| 1. Charlotte - The past three mayors have all been conservative Republicans. If the Democrat wins then this may be an early indicator that North Carolina as a whole is heading in the same direction as Virginia, closer to the Democrats and further away from the Republicans.
2. Saint Petersburg - Prior to 2004 Saint Petersburg was viewed as friendly Republican territory, yet the Republican registration advantage has been erased and now Democrats hold the advantage. As part of the east-west I-4 corridor, a win here could foreshadow Democratic gains throughtout the corridor in 2010.
3. Atlanta - Will the two African-American candidates split the vote and give Norwood an outright victory?
4. Seattle - Will the grassroots campaign of McGinn surprise pundits once again?
5. Stamford - There is no doubt that the race is a referendum on Dan Malloy. If Martin loses, then this could be a huge embarrasment for Malloy, currently considered the Democratic frontrunner for Governor.
6. Harrisburg - Will Steve Reed supporters provide the votes the Republican needs in order to win in this African-American majority city?
7. Vancouver - The Democrat is indeed in trouble. A bridge and the economy appear to be the main issues at play.
8. Boston - While not expected, the loss of Menino would be outright shock. However, there is no doubt that the anti-incumbent mood is strong and Menino's primary performance was not particularly strong.
9. Tulsa - Democrats in Tulsa are far more conservative than Republicans in New England so the outcome here has no significance. There is no doubt that Obama is unpopular statewide and it may be only a matter of time before conservative Democrats become outright Republicans here.
10. Houston - There is little doubt that there will be a runoff between Brown and Parker, the vote difference between the two is what will be most interesting.
Manchester, NH - Former Republican State Senator Ted Gatsas will face off against Democratic Alderman Mark Roy. Considering that Gatsas finished first in the non-partisan primary with 46% of the vote and that Democrat Bobby Stephen, who ran on a conservative platform, finished third with 22% of the vote, it's hard to see how Republican Gatsas does not win here, with a rather decisive finish.
Miami, FL - A battle between two Republican City Commissioners has been heating up. Tomas Regalado and Joe Sanchez are both Cuban born, thereby giving neither an advantage over the other with the Cuban voters. A recent discovery that Regalado helped raised funds for Eduardo Arocena, a Cuban terrorist convicted of setting off bombs throughout Miami and New York in 1984, shouldn't hurt much. Yes, indeed it's true, Cuban terrorists in Miami are celebrated, so if anything this may actually help Regalado more with the Cuban voters. Another advantage for Regalado is that he is well established throughout the city, serving on the city commission for 13 years. He is also known for the many appearances he has made on Spanish radio and television throughout the years. Polls show Regalado with a commanding lead, yet a majority of the voters, mostly non-Hispanic, remain undecided. Tomas Regalado, a pal of the terrorists, should take this race.
New York, NY - While some are angry that Michael Bloomberg extended his term limit from two to three years, these angry voices compose only a small percent of the electorate. In fact, their anger may be best directed elsewhere: at the Democratic dominated City Council, which approved the change (of course at the urging and consent of Bloomberg). In a Democratic city, such as New York, many would expect City Comptroller Bill Thompson, to be leading, yet the opposite is true. Thompson's campaign can be summed up in one word: disastrous. His toting of a non-endorsement from Obama looks desperate at best. In fact, Obama held public events for three fellow Democrats in the area: NJ Governor Corzine, Congressional candidate Owens, and CT Senator Dodd, yet not a single one for Thompson (so much for that imaginary non-public endorsement). Of the five boroughs, expect Thompson to win in only one: The Bronx. Bloomberg should easily be re-elected.
Cedar Rapids, IA - A city which gave Obama more than 60% of the vote last year is likely to do the unthinkable: elect a Republican mayor. Former Republican Speaker of the House Ron Corbett, is heavily favored over City Councilman Brian Fagan.
