2019 United States elections
The 2019 United States elections were held, in large part, on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. This off-year election included gubernatorial elections in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi, regularly-scheduled state legislative elections in Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, and New Jersey, and special elections for seats in various state legislatures. Numerous citizen initiatives, mayoral races, and a variety of other local elections also occurred. Three special elections to the United States House of Representatives have also taken place in 2019 as a result of vacancies.
|Election day||November 5|
|Seats contested||3 mid-term vacancies|
|Net seat change||0|
|Map of the 2019 House special elections Democratic hold Republican hold|
Democratic gain Republican gain
Not yet held
|Net seat change||Democratic +1|
|Map of the 2019 gubernatorial races|
Democratic gain Republican hold
- 1 Federal special elections
- 2 State elections
- 3 Local elections
- 4 Tribal elections
- 5 Electoral irregularities
- 6 Tables of partisan control results
- 7 References
Federal special electionsEdit
Three special elections were held in 2019 to fill vacancies during the 116th U.S. Congress:
- Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district: Republican Tom Marino resigned on January 23, 2019, to take a private sector job. The district has a partisan index of R+17. Republican state Rep. Fred Keller defeated Democrat Marc Friedenberg in the May 21 election, keeping the seat in Republican hands.
- North Carolina's 3rd congressional district: Republican Walter B. Jones Jr. died on February 10, 2019. The district has a partisan index of R+12. Republican state Rep. Greg Murphy was elected, defeating Democrat Allen M. Thomas and Libertarian Tim Harris.
- North Carolina's 9th congressional district: Due to allegations of election fraud, the results for the 9th congressional district were not certified for the 2018 election, leaving the seat vacant once the 116th Congress began (the seat was previously held by Republican Robert Pittenger, who lost his party's nomination in 2018). On February 21, 2019, the North Carolina State Board of Elections voted unanimously to hold a new election. The district has a partisan index of R+8. Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop was narrowly elected, defeating Democrat Dan McCready, Libertarian Jeff Scott, and Green Loran Allen Smith.
Additional vacancies occurred in Wisconsin's 7th Congressional district following the resignation of Republican Sean Duffy in September 2019; New York's 27th Congressional district following the October 2019 resignation of Republican Chris Collins ahead of his pleading guilty to insider trading; California's 25th Congressional district following the resignation of Democrat Katie Hill in November 2019; and Maryland's 7th Congressional district following the death of Democrat Elijah Cummings on October 17, 2019. Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson announced in August 2019 that he would resign on December 31, 2019, due to deteriorating health. Special elections to fill the seats are scheduled to occur in 2020.
Although not due to an election, on July 4, 2019, Rep. Justin Amash declared he would leave the Republican Party but continue to serve in Congress as an independent, affecting the partisan balance of the Michigan delegation.
Three states held gubernatorial elections in 2019:
- Kentucky: In the May 21 primaries, one-term incumbent Republican Matt Bevin faced a strong challenge from three opponents in the Republican primary but managed to win with 52.4%; Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear also faced a strong competition from two other challengers in the Democratic primary but managed to win with 37.9%. In the November 5 general election, Andy Beshear defeated Matt Bevin by just 0.4 percent of the vote; however, the Associated Press declared the race too close to call, and Bevin refused to concede on election night, requesting a recanvass. The recanvass showed little change in the vote totals, and Bevin conceded the election on November 14.
- Louisiana: One-term Democrat John Bel Edwards defeated Eddie Rispone in a run-off election, securing a second term. In the state's October blanket primary, Edwards faced Republicans U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone, along with three minor candidates. While Edwards received 46.6% of the vote, he did not win a majority and therefore faces a Saturday, November 16 runoff election against Rispone, who received 27.4% of the vote. The runoff election was held on November 16th. Despite Republican Donald Trump winning the state by 20 points in 2016, John Bel Edwards was able to narrowly win re-election with 51.3% of the vote against Eddie Rispone's 48.7%.
- Mississippi: Two-term Republican Phil Bryant was term-limited in 2019 and therefore ineligible to seek re-election. In the August 6 primary elections, Attorney General Jim Hood won the Democratic primary, and on August 27, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves defeated Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. to win the Republican nomination. Though the Associated Press described Hood as the "best-funded Democratic nominee for Mississippi governor since 2003," Reeves won the Mississippi gubernatorial race by a comfortable 52.3% to 46.5% margin.
