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US mayoral elections
produce no surprises

10 November 2011: There were no shock results in mayoral elections held in some 350 US towns and cities on 8 November 2011. In big cities like Houston, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Charlotte and Columbus, there were wins for incumbent mayors, while voters in San Francisco elected the city’s acting mayor Ed Lee. Mayor Lee, who was appointed after former Mayor Gavin Newsom won election last November as California's lieutenant governor, received 61 per cent of votes after several rounds of votes from the city’s ranked-choice election system had been computed.

| Houston | Philadelphia | Indianapolis | Baltimore | Charlotte | Columbus | Phoenix | Tuscon | Spokane | Big-city results |

In Houston, Mayor Annise Parker avoided a run-off by winning just over 50 per cent of votes cast. The Houston Chronicle reports that most observers considered Parker a prohibitive favorite in the absence of a well-funded or well-known challenger among the five candidates who ran against her. “Parker took office two years ago at a time when the tanking economy drained millions from the city’s income stream as tax collections plunged. She tackled a $100 million budget shortfall by laying off more than 750 city workers, consolidating departments, raising fees and cutting deals to put off some of the city’s bills until better times. She did so without raising taxes or laying off any firefighters or police officers.”

Despite a low turn-out in Philadelphia’s mayoral election, incumbent Democrat Mayor Michael Nutter scored an overwhelming victory by winning more than 75 per cent of the vote. Democrat candidates also took control of Montgomery County, which takes in most of Philadelphia’s suburbs. It was the first time Democrats defeated Republicans in the county’s 140-year history.

In Indianapolis, where the Democrats won control of the city council, Republican incumbent mayor achieved a narrow victory over his Democrat challenger. Mayor Greg Ballard's re-election benefited from thousands of crossover votes, but he now will have to work together with his political opponents in the city council.

Baltimore Democrat Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake easily won in yesterday’s mayoral election nearly two years after her predecessor Sheila Dixon stepped down embroiled in scandal. With all precincts reporting, Rawlings-Blake won with 87 per cent of the vote, compared to 13 per cent for her Republican challenger Alfred Griffin.

Charlotte’s Democrat Mayor Anthony Foxx easily won a second term yesterday, with a wide margin over Republican challenger Scott Stone. Some 67 per cent of the city's voters chose Foxx, while Stone only managed to gather 32 per cent.

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman has won a historic fourth consecutive term by winning the support of almost 70 per cent of voters. Coleman’s fellow Democrats on the city council also held on to their jobs, with all four incumbents sweeping to victory over two Republican and two Libertarian challengers.

Democrat Greg Stanton has been elected mayor of Phoenix after a campaign that focused heavily on pulling the nation's sixth-largest city out of an economic and foreclosure slump. The 41-year-old former city councillor replaces term-limited Democratic Mayor Phil Gordon. Results show that Stanton captured 56 per cent of the votes in Tuesday's runoff election, defeating Republican Wes Gullett.

There was no surprise upset in the race for mayor of Tucson. With complete results of Tucson's mayor and council elections in, Democrat Jonathan Rothschild was confirmed to have won nearly 55 per cent of the vote to become the city's next mayor. Republican Rick Grinnell received 40 per cent. Rothschild replaces outgoing Mayor Bob Walkup, who will retire after four terms and 12 years in office. Walkup was first elected in 1999.

The closest metro US came to a shock result at election night was in Spokane, Washington, where the incumbent mayor Mary Verner almost succeeded in being re-elected. An incumbent had not won a second term in Spokane since 1973. However, at the final count it was confirmed that voters had stuck to their tradition of electing a new mayor every four years. The mayor’s challenger, David Condon, received 52 per cent of votes cast.

November 2011 election results for selected cities
(Red denotes new mayor)
City
State
Incumbent
Winner
Akron Ohio Donald Plusquellic Donald Plusquellic
Aurora Colorado Ed Tauer Steve Hogan
Baltimore Maryland Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Birmingham Alabama William Bell William Bell
Boise Idaho David Bieter David Bieter
Bridgeport Connecticut Bill Finch Bill Finch
Charleston South Carolina Joseph Riley Joseph Riley
Charlotte North Carolina Anthony Foxx Anthony Foxx
Columbus Ohio Michael Coleman Michael Coleman
Des Moines Iowa Frank Cownie Frank Cownie
Flint Michigan Dayne Walling Dayne Walling
Fort Wayne Indiana Ton Henry Tom Henry
Greensboro North Carolina Bill Knight Robbie Perkins
Hartford Connecticut Pedro Segarra Pedro Segarra
Houston Texas Annise Parker Annise Parker
Indianapolis Indiana Gregory Ballard Gregory Ballard
Islip New York Phil Nolan Tom Croci
Knoxville Tennessee Daniel Brown Madeline Rogero
Lafayette Louisiana Joey Durel Joey Durel
Manchester New Hampshire Ted Gatsas Ted Gatsas
Montgomery Alabama Todd Strange Todd Strange
New Haven Connecticut John DeStefano John DeStefano
Philadelphia Pennsylvania Michael Nutter Michael Nutter
Phoenix Arizona Phil Gordon Greg Stanton
Raleigh North Carolina Charles Meeker Nancy McFarlane
Salt Lake City Utah Ralph Baker Ralph Baker
San Francisco California Ed Lee Ed Lee
Savannah Georgia Otis Johnson Runoff on 6 Dec
Spokane Washington Mary Verner David Condon
Tuscon Alabama Bob Walkup Jonathan Rothschild
Worcester Massachusetts Joseph O'Brien Joseph Petty
Yonkers New York Philip Amicone Mike Spano





Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore


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US Mayors
There are 19,429 municipal governments in the United States. Many small towns use the council-manager system (most counties are run this way) and those that don’t, have a weak mayor-council system. Almost all large US cities have strong mayor systems. Towns with populations of 5,000 or less (varies between states) are not allowed to incorporate and are overseen by the county government.

Mayors, and the city council, are directly elected. The length of a term and the number of term limits are in the city charter, as is the day of election. Most mayoral elections take place on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November to coincide with Federal elections, which take place then (as per the US Constitution), but not all municipalities do this. More