Election News

Garcia Takes Small Lead in NYC Mayoral Race

Former Sanitation Department Commissioner Kathryn Garcia has taken a small lead in the Democratic primary for New York City mayor, a new poll finds. In the PIX11 News/Emerson College poll of 570 likely voters, Garcia received 21% support. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is statistically tied at 20%, with entrepreneur Andrew Yang close behind at 16%.

Garcia's support has grown significantly since she received the endorsement of The New York Times earlier this month. In a May 15 survey released by the same pollster, she placed 4th, with just 8% of the vote. It appears her gains largely came from previously undecided voters. Their ranks fell from 23% to 9%, while Adams and Yang saw very little change in support. 

The poll also simulated Ranked Choice Voting, which will be used for the first time in a NYC mayoral race. Garcia comes out on top there, defeating Adams by 55% to 45% in the 11th round.

The primary is on June 22. In this heavily Democratic city, the winner will be a prohibitive favorite in November. 

About Ranked Choice Voting

Approved for certain elections in a 2019 referendum, voters can select up to five candidates, ranking them in order of preference.  Initially, each voter's first choice is counted. If one candidate has a majority, that person is the winner. If not, the candidate with the lowest support is eliminated and the second choices on the associated ballots are redistributed to the remaining candidates. If no candidate has a majority, the process repeats until one candidate crosses that threshold. 

Using the poll's actual numbers, we see no candidate coming anywhere near a majority based on first choice. Given the large field and several candidates getting notable support, it is not surprising that many rounds were needed to get to a winner. 

Note that in the graphic above, the 'Ballot Test' (first choice) column includes undecided voters; those are removed for 'Round 2'. That is why there is a much more significant change in the numbers for each candidate than would be the case if just Joycelyn Taylor's votes were being reallocated.

Delayed Results

It is possible that we might not know the official winner of this primary for several weeks. While we should get first choice results on election day, the tabulation of subsequent rounds may not happen until after July 9. This is because absentee ballots aren't due until June 29 with the deadline for curable defects (e.g., signature issue) on July 9. This could be a bit of a debacle if the leader on election night ends up losing weeks later, so it will be interesting to see how the NYC Board of Elections ultimately decides to handle the situation.

 

Live Results for Alabama State House 78 Special Primary Election

In a quiet pre-holiday week, the only race we're following is a Democratic primary in Alabama. Next Tuesday, all eyes will be on the special election in New Mexico's first congressional district.  

Alabama State House District 78 Primary (Democratic)

There are 105 State House districts in Alabama. The chamber is dominated by Republicans, who hold a 76-27 advantage. There are vacancies in Districts 73 and 78. The District 73 general special election will be on July 13.

The District 78 vacancy was created by the resignation of Democrat Kirk Hatcher after he won a special election for an open State Senate seat.

On the Republican side, Loretta Grant was the only qualifier. There will be no party primary.

Four Democrats are seeking the party's nomination. If nobody gets a majority of the vote, there will be a runoff on June 22. The general special election is on September 7.

Polls close at 8:00 PM ET.

Upcoming June 1

  • New Mexico Congressional District 1 Special Election

Poll: Democrat Leads in NM-1 Special Election

A new poll for next Tuesday's special election in New Mexico's first congressional district gives Democratic nominee State Rep. Melanie Stansbury a 16-point lead over her Republican opponent, State Sen. Mark Moores. The poll was funded through a crowdsourcing effort led by RRH Elections and Elections Daily; it is the only poll of the race we've seen thus far. 

District 1 is in the central part of the state, including much of the Albuquerque area. The seat has been vacant since March, when former Rep. Deb Haaland (D) was confirmed as Secretary of the Interior. Haaland was reelected 58% to 42% in November, while Joe Biden won the district by 60% to 37% over Donald Trump.

Democrats have won this seat by double-digits dating back to 2012, and are expected to hold it in the special election. However, the margin will be worth watching, as it is the first congressional special election since TX-6 on May 1. That race saw two Republicans advance to a July 27 runoff, shutting Democrats out of an opportunity to gain a seat.

Early voting has been underway for several weeks; it concludes Saturday. On June 1, polls will close at 7:00 PM local time (9:00 PM Eastern). 

Live Results: Philadelphia DA, Pittsburgh Mayor and Five Legislative Special Elections

On Tuesday, Democratic primary voters in Philadelphia will select a nominee for District Attorney, while those in Pittsburgh will choose a nominee for mayor. Both winners will be heavy favorites in the November general election. There are also four special elections Tuesday to fill vacancies in the Pennsylvania state legislature. In addition, there is an all-party primary for a vacancy in the California Assembly.