Legislative elections were held for both houses of the Louisiana Legislature, the Mississippi Legislature, and the Virginia General Assembly, as well as the lower house of the New Jersey Legislature. Republicans maintained control of the Mississippi Legislature, while Democrats kept control of the New Jersey Legislature. Democrats gained majorities of both houses of the Virginia General Assembly, giving them control of the legislature for the first time in twenty years.
Special elections were also held during the year to fill state legislative seats vacated due to retirement, death, resignation, election to another office, or other reasons. As of November 5, 2019[update], special elections have been set or run for 77 seats — 39 held by Democrats and 38 held by Republicans. As of November 5, 2019[update], of the 72 special elections held, five seats flipped from Democratic to Republican, two flipped from Republican to Democratic, and one flipped from Republican to Independent. None of these changes impacted partisan control of the state legislature.
State trifectas and redistrictingEdit
In the 2019 elections, Republicans successfully defended their "trifecta" (unified control of the governorship and the state legislature) in Mississippi, while Democrats defended their trifecta in New Jersey and prevented Republicans from gaining a trifecta in Louisiana. Republicans lost their trifecta in Kentucky, while Democrats gained a trifecta in Virginia. These state elections will impact the redistricting that will follow the 2020 United States Census, as many states task governors and state legislators with drawing new boundaries for state legislative and Congressional districts.
24 binding ballot measures were voted on in seven states.
- In Pennsylvania, voters were to consider a constitutional amendment to adopt Marsy's Law protections for crime victims. Just days before the election, however, an injunction was issued blocking the commonwealth from tallying votes on the amendment. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the injunction on the eve of the election.
- In Texas, voters approved nine of ten proposed amendments to the Lone Star State's constitution, most notably Proposition 4, intended to ban a state income tax. Texas is one of only nine U.S. states without a state income tax.
- In Washington state, voters narrowly approved Referendum 88, a veto referendum to overturn Initiative 1000, which allowed for affirmative action policies in the areas of public education, employment, and contracting. Voters also approved Initiative 976, limiting motor vehicle registration fees used for infrastructure and transit projects; passage of the bill is expected to decrease funding for transportation projects in the state by $4 billion by 2025.
- In the U.S. Virgin Islands, a ballot initiative to change how seats in the Legislature of the Virgin Islands are apportioned was defeated due to low voter turnout. A majority of voters approved of the reapportionment plan during the March 30, 2019, special election; however, only about 9 percent of registered voters participated in the election, and a majority of all registered voters was required for the initiative to pass.
Although most mayorships and other local offices are non-partisan, when looking at party identification of the officeholders, registered Democrats gained three mayorships during 2019 (Phoenix, Arizona; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Wichita, Kansas) and Republicans picked up one (Aurora, Colorado). Following the November elections, registered Democrats hold 62 mayorships (+2) in the 100 largest cities in the United States, registered Republicans hold 29 (+1), and independents hold 4 (−3). The remaining 5 are nonpartisan or undetermined.
Incumbent mayors won re-election in major cities during 2019, including Arlington, Texas (Jeff Williams); Cary, North Carolina (Harold Weinbrecht); Charlotte, North Carolina (Vi Lyles); Colorado Springs, Colorado (John Suthers); Denver (Michael Hancock); Duluth, Minnesota (Emily Larson); Durham, North Carolina (Steve Schewel); Evansville, Indiana (Lloyd Winnecke); Fairbanks, Alaska (Jim Matherly); Fort Collins, Colorado (Wade Troxell); Fort Wayne, Indiana (Tom Henry); Fort Worth, Texas (Betsy Price); Gainesville, Florida (Lauren Poe); Hartford, Connecticut (Luke Bronin); Indianapolis, Indiana (Joe Hogsett); Jacksonville, Florida (Lenny Curry); Las Vegas (Carolyn Goodman); Manchester, New Hampshire (Joyce Craig); Memphis, Tennessee (Jim Strickland); Orlando, Florida (Buddy Dyer); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Jim Kenney); and San Antonio, Texas (Ron Nirenberg).
San Francisco, California incumbent mayor London Breed, who became mayor following the death of mayor Ed Lee, was elected to her first full term. After Yonkers, New York, City Council extended mayoral term limits from two terms to three in late 2018, incumbent Mike Spano went on to win a third term.
In Alabama, which was the location of many pivotal moments in the American civil rights movement, several cities elected their first African American mayor in 2019. In the capital city of Montgomery, Probate Judge Steven Reed was elected mayor in a run-off, and in Talladega Timothy Ragland defeated incumbent mayor Jerry Cooper in a run-off.
