Early voting in Chicago’s municipal elections was scheduled to begin on Thursday, January 17, but a number of outstanding petition challenges left the ballot unfinalized. The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners now estimates that early voting will begin on January 28.
There were 46 candidates who filed to run in the 2019 municipal elections still facing challenges to their candidacies as of January 15, according to the board’s preliminary candidate list. That included:
2 mayoral candidates (Dorothy Brown and Neal Sáles-Griffin)
40 city council candidates (across 18 wards)
2 city treasurer candidates (Ameya Pawar and Peter Gariepy)
2 city clerk candidates (Patricia Horton and Elizabeth Arias-Ibarra)
The tentative January 28 start date is for early voting at the Loop Super Site located at 175 W. Washington St. Early voting at locations in all wards begins on February 11.
Elections for Chicago mayor, treasurer, clerk, and all 50 city council seats take place on February 26. Runoffs will be held on April 2 for those races in which no candidate receives a majority of the vote in February.
Chicago is the third-largest city in the U.S. by population.
A special election for Moreno Valley Unified School District Trustee Area 5 in California has been called for May 7, 2019. None of the other five seats on the board are scheduled to hold an election in 2019. Those interested in the position have until February 8 to file for the office.
The seat was originally vacated in August when Evan Morgan resigned his position following criminal charges that Morgan said he feared would distract from his work on the board. The Board of Education appointed Darrell Peeden to the seat in October 2018, but the appointment was overturned in December by a petition drive that required the district to call a special election. The community had 30 days following Peeden’s appointment to gather 1 ½ percent of Trustee Area 5 voters’ signatures—or 231 signatures—for the election to be called. A total of 318 valid signatures were turned in. Peeden stated he plans to file for the seat he held for roughly two months.
This is the second such special election to be called in Moreno Valley USD this decade. In May 2013, the school district appointed Gary Baugh to a vacant at-large seat on the board. He then vacated the seat in June of that year and stood for election in November. He won the special election and served until 2018.
Moreno Valley USD served 33,942 students during the 2015-2016 school year.
The filing deadline to run in Missouri school board elections passed on January 15, 2019. General elections are on April 2. Ballotpedia is covering elections for 24 school board seats across 10 Missouri school districts. These districts served a combined total of 120,068 students during the 2015-2016 school year, with the largest district being St. Louis Public Schools. The district is holding elections for two of its seven at-large seats.
This is the second school board candidate filing deadline covered by Ballotpedia this year, after the Wisconsin deadline on January 2. Another statewide filing deadline for 2019 school board elections, Oklahoma’s, passed on December 5, 2018.
Ballotpedia covered elections for 52 school board seats across 17 Missouri school districts in 2017, and in 2018, Ballotpedia covered elections for 24 seats across 10 Missouri school districts.
On January 11, 2019, Jacksonville City Councilwoman Anna Brosche (R) announced her campaign to challenge Mayor Lenny Curry (R) in the city’s 2019 mayoral election. She said the mayor did not do enough to address crime and that the city’s taxpayers were being hurt by what she called a lack of transparency in the mayor’s office.
That same day, five members of the city council released a joint statement in support of Curry. Council President Aaron Bowman, Tommy Hazouri, Sam Newby, Bill Gulliford, and Lori N. Boyer criticized Brosche for “spending months sewing [sic] division and conflict in City Council” and offered an endorsement for Curry. Curry first won election in 2015, defeating then-Mayor Alvin Brown (D).
There are 19 members of the city council, with a current partisan balance of 12 Republicans and seven Democrats.
Curry and Brosche will compete along with Jimmy Hill (R), Omega Allen (Independent), and two write-in candidates in the general election on March 19. If no candidate wins a majority in that election, a runoff election will be held on May 14. Six Florida cities rank among the largest 100 by population in the United States, and all of them are holding elections this year.
Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida by population and the 13th-largest in the United States. It is the second-largest city in the United States to have a Republican mayor, behind San Diego.
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.
Twenty-three candidates filed to run for the February 26 nonpartisan special election for New York City Public Advocate, the city’s second-highest office. They include four members of the New York State Assembly and five former and current members of the City Council.
