Tagnews event

Voters approve Washington sheriff recall election

A recall election seeking to remove Jerry Hatcher from his position as Benton County Sheriff in Washington was held on Aug. 3. A majority of voters cast yes ballots, approving the recall. Hatcher will be removed from office once results from the election are finalized.

The recall effort began in July 2020 and was led by the Benton County Sheriff’s Guild. Members of the guild said Hatcher had performed his duties in an improper manner, committed illegal acts, and violated his oath of office. 

Hatcher, who first took office in May 2017, said the guild was refusing to hold deputies accountable. He said the guild would not let him take disciplinary action against employees who committed wrongdoing.

Washington requires recall petitions to be reviewed by a judge before they can be circulated. Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Scott Wolfram approved the recall petition against Hatcher on Aug. 20, 2020. Hatcher appealed the decision to the Washington Supreme Court, which ruled on Nov. 6 that the recall effort could move forward and begin collecting signatures. The 13,937 signatures required to get the recall on the ballot was equal to 25% of the votes cast in the last sheriff election. Recall supporters submitted 16,552 signatures on April 23. The Benton County Auditor verified 14,215 signatures, allowing the recall to be put on the ballot.

In the first half of 2021, Ballotpedia tracked 164 recall efforts against 262 officials. This was the most recall efforts for this point in the year since the first half of 2016, when we tracked 189 recall efforts against 265 officials. In comparison, we tracked between 72 and 155 efforts by the midpoints of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Additional reading:



Incumbents advance in Wichita City Council primary races

Voters in Wichita, Kan., held a nonpartisan primary election on Aug. 3 for two seats on the city council. The general election will be held on Nov. 2.

Of the three city council seats on the ballot in 2021, only two required a primary election. In the race that did not require a primary election, District 1 incumbent Brandon Johnson and Myron Ackerman will face off in the general election. Johnson was elected to the city council in 2017.

In the District 3 race, incumbent Jared Cerullo and Mike Hoheisel advanced past the primary by defeating Jason Carmichael, Jerome Crawford, Ian Demory, Cindy Miles, and Tevin Smith. According to unofficial results, Cerullo and Hoheisel received 29% and 27% of the vote, respectively. Cerullo was appointed to the city council in March 2021 to replace James Clendenin. Clendenin resigned on Dec. 31, 2020, after being censured for his role in an attempt to falsely accuse Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple (D) of sexual harassment.

In the District 6 primary, incumbent Cindy Claycomb and Maggie Ballard defeated Martin Garcia, Loren John Hermreck, Dereck Reynolds, and Andy Speck. Claycomb received 41% of the vote, and Ballard received 44%. Claycomb was elected to the city council in 2017.

Wichita is the largest city in Kansas and the 49th-largest city in the U.S. by population. It had an estimated population of 389,938 in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2021, Ballotpedia is covering municipal elections in 22 counties and 68 cities, including 40 mayoral elections.

Additional reading:



Filing deadline approaches to run for municipal office in Minneapolis, St. Paul

The filing deadline to run for elected office in Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota is on Aug. 10. Prospective candidates may file for:

The nonpartisan general election is scheduled for Nov. 2.

Elections for all five offices will use ranked choice-voting. A ranked-choice voting system is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.

Minneapolis and St. Paul are, respectively, the first- and second-largest cities in Minnesota, and the 46th- and 65th-largest in the U.S. by population.



Douglas Peters resigns from Maryland Senate on July 30

Maryland Sen. Douglas Peters (D) resigned from his position in the Maryland Senate on July 30. Peters, who represented District 23, first assumed office in 2007, and was subsequently re-elected three times. 

Peters had announced his resignation at the beginning of July, following his appointment to the University of Maryland’s Board of Regents by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R). In a statement, Peters called it “an honor of a lifetime to serve my neighbors at the city, county, and state level,” and that he looked forward “to serving on the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.”

Peters’ departure from the state Senate leaves a vacancy in his district that will be filled by appointment. The appointee will serve until the district is up for election at next year’s midterms. The state Senate’s partisan composition is 31 Democrats, 15 Republicans, and one vacancy. While both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly are under Democratic control, the governor of Maryland is Republican, preventing a Democratic trifecta.

