Compton school board candidates have until August 9 to file

Three of the seven at-large seats on the Compton Unified School District Board of Trustees in California are up for nonpartisan general election on November 5. The filing deadline is August 9. The seats held by board President Micah Ali, Clerk Charles Davis, and member Sandra Moss are on the ballot. Ali was first elected to the board in 2007, Davis was elected in 2013, and Moss was elected in 2015.
The district’s 2017 election had four at-large seats on the ballot. Nineteen candidates ran for re-election, including all four incumbents whose terms were up for election that year. All four incumbents retained their seats.
In 2015, three seats were up for election. Twenty candidates ran that year, including two incumbents whose seats were on the ballot. Davis also ran for another term, although his term was not up for re-election that year. Davis and Ali won new terms on the board, and Moss won her first term on the board.
The Compton Unified School District served 23,452 students during the 2015-2016 school year.

Councilmember Cooper, Mayor Briley advance to Nashville mayoral runoff election

At-Large Nashville Metro Councilmember John Cooper and incumbent Mayor David Briley advanced to a September 12 runoff election for mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday. Cooper received 35 percent of the vote and Briley received 26 percent with 61 percent of precincts reporting, in addition to early and absentee votes tallied.
Former professor Carol Swain was in third place with 21 percent, followed by state Rep. John Clemmons (D), who received 16 percent.
Briley, formerly vice mayor, took office in March 2018 upon the resignation of Mayor Megan Barry; Briley won a special election in May 2018 to complete her term. He’s campaigning on his record over the past year, emphasizing his affordable housing plan, the creation of a college scholarship program for public school graduates, and his opposition to property tax increases.
Cooper has highlighted his background in real estate and finance and says the city needs to focus on neighborhoods instead of economic incentives for downtown projects. He says fiscal stewardship is among his top priorities and that he entered the race partly out of opposition to Briley’s plan to fund his affordable housing initiative through municipal bond-borrowing.
Heading into the August 1 election, Briley had been endorsed by the Nashville Business Coalition, former Tennesse Governor and Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen (D), and the Nashville Tennessean editorial board, among others. Cooper’s endorsers included the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police, the Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund, and his brother U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D).
Thirty-one mayoral elections in the country’s 100 largest cities are being held in 2019. In 20 of those cities, the incumbent was a Democrat at the start of 2019. Seven incumbents were Republican, three were independent, and the affiliation of one was unknown. Briley is considered a member of the Democratic Party. Cooper’s affiliation is unknown.
In addition to mayor, Nashville voted for all 41 Metro Council seats, including vice mayor, Thursday.
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Katz wins Democratic primary for Queens District Attorney after manual recount

On July 29, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz was announced as the winner of the Democratic primary for the Queens County District Attorney position in New York following a manual recount. The primary took place on June 25, 2019. Attorney Daniel Kogan ran unopposed in the Republican primary. The general election for the open seat will take place on November 5, 2019.
On election night, public defender Tiffany Cabán appeared to have the most votes in the Democratic primary. After the mail-in ballots were counted, Katz appeared to have the most votes. Ultimately, Katz was declared the winner with 38.9% of the vote, leading Cabán by 60 votes; Cabán garnered 38.8% of the vote, according to the New York Board of Elections’ certified results.
Prior to the vote certification, the Cabán campaign filed a lawsuit challenging the results and alleging that several ballots were improperly invalidated. A hearing before the New York Supreme Court has been set for August 6, 2019.
The District Attorney seat was vacated when Queens District Attorney Richard Brown (D) died in May 2019. He was first elected in 1991.

Wichita mayor faces eight primary challenges in bid for second term

Nonpartisan primaries are scheduled on August 6 for mayor and one school board seat in Wichita, Kansas. The mayoral race features nine candidates, including incumbent Jeff Longwell. Although the position is nonpartisan, Longwell is affiliated with the Republican Party. He was first elected as mayor on April 7, 2015, with 59.4% of the vote. In the Wichita Public Schools Board of Education at-large race, incumbent Sheril Logan faces three opponents. Logan was first elected in 2011. The general election for both races is on November 5, and their candidate filing deadline passed on June 3.
Three city council seats could have also been on the primary ballot, but three or fewer candidates filed for each of the positions. The primaries were canceled and all candidates who filed automatically advanced to the November 5 general election. District 2 incumbent Becky Tuttle and District 4 incumbent Jeff Blubaugh each face two opponents, while District 5 incumbent Bryan Frye has one opponent.
Two school board seats in Wichita Public Schools also had their primaries canceled. District 3 incumbent Ernestine Krehbiel is running unopposed for re-election, while District 4 incumbent Stan Reeser faces one opponent in the November 5 general election. The school board has seven members, six of whom are elected to represent specific districts and one of whom is an at-large representative.
Wichita is the largest city in Kansas and the 48th-largest city in the U.S. by population. Wichita Public Schools served 50,600 students during the 2016-2017 school year.

