What to Track in November 2021?
Daniel Nichanian’s Election Night Cheat Sheet
Here are more than 140 things to watch in the Nov. 2021 elections: Lawmakers, governors, judges, and powerful county and municipal officials like mayors, sheriffs, and prosecutors are on the ballot, in addition to high stakes referendums.
Other exec. offices
State Supreme Court
Other statewide judges (all in Pennsylvania)
A bonus: there are 3 federal elections!
Will Democrats keep their trifecta?
|NJ: Ass.||52-28 D||46-34 D|
|NJ: Sen.||25-15 D||24-16 D|
|VA: HoD||55-45 D||52-48 R|
|VA: Sen.||21-19 D||not up|
Notable legislative districts: NJ
GOP-held districts carried by Biden: 2 (open), 16 (open), 21 (open), 25, 39
Dem-held districts carried by Trump: 3 (Senate president Sweeney)
GOP-held seats carried by Biden: 8, 21, 25, 39 (all 8 seats)
Dem-held seats carried by Trump: 3 (all 2 seats)
Notable leg. districts: Virginia HoD
|No Dem-held seats won by Trump|
|Other Dem seats: |
HD10, HD12, HD21, HD28, HD31, HD40, HD68, HD72, HD73, HD75, HD83, HD85, HD91.
|+5 to +7 GOP|
|GOP-held, won by Biden (per Blue Virginia): |
HH27, 62, 66, 81, 84, 100.
Special elections for legislature
|GOP-held in red districts |
KY: SD22, HD51 & 89
MI: SD8 & 28
|Dem-held in blue districts|
MS: HD29, SD32 & 32
NY: SD30, HD86
|Potentially tight districts|
|MA: 4th Essex|
| ME, HD86 |
| TX HD118|
Voting rights & election procedure
|New York | Same-day voter registration||No|
|New York | No-excuse absentee||No|
|New York | Change redistricting rules||No|
|FL: St Petersburg | Amendment on redistricting||No|
|AZ: Tucson | Raising to $15. Preview.||Yes|
|CO: Boulder | Looser housing occupancy limits (preview)||No|
|ME: Portland | Group seek lower capacity in future homeless shelters. Preview.||No|
|MN: St Paul | Rent control (preview, preview, preview)||Yes|
|MN, Minneapolis | Enable council to enact rent control in future (preview)||Yes|
Policing and CJ
|MI: Detroit | Decriminalize mushrooms & entheogenic plants||Yes|
|MN: Minneapolis | End MPD, set up Dept of Public Safety [Q2]||NO|
|OH: Cleveland | Meant to increase oversight, give mayor & new board more control (#24)||YES|
|Many towns voting on decrim. marijuana||Mix|
|TX: Austin | Grow police force / funding (#A)||NO|
Taxes and budgeting
|Colorado: Prop (#120) could cut some property taxes.||NO|
|Colorado: Affects marijuana tax & education funding (#119)||NO|
|Louisiana (Nov. 13): Centralizes tax levy, fought by NoLa mayor (#1)||No|
|Louisiana (Nov. 13): Lowers max. income tax rate, changes tax system (#2)||Yes|
|MA: Boston | Sets up a participatory budgeting process (#1)||Yes|
|MA: Boston | An elected school board? Preview||Yes|
|MI, Ann Arbor | On ranked choice, but would depend on leg.||Yes|
|MN, Minneapolis | A “strong mayor” system? Preview.||Yes|
|NJ: Montclair | An elected school board? Preview.||Yes|
|Texas: Require more experience from judges, expand disciplinary commission (#4/5)|
Energy & transportation
|Maine | Very expensive campaign over whether to ban a power line corridor in upper Kennebec (#1)||Yes|
|Maine | $100 million bond measure for transportation (#2)||Yes|
|New York | “Environmental Rights Amendment” in state constitution. (Context)|
|IA, Polk Co. | A $65 million bond on water & land conservation.||YES|
|OH, Columbus | Allocate money for genergy conservation; opponents warn where it’d deflect money is unclear. Preview.||NO|
|Texas | Bar restrictions on religious services (#3)||YES|
|NM, Albuquerque | $50 million stadium bond||NO|
Local and County offices
|CT: Hamden, Bristol, NH|
D/R race; Dem looks for “holistic approach” on crime. Note also: GOP challengers to Dem mayors in New Haven, West Haven, Bristol.
|Hamden & New Haven D; Bristol R|
|CT: New Britain, Danbury|
GOP mayors face Dem challengers (WFP-backed) in both NB and Danbury.
Bobby Valentine’s bid has made ths one of the most nationally recognized races.
