DemDaily: Democrats Advance in Key Mayorals

August 3, 2023

Democrats advanced in three nonpartisan mayoral primary elections Tuesday night, along with a popular Democratic incumbent who handily won her party's nomination.

Tucson, Arizona Mayoral Primary
Incumbent Democratic Mayor Regina Romero and Republican attorney Janet Wittenbraker easily swept their primaries to face off in November, along with three minor third party candidates.

Romero, who was elected by a 56% to 40% margin over an Independent candidate in 2019, is heavily favored to win a second term in office.

Wichita, Kansas Mayoral Primary: In the officially nonpartisan election, incumbent Mayor Brandon Whipple (D), who is seeking a second term, and former news anchor and reporter Lily Wu (R) will advance to the general election from a field of nine candidates.

Wu secured 30.07% of the vote to Whipple's 23.65%, followed by Wichita City Councilman Bryan Frye (R) with 22.64%, and activist Celeste Racette (I) with 16.86%. The remaining candidates secured under 5%.

Wu, who outraised Whipple six-to-one, goes into the general election with roughly $88,000 cash on hand to Whipple's $28,000 in the bank.

While a majority of mayoral elections are nonpartisan, most officeholders are affiliated with a political party. As of July 2023, 63 mayors in the 100 most populous cities are affiliated with the Democratic Party, 24 with the Republican Party, four are Independents, seven identify as nonpartisan or unaffiliated, and two mayors' affiliations are unknown.

Olympia, Washington Mayoral Primary
In the Olympia mayoral election, where incumbent Mayor Cheryl Selby (D) is not seeking reelection, Olympia City Councilmember Dontae Payne (D) and business owner David Ross (D) will go head-to-head in the November general election.

In the officially nonpartisan election, Payne, Olympia City's first Black councilman, and a policy advisor to Governor Jay Inslee, benefited from Selby's endorsement -- securing 63% to Ross' 32.7%, followed by homeless advocate Desiree Chantal Toliver's 5%.

Spokane, Washington Mayoral Primary
In the nonpartisan primary, incumbent Mayor Nadine Woodward (R) and former State Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown (D) emerged at the top vote-getters in the five-candidate election, to advance to a widely anticipated matchup in November.

Brown secured 46.8% of the vote to Woodward's 38.7%, followed by former Spokane Firefighters Union President Tim Archer (R) with 11%, and two other candidates below 2.2%.

Woodward, a former a television news broadcaster who narrowly won office by just over 2 points in 2019, raised nearly $432,000 going into the election -- more than any other mayoral candidate in the city's history. She reported $134,000 cash on hand at the end of July.

Brown, who resigned from her state position to run for mayor, previously served as the first Democratic female Majority Leader of the Washington State Senate. She was also the Democratic nominee for the 5th Congressional District in 2018, losing a challenge to incumbent Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers 45.26% to 54.74%. Brown raised close to $290,000 for the primary, with $97,000 cash on hand going into August.

Eleven candidates are running In today's nonpartisan Nashville, Tennessee Mayoral General election to succeed incumbent Mayor John Cooper (D), who is not seeking reelection.

In the last public polling, conducted July 17-19, 2023 by GBAO Strategies for the Tennessee Laborers Union, Nashville Metro Councilmember Freddie O'Connell (D) led with 21%, followed by former GOP consultant Alice Rolli's (R) 13%, State Senator Jeff Yarbro's (D) 12%, housing executive Matt Wiltshire's (D) 10%, and State Senator Heidi Campbell's (D) 8%. Undecided voters accounted for 23% (MOE +/- 4.4%).

If no candidate receives over 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters will advance to a September 14, 2023 runoff election.

See: DemDaily: The 2023 Election Calendar!

DemList will keep you informed.

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DemList will not publish Friday,  August 4 and Monday,  August 7

Sources: Ballotpedia, KSN, KWCH, King5, The Olympian, KREM, Inlander, Washington Public Disclosure Commission

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