Author

Tyler King

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

Five Democrats competing in Arkansas House special primary

A special primary for District 36 of the Arkansas House of Representatives is scheduled on August 6. Denise Ennett, Philip Hood, Darrell Stephens, Roderick Talley, and Russell Williams III are running in the Democratic primary. No Republican candidates filed for the election. A primary runoff will take place on September 3 if no candidate receives more than 50% of the primary vote. The general election is on November 5.
 
The seat became vacant when Charles Blake (D) resigned his seat on May 16 to take a job as chief of staff to the mayor of Little Rock. Blake had served in the state House since 2015.
 
Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 76-23 majority in the state House with one vacancy. Arkansas 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 August, 70 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 24 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 


Six candidates running in Republican primary for South Carolina House district

A primary is being held in District 84 of the South Carolina House of Representatives on July 30. Republicans Cody Anderson, Danny Feagin, Ralph Gunter, Melissa Oremus, Alvin Padgett, and Sean Pumphrey are running in the primary. No Democratic candidates filed to run. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a primary runoff will be held on August 13. The special general election was scheduled for October 1.
 
District 84 became vacant after Ronnie Young (R) passed away on May 19, 2019. Young had served in the state House since 2017. He won re-election in 2018 with 65% of the vote in the general election.
 
Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 78-44 majority in the state House with two vacancies. A special election in District 19 of the state House is scheduled for August 20. South Carolina 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 July, 66 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 24 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 


City council member recalled in Merrill, Wisconsin

In Merrill, Wisconsin, Council President Rob Norton and Aldermen Paul Russell, Tim Meehean, John Van Lieshout, and Dave Sukow were up for recall on July 16. Four of the five officials retained their positions, but Tim Meehean was successfully recalled.
 
  • In District 1, Alderman Paul Russell defeated Becky Meyer with 62% of the vote.
  • In District 5, Alderman John Van Lieshout defeated Shannon Collins with 52% of the vote.
  • In District 6, Alderman Dave Sukow faced no opposition.
  • In District 7, Council President Rob Norton defeated Eric Dayton with 56% of the vote.
  • In District 8, Alderman Tim Meehean was defeated by Steve Sabatke, who received 56% of the vote.
 
The recall effort was organized by Merrill resident Mark Bares in response to a property tax increase. Petition language was shared across all five petitions. The following language is quoted verbatim from the statement of intent against Norton:
 
  • “Repeated failure to protect the best interests of the constituents in light of mismanagement, misinformation, and possible illegal activities of administration and the council.”
  • “Willfully ignored and took no action to correct errors by city staff which more than doubled the budget effect on personal property taxes.”
  • “Failure to take action to end violations of open meetings laws including, but not limited to walking quorums un-posted meetings, committee meetings held with other council members present and allowed to participate, and repeated violations of state closed meeting statutes.”
  • “Willfully ignored the direct legislation referendum passed by the voters, in 2016, resulting in the elimination / curtailing of a duly elected position.”
  • “Failure to follow city ordinances as to the acquisition / purchase of property.”
  • “Failure to oversee city staff and failure to listen to the taxpayers of the district.”
 
The number of valid signatures required for a recall election in Merrill is 25% of the number of people who voted in the last election for the office of governor within the electoral district of the officer targeted for recall. This meant that about 130 valid signatures were needed for each official. The petition against Paul Russell was initially found insufficient due to errors in the signature-gathering process, but petitioners successfully corrected the issue in the five-day window afforded to them.
 
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.
 
 


City Councilwoman Dolores Martinez recalled in Humboldt, Nebraska

Voters in Humboldt, Nebraska, voted to recall City Councilwoman Dolores Martinez on July 9. There were 93 votes cast in favor of recalling Martinez and 55 votes against the recall.
 
The recall effort began in April 2019. Recall organizer Jamie Lynne Dorney accused Martinez of failing to act in the best interest of the city and having acted unprofessionally and unethically. In her statement of defense, Martinez called the accusations ambiguous and unverified. Martinez had represented Ward 1 of the city council since 2017.
 
Petitioners were required to submit 56 valid signatures to put the recall on the ballot. Richardson County Clerk Mary Eickhoff verified 78 of the 81 signatures collected.
 
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.
 


Five city council members facing recalls in Merrill, Wisconsin

Five members of the Merrill City Council in Wisconsin are on the ballot in a recall election set for July 16.
  • In District 1, Alderman Paul Russell is facing Becky Meyer.
  • In District 2, Alderman John Van Lieshout is facing Shannon Collins.
  • In District 6, Alderman Dave Sukow is running unopposed.
  • In District 7, Council President Rob Norton is facing Eric Dayton.
  • In District 8, Alderman Tim Meehean is facing Steve Sabatke.
Votes can be cast for write-in candidates. In the event that no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, a runoff election will be held on August 13, 2019.
 