Francis Suarez is a somewhat rare GOP mayor of a top-50 city; seeks re-election. [Note: Many usual mayor powers are in Miami-Dade.]
|FL: St Petersburg|
Dems try to keep the mayor’s office with candidate K. Welch.
14-person election very likely to head to a runoff. (Preview, preview)
|KS: Overland Park|
Open race with plenty of contrasts, with M. Czinege running further to the right of C. Skoog. Also mayoral races in Topeka, KC.
Progressive Michelle Wu (profile) vs Annissa Essaibi George, who has taken more moderate positions on policing, etc..
Abdullah Hammoud, now a Dem. lawmaker, could be the first Arab-American mayor of the city with the largest US share of Arab population.
Jacob Frey faces many challengers, some of which have allied in context of ranked choice, in a race defined by policing, aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, & ballot Qs on public safety.
|MN: St. Paul|
Mayor Melvin Carter, considered progressive, seeks a second term.
Durham will have a new mayor (it’s a runoff), and Chapel Hill’s faces re-elect. But in weak mayoral system, it’s the council that matters too.
|O’Neal (D) & Hemminger (CH)|
Mayor Joyce Craig (D) faces Victoria Sullivan (R), with issues from crime to school fundings occasioning big fautlines.
Mayor Andrew Hosmer (D) vs GOP lawmaker Dawn Johnson, who among other things talks of CRT “indoctrination.”
Mayor Tim Keller faces a challenge from Sheriff Manny Gonzales, who has been decried by progressive activists for his actions on immigration or policing.
|NM: Santa Fe|
One issue in this 3-way race: Mayor Webber is criticized by challengers for making the police “stand down” during a 2020 protest that led to the toppling of a monumemt that described Native Americans as “savages.”
Eric Adams (D) is heavily favored against Curtis Sliwa (R). Dems watching the margin.
The one you all know about: Socialist India Walton defeated inc. Byron Brown in the Dem. primary. Brown is now mounting a write-in bid.
Open election for a GOP-held mayorship. (GOP nominee staked a police-boosting position, but Dem responds by touting support for increased funding.)
Ed Gainey (D) beat incumbent in primary, by-and-large from progressive side, & is favored in general election. See also.
Aftab Pureval faces former mayor David Mann. Both Dems.
Two Dems in an open race: Justin Bibb (see more here; prog. nods like Sherrod Brown & Our Revolution) vs Kevin Kelley.
Here Rep. Clyburn & the WFP are both supporting T. Devine, in what is an open 4-way race.
Lorena González is running further to the left, is more critical of police, and calls for higher business taxes; Bruce Harrell is closer to the business community and wants to hire more police. He’s also running in defense of single-family zoning.
More of a note, but this is the first Election Day Utah uses ranked-choice voting widespread. In 20+ cities.
Alvin Bragg won a highly contested primary in June on a reform message, now should coast to a general election win.
Hotly contested between parties, though does not feature a high rush to reform as both candidates likelier to be competing over who is tougher.
Similar as in Suffolk. One key contrast: Dem Kaminsky in Nassau voted for 2019 bail reform as a senator; now attacked over it by GOPer Donnelly
A GOP DA is facing a Democratic challenger in a rare competitive general election in the state.
Progressive Larry Krasner triumphed in the Democratic primary and now faces Republican Chuck Peruto, who’s been critical of his reform.
An open seat in this tightly divided city, & Shelly Wood (a Dem who’s worked as a public defender) faces GOP Matt Hamel.
|VA: Portsmouth and Norfolk|
Uncompetitive in general but noteworthy: Stephanie Morales (D) has been a prominent progressive; Ramin Fatehi (D) won a contested primary on reform message in June.
A candidate running on abolitionist proposals vs a Republican who argues for tougher-on-crime policies. Context. Incumbent lost primary.
This here is why sheriff elections matter: Erie Co.’s jail has seen a string of deaths, and the (GOP) sheriff who has overseen the jail in that period is retiring. Tight election with policy contrasts.
|LA: New Orleans|
Sheriff Gusman has managed a jail decried by monitors, and yet he is seeking re-election. He faces 3 challengers, with reform on the table, with a possible runoff in December. Preview.
GOP challenger to Dem sheriff contrasted “lily-white” area of county to “jungles” of other towns.
|PA: Erie County|
GOPer targeted by Everytown over misconduct allegations. Dem faced stories over comments on immigration. Preview.
