CategoryLocal

Nine vie for open Atlanta school board seat in bid to hold swing vote

A special election will be held on Tuesday for the District 2 seat on the Atlanta Public Schools school board. Nine candidates filed to run in the election. They had until July 10, 2019, to file for the seat and, if needed, a runoff election is scheduled for October 15.
 
The special election was called after Byron Amos resigned his seat in January 2019 to run for the Atlanta City Council. He was defeated in the runoff city council election in April. Amos served on the board from 2011 to 2019, most recently winning re-election in 2017. The winner of the special election will fill Amos’ unexpired school board term, which ends in 2021.
 
In a June 20 article, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote that the vacant seat “could be a critical swing vote on the board.” Due to the unoccupied seat, the board has had at least one vote end in a 4-4 tie, which led to the automatic defeat of a motion.
 
The nine candidates vying for the seat are Aretta Baldon, Christopher Brown, Keisha Carey, Will Chandler, Nathaniel Borrell Dyer, Davida Huntley, Ed Johnson, Chadd Jonesmith, and Paula Kupersmith. Carey challenged Amos in the 2017 election, losing the general runoff election with 49.51% of the vote. Dyer and Johnson also previously sought election to the Atlanta school board. Brown was previously a candidate for Atlanta City Council, and Chandler sought election to the Georgia House of Representatives.
 
Atlanta Public Schools served 60,133 students during the 2016-2017 school year.
 


Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council recall election to be held September 15

A recall election seeking to remove Cedric Cromwell and Gordon Harris from their positions as chairman and treasurer, respectively, of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council in Massachusetts will be held on September 15.
 
Cromwell and Harris were targeted for recall along with vice chairwoman Jessie “Little Doe” Baird in April 2019. Recall supporters cited wrongful conduct, a debt of $500 million owed to the tribe’s financial backer, Baird staying in office after she offered her resignation in January 2019, and Harris missing council meetings in February and April as reasons for the recall effort. The petition against Baird was deemed insufficient by the tribe’s election committee, but the petitions against Cromwell and Harris were approved to move forward with a recall election. None of the three targeted tribal members responded to the recall efforts against them.
 
The tribe’s constitution allows registered voters of the tribe to recall elected officials by turning in petitions with at least 100 voter signatures. Recall supporters and recall opponents will be both able to speak at a hearing prior to the recall votes. Both the hearing and the vote will occur on September 15. For the results of the vote to stand, at least “40 percent of the total number of registered voters who voted in the preceding annual election,” must vote in the recall election, according to the Cape Cod Times. To remove the officeholders from their positions, 60 percent of voters must vote in favor of the recall.
 


16 Colorado school districts holding nonpartisan elections for 47 seats

Seventy candidates filed to run for 47 school board seats up for nonpartisan election across 16 Colorado school districts in 2019. Of those, 10 races for seats on five school boards were canceled due to lack of opposition. The unopposed candidates automatically won and will be sworn in after the general election on November 5. The filing deadline for school board elections in Colorado was August 30.
 
Fifteen incumbents filed for re-election, while 22 races had no incumbent candidate file. The term length for board members is four years in each of the school districts holding elections.
 
The largest Colorado school district covered by Ballotpedia and holding elections in 2019 is Denver Public Schools. The district served 91,138 students during the 2016-2017 school year.
 


Cooper defeats incumbent Briley in Nashville mayoral runoff

At-Large Metro Councilmember John Cooper defeated incumbent Mayor David Briley in the runoff election for Nashville mayor Thursday. Briley conceded the race after the results of early voting showed that, of around 49,000 votes, Cooper received 70 percent to Briley’s 30 percent.

Briley was the first mayor of Nashville’s Metro government (formed in 1963) to lose a re-election bid. He assumed the office upon the resignation of Mayor Megan Barry in March 2018 and won a special election in May 2018 to complete Barry’s term.

Cooper emphasized shifting focus to neighborhoods and away from economic incentives for downtown projects in his campaign. He criticized Briley’s plan to fund affordable housing through municipal bond-borrowing. Cooper said the city needs to use it surpluses more efficiently as opposed to raising property taxes.

Briley campaigned on his record since becoming mayor, saying his accomplishments included not raising property taxes, establishing a college scholarship program for public school graduates, and a $500 million public investment in affordable housing over a decade.