Pennsylvania polls close at 8:00 PM ET, California 11:00 PM ET - follow along below for live results.

Philadelphia District Attorney Primary Election

We don't normally follow elections for district attorney, but this one stands out.  How will voters respond to two opposing visions of the office, especially in the context of the prominence of these issues in the national discussion?

The incumbent, Larry Krasner was elected in 2017 on a progressive platform of criminal justice reform. During his term, he has worked to change both the incarceration rate and the length of supervision (parole and probation).

Krasner is being challenged by Carlos Vega, a long-time homicide prosecutor who was among three dozen fired by Krasner when he took office. Vega would like to return to a more traditional approach to prosecution and working with police, citing a notable uptick in violent crime during Krasner's tenure.

In a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 7-1, the winner of Tuesday's primary will be a heavy favorite in November.  The GOP nominee will be Charles Peruto, Jr., who is unopposed.

Pittsburgh Mayoral Primary Election

Pittsburgh is the 66th largest city in the United States,1 1City rankings are based on July 1, 2019 Census Bureau population estimates. They are for the city itself, not the associated metropolitan area. with a population of about 300,000.  The current mayor is Democrat Bill Peduto, who is seeking his third term. A sitting Pittsburgh mayor running for reelection has not been defeated since before World War II. However, Peduto has a well-funded opponent in State Representative Ed Gainey. 

No Republicans filed to run in a party primary, all but ensuring Tuesday's winner is elected in November. Pittsburgh has not had a Republican mayor since 1934. 

State Senate Special General Elections

Pennsylvania Districts 22 and 48

There are 50 State Senate districts in Pennsylvania. Currently, the chamber has 27 Republicans, 20 Democrats and 1 independent. Special elections Tuesday will fill both vacancies. The next regularly scheduled elections are in 2022.

The District 22 vacancy was created by the resignation of Democrat John Blake on March 8. Blake was in his third term, and had most recently been reelected by a 61%-28% margin in 2018. The major party candidates are Democrat Martin Flynn and Republican Chris Chermak. 

The District 48 vacancy was created by the death of Republican David Arnold on January 17. Arnold assumed office in 2020, winning a special election by 65% to 35%. That election was necessitated by the resignation of Republican Mike Folmer in September, 2019. The major party candidates are Republican Chris Gebhard and Democrat Calvin Clements.

State House Special General Elections

Pennsylvania Districts 59 and 60

There are 203 State House districts in Pennsylvania. Currently, the chamber has 111 Republicans and 90 Democrats. Special elections Tuesday will fill both vacancies. The next regularly scheduled elections are in 2022.

The District 59 vacancy was created by the death of Republican Mike Reese on January 2. Reese had been unopposed for reelection this past November. The major party candidates are Republican Leslie Rossi and Democrat Mariah Fisher.

The District 60 vacancy was created by the resignation of Republican Jeff Pyle on March 16. Pyle had been unopposed for reelection this past November. The major party candidates are Republican Abby Major and Democrat Frank Prazenica.

State Assembly Special Primary Election

California District 54

There are 80 seats in the California State Assembly. It is currently comprised of 58 Democrats, 19 Republicans and 1 independent. Districts 18 and 54 are vacant. The next regularly scheduled elections are in 2022. 

The District 54 vacancy was created when the former Assemblywoman, Democrat Sydney Kamlager won a State Senate special election in March.

This is a very Democratic area; there are no Republicans on the six-person ballot. If no candidate gets a majority of the vote, a top two runoff will be held on July 20. 

Upcoming May 25

  • Alabama State House District 78 Special Democratic Primary

Texas 6th District Special Election Scheduled for July 27

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has set July 27 as the date for the special election to fill the vacancy in the state's 6th congressional district. The seat has been open since Republican Rep. Ron Wright died in February. 

This suburban Dallas district was decided by only nine points last November, opening up the possibility that Democrats could contest for the seat. However, two Republicans advanced in the May 1 all-party primary, ensuring a GOP hold.

Updated Schedule of Special Elections

GOP Rep. Steve Stivers (OH-15) will resign effective May 16, after which Democrats will hold a 219-211 advantage, with five vacancies. 

With TX-6 now scheduled, dates are set for special elections in all five of these seats. Although the candidates aren't yet known in all cases, all of these seats are expected to stay with the incumbent party. As a result, once the House returns to full strength (assuming no other changes along the way), the composition should match the results of the 2020 House elections:  222 Democrats, 213 Republicans.

