June 3 filing deadline for Wichita mayor and city council races

Prospective candidates for mayor and city council in Wichita, Kansas, have until June 3 to file to run in the nonpartisan races. A primary will be held on August 6 for any races where three or more candidates file. The general election is scheduled for November 5.
The mayor and city council members each serve four-year terms and are limited to two consecutive terms (eight years) in office.
Wichita’s current mayor, Jeff Longwell, has filed for re-election. Longwell became mayor in 2015 after serving on the Wichita City Council from 2007 to 2015. As of May 28, three additional candidates, had also filed for the mayoral election.
Three Wichita City Council seats are on the ballot in 2019. District 2 incumbent Becky Tuttle, District 4 incumbent Jeff Blubaugh, and District 5 incumbent Bryan Frye have all filed for re-election. As of May 28, the candidate list showed no opponents had filed to run against any of the three incumbents.
Wichita is the largest city in Kansas and the 48th-largest city in the U.S. by population. In 2019, Ballotpedia is covering elections in 59 of America’s 100 largest cities by population. In addition to the cities, Ballotpedia is also covering elections in 23 counties across 11 states.

Three of nineteen incumbents defeated in Philadelphia primary

Philadelphia is holding elections for 23 positions on November 5, 2019. Offices up for election include mayor, city council, city commission, sheriff, and register of wills. A partisan primary was held on May 21.
Mayor James Kenney (D) defeated two challengers to advance to the general election. He faces Republican candidate William Ciancaglini, who was unopposed in the primary.
All 17 seats on the city council are up for election. Ten seats are elected by district and seven are elected at large; in the at-large primary, only five candidates from a party could advance to the general election. A total of 14 incumbents filed for re-election. Of these, 11 are Democrats and three are Republican. Four incumbents were unopposed in the primary. One incumbent, District 3 member Jannie Blackwell (D), was defeated.
All three at-large city commission seats are also on the general election ballot. Only two candidates from a political party could advance to the general election. The commission currently has two Democratic members and one Republican member. Incumbents Lisa Deeley (D) and Al Schmidt (R) filed for re-election, but Anthony Clark (D) did not, leaving one open seat. A total of 13 Democratic candidates filed to run, and Deeley and challenger Omar Sabir advanced to the general election from the Democratic primary. Schmidt also advanced after he ran unopposed in the Republican primary.
Register of Wills Ronald Donatucci and two challengers—Tracey Gordon and Jacque Whaumbush—competed in the Democratic primary. Gordon received 44.1% of the vote and advanced to the general election, where she is unopposed. No Republican candidates filed for the primary.
Sheriff Jewell Williams lost his re-election bid in the Democratic primary. Rochelle Bilal defeated Williams, Malika Rahman, and Larry King Sr. with 41.1% of the vote. Bilal is unopposed in the general election after no Republican candidates filed for the primary.
Minor party and independent candidates have until August 1, 2019, to file for the general election. Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and the fifth-largest city in the U.S. by population.
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Mayor Sickles recalled after second attempt in Wickenburg, Arizona

A recall effort was successful on Tuesday against Mayor Everett Sickles in Wickenburg, Arizona. Former city councilman Rui Pereira defeated Sickles with 52.9% of the vote.
The recall petition read, “Whereas Everett Sickles, the mayor of Wickenburg, was elected to represent the town, its residents, and its economic interests, he has failed to do so. Instead, Mr. Sickles has used his position of authority to question the future of our local police department, criticize the business community, disparage town employees, and create an overall environment so toxic, it is threatening future development and quality of life. Tens of thousands of dollars have been wasted on his frivolous legal claims and baseless complaints against town vendors. His primary role is to promote our wonderful community. He has done the opposite.”
In response to the recall petition, Sickles said, “Basically, it’s a pack of lies […] None of this makes any sense to me. You can twist it any way you want. You know that’s probably what will happen. This whole thing, the people want me to do something, I do it.” Sickles had previously criticized the local chamber of commerce’s role in economic development and stated, “the problem must be solved, before the town can move forward.”
Petitioners submitted 575 valid signatures—440 were required. An earlier attempt to recall Sickles failed in July 2018 after petitioners only had gathered 400 valid signatures.
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Incumbent James Kenney wins Philadelphia Democratic mayoral primary

