23.

The special election in District 11 was called after Andrew Cohen (D) won the November election for New York Supreme Court 12th Judicial District. Cohen served on the council from 2013 to 2021. 

In District 15, the special election was called when Ritchie Torres (D) was elected to represent New York’s 15th Congressional District in the U.S. House. Torres served from 2013 to 2021.

In 2019, New Yorkers passed a ballot measure that instituted ranked-choice voting in special elections to local offices. In ranked-choice voting, 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. 

Ranked-choice voting in New York City is the subject of an ongoing court challenge. On December 16, 2020, a state trial court declined to block the implementation of ranked-choice voting in a February city council special election. The decision is currently being appealed.  

The New York City Council consists of 51 members. New York is the largest city by population in the U.S.

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U.S. Supreme Court releases argument calendar for February, March

The U.S. Supreme Court has released its argument calendar for February and March of the 2020-2021 term. The court will hear eight hours of oral argument in eight cases between February 22 and March 3.

So far, the court has agreed to hear 48 cases during its 2020-2021 term.

February 22, 2021

  • Trump v. Sierra Club
  • Florida v. Georgia

February 23, 2021

  • Barr v. Dai (Consolidated with Barr v. Alcaraz-Enriquez)

February 24, 2021

  • Lange v. California

March 1, 2021

  • Wolf v. Innovation Law Lab
  • United States v. Arthrex Inc. (Consolidated with Smith & Nephew Inc. v. Arthrex Inc. and Arthrex Inc. v. Smith & Nephew Inc.)

March 2, 2021

  • Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee (Consolidated with Arizona Republican Party v. Democratic National Committee)

March 3, 2021

  • Carr v. Saul (Consolidated with Davis v. Saul)

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California State Senate special election filing deadline is Jan. 7, 2021

Candidates interested in running in the special election for California State Senate District 30 have until January 7, 2021, to file. The primary is scheduled for March 2, and the general election is set for May 4.

The special election was called after Holly Mitchell (D) left office when she was elected to represent District 2 on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Mitchell served in the state Senate from 2013 to 2020.

As of December 2020, 11 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in eight states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year. California held 31 state legislative special elections from 2010 to 2019.

Entering 2021, the California State Senate has 30 Democrats, nine Republicans, and one vacancy. A majority in the chamber requires 21 seats. California has a Democratic state government trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. 

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Guajardo defeats McComb in Corpus Christi, Texas, mayoral runoff

The general runoff election in Corpus Christi, Texas, was held on December 15, 2020. In the nonpartisan mayoral race, Paulette Guajardo defeated incumbent Joe McComb, earning 56% of the vote to McComb’s 44%.

The general election in Corpus Christi was held on November 3. If no candidate earned a majority of the vote in the general election, the top two vote-getters advanced to a runoff.

Corpus Christi also held runoffs for two city council seats. Billy Lerma won the District 1 race, earning 56% of the vote and defeating Rachel Ann Caballero. In the District 4 race, incumbent Greg Smith won re-election, defeating Kaylynn Paxson by a margin of 63% to 37%. City council elections in Corpus Christi are nonpartisan.

Corpus Christi is the eighth-largest city in Texas by population and the 59th-largest in the United States.

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Georgia governor appoints LaGrua to state supreme court

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Shawn LaGrua to the Georgia Supreme Court on December 1, 2020. LaGrua succeeded Justice Keith Blackwell, who retired on November 18, 2020. LaGrua is Kemp’s second nominee to the nine-member supreme court.

Under Georgia law, state supreme court justices are selected through nonpartisan elections. Justices serve six-year terms. Vacancies on the court are filled through the assisted appointment method. The governor chooses an appointee from a list of candidates submitted by the judicial nominating commission. 

Before her appointment to the state supreme court, LaGrua was a judge for the Atlanta Judicial Circuit of Georgia’s 5th Superior Court District. She joined the court in 2010. Before that, she was the inspector general for the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

LaGrua earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Georgia in 1984, and received her J.D. from Georgia State University College of Law in 1987.

The Georgia Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort. As of December 10, 2020, eight judges on the court were appointed by a Republican governor, no judges were appointed by a Democratic governor, and one judge was elected.

In 2020, there have been 23 supreme court vacancies in 16 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. One vacancy occurred when a chief justice died, another occurred when a justice was not retained, and 21 vacancies were caused by retirements.

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