Two large cities elected their first out LGBT+ mayors in 2019. In Chicago, Lori Lightfoot was elected as the city's first female African American mayor and first lesbian mayor in what was only the second-ever mayoral runoff election in the city's history. In Tampa, Florida, Jane Castor also won a run-off election to become the first gay woman to lead a major Florida city.
In Tucson, Arizona, Democrat Regina Romero was elected the city's first female and first Latina mayor. In Salt Lake City, Utah, Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall became the city's third female mayor after defeating state senator Luz Escamilla. It was the first time two woman had faced each other in a mayoral runoff in the city.
Incumbents Defeated for Re-electionEdit
In Flint, Michigan, state representative Sheldon Neeley defeated incumbent Karen Weaver, who was seeking a second term. In Madison, Wisconsin, Satya Rhodes-Conway defeated longtime incumbent mayor Paul Soglin, and in Nashville, Tennessee, city councilman John Cooper defeated incumbent David Briley. In Portland, Maine, former school board chair Kate Snyder unseated incumbent Ethan Strimling, and in Wichita, Kansas, state Rep. Brandon Whipple defeated incumbent Jeff Longwell. In Brownsville, Texas, Trey Mendez won a run-off election to replace incumbent mayor Tony Martinez, who came in third in the primary election.
Open Mayoral SeatsEdit
Open mayoral seats were won in Aurora, Colorado (Mike Coffman); Dallas, Texas (Eric Johnson); Green Bay, Wisconsin (Eric Genrich); Kansas City, Missouri (Quinton Lucas); Knoxville, Tennessee (Indya Kincannon); Lafayette, Louisiana (Josh Guillory); Lincoln, Nebraska (Leirion Gaylor Baird); Newark, Delaware (Jerry Clifton); Raleigh, North Carolina (Mary-Ann Baldwin); and West Palm Beach, Florida (Keith James). In South Bend, Indiana, Democrat James Mueller defeated Republican Sean Haas to replace incumbent Pete Buttigieg, who declined to run for a third term in favor of a presidential campaign. In Garland, Texas, Scott LeMay was unopposed in seeking an open mayoral seat.
Other major cities holding mayoral elections in 2019 include:
- Boise, Idaho: This is a non-partisan office. Incumbent Dave Bieter, running for his fifth term, came in second in the November 5 general election behind city council president Lauren McLean. Because neither won more than 50% of the vote McLean and Bieter will face each other December 3 in Boise's first-ever mayoral runoff election.
- Charleston, South Carolina: This is a non-partisan office. Incumbent John Tecklenburg, seeking a third term, failed to win an outright majority. He faces city councilman Mike Seekings in a November 19 runoff.
- Houston: Incumbent mayor Sylvester Turner, seeking a second term, was forced into a December 14 runoff election against Texas A&M University Regent Tony Buzbee.Turner earned 47% of the vote, falling short of a majority. Buzbee drew 28%
- Special mayoral election in Allentown, Pennsylvania, interim mayor Ray O'Connell was elected to finish the remaining two years of former Mayor Ed Pawlowski, who resigned in 2018 after being convicted for corruption.
- Special Election Runoff in Phoenix, Arizona, following the resignation of Mayor Greg Stanton and no candidate winning a majority in the November 2018 special election, held on March 12, 2019; won by Kate Gallego
- Special mayoral election in Port Richey, Florida, attorney Scott Tremblay was elected mayor to replace former Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe who was arrested on conspiracy charges 20 days after being elevated to mayor following the arrest of former mayor Dale Massad for practicing medicine without a license.
- Special mayoral election in Scranton, Pennsylvania, was held in November to replace Mayor Bill Courtright, who resigned after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges. Independent Paige Cognetti won the election, becoming the first female mayor of the city.
During 2019, voters in several cities initiated recall elections against incumbent mayors. Mayors were successfully recalled in Wickenburg, Arizona; Bovill and Dalton Gardens, Idaho; Albion, Michigan; York, Nebraska; Metolius, Oregon; and Rio Bravo, Texas. Mayors in Elk River, Kooskia, and Sugar City, Idaho, and in Arnegard and Tower City, North Dakota, were retained in office.
