CategoryLocal

Mayor David Bieter loses re-election bid to Lauren McLean in Boise runoff

In Boise, Idaho, Mayor David Bieter ran unsuccessfully in Tuesday’s nonpartisan runoff election for a fifth term in office. Lauren McLean, who advanced out of the seven-candidate general election field alongside Bieter back in November, won the runoff and the mayor’s office with 65.5% of the unofficial election night vote.
 
McLean is the president of the Boise City Council; she was first elected to the council in 2011 and re-elected in 2015. Bieter was first elected mayor in 2003 and re-elected in 2007, 2011, and 2015. Prior to that office, he served as a Democratic member of the Idaho House of Representatives in District 19 from 1999 to 2003.
 
In the November general election, Boise also had three city council seats on the ballot: Seat 1 (McLean’s position), Seat 3, and Seat 5. These seats were won by Patrick Bageant, Jimmy Hallyburton, and incumbent Elaine Clegg, respectively. The Seat 3 incumbent, Scot Ludwig, did not file for re-election.
 
Boise is the largest city in Idaho and the 97th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


County supervisor survives recall vote in Wisconsin

Roy Englebert retained his District 3 seat on the Door County Board of Supervisors after winning a recall election on November 19. Englebert won the recall with 53.8% of the vote, defeating Lora Jorgensen and Jason Tlachac.
 
The recall effort was started by a group called Friends of the Forestville Dam. The group did not agree with the board of supervisors’ approving a plan to draw down the Forestville Dam Mill Pond. The plan was approved in order to dry out contaminated sediment and improve water quality, according to the Door County Daily News. Recall supporters said that drawing down the pond would harm fish stocks and the aesthetic quality of the pond. Recall supporters said they preferred a plan to dredge the pond, but county officials said that the plan was too expensive. Englebert voted in favor of drawing down the pond.
 
This was the second effort to recall Englebert this year. The first effort, which also targeted District 2 representative John Neinas, failed to go to the ballot after the recall petitions submitted to the county were deemed insufficient.
 
The Door County Board of Supervisors has 21 members. Neinas’ term is up for election in April 2020. He said he did not intend to run for re-election.
 
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 seats won in Hialeah and Miami on Tuesday

Two of the nation’s 100 largest cities by population, Hialeah and Miami, both held nonpartisan elections on November 19 after previously holding elections two weeks earlier on November 5, 2019.
 
In Hialeah, November 5 was the primary election and November 19 was the general election. Four city council seats were up for election. The Group I and Group IV seats were both won outright in the primary by candidates who received more than 50% of the vote. The Group II and Group III seats, however, advanced to the general since no individual candidate met that threshold. The top two vote recipients in each primary advanced to the general election; Jesus Tundidor and Jackie Garcia-Roves ultimately won the Group II and Group III seats, respectively. None of the four seats were won by an incumbent; Lourdes Lozano in Group I was the only incumbent to file for re-election, but she lost in the primary. The council has seven members. Hialeah is the sixth-largest city in Florida and the 88th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
In Miami, November 5 was the general election and November 19 was the general runoff. Three board of commissioners seats were up for election in 2019. In District 1, seven candidates competed in an open-seat race. The top two vote recipients in the general election, Miguel Angel Gabela and Alex Diaz de la Portilla, both advanced to the runoff, which de la Portilla won. The District 1 incumbent, Wifredo Gort, was unable to run for re-election due to term limits. The District 2 seat was won outright in the general election by incumbent Ken Russell. Russell faced four challengers. In District 4, incumbent Manuel Reyes ran unopposed and won re-election by default.
 
The board of commissioners has five members. Miami is the second-largest city in Florida and the 44th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
Orlando is the state’s last big city scheduled to have an election in 2019. Although the mayor’s office and two city council seats were won outright in the November 5 general election by their incumbent officeholders, the District 6 seat on the city council advanced to an open-seat runoff election. Bakari Burns and Gary Siplin, the top two vote recipients in the general election, both advanced to the runoff election scheduled for December 3, 2019. The incumbent, Samuel Ings, ran unsuccessfully for mayor rather than for re-election to the council. The council has seven members. Orlando is the fourth-largest city in Florida and the 76th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


Trustee recall elections set in Colorado

In Colorado, two candidates have filed to run in the December 17 recall elections targeting a pair of Elizabeth Board of Trustees members, June Jurczewsky and Rachel White. Ron Weaver is challenging Jurczewsky, and Jason Weiss is running against White.
 