Date District 2020  Information
June 1 NM-1 D + 16% Deb Haaland (D) resigned in March to become Secretary of the Interior. Nominees are State Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D) and State Sen. Mark Moores (R)
July 27 TX-6 R + 9% Ron Wright (R) died in February. Two Republicans advanced in the May 1 all-party primary, ensuring a GOP hold. They are Wright's widow, Susan, and State Rep. Jake Ellzey. A date for the runoff has not yet been set.
November 2 OH-11 D+60% Marcia Fudge (D) resigned in March to become Secretary of HUD. Primaries will be held August 3.
November 2 OH-15 R+27% Steve Stivers (R) to resign May 16 to become CEO of Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Primaries will be held August 3.
Jan. 11, 2022 FL-20 D+57% Alcee Hastings (D) died in April. Primaries will be held November 2.

 

 

Update on U.S. House Vacancies After Swearing In of Troy Carter

Democrat Troy Carter was sworn into office Tuesday as the new representative of Louisiana's 2nd congressional district. Carter won a special election to succeed former Rep. Cedric Richmond (D) who resigned in January to join the Biden Administration.

The U.S. House now has 219 Democrats, 212 Republicans and four vacancies. However, the number of vacancies will return to five later this week when GOP Rep. Steve Stivers (OH-15) steps down

Dates have been scheduled for special elections in four of these seats. Although the candidates aren't yet known in all cases, all of these seats are expected to stay with the incumbent party. As a result, once the House returns to full strength (assuming no other changes along the way), the composition should match the results of the 2020 House elections:  222 Democrats, 213 Republicans.

Date District 2020  Information
June 1 NM-1 D + 16% Deb Haaland (D) resigned in March to become Secretary of the Interior. Nominees are State Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D) and State Sen. Mark Moores (R)
TBA TX-6 R + 9% Ron Wright (R) died in February. Two Republicans advanced in the May 1 all-party primary, ensuring a GOP hold. They are Wright's widow, Susan, and State Rep. Jake Ellzey. A date for the runoff has not yet been set.
November 2 OH-11 D+60% Marcia Fudge (D) resigned in March to become Secretary of HUD. Primaries will be held August 3.
November 2 OH-15 R+27% Steve Stivers (R) to resign May 16 to become CEO of Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Primaries will be held August 3.
Jan. 11, 2022 FL-20 D+57% Alcee Hastings (D) died in April. Primaries will be held November 2.


Note that redistricting will not directly affect any of these elections. That is, they will all be contested using the current district boundaries.

Overview and Live Results: Mayoral Elections in Omaha and Anchorage

On Tuesday, voters in Omaha and Anchorage will elect mayors. Both elections are officially nonpartisan, shown as NPA in the results.

Mayoral Elections

City rankings are based on July 1, 2019 Census Bureau population estimates. They are for the city itself, not the associated metropolitan area.

Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha is the 40th largest city in the United States, with a population of about 480,000. The current mayor is Republican Jean Stothert. She is seeking a 3rd four-year term. In 2017, Stothert was reelected with about 53% of the vote. 

The top two vote getters advanced from the primary held on April 6. In that election, Stothert finished first with just under 57% of the vote. The four other candidates - all Democrats - split the remainder. RJ Neary finished second overall, with about 15.5%

Here's an overview of the election from the Omaha World-Herald. Polls close at 9:00 PM Eastern Time.

Anchorage, Alaska (runoff)

Anchorage is the 69th largest city in the United States, with a population of about 288,000. The acting mayor is independent Austin Quinn-Davidson. She was appointed by the Assembly after the elected mayor, Democrat Ethan Berkowitz resigned in October, 2020. 

A large field competed in the April 6 election to succeed Quinn-Davidson, who chose not to run for a full three-year term. As no candidate exceeded 45% of the vote, the top two finishers moved ahead to Tuesday's runoff. Advancing were Republican David Bronson, who saw 33% support, and Democrat Forrest Dunbar who received 31% of the vote.

Here's an overview of the election from the Anchorage Daily News. This is a vote-by-mail election, with an option to return the ballot via drop box. The drop box deadline is 8:00 PM local time (midnight Eastern). 

 

Upcoming May 18

  • Pennsylvania State Senate Districts 22 and 48 Special General Elections
  • Pennsylvania State House Districts 59 and 60 Special General Elections
  • California State Assembly District 54 Special Primary Election

New York Times Endorses Kathryn Garcia for NYC Mayor

The New York Times Editorial Board has endorsed Kathryn Garcia for NYC mayor. Garcia is the former Commissioner of the Department of Sanitation, serving from 2014 to 2020. While the general election isn't until November, the party primaries are upcoming on June 22. In this deep blue city, winning the Democratic primary is the largest hurdle to being elected.

