Author

Tyler King

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

Mayor-endorsed candidates for Newark school board win election for ninth consecutive year

Three at-large seats on the Newark Public Schools school board in New Jersey were up for general election on April 16. Incumbent Tave Padilla, A’Dorian Murray-Thomas, and Shayvonne Anderson ran together on the Moving Newark Schools Forward slate and were endorsed by Mayor Ras Baraka. They won the 2019 election and were the only candidates to receive double-digit percentages of the vote. This marked the ninth consecutive election where a slate endorsed by the mayor won. The board is comprised entirely of members who were backed by Baraka.
 
Incumbent Leah Owens, Denise Cole, and Saafir Jenkins ran together on the Children Over Politics team. The other candidates in the race—Maggie Freeman, Priscilla Garces, Arlene Ramsey, Yolanda Johnson, and Denise Ann Crawford—ran as independents. The third incumbent, Deborah Kim Thompson-Gaddy, did not file for re-election.
 
The 2019 election was the second since local control was returned to the district by the New Jersey State Board of Education on September 13, 2017. The state originally took over the district in 1995. The change in 2017 gave control to the Newark Board of Education to make decisions about finances, operations, curriculum, and programs in the district.
 


Two candidates running in Honolulu City Council rematch

The city of Honolulu, Hawaii, is holding a special election for the District 4 seat of the city council on April 13. Trevor Ozawa and Tommy Waters are running in the special general election.
 
The special election was called after the results of the election on November 6, 2018, were invalidated by the Hawaii Supreme Court. The court found that mail-in votes were mishandled by election officials. Ozawa defeated Waters by a 22-vote margin in the November 2018 general election. The two candidates also faced off in 2014, with Ozawa winning by a 47-vote margin.
 
Honolulu is the largest city in Hawaii and the 53rd-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


Georgia to hold third consecutive election for state House seat after two cancellations

Both Florida and Georgia have state legislative special primaries on the ballot on April 9.
 
In Georgia, Chris Erwin and Dan Gasaway are running in a Republican primary for the state House’s District 28 seat. The special election will be the third contest between Gasaway and Erwin. The regularly scheduled primary on May 22, 2018, was deemed inconclusive due to ballot errors, so a new primary took place on December 4, 2018. The results of the December 2018 special election were also deemed inconclusive, so a judge ruled that another new election should be held.
 
Because the special primary election is being held to rectify the results of the original primary, and because no Democratic candidates filed to run in 2018, the winner of the April 9 primary will be declared the winner of the seat outright.
 
Gasaway held the seat from 2013 to 2019. After Erwin was declared the winner of the special primary in December 2018, he was sworn in on January 14. On February 8, a judge determined that Erwin was no longer a member of the state House.
 
In Florida, special primaries are being held on April 9 for three state House seats. General elections will take place on June 18.
  • In District 7, Lynda Bell, Virginia Fuller, Jason Shoaf, and Mike Watkins are running in the Republican primary. Ryan Terrell is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. The seat became vacant after Halsey Beshears (R) resigned on January 11, 2019, to become the Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
  • In District 38, Randy Maggard and David McCallister are running in the Republican primary. Kelly Smith is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. The seat became vacant after Daniel Burgess (R) was appointed as the Executive Director of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs on January 24, 2019.
  • In District 97, Dan Daley is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. No Republican candidates filed to run for election. The seat became vacant after Jared Moskowitz (D) resigned in January 2019 to become the Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
In 2019, there have been 52 state legislative special elections scheduled or held so far in 20 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 


Louisiana holding three state House special elections on Saturday

Special general elections are being held for three seats in the Louisiana House of Representatives on March 30.
  • In District 17, Rodney McFarland Sr. (D) and Pat Moore (D) are facing off. The seat became vacant after Marcus Hunter (D) was elected to serve as a judge on the Fourth Judicial District. Hunter had represented District 17 beginning in 2012. He won re-election in 2015, winning outright in the primary with 62.0 percent of the vote.
  • In District 18, Jeremy LaCombe (D) and Tammi Fabre (R) are facing off. The seat became vacant after Major Thibaut (D) won election to serve as the president of Pointe Coupee Parish. Thibaut had represented District 18 beginning in 2008. He ran unopposed in his re-election campaigns in 2011 and 2015.
  • In District 62, Dennis Aucoin (R) and Roy Adams (I) are facing off. The seat became vacant after Kenny Havard (R) won election to serve as president of West Feliciana Parish. Havard had represented District 62 beginning in 2012. He won re-election in 2015, winning outright in the primary with 60.6 percent of the vote.
Special primary elections were also held on February 23 in District 12, District 26, District 27, and District 47. Each of those districts were won outright in the primary. In Louisiana, all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, face off in the primary election. If a candidate receives at least 50 percent of the vote in the primary election, he or she wins outright. If no candidate reaches that threshold, a general election is held between the top two vote recipients.
 
Prior to these special general elections, the Louisiana House of Representatives has 37 Democrats, 62 Republicans, three independents, and three vacancies. Louisiana 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.
 
In 2019, there have been 51 state legislative special elections scheduled or held so far in 19 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.


Judge rules in favor of Fall River election certification

On March 12, an effort in Fall River, Massachusetts, to recall Mayor Jasiel Correia II was approved. On the same night, Correia was elected to serve as mayor again on a separate ballot.
 
Following the election, a group of 10 voters involved in the recall process filed a lawsuit seeking to block the certification of the results. The lawsuit alleged that the city charter approved in 2017 should have prohibited Correia from running for re-election as a part of the recall vote. On March 22, New Bedford Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Perrino ruled against the lawsuit. He said, “while the 2017 charter no longer expressly permits the officeholder who is the subject of a recall from also being a candidate, the plaintiff has not shown that the 2017 charter expressly excludes a recalled candidate from succeeding himself.”
 