Incumbent James Kenney (D) defeated former City Controller Alan Butkovitz (D) and state Sen. Anthony Williams (D) in the Democratic primary for mayor of Philadelphia. As of 9:30 p.m. ET, Kenney had received 66.4% of the vote to Williams’ 22.9% with 53.5% of precincts reporting.
Kenney, who served 23 years on the city council before his election as mayor in 2015, said that he had demonstrated a progressive record during his first term by increasing the minimum wage for city employees, declaring Philadelphia a sanctuary city, and pledging to abide by the terms of the Paris Climate Agreement. His endorsers included the Philadelphia Inquirer, Gov. Tom Wolf (D), Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D), and all three of Philadelphia’s representatives in the U.S. House.
Butkovitz, who served three terms as city controller before he was unseated by former Kenney administration official Rebecca Rhynhart (D) in the 2017 primary, said that Kenney had not done enough to address poverty and violent crime during his first term.
Williams, who was the runner-up to Kenney in the 2015 Democratic mayoral primary, also criticized Kenney’s response to crime and poverty. As he did in 2015, Williams supported expanding charter schools to every Philadelphia neighborhood. He was endorsed by Philadelphia Magazine and former Mayor John Street (D).
Both Butkovitz and Williams criticized a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on soda and other sugary drinks that Kenney implemented in his first term. While Kenney said the measure provided funding for education and infrastructure spending, both challengers promised to repeal the tax and find the money elsewhere in the city’s budget.
Supporters and opponents of soda taxes from outside Philadelphia spent on the race, with the American Beverage Association spending over $600,000 to run an ad opposing Kenney and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D) donating $1,000,000 to a political group supporting him.
Kenney will face attorney Billy Ciancaglini (R) and any independent or third-party candidates in the November 5 general election. Since 1951, no incumbent Philadelphia mayor has lost a re-election bid, and no Republican has won a Philadelphia mayoral election since 1947.

Seventy candidates file to run for Seattle City Council and school board seats

Seventy candidates filed to run for the November 5 general election in Seattle, Washington. Seven of the nine city council seats and four of the city’s seven school board seats are on the ballot. A primary is scheduled for August 6. The filing deadline for this election was May 17.
Three of the seven city council incumbents whose seats are up for election filed to run for another term. In District 1, incumbent Lisa Herbold faces two challengers. District 3 incumbent Kshama Sawant and District 5 incumbent Debora Juarez face five challengers each. The open District 2, 4, 6, and 7 seats attracted between seven and 14 candidates each, for a total of 56 candidates running for city council in 2019. In 2015, 37 candidates filed to run for the same seats on the ballot.
A total of 14 candidates are running for Seattle school board seats in 2019. Leslie Harris is the only incumbent running for re-election. She faces two challengers for the District 6 seat on the board. Three candidates each are running for the open District 2 and 3 seats, and five candidates campaigning for the open District 1 seat. When these same seats were last up for election in 2015, 11 candidates filed to run.
Seattle is the largest city in Washington and the 21st-largest city in the U.S. by population. Seattle Public Schools served 54,215 students during the 2016-2017 school year.

Incumbent James Kenney faces Alan Butkovitz, Anthony Williams in Philadelphia Democratic mayoral primary May 21

Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney’s (D), Alan Butkovitz (D) and Anthony Williams (D) are running in a Democratic primary May 21 seeking the nomination for the November 5 mayoral election.
Under Philadelphia’s current charter, which dates to 1951, no incumbent mayor has been defeated in a bid for re-election. Kenney recently received the endorsement of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Kenney’s support for a 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks that passed in 2016 has drawn criticism from Butkovitz and Williams, both of whom pledged to repeal the tax.
Kenney says he supports the soda tax because it has raised money for the city’s infrastructure and schools. He says he built a progressive record in his first term by increasing the minimum wage for city employees to $15 per hour, declaring Philadelphia a sanctuary city, and pledging to abide by the terms of the Paris Climate Agreement.
In addition to the Inquirer, Kenney has been endorsed by Gov. Tom Wolf (D), Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D), and all three of Philadelphia’s representatives in the U.S. House.
Butkovitz served three terms as city controller before losing to former Kenney administration official Rebecca Rhynhart (D) in 2017. He earlier served eight terms in the state house. Butkovitz says that the Kenney administration has failed to address poverty and violent crime in Philadelphia and has racially discriminatory hiring practices.
Williams placed second to Kenney in the 2015 mayoral primary with 26% of the vote to Kenney’s 56%. Williams has served in the state Senate since being elected in 1998 and earlier served five terms in the state house. He promises to expand charter schools with the goal of reaching every neighborhood. He was endorsed by Philadelphia Magazine, the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity, and former mayor John Street (D).
Kenney raised $1.1 million through May 12. Butkovitz and Williams each raised $150,000. Both supporters and opponents of soda taxes outside Philadelphia have weighed in. The American Beverage Association spent over $600,000 on an ad campaign opposing Kenney. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who supports the tax, (D) donated $1,000,000 to a PAC spending in support of Kenney.
The winner will face attorney Billy Ciancaglini (R) and any declared nonpartisan candidates in the November 5 election. No Republican has won a Philadelphia mayoral election since Bernard Samuel (R) in 1947.

