TagMayoral elections

Three 2021 mayoral primaries still ahead in top-100 U.S. cities

Three of the 100 largest U.S. cities by population—Boston, Massachusetts, Cleveland, Ohio, and Toledo, Ohio—held mayoral primaries on Sept. 14. Three top-100 cities have mayoral primaries still ahead: Durham, North Carolina (Oct. 5), Hialeah, Florida (Nov. 2), and New Orleans, Louisiana (Nov. 13).

Twenty-eight top-100 cities will elect mayors in 2021. While most of these cities will hold general elections on Nov. 2, nine top-100 cities have already held mayoral elections this year, and two cities—New Orleans, Louisiana, and Hialeah, Florida—will hold elections later in November.

Since 2014, the number of mayoral elections in top-100 cities per year has ranged from 23 to 36.

In 2020, mayoral elections were held in 29 top-100 cities, and seven offices changed partisan control. In 2019, 31 top-100 cities elected mayors, resulting in four party changes.

Of the nine mayoral elections held so far this year, one has resulted in an office changing partisan control: In Anchorage, Alaska, David Bronson (R) was elected to succeed nonpartisan acting mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson, who assumed office following the resignation of Ethan Berkowitz (D).

Currently, 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. 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.



Wu and Essaibi George advance from Boston mayoral primary

Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George advanced from Boston’s mayoral primary election Tuesday night. As of Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EST, Wu received 33.4% of the vote to Essaibi George’s 22.5%. Eight candidates were on the ballot.

Wu and Essaibi George are both at-large city councilors. They defeated fellow city councilors Andrea Campbell and Kim Janey (who received 19.7% and 19.5% of the vote, respectively) along with three other candidates to advance to the Nov. 2 general election. Janey is also the city’s acting mayor, having succeeded Marty Walsh in March 2021 when he became secretary of labor in President Joe Biden’s (D) administration.

Media outlets have described Essaibi George as the more moderate of the leading candidates in the primary and Wu as one of the more progressive candidates. A former teacher and a member of the council since 2016, Essaibi George has emphasized her opposition to defunding the police and has discussed housing, schools, and public safety as priority issues. Wu has highlighted her climate plan, including a Boston Green New Deal, and her support for rent control. Wu has been on the city council since 2014.

Either will be the first woman to serve as Boston’s mayor. Essaibi George and Wu have emphasized that they are the children of immigrants. Wu’s parents are Taiwanese. Essaibi George’s mother is from Poland and her father, from Tunisia. 



Bibb and Kelley advance from Cleveland mayoral primary 

Justin Bibb and Kevin Kelley advanced from Cleveland, Ohio’s mayoral primary Tuesday night. Bibb led with 27.1% and Kelley had 19.4% as of 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Dennis Kucinich was third with 16.5%. 

Mayor Frank Jackson (D) chose not to seek election to a fifth four-year term. November’s general election will be the first without a mayoral incumbent on the ballot in Cleveland in 20 years. 

Jackson endorsed Kelley in the primary. Kelley is president of the Cleveland City Council and has served on the council since 2005. Several unions are among his other endorsers. Bibb is a chief strategy officer with a technology firm. His endorsers include Our Revolution Ohio and The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Public safety and police oversight have been key issues in the race. Bibb supports and Kelley opposes the Community Police Commission and Police Oversight Initiative on the general election ballot. The initiative would, in part, create a Community Police Commission, which would serve as the final authority on whether certain disciplinary action against an officer is sufficient.

The nonpartisan general election is Nov. 2.



Sept. 14 mayoral primary in Cleveland is first in 20 years with no incumbent

The primary election for Cleveland, Ohio, is on Sept. 14. Candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for Nov. 2. The filing deadline to run passed on June 16.

Candidates filed for mayor and the 17 wards of the city council. The general election will also include four seats on the Cleveland Municipal Court.

Seven candidates are running for the mayoral seat: Justin Bibb, Ross DiBello, Basheer Jones, Kevin Kelley, Dennis J. Kucinich, Zack Reed, and Sandra Williams. The race is nonpartisan, but all seven candidates identify as Democrats.

