TagMayoral elections

Brown defeats Walton in Buffalo, New York mayoral election

Byron Brown (D) defeated India Walton (D) in the general election for mayor of Buffalo, New York, on November 2, 2021. Brown, who ran as a write-in candidate in the general election, received 59.6% of the vote to Walton’s 40%.

Walton defeated Brown in the June 22 Democratic primary. Following his primary defeat, Brown announced he would run in the general election as a write-in candidate. Walton received 51% of the vote in the June 22 primary followed by Brown with 46%. Brown was first elected mayor of Buffalo in 2005 and won re-election three times before the 2021 election. Before losing the 2021 primary, he had won the four preceding Democratic mayoral primaries by an average margin of 26.5 percentage points.

A write-in victory in one of the country’s 100 largest cities is rare but not unheard of. Mike Duggan, the mayor of Detroit, Mich., advanced from a 2013 primary as a write-in candidate. And Beverly O’Neil won re-election to a third term as mayor of Long Beach, Calif., in 2002 as a write-in.

Before the election, the New York Times’ Jesse McKinley said the mayoral race “reflects the defining tension within the national Democratic Party, pitting its new generation of left-wing politicians against its more moderate establishment,” referring to Walton and Brown, respectively.

Walton, a nurse and community activist, said Brown had not delivered results as mayor, and that his record “showed that he doesn’t have much care … for the people of Buffalo, unless they’re wealthy developers or heads of large corporations.” She received endorsements from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the local and national branches of the Democratic Socialists of America, and the Working Families Party of New York. She also received a general election endorsement from the Erie County Democratic Party, which endorsed Brown in the primary but switched its support to Walton following her primary election victory.

Brown, who became the city’s longest-serving mayor in January 2021, said Walton was “an unqualified, inexperienced, radical socialist,” and described the general election as “a choice between proven results and false, empty promises.” He received general election endorsements from U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), Common Councilmembers Joseph Golombek (D), Christopher Scanlon (D), and Ulysees Wingo (D), and former Mayor Anthony Masiello (D). He also received endorsements from The Buffalo News and the local, county, and state police benevolent associations.

Both Walton and Brown also received support from satellite organizations. The Working Families Party’s national PAC supported Walton with satellite spending, while the New York State Association of Realtors and the New York Republican Party supported Brown.

Sean “Jaz” Miles (R), Benjamin Carlisle (I), William O’Dell (I), and Taniqua Simmons (I) also ran in the general election as write-in candidates.

As of December 2021, 63 mayors in the largest 100 cities by population are affiliated with the Democratic Party, 26 are affiliated with the Republican Party, four are independents, six identify as nonpartisan or unaffiliated, and one mayor’s affiliation is unknown. While most mayoral elections in the 100 largest cities are nonpartisan, most officeholders are affiliated with a political party.

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Party control of mayor’s office in Columbia, S.C., flips from Democratic to Republican in runoff

Daniel Rickenmann defeated Tameika Isaac Devine in the runoff election for mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, on Nov. 16. Rickenmann received 52% of the vote to Devine’s 48%. Both Rickenmann and Devine are members of the Columbia City Council.

While mayoral elections in Columbia are nonpartisan, Rickenmann is affiliated with the Republican Party. Incumbent Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin, a Democrat, did not run for re-election. Benjamin endorsed Devine, also a Democrat, in the runoff.

Fifteen state capitals held mayoral elections in 2021. Before these elections, 14 officeholders were Democrats and one was nonpartisan. As a result of the 2021 elections, 12 mayoral offices will remain under Democratic control (Atlanta, Georgia, will hold a runoff election between two Democrats on Nov. 30). The election in Columbia flips one office from Democratic to Republican control. One office continues to be held by a nonpartisan mayor, and one newly-elected mayor has not responded to inquiries.

Currently, the mayors of 39 state capitals are affiliated with the Democratic Party. Four are Republicans, one is independent, and two are nonpartisan. Four mayors have not responded to inquiries about their partisan affiliation.

In cities where mayoral elections are nonpartisan, Ballotpedia uses one or more of the following sources to identify each officeholder’s partisan affiliation: (1) direct communication from the officeholder, (2) current or previous candidacy for partisan office, or (3) identification of partisan affiliation by multiple media outlets.

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Davison declared winner in Seattle city attorney race

Ann Davison defeated Nicole Thomas-Kennedy in the general election for city attorney of Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 2, 2021. According to King County’s unofficial election results updated on Nov. 4, Davison received 55.1% of the vote to Thomas-Kennedy’s 44.1%.

Crosscut, a nonprofit Seattle news site, said the race was “one of clear contrasts and highlights just how divided the city is over issues of crime, public safety and criminal justice.” Another Seattle-based nonprofitpublication, the South Seattle Emerald, said the race “gets to the heart of a question all the more relevant since anti-police protests broke out in 2020: In Seattle, what do we consider justice and how should it be administered?”

