CategoryLocal

Nashville to elect mayor on September 12

The runoff election for mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, takes place September 12. Incumbent Mayor David Briley and At-large Metro Councilmember John Cooper advanced from the August 1 general election, with Cooper receiving 35 percent of the vote to Briley’s 25 percent. Early voting for the runoff runs from August 23 through September 7.
 
A mayor of Nashville’s Metro government (formed in 1963) has never lost a re-election bid. Briley was the first incumbent to not receive the highest share of the vote in a general election. Briley assumed the office upon the resignation of Mayor Megan Barry in March 2018. He won the special election on May 24, 2018, to complete Barry’s term.
 
Briley has campaigned on what he says are his progressive credentials and his accomplishments since taking office in 2018, including an affordable housing plan and a new scholarship fund. He has criticized Cooper as being conservative and for sponsoring a budget in the council that Briley says harmed the city.
 
Cooper has emphasized fiscal stewardship in his campaign, criticizing Briley’s support for funding affordable housing with municipal bonds and privatizing the city’s parking meters. He says the city needs to invest more in neighborhoods instead of downtown and has called his focus on the city’s finances effective progressivism.
 
Nashville was the 25th largest city in the U.S. as of 2013. Among the 100 largest cities, there are 62 Democratic mayors, 30 Republicans, four independents, and four nonpartisans. Briley is a Democrat. Cooper’s affiliation is unknown.


Charlotte mayor faces four Democratic primary challengers on Tuesday

In North Carolina, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles is running for re-election in the Democratic primary on September 10, 2019. Four opponents—Roderick Davis, Tigress Sydney Acute McDaniel, Joel Odom, and Lucille Puckett—are challenging her in the primary. The winner will advance to the general election on November 5 and face the Republican nominee, David Michael Rice. Rice was the only Republican candidate who filed to run, and he advanced automatically to the general election.
 
Here are the five Democratic primary candidates:
 
  • Mayor Vi Lyles won her first two-year term in 2017 after defeating the sitting incumbent, Jennifer Roberts, in the Democratic primary. Lyles won the general election against her Republican opponent with more than 59% of the vote. On September 2, The Charlotte Observer reported that only Lyles’ campaign had cash on hand as of the most recent campaign finance reports.
  • Roderick Davis, who works as a business manager, previously campaigned for Charlotte mayor in 2015, Charlotte City Council in 2017, and state senate in 2016 and 2018.
  • Tigress Sydney Acute McDaniel, who works as a consultant, previously campaigned for Greensboro City Council in 2013 and both Mecklenburg County commissioner and soil and water conservation district supervisor in 2018.
  • The 2019 primary is Joel Odom’s first time running for office.
  • Lucille Puckett, who works as a community advocate, previously campaigned for the Charlotte school board in 2005, Charlotte mayor in 2013 and 2017, and state house in 2018.
 
As of September 4, the mayors of 62 of the country’s 100 largest cities are affiliated with the Democratic Party. Republican-affiliated mayors hold 30 offices, independents hold four, and mayors with unknown party affiliations hold the remaining four.
 
All 11 seats on the Charlotte City Council are also up for election in 2019. A partisan primary is scheduled for 10 of the 11 seats on September 10. The other seat, District 6, had its primary canceled since only one candidate from each party filed to run. Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina and the 17th-largest city in the U.S. by population. The only other municipality in North Carolina that could have had a September 10 primary was Sanford in Lee County. However, their four city council primaries were also canceled due to the number of candidates who filed from each party.
 
In 2019, 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. No North Carolina counties are holding elections in 2019. Most North Carolina localities are holding nonpartisan general elections on November 5, although 32 are holding either nonpartisan primaries or general elections on October 8.
 


Recalls targeting 3 Idaho school board members fail

Recall elections seeking to remove Tim Winkle, Alicia McConkie, and Marianne Blackwell from their positions on the Middleton School District board of trustees in Idaho were held on Tuesday. The recall against McConkie was approved by a majority of voters, but there were not enough “yes” votes for the recall to be counted. In order for her to be recalled, a higher number of people would have needed to vote for the recall than voted for McConkie in her last election in 2017, which did not happen. The recalls against Winkle and Blackwell were defeated with simple majorities. All three board members retained their seats.
 
