Eleven file to run for three Newark Board of Education seats

Eleven candidates filed paperwork to run in the April 16 general election for three of the nine at-large seats on the Newark Public Schools Board of Education in New Jersey. The filing deadline was February 25. The withdrawal deadline is March 4.
Two of the three incumbents whose seats are on the ballot—Leah Owens and Tave Padilla—are running for re-election. Incumbent Kim Gaddy did not file to run for another term on the board. All three incumbents were first elected to the board in 2016. They ran together as the Newark Unity slate and were endorsed by Mayor Ras J. Baraka. The eight consecutive elections prior to 2019 also saw members of slates endorsed by the mayor win election to the board.
Owens and Padilla face nine challengers: Shayvonne Anderson, Denise Cole, Denise Ann Crawford, Maggie Freeman, Priscilla Garces, Saafir Jenkins, Yolanda Johnson, A’Dorian Murray-Thomas, and Arlene Ramsey.
The 2019 election is the second since local control was returned to the district by the New Jersey State Board of Education on September 13, 2017. The state originally took over the district in 1995.
Newark Public Schools served 40,514 students during the 2016-2017 school year.

Candidate filing deadline coming soon in Riverside, California

The filing deadline for the Riverside City Council in California is March 8. The Ward 1, 3, 5, and 7 seats are on the ballot on June 4.
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 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.

Both candidates in Chicago Ward 47 runoff completed special citizen-generated survey

Matt Martin and Michael Negron, both candidates that advanced to a runoff in Chicago’s Ward 47 alderman race, completed Ballotpedia’s special Chicago candidate survey, which was developed with input from more than 100 Chicagoans.
Martin and Negron will face one another in a runoff election to serve as Ward 47 alderman on April 2 since neither earned a majority in their race on Tuesday when Chicago held elections for mayor, city clerk, city treasurer, and all 50 alderman positions.
Ballotpedia’s special Chicago candidate survey was developed in partnership with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Interactivity Foundation, and City Bureau.
Read their responses to one of our questions below:
Do you believe that there is corruption in Chicago politics, such as pay-to-play practices when the city awards bids? If so, how would you address it?
Matt Martin: “Recent news has confirmed that there is corruption in Chicago politics. Our city government badly needs reform. We must ban secondary employment to eliminate conflicts of interest that mired Alderman Ed Burke’s property tax firm. The City Council should not be immune to inspection, opening itself to audits and investigations by the Inspector General. There should also be term limits for Committee Chairs to ensure no one alderman is too powerful, such as the Finance and Zoning Committees that Aldermen Burke and Solis, respectively, oversaw. I also support reforming aldermanic prerogative so that individual aldermen do not have an inordinate amount of power over the developments that affect their constituents.”
Michael Negron: “The recent Alderman Ed Burke scandal epitomizes everything that people hate about Chicago government. If Ald. Ed Burke and Ald. Willie Cochran are convicted, then we will have seen 35 aldermen convicted of corruption-related crimes committed while on their official duties since 1972. That’s a conviction every 14 months!
We need to view this as an opportunity to make big reforms. We can’t simply rely on electing new people and hope for the best. We need to change the rules.
That’s why I support prohibiting aldermen from having side jobs so they focus on their jobs full time. We need to limit aldermanic privilege when it comes to zoning and permits to remove the temptation to shake people down. I support expanding the authority of the inspector general over the City Council, and establishing the public financing of elections. We should also strengthen independent budget office, and take a real look at term limits.”
Two candidates in the Ward 47 race who did not advance to the runoff election, Jeff Jenkins and Angie Maloney, also completed the survey. Five other candidates who did not complete the survey also ran unsuccessfully in the race.
The Ward 47 race is one of five Chicago alderman elections in 2019 without an incumbent competing, making it an open-seat contest. Of the other four open-seat alderman races, only the Ward 22 race was decided outright in the general election. Nicole Johnson in Ward 20 and Byron Sigcho-Lopez in Ward 25, who are both candidates in open-seat races, each completed the survey and advanced to the runoff election. Their opponents, Jeanette Taylor in Ward 20 and Alex Acevedo in Ward 25, have not yet completed the survey.
Ballotpedia is contacting all Chicago candidates competing in the April 2 runoff to encourage them to fill out the survey in order to share their views with voters.

