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16 candidates file to run in St. Petersburg city council races

Sixteen candidates have filed to run for four city council seats in St. Petersburg, Florida. A primary is scheduled for August 27, and the general election is on November 5. The filing deadline for this election was June 21.
 
District 1 incumbent Charlie Gerdes and District 5 incumbent Steve Kornell are both ineligible to run for re-election due to term limits. City council members serve four-year terms and are limited to two consecutive terms (eight years) in office.
 
Three candidates—Scott Orsini, Robert G. Blackmon, and John Hornbeck—have filed to run for the open seat in District 1. District 3 incumbent John “Ed” Montanari is running for re-election against Orlando A. Acosta and Zachary James Collins. In the open seat in District 5, six candidates—Anthony Cates, Philip Garrett, Deborah Figgs-Sanders, Trenia Cox, Beth Connor, and Anne Lenholt Hirsch—have filed to run. District 7 incumbent Lisa Wheeler-Bowman faces three challengers in her re-election bid. She will face Eritha Brandis Cainion, Chico Cromartie, and Sarah Elizabeth Moore in the primary.
 
St. Petersburg is the fifth-largest city in Florida and the 77th-largest city in the U.S. by population. In 2019, Ballotpedia is covering elections in 59 of America’s 100 largest cities by population.


Cabán wins election for Queens District Attorney

Public defender Tiffany Cabán won the Democratic primary election for Queens County District Attorney. Former Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown (D)-who announced in January that he would not run for re-election-died in May after serving in the office for 28 years. Queens County is the state designation for the Borough of Queens in New York City.
 
Cabán defeated five other Democratic primary candidates and will face attorney Daniel Kogan (R) in the November 5 general election.
 
The primary attracted national attention and endorsements from two presidential candidates.
 
Local election watchers had identified Cabán, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and former Judge Gregory Lasak as frontrunners.
 
Cabán was endorsed by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D), and The New York Times.
 
Katz was endorsed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), four members of the U.S. House, the county Democratic Party, and City Councilor Rory Lancman (D), who dropped out of the race June 21. Former Rep. Joseph Crowley, whom Ocasio-Cortez unseated in 2018, fundraised on Katz’s behalf.
 
Lasak was endorsed by the New York Daily News, the New York Post, and Rep. Kathleen Rice (D).
 
Also running were attorney Betty Lugo, former New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board director Mina Malik, and prosecutor Jose Nieves.


Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti targeted for recall

An effort is underway to recall Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. The recall is being organized by Alexandra Datig in response to homelessness in Los Angeles. A notice of intent to recall was submitted on June 19, and it accused Garcetti of failing to adequately address the issue of homelessness. The notice cites a report by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority issued on June 5 that says there are more than 36,000 homeless people in the city, an increase of 16% over the last year.
 
Garcetti issued a statement on homelessness in Los Angeles on June 11, in which he took responsibility for the issue and detailed his plans to address the problem. A campaign consultant for Garcetti responded to the recall effort and dismissed it as a political game.
 
The Los Angeles city charter establishes a signature requirement equal to 15% of the registered voters in the city to put a recall on the ballot. Organizers in the recall effort against Garcetti are trying to reach 350,000 signatures.
 
Los Angeles is the largest city in California and the second-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
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.
 


New York City holding Democratic primaries for city offices; no Republican primaries scheduled

New York is holding statewide primaries on June 25, 2019. This is the first year in which local and state primaries are being held in June instead of September. This change is due to a January decision by the state legislature to consolidate these primaries with the federal primary date. The general election is November 5.
 
New York City is holding a special primary for the city council’s District 45 seat and regular primaries for city civil court judgeships and county district attorneys.
 
