One-third of Dallas school board up for grabs in May

Three of nine seats on the Dallas Independent School District school board in Texas are on the ballot this year, and none of the three incumbents are seeking re-election. The general election is on May 4. If no candidates receive a majority of the vote in the election, the top two vote recipients will advance to a runoff scheduled for June 8. A total of nine candidates filed for the three seats.
The former District 4 incumbent, Jaime Resendez, recently resigned, and the school board will appoint someone to the seat to serve until the May election. Four candidates filed for District 4: Karla Garcia, Omar Jimenez, Amalia Lozano, and Camile White. First elected in 2001, District 5 incumbent Lew Blackburn is not seeking re-election. Blackburn is the longest currently serving member of the Dallas ISD school board. Candidates Ola Allen, Maxie Johnson, and David King filed for his seat on the board. In District 7, single-term board member Audrey Pinkerton is also not running for re-election. She stated her new career would not allow her to fulfill the position’s requirements. Two candidates, Ben Mackey and Brent McDougal, filed for the seat.
This election cycle marks the first time in over five years that no incumbents filed for re-election in the district. Between 2014 and 2018, at least one incumbent filed for another term each year; in 2017 and 2018, 100 percent of incumbents sought re-election. In that same time frame, an average of 2.0 and 3.0 candidates per seat were on the ballot, respectively. The 2019 election follows that trend with an average of 3.0 candidates running per seat. In four of the five most recent election cycles, one seat advanced to a runoff from the general election each year. Only during the 2015 election—in which exactly two candidates competed in each race—was no runoff held.
Dallas ISD enrolled 157,886 students during the 2016-2017 school year.

Wisconsin cities and school boards hold primaries

Cities and school districts across Wisconsin held primaries on February 19 for any office that attracted more than two candidates per seat. The winners advanced to the general election on April 2.
In Madison, primaries were held for mayor, four common council seats, and three school board seats. Out of those races, only the mayor and one school board seat had incumbents running. The rest of the races are open and guaranteed to see a newcomer win in April. Mayor Paul Soglin faced four challengers in the primary. He received 28.6 percent of the vote and advanced to the general election along with Satya Rhodes-Conway, who received 27.7 percent of the vote, according to unofficial election night results. They defeated Mo Cheeks, Raj Shukla, and Nick Hart.
The District 3, 12, 13, and 15 seats on the Madison Common Council held primaries to narrow the field of candidates from three, four, or five candidates to two. Out of the 20 common council seats on the ballot in April, 11 have incumbents running.
TJ Mertz, Seat 5 incumbent on the Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education, advanced to the general election along with Ananda Mirilli. The Seat 3 and 4 primaries narrowed the open races from three and four candidates, respectively, to two.
Milwaukee Public Schools held a primary for one of the five seats up for election this year. Three candidates filed to run for the open District 8 seat. Kathryn Gabor and Megan O’Halloran advanced to the general election. Out of the five school board seats on the ballot in April, only one has an incumbent running for re-election.
A Wisconsin recall election was also on the ballot on February 19. It sought to remove two of the seven members of the Flambeau School District Board of Education, and it was approved by voters. Board President Sam Stewart and board clerk Danielle Zimmer were voted out of their positions. Challengers Sara Baker and Ruth Opachan won election to the seats.

Two weeks to Tampa mayoral race

Seven candidates are running in the March 5 election for Tampa’s open mayoral seat. Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D) is term-limited and unable to run for re-election. Transportation and congestion relief are the major issues in this race.

Mayoral elections in Tampa are officially nonpartisan, though candidates are typically members of a political party. Tampa’s mayor is one of 18 Democratic mayorships up for election in 2019, with Republicans and independents each holding another four. No matter who wins the Tampa race, control of the city will not change partisan hands—FOX 13 says that all candidates identify as members of the Democratic Party.

The most recent polling by St. Pete Polls showed former police chief Jane Castor leading philanthropist David Straz 45-13. Four other candidates in the race polled between 6 percent and 9 percent. As of Jan. 22, Straz has raised $1.6 million while Castor has raised $222,000. Ed Turanchik has raised $215,000.