The incumbent, Frank Jackson, is not seeking re-election. Jackson was first elected in 2005 and is Cleveland’s longest-serving mayor to date. The 2021 election will mark the first mayoral election in Cleveland without an incumbent since 2001.

Cleveland is the second-largest city in Ohio and the 48th-largest city in the United States.

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17 candidates file for Minneapolis mayoral election

The filing deadline passed to run for elected office in Minneapolis, Minnesota, passed on Aug. 10. Candidates filed for the following offices:

  1. Mayor 
  2. City Council (Wards 1-13)
  3. Board of Estimate and Taxation
  4. Park and Recreation Commissioner At Large (3 seats)
  5. Park and Recreation Commissioner (Districts 1-6)

Seventeen candidates filed for the mayoral election, including incumbent Jacob Frey (D). Frey was first elected mayor in 2017. He served on the city council before becoming mayor. He was first elected to the Minneapolis City Council in 2013. 

Ward 9 and Ward 10 are the only seats on the city council with no incumbents running. 

There will be no primary held. Minneapolis will utilize a ranked-choice voting system for the general election that is scheduled for Nov. 2. 

Minneapolis is the largest city in Minnesota and the 46th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

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Nov. 2 candidates for Topeka mayor and city council determined in Aug. 3 primary

The primary for the Topeka mayor and District 3 council seat in Kansas was held on Aug. 3. Candidates competed to advance to the general election scheduled for Nov. 2. The filing deadline to run passed on June 1.

Five candidates competed in the mayoral race. Mike Padilla and Leo Cangiani both advanced to the general election. Padilla received 3,990 votes, and Cangiani received 1,803. Daniel Brown, John Lauer, and Patrick Klick received less than 1,000 votes each and will not move on to the general election. The current mayor of Topeka, Michelle De La Isla, announced she would not be running for another term in March 2021. 

Sylvia Ortiz and Regina Platt advanced from the primary for the District 3 council seat, defeating William Hendrix, David Johnson, and Lana Kombacher. The primaries for Districts 1, 5, 7, and 9 on the city council were canceled, but they will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.

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Duggan and Adams advance from Detroit, Michigan mayoral primary

Incumbent Mayor Mike Duggan and Anthony Adams advanced from Detroit, Michigan’s mayoral primary on Aug. 4, 2021. Duggan received 72.4% of the vote and to Adams’ 10%. Tom Barrow received 6% of the vote followed by Myya Jones with 5%. No other candidate received more than 2%.

Before becoming mayor, Duggan was president and CEO of Detroit Medical Center from 2004 to 2012. He was assistant corporation counsel for Wayne County from 1985 to 1986, deputy Wayne County executive from 1987 to 2000, and Wayne County prosecutor from 2001 to 2003. Duggan was first elected mayor in 2013 when he defeated opponent Benny Napoleon (D) with 55% of the vote to Napoleon’s 45%. In 2017, he was re-elected by a margin of nearly 44 points, defeating Coleman Young II (D) with 71.6% of the vote to Young’s 27.8%. Duggan said that, if re-elected in 2021, he would “work every day to continue to make sure every neighborhood has a future and every Detroiter has a true opportunity to achieve your dreams.”

Adams was an attorney as of the primary and served as deputy mayor of Detroit under former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D). He was also an executive assistant to Mayor Coleman Young, was a board member and general counsel for Detroit Public Schools, and was interim director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Adams said his “extensive leadership experience, unwavering commitment, and enlightened skill-set uniquely position him to move the city of Detroit forward” and that he was “committed to serving the ordinary people of Detroit and not Special Interest Groups.”

Economic development and public safety were major issues in the race. Duggan said he would work with the city council and manufacturers to bring more high-paying jobs into the city. Adams said he would support a universal basic income plan and an income-based water billing system and emphasized early intervention as a means to reduce crime. Barrow also supported a water affordability program for Detroit residents and said neighborhood revitalization projects should focus on a broader area and not just downtown.

The city of Detroit uses a strong mayor and city council system. In this form of municipal government, the city council serves as the city’s primary legislative body and the mayor serves as the city’s chief executive.

