Public defender and deputy district attorney advance to runoff for Office 67 of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County

Elizabeth Lashley-Haynes and Fernanda Maria Barreto advanced from a nonpartisan primary for Office 67 of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County after finishing first and second over a third candidate, Ryan Dibble.

Lashley-Haynes received 37% of the vote in the June 3 primary followed by Barreto with 36%. Since neither candidate received over 50% of the vote needed to win outright, the two will advance to a runoff on Nov. 8.

While the race was officially nonpartisan, meaning candidates appeared on the ballot without party labels, both candidates were endorsed by at least one organization affiliated with the Democratic Party.

The candidates’ legal backgrounds represent both sides of the courtroom, Lashley-Haynes as a public defender and Barreto as a deputy district attorney.

Both Lashley-Haynes and Barreto completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Below are excerpts from their surveys, which can be viewed in full by clicking on each candidate’s name:

  • Lashley-Haynes“[M]ass incarceration has failed us. Public defenders like me … are well equipped to understand the circumstances that bring Californians into the courtroom and to understand how to prevent crime.”
  • Barreto“With almost 16 years of experience as a [deputy district attorney] handling complex felony cases including murder, rape, and domestic violence, I am capable and qualified … of being a Superior Court Judge.”

The Los Angeles County Democratic Party, the Los Angeles County Public Defenders Union, and four superior court judges in the county endorsed Lashley-Haynes.

The Los Angeles Times, the Burbank Police Officers’ Association, and 21 superior court judges in the county endorsed Barreto.

There are 494 judges on the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, making it the largest trial court in the country. Judges serve six-year terms. Offices on the court only appear on the ballot when an incumbent judge is challenged or, in the case of Office 67, no incumbent files for re-election.

Judges on the Superior Court of Los Angeles County conduct all original trials in the county, except in cases where appellate level courts have original jurisdiction. According to the court’s website, “Cases range from simple traffic infractions to murders; landlord/tenant disputes to multi-million dollar lawsuits; guardianships to involuntary commitments.”

Mullin and Shannon advance to Aug. 23 special runoff for U.S. Senate in Oklahoma

Markwayne Mullin and T.W. Shannon advanced to an August 23, 2022, Republican primary runoff in the special U.S. Senate election in Oklahoma. Neither received the majority of the primary vote needed to win outright on June 28.

Ten candidates ran in the primary. The special election will fill the rest of the six-year term left by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R), who was last elected in 2020. Inhofe announced he would resign January 3, 2023, to spend time with family.

Mullin, Shannon, Nathan Dahm, Scott Pruitt, and Luke Holland led in polling, noteworthy endorsements, and media attention.

Mullin has represented Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013. He campaigned on making the country energy independent, lowering inflation, and defending the Second Amendment. Mullin said, “I entered the race for Senate because the people of Oklahoma deserve a Senator who will fight for their conservative values. I am a Christian, a family man and a proud supporter of President Trump and I will always fight for the America First policies that Oklahomans have been desperately missing during Joe Biden’s failed time in office.”

Shannon is the CEO of Chickasaw Community Bank in Oklahoma City. He previously served as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 2006 to 2014. Shannon campaigned on opposing taxpayer-funded abortion, protecting the U.S. Constitution, and lowering taxes to create jobs. Shannon said he was running to “push back against this woke agenda” because “what made this country great is our constitution, capitalism and Christianity, and all three of those are under attack.” Former Vice Presidential and current U.S. House candidate Sarah Palin (R) endorsed Shannon.

Dahm is a member of the Oklahoma State Senate, a position to which he was first elected in 2011. Dahm campaigned on election integrity, protecting the Second Amendment, and term limits for members of U.S. Congress. Dahm said, “I’m running for the United States Senate because, like you, I am tired of the spineless politicians who turned their backs on President Donald J. Trump. We need proven Republican fighters, and I’ve proven I’ll never back down.” U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R) endorsed Dahm.

