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.
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.
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.
Bruce Harrell: 65%
Lorena González: 35%
City Council Position 8
Teresa Mosqueda (incumbent): 53%
Kenneth Wilson: 47%
City Council Position 9
Sara Nelson: 60%
Nikkita Oliver: 40%
Ann Davison: 58.7%
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.”
Michelle Wu defeated Annissa Essaibi George in the nonpartisan mayoral election in Boston, Massachusetts, on Nov. 2. As of 11:15 p.m. ET, Wu had 61% of the vote to Essaibi George’s 39%. Both candidates are at-large city councilors.
Wu called the race a “choice about whether City Hall tackles our biggest challenges with bold solutions or we nibble around the edges of the status quo.” She highlighted her prioritization of climate issues and her support for rent control to provide short-term relief for renters. Wu’s endorsers included The Boston Globe, Democratic Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), and several unions.
Following the primary, Essaibi George said, “I want progress to be made — real progress — not just abstract ideas that we talk about. … Instead of just advocating and participating in academic exercises and having lovely conversations as mayor, I will do these things.” She emphasized her background as a teacher and her opposition to decreasing the police department budget. Essaibi George’s endorsers included The Boston Herald, former Boston Police Commissioner William Gross, and several unions.
Former incumbent Marty Walsh left office in March 2021 to become secretary of labor in President Joe Biden’s (D) Cabinet. Kim Janey (District 7)—the city council president at the time—succeeded Walsh. Janey ran in the primary, placing fourth. Janey endorsed Wu in the general election.
The Boston Globe‘s Laura Crimaldi wrote, “Although census figures show about 65 percent of city residents identify as people of color, the upcoming election will be the first in Boston history that won’t result in a white man becoming mayor.” Wu’s parents immigrated from Taiwan.
Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval defeated Cincinnati Councilman and former mayor David Mann in the general election for mayor of Cincinnati on November 2, 2021. Pureval received 66 percent of the vote and Mann received 34 percent of the vote. Pureval will serve a four-year term. The two advanced from a six-person primary on May 4 in which Pureval received 39.1% and Mann received 29.1%.
Although the elections for and position of the mayor are officially nonpartisan, the candidates running were affiliated with political parties. Pureval is a Democrat. 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.
Cincinnati is one of 17 of the 100 largest U.S. cities by population that held general elections for mayor on Nov. 2.
Ken Welch defeated Robert Blackmon in the general election for mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida. This was the first open race for mayor of St. Petersburg since 2009. Welch, a Pinellas County Commissioner from 2000 to 2020, was endorsed by incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman (D). Though the race is officially nonpartisan, Welch is a registered Democrat. The last Republican to serve as mayor of St. Petersburg was Bill Foster from 2010 to 2014.
Welch and Blackmon were the two top finishers in the Aug. 24 primary with 39.1% and 28.6% of the vote, respectively. They advanced to the general election since no candidate won more than 50% of the vote.
According to campaign finance reports through Oct. 28, Welch raised $503,336 and spent $462,588, while Blackmon raised $307,990 and spent $291,526.
St. Petersburg is one of 17 of the 100 largest U.S. cities by population that 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.
Although the elections for and position of the mayor are officially nonpartisan, the candidates running were affiliated with political parties. Bovo is affiliated with the Republican Party. He will succeed term-limited Republican Mayor Carlos Hernandez.
The mayor serves as the city’s chief executive officer and is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors, and overseeing the city’s day-to-day operations. The mayor also represents the city on the state, national and international levels.
Hialeah is one of 17 of the 100 largest U.S. cities by population that held general elections for mayor on Nov. 2.
Seventeen of the 100 largest U.S. cities by population and 10 state capitals outside of the top-100 cities are holding general elections for mayor on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
In these 27 cities, 26 incumbent mayors are Democrats, and one is a Republican. Fourteen of these incumbents are not on the general election ballot: 10 did not run for re-election, and four lost in primaries. Between 2014 and 2020, 18% of top-100 incumbent mayors that sought re-election were defeated.
In total, 28 top-100 cities and 12 state capitals outside the top-100 cities are electing mayors in 2021. Eleven of these cities have already held their mayoral elections. Two cities will hold general elections after Nov. 2.
One of the 11 mayoral elections held so far this year 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).