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Recent polls, satellite spending in Seattle’s mayoral and council races

Seattle voters have just over one week to cast their ballots in the Aug. 3 top-two primaries. A poll released July 16 showed a plurality of voters unsure who they’d choose for mayor and the two at-large city council seats. The Northwest Progressive Institute poll, conducted by Change Research, showed 32% undecided for the mayoral race, 50% undecided for the position 9 council seat, and 55% undecided for the position 8 seat. The poll’s margin of error was +/- 4.3 percentage points.

In the mayoral primary, 20% of respondents said they supported former council president Bruce Harrell, 12% said they supported current council president Lorena González, and 10% backed Chief Seattle Club executive director Colleen Echohawk. The 12 other candidates running received less than 10% support among poll respondents.

For the position 9 council seat, attorney and Creative Justice executive director Nikkita Oliver received 26% support, Fremont Brewing co-owner Sara Nelson received 11%, and González’s chief of staff Brianna Thomas received 6%, with the four other candidates polling at 3% or less.

For the position 8 council seat, incumbent Teresa Mosqueda polled at 26%, with Kate Martin at 6%, nine other candidates below that percentage, and 55% unsure.

The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission reported more than $600,000 in satellite spending toward the mayoral race as of July 21:

  • Essential Workers for Lorena had spent $430,000 supporting González; 
  • Bruce Harrell for Seattle’s Future had spent $120,000 supporting Harrell; and 
  • Seattle United for Progressive Change had spent $70,000 supporting Farrell. 

The Progressive Equity PAC had spent $21,000 supporting Thomas in the position 9 council election.

Total satellite spending for the 2017 election cycle—the last time the city held elections for the two at-large council seats and for mayor—was around $1.3 million. In 2019, when the seven district council seats were up for election, satellite spending topped $4 million.



Adams leads New York’s Democratic mayoral primary by 0.8 percentage points, according to new unofficial results

Eric Adams leads Kathryn Garcia by a margin of 0.8 percentage points—about 7,100 votes—in the eighth round of unofficial ranked-choice voting tabulations in the June 22 Democratic mayoral primary for Mayor of New York City. The New York City Board of Elections (BOE) released this third set of unofficial tabulations on July 13. It includes all but 55 pending mail-in ballots. The BOE said it expects to certify results the week of July 19. 

After the BOE released its second set of unofficial tabulations last week, Garcia and Maya Wiley—who was in third—conceded the race to Adams.

This was the first mayoral primary in the city’s history to use ranked-choice voting. Adams, Republican Curtis Sliwa, and eight third-party candidates are running in the November 2 general election. The general election will use plurality voting as opposed to ranked-choice.



Voters to decide mayoral, city council primaries on Aug. 3 in Topeka, Kan.

The city of Topeka, Kan., will hold a nonpartisan primary election on Aug. 3 for mayor and city council. The top two vote-getters in the races will advance to the general election on November 2, 2021.

Daniel Brown, Leo Cangiani, Patrick Klick, John Lauer, and District 5 city council member Mike Padilla are running for mayor of Topeka. Mayor Michelle De La Isla announced in March that she would not be seeking re-election in 2021. She has served as Topeka’s mayor since January 2018.

Five city council seats will also be on the ballot in 2021. The only district to require a primary election will be in District 3, where incumbent Sylvia Ortiz is facing four challengers. William Hendrix, David Johnson, Lana Kombacher, and Regina Platt have all filed to run. Ortiz has served on the city council since 2005. The following four races are going directly to the general election:

*District 1: Incumbent Karen Hiller will face Lindsay Jackson in the general election. Hiller has served on the city council since 2009.

*District 5: Marcus Clark, Ariane Davis, and Brett Daniel Kell are running for this open seat. Incumbent Mike Padilla is running in the mayoral race. He has served on the city council since 2018.

*District 7: Incumbent Neil Dobler is running against Joel Campbell in the general election. Dobler was appointed to the city council in 2019.

*District 9: Incumbent Michael Lesser and Gregory Bland Jr. are facing off in the general election. Lesser has served on the council since 2018.

The city of Topeka had a population of 125,310 in 2019, according to the United States Census Bureau. Ballotpedia is covering municipal elections in 22 counties and 71 cities, including 43 mayoral elections, in 2021.

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United States municipal elections, 2021