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Three-vote margin decides runoff candidates in Atlanta special election

A special election for the District 3 seat on the Atlanta City Council in Georgia took place on March 19, 2019.
 
Nine candidates appeared on the ballot. Results were certified on March 22, showing Byron Amos and Antonio Brown as the top two vote recipients. Third-place finisher Greg Clay finished three votes behind Brown, 293 to 296, which allows him to request a recount. Following the recount, the top two candidates will advance to a runoff election scheduled for April 16, 2019.
 
Amos previously served on the Atlanta school board from 2011 to 2019. Brown is the CEO of LVL XIII, a men’s clothing business.
 
The special election was triggered after the former incumbent, Ivory Lee Young Jr., passed away in November 2018. Young had been a member of the city council since 2002.
 
The Atlanta City Council is made up of 16 members, including a council president. Twelve members are elected by the city’s 12 districts, while three other members and the council president are elected at large.
 


Unions are largest contributors in Chicago mayoral race

On Wednesday, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Chicago District Council PAC contributed $500,000 to Lori Lightfoot’s campaign. That made unions the largest contributors to both candidates in the mayoral runoff race, which takes place April 2.
 
Toni Preckwinkle’s largest contributors are committees associated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The SEIU Illinois Council PAC Fund donated just over $2 million to her campaign through February 25. Her second-largest contributor has been the Service Employees Local #1 PEC, which donated $784,486.83 through March 5.
 
Lightfoot is her own second-largest contributor; she donated and loaned a total of $316,532.95 to her campaign through March 5.
 
As of March 22, Preckwinkle had reported raising $6.3 million and Lightfoot, $4.6 million.
 
Lightfoot and Preckwinkle advanced from a 14-candidate field in the February 26 general election. Preckwinkle was the second-highest fundraiser (behind Bill Daley) in the general election since December 7, when she received her first donation from SEIU Illinois Council PAC Fund ($1 million). Lightfoot had approximately $1.6 million at the end of the general election, the sixth-highest amount.
 
Chicago is the third-largest city in the U.S. by population. The 2019 race is the second mayoral runoff in the city’s history and the fourth open-seat mayoral race in 100 years.


Nashville Metro Council special runoff election won by 25 votes

Delishia Porterfield defeated Nicola La Mattina to win the Nashville Metro Council’s District 29 seat in a special runoff election on March 19, 2019, by 25 votes. Porterfield received 561 votes compared to La Mattina’s 536, according to unofficial election night totals.
 
The two candidates had advanced from a four-candidate field in the special general election on February 12. In that race, Porterfield had led the field with 402 votes to La Mattina’s 376. The other two candidates, Constance Smith-Burwell and Vicky Tataryn, received 74 and 58 votes, respectively. The special election was called after Karen Johnson, the former District 29 council member, won election in November 2018 to become the new Davidson County Register of Deeds.
 
The District 29 seat is also up for regular election in 2019, along with all 40 other seats on the Metro Council as well as the mayor’s office. The filing deadline is May 16, the general election is August 1, and a runoff election may be held on a currently unknown date in September if no candidate receives a simple majority of the general election vote. Mayor David Briley was first elected to the office in a May 2018 special election; he announced his plan to run for a full term in September 2018.
 
Nashville is the second-largest city in Tennessee and the 24th-largest city in the U.S. by population.


Jacksonville mayor avoids run-off and wins re-election

Mayor Lenny Curry (R) won re-election to his second term on March 19 defeating two Republicans and an independent. He received 58 percent of the vote, defeating Republican Councilwoman Anna Brosche (24 percent), unaffiliated candidate Omega Allen (11 percent), and former Atlantic Beach City Councilman Jimmy Hill (8 percent). No Democratic candidate filed to run in the race, but the Duval County Democratic Party approved a resolution opposing Curry’s re-election. Curry’s new term will last four years, and the next election will take place in 2023.
 
Twenty-six of the 100 largest cities by population will be holding mayoral elections in 2019. Of those, five (Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and Dallas) are among the 10 largest cities. Democrats currently hold the mayor’s office in 18 of the cities with elections this year, while Republicans and independents hold four each.


Five Jacksonville City Council races headed to May 14 runoff

Five of the 19 city council seats in Jacksonville, Florida, are headed to a runoff election on May 14 after no candidate received a majority of the votes cast in the March 19 general election. Two of the runoff races feature incumbents. At-large Position 3 incumbent Tommy Hazouri (D) is competing against Greg Rachal (R), and District 8 incumbent Ju’Coby Pittman (D) is competing against Tameka Gaines Holly (D). The runoff elections for the At-large Position 1 seat and the District 14 seat each include one Democrat and one Republican, while the runoff election for the District 10 seat includes two Democrats.
 
The other nine incumbents on the ballot—six Republicans and three Democrats—won re-election outright on March 19. The five open seats that did not go to a runoff were all won by Republicans. The Jacksonville City Council is guaranteed to have at least 11 Republicans and five Democrats after the runoff elections. Currently, it has a Republican majority of 13-6.
 
The city also held elections for mayor, property appraiser, sheriff, supervisor of elections, and tax collector on March 19. All five Republican incumbents won re-election outright to those offices, including Mayor Lenny Curry. Curry faced no Democratic opponents in his re-election bid.
 
Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida and the 13th-largest city in the U.S. by population.