Additional reading:



Lawsuit filed over Newsom recall voter guide language

On July 29, 2021, recall organizer Orrin Heatlie and the California Patriot Coalition sued California Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) in Sacramento County Superior Court seeking to change the language in the official voter guide for the recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom (D).

Newsom’s proposed official argument in the voter guide describes the recall as “an attempt by national Republicans and Trump supporters to force an election and grab power in California.” The plaintiffs allege this language, which was provided by Newsom, “mirror(s) his and his supporters’ paid advertisements” and amount to paid advertisement.

Newsom’s proposed language refers to himself as “Democratic governor,” which the plaintiffs are also challenging. On July 12, 2021, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge James P. Arguelles ruled that Newsom would not have his party affiliation on the recall ballot because Newsom did not file a party preference form in response to the recall petition.

Nathan Click, a spokesperson for Newsom’s campaign, called the lawsuit baseless. “The facts are clear — this is a partisan Republican recall: one that was launched by Republicans like Heatlie and Netter and funded almost exclusively by Republican donors, the RNC and allies of Donald Trump,” he said.

A hearing in the case will take place on August 4. The deadline for public review and legal challenges related to the voter guide is August 6. The voter guide will be mailed to voters by August 24.

The recall election will present voters with two questions. The first will ask whether Newsom should be recalled from the office of governor. The second will 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.

Forty-six candidates, including nine Democrats and 24 Republicans, are running in the election. The candidates to receive the most media attention and perform best in polls so far are YouTuber Kevin Paffrath (D), 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), radio host Larry Elder (R), former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), former Olympian and television personality Caitlyn Jenner (R), Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R), and former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose (R).



Alabama House of Representatives District 63 special election set for Feb. 1, 2022

Election officials have scheduled a special election for the District 63 seat in the Alabama House of Representatives for Feb. 1, 2022. The seat became vacant after Bill Poole (R) resigned on July 31 after Gov. Kay Ivey (R) appointed him the director of the Alabama Department of Finance. The primary is on Oct. 19, the primary runoff if no candidate receives a majority of the primary vote is on Nov. 16, and the filing deadline is on Aug. 17.



Shontel Brown wins Democratic primary in Ohio’s 11th District special election

Shontel Brown won the special Democratic primary for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District on Aug. 3. As of 11 p.m. ET, Brown had received 50% of the vote to Nina Turner’s 44%. Eleven other candidates split 6%.

Brown serves on the Cuyahoga County Council and chairs the county’s Democratic Party. She previously served on the Warrensville Heights City Council. Turner is a former state senator and worked on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. She also served on the Cleveland City Council and was chair of party engagement for the state Democratic Party. 

Hillary Clinton, the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) were among Brown’s endorsers. Turner’s endorsers included Sanders, the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Labor groups split endorsements in the primary.

Satellite spending groups spent more than $3 million toward the special Democratic primary. Of that, $2 million came from Democratic Majority For Israel, which endorsed Brown.

Former incumbent Marcia Fudge (D) vacated the seat to become secretary of housing and urban development in President Joe Biden’s administration. Inside Elections rates the Nov. 2 general election Solid Democratic



Mike Carey wins Republican primary in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District special election

Mike Carey defeated 10 candidates to win the special Republican primary for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District on Aug. 3. As of 9:30 p.m. ET, Carey had received 37% of the vote, Bob Peterson was second with 15%, Ron Hood was third with 14%, and Jeff LaRe was fourth with 11%.

The special election will fill the vacancy left by Steve Stivers (R), who resigned in May to become the CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

Carey was chairman of the Ohio Coal Association and is a U.S. Army National Guard veteran. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed him. LaRe, who Stivers endorsed, is a state representative. Hood, a marketing consultant, had endorsements from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.). Peterson is a state senator. The Ohio Right to Life PAC endorsed him.

The Make America Great Again Action Inc. PAC spent almost $350,000 supporting Carey. Stivers spent nearly $300,000 in remaining funds from his campaign account supporting LaRe, as well as an additional $60,740 on media supporting LaRe last week. The Protect Freedom PAC spent over $640,000 supporting Hood.

Inside Elections rates the Nov. 2 general election Solid Republican. Stivers won the past six elections by an average margin of victory of 24 percentage points.