Here’s the local and special elections to watch today:
Wisconsin State Senate District 33 special election – The primary election is today in this solidly Republican state Senate district in the suburbs of Milwaukee. There are three GOP candidates on the ballot, and today’s winner will be the overwhelming favorite against Democrat Sherryll Shaddock next month. I outlined the framework for this contest just after the filing deadline in May – you can read that discussion here. A review of the latest finance reports shows that State Rep. Chris Kapenga raised about $145,000 during this campaign, while Brian Dorow has taken in about $80,000. Ordinarily, in trying to pick a winner in this type of race, I would side with an existing state legislator with such a decent lead in fundraising, but Dorow is well-known with lots of endorsements. I think this race will be close. Polls close in Wisconsin at 8 pm Central time.
Kansas City is holding municipal elections today for Mayor and City Council, after holding primaries on April 7th. However, their system of elections is unlike anything I’ve seen, and in my opinion, makes very little sense. Here’s why. In each race (for Mayor and 10 members of Council), today’s voting is between the top two finishers from April’s balloting, even if there were only two candidates running! And in those primaries with more than two candidates, there is also voting today even though the winner in April received more than 50% of the vote!
In the Mayoral race for example, incumbent Sly James beat two other candidates with 84% of the vote ten weeks ago, but he is on today’s ballot against Vincent Lee, who recorded just 10%. And of the nine contested races for Councilmember, seven of them feature candidates who already received more than 50% of the vote in the April primary. Hey, I love elections more than anybody I know, but this system seems unnecessary and redundant. Anyway, there are two races where the voting in April was incredibly tight: 1) Councilmember-at-large (4th district), where Katheryn Shields bested incumbent Jim Glover by 102 votes out of 22,000, and 2) the open seat race for Councilmember in the 5th district, where Alissia Canady nipped Kenneth Bacchus by just 13 votes out of almost 6,300 cast. Polls close in Kansas City at 7 pm Central time.
San Jose – Finally, there is a runoff today in the special election to fill a seat on the City Council in San Jose, California, which was created when Kansen Chu was elected to the state Assembly in November. There were 10 candidates on the ballot on April 7, and Tim Orozco finished 300 votes ahead of Manh Nguyen. Polls here close at 8 pm Pacific.