Tulsa, OK - Democratic State Senator Tom Adelson is battling it out against Republican Dewey Bartlett, the son of a former Governor. Five years ago both had faced off against eachother for an open state senate seat, which Adelson won. Oklahoma is also one state where Obama could hardly be popular since it was the only state where he did not carry a single county. Tulsa is traditionally friendly to Democratic candidate (aka: conservative Democrats), yet this may be the year where friendliness does not deliver. The race has turned super nasty, most likely the nastiest mayoral race this year, since neither candidate seems to like the other. Depending on which poll you rely upon, both candidates are ahead, yet the most reliable show Barlett with a comfortable lead.
Stamford, CT - The current mayor, Dan Malloy, is considered the leading Democrat for Governor, yet a loss here could hurt badly. The city has a significant Democratic registration advantage, yet voters here are known to be cross over voters. Democratic Board of Representatives President David Martin is facing off against Republican Michael Pavia. Malloy is hugely unpopular in the city and Martin could be the beneficiary of such retribution. Pavia has the financial advantage and connections within the large Italian community of Stamford, which includes the Lieutenant Governor. One resident of Stamford noticeably quiet is Senator Lieberman. When you have the headquarters of World Wrestling Entertainment on one side of the city and the Jerry Springer studio in the center of downtown, then it's easy to conclude that anything can happen. However, a narrow Republican victory is most likely the outcome.
Vancouver, WA - What is it with Washington State and bridges? The major issue focuses on tolls for the Columbia River Crossing, a new bridge set to replace the existing Interstate Bridge. Current Democratic mayor Royce Pollard has served for the past fourteen years, arguing that not electing him will throw the entire bridge project into jeopardy. City Councilman Tim Leavitt is opposed to the tolls and has been reminding voters of the added fees that the tolls will bring (very convincing talk during a recession). Leavitt finished ahead of Pollard in the primary and third place finisher Charlie Stemper immediately endorsed Leavitt. In Seattle, talk was about saving a bridge. In Vancouver, talk is about whether or not to pay for crossing the bridge. The anti-incumbent mood is obvious here, and while officially non-partian, Leavitt (who endorsed Rossi in 2008) should easily dethrone Pollard.
Charlotte, NC - Republican councilman John Lassiter is in a dead heat with Democratic councilman Anthony Foxx. African-Americans compose 35% of the electorate and that should help Foxx, who is also African-American. Lassiter should easily hold onto the quickly fading conservative voting bloc. If elected, Foxx will be the second African-American mayor of Charlotte (Harvey Gantt being the first) and the first in twenty-two years. Current mayor and failed gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory is retiring with high approval ratings, which should help Lassiter, whom is considered on the same ideological thinking as McCrory. While Democrats make up half of the registered voters, it will ultimately come down to independents in determining which candidate prevails.
Saint Petersburg, FL - If African-American turnout is strong, then Democrat Bill Foster has only one person to thank: his Republican rival Kathleen Ford. During a recent radio program, Ford stated that Deputy Mayor Goliath Davis was the HNIC (Head Nigga in Charge) for the African-American community. Foster has also had his own slip, saying he wanted to be the city's "first black mayor." While there is no doubt that he was reaching out to a vital electorate, his comments took many non African-American voters by surprise (Foster is white). The endorsement of Foster by third place primary finisher Deveron Gibbons, who is African-American, is certainly an asset, yet a recent poll shows these voters are undecided and have yet to move into Foster's column. Gibbons was additionally endorsed by Governor Crist during the primary. One poll taken has shown the race very close with Ford leading slightly, yet 25% of the electorate being undecided. Ford, who failed in a previous quest for mayor, has been running a grassroots campaign, and even with past controversial behavior, there is no indication that Foster has been able to capitalize upon this, even with his money advantage. Turnout will certainly be key, yet based on the Democratic trend of the city, Foster should pick up a majority of the undecided voters and win narrowly.