The recall effort was organized by Merrill resident Mark Bares in response to a property tax increase. Petition language was shared across all five petitions, and the following petition language is quoted verbatim from the statement of intent against Norton:
  • “Repeated failure to protect the best interests of the constituents in light of mismanagement, misinformation, and possible illegal activities of administration and the council.”
  • “Willfully ignored and took no action to correct errors by city staff which more than doubled the budget effect on personal property taxes.”
  • “Failure to take action to end violations of open meetings laws including, but not limited to walking quorums un-posted meetings, committee meetings held with other council members present and allowed to participate, and repeated violations of state closed meeting statutes.”
  • “Willfully ignored the direct legislation referendum passed by the voters, in 2016, resulting in the elimination / curtailing of a duly elected position.”
  • “Failure to follow city ordinances as to the acquisition / purchase of property.”
  • “Failure to oversee city staff and failure to listen to the taxpayers of the district.”
The number of valid signatures required for this recall election to take place was 25% of the number of persons who voted in the last election for the office of governor within the electoral district of the officer sought to be recalled. This meant that about 130 valid signatures were needed for each official. The petition against Paul Russell was initially found insufficient due to errors in the signature-gathering process, but petitioners successfully corrected the issue in the five-day window afforded to them.
 
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.
 


Councilwoman facing recall vote in Nebraska

Voters in Humboldt, Nebraska, are currently submitting ballots in a recall election of City Councilwoman Dolores Martinez. The election is being held with vote-by-mail ballots, and voters have until July 9 to submit their ballot to the Richardson County Clerk. Ballots were sent out to voters on June 17.
 
The recall effort began in April 2019. Recall organizer Jamie Lynne Dorney accused Martinez of failing to act in the best interest of the city and having acted unprofessionally and unethically. In her statement of defense, Martinez called the accusations ambiguous and unverified.
 
Petitioners were required to submit 56 valid signatures to put the recall on the ballot. Richardson County Clerk Mary Eickhoff verified 78 of the 81 signatures collected.
 
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.
 


Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti targeted for recall

An effort is underway to recall Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. The recall is being organized by Alexandra Datig in response to homelessness in Los Angeles. A notice of intent to recall was submitted on June 19, and it accused Garcetti of failing to adequately address the issue of homelessness. The notice cites a report by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority issued on June 5 that says there are more than 36,000 homeless people in the city, an increase of 16% over the last year.
 
Garcetti issued a statement on homelessness in Los Angeles on June 11, in which he took responsibility for the issue and detailed his plans to address the problem. A campaign consultant for Garcetti responded to the recall effort and dismissed it as a political game.
 
The Los Angeles city charter establishes a signature requirement equal to 15% of the registered voters in the city to put a recall on the ballot. Organizers in the recall effort against Garcetti are trying to reach 350,000 signatures.
 
Los Angeles is the largest city in California and the second-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
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.
 


School board election comes down to four votes in El Paso, Texas

In El Paso, Texas, unofficial election night vote totals on June 15 showed Joshua Acevedo leading Rene Vargas with 578 votes to Vargas’ 574 votes. The two candidates competed in a general election runoff for the District 3 seat of the El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees. Vargas had not made a decision about whether to challenge the results as of Saturday night.
 
The District 6 seat went to a runoff as well, with Fareed Khlayel winning with 72.4% of the vote. The elections in District 2 and District 7 were decided during the May 4 general election.
 
The El Paso Independent School District serves about 60,000 students.
 


Maine House special election on June 11 to fill Denno vacancy

A special election is on the June 11 ballot for District 45 of the Maine House of Representatives. Stephen Moriarty (D) and Kevin Hughes (R) are running in the general election. Moriarty recently retired as an attorney, and he served one term in the state House from 2012 to 2014. Hughes runs a family-owned embroidery and screen printing business.
 
The seat became vacant when Dale Denno (D) resigned on March 27 for health reasons. Denno had served in the state House since 2016. He won re-election in 2018 with 65% of the vote in the general election.
 
As of June, 59 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 23 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 
Heading into the election, Democrats have an 88-56 majority in the state House with one vacancy. There are six independent members in the chamber. Maine 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.
 


Two California Senate special elections on the ballot June 4

Special elections for two California State Senate seats are on the June 4 ballot:
  • In District 1, Republicans Brian Dahle and Kevin Kiley are facing off in the general election. Dahle and Kiley earned 29.4% and 28.4% of the vote, respectively, in the March 26 primary ahead of four other candidates. The seat became vacant after Ted Gaines (R) was elected to represent District 1 of the California State Board of Equalization. Gaines had represented District 1 in the state Senate since 2011. He last won re-election in 2016 with 64.0% of the vote in the general election.
  • In District 33, Lena Gonzalez (D) and Jack Guerrero (R) are facing off in the general election. Gonzalez and Guerrero earned 31.6% and 14.2% of the vote in the March 26 primary, respectively, ahead of 10 other candidates. The seat became vacant after Ricardo Lara (D) was elected to serve as the insurance commissioner of California. Lara had represented District 33 since 2012. He last won re-election in 2016 with 78.7% of the vote in the general election.
Heading into the elections, Democrats have a 28-10 majority in the state Senate with two vacancies. 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.
 
As of June, 58 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 23 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 


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