The recall effort against Winkle and McConkie began after they voted to accept the superintendent’s personnel recommendations at a board meeting on May 6, 2019. Recall supporters objected to the superintendent’s recommendation because it did not renew the contract of Middleton High School’s principal, Ben Merrill. Board member Kirk Adams was also targeted for recall at that time, but his petition was rejected by the county since he had not served in office long enough to be recalled.
 
A separate recall petition against Blackwell was certified for the ballot on June 14. The recall petition against her said she “set an unprofessional and unacceptable precedent for school board trustees” and violated the board’s code of ethics. Blackwell was the only board member to vote against not renewing Merrill’s contract.
 
Winkle said that because the decision to not renew Merrill’s contract was a personnel matter, the board was limited in what they could share with the public. McConkie said she had served the best she could for the last two years and felt she was being targeted for recall over a single decision. Blackwell did not respond to the recall effort against her.
 
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.
 


Incumbents lead in St. Petersburg primaries

Four seats on the St. Petersburg City Council in Florida are up for election in 2019, and three of those seats held primaries on August 27. The top two vote recipients in each of the primaries advanced to the general election, which is scheduled for November 5.
 
In two council districts, the incumbents—John “Ed” Montanari in District 3 and Lisa Wheeler-Bowman in District 7—both received the most votes in their primaries. According to the unofficial election night results, Montanari received 70.6% of the vote compared to his challengers, Orlando A. Acosta (20.0%) and Zachary James Collins (9.4%). In District 7, Wheeler-Bowman led a four-candidate field with 57.4% of the vote. The second-place finisher, Eritha Brandis Cainion, received 23.9%.
 
The District 5 primary was an open-seat race; incumbent Steve Kornell was prevented by term limits from seeking re-election. Trenia Cox led the field with 35.0% of the vote, which was followed by Deborah Figgs-Sanders at 29.6% and Beth Connor at 21.2%. The other candidates received single-digit percentage support. The primary for the District 1 seat on the council was canceled after only two candidates, Robert G. Blackmon and John Hornbeck, filed to run. Both automatically advanced to the general election. The District 1 race is an open-seat election since incumbent Charlie Gerdes was also term-limited.
 
The St. Petersburg City Council has eight members, each of whom serves a four-year term. St. Petersburg is the fifth-largest city in Florida and the 77th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


Phoenix voters defeat Propositions 105 and 106 no light rail and pensions

Phoenix residents rejected two citizen initiatives—Propositions 105 and 106—at the Aug. 27 special election. Proposition 105 would have terminated funding for future light rail expansion in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area and to allocate revenue from the transportation tax towards other infrastructure projects. Proposition 106 would have required the city to limit budget growth and devote a greater portion of its budget to pay down its $4.5 billion pension debt.
 
The unofficial results indicate that both measures were defeated. Opposition to Proposition 105 led the race with 62.3 percent to 37.7 percent according to election night results. Proposition 106 was behind with 66.2 percent of voters against it. By the last election night report, about 90 percent of ballots had been counted.
 
Invest in PHX led the opposition campaign against both propositions. They held an election watch party in the heart of downtown Phoenix. When the unofficial results were reported, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego addressed the room stating: “I did not anticipate the national spotlight which would shine on our city about these ballot propositions. … We have said strongly we want to invest in the future of our city.” Invest in PHX raised $933,000 in campaign contributions according to pre-election reports that covered activity through Aug. 10.
 
Phoenix Councilmember Sal DiCiccio (District 6), who supported both initiatives, said, “Like many of you, I am disappointed to see tonight’s election results. I want to thank everyone who worked on these initiatives and who helped share our message throughout the city. You have my commitment that I will continue to fight for accountability and fiscal responsibility at the City of Phoenix.”
 
The support campaign for Proposition 105, Building a Better Phoenix, raised $488,000 in contributions according to pre-election reports. The Proposition 106 campaign, Responsible Budgets, raised $298,000.
 
The question of light rail expansion has been before Phoenix voters three times prior to Proposition 105. Voters have decided four other pension-related propositions since March 2013.
 


13 candidates file for Birmingham City Council special elections

Thirteen candidates filed to run in the October 8 special election for three of the nine city council seats in Birmingham, Alabama. The District 1, 6, and 7 seats are on the ballot. The candidate filing deadline passed on August 23.
 