Briley said he had fought for progressive causes and that Cooper had a conservative approach, while Cooper called his own approach effective progressivism. Both Briley and Cooper identify as Democrats.

Among the 100 largest cities by population in the U.S., 62 mayors are Democrats, 30 are Republicans, four are independents, and four are nonpartisan. Though most mayoral elections in the 100 largest cities are nonpartisan, most officeholders are affiliated with a political party.

Nashville was the 25th-largest city in the U.S. as of 2013, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.



Eighteen file to run for four Boise city offices in November

In Boise, Idaho, 18 candidates filed to run for four nonpartisan city offices on the November 5 general election ballot. The position of mayor and three of the city council’s six seats are up for election. The candidate filing deadline passed on September 6, and the withdrawal deadline is September 20.
 
The mayoral election attracted the most candidates with seven filed, including incumbent David Bieter, who was first elected to the office in 2003. Though the mayor’s office is nonpartisan, Bieter is affiliated with the Democratic Party. He served as the Democratic representative of District 19 in the Idaho House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003.
 
District 1 city council incumbent Lauren McLean filed to run for mayor rather than for re-election to her current seat, leaving it open for a newcomer. Six candidates filed to run for that seat. The District 3 seat was also left open for a newcomer since incumbent Scot Ludwig did not file for re-election. Two candidates filed to run for that seat. In District 5, incumbent Elaine Clegg faces two challengers in her bid for re-election.
 
Boise is the largest city in Idaho and the 97th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


Twelve candidates compete in Houston’s mayoral election, one of 31 mayoral races in the country this year

Incumbent Sylvester Turner and eleven challengers will compete in the November 5, 2019, general election for mayor of Houston, Texas. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two general election candidates will participate in a runoff election on December 14, 2019.
 
Of the 11 candidates running against Turner, local media outlets have identified four major challengers: Dwight Boykins, Tony Buzbee, Bill King, and Sue Lovell. Policy debate in the race has centered on Turner’s record during his first term, especially regarding his handling of the city’s budget and allocation of resources.
 
Turner says his accomplishments in office include balancing the city’s budget, leading the recovery effort after Hurricane Harvey, reforming the city’s pension system, easing traffic congestion, filling potholes, creating jobs, and strengthening the economy.
 
Boykins and Lovell have criticized Turner for his opposition to Proposition B, a ballot referendum that voters approved in November 2018 requiring pay parity between firefighters and police officers. Boykins has proposed a zero-based city budget, saying it would allow Houston to prioritize spending on infrastructure, pay parity for firefighters, public safety, and trash pickup. Lovell says that she supports the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association and will make the government more efficient to improve public safety and infrastructure.
 
Buzbee and King both say corruption is creating inefficiency in Houston’s government. Buzbee has proposed third-party, independent financial audits, process audits, and zero-based budgeting to improve the efficiency and transparency of the city’s resource allocation. King has called for an overhaul of the city’s ethics rules and says he would regulate campaign contributions from companies that do business with Houston’s government.
 
Houston’s mayor serves as the city’s chief executive and is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors, and overseeing the city’s day-to-day operations. The mayor also presides over the city council and possesses voting privileges.
 
Thirty-one mayoral elections in the 100 largest cities are being held in 2019. In 20 of those cities, the pre-election incumbent is Democratic. Seven pre-election incumbents are Republican, three are independent, and the affiliation of one is unknown.


Toledo council races draw more candidates than previous three elections

The city of Toledo, Ohio, is holding general elections for six city council seats, two municipal judgeships, and the clerk of the municipal court on November 5, 2019. Primaries for the city council’s districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are being held September 10, 2019.
 
The remaining offices, including District 6, had two or fewer candidates file to run. As a result, their primaries were canceled and those candidates advanced automatically to the November general election.
 
Districts 3 and 5 are the only open seats on the primary and general election ballots. All seven other races feature incumbents; four city council members face competition in their re-election bids while the two municipal judges and one clerk of court are running unopposed. Together, the nine seats drew an average of 2.6 candidates per seat.
 