Holland was Inhofe’s chief of staff until he resigned in February 2022 to run for U.S. Senate. He began working with Inhofe in 2009 as a staff assistant. Holland campaigned on standing up to China and stopping what he described as a rush to socialism. Holland said, “As your next senator, I will continue the Inhofe legacy of defending our Christian values, fighting socialism, rebuilding our military and standing up to China.” Inhofe endorsed Holland.

Pruitt served as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under former President Donald Trump (R) from 2017 to 2018. Prior to that, he served as the Oklahoma Attorney General from 2011 to 2017. He campaigned on energy independence, securing the border, fighting what he calls Big Tech, and stopping inflation. Pruitt said: “I think Oklahomans know that I’m going to fight for their values, I think they know that I exhibited courage in working with the president historically to get things done and I think they know that I’ve also engaged in leadership and civility. I believe very strongly that we’ll have the resources that we need.” Former Secretary of Energy and former Governor of Texas Rick Perry (R) endorsed Pruitt.

Alex Gray, Randy Grellner, Adam Holley, Laura Moreno, Paul Royse, and John Tompkins also ran in the election.

As of June 29, 2022, 16 special elections have been called during the 117th Congress. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held.

Vallejo defeats Ramirez in Texas’ 15th Congressional District Democratic primary runoff after recount

A recount of votes in the May 24 Democratic primary runoff in Texas’ 15th Congressional District showed Michelle Vallejo defeating Ruben Ramirez by 35 votes, according to an announcement by the Texas Democratic Party on June 17.

Vallejo declared victory in the runoff election on June 1 after unofficial results showed her leading Ramirez by 33 votes. “I am so proud of all that we have accomplished and with final results coming in, I am honored to be the Democratic nominee for Texas’ 15th Congressional District,” Vallejo said.

Ramirez did not concede, saying the election was still too close to call. Ramirez said, “it is essential that every voter has their say before a final call is made. South Texas politics has a long tradition of upset victories.” After calling for a recount on June 6, the Texas Democratic Party approved Ramirez’s request on June 9.

According to the Associated Press, “The victory by Vallejo sets up a significant test this fall for progressive Democrats who backed her in the 15th Congressional District, one of two new U.S. House seats awarded to booming Texas after a decade of explosive growth driven by new Latino residents.” Vallejo will face Monica De La Cruz (R), who won the 15th district Republican primary, in the November election.

Another recount of the May 24 runoff results is currently underway in the race between Jessica Cisneros (D) and incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar (D) in Texas’ 28th Congressional District.

Britt and Brooks advance to runoff for U.S. Senate in Alabama

Katie Britt and Mo Brooks advanced from a field of six candidates in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Alabama on May 24, 2022. As no candidate received more than 50% of the vote, Britt and Brooks will compete in a June 21 runoff. Incumbent U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R), first elected in 1986, did not run for re-election.

Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Brooks on April 7, 2021, and withdrew the endorsement on March 23, 2022. In a statement, Trump said, “Mo Brooks of Alabama made a horrible mistake recently when he went ‘woke’ and stated, referring to the 2020 Presidential Election Scam, ‘Put that behind you, put that behind you.'”

In response to the withdrawn endorsement, Brooks said, “I am the only proven America First candidate in this Senate race . . . I am the only candidate who fought voter fraud and election theft when it counted, between November 3 and January 6.”

Britt was Shelby’s chief of staff and the president and CEO of the Alabama Business Council. Britt’s campaign website said she was an “advocate for smaller government, modern job growth, constitutional liberties and greater opportunity.” Sen. Shelby, Maggie’s List, the Value In Electing Women PAC, and Winning for Women, Inc. PAC endorsed Britt.

Brooks was elected to represent Alabama’s 5th Congressional District in 2010 and served as Madison County Commissioner from 1996-2010. Brooks’ campaign ads have highlighted his speech at Trump’s rally on January 6, 2021, which preceded the U.S. Capitol breach. Brooks campaigned as an America First candidate, a term often associated with the platform of Trump and candidates who say they support his agenda. Brooks’ endorsements included Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and House Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry (R-Pa.).