Former District 1 member Lashunda Scales and former District 6 member Sheila Tyson both left their positions after they were elected to the Jefferson County Commission on November 6, 2018. Former District 7 member Jay Roberson resigned in September 2018 after he moved outside of his district. Following those resignations, Clinton Woods, Crystal Smitherman, and Wardine Alexander were appointed to the District 1, 6, and 7 seats, respectively. The special elections will fill the seats until the next regularly scheduled general election is held in 2021.
 
All three appointed incumbents filed to run for a full term on the council. In District 1, Woods faces two challengers. In District 6, Smitherman faces six challengers, and in District 7, Alexander faces two challengers.
 
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama and the 99th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
 


More candidates filed per seat for Texas school board races in 2019 than in 2016

In 2019, Ballotpedia is covering elections across 63 Texas school districts for 184 school board seats. Fifty-five of the districts held elections in May, and eight districts are holding elections on November 5, 2019. The districts holding elections in November have a combined 26 out of their 58 school board seats up for election.
 
Nine seats up for election in November are uncontested (34.6%), while the May elections had 64 uncontested races (40.5%). Across all Texas school boards covered by Ballotpedia in 2019, 73 of the races (39.7%) are uncontested. Five of the eight districts holding elections in November have at least one unopposed candidate. In 2019, 43 of the 63 school board districts had or will have at least one race with an unopposed candidate.
 
Sixty-four candidates filed for the November elections, which is approximately 2.46 candidates per seat. The May elections had 314 candidates file, roughly 1.99 candidates per seat. In all, 378 candidates filed across 184 seats, so roughly 2.05 candidates filed per seat in the Texas school board elections. These figures are all higher than the 2016 Texas average of 1.79 school board candidates per seat and the 2016 national average of 1.90 school board candidates per seat.
 
Twenty incumbents (76.9%) filed for re-election in the November races. In May, 117 incumbents (74.1%) filed for re-election, meaning that 137 incumbents (74.5%) ran or are running for re-election in 2019.
 
The eight school districts holding elections in November served a combined total of 578,401 students during the 2016-2017 school year.
 


Ballotpedia launches comprehensive coverage of North Carolina local elections

There are 503 cities, towns, and villages across North Carolina holding elections for 1,900 positions this year, and for the first time ever, Ballotpedia’s sample ballot is expanding to encompass every election in a state, even in the smallest villages. In addition to the municipal races, there are nine school districts holding elections for 23 school board seats and 17 special districts holding elections for 52 seats; no counties are holding elections. This adds up to 529 localities holding elections for 1,975 positions in North Carolina this year.
 
Local elections in North Carolina can follow four different methods during odd-numbered years:
 
1.) In partisan elections where runoffs are possible, the primary is on September 10, the primary runoff is on October 8, and the general election is on November 5. Primary runoffs may be held if no candidate receives at least 30% of the primary vote; however, the primary runoff is only held if the second-place candidate requests it. In 2019, only Charlotte and Sanford are following this method.
 
2.) In nonpartisan elections where runoffs are possible, the general election is on October 8 and the general runoff election is on November 5. General runoffs may be held if no candidate receives at least 50% of the general election vote; however, the general runoff is only held if the second-place candidate requests it. In 2019, only Atlantic Beach, Cary, Dobbins Heights, Dunn, Elizabeth City, Erwin, Henderson, Monroe, Raleigh, Rocky Mount, and Statesville are following this method.
 
3.) In nonpartisan elections with primaries where runoffs aren’t possible, the primary is on October 8 and the general election is on November 5. If only two or fewer candidates file to run per seat, the primary is not held and the candidates who filed advance automatically to the general election. In 2019, only Asheboro (and Asheboro City Schools), Bermuda Run, Burlington, Durham, Fayetteville, Flat Rock, Fletcher, Goldsboro, Hendersonville, Hickory, High Point, Jamestown, Matthews, Mooresville, Mount Airy, Pleasant Garden, Powellsville, Ramseur, Shelby, Southern Pines, and Windsor are following this method.
 
4.) In nonpartisan elections without primaries where runoffs aren’t possible, the general election is on November 5. These are plurality elections in which the candidate who receives the most votes wins; the winner does not need to meet a certain threshold of the overall vote to avoid a runoff. All other North Carolina local elections in 2019 are following this method.
 
Across the state, there are 65 local positions where no candidates filed to run. This includes the mayor’s office in 19 municipalities, the city or town council in 43 municipalities, and board positions in two special districts. These positions will be filled by write-in candidates who have been certified by their county board of elections.
 
