Texas mayor facing recall election

Early voting has begun in the recall election targeting Mayor Daisy Lee Valdez in Rio Bravo, Texas. Early voting lasts until November 1. The recall election is being held on November 5.
Petitioners began gathering signatures for the recall in July 2019. They accused Valdez of taking $5,000 from the city to purchase gift cards. Valdez responded that the gift cards were used in order to pay for a road’s repair. She said the municipal government used Walmart gift cards for this payment because the city does not have an official debit card.
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.

Seattle City Council election update: Amazon gives $1 million to Chamber of Commerce PAC

Amazon gave an additional $1 million to Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee, on October 14. This brings Amazon’s total contribution to $1.5 million throughout the Seattle City Council election cycle.
Seattle is holding elections for seven city council districts on November 5; the council’s two at-large seats are up for election in 2021. Four races are open, while incumbents Lisa Herbold (District 1), Kshama Sawant (District 3), and Debora Juarez (District 5) are seeking re-election. CASE endorsed Juarez in her re-election bid and endorsed challengers to Herbold and Sawant.
One CASE-endorsed candidate advanced from each of the seven primary races in August. In five of the seven races, Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE)—a PAC formed by the group Working Washington—endorsed a different candidate than CASE (the group has not endorsed in Districts 5 or 7). 
CASE had spent around $1 million supporting and opposing candidates through October 17. CAPE had spent around $240,000. The races had seen $2.6 million total in satellite spending. In 2015—the last time the seven district seats were on the ballot—satellite spending totaled $785,000.
The elections are occurring a year after the repeal of a head tax proposal, which would have required businesses grossing at least $20 million to pay $275 per employee in order to fund affordable housing programs for the homeless. The city council voted to pass the head tax 9-0 in May 2018 but then repealed it by a 7-2 vote in June 2018 after running into opposition from the city’s business community, including Amazon. Sawant and Position 8 At-large Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda cast the two votes against repealing the tax. Juarez and Herbold voted with five others to repeal it.

Fulton County Commissioner seat won by Carn in special runoff

Fulton County, Georgia, held a special runoff election for District 6 of the county’s board of commissioners on Tuesday. Joe Carn defeated Gordon Joyner after the two advanced from the special general election on September 17. Nine candidates ran in that race, but no candidate won at least 50% of the vote, which caused the runoff election to be held. The filing deadline for this election passed on June 28, 2019.
Ballotpedia provides comprehensive coverage of the 100 largest cities in America by population. This encompasses all city, county, and special district elections appearing on the ballot within those cities. Fulton County is part of that coverage scope. The Fulton County population was 996,319 in 2014, according to the United States Census Bureau, and its county seat is Atlanta.

Baldon wins special runoff for Atlanta school board

A special runoff election was held on Tuesday for the District 2 seat on the Atlanta Public Schools school board. Aretta Baldon won the election with 551 votes over fellow candidate David Huntley’s 405. A nine-candidate general election had previously been held on September 17, and the top two vote recipients, Baldon and Huntley, advanced to the runoff since neither had won at least 50% of the vote.
The special election was called after Byron Amos resigned his seat in January 2019 to run for the Atlanta City Council. He was defeated in the runoff election for that position in April. Amos had served on the board from 2011 to 2019, most recently winning re-election in 2017. Baldon will fill the remainder of Amos’ unexpired term, which ends in 2021.
In a June 20 article, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote that the vacant seat “could be a critical swing vote on the board.” Due to the unoccupied seat, the board has had at least one vote end in a 4-4 tie, which led to the automatic defeat of a motion.
Atlanta Public Schools served 60,133 students during the 2016-2017 school year.

Houston mayoral candidates report total cash on hand exceeding $6 million ahead of November 5 election

Tony Buzbee topped Houston’s mayoral candidate field in total receipts during the July 1 through October 6 reporting period, contributing $2.5 million to his campaign.
In comparison:
  • Incumbent Sylvester Turner raised $733,324.
  • Bill King raised $281,829 and loaned his campaign $200,000.
  • Dwight Boykins raised $130,105.
  • Kendall Baker contributed $20,000 to his campaign.
The candidates finished the period with the following cash on hand totals:
  • Buzbee had $4,167,503.
  • Turner had $1,618,015.
  • King had $263,448.
  • Boykins had $58,103.
  • Baker had $3,919.
Houston does not require candidates to file electronic finance reports if their total receipts in a calendar year total less than $20,000 at the time of the filing deadline. Candidates Derrick Broze, Naoufal Houjami, Sue Lovell, Victoria Romero, Demetria Smith, Johnny Taylor, and Roy Vasquez did not file electronic reports with the city.
The final reporting deadline before the general election is on October 28, 2019.
Incumbent Sylvester Turner and 11 challengers will compete in the November 5, 2019, general election for mayor of Houston, Texas. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two general election candidates will participate in a runoff election on December 14, 2019.
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States by population. Of the 100 largest cities in America, 31 are holding mayoral elections in 2019.