One other party change has taken place this year. In April, North Las Vegas, Nevada, Mayor John J. Lee announced that he was changing his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican.
Currently, 63 top-100 mayors 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 has not responded to inquiries about his partisan affiliation.
The mayors of 39 capital cities are affiliated with the Democratic Party. Three are Republicans, one is independent, and two are nonpartisan. Five capital mayors have not yet responded to inquiries.
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.
Seattle holds city elections on Nov. 2 for mayor, two at-large city council seats, and other local offices. Recent polling, campaign finance data, and satellite spending provide insight into these races just over one week out.
City Council President Lorena González and former City Council President Bruce Harrell face each other in the mayoral election. A recent Change Research poll showed Harrell with 48% support to González’s 32%, and 18% of respondents were undecided. The margin of error was 4.1%.
In the Change Research poll for city council position 9—the seat González currently holds—Sara Nelson received 41% support to Nikkita Oliver’s 37%. Twenty-one percent were undecided.
The council position 8 poll showed Mosqueda with 39%, Wilson with 31%, and “Not sure” with 26%.
In the mayoral race, Harrell has raised $1.2 million, and González has raised $900,000. My Northwest reported that the combined $2.1 million is the highest amount raised by two general election candidates of any mayoral contest since at least 2005. The second-highest was in 2017, when Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon raised $1.6 million combined.
For position 9 on the council, Nelson has raised $510,000 to Oliver’s $400,000. Mosqueda has raised $255,000 and Wilson, $80,000, in the position 8 race.
The two highest-spending groups in the mayoral race are Bruce Harrell for Seattle’s Future, which has spent around $1 million supporting Harrell and opposing González, and Essential Workers for Lorena, which has spent around $900,000 supporting González and opposing Harrell.
The National Association of Realtors has spent around $100,000 and the Seattle Fire Fighters PAC has spent around $50,000 supporting Harrell.
Those two groups have also spent in the position 9 council race—a combined $130,000 supporting Nelson. Civic Alliance for a Prosperous Economy has spent almost $50,000 supporting Oliver. This group was active in the 2019 council elections—see our coverage, linked below, for more details on that activity.
Satellite spending in the position 8 council race has not reached $1,000.
The city of Forks, in Clallam County, Wash., is holding municipal elections on Nov. 2, 2021. The mayor’s office is one of those seats up for election. The mayor serves a four-year term alongside five city council members.
Candidates submitted statements to the Washington Secretary of State when they filed a Declaration of Candidacy for use in the Voter’s Pamphlet. Responses are republished here. They have not been altered in any way.
Tim Fletcher (incumbent): “I am a WestEnd original. My family’s homestead still stands in the Hoh River Valley and I am also a tribal elder, which helps to find a clearer path to make our community more inclusive.
I will continue to work with new and established businesses to keep our city business friendly and find ways to bring back and keep timber related jobs.
I will continue to encourage the building of housing for workers that need short/long term places to live. This could be new homes for families of all sizes or working couples just starting out that need a basic starter home.
And with the community’s continued support, I will work for the future of Forks when it comes to making decisions about our community’s infrastructure as we plan for the growth of Forks.”
Steve Wright: “I’m a 35 year old disabled Native American veteran. I served in the US Army and US Air Force, I graduated from Evergreen State College with a degree in agrobiology and grant writing. I am a nature conservationist and agrobiologist; you can usually find me in the forest foraging for mushrooms, fishing, or farming with my children. I studied agrobiology extensively. I practice sustainable agriculture and offer assistance to anyone wanting to farm sustainably.
I am a medical patient. I use cannabis to alleviate my pain from service-connected injuries, and nausea from PTSD. I believe in protecting patients and legalizing psilocybin mushrooms for mental health treatments.
I believe political parties facilitate the consolidation of power and aide in shielding their members from criticism. I believe there is no fixing the two-party dominant system, and joining a political party would contribute to the problem. I believe candidates should stand on their own in publicly funded elections.
I believe we deserve healthcare without restriction and debt, college without debt, an infrastructure that is sustainable and ecologically safe, equitable justice, and an economy that works for everyone.”
Clallam County is holding municipal elections in its three cities—Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks— in 2021. Twenty-six offices are up for election in those cities. Click here to read more about those elections.