California school board recall approved to circulate petitions

An effort to recall three of the five members of the Antelope Valley Union High School District Board of Trustees in California was approved to circulate petitions on June 3. Board President Robert Davis, Vice President Victoria Ruffin, and Clerk Amanda Parrell were targeted for recall due to allegations of excessive, unnecessary, and duplicative expenditures, troubling contracts with friends and associates, a failure to support student families, and a lack of respect toward members of the community, according to the notice of intent to recall filed with the county. To get the recall on the ballot, supporters must submit petitions to the county by October 1. Davis’ petition requires 7,964 signatures, Ruffin’s requires 7,388 signatures, and Parrell’s requires 6,833 signatures.
In response to the recall, Davis said that the board had a new vision for the district and that change was hard to accept. He said he believed the board was on the right track. Ruffin said, “When we’re doing the hard work in social justice and we’re doing the hard work of being equity warriors, it does mean that people get an opportunity to look at your ways and your practices. […] I can understand why that would be something that is scary.”
Ruffin and Parrell were first elected to the board on November 6, 2018, in the school district’s first by-district election. Prior to that, elections were held at large. Davis was first elected to the board on November 3, 2015.
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%. That was higher than the 56.9% rate and 56.3% rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.

Incumbent Michael Hancock defeats development consultant Jamie Giellis in Denver mayoral runoff

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock defeated development consultant Jamie Giellis to win a third term Tuesday. At the time of Giellis’ concession, Hancock had received 55.6% of the vote to Giellis’ 44.4%. Giellis and Hancock were the top two finishers among a six-candidate field on the May 7 general election ballot. Since neither received a majority of the vote, the two advanced to a runoff.
A central issue in the election was the city government’s response to a decade of rapid population growth and large-scale development. Hancock said that he supported the Denveright plan, which charted a path forward for Denver to continue growing at its current rate through 2040. Giellis, on the other hand, said that Denver had not taken residents’ needs into account when planning new development and said she would increase neighborhood-level control over development.
Hancock was first elected in 2011 after serving seven years on the city council. He won re-election in 2015 with just over 80% of the vote. He said that his third-term policy objectives would include establishing a municipal department of transportation and increasing the minimum wage for city employees to $15 per hour. Hancock was endorsed by The Denver Post, former mayors Wellington Webb and Bill Vidal, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D), and presidential candidates Michael Bennet (D), Pete Buttigieg (D), and John Hickenlooper (D).
Giellis is a former board member of the International Downtown Association and served as president of the River North Art District before launching her campaign. She said that her masters’ degree in public administration and her experience with urban design made her more qualified to manage growth. She supported opening a municipal planning office in every neighborhood and increasing city spending on affordable housing to $1 billion over the course of the next decade. Her endorsers included former Gov. Dick Lamm (D) and general election candidates Lisa Calderón and Penfield Tate. Giellis, Calderón, and Tate received a combined 58.1% of the vote to Hancock’s 38.7% in the first round of voting.
Although the election was officially nonpartisan, both Hancock and Giellis are members of the Democratic Party.

City council seats on Tuesday’s ballot in Los Angeles and Riverside

More than 200,000 Los Angeles residents will have more than 15 candidates to choose from in a city council special election on Tuesday.
In California, the District 12 seat on the Los Angeles City Council and the Ward 1, 3, 5, and 7 seats on the Riverside City Council are up for election on June 4. The Los Angeles race is a special primary for a vacant seat, while the Riverside contests are their regularly scheduled general elections. In both cities, the council seats can be won outright on Tuesday if one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote. If none do, then Los Angeles is holding its special general election on August 13, and Riverside is holding its general runoff on November 5.
The District 12 seat in Los Angeles was vacated by Mitchell Englander, who resigned on December 31, 2018, in order to work in government affairs for the Oak View Group. Englander, the only Republican on the council, was first elected in 2011 and left office during his second term. Fifteen candidates are running for the remainder of his term in the special nonpartisan primary. The Los Angeles City Council has 15 members.
Riverside is holding an all-mail nonpartisan general election for the four city council seats. Only the Ward 1 incumbent, Mike Gardner, is running for re-election, and he faces two challengers. The other three elections are for open seats and feature between three and seven candidates each. The Riverside City Council has seven members, which means that a majority of the council could be new members following the election. The winners this year will receive an extended five-year term in office instead of four-year terms. This is due to the city’s transition to holding elections in even-numbered years beginning in 2022. Consequently, the Ward 1, 3, 5, and 7 seats will be on the ballot next in 2024 instead of 2023.
Los Angeles is the largest city in California and the second-largest city in the U.S. by population, while Riverside is the 12th-largest city in the state and the 58th-largest city nationwide.