In Fall River, Massachusetts, voters successfully recalled Mayor Jasiel Correia and re-elected him in the same election. Correia faced recall after being charged with wire fraud and filing false tax returns in 2018. Five candidates, including Correia, qualified to run in the event of a successful recall, and a plurality of voters voted for Correia. In September, Correia was charged with extorting cannabis dispensaries looking to do business in the city; the city council vote to remove him from office, but Correia rejected their authority to do so. Correia stood for re-election to a third term, coming in second during the September 17 preliminary election. On October 15, 2019, Correia suspended his campaign, and, ultimately, came in third, behind write-in votes with school board member Paul Coogan winning the election.
Other local elections and referendumsEdit
- Democrats took control of Columbus, Indiana, hometown of Vice President Mike Pence, for the first time since 1981.
- In the Delaware Valley, Democrats gained a majority on the Bucks County Board of Commissioners for the first time since 1983, gained a majority on the Delaware County Council for the first time since the Civil War, and gained a majority on the Chester County Board of Commissioners for the first time in the party's history.
- In Denver, voters narrowly approved a citizen-initiated ordinance to effectively decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms for personal use and possession by adults. The city's voters also defeated an initiative to overturn Denver's ban on urban camping. In the June runoff election, voters passed an ordinance barring city officials from spending tax money on future Olympic bids without first seeking voter approval.
- Voters in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, voted to incorporate part of the parish as a new city, St. George. The incorporation effort began in 2013 as an effort to create a new public school district separate from East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools.
- In a non-binding referendum, two-thirds of Georgetown University students voted to establish a semesterly fee to fund reparations for descendants of 272 enslaved people sold to pay the school's debts in 1838.
- Jersey City, New Jersey voters approved strict regulations on short-term rentals, in a major blow to Airbnb.
- Kansas City, Missouri voters changed the name of Martin Luther King Boulevard to "The Paseo."
- New York City's Charter Revision Commission placed five questions on the 2019 ballot for voters to decide, including a proposal to adopt ranked choice voting for city elections. Ranked-choice voting was approved by 73.5% of voters.
- Voters in Oklahoma City approved a charter amendment allowing city council members to work for the state or federal government. The bill allows state or federal employees, such as school teachers or park rangers, to serve on the city council.
- In Parma, Ohio, voters upheld the city's ban on pit bull-type dogs by 14 votes.
- Phoenix, Arizona, voters rejected ballot initiatives to halt expansion of the Valley Metro Rail light rail system and to cap city spending to help pay down pension debt.
- In San Francisco, a ballot initiative backed by electronic cigarette manufacturer Juul to overturn the city's ban on e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco products failed overwhelmingly.
- San Juan County, Utah voters rejected Proposition 10, which would have looked to change the structure of the county government; the proposition was characterized by opponents as an effort to undermine the county's first elected Navajo-majority county commission.
- An attempt backed by e-commerce giant Amazon to install a more business-friendly city council in Seattle failed.
- Voters in Tucson, Arizona, rejected becoming a sanctuary city, which would have limited municipal cooperation with federal immigration law enforcement.
Several notable Native American tribal governments held elections for tribal leadership in 2019.
Incumbents Tribal Chairman Don Gentry of the Klamath Tribes and Tribal Council Chief Beverly Kiohawiton Cook of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe were both re-elected to a third term. Seminole Tribe of Florida Tribal Council Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. was re-elected to a second term. Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribal Chair Richard Peterson, Comanche Nation Tribal Chairman William Nelson Sr., Yankton Sioux Tribe Tribal Chairman Robert Flying Hawk, and Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho Tribal Executive Committee Chairman Shannon Wheeler were also all re-elected. Richard Sneed won re-election to his first full-term as principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; Sneed had been elevated to principal chief in 2017 following the impeachment of then Principal Chief Patrick Lambert. Mescalero Apache Tribe Tribal President Robert "Gabe" Aguilar, who was elevated to president when Tribal President Arthur "Butch" Blaze resigned for health reasons in October, was also re-elected to his first full term.
Former Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. was elected principal chief in a contentious election. Ned Norris Jr. was elected chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation, a position he previously held for two terms, defeating incumbent Chairman Edward Manuel. Cyrus Ben defeated incumbent Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson to lead the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Byron Nelson Jr. was elected tribal chairman of the Hoopa Valley Tribe, defeating incumbent Ryan Jackson. Manuel Heart, who previously served multiple terms as Ute Mountain Ute Tribe tribal chairman, defeated incumbent Harold Cuthair.
- Muscogee (Creek) Nation: Incumbent Principal Chief James R. Floyd declined to run for a second term. Ten candidates ran to succeed Floyd with National Council Second Speaker David Hill and former National Council speaker Bim Stephen Bruner winning the most votes in the September 21 primary election; however, due to questions about the handling of absentee ballots, the primary election results were vacated. The November 2 rerun of the primary yielded the same results, and tribal voters will decide between Hill and Bruner in a December 14 general election.
