Daily Brew: October 28, 2021 – Battlefield Preview Weekday # 4: Cities – Ballotpedia News
Welcome to Thursday October 28, Brew.
Here’s what to expect at the start of your day:
This is the last full week before the general election on November 2. Every day this week, we’ll bring you battlefield previews at all levels of government. Here is our program for the week:
- Monday: Federal
- Tuesday: State
- Wednesday: School boards
- Thursday: Cities
- Friday: polls
Ballotpedia covers municipal elections in the 100 largest cities in the United States by population and in the 50 state capitals by any population. Our municipal election coverage this year includes 40 municipal elections, 27 of which take place on November 2.
In this edition of Brew, we step back to look at the partisan affiliation of the mayors of the 100 largest cities and preview five municipal elections battleground.
Today’s edition is complemented by an overview of recent redistribution developments in Arkansas and Texas.
A glimpse into the partisanship of mayors ahead of the November 2 elections
Seventeen of America’s 100 largest cities by population and 10 state capitals outside of the 100 largest cities are holding general elections for mayor on November 2.
In these 27 cities, 26 outgoing mayors are Democrats and one is Republican. Fourteen of the incumbents are not on the general election ballot, including 10 who did not ask for re-election and four who were eliminated in the primaries. Between 2014 and 2020, 18% of outgoing mayors running for re-election in the 100 largest cities were defeated.
So far in 2021, partisan control of two town halls has changed. In April, the mayor of North Las Vegas, John J. Lee, moved from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. In May, David Bronson (right) was elected mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, succeeding non-partisan interim mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson. Quinn-Davidson took office following the resignation of Ethan Berkowitz (D) in October 2020.
Sixty-three mayors of the 100 largest cities in the United States are Democrats, 26 are Republicans, six identify as non-partisan or unaffiliated, four are independent, and one did not respond to inquiries about his partisan affiliation.
Thirty-nine mayors of state capitals are Democrats, three are Republicans, two are non-partisan, and one is independent. Five others did not respond to inquiries about their partisan affiliation.
Atlanta, Georgia (mayor)
Sixteen candidates are running in a non-partisan election for mayor of Atlanta, Georgia. The incumbent Keisha Lance Bottoms, first elected in 2017, did not apply for re-election. Bottoms is the first Atlanta mayor since World War II not to run for a second term.
Unless a candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, the top two will qualify for a run-off on November 30.
Local political commentary focused on two candidates: city council president Felicia Moore and former mayor Kasim Reed.
Moore was first elected to city council in 1997 and was elected chairman of council in 2017. Reed served as mayor from 2010 to 2018 and to the state legislature from 1999 to 2009.
The winner will serve a four-year term. Atlanta has a strong mayor and city council system, where the city council serves as the city’s legislative body and the mayor as the chief executive.
Buffalo, New York (mayor)
India Walton (D) will be the only candidate whose name officially appears on the ballot in the Buffalo mayoral election. She and five candidates, including incumbent Byron Brown (D), are vying for a four-year term.
Brown was elected Democrat in 2005 and was re-elected in 2009, 2013 and 2017. Brown lost the Democratic primary to Walton 51% to 46%. He had won his previous four primaries by an average margin of 26.5 percentage points.
Political commentators have linked the race to broader political trends within the Democratic Party.
In the general election, Walton received support from US Senator Chuck Schumer (D), local and national branches of the Democratic Socialists of America and the Working Families Party. The Erie County Democratic Party, which backed Brown in the primary, backs Walton in general.
Brown’s endorsers include U.S. Representative Tom Suozzi (D), three members of the Joint Council, former Mayor Anthony Masiello (R) and Buffalo News.
Minneapolis, Minnesota (mayor)
Incumbent Jacob Frey (D), AJ Awed (D), Katherine Knuth (D), Sheila Nezhad (D) and 13 other contestants present themselves in a election of the mayor of Minneapolis.
Frey was elected in 2017, beating Raymond Dehn 57% to 43% in the fifth round of the preferential ballot.
Major political divisions among the candidates include criminal justice policies and the city’s policing approach following the death of George Floyd, as well as a set of three charter amendments also in the November 2 ballot.
The proposed changes to the charter, if approved:
- Move Minneapolis from a weak mayor-council system where the mayor shares executive power with city council to a strong mayor-council system,
- Replace the city’s police department with a public health department
- Allow the city government to adopt rent control.
Frey and Awed said they were opposed to the amendment replacing the police department with a public health department, while Knuth and Nezhad said they supported it.
Seattle, Washington (mayor)
Lorena González and Bruce Harrell are running in a non-partisan election for a four-year term as mayor of Seattle. Incumbent Jenny Durkan, first elected in 2017, did not seek another term.
González is the current chairman of the city council, while Harrell was chairman of the council from 2016 to 2017 and then from 2018 to 2019.
Candidates differ on their approach to housing policy and Seattle’s homeless population. González said she supports changing zoning rules to eliminate single-family residential areas and opposes the forced removal of homeless people from public spaces. Harrell said he supports maintaining single-family zoning and enforcing the consequences for homeless people who remain in public places after being offered shelter.
González’s supporters include four of nine city council members and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), While Harrell’s include two city council members and former mayor Charley Royer.
Seattle, Washington (city lawyer)
Ann Davison and Nicole Thomas-Kennedy are running in a non-partisan election for the Seattle city attorney, the position responsible for running the city’s legal department. The incumbent Pete Holmes was eliminated in the primary with 31% of the vote against 36% for Thomas-Kennedy and 33% for Davison.
Davison is a lawyer and adjudicator who has said she wants to focus on a proactive approach to crime and tackle what she has described as the sub-prosecution of crimes. She was a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in the 2020 election.
Thomas-Kennedy is an evictions lawyer and former public defender who said she wanted to focus on decriminalizing the crimes she described as being related to poverty, drug addiction and disability, and on end of homeless sweeps.
Davison’s endorsers include the Seattle weather and former governors. Dan Evans (R), Christine Gregoire (D) and Gary Locke (D), while Thomas-Kennedy includes The foreigner, former Mayor Mike McGinn (D) and King County Democrats.
Redistribution rally: breaking news from Arkansas, Colorado and Connecticut
As of October 27, 2021, six states adopted new congressional district maps following the 2020 census and eight adopted new maps of the state’s legislative districts. As of October 27, 2011, 25 states adopted new congressional district maps and 27 had adopted new maps of the state’s legislative districts. Here is the latest news on the Arkansas and Texas redistribution.
On October 14, the Secretary of State’s office approved the veto referendums organized by the Arkansans for a Unified Natural State against the new congressional maps of the state, paving the way for the group to collect signatures to put the measure on the November ballot of next year. Supporters are expected to collect 53,491 signatures opposing the House and Senate versions of the bill from registered voters in at least 15 different counties by January 6, 2022.
On October 25, Governor Greg Abbott (right) promulgated the new maps of the legislative districts of Congress and the state of Texas. The State Senate has approved the new 18-13 Congress card, the new 20-11 State Senate card, and the new 18-13 State House card. The State House has approved the new 84-59 Congress card, the new 81-60 State Senate card, and the new 83-66 State House card. Republicans hold an 18-13 majority in the Senate and an 83-66 majority in the House. Both cards will go into effect for the 2022 election.