August 7 filing deadline for Ohio school board hopefuls

Ballotpedia is covering school board elections in 20 Ohio school districts in 2019. The general election is on November 5, and 19 of the school districts have their candidate filing deadline on August 7. The one exception is Columbus City Schools, which had its filing deadline earlier on February 6. Columbus also had a primary scheduled for May in case more than two candidates filed per seat, but that did not happen and the primary was canceled.
Across the 20 school districts, 46 of 104 seats are up for election. Three districts—Columbus City Schools, the Olentangy Local School District, and the Washington Local School District—have a majority of their seats on the ballot this year. This means one or more of the election winners could hold the deciding vote on future board decisions.
Ballotpedia previously covered Ohio’s school board elections in 2017. That year, 57 out of 98 seats were on the ballot, and 15 of the 18 school districts covered had a majority of their school board seats on the ballot.
Ballotpedia covers the 200 largest school districts by student enrollment in the United States as well as the school districts that geographically overlap with the nation’s 100 largest cities by population.
These 20 Ohio school districts served a combined total of 270,401 students during the 2016-2017 school year.

Nashville to vote for mayor, metro council Thursday

Incumbent David Briley faces nine challengers in the nonpartisan election for mayor of Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday. Nashville voters will also elect all 41 members of the metro council, including the vice-mayor. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote in any race Thursday, a runoff election will be held September 12.
A mayor of Nashville’s Metro government (formed in 1963) has never lost a re-election bid. Briley succeeded former Mayor Megan Barry upon her resignation in March 2018. He won a special election in May 2018 to complete her term. Media outlets identified Briley’s top three challengers as state Rep. John Clemmons (D), At-Large City Councilmember John Cooper, and former Vanderbilt professor Carol Swain. Policy debates in the race have largely centered on how the city raises and spends money.
Briley has campaigned on his record as mayor, saying his accomplishments include a $500 million public investment in affordable housing over the next decade and avoiding property tax increases. Clemmons was the only top candidate to support a recently rejected property tax increase, saying it was needed to fund teacher pay raises. Cooper highlights his background in real estate and finance and says the city has invested too much in developing downtown as opposed to neighborhoods. Swain describes herself as a conservative who would reduce budgetary waste in the city.
Briley’s endorsers include the Nashville Business Coalition, former Tennesse Governor and Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen (D), and the Nashville Tennessean editorial board. Clemmons has been backed by several unions and the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association’s PAC. Cooper was endorsed by the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police, the Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund, and U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D), his brother. Swain is backed by several radio show hosts.
Nashville was the 24th-largest U.S. city as of 2013, with a population of 634,000. The mayors of 62 of the country’s 100 largest cities are affiliated with the Democratic Party. There are 30 Republican, four independent, and four nonpartisan mayors among the largest cities. Briley is a Democrat, as is state Rep. Clemmons. Swain is a Republican, and Cooper’s affiliation is unknown.
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11 candidates file for four Jersey City school board seats

In New Jersey, 11 candidates have filed to run for four seats on the Jersey City Public Schools school board. The general election is scheduled for November 5. The candidate filing deadline passed on July 29.
Three at-large seats with three-year terms are on the ballot, and incumbent Gerald Lyons, incumbent Sudhan Thomas, and Darwin Ona are running under the Education Matters ticket. Incumbent Gevonder Dupree was appointed to the board in March 2019 and did not file to run for a full term. Noemi Velazquez and Asheenia Johnson are running on the Change For Children ticket. The other candidates on the ballot include Neisha Louhar (ticket: Trust, Personalization, Inspire), Tara Stafford (ticket: Passionate Dedicated Caring), and Reginald Jones.
One additional seat is on the ballot to fill the unexpired one-year term of former board member Amy DeGise. Incumbent Gina Verdibello, David Czehut, and Anthony Sharperson are competing for the unexpired term. Incumbent Verdibello is running under the Education Matters ticket and was appointed to the seat in 2019 to replace DeGise.
In the 2018 election, all three Jersey City school board candidates who ran on the Education Matters ticket were elected to the board. Candidates who run under this ticket are supported by the Jersey City Education Association.
Jersey City Public Schools is the second-largest school district in the state and served 29,659 students during the 2016-2017 school year.

