Author

Tyler King

Tyler King is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at tyler.king@ballotpedia.org

Colorado recall election moves forward

In Colorado, the Idaho Springs City Council has voted to schedule the recall election against Mayor Mike Hillman on April 7. The deadline for candidates to file to run against Hillman is February 3.

The recall effort, organized by residents Amanda Kowalewski, Janet Diederichs, and Candace Voisard, was initiated in November 2019. Recall petitions included the following language explaining the allegations against Hillman:

  • “Significant erosion of public confidence in city government during Hillman’s administration;
  • Failure to adequately supervise planning staff, and, by failing to do so, allowing decisions to be made at staff level without public input or review that profoundly impact the property rights and quality of life of Idaho Springs residents; and
  • Allowing unresolved conflicts of interest by City Council members to occur.”

Hillman responded to the recall effort, saying the petitioners were unhappy with residential development in Idaho Springs. He added, “I have poured out my life for the job. They are trying to bring down the (city) council and trying to bring me down. They are trying to break down our community.”

The number of valid signatures required to force a recall election is 25 percent of the votes cast in the last election for the official being recalled. Petitioners were required to submit 77 valid signatures to put the recall on the ballot. There were 150 signatures submitted for verification on December 6. On January 13, after the signatures were verified, the Idaho Springs City Council voted to have the recall election take place on April 7.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:
Laws governing recall in Colorado
Political recall efforts, 2020



Recall election moves forward in McKinney, Texas

Signatures have been verified in the recall effort against Councilman La’Shadion Shemwell in McKinney, Texas. The city secretary found 3,062 signatures valid, and petitioners needed 2,127 valid signatures to put the recall on the ballot. The election is expected to be held in May 2020.

Recall proponents accused Shemwell of failing to uphold his oath of office, violating the city charter, violating the city ethics code, missing meetings and events, making inflammatory statements about residents and city staff, and getting arrested during his tenure on the city council.

Shemwell responded to the verification of the petition signatures and said, “Not going to happen. I’m going to fight with every breath in my body, and I’m going to see you in court.”

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:
Laws governing recall in Texas
Political recall efforts, 2020



Republican wins Tennessee House special election

A special general election was held for District 77 of the Tennessee House of Representatives on December 19, 2019. Rusty Grills (R) won the special election with 3,344 votes and defeated Michael Smith (D), Max Smith (I), Ronnie Henley (I), and Billy Jones (I).

The primary was held on November 5, 2019. The filing deadline passed on September 26, 2019.

The special election was called after Bill Sanderson (R) resigned his seat on July 24, 2019, citing family and business demands. Casey Hood (R) was appointed as an interim representative by the Obion County Commission, serving until the special election was held for a permanent representative. Hood was defeated by Grills in the Republican primary.

Republicans have a 73-26 majority in the Tennessee House of Representatives. Tennessee 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.

As of November, 77 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 24 states this year. Eighteen special elections have been scheduled for 2020 in 11 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

Click here to learn more.



Filing period closes for Minnesota state House special elections

The filing deadline passed on December 10 for special elections in District 30A and District 60A of the Minnesota House of Representatives. The primary is on January 14, and the general election is on February 4.
  1. In District 30A, Chad Hobot and Michelle Rockhill are running in the Democratic primary. Paul Novotny and Kathy Ziebarth filed to run in the Republican primary. The District 30A seat became vacant on December 6 after Nick Zerwas (R) resigned his seat due to medical reasons.
  2. In District 60A, Amal Ibrahim, Jessica Intermill, Mohamed Issa Barre, Sydney Jordan, Piyali Nath Dalal, Sonia Neculescu, Aaron Neumann, Aswar Rahman, Saciido Shaie, Zachary Wefel, and Susan Whitaker are running in the Democratic primary. No Republican candidates filed to run for election. The District 60A seat became vacant on November 16 after Diane Loeffler (D) passed away.

Heading into the election, Democrats have a 74-58 majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives with two vacancies. Minnesota has a divided government, and 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.

As of November, 77 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 24 states this year. Thirteen special elections have been scheduled for 2020 in nine states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:


Special election runoff held in Georgia House district

A special general election runoff was held for District 152 of the Georgia House of Representatives on December 3, 2019. Bill Yearta (R) won the special election with 3,419 votes and defeated Jim Quinn (R).
 
The general election was held on November 5, 2019. The filing deadline passed on September 18, 2019.
 
The special election was called after Ed Rynders (R) resigned his seat on September 5, 2019, citing health concerns. Rynders served from 2003 to 2019.
 
Republicans now have a 104-75 majority in the Georgia House of Representatives with one vacancy. Georgia 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.
 
