Incumbent Jean Stothert (R) defeated RJ Neary (D) in the nonpartisan mayoral general election in Omaha, Nebraska, Tuesday, winning election to a third term.
Unofficial results showed Stothert received 67% of the vote to Neary’s 33% at the time of his concession.
Stothert described her campaign for re-election as an effort to continue projects that had begun during her tenure such as the development of the city’s waterfront spaces along the Missouri River. Stothert also emphasized her expansion of the city’s police force and the passage of a bond package to fund road repairs.
Neary, a commercial real estate developer and former member of the Omaha Planning Board, called Omaha “a great city but one that struggles with racial inequities,” adding that he “envisions a more equal Omaha, with more and better affordable housing, and a more sustainable transportation system.”
Stothert is one of 25 Republican mayors among the country’s 100 largest cities. She was first elected in 2013 after defeating incumbent Jim Suttle (D) 57% to 43% and won re-election to a second term in 2017 with 53% of the vote.
If Stothert serves a full four-year term as mayor, she will become the longest-serving mayor in Omaha’s history. No mayor has served for more than nine consecutive years. Stothert has already served eight years as mayor.
The outcome of the Anchorage, Alaska, mayoral election remains unclear after preliminary results posted by the city showed Forrest Dunbar leading Dave Bronson with 50.8% of the vote. As of the posting, at least 6,600 ballots had not yet been counted, and mail-in ballots continued to arrive. Mail-in ballots postmarked no later than election day, May 11, will continue to be counted if they arrive by May 21. Overseas ballots must arrive by May 25.
Based on the over 78,000 ballots received so far, the voter turnout rate is at 30.5% of registered voters and already exceeds the 75,441 votes cast in the April 6 general election. The city’s highest recorded voter turnout was in the 2018 mayoral election in which 36.3% of registered voters cast 79,295 votes. If the race remains within the current margins, the city will conduct a recount. The candidates are currently separated by 0.16% of the vote, and Anchorage municipal code stipulates that an automatic recount be conducted for city elections in which a candidate wins by less than 0.5%.
Two Idaho school districts are holding recall elections for two school board members on May 18. In Idaho Falls School District 91, voters will be asked if they want to recall Zone 3 representative Lara Hill, and in the Nampa School District, they will be asked if they want to recall Zone 4 representative Kim Rost.
In order for recalls to be approved in Idaho, a majority of voters must cast ballots in favor. The total number of votes cast in favor of recall must also be higher than the number of votes cast for the official in his or her last election.
The effort to recall Hill began after the Idaho Falls board of trustees voted 3-2 on Sept. 30 to move high schools in the district from in-person instruction to a mixture of in-person and online instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Superintendent George Boland said the goal was to reduce the number of coronavirus cases and related quarantines and absences at the high schools. Hill voted in favor along with Elizabeth Cogliati and Hillary Radcliffe.
Recall supporters also attempted to remove Cogliati and Radcliffe. The effort against Radcliffe did not collect enough signatures to put the recall on the ballot. The effort against Cogliati was on the ballot on March 9. A majority of voters cast ballots against the recall, defeating the effort.
Supporters of the effort to recall Rost said she was not representing the majority of her constituents in the Nampa School District and had demonstrated a lack of leadership. Rost said her volunteer service for the district had been unwavering for 16 years and that transparency and accountability had been at the forefront of her goals as a trustee.
A separate recall effort was on the ballot in the Nampa School District on March 9. The recall asked whether voters wanted to remove Zone 2 representative Mike Kipp from office. A majority of voters cast ballots against the recall, defeating the effort.
Hill was first appointed to the five-member Idaho Falls board of trustees in September 2018 and was later elected in November 2019. Rost was elected to a four-year term on the five-member Nampa board of trustees on May 16, 2017.
In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 227 recall efforts against 279 elected officials. Of the 49 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 29 were recalled for a rate of 59%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.
The general election for Lackawanna City School District in New York is May 18. The filing deadline to run passed on April 29.
Five candidates will be on the nonpartisan ballot. Incumbents Kimberly Bukaty, Leonard Kowalski, and Mohamed Munassar face challengers Raymond Braxton and Azaldeen Mohamed. Bukaty was appointed to the board in March to replace Nicholas Trifilo. Incumbent Mark Kowalski did not file for re-election.
