Eleven incumbents file to run for re-election to offices in King County, Wash.

The filing deadline passed on May 21 to run for elected office in King County, Wash. Candidates filed for the following positions:

Mayor of Seattle

Seattle City Attorney

Seattle City Council Position 8 At-Large

Seattle City Council Position 9 At-Large

Port of Seattle Commission Position 1

Port of Seattle Commission Position 3

Port of Seattle Commission Position 4

King County Executive

Metropolitan King County Council District 1

Metropolitan King County Council District 3

Metropolitan King County Council District 5

Metropolitan King County Council District 7

Metropolitan King County Council District 9

Eleven incumbents filed for re-election. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced in December 2020 that she would not run for re-election. Fifteen candidates are seeking to become Seattle’s next mayor, including M. Lorena González, who currently holds the Position 9 seat on the Seattle City Council.

The primary is scheduled for Aug. 3, and the general election is scheduled for Nov. 2.

Additional reading:

Recall effort against supervisors in Shasta County, California, approved to circulate petitions

An effort to recall three of the five members of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors in California has been approved to circulate petitions. District 1 representative Joe Chimenti, District 2 representative Leonard Moty, and District 3 representative Mary Rickert were named in the notices of intent to recall. Recall supporters have until Sept. 29 to collect more than 4,000 petition signatures per member to get the recall on the ballot.

Recall supporters said the county supervisors betrayed the public trust, did not defend the county from state government overreach in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, and irresponsibly handled county finances.

Chimenti defended the board’s actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and stated, “Unlike many other counties around California, this board has never enacted any ordinance and we have never burdened law enforcement with enforcement responsibilities pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Recall supporters submitted notices of intent to recall on April 30. After the notices and petitions were approved, supporters were given 120 days to collect signatures equal to 20% of registered voters in each district the supervisors represent. The petition against Chimenti needs 4,392 signatures, the petition against Moty needs 4,308 signatures, and the petition against Rickert needs 4,432 signatures.

Moty and Rickert were both re-elected to four-year terms on the board in Nov. 2020. Moty received 51% of the vote, defeating two challengers, and Rickert won re-election unopposed. Moty was first elected to the board in 2008, and Rickert was first elected to the board in 2016. Chimenti was first elected to a four-year term on the board in 2018, defeating incumbent David Kehoe with 55% of the vote.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 227 recall efforts against 279 elected officials. Of the 49 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 29 were recalled for a rate of 59%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.

Additional reading:

Edward Gainey wins the Democratic primary for mayor of Pittsburgh, advances to November general election

State Rep. Edward Gainey (D) defeated incumbent Bill Peduto, Tony Moreno, and Michael Thompson in the May 18, 2021, Democratic primary for mayor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Gainey received 46.18% with 98% of precincts reporting as of May 19. Peduto received 39.29% of the vote, while Moreno and Thompson received 13.12% and 1.2% respectively. 

No Republicans filed to run in the race. Unless a write-in candidate enters, Gainey will run unopposed in the general election on November 2, 2021.

Gainey was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to represent District 24 in 2012. He was re-elected in 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020. His campaign focused on what he called demilitarizing the police, building affordable housing, and pushing to revoke the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s (UPMC) nonprofit status to collect more in taxes. Gainey would be the first Black mayor of Pittsburgh. 

Peduto was first elected mayor in 2013 and re-elected in 2017. Peduto’s campaign focused on policies he enacted as mayor, including mandatory de-escalation practices and implicit bias training for police officers and COVID-19 paid sick leave for Pittsburgh workers. Before becoming mayor, Peduto served on the Pittsburgh City Council, representing District 8 from 2002-2013.

Moreno, a military veteran and retired Pittsburgh police officer, campaigned on his experience in law enforcement, while Thompson, a math tutor and driver for Lyft and Uber, focused on affordable housing. 

To learn more about the mayoral election in Pittsburgh, click here.

Mayoral election in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2021)

Recall elections defeated in 2 Idaho school districts

Two Idaho school districts held recall elections for school board members on May 18. In Idaho Falls School District 91, voters were asked if they wanted to recall Zone 3 representative Lara Hill, and in the Nampa School District, they were asked if they wanted to recall Zone 4 representative Kim Rost. Both recall efforts were defeated.

In order for recalls to be approved in Idaho, a majority of voters must cast ballots in favor. The total number of votes cast in favor of recall must also be higher than the number of votes cast for the official in his or her last election. In Nampa, a majority of voters cast ballots in favor of recalling Hill, but they did not meet the 591-vote threshold to remove her from office. In Idaho Falls, a majority of voters cast ballots against the recall.

The effort to recall Hill began after the Idaho Falls board of trustees voted 3-2 on Sept. 30 to move high schools in the district from in-person instruction to a mixture of in-person and online instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Superintendent George Boland said the goal was to reduce the number of coronavirus cases and related quarantines and absences at the high schools. Hill voted in favor along with Elizabeth Cogliati and Hillary Radcliffe. 

Recall supporters also attempted to remove Cogliati and Radcliffe. The effort against Radcliffe did not collect enough signatures to put the recall on the ballot. The effort against Cogliati was on the ballot on March 9. A majority of voters cast ballots against the recall, defeating the effort.

Supporters of the effort to recall Rost said she was not representing the majority of her constituents in the Nampa School District and had demonstrated a lack of leadership. Rost said her volunteer service for the district had been unwavering for 16 years and that transparency and accountability had been at the forefront of her goals as a trustee. 

A separate recall effort was on the ballot in the Nampa School District on March 9. The recall asked whether voters wanted to remove Zone 2 representative Mike Kipp from office. A majority of voters cast ballots against the recall, defeating the effort.