Mayor resigns ahead of recall vote in Lexington, Oregon

In Lexington, Oregon, Mayor Marcia Kemp has resigned from her position ahead of a recall election scheduled for October 22. The resignation was effective on October 10.
The recall effort against Kemp was organized in response to a nine-day government shutdown in Lexington beginning on July 1. The shutdown occurred a result of three of the four city councilors missing a budget hearing two days before the end of the fiscal year. Kemp was accused by the three missing councilors of not sending them reminders about the meeting in order to make them look bad. Kemp disputed that claim, saying the three members didn’t show up so as to make her look bad.
In her letter of resignation, Kemp stated, “Many in our town have been working hard applying for grants and established partnerships to help us make Lexington great with a bright future. As much as I would like to pursue improving the Town of Lexington, the council has prevented me fulfilling my duties, so it is time to step aside and resign effective immediately. However, I will continue to be an active community member and on a positive note, I have been recruited to help other communities and organizations with their goals and missions and look forward to contributing my time and effort.”
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.

California school board recall election does not go to vote

A recall effort seeking to remove three of the Antelope Valley Union High School District board of trustees’ five members did not go to a vote in 2019. In order for the recall to be included on the ballot, supporters were required to submit petitions with the signatures of 25,000 registered voters from the three trustee areas to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk by October 1, 2019. In total, 12,000 recall petition signatures were collected across the three trustee areas.
The recall effort targeting board President Robert Davis, Vice President Victoria Ruffin, and Clerk Amanda Parrell was initiated in April 2019. The filed notice of intent cited concerns regarding personnel, spending, and relationships with community members. In response to the effort, Davis said he believed the board was on track with its new vision and that change can be hard to accept. Ruffin said that she believed district residents were troubled by the board’s efforts to shed light on issues.
The notice of intent to circulate recall petitions was filed with the county on April 15, 2019, and the county approved the petitions for circulation on June 3, 2019. To trigger the recall election, Davis’ petition required 7,964 signatures by registered voters in his trustee area, Parrell’s required 6,833 signatures, and Ruffin’s required 7,388 signatures.
Ballotpedia has tracked 17 school board recall efforts targeting 41 board members in 2019. One recall effort against two board members was on the ballot on February 19, 2019. A second recall election against three board members was held on August 27, 2019. A third recall election against one member will be held on November 5, 2019, and a fourth recall election against one member will be held on December 10, 2019.
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.

Two of three Birmingham special city council elections won outright; third race advances to a general runoff

Special elections for Birmingham City Council Districts 1, 6, and 7 were held October 8, 2019. Districts 1 and 6 were vacated after the former officeholders were elected to the Jefferson County Commission in 2018. District 7 was vacant because the former officeholder resigned when he moved outside of the district. There are a total of nine seats on the city council.
In District 1, appointed incumbent Clinton Woods won election outright with 71.3% of the vote. He defeated two challengers. District 6 appointed City Councilmember Crystal Smitherman received 51.5% of the vote. She defeated six challengers to avoid a general runoff election.
Appointed District 7 incumbent Wardine Alexander and challenger Ray Brooks advanced to a general runoff election after none of the three candidates in the general election received over 50% of the vote. Alexander received 42.4% of the vote and Brooks received 30.9%. The general runoff election is scheduled for November 19, 2019.
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama and the 99th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Open mayoral seat advances to runoff in Raleigh

In North Carolina, all eight seats on the Raleigh City Council, including the mayor’s seat, were up for nonpartisan general election on Tuesday. Six incumbents ran for re-election, while two seats were open.
Mayoral candidates Mary-Ann Baldwin and Charles Francis advanced to a runoff election scheduled for November 5, since no candidate won a majority of the vote. Mayor Nancy McFarlane did not run for re-election in 2019.
In the election for city council, the five seats elected by district were all decided on Tuesday night. The two at-large races were still too close to call as of October 10. The Raleigh City Council is made up of eight members, including the mayor. Five members are elected by the city’s five geographic districts, while two other members and the mayor are elected at large.
In 2019, Ballotpedia is expanding its coverage of North Carolina in order to provide voters with a comprehensive statewide sample ballot. This coverage includes North Carolina elections spanning 503 cities, towns, and villages, nine school districts, and 17 special districts. No North Carolina counties are holding elections in 2019. Most North Carolina localities are holding nonpartisan general elections on November 5.
Raleigh is the second-largest city in North Carolina and the 43rd-largest city in the U.S by population.

Unofficial election results indicate Cary bond measures likely approved in special election

The town of Cary voted on two bond issues on Oct. 8. The first measure authorizes the town to issue $112 million in bonds to fund the expansion and creation of parks and recreation facilities. The second measure authorizes the town to issue $113 million in bonds to fund improvements in local transportation. The improvements include streets, sidewalks, bridges, overpasses, traffic controls, streetscape, and bicycle facilities.
The election night results show both measures ahead. Support for the parks and recreation bond measure led the race with 76.50 percent to 23.50 percent. The transportation bond measure had 79.74 percent of voters approve it and 20.26 percent vote against it.
Cary Town Council voted unanimously to put the bond measures on the ballot after a public hearing in July. The last bond issues in the town were approved in 2012 and were used to fund fire, transportation, and park projects. The town reported that these projects are in progress or complete.