Wisconsin school board recall to be held February 19

A recall election seeking to remove two of the seven members of the Flambeau School District Board of Education in Wisconsin will be held on February 19, 2019. The process to recall board President Sam Stewart and board clerk Danielle Zimmer started in December 2018. The two members were targeted for recall due to allegedly disrespectful comments, finger pointing, and lack of transparency, according to the leaders of the recall effort.

Stewart and Zimmer filed challenges to the recall petitions after they were filed. The board members said the reasons for recall listed on the petitions were personal opinions unrelated to their responsibilities as officeholders. They also said the reasons for recall did not provide a basis for recall and included personal attacks on their characters.

Stewart and Zimmer were also targeted for recall in 2018 along with board Vice President Patrick Anderson. The 2018 petitions against the three board members said they were being recalled due to disrespectful behavior, negative representation, and poor decision making. The effort failed to make the ballot due to improper documentation.

Ballotpedia has tracked two school board recall efforts nationwide targeting five board members so far in 2019. In 2018, 33 school board recall efforts targeted 74 board members. Twelve recall elections were held that year, and the recall success rate was 29.7 percent.

Overall in 2018, a total of 206 recall efforts targeting 299 officials at all levels of government were tracked, which was less than the 241 efforts against 329 officials tracked in 2017.

Friday deadline to file for Texas local elections in May

Each year, local elections in Texas are split between May and November, depending on the area. The filing deadline to run for office in the May elections will pass on February 15. Ballotpedia is covering elections in three counties (Collin, El Paso, Tarrant), seven cities (Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth, Garland, Irving, Plano, San Antonio), and 58 school districts.

The mayor’s office is on the ballot in Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth, Garland, and San Antonio. Dallas and San Antonio were among the 10 largest cities by population in the country as of the 2010 Census. The school board races include the Dallas ISD, which is the state’s second-largest school district. There will be no primary for these elections with the general election taking place on May 4. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote in the general election, a runoff is scheduled for June 8.

The February 15 filing deadline is one of the earliest major deadlines of the 2019 election season. Earlier deadlines included December 5, 2018, for Oklahoma local races, January 2 for Wisconsin state and local races, and January 29 for Kentucky state and local races. Next month will have four statewide filing deadlines: Mississippi on March 1, Pennsylvania on March 12, Virginia on March 21, and Idaho on March 22.

Ballotpedia is also covering November elections in two Texas counties (Bexar and Harris), the city of Houston, and six school districts. This includes the state’s largest district, the Houston ISD. In Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city, the mayor’s office, controller position, and all 16 seats on the city council are on the ballot. The filing deadline has not been set yet for all November races. These elections also won’t have a primary; the general election is set for November 5 and runoffs, if required, are scheduled for December 14.

Majority of Columbus school board members will have served a year or less following November election

The filing deadline for Ohio’s Columbus City Schools Board of Education was February 6, 2019. Five at-large seats are up for nonpartisan general election on November 5—four for a full term and one for an unexpired term. A total of six candidates filed, the lowest since 2011.

Incumbent James C. Ragland, who was appointed to a vacant seat, was the only candidate to file for the unexpired term. Five candidates filed for the four remaining seats up for election. Incumbent Eric Brown and recently-appointed incumbent Jennifer Adair will face challengers Carol Beckerle, Kimberley Mason, and Tina Pierce.

The Board of Education is guaranteed two new members, since incumbents Gary Baker and Shawna Gibbs are not running for re-election. This means that the incoming Board of Education will have either four or five of seven board members who have served roughly one year or less on the board; Ragland took office in November 2018 and Adair took office in January 2019. The current board has two members who joined the board less than a year ago, two who joined the board in 2007, and one each who joined the board in 2009, 2014, and 2015.

From 2011 to 2017, the Columbus City Schools Board of Education saw the number of candidates running per seat grow each year—from 0.75 candidates running per seat in 2011 to 2.66 candidates running per seat in 2017. In 2019, the number of candidates fell to 1.2 candidates running per seat.