On the first portion of the ballot, Correia was recalled with 7,829 votes cast in favor of the recall and 4,911 votes cast in opposition to the recall. The second portion of the ballot allowed voters to choose who should serve as mayor if the recall vote succeeded. Correia received more votes than his four opponents, allowing him to retain his position. He won by a plurality with 4,808 (35.4%) of the total votes cast. Runner-up Paul Coogan received 4,567 votes (33.6%), Joe Camara received 1,971 votes (14.5%), Kyle Riley received 1,460 votes (10.8%), and Erica Scott-Pacheo received 740 votes (5.5%).
 
Petitioners began the recall process after Correia was arrested on October 11, 2018, on 13 charges of wire and tax fraud related to his company SnoOwl. In a press conference following the indictment, Correia said he was innocent of the charges and that he would not resign from office. He said the voters of Fall River should let him continue to serve or recall him.
 


Two city officials competing in Minnesota House special

The special election for District 11B of the Minnesota House of Representatives is on March 19. Hinckley City Councilman Tim Burkhardt (D) and Clover Township Board Supervisor Nathan Nelson (R) are facing off in the general election.

The seat became vacant after Jason Rarick (R) won a special election for District 11 of the Minnesota State Senate on February 5. Rarick had represented District 11B of the state House since 2015. He was re-elected in 2018 with 59.7 percent of the vote in the general election.

The Minnesota House of Representatives currently has 75 Democrats, 58 Republicans, and one vacancy. 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.



Special primary held for Tennessee Senate district

A special primary for District 22 of the Tennessee State Senate was held on March 7. Bill Powers earned 37.3 percent of the vote in the Republican primary, defeating Jeff Burkhart, Betty Burchett, and Jason Knight. Juanita Charles ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. Independent candidates Doyle Clark and David Cutting will join Charles and Powers in the general election on April 23.
 
The seat became vacant 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. Green had represented District 22 since 2012. He last won re-election in 2016 with 67 percent of the vote in the general election.
 
Entering the special election, the Tennessee State Senate has 5 Democrats, 26 Republicans, one independent, and one vacancy. 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.


Republicans ahead in early 2019 state legislative special elections

Special elections have been held for 14 state legislative seats so far in 2019. Ten of those seats were in districts vacated by Democrats, and the other four seats were previously held by Republicans. As of the start of March, three seats had flipped from Democratic control to Republican control.
 
On February 5, Jason Rarick (R) defeated Stu Lourey (DFL) and Legal Marijuana Now candidate John Birrenbach in the special election for Minnesota State Senate District 11. The seat was previously held by Tony Lourey (D), who resigned to take a position as state human services commissioner. Rarick’s win gave Republicans a three-seat majority in the state Senate.
 
On February 26, Gennaro Bizzarro (R) defeated Rick Lopes (D) in the special election for Connecticut State Senate District 6. On the same day, Joseph Zullo (R) defeated Josh Balter (D) in the special election for Connecticut House of Representatives District 99. Both seats were vacated by Democrats who joined Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) administration.
 
Another 30 state legislative special elections are currently scheduled to be held in 2019. Seventeen of those seats were vacated by Democrats, and 13 seats were vacated by Republicans. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year; the average in odd-numbered years is 91. Democrats and Republicans each netted more seats than the other party in four of the eight years. Democrats gained eight seats in 2018 and 11 seats in 2017.


Republicans gain two seats in Connecticut state legislative special elections

Special elections were held for Districts 3, 5, and 6 of the Connecticut State Senate and Districts 39 and 99 of the Connecticut House of Representatives on February 26. All five seats were vacated by Democrats who joined Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) administration.
 
In Senate District 6, Gennaro Bizzarro (R) defeated state Rep. Rick Lopes (D) with 53.0 percent of the vote. The former incumbent in District 6, Terry Gerrantana (D), had won re-election in 2018 and 2016 with 62.6 and 64.6 percent of the vote, respectively.
 
In House District 99, Joseph Zullo (R) defeated Josh Balter (D) with 54.1 percent of the vote. James Albis (D) represented the district prior to his resignation in January. He had won re-election in 2018 and 2016 with 58.2 and 50.05 percent of the vote, respectively.
 
Democrats Saud Anwar, Derek Slap, and Anthony Nolan won Senate Districts 3 and 5 and House District 39, respectively, which kept the three seats under Democratic control. Overall, the special elections resulted in a net gain of one Republican seat in each chamber of the legislature.
 
After Tuesday’s special elections, the partisan balance of the Connecticut State Senate now stands at 22 Democrats and 14 Republicans. The Connecticut House of Representatives now has 91 Democrats and 60 Republicans. Connecticut 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.


One Democrat and six Republicans file for Minnesota House special election

The candidate filing deadline for the special election in District 11B of the Minnesota House of Representatives passed on February 19. Tim Burkhardt was the only Democratic candidate to file, but Michael Cummins, Ayrlahn Johnson, Traci LeBrun, Nathan Nelson, Carl Pederson, and Joe Wolf will face off in the Republican primary on March 5. The general election will take place on March 19.
 
The seat became vacant after Jason Rarick (R) won a special election for District 11 of the Minnesota State Senate on February 5. Rarick had represented District 11B of the state House since 2015. He was re-elected in 2018 with 59.7 percent of the vote in the general election.
 
The Minnesota House of Representatives currently has 75 Democrats, 58 Republicans, and one vacancy. 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.


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