If no candidate receives a majority in the election, a runoff between the top two vote-getters will take place April 23. The last time the city had an open seat mayor’s race was 2011. Five candidates ran and a runoff was required.

The History of Chicago’s mayoral office: Did you know?

Chicago’s municipal elections are coming up on February 26, and voters in the nation’s third-largest city are surrounded by news stories, campaign finance data, polling numbers, endorsements, and campaign ads. We invite you to take a short break from the news cycle to dive into the history of the city and the mayoral office—doing so will help put the 2019 election in better context (and give you some fun facts to share with friends).
Did you know?
  1. Chicago has hosted more major-party national conventions than any other city at 25. The next most popular spot, Baltimore, held 10.
  2. Chicago voters last elected a Republican mayor in 1927.
  3. In 1933, Mayor Anton Cermak was shot and killed in a failed assassination attempt on President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt while the two were meeting in Miami.
  4. Chicago was the nation’s second-largest city from 1890 to 1982. Its population peaked at 3.6 million in the 1950 census. As of 2017, Chicago had 2.7 million residents.
  5. Municipal election turnout was at a high of 82% in 1983 and a low of 33% in 2007.
  6. In 2018, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was responsible for a budget of $8.6 billion, comparable in size to the budget of Iowa.
For more political history on the city and the mayor’s office, including the evolution of the mayor’s powers, the prominence of the Democratic Party in the city, historical elections results, and voter turnout stats, click here.

Major local, national endorsements in the weeks ahead of Chicago mayoral race

Between Feb. 8 and Feb. 13, The Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, and a former vice president endorsed candidates in the February 26 Chicago mayoral race.
On Feb. 13, the Tribune editorial board endorsed Bill Daley. It said in its endorsement, “We’re drawn…toward a candidate who speaks broadly of building Chicago. Toward a native Chicagoan who looks outward to a nation and world that wrongly think they already have Chicago figured out: It’s that glassy, glossy downtown flanked by neighborhoods rife with poverty and crime.”
On Feb. 8, the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board endorsed Lori Lightfoot, writing, “More than any of the other 13 mayoral candidates, she has the vision, values, qualifications and policies to be an effective leader for the whole city, from the hedge fund managers to the fast food workers.”
Also on Feb. 8, former Vice President Al Gore (D) endorsed Bill Daley, citing Daley’s positions on climate change. Daley served as U.S. commerce secretary from 1997 to 2000 while Gore was vice president.
Other noteworthy endorsements from the past month:
  1. Crain’s Chicago Business endorsed Daley
  2. Former candidate Dorothy Brown backed Amara Enyia
  3. Illinois Education Association Region 67 endorsed Lightfoot
  4. Illinois Nurses Association backed Susana Mendoza
  5. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards endorsed Toni Preckwinkle
  6. Cook County Republican Party Chairman Sean Morrison endorsed Willie Wilson (a Democrat)
Click here for a full list of endorsements in the mayoral race compiled by Ballotpedia, and subscribe to The Deep Dish for weekly updates on Chicago’s 2019 elections.

2018 election lingers in Phoenix with mayoral race runoff

The November 2018 elections aren’t done yet. A runoff in Phoenix’s mayoral election is taking place on March 12, 2019, between former Phoenix City Council members Kate Gallego and Daniel Valenzuela.

They were the top two vote-getters in the nonpartisan special election on November 6, 2018, although neither candidate surpassed the 50 percent threshold to win outright. Gallego received 44 percent to Valenzuela’s 26 percent in a field of four candidates.

Gallego said her top three priorities would be public safety, infrastructure investments, and job growth. She said she has experience and a proven track record on infrastructure issues, pointing to her work on the campaign to pass Proposition 104, an infrastructure measure seeking to bring $31.5 billion of infrastructure investment over the next 35 years.

Valenzuela said his policy priorities included attracting, retaining, and developing talent, and motivating technology and high-growth companies to remain in Phoenix. He said that he brought an increased focus on public safety to the city council, including helping to secure $50 million in grants for public safety issues and developing the Canyon Corridor Crime Safety Initiative.