Columbus City Schools was the largest school district in Ohio and served 50,028 students during the 2015-2016 school year.

Two incumbents, eight challengers file in 2019 Anchorage Assembly races

On February 1, 2019, the filing deadline passed to run in the Anchorage Assembly elections in Alaska. Five of the assembly’s 11 total seats are on the ballot in the nonpartisan general election on April 2. Two incumbents filed and are unopposed in their re-election bids: Forrest Dunbar representing District 5 (Seat H) and John Weddleton representing District 6 (Seat J).

Eight candidates filed in open-seat races for District 2 (Seat A), District 3 (Seat D), and District 4 (Seat F). This guarantees the election of three new members to the council. In District 4, candidate Ron Alleva previously ran to represent District 4 (Seat G), but he was defeated in the general election on April 4, 2017.

The city of Anchorage holds its elections in odd-numbered years but held a special election on August 7, 2018, for District 3 (Seat E). The election was triggered after a former member, Tim Steele, resigned for health reasons. Prior to the 2018 special election, six of the 11 assembly seats were up for election on April 4, 2017. That year also saw only two incumbents file for re-election. Both retained their seats with four newcomers picking up the additional positions on the ballot.


Filing deadline passes in Fort Wayne and Indianapoli

The filing deadline for municipal elections in Indiana was February 8, 2019. The general election is on November 5, and partisan primaries are scheduled for May 7. Ballotpedia is covering elections in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. There are no statewide elections in Indiana in 2019.

Indianapolis is holding elections for mayor and all 25 seats on the city council. Mayor Joseph Hogsett (D) was first elected in 2015 and is seeking a second term. Entering the 2019 election, the Indianapolis City Council has 14 Democrats and 11 Republicans.

Fort Wayne is holding elections for mayor, city clerk, and all nine seats on the city council. Mayor Tom Henry (D) first took office in 2008 and is seeking a fourth term. City Clerk Lana Keesling (R) was first elected in 2015 and is seeking a second term. Entering the 2019 election, the Fort Wayne City Council has two Democrats and seven Republicans.

Indianapolis is the largest city in Indiana and the 12th-largest city in the U.S. by population. Fort Wayne is the second-largest city in Indiana and the 75th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Five file to run in California school board special election

Five candidates filed to run in the May 7 special election for the Area 5 seat on the Moreno Valley Unified School District Board of Education. The filing deadline was February 8.

The seat was originally vacated in August 2018 when Evan Morgan resigned his position following criminal charges that Morgan said he feared would distract from his work on the board. The Board of Education appointed Darrell Peeden to the seat in October 2018, but the community had 30 days following Peeden’s appointment to gather signatures from 1.5 percent of Trustee Area 5 voters—or 231 signatures—for an election to be called. Community members turned in 318 valid signatures. The appointment was overturned in December, and the special election was called.

Peeden was one of the five candidates who filed to run in the special election. He will be joined on the ballot by John Ashley, Patricia Vargas Sanchez, George Schoelles, and Keri Then.

This is the second such special election to be called in the school district this decade. In May 2013, the school district appointed Gary Baugh to a vacant at-large seat on the board. Following a similar petition drive, Baugh vacated the seat in June of that year and stood for election in November. He won the special election and served until 2018.

Seven file, two withdraw in contested Anchorage School District races

On February 1, 2019, the filing deadline passed to run in nonpartisan elections for two seats on the Anchorage School District Board of Education in Alaska. The general election is on April 2.
Both seats have contested elections with two candidates running for Seat A and incumbent Starr Marsett facing two challengers to retain Seat B.
The original candidate list contained two additional names: James Smallwood for Seat A and Paul Hatcher for Seat B. Smallwood withdrew from the Seat A race on February 5, telling the Anchorage Daily News that he withdrew to avoid splitting the vote in a three-way race with politically similar opponents. He said he supports candidate Margo Bellamy in the election. Hatcher withdrew from the Seat B race on February 6 without stating his reason for dropping out.
In 2017, three seats on the Anchorage Board of Education were up for election. The races for Seats E, F, and G featured nine candidates. Lone incumbent Elisa Snelling won her Seat G re-election bid, and two newcomers also joined the board.
The Anchorage School District is the only Alaska school district within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope holding an election in 2019. The district served 48,238 students during the 2016-2017 school year.