  • The city council’s District 45 special election is the second time the seat is on the ballot in 2019. The elections were called after incumbent Jumaane Williams was elected New York City Public Advocate in February 2019. The first general election held on May 14 was nonpartisan and determined who would hold the seat until December 31, 2019. The current election, which is partisan, is being held to decide who will serve for the remainder of the unexpired term, which ends December 31, 2021.
    • Eight candidates filed for the nonpartisan May special election. Candidate Farah Louis won with 41.8% of the vote, defeating all seven challengers. The same eight candidates filed as Democrats for the second special election, which necessitated a primary. The winner of the primary will face an independent challenger in the November general election.
  • Seventeen City Civil Court seats in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island are also on the ballot. Four races require primaries after more than two Democratic candidates filed for the seat. No seats drew more than one Republican candidate. The four Democratic primaries are for Kings County’s Countywide District and 6th Municipal Court District; New York County’s 4th Municipal Court District; and Queens County’s Countywide District. The remaining seats advanced directly to the general election.
  • Elections for county district attorney are also being held in Bronx, Queens, and Richmond counties. The races in Bronx and Richmond counties each feature unopposed incumbents who advanced directly to the general election. Queens County will hold a Democratic primary for the seat after seven candidates filed for election. The winner of the primary faces a Republican candidate in the general election.

New York is the largest city in New York and the U.S. by population.

 

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Seven candidates running in Milwaukee special election include former state legislator

Candidates had until June 18 to file for a Milwaukee City Council special election for District 13. A primary is scheduled for July 16, and the general election is August 13.
 
Seven candidates filed by the deadline, including a former state assembly member, Josh Zepnick. The six other candidates are Patty Doherty, James Krickeberg, Jacob Krieg, Walt Love, Scott Spiker, and Patricia Torres Najera.
 
Zepnick lost his bid for re-election in 2018 following sexual misconduct allegations. He was removed from his committee assignments in 2017 by state Assembly leaders after The Capital Times reported that he had kissed two women without their consent in 2011 and 2015. Zepnick apologized and said the incidents were related to his alcohol consumption. He said, “While I have no recollection of these alleged incidents, there is never an excuse for inappropriate behavior. I take the claims seriously and respect the feelings of the women involved. I apologize to both women for my actions and for any distress that I may have caused.”
 
The special election became necessary following Alderman Terry Witkowski’s resignation on May 30, 2019. He had served on the city council since 2003.
 
Milwaukee is the largest city in Wisconsin and the 30th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


Idaho recall effort qualifies for August ballot

Recall efforts to remove Tim Winkle, Alicia McConkie, and Marianne Blackwell from their positions on the Middleton School District board of trustees in Idaho have been certified for the August 27 ballot.
 
The recall effort against Winkle and McConkie began after they voted to accept the superintendent’s personnel recommendations at a board meeting on May 6, 2019. Recall supporters objected to the superintendent’s recommendation since it did not renew the contract of Middleton High School’s principal, Ben Merrill. Board member Kirk Adams was also targeted for recall at that time, but his petition was rejected by the county since he had not served in office long enough to be recalled.
 
The recall petition against Blackwell alleged that she “set an unprofessional and unacceptable precedent for school board trustees” and violated the board’s code of ethics.
 
Winkle said that because the decision to not renew Merrill’s contract was a personnel matter, the board was limited in what they could share with the public. McConkie said she has served the best she could for the last two years and felt she was being targeted for recall over a single decision. Blackwell had not responded to the recall effort against her as of June 19.
 
In order for the board members to be removed from office in the recall election, a majority of voters must cast ballots in favor of the recall. The number of voters who cast ballots in favor of the recall must also be higher than the total number of people who voted for the officeholders when they were last up for 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.
 


Kansas City voters reject citizen initiative to limit revenue used for economic development incentive programs

On June 18, voters in Kansas City defeated Question 1, a citizen initiative that would have limited the property tax abatement or redirection that could be used toward economic development projects in the city to 50% of the revenue that would have otherwise been generated.
 
According to election night results with 97% of precincts reporting, the measure was defeated 66% to 34%.
 