Slate of progressives ran on less punitive outcomes.
|PA: Allegheny Co.|
5 of 8 candidates on progressive slate won judicial primaries in May after a concerted effort by activists to change the criminal legal system.
|All 5 won again|
Candidates who ran on prog. promises with endorsements from the WFP won primaries, & could now shift court system.
|PA: Erie |
Open race (Dem-held), amid questions on GOP nominee and vaccinations. Dem (Titus) could be first trans county exec in country.
|PA: Northampton |
GOP challenger Lynch going hard on mandates & ed in challenge to Dem incumbent McClure. Preview.
|NY: Nassau |
Dem incumbent faces GOP challenger. Preview.
GOP incumbent faces a Dem challenger.
|NY: Staten Island|
Former US Rep. Vito Fossella is attempting a political comeback, after squeaking by GOP primary with Trump’s nod. Context from DKE.
|WA: King [Seattle]|
(Dem) incumbent Dow Constantine faes a challenge from the left by (Dem) Sen. Joe Nguyen. Preview
|CO: Douglas Co|
A clash beween the conservative “Kids First” slate (that talks of masks and “indoctrination”) and the “Community Matters” slate. More here.
|CO: Mesa Co|
Right-wing groups are focusing on school board elections here; reporting on their slate.
|Other CO elections|
CPR News and the Sun report on the statewide mobilization around many school boards.
|Union-side wins in Denver, JeffCo|
Slate of 5 Republicans run for school board vs discussions of racism.
Like elsewhere, Right is making a push for school board in Polk.
|MN: Wayzata |
A 3-person conservative slate ran vs ‘mandates’ and ‘ideologies like CRT’. Report.
|NM: Rio Rancho|
Another school board where the right (and P. Brenner) is focused on its CRT-indoctrination playbook, as this article reports.
|PA: Montgomery Co.|
“North Penn” school board: Well-funded GOP slate (ft a candidate in DC on 1/6) vs the now all-Dem board.
|Dems; in fact Dems strong thru Montgo|
|PA: York County|
“Central York” school board objected to ed. material that were suppoedly anti-white; students fought back. Now there’s a heated and $ election around the school board.
|PA: Bucks County|
“Council Rock” school board: Tensions around masks and COVID are boiling over in these elections.
|GOP has wins|
|PA: Other school boards|
A lot of heated elections across Pennsylvania, fueled in part by conservative money over COVID rules as Inquirer reports.
One of many school board elections where a conservative is looking to win on warnings about CRT: See.
Yet another hotspot for the right’s efforts to tip boards over race (and hire of “diversity consultants”). This is through a recall of 4.
Other officials: council, commission, clerks
Priority of CO conservatives is to take over Aurora’s council (city already led by former GOP congressmember Mike Coffman)
Many battles for city council seat, incl. more openings for progressives than they have in the mayor’s race.
|IA: Des Moines|
Indira Sheumaker running on a ‘Defund’ platform against inc. council member.
Left is putting a lot of attention for city council elections here, with a slate of candidates endorsed by DSA and gaining some national attention.
District 6: Mary Tamer vs. progressive community organizer Kendra Hicks has drawn notice for contrasts over policing. Many other council seats; Ayanna Pressley has unveilied many endorsements.
These are the firt elections since it addresed a civil rights lawsuit against its at-large system.
City gov. is up in the air, and an at-large council will go a long way to shaping it: see preview.
|Decided by lot!|
Tlaib staffer Denzel McCampbell is a voting rights activist, challenging incumbent Janice Winfrey.
City council here played a prominent national role in aftermath of George Floyd’s murder; now some council members are retiring, and many elections fought over policing & within Dem factions.
A progressive push for local power.
|Lots of prog wins|
Bridget Kelly (R), a Christie aide involved in the Bridgegate scandal, is attempting a comeback.
Democrats vie to flip the county legislature for the first time since 1980s. Results.
Battle to control the “county legislature” in this mega county: now Republican.
Battle to control the “county legislature” in this mega county: now Dem.
Rare city council seat held by the GOP in Queens could flip to Dems, as Felicia Singh (D) vs. Joann Ariola (head of the Queens County GOP and endorsed by NYPD unions). Preview.
Clerk: GOP inc. Mihalko faces Dem challenger Weiss (endorsed by WFP/Schumer). One point of contrast: Mihalko signed on to lawsuit to block undocumented immigrants from getting licenses, while Weiss supports new law.
Historically-red county has swung blue big under Trump, and Dem now control 9 county row offices. Four are up this year, can Dems sweep again?
Dems look to defend council seats that paved way to their gains in suburban PA.
|WA: King County|
King County District 3: Inc. Kathy Lambert (former GOP candidate) vs Sarah Perry (D) with many issues on the table, see preview
2 at-large seats on a city council split between a left & moderate factions.
|WA: Seattle (Dec)|
Seattle’s prominent socialist council member Kshama Sawant faces a recall effort, but it’ll be in December.
Thank you for reading!