A special election triggered by the resignation of Jicarilla Apache Nation President Levi Pesata in February was won by Legislative Council member Darrell Paiz in a runoff, and Rynalea Whiteman Pena was elected president of the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council in a special election following the resignation of prior president L. Jace Killsback. Beth Drost was elected as the first female Tribal Chair of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in a special election following the death of long-time Tribal Chair Norman Deschampe. Michael Fairbanks was elected Tribal Chairman of the White Earth Nation in Minnesota in a special election following the death of prior chairman Terry Tibbetts.
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council Chair Cedric Cromwell faced a September 15 recall election over questions about his management of tribal funds; however, the election was called off on September 12 due to questions about the recall petition process.
- The Hoopa Valley Tribe in California narrowly rejected an effort to open tribal land to cannabis cultivation.
- Spirit Lake Tribe voters in North Dakota voted to allow alcohol sales at the Spirit Lake Casino & Resort, overturning a decades-old ban on alcohol sales on the reservation.
- Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone voters rejected a ballot petition to replace a blood quantum requirement for tribal membership with a direct lineal descent system.
Two Republicans were charged with electoral fraud in Marion County, Ohio. The GOP candidate for Marion city auditor, Robert Landon, and Marion County Republican Party official John Matthews were charged with distributing phony sample ballots, a misdemeanor.
Without providing any evidence, Republican incumbent Matt Bevin said there were "significant irregularities" in the vote count process for Kentucky governor. He refused to concede and asked for a recanvass, which took place on November 14. Democrat Andy Beshear won by only 5,000 votes, and some feared Bevin was trying to steal the election. However, the recanvass did not change the election outcome, and Bevin subsequently conceded.
Tables of partisan control resultsEdit
These tables show the partisan results of the congressional, gubernatorial, and state legislative election races and other instances of change in partisan control in 2019. Only the affected congressional districts and states in 2019 are shown. Governorships/legislatures in these affected states that are not up for election in 2019 are already filled in for the "after 2019 elections" section. Bold indicates a change in control.
|Before 2019 elections||After 2019 elections|
|Seat||Incumbent||State delegation||Winner||State delegation|
|California 25th||Dem||Dem 46–7||Election in 2020|
|Maryland 7th||Dem||Dem 7–1||Election in 2020|
|New York 27th||Rep||Dem 21–6||Election in 2020|
|North Carolina 3rd||Rep||Rep 9–3[a]||Rep||Rep 10–3|
|North Carolina 9th||Vacant[a]||Rep|
|Pennsylvania 12th||Rep||Split 9–9||Rep||Split 9–9|
|Wisconsin 7th||Rep||Rep 5–3||Election in 2020|
|Change from||Change to|
|Seat||Previous||State delegation||Current||State delegation|
|Michigan 3rd[b]||Rep||Split 7–7||Ind||7–6–1|
|Before 2019 elections||After 2019 elections|
|State||Governor||State leg.||Governor||State leg.|
- The seat for North Carolina's 9th congressional district is counted as vacant due to the voided 2018 election. It was previously held by a Republican.
- On July 4, 2019, Rep. Justin Amash declared he would leave the Republican Party but continue to serve in Congress as an independent.
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- Bailey, Phillip M. (November 5, 2019). "Democrat Andy Beshear declares victory over Matt Bevin in governor's race. Bevin doesn't concede". Louisville Courier Journal. Louisville, Kentucky. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
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- Associated Press (November 5, 2019). "Virginia Democrats take control of state legislature for first time in over two decades". NBC News. New York City, New York. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
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- Schwartz, Matt (November 5, 2019). "Voters OK parks funding, ban on income tax as all but one constitutional amendments pass". The Houston Chronicle. Houston, Texas. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
- Camden, Jim (July 25, 2019). "Referendum would stop recently approved initiative that allowed some affirmative action plans in Washington". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
- O'Sullivan, Joseph (November 12, 2019). "With nearly all ballots counted, voters reject Washington's affirmative-action measure". The Seattle Times. Seattle, Washington. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
- Camden, Jim (November 10, 2019). "Agencies, lawmakers scramble to fill $4 billion pothole from I-976". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
- Knight, April (March 30, 2019). "Reapportionment Initiative Fails to Come Close to Required Turnout". The Virgin Islands Source. St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
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