As of April 2nd, 64 cities already held mayoral elections or appointments this year. Most mayoral offices are elected by voters, but a significant number of mayors are appointed by local councils. There are an additional 607 mayoral elections scheduled to be held in 23 states throughout 2013. Cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, Cleveland and Houston have elections this year, as well as the country’s two most populous cities – New York City and Los Angeles.
Serving as mayor is often a stepping stone for higher office such as congress, governor or even president. Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McRory (R) is now the governor of North Carolina. Former governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle (R) was first the mayor of Maui. Current U.S. Senators Mark Begich (D) and Dianne Feinstein (D) got their starts as mayors in Alaska and California. And three U.S. presidents were mayors before moving to the White House: Calvin Coolidge (Northampton, MA), Grover Cleveland (Buffalo, NY) and Andrew Johnson (Greeneville, TN). Perhaps 2013 will produce the next batch of future senators, governors or a future president.
Below is an overview of the top mayoral races making headlines in 2013:
The 2013 Boston mayoral election looks to be not only the most exciting mayoral race in Boston history, but possibly in the entire country in November. Incumbent Thomas Menino (D), the longest-serving mayor in Boston’s history, recently announced that he will not run for a sixth term due to health issues. After serving the city of Boston for 20 years as a popular public official, Menino’s departure is going to trigger a free for all for this race. Additionally, since defeating incumbents is very difficult in Boston mayoral elections, now is an opportune time for candidates to enter the race. So far, the only major candidate that has declared is John R. Connolly, member of the Boston City Council. Other declared minor candidates include former Boston police officer Charles Clemons and 2011 Boston City Council candidate Will Dorcena. With Menino’s recent announcement, many more candidates are expected to enter the race. Potential candidates include City Councilors Rob Consalvo and Tito Jackson, Representative Martin Walsh (D), and former Boston City Council President Michael Flaherty (D). The filing period for the mayoral election ends on May 21st, with the primary election taking place on September 24th. The top two candidates from the primary election will advance to the general election, which will be held on November 5th.Note: The Boston race is a nonpartisan election and several of the candidates above do not wish to be identified with a party affiliation, however backgrounds and professional experience show each as having ties to the Democratic Party.
New York City
NYC is the largest city in the country and has a population larger than 39 states. As a result, previous NYC mayors such as Ed Koch (D), Rudy Giuliani (R) and current mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) have left lasting legacies and became national figures in U.S. politics. As the race for Bloomberg’s successor takes shape, it looks like the current crop of candidates is going to have some big shoes to fill. There are four Democratic candidates who have declared and two Republicans: Christine Quinn (D) City Council Speaker, Bill Thompson (D) Former Comptroller & 2009 mayoral nominee, Public Advocate Bill De Blasio (D), Comptroller John Liu (D), MTA Chairman Joe Lhota (R), and billionaire John Catsimatidis (R). Recent polls have shown that a Democrat is heavily favored to win this race, which would make it the first time a Democrat has won since 1989. Christine Quinn has been the front runner, but has had to contend with close ties to Bloomberg. She has tried to distance herself while the other candidates have sought to exploit that alliance. She has also had to address concerns regarding her temperament and bellicose personality. The filing deadline to run is July 11th, the primary is September 10th, and if no candidate receives 40% of the vote a runoff will be held September 24th. The general election will be held November 5th.
The Los Angeles mayoral race is a nonpartisan race. Current Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa (D) has termed out, creating an open seat. The election for mayor is conducted through California’s top-two primary system, in which the top-two vote getters, regardless of party move on to the general election held May 21st. The primary was already held on March 5th and Eric Garcetti (D) and Wendy Greuel (D) emerged from the election as the top-two vote getters. Garcetti took 33% and Greuel took 29%. Eric Garcetti (D) is a city councilman and has played up his Mexican heritage. He’s backed by the Teamsters and the teachers union. He just received the endorsement of Jan Perry (the third place finisher in the election and favorite of the African American voters) and most of the Los Angeles City Council. Wendy Greuel (D) is the City Controller, and if elected, would be LA’s first female mayor. She’s received endorsements from the SEIU, LA County Federation of Labor, Department of Water and Power Union and Bill Clinton. The race is too close to call with the most recent polls giving Garcetti a slight edge. The election is expected to have low voter turnout, so whichever candidate gets the most supporters to the polls will be the winner.
The 2013 Seattle mayoral election will give the city a chance to show their displeasure with current mayor Mike McGinn (D). McGinn, who will seek reelection for a second term in office, has had a difficult tenure characterized by unpopular stances on issues and poor demonstration of leadership. Early speculation indicates that the city does not want another four years of McGinn, and the winner of the primary election will be the favorite to take the office. Currently, several candidates have declared that they will be running for the position of mayor: Tim Burgess, Bruce Harrell, Kate Martin, Ed Murray, Charlie Staadecker, and Peter Steinbrueck. Of these candidates, City Councilmembers Harrell and Burgess, former City Councilmember Steinbrueck, and state Senator Murray appear to be the most formidable opponents to McGinn. The filing deadline for mayoral candidates is May 17th, and the primary election will occur on August 6th. The top two candidates from the primary election will advance to the general election, which will take place on November 5th. Municipal elections in the state of Washington are non-partisan elections. Note: Because this is a nonpartisan election, several of the candidates above do not wish to be identified with a party affiliation. However backgrounds and professional experience show with the exception of Burgess and Staadecker, each has ties to the Democratic Party.