Hill was first appointed to the five-member Idaho Falls board of trustees in September 2018 and was later elected in November 2019. Rost was elected to a four-year term on the five-member Nampa board of trustees on May 16, 2017.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 227 recall efforts against 279 elected officials. Of the 49 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 29 were recalled for a rate of 59%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.

Additional reading: 

Pureval, Mann advance to general election for Cincinnati mayor

Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval and councilman and former mayor David Mann advanced from the May 4 primary for mayor of Cincinnati. The two will meet in the general election on Nov. 2. The other four candidates in the primary election were Gavi Begtrup, Herman Najoli, Raffel Prophett, and Cecil Thomas.

Pureval received 39.1% of the vote and Mann received 29.1%. Thomas received 16.4%, Begtrup received 9.6%, Prophett received 3.5%, and Najoli received 2.3%.

Although the elections for and position of the mayor are officially nonpartisan, the candidates running were affiliated with political parties. Both Pureval and Mann are Democrats. The last Republican to serve as mayor was Willis Gradison, who left office in 1971.

The mayor serves as the city’s chief executive and is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, and appointing departmental directors. He or she presides over council meetings, proposes legislation for discussion, and holds the power to appoint or remove committee heads, but does not have the authority to vote. The mayor also represents the city on the state, national and international levels.

Austin voters approve five of eight measures, including a sit-lie ordinance, changes to police oversight office, ranked-choice voting

On May 1, voters in Austin approved five measures and defeated three.

Proposition A was approved 81% to 19%. It requires the city and firefighters association to participate in binding arbitration.

Proposition B was approved 58% to 42%. It prohibits and creates criminal penalties for sitting, lying down, sleeping outdoors, and soliciting money at certain times and in certain areas of the city.

Proposition C was approved 63% to 37%. It gave the city council authority to determine who appoints the Office of Police Oversight. Currently, the director of the Office of Police Oversight is appointed by and reports to the city manager. Proponents of Proposition C said that it would allow the city council to make the office more independent.

Proposition D was approved 66.5% to 33.5%. It moves mayoral elections to presidential election years.

Proposition E was approved 58% to 42%. It establishes ranked-choice voting for city elections if ranked-choice voting is allowed by state law. Currently, Texas cities hold runoff elections when no candidate reaches the required majority vote threshold for victory. According to the Austin Law Department, ranked-choice voting is not permitted under Texas state law. A spokesperson for the department said, “Ranked-choice voting would not be implemented in Austin until or unless the Texas Constitution was amended and/or until the state Legislature amended the Texas Election Code to allow it.”

Proposition F was defeated 14% to 86%. It would have changed the city from a council-manager system, with the city manager as the chief executive officer, to a strong mayor-council system, with the mayor as the chief executive officer.

Proposition G was defeated 43% to 57%. It would have added a city council member and a new council district. Proposition F and G were designed to work together to keep the city council the same size since the mayor is currently a member of the city council but Proposition F would have removed the mayor from the city council.

Proposition H was defeated 43% to 57%. It would have created a public campaign finance system that provided up to two $25 vouchers to each registered voter to contribute to the campaigns of any qualified candidate.

Additional Reading:

Ballotpedia covering elections across 22 counties and 70 cities in 2021

Ballotpedia covers local elections in America’s 100 largest cities by population and in the counties that overlap those cities. Our coverage also includes mayors, city councils, and district attorneys in the 32 state capitals that are not already part of our largest cities coverage. 

In 2021, Ballotpedia is covering municipal elections in 22 counties and 70 cities, including 43 mayoral elections. Click here for more information!

Costa Constantinides resigns from New York City Council

Costa Constantinides resigned from the New York City Council on April 9 after announcing he would leave to take a position as CEO of the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens on March 31. Constantinides had served as the District 22 representative since 2013. His current term was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2021.

The New York City Council is the city’s primary legislative body. It is responsible for adopting the city budget, approving mayoral appointees, overseeing the use of municipal properties, levying taxes, and making or amending city laws, policies, and ordinances.

The New York City Council is composed of 51 members, each of whom are elected in partisan elections by the city’s fifty-one districts. The current partisan composition is 45 Democrats and three Republicans with three vacancies. The city’s charter requires Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) to schedule a special election to fill the vacancy left by Constantinides’ departure.

Additional Reading

District court allows recall effort against New Mexico county commissioner to move forward

New Mexico Twelfth District Judge Manuel Arrieta ruled in favor of an effort to recall Couy Griffin (R) from his position as the District 2 representative on the Otero County Commission on April 8. If Griffin does not appeal the decision to a higher court, recall supporters will be given 90 days to collect approximately 1,661 signatures to get the recall on the ballot. 

New Mexico allows recalls at the county level for “malfeasance or misfeasance in office or violation of the oath of office by the official concerned.” Those actions must have occurred during the official’s current term of office in order for a recall effort to be approved to circulate petitions.

Recall supporters said Griffin had used the office for personal gain. Griffin said the allegations against him were baseless and politically motivated.

Griffin, who founded the organization Cowboys for Trump, was arrested in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 17, for his alleged role in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. He was charged with “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority,” according to the Alamogordo Daily News. Griffin was released from federal prison on Feb. 5.

After Griffin was arrested, District 1 Commissioner Gerald Matherly (R) and District 3 Commissioner Vickie Marquardt (R) called for his resignation as did New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas (D). Griffin said he would not resign. He said he was accused of crimes but not convicted. “I just want those that have already come to the conclusion that I’m guilty, I just again ask you to put the brakes on a little bit and let the legal process take place,” Griffin said.

Griffin was elected to the three-member commission in 2018, defeating Democratic candidate Christopher S. Jones with 65% of the vote.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 226 recall efforts against 272 elected officials. Of the 49 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 29 were recalled for a rate of 59%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.

Additional Reading: