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Idaho school board recall elections scheduled

Recall elections seeking to remove three of the five members of the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District No. 25 board of trustees in Idaho have been scheduled for March 9, 2021. The recall ballots will ask voters if they are in favor of recalling Zone 1 Representative Jackie Cranor, Zone 2 Representative Janie Gebhardt, and Zone 5 Representative Dave Mattson.

The recall effort began on Sept. 18, 2020, when recall supporters filed paperwork with the Bannock County Elections Office after the board unanimously voted to continue using a hybrid teaching model (two days in-person and three days online) for middle school and high school students for the remainder of the first trimester of the 2020-2021 school year. The district started the hybrid model due to the COVID-19 pandemic and continued using it into the second trimester.

Recall supporters said the board was not fully representing the electorate on the issue of hybrid learning and other issues. The school district released a statement saying that the board weighs a number of factors when making decisions and that majority opinion does not always rule.

To get the recall effort against Cranor on the ballot, supporters had to collect 164 signatures from registered voters in Zone 1. To get the recall effort against Gebhardt on the ballot, supporters had to collect 351 signatures from Zone 2, and to recall Mattson, they had to collect 206 signatures from Zone 5. The petition signatures were verified by the Bannock County Elections Office on Dec. 10. Cranor, Gebhardt, and Mattson had until Dec. 17 to step down or face the recall election. None of the board members stepped down. 

In order for the recall elections to be successful, the total number of votes cast in favor of recall must be equal to or greater than the number of votes that first put the board members in office. The recall against Cranor needs at least 279 votes, the recall against Gebhardt needs at least 417 votes, and the recall against Mattson needs at least 278 votes.

Cranor, Gebhardt, and Mattson were also included in a 2018 recall effort against all five members who served on the board at the time. That effort started after the board voted to end the district’s 20-year-old open enrollment policy that allowed students to choose which high school they attended. The leader of that recall put the effort on hold before the deadline to submit petitions.

Recall efforts against school board members started in three other school districts in Idaho in 2020. All of the efforts named their school board’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason for recall. The effort in the West Ada School District did not go to a vote but saw two members resign from their positions. The recall effort against Aaron Proctor in the Whitepine School District went to the ballot on Nov. 3 and was approved with 57% of the vote, resulting in Proctor’s removal from office. The effort in the Idaho Falls School District is still ongoing.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 226 recall efforts against 272 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.

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Filing deadline passes for successor candidates in Colorado school board recall

A recall election seeking to remove Lance McDaniel from his position as the District A representative on the Montezuma-Cortez School District Board of Education in Colorado is being held on February 16, 2021. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to replace McDaniel if the recall is successful was January 8. One candidate—Cody Wells—filed.

The recall election will have two questions. One will ask if voters are in favor of recalling McDaniel, with the option to vote yes or no. The other question will list the successor candidates. If a majority of voters cast ballots in favor of recalling McDaniel, the successor candidate who received the most votes will replace him on the board. If a majority of voters cast ballots against recalling McDaniel, he will retain his position on the board.

The recall effort started in July 2020. Recall supporters said McDaniel had shown a “lack of leadership and has proven to be a poor role model for our children” due to several of his social media posts. The petition stated, “We need school board members that understand leadership and the power of mentoring, and know not to voice their personal, political, or social opinions that could influence children.”

McDaniel said he was not concerned about the recall effort. “When it gets down to it, I’m a loudmouth liberal, and they don’t like that,” he said. McDaniel said he stood by his social media posts. “The conservatives don’t like the fact that there are some more progressive people in the town,” he said.

To get the recall on the ballot, supporters of the effort had to submit 1,126 signatures in 60 days. The number of signatures was equal to 40% of the citizens in the school district who voted in the last school board election. Recall supporters submitted the signatures by the deadline, and Montezuma County Clerk and Recorder Kim Percell determined enough signatures were valid. Before a recall election could be scheduled, four challenges were submitted against the petition, saying the petition was “baseless, frivolous and infringes on Mr. McDaniel’s First Amendment rights of freedom of speech.” A hearing on the challenges was held on November 19, and the challenges were denied on November 23. Hearing Officer Mike Green said that the recall petition met the statutory requirements.

McDaniel is one of seven members on the board of education. He was appointed to his position in 2018.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 226 recall efforts against 272 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.

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Mayoral partisanship control changed in 2020’s elections in seven of the 100 largest cities

Mayoral elections were held in 29 of the 100 largest U.S. cities in 2020. Seven party changes took place as a result of these elections. Five offices held by Republican incumbents and two offices held by Democratic incumbents changed partisan control:

  • Scottsdale, Arizona: Independent David Ortega won the open seat. Incumbent Jim Lane (R) was term-limited.
  • Irvine, California: Democrat Farrah Khan defeated incumbent Christina Shea (R).
  • San Diego, California: Democrat Todd Gloria won the open seat. The incumbent, Kevin Faulconer (R), was term-limited.
  • Stockton, California: Republican Kevin Lincoln II defeated incumbent Michael Tubbs (D).
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: Independent Rick Blangiardi won the open seat. Democratic mayor Kirk Caldwell was term-limited.
  • El Paso, Texas: Democrat Oscar Leeser defeated incumbent Donald Margo (R).
  • Corpus Christi, Texas: Nonpartisan Paulette Guajardo defeated incumbent Joe McComb (R).