Official results confirm that Denver is the first U.S. city to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms

Denver elections officials certified final official results for the May 7 election on Thursday. Initiative 301 passed 50.6 percent to 49.4 percent—a margin of 2,291 votes out of the 177,903 votes cast.
The citizen initiative, which became effective on May 16th when results were certified, makes the adult possession and use of psilocybin mushrooms the lowest law enforcement priority in Denver. It prohibits the city from spending resources on enforcing penalties related to psilocybin mushrooms.
It is the first measure of its kind in the U.S. Psilocybin is classified as a Schedule I drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). At the state level, the use and possession of psilocybin are illegal and penalized, except in certain cases allowed under the state’s right-to-try law. Right-to-try laws aim to allow terminally ill patients to gain access to experimental drugs without the permission of the FDA. Colorado was the first state to adopt a right-to-try law in 2014.

Pair of runoffs on Tuesday for Phoenix City Council

Special general runoff elections for Districts 5 and 8 of the Phoenix City Council are being held on Tuesday. The nonpartisan runoff was called because no candidate received at least 50 percent of the vote in the special election held on March 12. The filing deadline for candidates who wished to run in the election was December 12, 2018.
In the District 5 race, incumbent Vania Guevara faces challenger Betty Guardado, while newcomers Carlos Garcia and Michael Johnson are competing in District 8.
The special election became necessary after former District 5 representative Daniel Valenzuela and former District 8 representative Kate Gallego both resigned to run for mayor of Phoenix in a special election on November 6, 2018. They advanced to a special runoff election on March 12, 2019, where Gallego defeated Valenzuela.
Phoenix is the largest city in Arizona and the sixth-largest city in the U.S. by population.
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All 11 Jacksonville City Council members who filed for re-election won following general runoff

All 19 Jacksonville City Council seats were up for election in 2019. Fourteen races were decided outright in the general election on March 19, but five advanced to a runoff election held on May 14. Those seats were At-large Positions 1 and 3 and Districts 8, 10, and 14.
Eleven of 19 incumbents filed for re-election. City council members are term-limited and restricted to serving two consecutive four-year terms. Two incumbents advanced to the runoff election and were re-elected: At-large Position 3 member Tommy Hazouri (D) and District 8 member Ju’Coby Pittman (D). The remaining three seats in the runoff were open. All 11 incumbents who ran for re-election won another term.
The incoming city council will have six Democratic and 13 Republican members. Currently, Democrats hold seven seats and Republicans hold 12. The open At-large Position 2 seat changed from a Democrat-held seat to a Republican-held seat in the general election. There were no flipped seats in the general runoff election.
Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida and the 13th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
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May 17 filing deadline for Fresno special election

The city of Fresno, California, is holding a nonpartisan special election for the District 2 seat on the city council on August 13. A runoff election is scheduled for November 5. The filing deadline for this election is May 17.
The District 2 city council seat was previously held by Steve Brandau. He was first elected to the seat in 2012. Brandau stepped down in April 2019 after winning the District 2 seat on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors in a special election on March 5.
The District 2 city council seat was last up for election in 2016. Brandau won re-election without opposition that year. Winners of the 2019 special election will serve the remainder of Brandau’s term, which ends in 2020. Though the seat is nonpartisan, Brandau is affiliated with the Republican Party.
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