Ramirez and Vallejo advance to runoff in Texas’ 15th Congressional District primary

Ruben Ramirez and Michelle Vallejo were the top two finishers in the Democratic Party primary election for Texas’ 15th Congressional District on March 1, 2022. Ramirez received 28.3% of the vote, followed by Vallejo with 20.1%. Because no candidate won 50% of the vote, Ramirez and Vallejo advanced to a runoff election on May 24.

Media attention focused on Eliza Alvarado, Ramirez, John Villarreal Rigney, and Vallejo, and these candidates also led in fundraising. Incumbent Vicente Gonzalez (D) ran to replace retiring District 34 incumbent Filemon Vela (D) after the Texas State Legislature redrew the 15th district to include more of western Hidalgo County during the 2020 redistricting cycle.

Ramirez is an Army veteran and former teacher who previously ran for election in the 15th District in 2012 and 2016. At the time of the election, he worked as an attorney. His top campaign priorities were healthcare, national security, and education. Ramirez said he would “continue to fight for my fellow veterans and district. Like all challenges I have faced, I will not back down and I promise to uphold our values and our Constitution” if elected.

Vallejo was a business owner and co-founder of two advocacy groups, New Leaders Council STX Frontera chapter and Hustle + Socialize. Her platform includes supporting Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, and an anti-war foreign policy. “I think traditionally these races are based on who has the most purchasing power when it comes to mailers, signs, and media, and I’m so grateful that for my campaign that’s not the only thing we’re focusing on, and I love that it started with the energy of having a ground game,” Vallejo said.

Alvarado was a director at South Texas educational service center Region One, and she previously worked for the U.S. Department of Labor and served as a congressional aide to U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D). She emphasized her experience in government, education, and healthcare and said partisanship was unimportant in representing the district. “I’m not there to represent Brooklyn or California, I’m there to represent District 15. And as such, I need to understand what District 15 needs regardless of whether they’re Republican or Democrat,” Alvarado said.

Rigney worked as an attorney and founded a construction company, Rigney Construction & Development. His top campaign issues included public safety, education, veterans’ education and healthcare, raising the minimum wage, and providing residency and citizenship opportunities for immigrants. Rigney said his campaign was focused on “you, your family, and all the people that work every day to provide for their families. Whether that means trying to put food on the table, dealing with rising gas prices, trying to pay for unaffordable medical care, or making sure your kids have quality afterschool care, I want to make sure you get the best representation.”

According to The Texas Tribune, Texas’ 15th Congressional District became more favorable to Republicans as a result of redistricting. Joe Biden (D) won the district by two percentage points in the 2020 presidential election. Donald Trump (R) would have won the new district by three percentage points. The Cook Political Report and other outlets rated the 15th district Solid Democratic in 2020 but rated it Lean Republican in 2022.

Julio Garza and Vanessa Tijerina also ran in the Democratic primary.

Dickens defeats Moore in Atlanta mayoral runoff election

City Councilman Andre Dickens (D) defeated City Council President Felicia Moore (D) in the general runoff election for mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, on Nov. 30, 2021, receiving 64% of the vote to Moore’s 36%. Incumbent Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) announced on May 6, 2021, 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.

Dickens and Moore advanced to a runoff after placing second and first, respectively, in the Nov. 2 general election. Moore received 41% of the vote followed by Dickens with 23%. This was the city’s seventh mayoral runoff since 1973.

Dickens was first elected to the city council in 2013 and won re-election in 2017. During the mayoral race, he promoted his SAFE Streets Atlanta plan, a series of public safety proposals in response to voter concerns regarding crime. He received endorsements from Mayor Lance Bottoms, former Mayors Shirley Jackson (D) and Andrew Young (D), and U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams (D). Dickens also received endorsements from six members of the Atlanta City Council and three Fulton County Commissioners.