The previous public advocate, Letitia James, was elected attorney general of New York in 2018. Before James first took the office in 2013, it was held by current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Until the winner of the special election is sworn in, Corey Johnson is the acting public advocate. He took the position on January 1 when James was sworn in to her new position. Johnson, who also serves as the District 3 member of the New York City Council, did not file to run in the public advocate special election.
The candidate list is not yet finalized. Candidates have the opportunity to file specific objections to their opponents’ petitions by January 23, 2019, with general objections due January 17, 2019. The petitions of four candidates have already been challenged. Hearings on any objections will be held on January 29.
The last time the office was up for election in 2017, James defeated four challengers to win re-election.
Sixty-four candidates filed to run for the 24 Jacksonville city offices that are up for election on March 19. The offices of mayor, supervisor of elections, property appraiser, sheriff, tax collector, and all 19 city council seats will be on the ballot. The filing deadline passed on January 11. A runoff election is scheduled for May 14 for the top two vote recipients—regardless of party—in races where no candidate receives a majority of the vote in March.
Five candidates—two Republicans, one candidate with no party affiliation, and two write-ins—filed to run against Republican Mayor Lenny Curry, who first won election in 2015 after defeating the former mayor, Alvin Brown (D). In the races for property appraiser, sheriff, and tax collector, all three Republican incumbents face a Democratic opponent. Mike Hogan, the Republican supervisor of elections, is running unopposed.
Fifty-one candidates filed to run for the 19 city council seats. Eleven incumbents—six Republicans and five Democrats—filed to run for re-election. Republicans currently have a 13-6 majority on the council, the same majority they had before and after the city’s 2015 election. Nine of the city council seats are in play in 2019. The other 10 will be maintained by the same party since the seats are unopposed or only had candidates from one party file to run. Republicans are guaranteed to keep seven seats, and Democrats are guaranteed to keep three.
Jacksonville, Florida, is holding its elections on March 19, 2019, with a runoff election scheduled for May 14 if required. Candidates hoping to appear on the ballot have until January 11 to file for election. A total of 24 offices are up for election, including mayor, supervisor of elections, property appraiser, sheriff, tax collector, and all 19 city council seats.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is one of 28 Republican mayors in the 100 largest cities in the United States. Curry was first elected in 2015 when he defeated the first-term Democratic mayor, Alvin Brown, in a runoff election. Curry and Brown faced two other challengers in the general election.
The city council is made up of five at-large seats and 14 by-district seats. Thirteen seats are currently held by Republican members and six are held by Democratic members. During the 2015 election, the Democratic Party saw a net gain of one seat and the council’s partisan balance went from 12-7 to 13-6. A total of 56 candidates filed for the 19 council seats that year, including all nine incumbents who had not yet reached their term limits. A special election for the District 12 seat was held in 2018; Randy White (R) was the only candidate to file for the seat.
The offices of the supervisor of elections, property appraiser, sheriff, and tax collector, are all held by Republicans. With the exception of the tax collector, who was elected in a special runoff in November 2018, all of them were elected in 2015. All four are serving their first terms.
Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida and the 13th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
The Long Beach City Council in California unanimously voted on January 8 to change the city’s election schedule to coincide with the state’s. Rather than holding general elections in April and runoff elections in June, the city and the Long Beach Unified School District will hold general elections in March and runoff elections in November starting in 2020.
The need to change election dates came from Senate Bill 415, a 2015 law that required local elections to align with the state’s election schedule by 2020 if local election turnout was 25 percent less than the average turnout in previous statewide general elections. Long Beach’s voter turnout for the April 2018 general election was 13 percent, while the voter turnout for California’s statewide general election in November 2018 was 65 percent. Long Beach had an estimated population of 469,450 in 2017, according to the United States Census Bureau.
The cities of Lawndale and Walnut, which both have populations of just over 30,000, also switched from holding elections in April to holding them in November. Other cities such as Norwalk and South Gate, which have populations of 106,084 and 95,430, respectively, switched from holding their elections in the spring of odd-numbered years to holding them in the spring of even-numbered years. Pasadena, which has a population of 142,647, also switched from holding its primary and general elections in odd-numbered years to even-numbered years.