Davison is a Seattle attorney and arbitrator. She ran as a Republican for lieutenant governor of Washington in 2020. Davison said the city needs “balanced leadership that makes us smart on crime: proactive not reactive” and said she would “focus on improving efficiencies within division in regards to zoning” and “transform existing Mental Health Court to specialized Behavioral Health Court for cases that involve mental health, substance use disorder or dual diagnosis.” Seattle news blog My Northwest described Davison “as more of an overt conservative, as a registered Republican who’s been vocal on her ‘tough on crime’ politics” compared to Thomas-Kennedy, whose “position as an ‘abolitionist’ in favor of ending the prosecution of low-level misdemeanors would represent a sizable shift in the City Attorney’s Office.”

Thomas-Kennedy is a former public defender and criminal and eviction attorney. She said the city “chooses to prosecute petty offenses born out of poverty, addiction and disability” and these prosecutions “further destabilize people who, in the world’s richest country, cannot get their basic needs met.” Instead of prosecuting low-level offenses, Thomas-Kennedy’s campaign website said she supported increasing the scope of the city’s education, job training, and addiction treatment programs and would “stop throwing away money on what we know does not work, and use the power and resources of the office to build community-based programs and solutions that prevent harm and result in truly healthy communities.”

In Seattle, the city attorney heads the city’s Law Department and supervises all litigation in which the city is involved. The city attorney supervises a team of assistant city attorneys who provide legal advice and assistance to the City’s management and prosecute violations of City ordinances.

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No partisan changes occurred in Nov. 2 mayoral elections for top-100 cities

Mayoral elections on Nov. 2 did not result in partisan changes in any of the 100 largest cities by population. Two elections are upcoming: the Atlanta, Georgia, mayoral election advanced to a Nov. 30 runoff, and New Orleans, Louisiana, will hold a mayoral election on Nov. 13, with a possible second election on Dec. 11.

Two partisan changes in top-100 mayoral offices occurred earlier in 2021:

  • North Las Vegas Mayor John J. Lee announced that he was changing his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican on April 6, 2021.
  • David Bronson (R) assumed office as mayor of Anchorage, Alaska on July 1, 2021, replacing nonpartisan acting mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson, who assumed office following the resignation of Ethan Berkowitz (D).

Twenty-eight of the 100 largest cities are holding mayoral elections this year. In 19 of those 28 cities, the incumbent was Democratic at the start of 2021. Seven incumbents were Republican, one was independent, and one was nonpartisan.

Currently, 63 of the 100 largest cities’ mayors are Democrats, 26 are Republicans, and 10 are either nonpartisan or independent. One mayor’s affiliation is unknown.

In cities where mayoral elections are nonpartisan, Ballotpedia uses one or more of the following sources to identify each officeholder’s partisan affiliation: (1) direct communication from the officeholder, (2) current or previous candidacy for partisan office, or (3) identification of partisan affiliation by multiple media outlets.



Mayor and city council races advance to runoffs in Columbia, S.C.

The general municipal election in Columbia, S.C., was held on Nov. 2. Candidates competed for mayor and three seats on the seven-seat city council. 

In the nonpartisan mayor’s race, Daniel Rickenmann and Tameika Isaac Devine advanced to a general runoff election, defeating Sam Johnson and Moe Baddourah. The runoff, scheduled for Nov. 16, is needed because no candidate earned more than 50% of the vote in the general election. 

In the race for the at-large city council seat, Aditi Bussells and Tyler Bailey advanced to a runoff, defeating five other candidates. In District 1, Tina Herbert defeated Christa Williams outright, earning 54% of the vote to Williams’ 45%. Joe Taylor won the District 4 race, in which he was unopposed.

Columbia is the capital of South Carolina. Ballotpedia covers elections for mayor, city council, and district attorney in all capital cities in the U.S.



Seattle mayoral, city council races decided

Bruce Harrell won the election for mayor of Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 2. Incumbent Teresa Mosqueda was re-elected to at-large city council position 8, and Sara Nelson won the at-large position 9 council seat.

The following results were reported as of Nov. 4. Mail ballots were still being counted.

  • Bruce Harrell: 62%/Lorena González: 38%
  • Teresa Mosqueda: 56%/Kenneth Wilson: 44%
  • Sara Nelson: 57%/Nikkita Oliver: 43%

Harrell, a former city council president, ran against current Council President Lorena González. González currently holds the position 9 council seat. Mayor Jenny Durkan did not run for re-election.

In the council races, Mosqueda ran against bridge structural engineer Kenneth Wilson, and Nelson ran against attorney Nikkita Oliver. 

Harrell and Nelson both had backing from the National Association of Realtors Fund, the Seattle Fire Fighters Union, and The Seattle Times in their races.

Mosqueda had endorsed González and Oliver in their races. The Washington Working Families Party endorsed all three. The Progressive Voter Guide, presented by the organization Fuse Washington, recommended the three as well.

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Andre Dickens and Felicia Moore advance to a runoff election for Atlanta mayor

Image of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia.

Andre Dickens and Felicia Moore advanced to a runoff election following the general election for mayor of Atlanta on November 2. Incumbent Keisha Lance Bottoms announced on May 6 that she would not seek re-election, making her the first Atlanta mayor since World War II to choose not to run for a second term

Since neither Moore nor Dickens received more than 50% of the vote, they will run in the runoff election scheduled for November 30. Moore received 40.8% of the vote, and Dickens received 23.0%. Kasim Reed, who received 22.4%, was the only other candidate of the sixteen-candidate field to receive more than 10% of the vote.

Dickens was first elected to the Atlanta City Council to represent the city’s third at-large post in 2013 and won re-election in 2017. He received endorsements from the state United Auto Workers, Communications Workers of America Local 3204, and former Mayor Shirley Franklin (D). He raised $1.0 million from campaign donors, according to pre-general election campaign finance reports.

Moore was first elected to the Atlanta City Council in 1997 and held the position until 2018. In 2017, elected as the President of the Atlanta City Council. Moore has received endorsements from EMILY’s List, the Professional Association of City Employees, and state Rep. Becky Evans (D). She raised $1.1 million according to pre-general election campaign finance reports.



Tracking mayoral partisanship changes in the 100 largest cities

As of 12:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 3, no partisan changes in mayor’s offices in the 100 largest cities had occurred as a result of the Nov. 2 elections. Election results were pending in six of those cities, all of which had Democratic incumbents. New Orleans, Louisiana, will hold a mayoral election on Nov. 13, with a possible second election on Dec. 11.

Two partisan changes in the 100 largest cities’ mayoral offices occurred earlier in 2021:

  • North Las Vegas Mayor John J. Lee announced that he was changing his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican on April 6, 2021.
  • David Bronson (R) assumed office as mayor of Anchorage, Alaska on July 1, 2021, replacing nonpartisan Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson.

Twenty-eight of the 100 largest cities held mayoral elections this year. In 19 of those 28 cities, the incumbent was Democratic at the start of 2021. Seven incumbents were Republican, one was independent, and one was nonpartisan.

Currently, 63 of the 100 largest cities’ mayors are Democrats, 26 are Republicans, and 10 are either nonpartisan or independent. One mayor’s affiliation is unknown.



Bibb wins Cleveland mayoral race

Justin Bibb (D) defeated City Council President Kevin Kelley (D), to win the mayoral election in Cleveland, Ohio. This was the first mayoral election in Cleveland without an incumbent on the ballot since 2001.

Bibb, who is 34, will become the second-youngest mayor in Cleveland’s history. Describing his campaign, Bibb said, “now is the time for bold, new, dynamic, visionary leadership and not the failed politics and policies of the past.” Kelley, who has served on the city council since 2005, highlighted his experience, saying, “Every candidate will talk about change. The question is: who knows how to and who has a record of making change?”

Bibb’s victory marks the first time since the 1962 election of Ralph Locher (D) where Clevelanders have elected a mayor with no prior electoral experience.

Bibb received endorsements from former mayors Jane Campbell (D) and Michael White (D), who served from 2002 to 2006 and 1990 to 2002, respectively. He also received endorsements from Our Revolution Ohio and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D).

Seventeen of the 100 largest U.S. cities by population held general elections for mayor on Nov. 2. In total, 28 top-100 cities are electing mayors in 2021. Heading into election day, 63 top-100 mayors were affiliated with the Democratic Party, 26 were affiliated with the Republican Party, four are independents, six identify as nonpartisan or unaffiliated, and one mayor has not responded to inquiries about his partisan affiliation.

Additional reading:

https://ballotpedia.org/Partisanship_in_United_States_municipal_elections_(2021)



Where things stand in Seattle’s elections

Seattle, Washington, held elections for mayor, two at-large city council seats, and city attorney on Nov. 2. Ballots needed to be postmarked by that day to be counted in the election. King County Elections will continue counting ballots until results are certified on Nov. 23.

The following are preliminary results reported on election night.

Mayor

  1. Bruce Harrell: 65%
  2. Lorena González: 35%

City Council Position 8

  1. Teresa Mosqueda (incumbent): 53%
  2. Kenneth Wilson: 47%

City Council Position 9

  1. Sara Nelson: 60%
  2. Nikkita Oliver: 40%

City Attorney

  1. Ann Davison: 58.7%
  2. Nicole Thomas-Kennedy: 41.3%

According to The Seattle Times, “In Seattle races, ballots that arrive and are tallied later tend to favor left-lane candidates. In their crowded Aug. 3 primary, Harrell’s nine point lead over González on election night narrowed to less than two points by the time all of the votes were tabulated.”

Additional reading:

https://ballotpedia.org/City_attorney_election_in_Seattle,_Washington_(2021)

https://ballotpedia.org/City_council_elections_in_Seattle,_Washington_(2021)

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/bruce-harrell-is-leading-m-lorena-gonzalez-in-seattle-mayor-race/