Early voting runs July 31-Aug. 23 for Phoenix initiatives on light rail expansion and pensions

Phoenix voters can cast a ballot for the city’s August 27 special ballot initiative election at city hall or through a mail-in ballot during the early voting phase from July 31 through August 23. Two citizen initiatives proposing amendments to the city charter are on the ballot for the election.
Proposition 105 would do the following:
  • end construction of light rail extensions;
  • redirect funds from light rail projects to other transportation infrastructure improvements in Phoenix; and
  • prohibit funding other light rail development, with an exception for PHX Sky Train.
Building a Better Phoenix sponsored the initiative petition effort and is leading the campaign in support of Proposition 105. Proponents, including Council Member Sal DiCiccio, argue that funding is being wasted on light rail when it should be directed to roads and that light rail use is declining and many city roads are in urgent need of repair.
Invest in PHX, Vote no on 105 and 106 is leading the campaign in opposition to both Proposition 105 and Proposition 106. Opponents of Proposition 105, including Mayor Kate Gallego, U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton (D), and U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D), argue that the initiative would reverse previous decisions made by voters to approve funding for light rail expansion and that the city would lose federal and regional funding for light rail development.
Proposition 106 would do the following:
  • require annual assessments of the city’s pension debt based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and the 10-year average return on investment;
  • limit budget growth if pensions are not 90% funded;
  • earmark revenue over the budget limit to paying down pension debt, with exceptions for police, fire, and first responder services; and
  • require city officials to reimburse the city for pension benefit employer contributions.
Responsible Budgets Inc. led the initiative petition drive for Proposition 106. Proponents, including Council Member Sal DiCiccio, argue that the measure requires accurate accounting and transparency into the city’s pension liabilities and provides the beginning of a long-term solution to pension debt.
Opponents argue the initiative would prevent the city from fully funding services—such as parks, libraries, senior centers, and homeless services—and would reduce the value of the city’s pension plan for fire and police employees and other city officials.
Proponents of each measure needed to submit 20,510 valid signatures (15% of ballots cast for mayoral candidates in the previous mayoral election) to qualify their initiative for the ballot.
Voters on the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) will be automatically mailed an early voting mail-in ballot starting this week. Voters can also request a mail-in ballot through August 16. Voting centers will be open for the election on August 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., August 26 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.?, and August 27 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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Seattle City Council campaign finance analysis, including $1.3 million distributed through public voucher system

Seven of nine city council seats are up for election in Seattle, with a primary election August 6 and general election on November 5. The races have seen satellite spending from the local Chamber of Commerce PAC, and many candidates have received funds from the Democracy Voucher program, a public financing program in which residents distribute $25 vouchers to candidates of their choosing. New campaign finance reports covering through July 15 show us how much campaigns have raised and spent.
Campaign finance information was available for 53 candidates across the seven races. They reported a combined $2.5 million raised and $1.7 million spent. District 3 incumbent Kshama Sawant had raised the most of all candidates, with $214,882 in contributions. The second-highest fundraiser was Logan Bowers, who is one of five candidates challenging Sawant in District 3, with $92,240. Third was Alex Pedersen, who faces nine other candidates for the open District 4 seat, with $91,320 raised.
The races drawing the highest average contribution amount per candidate are those for District 3 and District 1—races with incumbents whose re-election bids are being opposed by the local Chamber of Commerce PAC. The District 3 race drew the most campaign contributions overall and on a per-candidate average basis. The six candidates have brought in a total of $596,105—$99,351 on average per candidate. District 1, where incumbent Lisa Herbold faces two challengers, had a per-candidate average contribution total of $69,925. Herbold had raised the most of the three, with $78,967 in contributions.
Across all seven races, 15 candidates had raised more than $75,000. Participation in the Democracy Voucher Program requires candidates to agree to a $75,000 spending limit in the primary; however, that limit can be lifted in a few cases, including if a challenger (who is not participating in the program) raises or spends above that level or if satellite spending in the race exceeds it. Spending limits have been lifted in all but the District 5 race, where incumbent Debora Juarez faces five opponents. As of July 16, $1.3 million had been distributed to 35 candidates from the voucher program.

Thirteen recall efforts targeting 31 school board members so far this year

Ballotpedia has tracked 13 recall efforts targeting 31 school board members so far in 2019. Three of those recalls have been certified for the ballot, and one recall election was on the ballot on February 19. Both board members were removed from office in that election. Another recall election against one board member was scheduled for July 16, but it was put on hold in June pending court action. A third recall election targeting three board members is scheduled for August 27.
As of July 26, recall efforts against 13 board members are still underway, while efforts against nine board members have ended and will not be going to a vote. Three board members resigned after recall efforts were started against them.
As of this time last year, four recall elections had been held against seven school board members. Six members were removed from office in the elections, and one was retained. Another seven recall elections were held later in 2018 against 19 school board members. Fifteen of those members were removed from office in the elections, and four were retained. Overall, 33 school board recall efforts targeting 74 board members nationwide were covered by Ballotpedia in 2018.
Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials in 2018. 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.