DemDaily: On Tap Next Tuesday: California, Boston, Cleveland

September 9, 2021

In addition to the California recall, there are a number of municipal elections up next Tuesday, September 14th, including the contested mayoral elections in Boston and Cleveland.

Boston, Massachusetts Mayoral Primary
Incumbent: Marty Walsh (D)
Primary: September 14, 2021 (change in date from original September 21st)
Early Vote: Began September 4th and ends September 10th. Find a location
Vote By Mail: Ballots must be received by September 14th @8:00pm
Ballot Drop Off: Find a location: Here
Track Your Ballot: Here

Who will be challenging Wu in November? (Boston Globe)

The contest for Boston's next Mayor is already a historic one, with the most diverse field in the city's history running to succeed two-term Mayor Marty Walsh, who resigned March 22, 2021 to become US Secretary of Labor under President Joe Biden.

In the officially non-partisan primary, next Tuesday's election will determine the top two contenders who will go on to run in the November 2nd general election. With the major candidates all identifying as Democrats, however, Boston's near-century long record of electing a Democrat to the city's chief office is all but guaranteed to continue.

As all five of the major candidates identify as people of color, four are who are women, the city will be breaking its streak of previously electing only white men as mayor.

In a September 2-4, 2021 Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll of likely voters (MOE: +/-4.4%), Boston city councilor and former Council President Michelle Wu has a commanding lead at 31%, with three other candidates locked in a tight race for the critical second place slot to oppose her in November.

The Top Five (WBZ-TV)

In the poll, Boston city councilor and Acting Mayor Kim Janey secured 20%, followed by Boston city councilor Annissa Essaibi George with 19%, Boston city councilor and former Council President Andrea Campbell at 18%, and John Barros, former Boston chief of economic development, at 4%. Undecideds accounted for 8%.

Massachusetts state representative Jon Santiago withdrew in July and endorsed Janey, and two other candidates, Robert Capucci and Richard Spagnuolo, are also on the ballot.

In the fundraising race, Janey was leading with more than $1.5 million raised since January, followed by  Campbell, at $1.4+ million, and Wu and Essaibi George, both at $1.3+ million.

In another first for a mayoral election, due to the coronavirus pandemic, all Boston residents are able to cast their ballots by mail.

Kucinich, 74, previously served as the "boy mayor" of Cleveland from 1977 to 1979 (News5)

Cleveland, Ohio Mayoral Primary
Incumbent: Frank Jackson (D)
Primary: September 14, 2021
Early Vote: Began August 17th and ends September 13th.
Vote By Mail: Ballots must be received by September 14th @7:30pm or postmarked by September 13th and received by the Board of Elections no later than 10 days after the election.
Polling Places: Find a location
Track Your Ballot: Here

Incumbent Mayor Frank Jackson (D), the longest-serving mayor in Cleveland's history, is not seeking re-election, making it the first election without an incumbent on the ballot in Cleveland since 2001.

While the race is officially nonpartisan, the two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary will advance to the general election on November 2, 2021. All seven candidates are Democrats, however, ensuring the office continues its three-decades-long history of Democratic control.

The frontrunner is former eight-term Congressman and former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, followed by a close pack of contenders for what is expected to be the second spot.

Bibb, DiBello, Jones, Kelley, Kucinich, Reed, Williams (News5Cleveland)

According to an August 3-8, 2021 Change Research survey of likely voters, Kucinich led with 20%, followed by Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley (13%), nonprofit executive Justin Bibb and former City Councilman Zack Reed at 12%, Cleveland City Councilman Basheer Jones at 11% and Ohio State Senator Sandra Williams (8%). Attorney DiBello polled at 1% and 21% were undecided.

In the money contest, Kelley leads that field with $923,000 raised through August 25th, followed by Bibb with $674,000 and Jones' $512,00. Kucinich has raised $325,000, 70% of which came in over the last two months. Williams raised $290,000, Reed $226,000, and DiBello $14,500.

In the September 14th Toledo, Ohio Mayoral Primary, incumbent Wade Kapzukiewicz (D), 48, who unseated Democratic Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson in 2017 to win his seat, is facing a primary challenge by former Republican City Councilor Jan Scotland and former three-term Democratic Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, 82, who served in office from 1994-2002 and 2006-2010. The top two vote-getters will advance to the November 2nd general election.


The September 14th Helena, Montana Mayoral Primary was canceled as incumbent Wilmot Collins (D) has only one opponent, Sonda Gaub. Collins, the first black person to be elected the mayor of any city in the history of Montana, and Gaub, as the two candidates, automatically advance to the November 2nd general election.

Next Up!
September 21: Annapolis, Maryland Mayoral Primary
October 5: Juneau, Alaska Mayoral General
October 5: Durham, North Carolina Mayoral Primary
Postponed: Due to the delayed release of the 2020 block-level data by the US Census Bureau, the North Carolina legislature passed a bill postponing the 2021 municipal elections to 2022. It affects elections in at least 35 municipalities, including Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro, and Raleigh. The Durham mayoral primary is still proceeding, however.

DemList will keep you informed.

Recent Dailys
DemDaily: Newsom's Recall Reality 9/8/21
DemDaily: The 2021 Election Calendar 9/5/21

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: WBUR, WCVB, CBS, News5Cleveland, Clevescene, Ballotpedia, Wiki

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