The 2019 city council election has the highest average number of candidates per seat over the past three regular election cycles. This year, 20 candidates filed for the six city council seats, an average of 3.3 candidates per seat. The last time the by-district city council seats were up for election was in 2015. Seventeen candidates filed for seven city council seats (one at-large seat was up for special election), for an average of 2.4 candidates per seat. Toledo also held elections for the six at-large city council seats in 2017. That year, 13 candidates filed for six seats—an average of 2.2 candidates per seat.
 
Toledo is the fourth-largest city in Ohio and the 66th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
 


Flint City Council recall effort fails to make ballot

The recall effort targeting Flint Councilwoman Kate Fields has ended after more than half of the submitted signatures were ruled invalid. Genesee County Clerk John Gleason found 332 of the 825 signatures submitted by recall organizers valid. Petitioners needed 556 valid signatures in order to put the recall on the ballot.
 
Fields is one of four Flint City Council members who had recall efforts initiated against them in June. Council members Monica Galloway, Santino Guerra, and Allan Griggs are also facing potential recalls. Petitions against all four officials were approved for circulation in June, although at different points of the month. Petitioners have 180 days from the time when each petition was approved to begin gathering signatures, at which point they have 60 days to submit enough signatures to put each recall on the ballot.
 
The recall efforts against Fields, Guerra, and Griggs began in response to their vote to extend a $12 million waste removal project with Republic Services. Galloway was targeted for recall after she missed a vote on a $5.6 million contract with W.T. Stevens Inc. to replace lead service lines.
 
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 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.
 


Voters in Cary, North Carolina, must register by Friday the 13th to vote on two bond measures on October 8

Cary, North Carolina will head to the polls on Tuesday, October 8, for the mayoral and town council election. Voters will also decide two bond issues.
 
The first measure would authorize the town to issue $112 million in bonds to fund the expansion of existing parks and recreation facilities, as well as, construct and acquire new parks and recreation facilities. The town of Cary currently has more than 30 public parks, seven special use facilities, four sports venues, and nine staffed facilities.
 
The second measure would authorize the town to issue $113 million in bonds to fund improvements in local transportation. Proposed improvements include streets, sidewalks, bridges, overpasses, traffic controls, streetscape, and bicycle facilities. The bonds would also be used to acquire equipment and land necessary for the improvements.
 
In their annual budget discussion on May 9, 2019, the Cary Town Council decided that bond issues would not exceed a total of $225 million. The most recent approved bond issues were in 2012 and were used to fund fire, transportation, and park projects. The town reported that these projects are in progress or complete.
 
The deadline to register to vote in the October 8 election is Friday, September 13. Although the registration deadline is September 13, one-stop-voting, including same-day registration, is available during the early voting period. Early voting for this election begins September 18 and ends October 4. Voters can request a mail-in ballot through Tuesday, October 1, 2019.
 
During the 2019 election cycle, Ballotpedia is expanding its coverage of North Carolina in order to provide voters with a comprehensive statewide sample ballot. This coverage includes North Carolina elections spanning 503 cities, towns, and villages; nine school districts; and 17 special districts. Voters in many of these local jurisdictions will be voting in primaries or general elections on September 10 and October 8.
 


El Paso City Council votes 4-3 to hold November special election

On September 3, the El Paso City Council in Texas voted to hold a special election for the council’s District 3 seat. The election is scheduled for November 5, and the candidate filing deadline is on September 26.
 
The special election was called due to Texas’ resign-to-run law, which requires officeholders to resign from their current office in order to run for another. A post saying, “Cassandra Hernandez for mayor of El Paso,” was posted to Cassandra Hernandez-Brown’s public Facebook page in September 2019. Hernandez-Brown said she did not upload the post, but she said one of her supporters did. The post was later deleted. Hernandez-Brown asked her fellow city council members to vote against the resolution calling for a special election, but it passed with a 4-3 vote. Hernandez-Brown was not allowed to vote on the resolution.
 
Hernandez-Brown will remain the District 3 representative on the council until the new member is elected due to a holdover clause in the law. Because of that clause, she is not able to run in the special election, according to District 6 member Claudia Ordaz Perez. Hernandez-Brown was first elected to the city council on June 10, 2017. El Paso is the sixth-largest city in Texas and the 20th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
Five states—Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, and Texas—have resign-to-run laws.
 


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