Tuesday’s runoff in the Los Angeles mayoral race will usher in a new generation of big city leadership in the country’s second largest city, but many other key posts around the country will all be up for grabs this year–some for the first time in a generation. Some take on higher prominence because of their financial situation, while some capitals have become emerging cities on the mayor’s watch. It will be an exciting year for mayor’s races across the country, and here’s The Daily Rundown’s list of the top five to watch:
1. New York City – The Big Apple contest is unsurprisingly the top of our list, and it looks like the race is about to get even more interesting with former Rep. Anthony Weiner set to announce his own political comeback attempt this week.
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn remains the favorite and has led in the latest polls, but Weiner, who resigned from Congress two years ago after he inadvertently sent lewd pictures and messages out via Twitter, starts in second. Other top city officials are already campaigning, including Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller Bill Thompson.
The September 10 Democratic primary–and likely runoff two weeks later if no single candidate captures 40% of the vote–is where the real race happens in this left-leaning city. Can Weiner rehabilitate himself before then, or has he jumped back into the public spotlight too soon? Quinn is still the frontrunner, and if elected she would mark several firsts for the country’s most populous metro area: the first woman, but also the city’s first openly gay mayor.
2. Detroit – Democratic Mayor Dave Bing announced last week he won’t seek a second term, which was no surprise given the city’s mounting financial problems and as the state seized control of its capital city.
Bing was already trailing for reelection in early polls, behind both Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon and former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan, who would be the majority black city’s first white mayor in more than four decades.
More than 20 candidates want the job, even though the mayor’s powers have been reduced considerably in the wake of the financial mess, with an emergency manager now wielding most of the control over City Hall.
An August 6 primary will send the top two finishers to the final round in November.
3. Boston – Tom Menino said earlier this year that he won’t seek a sixth term after more than two decades in office, setting up a scramble to claim the reigns at City Hall. The city’s longest serving mayor, his successor already had big shoes to fill, and the contest is sure to be even more high profile now in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.
More than two dozen candidates have shown early interest, with state Rep. Martin Walsh and Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley already filing petitions. As with New York, the date to watch here is the September 24 open primary, and the two vote-getters will square off on November 5. With such a rare open seat race, this may be one of the most exciting 2013 races in the country, but is narrowly behind Detroit thanks to the Michigan city’s financial woes. Still, expect it to be a busy and bruising summer of campaigning in Beantown.
4. Charlotte, N.C. – With Mayor Anthony Foxx awaiting confirmation as the next U.S. Transportation Secretary, the race to succeed him becomes even more high-profile. Foxx said three weeks before he was nominated to the cabinet that he would not seek re-election. And there’s already a crowded field lining up to replace him.
Early Democratic names include state Sens. Malcolm Graham and Dan Clodfelter, both city council members, along with state Rep. Becky Carney, a former Mecklenburg County Commissioner. Charlotte Mayor pro tem Patrick Cannon also appears interested. While the Democrat would be favored, it’s not necessarily a guarantee they’ll win. Current GOP Gov. Pat McCrory was mayor before he became governor this year, and several Republican names are also mentioned. Filing for the race doesn’t start until July.
The party primaries are September 10, with runoffs to follow on October 8 if no candidate reaches 45%.
5. Minneapolis – Democrat R.T. Rybak is another big city mayor who’s been in the national spotlight with close ties to the president, but he announced earlier this year he wouldn’t seek a fourth term. It’s a crowded race for Democrats: former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrew and former City Council President Jackie Cherryhomes are in, along with three city council members–Betsy Hodges, Don Samuels, and Gary Schiff. Attorney Cam Winton, a Democrat-turned-Republican, is running as an independent.
This is an all-party race with an instant runoff, but getting the DFL endorsement at the June convention is a boost for any candidate, though that doesn’t necessarily guarantee other candidates would drop out.