12 candidates file to run in Tucson mayor and city council races

Four mayoral candidates and eight city council candidates filed to run in the 2019 city elections in Tucson, Arizona. A primary is scheduled for August 27, and the general election is on November 5. The filing deadline was May 29.
Three of the four mayoral candidates—Randi Dorman, Steve Farley, and Regina Romero—will compete in the Democratic primary. The fourth candidate, independent Edward Ackerley, will face the Democratic primary winner on the general election ballot. Incumbent Jonathan Rothschild announced in December 2018 that he would not seek re-election, ensuring a newcomer will take the office. Rothschild was first elected mayor in 2011 and re-elected in 2015.
Three of the six seats on the city council—Wards 1, 2, and 4—are also on the ballot in 2019. Ward 1 incumbent Regina Romero is running for mayor instead of for re-election. Four Democrats filed to run for her seat. In Ward 2, Democratic incumbent Paul Cunningham is running for re-election against Republican Ewart Williams Jr. Ward 4 incumbent Shirley Scott did not file to run for re-election. Democrat Nikki Lee and Republican Michael Hicks are running for that open seat.
Tucson is the second-largest city in Arizona and the 32nd-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Voters in Denver headed to polls for runoff election four weeks after general election

Denver is holding runoff elections on June 4 for seven nonpartisan seats after no candidate received a majority of the vote in the general election on May 7. On the ballot are mayor, five of 13 city council seats, and the city clerk and recorder position.
In the mayoral race, incumbent Michael Hancock faces Jamie Giellis. The candidates advanced from a six-way race with 38.7% and 24.9% of the vote, respectively. Hancock was last up for re-election in 2015, when he received 80.2% of the vote in the general election.
City Council Districts 1, 3, 5, 9, and 10 also advanced to the runoff election. The District 1 and District 3 seats are both open; incumbents in Districts 5, 9, and 10 are all seeking re-election and advanced to the runoff. By comparison, a total of four city council seats advanced to runoff races in 2015 and all four were open. That year, seven incumbents sought re-election. In 2019, 11 incumbents filed for re-election.
The city clerk and recorder runoff election features City Council District 3 incumbent Paul López and Peg Perl. Incumbent Debra Johnson did not file for re-election. López received 36.2% of the vote, and Perl received 32.6% of the vote. They advanced from a three-way general election race.
Denver is the largest city in Colorado and the 22nd-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Early voting for Dallas runoff elections takes place from May 28 to June 4

Early voting for the June 8 runoff elections in Dallas, Texas, began on Tuesday, May 28. The final day of early voting is Tuesday, June 4. Nonpartisan runoff elections are being held for mayor and for city council districts 4, 7, 9, and 14.
District 1 City Councilman Scott Griggs and state Rep. Eric Johnson (D) are running in the mayoral race. Incumbent Mayor Mike Rawlings, in office since 2011, was prevented by term limits from seeking re-election. Griggs and Johnson say their respective experience on the council and in the state House equip them to build consensus on the city council.
Dallas uses a council-manager form of government in which the mayor serves as a member of the city council along with 14 elected council members. The council appoints a chief executive called a city manager to oversee day-to-day municipal operations. The mayor appoints city council committee members and chairs, determines what policy-related agenda items will be considered by the council, and makes policy and budget recommendations.
Griggs lists among his accomplishments on the city council his role in passing pay increases for police officers and economic growth in the neighborhood he represents. Johnson says he has a record of working across the aisle in the state House to increase affordable housing and for full-day pre-K.
Dallas is the ninth-largest city in the U.S., with a population of 1.3 million.
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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.