Eight candidates for Tulsa school board seat in Tuesday’s Oklahoma primary

School districts in Oklahoma are holding primaries on February 12 for school board elections that attracted more than two candidates per seat. Of the 26 school districts Ballotpedia covers in the state, three had enough candidates file to hold primaries in 2019. The top two vote recipients in those primaries will advance to the general election on April 2.

The Number 4 seat on the Catoosa Public Schools school board saw three candidates file: incumbent Robert West, Lee Berggren, and Mark Keeter. In 2018, Number 3 incumbent Jeff Landburg won re-election without opposition in the district.

In Moore Public Schools, the race for the District 4 seat attracted four candidates: incumbent Staci L. Pruett, John Branum, Sonya Fergeson, and Jimmy Schiner. This was the first time since 2015 that more than one candidate had filed in the district, and that year, the second candidate withdrew prior to the election. When Pruett won her seat in 2014, she was unopposed. The winners in 2012 and 2013 were also unopposed.

In Tulsa Public Schools, two seats will be on the primary ballot—one for a primary and the other for a special election. The primary is for the Number 1 seat on the board. Incumbent Gary Percefull is not running for re-election this year, and eight candidates filed to replace him. The special election is for the Number 2 seat on the board to fill an unexpired term. Two candidates filed to run, and the top vote recipient will win the seat outright.

Early voting in all 50 Chicago wards started Monday

Chicago residents can vote early right within their wards as of Monday, Feb. 11. Locations are open for early voting seven days a week through Feb. 25, the day before the election. Click the link below to see addresses and hours for locations in all 50 wards.

One early voting location—the Loop Super Site at 175 W. Washington St.—has been open since Jan. 29. The Loop Super Site will remain open for all Chicago voters to cast early ballots through Feb. 25.

The offices of mayor, city treasurer, and city clerk, as well as all 50 city council seats, are on the ballot. A runoff election is scheduled for April 2 for any race in which no candidate received a majority of the vote on Feb. 26.

Important notes from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners:

“Government-issued photo ID is not required but is helpful if there is a question about the registration, address, signature or if there are two voters with the same or similar names at the same address.

Registration services are available at every Early Voting site. NOTE: Any voter who needs to register for the first time or file an address update or a name change must show two forms of ID, one of which shows the voter’s current address.”

Duval Democrats announce official opposition to Lenny Curry’s re-election in Jacksonville

On Tuesday, the Duval County Democratic Party announced it had passed a resolution opposing the re-election of Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry (R), although there are no Democratic candidates running. Curry faces Councilwoman Anna Brosche (R), former Atlantic Beach City Councilman Jimmy Hill (R), and Omega Allen (I) in the March 19 general election. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a runoff election will be held on May 14.
While the local party officially opposes Curry, both Curry and Brosche have gained endorsements from Democratic members of the council. Tommy Hazouri (D) endorsed Curry and appeared in a campaign ad in support of the incumbent. Brosche, meanwhile, picked up an endorsement from Garrett Dennis (D). There are still four other Democratic members of the city council who have not yet endorsed a candidate in the race. Four of the council’s 13 Republicans have endorsed in the race: all of them endorsed Curry.
Twenty-six of the 100 largest cities by population will be holding mayoral elections in 2019. Of those, five (Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and Dallas) are among the 10 largest cities. Democrats currently hold the mayor’s office in 18 of the cities with elections this year, while Republicans and independents hold four each. In total, Democrats hold 60 of the 100 mayorships, while Republicans hold 28, Independents eight, and there are four mayors of unknown political affiliation. Tampa is the largest city by population in Florida and the 13th-largest city in the United States.