In 15 of the 29 cities that held elections in 2020, the incumbent was Republican at the start of 2020. Twelve incumbents were Democratic, one was independent, and one was nonpartisan. Due to the number of seats up for election held by each party, the Republican Party was in a greater position of relative risk than the Democratic Party, when considering the number of mayoral offices each party will hold once mayors elected in 2020 are sworn in. More than half of the cities with Republican mayors at the start of the year held elections in 2020.

Democratic mayors oversaw 64 of the 100 largest cities at the beginning of 2020, 61 at the start of 2019, 63 at the start of 2018, 64 at the beginning of 2017, and 67 at the start of 2016.

In most of the nation’s largest cities, mayoral elections are officially nonpartisan, though many officeholders and candidates are affiliated with political parties. Ballotpedia uses one or more of the following sources to identify each officeholder’s partisan affiliation: (1) direct communication from the officeholder, (2) current or previous candidacy for partisan office, or (3) identification of partisan affiliation by multiple media outlets.

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Candidate filing deadline in Dane County, Wisconsin, is Jan. 5, 2021

The filing deadline to run for elected office in Dane County, Wisconsin, is on January 5, 2021. Prospective candidates may file for county executive, two of the 37 county supervisor seats, and seven circuit court judgeships. The offices of county executive and circuit court judges are up for regular election in 2021, but the county supervisor seats for District 4 and District 12 are up for special election due to vacancies on the board.

The primary is scheduled for February 16, and the general election is scheduled for April 6, 2021.

Dane County in Wisconsin had a population of 531,273 in 2013, according to the United States Census Bureau. 

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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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Leeser wins mayoral runoff election in El Paso, Texas

A runoff election was held on December 12 in El Paso, Texas. Oscar Leeser defeated incumbent Donald “Dee” Margo in the mayoral election. Leeser received 79.5% of the vote, while Margo received 20.5%. Leeser will assume office in early January.

Leeser previously served as the mayor of El Paso from 2013 to 2017. He did not seek re-election in 2017. Margo was elected as mayor that year.

Although mayoral elections in El Paso are officially nonpartisan, The Texas Tribune reported that Leeser identifies as a member of the Democratic Party. Margo previously served as a Republican in the Texas House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013.

Leeser and Margo advanced from the general election on November 3 after neither candidate received a majority of the vote to win outright. Leeser received 42.6%, while Margo received 24.6%.

Twenty-nine of the 100 largest U.S. cities held mayoral elections in 2020. In 15 of those cities, the incumbent was Republican at the start of 2020. Twelve incumbents were Democratic, one was independent, and one was nonpartisan. Overall, Democratic mayors oversaw 64 of the 100 largest cities as of the beginning of 2020.

El Paso is the 6th-largest city in Texas and the 20th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

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Idaho county verifies school board recall petition signatures

Petition signatures to recall three of the five members of the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District No. 25 board of trustees in Idaho were verified by the Bannock County Elections Office on December 10, 2020. Zone 1 representative Jackie Cranor, Zone 2 representative Janie Gebhardt, and Zone 5 representative Dave Mattson have until December 17 to step down or else face the recall election.

The recall effort began on September 18, 2020, when recall supporters filed paperwork with the Bannock County Elections Office after the board unanimously voted to continue using a hybrid teaching model (two days in-person and three days online) for middle school and high school students for the remainder of the first trimester of the 2020-2021 school year. The district started the hybrid model due to the COVID-19 pandemic and continued using it into the second trimester.

Recall supporters said the board was not fully representing the electorate on the issue of hybrid learning and other issues. The school district released a statement saying that the board weighs a number of factors when making decisions and that majority opinion does not always rule.

To get the recall effort against Cranor on the ballot, supporters had to collect 164 signatures from registered voters in Zone 1. To get the recall effort against Gebhardt on the ballot, supporters had to collect 351 signatures from Zone 2, and to recall Mattson, they had to collect 206 signatures from Zone 5. All of the petition signatures had to be submitted by December 1. If the board members face the recall election, at least as many voters who first put them in office must vote to recall them in order for the recall election to be successful. The recall against Cranor would need 279 votes, the recall against Gebhardt would need 417 votes, and the recall against Mattson would need 278 votes.

Cranor, Gebhardt, and Mattson were also included in a 2018 recall effort against all five members who served on the board at the time. That effort started after the board voted to end the district’s 20-year-old open enrollment policy that allowed students to choose which high school they attended. The leader of that recall put the effort on hold before the deadline to submit petitions.