Candidate filing deadline passes for Denver’s 2019 municipal elections

Candidates for Denver mayor and city council had to file by Thursday, March 14, in order to make the ballot for the general election on May 7, 2019. In races where no candidate wins a majority of the vote, a runoff election will be held on June 4, 2019.
 
Denver’s current mayor, Michael Hancock, is seeking a third term in office. Hancock became mayor in 2011 after serving on the Denver City Council from 2004-2011. Hancock is running alongside five other candidates in the nonpartisan race: Lisa Calderón, Stephan Evans, Jamie Giellis, Kalyn Heffernan, and Penfield Tate.
 
Mayors in Denver serve four-year terms and can serve up to three terms (12 years) in office. As the city’s chief executive, the mayor is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors, and overseeing the city’s day-to-day operations.
 
Denver uses a strong mayor-council form of government, meaning that the mayor is the city’s chief executive while the council is the city’s primary legislative body. Of the largest 100 cities in the country, 47 use a strong mayor system, 46 use a council-manager system, six use hybrid systems, and one uses a city commission.
 
Citizens in Denver will also cast votes for city auditor, city clerk and recorder, and 13 seats on the Denver City Council.
 
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The second mayoral runoff election in Chicago history takes place April 2

Chicago voters have the opportunity to cast ballots in the second mayoral runoff election in the city’s history on April 2.
 
This year’s mayoral runoff features former Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle. The two advanced from a 14-candidate field—the largest in the city’s history—by winning more votes than the other candidates on Feb. 26.
 
The first mayoral runoff took place in 2015. Runoffs first became possible in the 1999 election, after a state law changed mayoral elections in Chicago from partisan to nonpartisan. Prior to that, partisan primaries were held ahead of general elections. Now, candidates must receive more than 50 percent of the vote to win in the general election. Otherwise, the top two finishers go to a runoff.
 
Along with being the city’s second runoff election for mayor, the 2019 race is the fourth open-seat mayoral race in 100 years. Incumbent Rahm Emanuel did not seek re-election. He won his first term in 2011’s open-seat race.
 
Voters who don’t want to wait until April 2 to cast their ballots can vote early in person or by mail. The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners website has early voting locations and hours as well as instructions and deadlines for applying to vote by mail. One may also register to vote through election day.
 
See Ballotpedia’s coverage of the 2019 mayoral election for information about the candidates and key issues in the race.


Massachusetts mayor loses recall but wins election on same night

On March 12, 2019, an effort in Fall River, Massachusetts, to recall Mayor Jasiel Correia II was approved. However, on the same night, Correia was also elected to serve as mayor of the city again.
 
According to The Herald News, Correia qualified to run as a candidate to be mayor in case the recall vote was successful. On the first portion of the ballot, Correia was recalled with 7,829 votes cast in favor of the recall and 4,911 votes cast in opposition to the recall. The second portion of the ballot allowed voters to choose who should serve as mayor if the recall vote succeeded. Correia received more votes than his four opponents and will retain his position. He won by a plurality with 4,808 (35.4%) of the total votes cast. Runner-up Paul Coogan received 4,567 votes (33.6%), Joe Camara won 1,971 votes (14.5%), Kyle Riley won 1,460 votes (10.8%), and Erica Scott-Pacheo won 740 votes (5.5%).
 
Petitioners began the recall process after Correia was arrested on October 11, 2018, on 13 charges of wire and tax fraud related to his company SnoOwl. In a press conference following the indictment, Correia said he was innocent of the charges and that he would not resign from office. He said the voters of Fall River should let him continue to serve or recall him.
 


Idaho mayor survives recall effort in Elk River

An effort in Elk River, Idaho, to recall Mayor Dave Brown was defeated on March 12, 2019, with 44 votes cast to retain the mayor and 21 votes cast to recall the mayor. According to The Lewiston Tribune, there are 81 registered voters in Elk River, meaning the recall election saw an 80.2 percent voter turnout.
 
The recall effort was initiated in February 2019 after recall supporters accused the mayor of public drunkenness, misuse of city equipment, failing to respond to public safety issues, and discouraging law enforcement presence in Elk River. Brown responded to the recall petition by saying he believed the complaints in the petition stemmed from the all-terrain vehicle fun runs the town hosts twice per year. He said he was innocent of the charges.


Sugar City residents vote to retain mayor and councilman despite recall effort

A recall effort in Sugar City, Idaho, was defeated on March 12, 2019. Mayor David Ogden and Councilman Brent Barrus were retained with 62.1 and 63.8 percent of the vote, respectively. The effort was initiated in September 2018 and required 167 signatures to get on the ballot.

The recall effort began in response to development plans in Division Three of Old Farm Estates, where some residents were worried that the developers were planning to add apartments. Supporters of the recall effort said this would go against the city’s comprehensive plan to add more single-family homes. Catherine Nielson, who initiated the recall, stated, “The Mayor and Barrus violated the comprehensive plan and pushed through their own agenda at the expense of residents of Sugar City.“

Ogden and Barrus both responded to the recall effort. Ogden said, “I understand why they want to do the recall, but I’m also hoping that the citizens will give me the chance to finish off the year of 2019.” Barrus said, “Our town needs healing and forgiving, instead of more division and contention. They seek to silence many of you by removing Mayor Ogden and me from office.”



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