The number of votes cast in the runoff decreased by 18.1% compared to the general election, making this the largest decrease since the 1993 contest between Bill Campbell and Michael Lomax. 2021 was also the second time since at least 1981 where the second-place finisher in the general election went on to win the runoff.

Mississippi Senate District 32 special election advances to runoff

The special general runoff election for Mississippi State Senate District 32 is on Nov. 23. Rod Hickman and Minh Duong are competing in the runoff, after finishing in first and second place, respectively, at the general election on Nov. 2. 

Hickman and Duong defeated seven other candidates in the general election, earning 25.8% and 22.5% of the vote, respectively. A runoff was necessary because no candidate earned more than 50% of the vote.

State legislative special elections in Mississippi are nonpartisan, meaning that candidates’ party affiliations do not appear on the ballot.

The special election was called after Sampson Jackson (D) resigned from office effective June 30. Sampson assumed office in 1992.

Mississippi has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a margin of 36 to 14 with two vacancies.

As of November 2021, 66 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 21 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Mississippi held 42 special elections from 2010 to 2020.

Additional reading:

Birmingham, Ala., to hold general runoff election Oct. 5

The general runoff election in Birmingham, Ala., is on Oct. 5. The general election was held on Aug. 24, and the filing deadline to run passed on July 10.

General runoffs became necessary after no candidate earned a majority of the vote in four races during the general election in August.

Candidates are competing for two seats on the nine-seat city council. In District 4, incumbent William Parker is facing challenger J.T. Moore. In District 9, incumbent John Hilliard will face challenger LaTonya Tate. 

Candidates will also be competing for two seats on the nine-seat Birmingham City School District Board of Education. In District 1, the candidates are incumbent Douglas Ragland and challenger Sherman Collins Jr. In the District 9 race, Le’Darius Hilliard and Jason Meadows are running for an open seat.

Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama and the 99th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Texas House of Representatives District 10 special election heads to runoff

Image of a red sign with the words "Polling Place" a pointing arrow.

A special general election was held for the Texas House of Representatives District 10 on Aug. 31. Brian E. Harrison (R) and John Wray (R) advanced to a general runoff election and defeated six other candidates. The candidate with the third-most votes was Pierina Otiniano (D). A runoff date had not been announced as of Aug. 31.

The special election was called after Jake Ellzey (R) won a special election to Texas’ 6th Congressional District on July 27. Ellzey won the 2020 election for the Texas House of Representatives District 10 seat and assumed office in January 2021.

As of Aug. 31, 57 state legislative special elections have been scheduled across the country. The District 10 election was the second state legislative special election for Texas thus far in 2021. A special election for the Texas House of Representatives District 68 was called for Jan. 23, after Drew Springer (R) won a special election to Texas state Senate District 30 on Dec. 19. David Spiller (R) won the general runoff election for the District 68 seat on Feb. 23.

Additional reading:

Jake Ellzey wins special runoff for Texas’ 6th Congressional District

Jake Ellzey (R) defeated Susan Wright (R) in a special runoff election in Texas’ 6th Congressional District. With 98% of precincts reporting, Ellzey received 53% of the vote and Wright received 47% of the vote.

Ellzey will fill the vacancy left when the previous incumbent, Ronald Wright (R), died from COVID-19 related complications on Feb. 7. The district is located in the northeastern portion of the state and includes Ellis and Navarro counties and an area of Tarrant County.

Susan Wright is Ronald Wright’s widow. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed her on April 26. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) endorsed Ellzey.

Since both runoff candidates were Republicans, the seat will not change party hands as a result of the election. The two advanced from a 23-candidate special election on May 1. Wright received 19.2% of the vote while Ellzey received 13.8% of the vote.

Seven special elections have been called during the 117th Congress. Four of those have already taken place and none have resulted in a party change. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held.