Mayor Megan Vasquez and Trustees Angela Ternus, Steve Gaither, Loren Einspahr, and Tammy Payne are also up for a recall vote in April 2020. The difference in election dates is due to a requirement that officials serve in their position for six months before a recall election can be held against them.
 
The recall effort is organized by Dwayne Snader, who initiated the process after an August 21 town meeting focused on a proposed plan for the growth in the town. Snader said the meeting was “a one-way conversation. We had no say-so, and there was no public comment period. They presented their ideas for growth, which included subdivisions and a rebuild of the downtown area, and we’re just supposed to watch our land disappear.”
 
Vasquez commented on the issue surrounding the recall effort. She said, “I can relate to how they’re upset right now. I also feel like there’s a lot of misinformation out there and that does tend to stir the pot. People believe that the Town is going to come and take their property in essence – which we have no intention.”
 
Petitions against all seven officials were approved for circulation on August 26, 2019. Recall organizers were given 60 days to submit signatures equal to 25 percent of the votes cast in the last election for the official being recalled. This meant that petitioners were required to submit 53 valid signatures for Vasquez and between 33 and 36 signatures for each member of the town board.
 
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.
 
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Seattle City Council election results

Seven seats on the Seattle City Council were up for election on Nov. 5. Three incumbents ran for re-election, and all three won. The other four races were open.
 
The election winners are:
  • District 1: Lisa Herbold (incumbent)
  • District 2: Tammy Morales
  • District 3: Kshama Sawant (incumbent)
  • District 4: Alex Pedersen
  • District 5: Debora Juarez (incumbent)
  • District 6: Dan Strauss
  • District 7: Andrew Lewis
 
The races saw record-breaking satellite spending of over $4 million, which was more than 5 times the amount spent in 2015, the last time the same seven council seats were up for election.
 
Amazon contributed $1.5 million to the local chamber of commerce’s PAC—Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE)—which endorsed candidates in each race, including challengers to incumbents Lisa Herbold and Kshama Sawant. A 2018 head tax proposal, which the council passed and subsequently repealed, met with opposition from the chamber of commerce and Amazon. Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE) and UNITE HERE! political action committees, affiliated with labor groups, endorsed and spent in support of candidates opposing those backed by the chamber in most races.
 
Candidates endorsed by CAPE and/or UNITE HERE!—including incumbents Herbold and Sawant—won five of the seven races (Districts 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7). Candidates backed by CASE, including incumbent Debora Juarez, won the other two (Districts 4 and 5).
 
There are nine seats on the council—seven district seats and two at-large seats. Both CASE and UNITE HERE! Local 8 endorsed in the 2015 and 2017 council elections, which decided the makeup of the current council except for one seat that is held by a member appointed after Rob Johnson—a CASE endorsee—resigned in 2019. CAPE formed in 2019.
 
The following shows how many members of the council heading into the elections were supported by CASE and/or UNITE HERE! and how many candidates won seats as a result of that election.
 
Pre-election council makeup:
  • 1 CASE-only endorsed member,
  • 4 UNITE HERE!-only endorsed candidates,
  • 3 endorsed by both groups,
  • 1 appointed
 
Election winners:
  • 2 CASE-only endorsed members,
  • 6 UNITE HERE!-only endorsed members,
  • 1 endorsed by both groups
 
Washington uses a vote-by-mail system, and election officials have continued counting ballots postmarked on or before Nov. 5. As of Tuesday night, fewer than 1,000 votes remained to be counted in each district, according to the King County Elections office website.
 


Chesa Boudin wins San Francisco District Attorney election

Chesa Boudin defeated Suzy Loftus, Leif Dautch, and Nancy Tung in last Tuesday’s nonpartisan election for San Francisco District Attorney. Loftus conceded the race Saturday after mail-in ballots tallied over the course of the past week indicated Boudin would win.
 
Under San Francisco’s system of ranked-choice voting, voters select up to 10 candidates for each office on the ballot and rank their preferences. Votes are initially allocated to each voter’s first-place candidate. If no candidate wins a majority of the first-place vote, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated and their voters’ voters are reassigned to their next preferred candidate.
 
As of 7:30 a.m. PST on November 11, Boudin had won 35.7% of the first-place vote to Loftus’ 31.1%. A projection released by the city department of elections indicated that Dautch would be eliminated in the first round, followed by Tung in the second round. The report projected a Boudin victory over Loftus in the third round by a margin of 1.66 percentage points—2,825 votes.
 