Candidates are competing for four of seven seats on the board. The three trustees with the highest number of votes will be elected to three-year terms, and the trustee with the fourth-highest number of votes will be elected to a two-year term.
Lackawanna City School District served 1,944 students during the 2018-2019 school year and comprised four schools.
Four incumbents were re-elected to the Lincoln Public Schools school board in Nebraska in the nonpartisan general election on May 4. Kathy Danek (District 1), Barbara Beier (District 3), Lanny Boswell (District 5), and Don Mayhew (District 7) each won new four-year terms on the seven-member board.
Baier and Boswell ran unopposed in the general election as well as in the primary that was held on April 6. Danek advanced from the primary alongside opponent Christina Campbell and won the general election with 56% of the vote. Mayhew advanced from the primary alongside opponent Michael Patestas and won the general election with 60% of the vote.
The city of Lincoln, Nebraska, also held nonpartisan general elections on May 4 for three at-large seats on the city council and two at-large seats on the Lincoln Airport Authority. Six candidates, including three incumbents, competed for the city council seats. All six advanced from the April 6 primary after defeating four other candidates. Incumbents Sändra Washington and Bennie Shobe were re-elected to the city council in the general election, and newcomer Tom Beckius won his first term on the board. John Olsson and Nicki Behmer won the airport authority seats.
Lincoln Public Schools served 41,737 students during the 2017-2018 school year. Lincoln is the second-largest city in Nebraska and the 71st-largest city in the U.S. by population.
The nonpartisan general election for Omaha, Neb., will be held on May 11. The top-two primary was held on April 6. Candidates will be competing for mayor and seven city council seats. On election day, the polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In the mayoral race, incumbent Jean Stothert and RJ Neary are facing off in the general election. Stothert is one of 26 Republican mayors across the country’s 100 largest cities. She was first elected in 2013, following Democratic control of the mayorship since 2001, and won re-election in 2017. She is Omaha’s longest-serving Republican mayor since 1906.
Neary is the chairman of Investors Realty, a commercial real estate investment company, and the former chairman of the Omaha Planning Board. During the primary, he received endorsements from the city’s three most recent Democratic mayors: Mike Fahey, Jim Suttle, and Mike Boyle.
Seven city council seats will also be on the May 11 ballot. District 3 incumbent Chris Jerram was the only city council member to not file for re-election in 2021. Five incumbents advanced past the primary election and will appear on the general election ballot. District 5 incumbent Colleen Brennan lost her re-election bid after placing fifth in the primary election.
*District 1: Incumbent Pete Festersen and Sarah Johnson are facing off in the general election. Festersen has served on the city council since 2009.
*District 2: Incumbent Ben Gray and Juanita Johnson will face off in the general election. Gray has represented District 2 since 2009.
*District 3: Danny Begley and Cammy Watkins are competing for this open seat. Incumbent Jerram announced in August 2020 that he would not seek a fourth term in 2021. He has represented District 3 on the city council since 2009.
*District 4: Incumbent Vinny Palermo and Rebecca Barrientos-Patlan will face off in the general election. Palermo has served on the city council since 2017.
*District 5: Patrick Leahy and Don Rowe will face off in the general election. Incumbent Colleen Brennan was appointed to the seat in December 2020. She placed fifth in the April 6 primary election and did not advance to the general election.
*District 6: Incumbent Brinker Harding and Naomi Hattaway will face off in the general election. Harding has represented District 6 on the city council since 2017.
*District 7: Incumbent Aimee Melton and Sara Kohen are facing off in the general election. Melton has served on the city council since 2013.
Omaha is the 42nd largest city by population in the United States. In 2021, Ballotpedia is covering municipal elections in 22 counties and 71 cities, including 43 mayoral elections.
Cincinnati voters defeated Issue 3 on Tuesday with 73% of voters opposing the measure and 27% of voters approving the measure. Issue 3 was a citizen initiative that would have established the Cincinnati Affordable Housing Trust Fund and created a board of private citizens to manage the fund. It would have also provided guidelines for what projects could be financed by the fund. The measure would have required a $50 million annual city contribution to the fund, and it suggested revenue sources for the fund. The measure defined housing as affordable when “costs associated with residing in the home require no more than thirty percent of the household’s income” and contained income level thresholds of 60% and 30% of Hamilton County’s median household income.