In its endorsement, the Times says that "All of the candidates in the June 22 Democratic primary are concerned with the welfare of their city and have thoughtful ideas about how to better it. It is Kathryn Garcia who best understands how to get New York back on its feet and has the temperament and the experience to do so. Ms. Garcia has our endorsement in perhaps the most consequential mayoral contest in a generation." It goes on to say that "she has a zeal for making government work better."

In addition to Garcia, notables in the Democratic field include (in alphabetical order):

  • Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President
  • Shaun Donovan, former Director of U.S. Office of Management and Budget
  • Ray McGuire, a business executive
  • Dianne Morales, a nonprofit executive
  • Scott Stringer, NYC Comptroller
  • Maya Wiley, a civil rights attorney
  • Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur and candidate for president in 2020

These eight candidates will appear in the first Democratic mayoral debate this Thursday, May 13, at 7:00 PM.

These will be the first mayoral primaries conducted with Ranked Choice Voting, an 'instant runoff' measure that was approved by voters for certain elections in a 2019 referendum. Voters can select up to five candidates, ranking them in order of preference.  In round one, each voter's first choice is counted. If one candidate has a majority, that person is the winner. If not, the candidate with the lowest support is eliminated and the second choices on the associated ballots are redistributed to the remaining candidates. If no candidate has a majority, the process repeats until one candidate crosses that threshold. 

To this point, in limited recent polling that simulates ranked choice voting, Andrew Yang has been the first round leader, with support in the mid 20% range. Yang goes on to win in these polls, but not until just two candidates remain (at which time, mathematically, one has to be over 50%).

This video from the NYC Campaign Finance Board has more on how Ranked Choice Voting will work in New York City.

Cincinnati Mayoral Primary Overview and Live Results

Cincinnati is the 64th largest city in the United States,1 1City rankings are based on July 1, 2019 Census Bureau population estimates. They are for the city itself, not the associated metropolitan area. with a population of about 300,000.  Tuesday's all-party mayoral primary will select the two candidates that will meet in the November 2 general election. 

The current mayor is Democrat John Cranley, who is completing his second four year term. He is unable to run due to term limits. There are six candidates on the ballot. While officially nonpartisan (NPA label on the results below), five of the candidates are Democrats; Herman Najoli is an independent. 

There's little clarity on which two candidates will advance to the general election. The top tier candidates are Aftab Pureval, Cecil Thomas and David Mann, with Gavi Begtrup also in the running. Pureval, Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, has raised the most money. Herman Najoli has raised little and did not participate in an online debate last month.

Polls close at 7:30 PM.

A couple notes:

  • An early frontrunner in the race, P.G. Sittenfeld, was arrested on federal corruption charges last November. He was suspended from his city council role in December and withdrew from the race in February.
  • The last Republican to appear on the primary ballot was Brad Wenstrup in 2009. 
  • The last Republican to serve as mayor was Bill Gradison who left office in 1971. In that era - and for the period from 1925-1999 - the mayor was chosen by the City Council.

Upcoming May 11

  • Omaha, Nebraska mayoral general election
  • Anchorage, Alaska mayoral runoff

Rep. Charlie Crist Launches Campaign for Governor of Florida

Rep. Charlie Crist (FL-13) announced his entry into Florida's 2022 election for governor. The first notable Democrat in the field, he is hoping to take on GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis and return to the job he once held.

Crist was a Republican when elected governor in 2006, succeeding Jeb Bush who could not run due to term limits. He chose not to stand for reelection in 2010 and instead mounted a campaign for Senate. Trailing Marco Rubio for the nomination, Crist opted to run as an independent, finishing second to Rubio in the general election.

Crist joined the Democratic party in 2012. He was the party's nominee for governor in 2014, losing narrowly to incumbent Republican Rick Scott. In 2016, he successfully ran in Florida's 13th congressional district, and has been reelected twice. 

The Democratic field is expected to get more high profile entrants in the weeks ahead. Fellow Rep. Val Demings (FL-10) and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried have both expressed interest in the race.

The 13th district is on the Pinellas Peninsula on Florida's west coast. It includes St. Petersburg and Clearwater. The state will gain a congressional district in upcoming redistricting. As a result, the boundaries of this district are likely to change for the 2022 election.

Crist is the 12th current House member to announce they are leaving at the end of this term.