Harrisburg, PA - Current Democratic mayor Stephen Reed was defeated by City Council President Linda Thompson in the Democratic primary. The defeat of Reed was a shock to many, since he had been mayor for twenty-eight years and was re-elected rather easily each time. In the primary, African-Americans rallied to Thompson's side, an electorate which is vitally important in a city which is majority African-American. Republican Nevin Mindlin is largely seen as an underdog, yet there seems to be traction heading his direction, largely in the form of former Reed supports, including Reed himself, who refuse to vote for Thompson. Demographics favor Thompson, yet a poor showing from African-American voters could cost her. If elected, Thompson would be both the first woman and African-American mayor of the city.
Syracuse, NY - There is no doubt that Syracuse is a Democratic city, yet Conservative candidate Otis Jennings hopes to exploit a reliable Democratic voting bloc, African-Americans. Jennings is an African-American and hopes that he can propel African-Americans and conservatives into a single coalition (a far reach at best). If Jennings pulls over a significant number of minorities then it benefits the Republican candidate, Steve Kimatian (providing Kimatian and NOT Jennings with a narrow win). In a three way race, a divided Democratic base could surely cost Democratic City Councilwoman Stephanie Miner, yet Syracuse's reliable Democratic roots favor Miner, even with the mischief that Jennings has implemented.
Allentown, PA - There has been an online sex sting and Republican candidate Tony Phillips has been caught up in it. In September, Phillips had an online conversation with a married woman via Facebook chat. The conversation was not only very sexual, but also very explicit. There was early speculation that Phillips would drop out, yet he apologized and remains in the race. The incumbent Democratic mayor Ed Pawlowski denies that anyone in his campaign was behind the sting, yet it's hard to conclude otherwise. As an African-American, Phillips should be able to win over a few reliable Democratic voters, yet the loss of reliable Republican voters should be far greater than any gain in Democrats. Pawlowski should win overwhelmingly.
Atlanta, GA - The only certainty is that a Democrat will win, yet whether a runoff is avoided remains to be seen. The three leading candidates are State Senator Kasim Reed, City Council President Lisa Borders, and City Councilwoman Mary Norwood. Reed and Borders should easily split the African-American vote, thereby giving Norwood ample opportunity to cross the 50 plus one mark. If elected, Norwood would become the first non African-American mayor of Atlanta in forty years.
Atlantic City, NJ - In a city built around gambling, the major newspaper, The Press of Atlantic City, essentially told voters to take a gamble and endorsed none of the four candidates, stating that none had the qualities to lead the city into the future. The Republican candidate is a twenty-four year old novice. The Democratic incumbent is merely content with having a job, as his interview with the editorial board demonstrated, when asked what his greatest achievement was. His response: getting re-elected. The city is overwhelmingly Democratic and the city will suffer greatly due to a poorly qualified candidate (aka: the current mayor).
Boston, MA - Term limits mean nothing in Boston, especially considering that Thomas Menino, an Italian-American is seeking his fifth term in a city dominated by Irish residents. Meninos's opponent is a fellow Democrat, City Councilor Michael Flaherty. With a narrow second place finish Flaherty reached out to third place finisher Sam Yoon, who has since endorsed Flaherty. Combined they pulled in 45% of the vote during the primary. A recent poll indicates Menino has been slipping and Flaherty rising. An upset of Menino cannot be ruled out, yet it would indeed be astonishing.
Detroit, MI - While there is definately an anti-incumbent mood, this may be the exception. Current Democratic mayor David Bing leads hugely over fellow Democrat Tom Barrow. The only unknown is whether Bing will take more than double the votes that Barrow receives.
Houston, TX - The four-way race features three Democrats and one Republican. Recent polls show wealthy City Councilman Peter Brown narrowly leading City Controller Annise Parker, an openly gay candidate. Third place falls to former city attorney Gene Locke, an African-American candidate that has centered his race on reaching out to the large African-American population, yet early indicators show that he has been largely unsuccessful in this task, splitting much of this demographic with Brown. Roy Morales, a Hispanic Republican, is the final candidate. Morales has been reaching out to conservative Republicans, yet he should manage to bring in a few Hispanic voters as well (at least those that missed his video appearance where he sought to compare illegal immigrants with Al Qaeda). None of the four candidates has been inspiring and for the most part the race could be summed up in one word: boring. Brown and Parker are the only two with enough money to run television ads, while Locke and Morales are left with radio ads. Expect Brown and Parker to battle it out in a subsequent runoff.
