Eighteen file to run for four Boise city offices in November

In Boise, Idaho, 18 candidates filed to run for four nonpartisan city offices on the November 5 general election ballot. The position of mayor and three of the city council’s six seats are up for election. The candidate filing deadline passed on September 6, and the withdrawal deadline is September 20.
The mayoral election attracted the most candidates with seven filed, including incumbent David Bieter, who was first elected to the office in 2003. Though the mayor’s office is nonpartisan, Bieter is affiliated with the Democratic Party. He served as the Democratic representative of District 19 in the Idaho House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003.
District 1 city council incumbent Lauren McLean filed to run for mayor rather than for re-election to her current seat, leaving it open for a newcomer. Six candidates filed to run for that seat. The District 3 seat was also left open for a newcomer since incumbent Scot Ludwig did not file for re-election. Two candidates filed to run for that seat. In District 5, incumbent Elaine Clegg faces two challengers in her bid for re-election.
Boise is the largest city in Idaho and the 97th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Twelve candidates compete in Houston’s mayoral election, one of 31 mayoral races in the country this year

Incumbent Sylvester Turner and eleven 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.
Of the 11 candidates running against Turner, local media outlets have identified four major challengers: Dwight Boykins, Tony Buzbee, Bill King, and Sue Lovell. Policy debate in the race has centered on Turner’s record during his first term, especially regarding his handling of the city’s budget and allocation of resources.
Turner says his accomplishments in office include balancing the city’s budget, leading the recovery effort after Hurricane Harvey, reforming the city’s pension system, easing traffic congestion, filling potholes, creating jobs, and strengthening the economy.
Boykins and Lovell have criticized Turner for his opposition to Proposition B, a ballot referendum that voters approved in November 2018 requiring pay parity between firefighters and police officers. Boykins has proposed a zero-based city budget, saying it would allow Houston to prioritize spending on infrastructure, pay parity for firefighters, public safety, and trash pickup. Lovell says that she supports the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association and will make the government more efficient to improve public safety and infrastructure.
Buzbee and King both say corruption is creating inefficiency in Houston’s government. Buzbee has proposed third-party, independent financial audits, process audits, and zero-based budgeting to improve the efficiency and transparency of the city’s resource allocation. King has called for an overhaul of the city’s ethics rules and says he would regulate campaign contributions from companies that do business with Houston’s government.
Houston’s mayor serves as the city’s chief executive and is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors, and overseeing the city’s day-to-day operations. The mayor also presides over the city council and possesses voting privileges.
Thirty-one mayoral elections in the 100 largest cities are being held in 2019. In 20 of those cities, the pre-election incumbent is Democratic. Seven pre-election incumbents are Republican, three are independent, and the affiliation of one is unknown.

Toledo council races draw more candidates than previous three elections

The city of Toledo, Ohio, is holding general elections for six city council seats, two municipal judgeships, and the clerk of the municipal court on November 5, 2019. Primaries for the city council’s districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are being held September 10, 2019.
The remaining offices, including District 6, had two or fewer candidates file to run. As a result, their primaries were canceled and those candidates advanced automatically to the November general election.
Districts 3 and 5 are the only open seats on the primary and general election ballots. All seven other races feature incumbents; four city council members face competition in their re-election bids while the two municipal judges and one clerk of court are running unopposed. Together, the nine seats drew an average of 2.6 candidates per seat.
The 2019 city council election has the highest average number of candidates per seat over the past three regular election cycles. This year, 20 candidates filed for the six city council seats, an average of 3.3 candidates per seat. The last time the by-district city council seats were up for election was in 2015. Seventeen candidates filed for seven city council seats (one at-large seat was up for special election), for an average of 2.4 candidates per seat. Toledo also held elections for the six at-large city council seats in 2017. That year, 13 candidates filed for six seats—an average of 2.2 candidates per seat.
Toledo is the fourth-largest city in Ohio and the 66th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Flint City Council recall effort fails to make ballot

The recall effort targeting Flint Councilwoman Kate Fields has ended after more than half of the submitted signatures were ruled invalid. Genesee County Clerk John Gleason found 332 of the 825 signatures submitted by recall organizers valid. Petitioners needed 556 valid signatures in order to put the recall on the ballot.
Fields is one of four Flint City Council members who had recall efforts initiated against them in June. Council members Monica Galloway, Santino Guerra, and Allan Griggs are also facing potential recalls. Petitions against all four officials were approved for circulation in June, although at different points of the month. Petitioners have 180 days from the time when each petition was approved to begin gathering signatures, at which point they have 60 days to submit enough signatures to put each recall on the ballot.
The recall efforts against Fields, Guerra, and Griggs began in response to their vote to extend a $12 million waste removal project with Republic Services. Galloway was targeted for recall after she missed a vote on a $5.6 million contract with W.T. Stevens Inc. to replace lead service lines.
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.

