Recall elections scheduled for four Wisconsin school board members

Recall elections seeking to remove four of the seven members of the Mequon-Thiensville School District Board of Education in Wisconsin are being held on Nov. 2, 2021. Board members Wendy Francour, Erik Hollander, Akram Khan, and Chris Schultz are on the ballot. The candidate filing deadline is Oct. 5. If more than two candidates file in any race, the Nov. 2 election will become a primary, and a general election will be held on Nov. 30.

Recall supporters said they started the recall due to concerns about the school district’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, critical race theory, a decline in academic performance metrics, and an inability to get answers from board members. The other three members of the board were not eligible for recall as they had not served in the office for at least one year.

A spokeswoman for the district said, “MTSD’s focus remains on advancing our vision and planning for a robust learning experience for all students for the 2021-2022 school year.”

To get the recall on the ballot, recall supporters had to collect approximately 4,200 signatures per board member in 60 days. The number of signatures was equal to 25% of the votes cast in the 2018 gubernatorial election in the school district. Supporters submitted more than 4,400 signatures on Aug. 23. All four members named in the recall petitions filed challenges against the petitions on Sept. 2. Recall supporters submitted a rebuttal to the challenges on Sept. 7. The challenges were sustained when it came to duplicate signatures but were not sustained on other matters. The petitions were found to be sufficient on Sept. 21, allowing the recall elections to be scheduled.

Ballotpedia has tracked 67 school board recall efforts against 174 board members so far in 2021—the highest number of school board recall efforts we have tracked in one year since beginning this coverage in 2010. The next-highest year was in 2010 with 38 recall efforts against 91 school board members.

In the first half of 2021, Ballotpedia tracked 164 recall efforts against 262 officials. This was the most recall efforts for this point in the year since the first half of 2016, when we tracked 189 recall efforts against 265 officials. In comparison, we tracked between 72 and 155 efforts by the midpoints of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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Boston mayoral candidates receive new endorsements following primary wins

Boston’s mayoral candidates received new endorsements following the Sept. 14 primary election. 

Michelle Wu, who received the most votes in the seven-candidate primary field at 33.4%, has been endorsed by gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D), state Rep. Liz Miranda (D), and SEIU 1199, which represents healthcare workers. 

Annissa Essaibi George received recent endorsements from the local sprinkler fitters union and IBEW Local 103, which represents electrical workers. Essaibi George was second in the primary with 22.5%.

Essaibi George had several union endorsements heading into the primary, along with backing from former Boston Police Commissioner William Gross. Wu also had several endorsements from unions as well as state legislators.

Media outlets have described Wu as more progressive and Essaibi George as more moderate. The candidates themselves have not been campaigning with those labels.

Essaibi George said she does “not neatly fit in a box.” She said after election night that she wants “progress to be made — real progress — not just abstract ideas that we talk about.” Wu said, “In city government, it’s about getting things done, not being judged on a scorecard of whether you said yes or no on certain things.” She described the race as “a choice about whether City Hall tackles our biggest challenges with bold solutions or we nibble around the edges of the status quo.”

The candidates offer different backgrounds, policy areas of emphasis, and positions on issues including housing and policing. For more information, see our coverage below.

How Clallam County votes in state legislative elections

Clallam County, Wa., has voted for the winning presidential candidate in every election since 1980, whether Republican or Democrat. This presidential voting record has earned it attention from scholars and reporters outside of the state. How has the county voted in state legislative elections?

Overall, while Clallam County voters have supported Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, they have tended to vote Democratic at the state legislative level. In gubernatorial elections, Clallam County voters have favored Republican candidates.

Clallam County falls within Washington’s 24th legislative district. The 24th district also includes Jefferson County and most of Grays Harbor County. State Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D) and state Reps. Mike Chapman and Steve Tharinger represent District 24.

State Senate

Washington’s 24th state senate district has been represented by a Democratic state senator since the 1980 elections. During that time, Clallam County has voted for a Democratic state senator in every election except 1988. In 1988, voters elected Ellen C. Pickell (R) over Paul H. Conner (D) by a margin of 0.39%. In 1992, 1996, 2004, and 2008, the Democratic incumbent did not face a challenger.

In 2020, Clallam County voters backed state Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D) over Connie Beauvais (R) by a margin of 0.59%. Overall, Van De Wege won Washington’s 24th district by a 1.28% margin.

The following table shows how Clallam County has voted for its state senator since 2000. The table also shows the result in the entire district.

State House of Representatives

Washington 24th state house district is represented by two officeholders. Since 1980, Washington’s 24th district has voted for a Democratic candidate to hold Position 1 in 15 of the last 21 elections. A Republican held the seat from 1994 to 2004.