Three of the state’s largest cities—Charlotte, Durham, and Raleigh—are among those holding elections in 2019. The mayor’s office is on the ballot in all three cities, and so are all 11 city council seats in Charlotte, three of seven city council seats in Durham, and all seven city council seats in Raleigh.
 
North Carolina’s local filing deadline passed on July 19, 2019. However, municipalities were permitted by the state government to extend their filing deadline by one week. There are also some exceptions to the statewide filing deadline; in Catawba County, Hickory Public Schools and Newton-Conover City Schools both have their filing deadline on September 6.
 


Primary results certified in Seattle races

In Washington state, vote totals for Seattle and King County’s nonpartisan primaries were certified on August 20. The primaries were held on August 6, but the state uses a vote-by-mail system that delayed when the results would be counted and finalized.
 
The primaries included seven of Seattle’s nine city council seats, two of nine King County Council seats, and two of five Port of Seattle Commission positions. The general election is scheduled for November 5, 2019.
 
Here are the results of the Seattle City Council primaries:
 
District 1: Incumbent Lisa Herbold, first elected in 2015, advanced to the general election with 50.6% of the vote. Attorney Phil Tavel advanced with 32.3%.
District 2: Community organizer Tammy Morales and Seattle Police Department crime prevention coordinator Mark Solomon advanced to the general election with 50.1% and 23.2% of the vote, respectively. Incumbent and council president Bruce Harrell did not file to run for re-election.
District 3: Incumbent Kshama Sawant, first elected in 2013, advanced to the general election with 36.7% of the vote, as did Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce director Egan Orion, who received 21.5% of the vote.
District 4: Alex Pedersen, who previously worked as a legislative aide for former councilmember Tim Burgess, and journalist Shaun Scott advanced to the general election with 40.4% and 23.3% of the vote, respectively. Incumbent Abel Pacheco did not file to run for a full term on the council.
District 5: Incumbent Debora Juarez, first elected in 2015, advanced to the general election with 45.1% of the vote, and attorney Ann Davison Sattler advanced with 26.7% of the vote.
District 6: Dan Strauss, policy advisor to councilmember Sally Bagshaw, advanced to the general with 34.1% of the vote, and former councilmember Heidi Wills advanced with 21.2%. Incumbent Mike O’Brien did not file to run for re-election.
District 7: Assistant City Attorney Andrew Lewis advanced to the general with 31.7% of the vote, as did former Police Chief Jim Pugel with 24.8% of the vote. Incumbent Sally Bagshaw did not file to run for re-election.
 
Here are the results of the other four primaries:
 
King County Council District 2: Incumbent Larry Gossett, last elected in 2015, advanced to the general election with 36.7% of the vote, as did Girmay Zahilay with 56.1% of the vote.
King County Council District 8: Incumbent Joe McDermott, last elected in 2015, advanced with 83.9% of the vote, along with Michael Robert Neher, with 11.0%.
Port of Seattle Commission Position 2: Sam Cho advanced to the general with 31.1% of the vote, and Grant Degginger advanced with 24.5%. Incumbent Courtney Gregoire did not file to run for re-election.
Port of Seattle Commission Position 5: Incumbent Fred Felleman, last elected in 2015, advanced to the general with 72.4% of the vote, as did Garth Jacobson with 20.0% of the vote.
 
Primaries were canceled for two King County Council seats, assessor, elections director, superior court judgeships, and special district races since two or fewer candidates filed to run per position.
 
Seattle is the largest city in Washington state and the 22nd-largest city in the U.S. by population. King County had a population of 2,149,970 in 2013, according to the United States Census Bureau.
 
 


Tucson Democrats vie for spot on general election ballot in partisan primary for mayor

Tucson is holding partisan primary elections for mayor and three of seven city council seats on Tuesday. Six of the city council seats are elected at large, and the mayor occupies the seventh seat. The general election is scheduled for November 5, and the filing deadline passed on May 29.
 
Four candidates filed in the mayoral race. Three of the four candidates—Randi Dorman, Steve Farley, and Regina Romero—are competing in the Democratic primary. The fourth candidate, independent Edward Ackerley, will face the Democratic primary winner on the general election ballot. No Republican candidates filed to run. Incumbent Jonathan Rothschild (D) 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.
 
Tucson City Council Wards 1, 2, and 4 are also on the ballot. In Ward 1, incumbent Regina Romero chose to run for mayor rather than 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.
 


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