Issue 3 was put on the ballot through a successful citizen initiative petition drive which submitted 9,541 signatures. Cincinnati Action for Housing NOW led the effort to put Issue 3 on the ballot. On Tuesday night, the campaign said, “We are a movement of people who know every person in this city needs access to a home they can afford. … Issue 3 put our need for affordable housing at the top of community conversation.”
Cincinnati voters approved two other charter amendments, Issues 1 and 2. Issue 1 was approved by a margin of 77% to 23%. It amended the city charter to prohibit council members from revising their successor designation certificates after being indicted for a felony or after the filing of certain criminal charges against them. It also requires the City Solicitor to appoint a special prosecutor to prosecute an action to remove a member of Council where a member of the council has been indicted for a felony or a criminal complaint has been filed against a member for charges relating to official conduct.
Issue 2 was approved by a margin of 77% to 23%. Issue 2 made the following changes to the charter:
• provides for a pre-conviction suspension of council members indicted for state or federal felonies related to the council member’s duties, where the council member shall be suspended from official duties but shall receive a salary during the suspension that may be recovered by the city upon the member’s conviction;
• provides for the removal of council members upon conviction of or guilty plea to said crime;
• requires ethics training for council members within 60 days of taking the oath of office;
• prohibits council members from revising their successor designation certificates after being indicted for a state or federal felony related to the council member’s conduct in council duties;
• clarifies details regarding successor designation certificates.
Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval and councilman and former mayor David Mann advanced from the May 4 primary for mayor of Cincinnati. The two will meet in the general election on Nov. 2. The other four candidates in the primary election were Gavi Begtrup, Herman Najoli, Raffel Prophett, and Cecil Thomas.
Pureval received 39.1% of the vote and Mann received 29.1%. Thomas received 16.4%, Begtrup received 9.6%, Prophett received 3.5%, and Najoli received 2.3%.
Although the elections for and position of the mayor are officially nonpartisan, the candidates running were affiliated with political parties. Both Pureval and Mann are Democrats. The last Republican to serve as mayor was Willis Gradison, who left office in 1971.
The mayor serves as the city’s chief executive and is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, and appointing departmental directors. He or she presides over council meetings, proposes legislation for discussion, and holds the power to appoint or remove committee heads, but does not have the authority to vote. The mayor also represents the city on the state, national and international levels.
On April 30, Yes 4 Minneapolis submitted over 20,000 signatures for an initiative to repeal and replace provisions in the city charter governing the police department. This initiative would remove language concerning the city’s police department from the city charter, including provisions requiring minimum funding for the department and giving the mayor control over the department. It would replace the police department with a department of public safety. Under the initiative, the mayor would nominate—and the city council would appoint—the commissioner of the public safety department.
A total of 11,906 valid signatures—5% of votes cast in Minneapolis in the last statewide general election—are required to put the initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot. The city clerk has 10 days to verify signatures after the city’s charter review commission considers the measure at its May 5 meeting.
The city council is also considering a potential 2021 charter amendment concerning the structure of the city’s police department.
In 2020, the city council approved a measure for the ballot to remove the police department from the city charter and replace it with the department of community safety and violence prevention. The 2020 measure would have given the city council, rather than the mayor, control of the department. The Minneapolis Charter Commission did not send the proposal back to the city council until after the city council’s deadline to add the measure to the November 2020 ballot. This effectively blocked the measure.
In 2021, Ballotpedia is covering local ballot measures concerning police oversight, the powers and structure of oversight commissions, police practices, law enforcement department structure and administration, reductions in or restrictions on law enforcement budgets, law enforcement training requirements, and body and dashboard camera footage. Ballotpedia has tracked five certified measures in 2021 so far.
Voters in Austin and San Antonio, Texas, decided police-related measures on May 1. Austin voters approved a measure to authorize the city council to determine how the director of the Office of Police Oversight is appointed or removed. San Antonio voters rejected a measure that would have repealed local authority for collective bargaining with the San Antonio Police Officers Association to negotiate wages, healthcare, leave, and other policies.
In 2020, Ballotpedia identified 20 notable police-related measures in 10 cities and four counties within seven states that appeared on local ballots. All 20 were approved.