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.”

Gallego defeats Valenzuela in Phoenix mayoral runoff

Former Phoenix City Council member Kate Gallego defeated Daniel Valenzuela in the nonpartisan mayoral runoff election in Phoenix, Arizona. She led Valenzuela with over 58 percent of the votes according to early returns.

Public safety and sports facility funding were critical issues in the final weeks of the race, with satellite groups Revitalize Arizona and Moving Phoenix Forward releasing negative ads against Valenzuela and Gallego, respectively.

Gallego said her top three priorities in office would be public safety, infrastructure investments, and job growth. She said she had 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 through a transportation sales tax increase.

She is the first woman elected to the office in more than three decades.

The election was called after former Mayor Greg Stanton resigned his seat in 2018 to run for Congress. Gallego will serve the remainder of Stanton’s term until 2021.

Fourteen file to run for 4 Riverside City Council seats

Fourteen candidates filed to run in the June 4 general election for Riverside City Council in California. The Ward 1, 3, 5, and 7 seats are on the ballot. The filing deadline was March 8.

Ward 1 incumbent Mike Gardner filed to run for another term and faces two challengers. The races for the open Ward 5 and 7 seats each have three candidates, and the open Ward 3 race has five candidates.

When city council elections were last held in 2017, the Ward 2, 4, and 6 seats were on the ballot. All three incumbents who held those seats ran for re-election, and two of them won new terms. In 2015, three of the four incumbents whose seats were on the ballot ran for re-election, and all three won new terms. Two of those incumbents were re-elected without facing opposition.

Riverside is the 12th-largest city in California and the 58th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Chicago mayoral runoff: Lightfoot v. Preckwinkle on ethics reform

Former Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle were the top two vote-getters among a 14-candidate field for Chicago mayor on Feb. 26. They face each other in a runoff on April 2.
One major issue where the candidates’ positions differ is ethics reform.
Candidates leading up to the general election frequently debated three areas of reform: term limits, prohibitions on outside employment for city officials, and aldermanic privilege (power over zoning, licensing, and permitting in their wards).
Lightfoot and Preckwinkle hold different positions on all three.
Chicago mayoral eethics comparison
Each week until the runoff, we’ll compare and contrast candidates’ positions on a major policy issue in The Deep Dish, Ballotpedia’s weekly newsletter on Chicago’s elections. To see where Lightfoot and Preckwinkle stand on ethics reform, check out this week’s edition. For more positions each week along with the latest news, subscribe to The Deep Dish.

Former candidate Willie Wilson endorses Lori Lightfoot in Chicago’s mayoral runoff

Willie Wilson, who was part of the initial 14-candidate field in Chicago’s mayoral race, endorsed Lori Lightfoot on Friday. Lightfoot faces Toni Preckwinkle in an April 2 runoff election.

Wilson placed fourth in the Feb. 26 general election with 10.6 percent of the vote. Lightfoot received 17.5 percent to Preckwinkle’s 16 percent. Wilson received more votes than any other candidate in 14 of the city’s 50 wards. In each of those 14 wards, Preckwinkle came in second and Lightfoot, third.

Wilson said while announcing his endorsement, “Chicago, it’s time for a change.” Referring to Preckwinkle, Wilson said, “How can you expect things to change when she is the machine?”

On Wednesday, Preckwinkle was endorsed by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (D). White said, “We need someone who’s gonna run the city of Chicago, who has experience. I believe that Toni Preckwinkle has all that is required to run the city of Chicago.”

Also since the Feb. 26 election: Preckwinkle was endorsed by 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett. Lightfoot was endorsed by the Latino Leadership Council—a political action committee founded by U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D) and former U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D)—and the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2.

That’s the second union endorsement we’ve tracked for Lightfoot, in addition to Illinois Education Association Region 67. Preckwinkle was endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union, three affiliates of the Service Employees International Union, and the Illinois chapter of the National Association of Social Workers leading up to the Feb. 26 election.

See our coverage of Chicago’s mayoral race for full endorsement lists.

Ballots set for Lincoln primary in April

Lincoln, Nebraska, is holding a citywide primary on April 9, 2019, and its general election on May 7. Offices on the ballot include the mayor, four of seven city council seats, three of seven school board seats, and one of five elected airport authority seats. The filing deadline for school board candidates was March 1, while city candidates had until March 7 to file. Although candidates had the option to file with political party affiliations listed, the elections and positions are all officially nonpartisan.
Mayor Chris Beutler is term-limited and cannot seek re-election. Although his position was officially nonpartisan, Beutler was affiliated with the Democratic Party in the 2015 election. Five candidates filed for the seat in the 2019 election, including two current city council members—at-large council member Leirion Gaylor Baird and District 1 council member Cyndi Lamm. Two candidates filed as Democrats, one as a Republican, and two as nonpartisan. Their party affiliations will not appear on the ballot.
The District 3 city council member, Jane Raybould, was the only incumbent to file for re-election. District 1 incumbent Lamm is running for mayor, and the current District 2 and 4 members both announced in late 2018 that they would not seek another term. A total of 11 candidates filed for election, an average of 2.75 candidates per seat. The four seats up for election are by-district seats, meaning the council member represents a specific geographic district within the city. The city council also has three at-large seats, which will be up for election in 2021.
Two of the three school board incumbents up for election filed for another term. District 4 incumbent Annie Mumgaard and her challenger, Paul Claus, are competing in the only contested election. District 2 incumbent Connie Duncan is unopposed and Bob Rauner was the only candidate to file for the open District 6 seat.
One seat on the airport authority board of directors is up for election. Incumbent Nick Cusick faces challenger Aurang Zeb. The airport authority is charged with making policy and budget decisions for Lincoln Airport and Lincoln Enterprise Park.
Lincoln is the second-largest city in Nebraska and the 71st-largest city in the U.S. by population.