This was the first open-seat election for San Francisco District Attorney since 1909. The race attracted national attention, with presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris issuing endorsements. Sanders endorsed Boudin while Harris, who held the office herself before winning election as California attorney general, endorsed Loftus.
 


Incumbents lose outright in Houston ISD elections, open races head to runoffs

Four out of nine seats on the Houston Independent School District (HISD) school board in Texas were up for election Tuesday. Incumbents Sergio Lira (District III) and Diana Davila (District VIII) lost their re-election bids to Daniela Hernandez and Judith Cruz, respectively.
 
District II and IV are open, and those races head to runoff elections as no candidate received more than 50% of the vote. Katherine Blueford-Daniels and John Gibbs Sr. advanced in District II. Three other candidates ran for that seat. In District IV, Patricia Allen and Matthew Barnes advanced from a four-candidate field. The runoff takes place December 14.
 
The Houston ISD school board faces the possibility of being replaced by a state-appointed board of managers for either of two reasons: as a result of a Texas Education Agency (TEA) investigation into the board’s governance, or as a result of poor academic performance ratings at a high school in the district. If appointed, the board of managers would assume the responsibilities of the elected board, while elected board members would not have any power until reinstated.


San Francisco District Attorney election too close to call, Chesa Boudin leads in first-place selection

As of 7:45 a.m. PST Wednesday, the results of San Francisco’s district attorney election remained too close to call. With partial results reported from just under 100% of precincts, Chesa Boudin led with 32.9% of the first-choice vote, followed by Suzy Loftus with 30.8%, Nancy Tung with 20.7%, and Leif Dautch with 15.4%.
 
Under San Francisco’s system of ranked-choice voting, voters may select multiple candidates, ranking their preferences from among their options. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the last-place candidate is eliminated and their voters’ votes are allocated to their next preferred candidate. This process is repeated until one candidate has a majority. As of 6:00 a.m., second-, third-, and fourth-choice results were not available.
 
This was the first open-seat election for San Francisco District Attorney since 1909. The race attracted national attention, with presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris issuing endorsements. Sanders endorsed Boudin while Harris, who held the office herself before winning election as California attorney general, endorsed Loftus.


Working Families Party gains a seat on the Philadelphia City Council

The Working Families Party won an at-large seat on the Philadelphia City Council for the first time in city history, according to unofficial election returns early Wednesday morning.
 
All 17 seats on the Philadelphia city council were up for election Tuesday. Ten of those seats were elected by voters in the city’s 10 districts, while the remaining seven were elected by the entire city at-large. Each party may nominate only five candidates for the seven at-large seats, meaning that no one party can win every city council seat. Since Philadelphia’s charter was adopted in 1951, every city council election has resulted in Democrats winning five at-large seats and Republicans winning two.
 
The five Democratic candidates—incumbents Allan Domb, Derek Green, and Helen Gym and challengers Katherine Richardson and Isaiah Thomas—lead the at-large race with between 187,000 and 169,000 votes each. Working Families Party candidate Kendra Brooks followed with 55,600 votes, while incumbent Republican David Oh placed seventh with 49,700 votes.
 
Democrats led in nine of the 10 district races, with the closest margin being 20.5% in District 6. In District 10, incumbent Brian O’Neill (R) led by a margin of 9.6%. If all of these results hold, the Democratic Party will hold a 14-seat majority on the city council, with two seats held by Republicans and one by the Working Families Party.
 


Houston mayoral race heads to Dec. 14 runoff between incumbent Sylvester Turner and Tony Buzbee

Incumbent Mayor Sylvester Turner and former Texas A&M Board of Regents member Tony Buzbee advanced from Tuesday’s election to a Dec. 14 runoff election for mayor of Houston, Texas. Turner received 47 percent of the vote to Buzbee’s 28 percent. The runoff will take place as no candidate received a majority.
 
Ten other candidates ran in the general election. In third place was Bill King with 14 percent of the vote.
 
Turner has said his accomplishments during his first term in office include balancing the city’s budget, leading the recovery effort after Hurricane Harvey, reforming the city’s pension system, improving infrastructure, and strengthening the economy.
 
Buzbee, who served on the Texas A&M Board of Regents, has pledged to self-fund his campaign and proposed independent financial audits, process audits, and zero-based budgeting to improve the efficiency and transparency of the city’s resource allocation.
 
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, with a population of 2.2 million.


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