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Mayoral Elections Bring Mix of New Faces, Incumbents

By David W. Burns
November 8, 2010


While much of the focus on elections on November 2 was with the control of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, mayors in cities across America faced tough election battles with mostly incumbents claiming victory but also, a mix of new faces.

Conference of Mayors Advisory Board member Santa Ana (CA) Mayor Miguel Pulido was reelected to a ninth term as mayor of one of California's largest cities with 49.6 percent of the vote. Another Conference of Mayors Advisory Board member, Laredo Mayor Raul G. Salins, proclaimed victory with 46.44 percent of the vote.

Other big winners included Shreveport (LA) Mayor Cedric Glover with 64 percent of the vote, Little Rock (AR) Mayor Mark Stodola with 84.73 percent, and Irvine (CA) Mayor Sukhee Kang with 63.21 percent of the vote.

In one of the more hotly contested races of the year, the District of Columbia will have a new mayor with Vincent Gray winning 73.94 percent of the vote. Gray defeated the incumbent Adrian M. Fenty during the September Democratic primary. In DC, the Democratic Primary is often the contest that decides the general election due to the large number of Democrat voters in the nation's capital.

Anaheim, where Mayor Curt Pringle has served since 2002, will have a new mayor starting in 2011. Mayor-elect Tom Tait was soundly elected with 55.5 percent of the vote. Pringle was unable to seek reelection due to term limits.

In Oakland, where Mayor Ron Dellums chose not to seek reelection, it appears that Don Perata has won the mayors race with 35.20 percent of the vote, narrowly beating two prominent challengers: Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan. Oakland uses "Ranked Choice Voting," a system where voters rank three candidates in order of preference to determine which candidate is preferred most among all the names on the ballot.

New mayors will also be occupying seats of many large cities across the country where incumbent mayors were running for other offices.

In Louisville (KY), Democrat Greg Fischer beat Republican challenger Hal Heiner with 51.10 percent of the vote. He will be replacing Conference of Mayors Past President Jerry E. Abramson, who is running for Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky in 2011.

With Conference of Mayors Advisory Board member Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline not running for reelection and instead being elected to Congress, Democrat Angel Taveras won with 84.3 percent of the vote against Independent candidate Jonathan P. Scott.

While there was no election in San Francisco, they too will have a new mayor with Gavin Newsom resigning in January 2011 due to his election as Lieutenant Governor of California. San Francisco City and County Board of Supervisor President David Chiu will assume the office until the board selects an interim mayor. An election for mayor will then take place in November 2011, during San Francisco's regularly scheduled election.

Similar to the vacancy in San Francisco, Denver will also soon have a new mayor with current mayor, John Hickenlooper, elected Governor of Colorado. Hickenlooper has said that he will stay on as mayor until January 11, the date of his inauguration. At that time, Denver's Public Works Manager and Deputy Mayor Bill Vidal will become acting mayor. Denver is scheduled to have a mayoral election in 2011, which is quickly filling up with prospective candidates. That election will take place in May with a runoff in June, if necessary.

Lastly, in Rochester (NY), Mayor Robert Duffy will assume the office Lieutenant Governor of New York. The city is debating on whether to hold a special election in the spring for a candidate to serve the remaining three years on his term or to appoint an interim mayor who will serve till a general election next November.

For a complete list of election results from cities across America, visit the Conference of Mayors Mayoral Elections Center online at usmayors.org/elections