As of December, 77 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 24 states this year. Eleven special elections have been scheduled for 2020 in five states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 


Candidates chosen for Kentucky State Senate special election

In Kentucky State Senate District 38, party county executive committees have chosen Andrew Bailey (D) and Mike Nemes (R) to run in the special election on January 14.
 
The seat became vacant when Dan Seum (R) resigned on November 16. Seum had represented the district since 1995. He last won re-election in 2018 with 67.9% of the vote.
 
Heading into the election, Republicans have a 28-9 majority in the Kentucky State Senate with one vacancy. Kentucky 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.
 
As of November, 77 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 24 states this year. Six special elections have been scheduled for 2020 in five states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 
Additional reading:


County supervisor survives recall vote in Wisconsin

Roy Englebert retained his District 3 seat on the Door County Board of Supervisors after winning a recall election on November 19. Englebert won the recall with 53.8% of the vote, defeating Lora Jorgensen and Jason Tlachac.
 
The recall effort was started by a group called Friends of the Forestville Dam. The group did not agree with the board of supervisors’ approving a plan to draw down the Forestville Dam Mill Pond. The plan was approved in order to dry out contaminated sediment and improve water quality, according to the Door County Daily News. Recall supporters said that drawing down the pond would harm fish stocks and the aesthetic quality of the pond. Recall supporters said they preferred a plan to dredge the pond, but county officials said that the plan was too expensive. Englebert voted in favor of drawing down the pond.
 
This was the second effort to recall Englebert this year. The first effort, which also targeted District 2 representative John Neinas, failed to go to the ballot after the recall petitions submitted to the county were deemed insufficient.
 
The Door County Board of Supervisors has 21 members. Neinas’ term is up for election in April 2020. He said he did not intend to run for re-election.
 
In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.
 
 


Trustee recall elections set in Colorado

In Colorado, two candidates have filed to run in the December 17 recall elections targeting a pair of Elizabeth Board of Trustees members, June Jurczewsky and Rachel White. Ron Weaver is challenging Jurczewsky, and Jason Weiss is running against White.
 
Mayor Megan Vasquez and Trustees Angela Ternus, Steve Gaither, Loren Einspahr, and Tammy Payne are also up for a recall vote in April 2020. The difference in election dates is due to a requirement that officials serve in their position for six months before a recall election can be held against them.
 
The recall effort is organized by Dwayne Snader, who initiated the process after an August 21 town meeting focused on a proposed plan for the growth in the town. Snader said the meeting was “a one-way conversation. We had no say-so, and there was no public comment period. They presented their ideas for growth, which included subdivisions and a rebuild of the downtown area, and we’re just supposed to watch our land disappear.”
 
Vasquez commented on the issue surrounding the recall effort. She said, “I can relate to how they’re upset right now. I also feel like there’s a lot of misinformation out there and that does tend to stir the pot. People believe that the Town is going to come and take their property in essence – which we have no intention.”
 
Petitions against all seven officials were approved for circulation on August 26, 2019. Recall organizers were given 60 days to submit signatures equal to 25 percent of the votes cast in the last election for the official being recalled. This meant that petitioners were required to submit 53 valid signatures for Vasquez and between 33 and 36 signatures for each member of the town board.
 
In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.
 
Additional reading:
 


Texas mayor facing recall election

Early voting has begun in the recall election targeting Mayor Daisy Lee Valdez in Rio Bravo, Texas. Early voting lasts until November 1. The recall election is being held on November 5.
 
Petitioners began gathering signatures for the recall in July 2019. They accused Valdez of taking $5,000 from the city to purchase gift cards. Valdez responded that the gift cards were used in order to pay for a road’s repair. She said the municipal government used Walmart gift cards for this payment because the city does not have an official debit card.
 
In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.
 


Mayor resigns ahead of recall vote in Lexington, Oregon

In Lexington, Oregon, Mayor Marcia Kemp has resigned from her position ahead of a recall election scheduled for October 22. The resignation was effective on October 10.
 
The recall effort against Kemp was organized in response to a nine-day government shutdown in Lexington beginning on July 1. The shutdown occurred a result of three of the four city councilors missing a budget hearing two days before the end of the fiscal year. Kemp was accused by the three missing councilors of not sending them reminders about the meeting in order to make them look bad. Kemp disputed that claim, saying the three members didn’t show up so as to make her look bad.
 
In her letter of resignation, Kemp stated, “Many in our town have been working hard applying for grants and established partnerships to help us make Lexington great with a bright future. As much as I would like to pursue improving the Town of Lexington, the council has prevented me fulfilling my duties, so it is time to step aside and resign effective immediately. However, I will continue to be an active community member and on a positive note, I have been recruited to help other communities and organizations with their goals and missions and look forward to contributing my time and effort.”
 
In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.
 


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