Tagelections to watch

Dane County holds special election July 13

The special election for Dane County Board of Supervisors District 19 in Wisconsin is on July 13, 2021. A primary was scheduled for June 15, but it was not needed. The filing deadline to run passed on May 21. Two candidates, Kristen Morris and Timothy Rockwell, are on the ballot.

The special election became necessary when Teran Peterson resigned from the board on April 30 after moving out of the district.

The District 19 race is the third special election to the Dane County Board of Supervisors since the board’s last regular election on April 7, 2020. A fourth special election to the board will be held for District 20 on Aug. 10. All 37 board of supervisor seats will be up for regular election in April 2022.

Dane County had a population of 516,284 in 2014, according to the United States Census Bureau. 

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Preview: Upcoming special congressional elections

Image of several stickers with the words "I voted"

Three special elections for the U.S. House will take place within the next month: a runoff election for Texas’ 6th Congressional District on July 27 and primaries in Ohio’s 11th and 15th congressional districts on Aug. 3.

Texas’ 6th

The July 27 runoff in Texas features Republicans Jake Ellzey and Susan Wright. The two advanced from a 23-candidate special general election on May 1, where Wright received 19% of the vote to Ellzey’s 14%.

The previous incumbent, Ronald Wright (R), died from complications related to COVID-19 on Feb. 7. Susan Wright is his widow. She served as district director for state Reps. Bill Zedler (R) and David Cook (R). Ellzey is a state representative, first elected in 2020. In 2018, he ran against Ronald Wright in the 6th Congressional District Republican primary, losing in the primary runoff with 48% to Wright’s 52%. 

The Club for Growth has spent more than $500,000 supporting Wright and opposing Ellzey in the special election. Former President Donald Trump endorsed Wright. Ellzey’s supporters include former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and the Texas Farm Bureau AGFUND.

Ohio’s 11th

President Joe Biden (D) appointed former incumbent Marcia Fudge (D) secretary of housing and urban development, leaving this seat vacant. Inside Elections rates the Nov. 2 general election Solid Democratic. Of the 13 candidates in the Democratic primary, Shontel Brown and Nina Turner have led in fundraising, endorsements, and media attention.

Brown is a member of the Cuyahoga County Council and chairwoman of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton (D) endorsed her. Turner was a state senator and co-chaired Bernie Sanders’ (I) 2020 presidential primary campaign. Sanders endorsed Turner.

Ohio’s 15th

Former Rep. Steve Stivers (R) resigned in May to become CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Inside Elections rates the Nov. 2 general election Solid Republican. Eleven candidates are running in the Aug. 3 special Republican primary.

Stivers endorsed Jeff LaRe, a state representative since 2019. LaRe also has a background in law enforcement. Trump endorsed Mike Carey, who served in the Army National Guard. Bob Peterson is a state senator and former president of the Ohio Farm Bureau. The Ohio Right to Life PAC endorsed him.

Seven special elections have been called during the 117th Congress so far. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held. 



Two Georgia House special runoffs set for July 13

Image of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia.

The special general runoff elections for Georgia House of Representatives Districts 34 and 156 are scheduled for July 13, 2021. 

  • In District 34, Devan Seabaugh (R) is facing Priscilla Smith (D) in the runoff. In the June 15 general election, Seabaugh and Smith advanced from a field of five candidates and earned 47.1% and 24.6% of the vote, respectively. The special election in District 34 was called after Bert Reeves (R) left office to become Georgia Institute of Technology’s vice president of university relations. Reeves served from 2015 to 2021.
  • In District 156, Leesa Hagan (R) and Wally Sapp (R) are competing in the runoff. In the June 15 general election, Hagan earned 43.1% of the vote and Sapp earned 42.3%. The special election was called after Greg Morris (R) resigned on April 13 to join the State Transportation Board at the Georgia Department of Transportation. Morris served from 1999 to 2021.

Georgia has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state House by a margin of 101 to 77, with two vacancies.

As of July 2021, 43 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 17 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.

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Special elections to be held on July 13 in two Alabama state legislative districts

Special elections are scheduled for July 13 for District 14 of the Alabama State Senate and District 73 of the Alabama House of Representatives. The winners of the special elections will serve until Nov. 7, 2022.

  • In Senate District 14, Virginia Applebaum (D) and April Weaver (R) are running in the special election. The seat became vacant on Dec. 7 after Cam Ward (R) was appointed to serve as director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles by Gov. Kay Ivey (R). Ward had represented the seat since 2010.
  • In House District 73, Sheridan Black (R) is facing off against Kenneth Paschal (R). The special election became necessary after Matt Fridy (R) was elected to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in Nov. 2020. Fridy had represented District 73 since 2015.