Clallam County voters have backed for the Democratic candidate in 11 of the last 21 elections. In 1982, 1984, 1990, and 2006, it broke with the rest of the 24th district and voted for the Republican candidate. In 2020, incumbent Mike Chapman (D) defeated Sue Ford (R) by a margin of 8.41%. Clallam ultimately voted for Chapman over Ford, but by a margin of 1.21%.

The following table shows how Clallam voted in the District 24-Position 1 elections since 1980.

The Position 2 seat has been held by a Democrat since the 1982 elections. Clallam County has voted for a Democratic candidate to hold Position 2 in most elections since 1980. It has voted for a Republican candidate in three of the last 21 elections—1992, 2010, and 2020. In 2020, Clallam voted for Brian Pruiett (R) over incumbent Steve Tharinger (D) by a margin of .11%.

The following table shows how Clallam voted in the District 24-Position 2 elections since 1980.

Clallam County is holding municipal elections in its three cities—Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks— in 2021. Twenty-six offices are up for election in those cities.

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Durham to hold municipal primary election on Oct. 5

The municipal primary election in Durham, N.C., is on Oct. 5. Candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for Nov. 2. The filing deadline to run passed on Aug. 13.

Seven candidates filed to run in the nonpartisan mayoral primary. The incumbent mayor Steve Schewel did not file to run for re-election. Candidates also filed to run for three seats on the seven-seat city council.

Durham is the fourth-largest city in North Carolina and the 81st-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Three 2021 mayoral primaries still ahead in top-100 U.S. cities

Three of the 100 largest U.S. cities by population—Boston, Massachusetts, Cleveland, Ohio, and Toledo, Ohio—held mayoral primaries on Sept. 14. Three top-100 cities have mayoral primaries still ahead: Durham, North Carolina (Oct. 5), Hialeah, Florida (Nov. 2), and New Orleans, Louisiana (Nov. 13).

Twenty-eight top-100 cities will elect mayors in 2021. While most of these cities will hold general elections on Nov. 2, nine top-100 cities have already held mayoral elections this year, and two cities—New Orleans, Louisiana, and Hialeah, Florida—will hold elections later in November.

Since 2014, the number of mayoral elections in top-100 cities per year has ranged from 23 to 36.

In 2020, mayoral elections were held in 29 top-100 cities, and seven offices changed partisan control. In 2019, 31 top-100 cities elected mayors, resulting in four party changes.

Of the nine mayoral elections held so far this year, one has resulted in an office changing partisan control: In Anchorage, Alaska, David Bronson (R) was elected to succeed nonpartisan acting mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson, who assumed office following the resignation of Ethan Berkowitz (D).

Currently, 63 mayors in the largest 100 cities by population are affiliated with the Democratic Party, 26 are affiliated with the Republican Party, four are independents, six identify as nonpartisan or unaffiliated, and one mayor’s affiliation is unknown. While most mayoral elections in the 100 largest cities are nonpartisan, most officeholders are affiliated with a political party. 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.

Annapolis municipal primary election to be held on Sept. 21

The primary election for Annapolis in Maryland is on Sept. 21. Candidates are competing to advance to the general scheduled for Nov. 2. The filing deadline to run passed on July 26.

Candidates filed for mayor and eight seats on the city council. The Democratic and Republican mayoral primaries have been canceled. Gavin Buckley (D) and Steven Strawn (R) will compete in the general election. Buckley is the incumbent and was first elected in 2017.

Annapolis is the capital of Maryland and has a population of 39,278.

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Wu and Essaibi George advance from Boston mayoral primary

Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George advanced from Boston’s mayoral primary election Tuesday night. As of Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EST, Wu received 33.4% of the vote to Essaibi George’s 22.5%. Eight candidates were on the ballot.

Wu and Essaibi George are both at-large city councilors. They defeated fellow city councilors Andrea Campbell and Kim Janey (who received 19.7% and 19.5% of the vote, respectively) along with three other candidates to advance to the Nov. 2 general election. Janey is also the city’s acting mayor, having succeeded Marty Walsh in March 2021 when he became secretary of labor in President Joe Biden’s (D) administration.

Media outlets have described Essaibi George as the more moderate of the leading candidates in the primary and Wu as one of the more progressive candidates. A former teacher and a member of the council since 2016, Essaibi George has emphasized her opposition to defunding the police and has discussed housing, schools, and public safety as priority issues. Wu has highlighted her climate plan, including a Boston Green New Deal, and her support for rent control. Wu has been on the city council since 2014.