Minneapolis, MN - What is certain is that incumbent Democratic mayor RT Rybak should win overwhelmingly. What is less certain is whether or not Republican Papa John Kolstad is an indicator of future Republican recruiters. If such is an indicator, then Democratic victories may be merely a walk in the park.
Pittsburgh, PA - Probably one of the strangest races (yet very little competitiveness involved). Democratic mayor Luke Ravenstahl should easily win, yet the real drama is between two third party candidates. Republican turned Independent Kevin Acklin used a Republican tactic and sought to have fellow independent Franco Harris removed from the ballot (no...this is not the legendary Steelers quarterback, rather its his son). Acklin argued that Harris, who petitioned his name onto the ballot, had invalid signatures from people whom either did not reside in the city or failed to include an address. A judge dismissed the complaint and the three-way race remains in play. Both independents have sought to portray Ravenstahl as corrupt, yet there is no sign of it working in this Democratic city. Ravenstahl's victory should be decisive, yet determining which of the two independents have "corruptisized" Ravenstahl's Wikipedia profile may be the only open mystery.
Seattle, WA - A race which has been close for months is finally showing favor toward one candidate. Mike McGinn and Joe Mallahan are both Democrats running on similar platforms: oppossing a tunnel which is set to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Incumbent mayor Greg Nickels lost due to his support for the tunnel. In the past week, McGinn who has run on a strong platform of oppossing the tunnel has had a somewhat change of heart. He now says he will support the recent 9-0 decision of the city council, even though he is adamantly opposed to the tunnel. The change of heart seems to have had a negative effect in polling, allowing Mallahan to pull slightly ahead. Both candidates are polled as being strong with certain demographic voters. Mallahan leads with Republicans, independents, women, and has a two point lead with Democrats. McGinn leads with liberals, younger voters, and Asian-Americans. Turnout will ultimately decide the victor, yet early indications show Mallahan with the edge. (One should note a poll two weeks before the primary showed Greg Nickels leading the pack, followed by Mallahan, and with McGinn at the very end of the pack. In the end McGinn surprised everyone and finished first in the primary).
Tacoma, WA - Unlike Seattle, this race has been uneventful. Two Democrats are battling it out to lead the city. Architect Jim Merritt has run a campaign focused on creating jobs. Councilwoman Marilyn Strickland is concentrating on reaching out to the Democratic base, particulary Asian-Americans. The major newspapers have endorsed Merritt and he seems to have a much organized campaign. A strong Merritt victory should be in the making.
York, PA - Forty years after a riot which resulted in the death of an African-American woman and the arrest of a former mayor in 2001, the city of York will elect its first African-American mayor. Both the Democratic and Republican candidates are African-American. The city is traditionally Democratic and should retain those roots, especially after the Republican candidate cited "the flu" in missing the only scheduled debate.
Races Already Decided:
Albuquerque, NM - On Oct. 6 the incumbent mayor Martin Chavez was defeated. Chavez, a Democrat, finished second behind Republican Richard Berry. The spoiler was fellow Democrat Richard Romero, a former State Senator. Combined the Democratic candidates received 46,598 votes to 36,466 for the Republican. A runoff was avoided since Berry captured 43.82% of the vote. City law required a runoff only if no candidate receives 40% of the vote.
While the city council will also be majority Republican for the first time, there should be little doubt that Albuquerque is still very much a Democratic city. The election of Berry was only possible due to the divided Democratic electorate. Without Romero, it is likely that Chavez, whose popularity began to dwindle, would have prevailed narrowly over Berry.
The election of Republican Berry is the first time in twenty-five years that a Republican will be leading Albuquerque. It's also the first time in twenty years that the mayor will not be of a Hispanic background.
Raleigh, NC - One of the few lucky incumbents was Democratic mayor Charles Meeker, who was re-elected to a fifth term with a whopping 62% of the vote over a very lackluster field of competitors.