Voters in Cary, North Carolina, must register by Friday the 13th to vote on two bond measures on October 8

Cary, North Carolina will head to the polls on Tuesday, October 8, for the mayoral and town council election. Voters will also decide two bond issues.
The first measure would authorize the town to issue $112 million in bonds to fund the expansion of existing parks and recreation facilities, as well as, construct and acquire new parks and recreation facilities. The town of Cary currently has more than 30 public parks, seven special use facilities, four sports venues, and nine staffed facilities.
The second measure would authorize the town to issue $113 million in bonds to fund improvements in local transportation. Proposed improvements include streets, sidewalks, bridges, overpasses, traffic controls, streetscape, and bicycle facilities. The bonds would also be used to acquire equipment and land necessary for the improvements.
In their annual budget discussion on May 9, 2019, the Cary Town Council decided that bond issues would not exceed a total of $225 million. The most recent approved bond issues were in 2012 and were used to fund fire, transportation, and park projects. The town reported that these projects are in progress or complete.
The deadline to register to vote in the October 8 election is Friday, September 13. Although the registration deadline is September 13, one-stop-voting, including same-day registration, is available during the early voting period. Early voting for this election begins September 18 and ends October 4. Voters can request a mail-in ballot through Tuesday, October 1, 2019.
During the 2019 election cycle, 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. Voters in many of these local jurisdictions will be voting in primaries or general elections on September 10 and October 8.

El Paso City Council votes 4-3 to hold November special election

On September 3, the El Paso City Council in Texas voted to hold a special election for the council’s District 3 seat. The election is scheduled for November 5, and the candidate filing deadline is on September 26.
The special election was called due to Texas’ resign-to-run law, which requires officeholders to resign from their current office in order to run for another. A post saying, “Cassandra Hernandez for mayor of El Paso,” was posted to Cassandra Hernandez-Brown’s public Facebook page in September 2019. Hernandez-Brown said she did not upload the post, but she said one of her supporters did. The post was later deleted. Hernandez-Brown asked her fellow city council members to vote against the resolution calling for a special election, but it passed with a 4-3 vote. Hernandez-Brown was not allowed to vote on the resolution.
Hernandez-Brown will remain the District 3 representative on the council until the new member is elected due to a holdover clause in the law. Because of that clause, she is not able to run in the special election, according to District 6 member Claudia Ordaz Perez. Hernandez-Brown was first elected to the city council on June 10, 2017. El Paso is the sixth-largest city in Texas and the 20th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
Five states—Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, and Texas—have resign-to-run laws.

Nashville to elect mayor on September 12

The runoff election for mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, takes place September 12. Incumbent Mayor David Briley and At-large Metro Councilmember John Cooper advanced from the August 1 general election, with Cooper receiving 35 percent of the vote to Briley’s 25 percent. Early voting for the runoff runs from August 23 through September 7.
A mayor of Nashville’s Metro government (formed in 1963) has never lost a re-election bid. Briley was the first incumbent to not receive the highest share of the vote in a general election. Briley assumed the office upon the resignation of Mayor Megan Barry in March 2018. He won the special election on May 24, 2018, to complete Barry’s term.
Briley has campaigned on what he says are his progressive credentials and his accomplishments since taking office in 2018, including an affordable housing plan and a new scholarship fund. He has criticized Cooper as being conservative and for sponsoring a budget in the council that Briley says harmed the city.
Cooper has emphasized fiscal stewardship in his campaign, criticizing Briley’s support for funding affordable housing with municipal bonds and privatizing the city’s parking meters. He says the city needs to invest more in neighborhoods instead of downtown and has called his focus on the city’s finances effective progressivism.
Nashville was the 25th largest city in the U.S. as of 2013. Among the 100 largest cities, there are 62 Democratic mayors, 30 Republicans, four independents, and four nonpartisans. Briley is a Democrat. Cooper’s affiliation is unknown.