Jumaane Williams wins New York City public advocate election

Jumaane Williams, a New York City councilman representing parts of Brooklyn, won the New York City public advocate special election on February 26. He defeated 16 other candidates in the nonpartisan election, receiving about 33 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns.
He will be the city’s fifth elected public advocate. The previous public advocate, Letitia James, was elected attorney general of New York in November 2018. Corey Johnson, who did not run in yesterday’s special election, has served as the acting public advocate since January 1, 2019.
The public advocate is first in the mayoral line of succession and acts as a watchdog and ombudsman for the public. He or she may sit in on meetings of the City Council and introduce legislation but may not vote on any measures. Although the position has little direct power, it is seen as a launching pad for higher office.
Of the four previously elected public advocates, two have advanced to higher office following their tenure: James and Bill de Blasio, who became mayor of New York City in 2014.
Yesterday’s election means that Williams will serve in the office until December 31, 2019. A second election will be held later this year for the remainder of James’ four-year term which ends in 2021.

Trial begins for a Sedgwick County commissioner

The fraud trial for Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell (R) began on Monday in a federal court in Wichita, Kansas. The trial is expected to last five days.
O’Donnell is accused of taking $10,500 from campaign funds for his personal use. In May 2018, O’Donnell was indicted by a federal grand jury on 23 counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering. The indictment alleges that in 2015 and 2016, O’Donnell wrote checks from his campaign account to three of his friends who cashed the checks. Prosecutors allege that O’Donnell’s friends did little or no work on his campaign and that some of the money from the cashed checks went into O’Donnell’s personal checking account.
O’Donnell has served on the Sedgwick County Commission since 2017. His term expires in 2020. Prior to his election to the county commission, he served in the Kansas State Senate from 2013 to 2017 and on the Wichita City Council from 2011 to 2013.

Chicago elections on Tuesday: Third-largest city votes for mayor, city council and more

On Tuesday, Chicago voters will cast ballots for mayor, city treasurer, city clerk, and all 50 seats on the city council. Any race in which no candidate receives a majority of the vote will go to a runoff on April 2. The elections are nonpartisan.
Fourteen candidates are running for mayor. Incumbent Rahm Emanuel announced in September 2018 that he would not seek re-election, leaving the race open. In recent polls, no candidate received more than 15 percent support, and undecided voters made up the plurality.
In the city council races, 45 incumbents are seeking re-election. All but five are facing challengers on Tuesday.
Three candidates are running in the open city treasurer race. Incumbent city clerk Anna Valencia is unopposed in the clerk election.
A number of issues have shaped the elections in the nation’s third-largest city, including the city’s pension system shortfalls, crime rates, policies around K-12 school performance and under-enrollment, economic and racial divisions, policing, affordable housing, and government ethics.
Subscribe to The Deep Dish, Ballotpedia’s weekly Chicago elections newsletter, and get our post-election results edition delivered to your inbox on Wednesday.
Additional reading:

4th Ward city council candidates respond to Ballotpedia’s Chicago 2019 candidate survey

Incumbent Sophia King faces Ebony Lucas in the election for the 4th Ward seat on Chicago’s City Council Tuesday. Both King and Lucas filled out Ballotpedia’s Chicago 2019 candidate survey, which was developed with input from more than 100 Chicagoans in the months preceding the 2019 election.
King was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2016 to fill a vacancy. In 2017, King won a special election against Lucas and three other challengers to hold the seat.
Read their responses to one of our questions below:
What are your proposals for supporting children before and after school? What would be your ideal afterschool programs?
Sophia King: “A strong viable neighborhood school would have a strong co-curricular (after school) component that would help keep students engaged in positive activities and curtail negative behavior. We need more co-curricular programs that engage our children and keep them off the streets.”
Ebony Lucas: “Children need exposure to the world around them so that they can determine their strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Before and after school programs at the libraries, zoo, museums, park district, union apprenticeships, and other community based organizations need to be funded in every neighborhood. …The 4th ward aldermanic office will have computers for youth to come in and apply for One Summer Chicago and After School Matters to increase their opportunities for success.”
Chicago voters will cast ballots for mayor, city council, city treasurer, and city clerk on Tuesday, with runoffs scheduled for April 2.
Candidates can let voters know where they stand on major issues by filling out our survey.
Voters can also see which candidates have filled out our survey. Want answers from a candidate who hasn’t? Click their name to be taken to their profile page, where you’ll see an option to contact them and request that they fill out the survey.

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.