Either will be the first woman to serve as Boston’s mayor. Essaibi George and Wu have emphasized that they are the children of immigrants. Wu’s parents are Taiwanese. Essaibi George’s mother is from Poland and her father, from Tunisia. 

Loudoun County Circuit Court judge recuses himself, delays recall hearing

A hearing on a recall petition seeking to remove Beth Barts from her position as the Leesburg District representative on the Loudoun County Public Schools school board in Virginia was delayed after Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Stephen E. Sincavage recused himself. The hearing, initially scheduled for Sept. 13, was delayed until Sept. 15.

In Virginia, recall efforts are determined in circuit court rather than at the ballot box. Virginia also requires certain reasons to be met for a recall to move forward, including neglect of duty, misuse of office, incompetence, or conviction of misdemeanors related to drugs or hate crimes. Recall supporters must collect signatures ​​equal in number to 10% of the votes cast in the last election for that office. The recall effort against Barts needed 1,176 signatures. Recall supporters announced they collected 1,860. They submitted the petition signatures on Aug. 25.

Recall supporters are also circulating petitions against another six members of the nine-member school board. They said they launched the effort due to school board members’ involvement in a private Facebook group. They said the board members’ involvement in the group was a violation of Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act as well as the school board’s Code of Conduct because the members discussed public matters in a private setting. Recall supporters also alleged that the district was using critical race theory in its employee training and student curriculum, which they opposed.

Interim Superintendent Scott Ziegler said the district uses a culturally responsive framework that “speaks to providing a welcoming, affirming environment and developing cultural competence through culturally responsive instruction, deeper learning, equitable classroom practices and social-emotional needs for a focus on the whole child.” He said the district did not use critical race theory in its staff training or student curriculum.

Barts’ attorney filed a motion to dismiss the petition against her since it was not signed by an attorney. He also asked the circuit court judges to recuse themselves from the case because it involved local officeholders.

Barts was first elected to a four-year term on the board on Nov. 5, 2019. She received 54.8% of the vote and defeated one other candidate. Though school board elections are nonpartisan, Barts is supported by the Loudoun County Democratic Committee.

Loudoun County Public Schools served 81,906 students during the 2018-2019 school year.

Ballotpedia has tracked 64 school board recall efforts against 165 board members so far in 2021— the highest number of school board recall efforts we have ever tracked in one year. The next-highest year was in 2010 with 38 recall efforts against 91 school board members.

In the first half of 2021, Ballotpedia tracked 164 recall efforts against 262 officials. This was the most recall efforts for this point in the year since the first half of 2016, when we tracked 189 recall efforts against 265 officials. In comparison, we tracked between 72 and 155 efforts by the midpoints of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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Bibb and Kelley advance from Cleveland mayoral primary 

Justin Bibb and Kevin Kelley advanced from Cleveland, Ohio’s mayoral primary Tuesday night. Bibb led with 27.1% and Kelley had 19.4% as of 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Dennis Kucinich was third with 16.5%. 

Mayor Frank Jackson (D) chose not to seek election to a fifth four-year term. November’s general election will be the first without a mayoral incumbent on the ballot in Cleveland in 20 years. 

Jackson endorsed Kelley in the primary. Kelley is president of the Cleveland City Council and has served on the council since 2005. Several unions are among his other endorsers. Bibb is a chief strategy officer with a technology firm. His endorsers include Our Revolution Ohio and The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Public safety and police oversight have been key issues in the race. Bibb supports and Kelley opposes the Community Police Commission and Police Oversight Initiative on the general election ballot. The initiative would, in part, create a Community Police Commission, which would serve as the final authority on whether certain disciplinary action against an officer is sufficient.

The nonpartisan general election is Nov. 2.

Sept. 14 mayoral primary in Cleveland is first in 20 years with no incumbent

The primary election for Cleveland, Ohio, is on Sept. 14. Candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for Nov. 2. The filing deadline to run passed on June 16.

Candidates filed for mayor and the 17 wards of the city council. The general election will also include four seats on the Cleveland Municipal Court.

Seven candidates are running for the mayoral seat: Justin Bibb, Ross DiBello, Basheer Jones, Kevin Kelley, Dennis J. Kucinich, Zack Reed, and Sandra Williams. The race is nonpartisan, but all seven candidates identify as Democrats.

The incumbent, Frank Jackson, is not seeking re-election. Jackson was first elected in 2005 and is Cleveland’s longest-serving mayor to date. The 2021 election will mark the first mayoral election in Cleveland without an incumbent since 2001.

Cleveland is the second-largest city in Ohio and the 48th-largest city in the United States.

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