In 2017, the city implemented a 75% incentive cap on ad valorem tax incentives for economic development. Question 1 was a citizen initiative designed to enact a more restrictive cap of 50%.
 
This measure was put on the ballot through a successful initiative petition campaign led by the Coalition for Kansas City Economic Development Reform, also known as the KC TIF Watch. The signature requirement to place an initiative on the ballot in Kansas City is equal to 5% of the total votes cast for mayoral candidates at the last preceding regular municipal election. KC TIF Watch needed to collect 1,708 valid signatures. On November 29, 2018, the city clerk verified that proponents had submitted 2,321 valid signatures.


Quinton Lucas wins Kansas City mayoral election

City council member Quinton Lucas defeated fellow council member Jolie Justus to become mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, succeeding term-limited Mayor Sly James. Based on unofficial returns with 90 percent of precincts reporting, Lucas received more than 58 percent of the vote.
 
The two candidates advanced from a primary election field that had 11 candidates. In the April 2 primary, Justus received 22.8 percent of the vote and Lucas received 18.4 percent of the vote.
 
Although elections in Kansas City are nonpartisan, James was known to be a member of the Democratic Party. Ballotpedia was unable to find information on Lucas’ political affiliation.
 
In 2019, elections are being held in 59 of America’s 100 largest cities by population in 2019. That includes elections for mayor in 31 of the 100 largest cities. In 20 of those cities, the incumbent was Democratic at the start of 2019. Seven incumbents were Republican, three were independent, and the affiliation of one was unknown.
 
Kansas City uses a council-manager system. In this form of municipal government, an elected city council—which includes the mayor and serves as the city’s primary legislative body—appoints a chief executive called a city manager to oversee day-to-day municipal operations and implement the council’s policy and legislative initiatives. The mayor’s primary responsibilities are to preside over city council meetings and official city ceremonies, and to represent the city on the state, national, and international levels.


School board election comes down to four votes in El Paso, Texas

In El Paso, Texas, unofficial election night vote totals on June 15 showed Joshua Acevedo leading Rene Vargas with 578 votes to Vargas’ 574 votes. The two candidates competed in a general election runoff for the District 3 seat of the El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees. Vargas had not made a decision about whether to challenge the results as of Saturday night.
 
The District 6 seat went to a runoff as well, with Fareed Khlayel winning with 72.4% of the vote. The elections in District 2 and District 7 were decided during the May 4 general election.
 
The El Paso Independent School District serves about 60,000 students.
 


Two city council members face off in June 18 Kansas City mayoral election

Jolie Justus and Quinton Lucas, both members of the City Council of Kansas City, are running in the June 18 election to be the city’s next mayor. The winner will succeed Mayor Sly James (D), who was prevented by term limits from seeking re-election.
 
Justus and Lucas advanced from an 11-candidate primary election field. In the April 2 primary, Justus received 22.8 percent of the vote and Lucas received 18.4 percent.
 
Lucas led in both pre-election polls, conducted between mid-April and mid-May, receiving 38 percent support in each poll to Justus’ 31 percent and 30 percent. Each candidate has received the endorsement of one other member of the city council. Justus was also endorsed by Mayor James, while Lucas was endorsed by The Kansas City Star newspaper.
 
In 2019, elections are being held in 59 of America’s 100 largest cities by population. That includes elections for mayor in 31 of the 100 largest cities. In 20 of those cities, the incumbent mayor was Democratic at the start of 2019. Seven incumbents were Republican, three were independent, and the affiliation of one was unknown.
 
Kansas City uses a council-manager system. In this form of municipal government, an elected city council—which includes the mayor and serves as the city’s primary legislative body—appoints a chief executive called a city manager to oversee day-to-day municipal operations and implement the council’s policy and legislative initiatives. The mayor’s primary responsibilities are to preside over city council meetings and official city ceremonies and to represent the city on the state, national, and international levels.


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