Senate Bill 415 also affected school district election schedules. Over 80 percent of the state’s largest school districts that were scheduled to hold elections in 2017 switched to 2018.
Fifteen seats—four citywide offices, five city council seats, three school board seats, and three community college board seats—were on the ballot in Long Beach in 2018, and eight of those seats had unopposed races. The change in the city’s election schedule extended the terms of current officeholders by five months.
In Wisconsin, more candidates filed to run in six Madison-area school board elections this year compared to their last elections in 2018. A total of 30 candidates have filed to run for the 18 seats on the ballot, which is an average of 1.67 candidates per seat. Primaries for three of the seats will be held on February 19 to winnow the field down to two candidates per seat. The general election will be held on April 2.
In 2018, 19 candidates ran for 15 seats up for election in the same school districts, an average of 1.27 candidates per seat. No primaries were held since no seat had more than three candidates file to run.
The Milwaukee Board of School Directors also has more candidates running than it did last time elections were held in 2017. Eleven candidates filed to run for five seats in 2019, an average of 2.2 candidates per seat. In 2017, eight candidates ran for four seats, an average of two candidates per seat. A primary for one of the seats will be held on February 19. No primaries were held in 2017.
Last week, Chicago Alderman Ed Burke was charged with extortion. Burke has represented Chicago’s 14th Ward since 1969 and is the longest-serving alderman in the city’s history.
The FBI filed a complaint in the U.S. Northern District of Illinois court alleging that Burke attempted to use his position as alderman to solicit business for his law firm, Klaner & Burke, from a restaurant owner who was seeking permits for remodeling in 2017.
The complaint also claims that Burke illegally sought a donation for another politician from an executive of the company.
The charges came after the FBI conducted two raids of Burke’s offices, first on November 29 and again on December 13.
Burke said of the charge, “I believe that I’m not guilty of anything, and I’m trusting that when I have my day in court, that will be clear beyond a reasonable doubt.”
On Monday, Burke resigned from his position as chairman of the City Council Finance Committee. He announced that he intends to continue his re-election bid, in which he faces four challengers—Irene Corral, Jaime Guzman, Tanya Patino, and Jose Torrez.
Patino called on Burke to withdraw from the race, saying, “It’s an embarrassment to know that your alderman is doing things for his own personal gain instead of the community’s interest.”
A representative of Jose Torrez said, “We are running on a platform of transparency so we’re not going to allow this to ever have to be an issue in the 14th Ward again.”
Following are reactions from some of the 15 mayoral candidates:
Toni Preckwinkle, who is chair of the Cook County Democratic Party, removed Burke from his role as chair of the Cook County judicial slating committee, announced that she would return all money raised at a fundraiser at Burke’s house in January 2018 during her re-election bid for the Cook County Board of Supervisors, and said Burke should resign from the council.
Preckwinkle also confirmed that she received a donation from the company executive named in the charge against Burke during her Cook County re-election bid. Her lawyer said the donation in question was not accepted but that the campaign made a possible technical error in not reporting the donation and its return last year.
Gery Chico, who was endorsed by Burke, said that he would not accept support from Burke in the mayoral race. He also called on Burke to step down as finance committee chair.
Susana Mendoza called on Burke to step down from the finance committee and said it’s time for someone else to represent the 14th Ward. Bob Fioretti had called on Burke to step down as finance committee chair as well, and Bill Daley also said the ward needs a new alderman.
Paul Vallas called on Preckwinkle, Mendoza, Chico, and Daley to withdraw from the mayoral race because of connections with Burke. Vallas also proposed rotating committee chairmanships on the city council.
Willie Wilson said Preckwinkle should resign as Cook County Board president and that, as mayor, he would use a citizen advisory committee to select city council committee chairs as opposed to allowing the city council to select them.
Lori Lightfoot called for Burke to resign as finance chair following the first raid of his offices and, since the charge, said Burke should resign from the city council.
Amara Enyia stated, “A lot of the other candidates have significant ties to Alderman Burke and therefore ties to corruption, so the question Chicagoans will be asking is can we trust individuals that came out of that same establishment.” She also called for Burke to resign from city council.
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