Recall efforts against school board members started in three other school districts in Idaho in 2020. All of the efforts named their school board’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as reasons for recall. Efforts in the Idaho Falls and West Ada school districts are still ongoing, while a recall effort against Aaron Proctor in the Whitepine School District went to the ballot on November 3. The recall election was approved with 57% of the vote, and Proctor was removed from office.

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.

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Second school board member in Idaho resigns following recall effort

Philip Neuhoff resigned from his position as the Zone 4 representative on the West Ada School District board of trustees in Idaho on December 8, 2020, saying that other areas of his life needed his attention. Neuhoff is the second member of the board to resign since a recall petition was approved for circulation against all five members of the board. Former Zone 3 representative Steve Smylie resigned on October 27, saying, “When adults fight, children lose. I am proud of this district and I always will be, but no one was prepared for a pandemic, and it has turned into division.”

The recall paperwork was approved for circulation by the Ada County Clerk’s Office on October 14. Recall supporters said they were frustrated that the district had not developed a plan for students in sixth through twelfth grades to return to in-person learning full-time. The school district began the 2020-2021 school year with a week of online-only instruction in September in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. After that first week, the district allowed students in all grades to attend school in-person part-time. Elementary school students moved to full-time in-person instruction on a gradual basis.

Recall supporters have 75 days to collect signatures to recall Zone 1 representative Ed Klopfenstein, Zone 2 representative Amy Johnson, and Zone 5 representative Rene Ozuna. Approximately 1,487 signatures are needed to put a recall effort against Klopfenstein on the ballot. A total of 2,578 signatures are needed for a recall election against Johnson, and 1,403 are needed for a recall election against Ozuna. If enough signatures are submitted and verified, a recall election will be scheduled.

To remove the board members from office, the recall election must meet two thresholds:

  1. a majority of voters must cast ballots in favor of the recall
  2. the number of votes cast in favor of the recall must exceed the number of votes the board member received in his or her last election.

A 2016 recall effort in the school district removed two school board members from office, while another two resigned. Klopfenstein, Smylie, Ozuna, and Neuhoff were appointed to those vacant positions. All four were later re-elected to the board after running unopposed. Johnson was elected to the board in November 2019. She received 64.1% of the vote and defeated incumbent Mike Vuittonet.

Recall efforts against school board members started in three other school districts in Idaho in 2020. All of the efforts named their school board’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as reasons for recall. Efforts in the Idaho Falls and Pocatello-Chubbuck school districts are still ongoing, while a recall effort against Aaron Proctor in the Whitepine School District went to the ballot on November 3. The recall election was approved with 57% of the vote, and Proctor was removed from office.

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.

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Colorado school board recall scheduled for February 2021

A recall election seeking to remove Lance McDaniel from his position as the District A representative on the Montezuma-Cortez School District Board of Education in Colorado is being held on February 16, 2021.

The recall effort started in July 2020. Recall supporters said McDaniel had shown a “lack of leadership and has proven to be a poor role model for our children,” regarding several of his social media posts. The petition stated, “We need school board members that understand leadership and the power of mentoring, and know not to voice their personal, political, or social opinions that could influence children.”

McDaniel said he was not concerned about the recall effort. “When it gets down to it, I’m a loudmouth liberal, and they don’t like that,” he said. McDaniel said he stood by his social media posts. “The conservatives don’t like the fact that there are some more progressive people in the town,” he said.

To get the recall on the ballot, supporters of the effort had to submit 1,126 signatures in 60 days. The number of signatures was equal to 40% of the citizens in the school district who voted in the last school board election. Recall supporters submitted the signatures by the deadline, and Montezuma County Clerk and Recorder Kim Percell determined enough signatures were valid.

Before a recall election could be scheduled, four challenges were submitted against the petition alleging that it was “baseless, frivolous and infringes on Mr. McDaniel’s First Amendment rights of freedom of speech.” A hearing on the challenges was held on November 19, and the challenges were denied on November 23. Hearing Officer Mike Green said that the recall petition met the statutory requirements.

McDaniel is one of seven members on the board of education. He was appointed to his position in 2018.

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.

Additional reading:



Jason Williams defeats Keva Landrum in Orleans Parish District Attorney race

Jason Williams (D) defeated Keva Landrum (D) in the December 5, 2020, general election for the Orleans Parish, Louisiana, District Attorney. Williams received 57.8% of the vote, while Landrum received 42.2%.

Williams is an at-large member of the New Orleans City Council, a seat he won in 2014. Landrum served as a judge at the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court until July, 2020, when she resigned to enter the District Attorney race.

Williams and Landrum advanced from the first-round of voting on November 3 after neither received more than 50% of the vote to win, as required under Louisiana’s majority-vote system. Landrum received 34.8%, while Williams received 29.4%.

Incumbent Leon Cannizzaro (D), who was first elected in 2008, declined to seek re-election, leaving the seat open for the first time in 12 years.

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