Two special elections for District 5 and District 8 of the Phoenix City Council—the seats Gallego and Valenzuela resigned from—will also be on the ballot on March 12.

Three Oklahoma school districts hold February primaries

Three Oklahoma school boards within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope held primaries on February 12. Incumbent Robert West was re-elected to the Catoosa Public Schools school board, and incumbent Staci L. Pruett won re-election to the Moore Public Schools Board of Education. In Tulsa Public Schools, Jania Wester won a special election to fill a vacancy in District 2. In the race for District 1, Nicole Nixon and Stacey Woolley advanced to a general election on April 2, 2019, after neither candidate won a majority of the vote in the primary.

Tulsa Public Schools is the largest of these three school districts and the second-largest school district in Oklahoma. It served 38,625 students during the 2016-2017 school year. Ballotpedia is covering elections for 29 school board seats across 25 Oklahoma school districts in 2019.

Candidate filing deadline passes in Las Vegas

On February 8, 2019, the filing deadline passed to run for mayor and three of six city council seats in Las Vegas, Nevada. The mayor of the city occupies the seventh seat of the city council. The primary is on April 2, and the general election is on June 11. Both elections are nonpartisan.

In the race for mayor, incumbent Carolyn Goodman faces six challengers in her bid for a third term. If Goodman is re-elected, term limits will prevent her from seeking a fourth term in the city’s next mayoral election in 2023. First elected in 2011, she succeeded her husband, Oscar B. Goodman, who had served the maximum of three terms in office.

Candidates in the mayoral race include Tina Alexander, former Clark County Treasurer candidate Phil Collins, Zachary Krueger, Amy Luciano, Vance Sanders, and former Nevada State Assembly candidate Mack Miller.

The city council races for Wards 1, 3, and 5 are all contested. Ward 5’s Cedric Crear was the lone incumbent to file for re-election, and he faces two challengers. He was elected to the council in a special election on March 27, 2018, after the resignation of Ricki Barlow. Barlow resigned after pleading guilty to using funds from his 2015 re-election campaign for personal use.

The race for Ward 1 features 10 candidates, and the race for Ward 3 features seven candidates. The last time these seats were up for election in 2015, two candidates filed in Ward 1, and six candidates sought election in Ward 3. The incumbents in both wards won outright in the primary that year.

Las Vegas is the largest city in Nevada and the 29th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Nashville Metro Council special election headed to runoff

A special election for District 29 on the Nashville Metro Council advanced to a runoff after no candidates received over 50 percent of the vote during the general election. Candidates Nicola La Mattina and Delishia Porterfield will face each other again in the runoff scheduled for March 19, 2019. They defeated Constance Smith-Burwell and Vicky Tataryn in the general election on February 12.

The election was called to fill the seat vacated by former council member Karen Johnson after she was elected to be the Davidson County Register of Deeds in November 2018. Her term was set to expire in 2019.

The winner of the special election will serve the remainder of Johnson’s term and will have to stand for re-election in the regular election on August 1, 2019. All 41 metro council seats will be on the ballot, including the vice-mayor (who presides over the council), five at-large members, and 35 by-district members. Nashville is also holding a mayoral election.

Nashville is the second-largest city in Tennessee and the 24th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Oklahoma City holds city council primary

Primaries were held for four of nine city council seats in Oklahoma City on February 12. The city council consists of nine members, including the mayor. While the mayor is elected at large, the other council members are elected by the city’s eight wards.

The races for Wards 2, 5, 6, and 8 were all decided outright in the primary. If no candidate had received at least 50 percent of the vote, a general election would have been held on April 2, 2019. Newcomers James Cooper and Jobeth Hamon were elected in Ward 2 and Ward 6, respectively, while incumbents David Greenwell and Mark Stonecipher were re-elected in Wards 5 and 8.

Oklahoma City is the largest city in Oklahoma and the 26th-largest city in the U.S. by population.