Alabama has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 26-8 margin with one vacancy and the state House by a 76-27 margin with two vacancies.

As of July, 40 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 17 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Alabama held 23 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

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Filing deadline to run for elected office is July 10 in Birmingham, Alabama

The filing deadline to run for elected office in Birmingham, Alabama, is on July 10, 2021. Prospective candidates may file for the following nonpartisan offices:

• Mayor

• All nine seats on the city council

• Nine of the 10 seats on the Birmingham City Schools school board

The general election is scheduled for August 24. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote in the general election, the top two candidates with the most votes will advance to a runoff election on October 5, 2021.

Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama and the 99th-largest in the U.S. by population.

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Eleven candidates running in Republican special primary for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District

Eleven candidates are running in the Republican primary to represent Ohio’s 15th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives on August 3, 2021. The special general election, which will be held November 2, 2021, was called after Steve Stivers (R) resigned his seat in the House to become the President and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, effective May 16, 2021. Mike Carey, Bob Peterson, and Jeff LaRe have led in endorsements and media attention.

Carey’s campaign has focused on his experience in the United States Army (where he served from 1989 to 1999), and his status as a self-described conservative outsider. President Donald Trump (R) endorsed him.

LaRe’s campaign has focused on his background in law enforcement and security services, as well as his experience serving in the Ohio House of Representatives, where he assumed office in 2019. As of the 2021 election, LaRe is the executive vice president of a security services company, the Whitestone Group, where he began working in 2000. Former Rep. Steve Stivers (R) endorsed LaRe.

Peterson’s campaign has focused on his farming background and experience serving in the Ohio state legislature, first in the House from 2011 to 2012, and then in the Senate where he assumed office in 2012 and served as the president pro tempore during the 133rd, 132nd, and the second half of the 131st General Assemblies. Peterson earned his B.S. in agriculture from Ohio State University, and his professional experience includes managing Peterson Family Farm. Ohio Right to Life PAC endorsed him.

Also running in the primary are John Adams, Eric M. Clark, Thad Cooperrider, Ruth Edmonds, Ron Hood, Tom Hwang, Stephanie Kunze, and Omar Tarazi.

The general election is rated Strong Republican by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. The Republican nominee will face the winner of the Democratic primary between Greg Betts and Allison Russo in the general election.

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Special election to be held July 13 in Wisconsin Assembly district

A special election is being held on July 13 for District 37 of the Wisconsin State Assembly. Pete Adams (D), William Penterman (R), and Stephen Ratzlaff Jr. (I) are running in the general election. Penterman advanced past the June 15 Republican primary in a field of eight candidates. Adams was unopposed in the Democratic primary. The winner of the special election will serve until January 2023.

The seat became vacant on April 23 after John Jagler (R) was sworn into the Wisconsin State Senate. He won a special election for state Senate District 13 on April 6. Jagler had represented District 37 since 2013. He won re-election in 2020 with 56% of the vote.

Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 60-38 majority in the Wisconsin Assembly with one vacancy. Wisconsin has a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

As of June, 39 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 17 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Wisconsin held 19 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

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California secretary of state determines there are enough signatures for recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom to proceed

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) announced that the recall campaign against Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) had enough signatures following the removal period to move forward. She directed the state Department of Finance to begin its cost analysis for the election.

Voters who signed the recall petitions had until June 8 to request their signature’s removal. Forty-three signatures were removed during the removal period, leaving 1,719,900 valid signatures on the petitions, more than the 1,495,709 required to trigger a recall.

Based on the remaining procedural steps required by state law, an election is likely to take place in October or November 2021. Political analysts and legislators have speculated that an election could take place as early as August, while the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials wrote a letter to Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D) requesting that a recall not take place before September 14, citing supply chain issues with paper and envelopes given the unknown number of candidates. Kounalakis is the official responsible for setting the date of the recall election.

Newsom was elected as California’s governor in 2018 with 61.9% of the vote. Since 1911, there have been 55 attempts to recall a sitting California governor. The only successful recall campaign was in 2003 when voters recalled then-Gov. Gray Davis (D). Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was chosen as Davis’ replacement.

A recall election would present voters with two questions. The first would ask whether Newsom should be recalled from the office of governor. The second would ask who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled. A majority vote is required on the first question for the governor to be recalled. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election, no majority required. In the 2003 recall of Davis, 135 candidates ran and the winner received 48.58 percent of the vote.