Charlotte mayor faces four Democratic primary challengers on Tuesday

In North Carolina, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles is running for re-election in the Democratic primary on September 10, 2019. Four opponents—Roderick Davis, Tigress Sydney Acute McDaniel, Joel Odom, and Lucille Puckett—are challenging her in the primary. The winner will advance to the general election on November 5 and face the Republican nominee, David Michael Rice. Rice was the only Republican candidate who filed to run, and he advanced automatically to the general election.
Here are the five Democratic primary candidates:
  • Mayor Vi Lyles won her first two-year term in 2017 after defeating the sitting incumbent, Jennifer Roberts, in the Democratic primary. Lyles won the general election against her Republican opponent with more than 59% of the vote. On September 2, The Charlotte Observer reported that only Lyles’ campaign had cash on hand as of the most recent campaign finance reports.
  • Roderick Davis, who works as a business manager, previously campaigned for Charlotte mayor in 2015, Charlotte City Council in 2017, and state senate in 2016 and 2018.
  • Tigress Sydney Acute McDaniel, who works as a consultant, previously campaigned for Greensboro City Council in 2013 and both Mecklenburg County commissioner and soil and water conservation district supervisor in 2018.
  • The 2019 primary is Joel Odom’s first time running for office.
  • Lucille Puckett, who works as a community advocate, previously campaigned for the Charlotte school board in 2005, Charlotte mayor in 2013 and 2017, and state house in 2018.
As of September 4, the mayors of 62 of the country’s 100 largest cities are affiliated with the Democratic Party. Republican-affiliated mayors hold 30 offices, independents hold four, and mayors with unknown party affiliations hold the remaining four.
All 11 seats on the Charlotte City Council are also up for election in 2019. A partisan primary is scheduled for 10 of the 11 seats on September 10. The other seat, District 6, had its primary canceled since only one candidate from each party filed to run. Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina and the 17th-largest city in the U.S. by population. The only other municipality in North Carolina that could have had a September 10 primary was Sanford in Lee County. However, their four city council primaries were also canceled due to the number of candidates who filed from each party.
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, although 32 are holding either nonpartisan primaries or general elections on October 8.

Recalls targeting 3 Idaho school board members fail

Recall elections seeking to remove Tim Winkle, Alicia McConkie, and Marianne Blackwell from their positions on the Middleton School District board of trustees in Idaho were held on Tuesday. The recall against McConkie was approved by a majority of voters, but there were not enough “yes” votes for the recall to be counted. In order for her to be recalled, a higher number of people would have needed to vote for the recall than voted for McConkie in her last election in 2017, which did not happen. The recalls against Winkle and Blackwell were defeated with simple majorities. All three board members retained their seats.
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 because 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.
A separate recall petition against Blackwell was certified for the ballot on June 14. The recall petition against her said she “set an unprofessional and unacceptable precedent for school board trustees” and violated the board’s code of ethics. Blackwell was the only board member to vote against not renewing Merrill’s contract.
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 had served the best she could for the last two years and felt she was being targeted for recall over a single decision. Blackwell did not respond to the recall effort against her.
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.

Incumbents lead in St. Petersburg primaries

Four seats on the St. Petersburg City Council in Florida are up for election in 2019, and three of those seats held primaries on August 27. The top two vote recipients in each of the primaries advanced to the general election, which is scheduled for November 5.
In two council districts, the incumbents—John “Ed” Montanari in District 3 and Lisa Wheeler-Bowman in District 7—both received the most votes in their primaries. According to the unofficial election night results, Montanari received 70.6% of the vote compared to his challengers, Orlando A. Acosta (20.0%) and Zachary James Collins (9.4%). In District 7, Wheeler-Bowman led a four-candidate field with 57.4% of the vote. The second-place finisher, Eritha Brandis Cainion, received 23.9%.
The District 5 primary was an open-seat race; incumbent Steve Kornell was prevented by term limits from seeking re-election. Trenia Cox led the field with 35.0% of the vote, which was followed by Deborah Figgs-Sanders at 29.6% and Beth Connor at 21.2%. The other candidates received single-digit percentage support. The primary for the District 1 seat on the council was canceled after only two candidates, Robert G. Blackmon and John Hornbeck, filed to run. Both automatically advanced to the general election. The District 1 race is an open-seat election since incumbent Charlie Gerdes was also term-limited.
The St. Petersburg City Council has eight members, each of whom serves a four-year term. St. Petersburg is the fifth-largest city in Florida and the 77th-largest city in the U.S. by population.