Bernita Sims, the first black mayor of High Point, North Carolina



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Democratic mayors capture
most of America’s big cities

11 November 2012: On the same day as US President Barack Obama won a second term in office, mayoral elections were held in some 300 major US cities, with the Democrats scoring some notable successes. In San Diego, California, Bob Filner became the city’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years. In an extremely tight race, Filner defeated Republican Carl DeMaio, who, if successful, would have become the first openly gay Republican mayor of a major US city. Other Democratic wins were in Baton Rouge, LA; Honululu, HI and Portland, OR. Mesa, Arizona, re-elected its Republican mayor, while the Republican mayor of Virginia Beach will serve for another four years.

The Tea Party suffered a notable setback in Troy, Michigan. Janice Daniels, the conservative mayor, who made national headlines for her anti-gay comments, was voted out of office in a re-call election.

Result for major US cities
(Elections held on 6 November 2012)
• City
• State
• Population
New or, in red,
re-elected mayor
Comments
• Alexandria
• Virginia
• Popl: 140,000
William Euille Democrat, in office since 2003
• Ann Arbor
• Michigan
• Popl: 114,000
John Hieftje Democrat, in office since 2000
• Antioch
• California
• Popl: 102,000
Wade Harper Until the election vice mayor of Antioch
• Baton Rouge
• Louisiana
• Popl: 229,000
Melvin Holden Democrat, in office since 2005
• Bayamón
• Puerto Rico
• Popl: 214,000
Ramón Luis Rivera Cruz New Progressive Party, in office since 2001
• Berkeley
• California
• Popl: 112,000
Tom Bates Democrat, in office since 2002
• Carolina
• Puerto Rico
• Popl: 158,000
José Carlos Aponte Dalmau Popular Democratic Party, in office since 2007
• Chandler
• Arizona
• Popl: 236,000
Jay Tibshraeny Republican, Mayor from 1994 to 2002 and again since January 2011
• Coral Springs
• Florida
• Popl: 121,000
Vincent M. Boccard Commissioner in the city since 2006
• Elizabeth
• New Jersey
• Popl: 125,000
J Christian Bollwage
• Elk Grove
• California
• Popl: 153,000
Gary Davis Councillor Gary Davis became Elk Grove's first directly elected mayor after a landslide win
• Fremont
• California
• Popl: 214,000
Bill Harrison Councillor Bill Harrison won the city's top political seat with more than 35 per cent of the vote
• Garden Grove
• California
• Popl: 170,000
Bruce Broadwater Bruce Broadwater, who served 10 years as Garden Grove's mayor, will return to that post after an eight-year hiatus.
• Glendale
• Arizona
• Popl: 226,000
Jerry Weiers Outgoing Republican state lawmaker Jerry Weiers will lead Glendale as the city's first new mayor in two decades.
• High Point
• North Carolina
• Popl: 104,000
Bernita Sims Bernita Sims will be the city's first black mayor
• Hollywood
• Florida
• Popl: 141,000
Peter J.M. Bober Republican, in office since 2009
• Honolulu
• Hawaii
• Popl: 337,000
Kirk Caldwell Democrat, Acting mayor since 2010
• Irvine
• California
• Popl: 212,000
Steven Choi Republican, first Asia American elected onto the city council
• Mesa
• Arizona
• Popl: 439,000
Scott Smith Republican, Mayor since 2008
• Oceanside
• California
• Popl: 167,000,
Jim Wood Mayor since 2002
• Odessa
• Texas
• Popl: 100,000
David Turner As mayor, David Turner will serve a four-year term with the possibility of a second term
• Orange
• California
• Popl: 136,000
Teresa Smith Teresa Smith, who has long served the city in and out of the Council Chambers, captured 58 per cent of vote.
• Oxnard
• California
• Popl: 198,000
Tim Flynn Since 1993, Tim has taught German and Social Science. He served on the Oxnard City Council from 2004-2008. In 2008, he ran and lost a bid to be mayor in Oxnard.
• Palm Bay
• Florida
• Popl: 103,000
William Capote A Cuban-American, originally from New Jersey, resident of Palm Bay for more than 17 years.
• Pomon
• California
• Popl: 149,000
Elliott Rothman
• Ponce
• Puerto Rico
• Popl: 133,000
María Meléndez Altieri New Progresive Party, in office since 2009
• Portland
• Oregon
• Popl: 584,000
Charlie Hales Portland city Commissioner from 1992 to 2002
• Richmond
• Virginia
• Popl: 204,000
Dwight Jones Democrat, in office since 2009
• Riverside
• California
• Popl: 304,000
Rusty Bailey
• Salem
• Oregon
• Popl: 155,000
Anna M Peterson In office since January 2011
• Salinas
• California
• Popl: 150,000
Joe Gunter Joe Gunter, a longtime Salinas police officer will replace outgoing mayor Dennis Donohue, who did not seek re-election.
• San Diego
• California
• Popl: 1,307,000
Bob Filner Republican city councillor Carl DeMaio conceded defeat in a tight contest that would have made him the first openly gay Republican mayor of a major US city. His opponent, veteran congressman Bob Filner, became first Democratic mayor in 20 years.
• San Juan
• Puerto Rico
• Popl: 382,000
Carmen Yulin Cruz Affiliated to the Popular Democratic Party, the new mayor seeks greater independence from the US
• Santa Ana
• California
• Popl: 324,000
Miguel A. Pulido Democrat, in office since 1994
• Simi Valley
• California
• Popl: 124,000
Bob Huber In office since November 2010
• Stockton
• California
• Popl: 291,000
Anthony Silva Challenger Anthony Silva has won the race for Stockton mayor over incumbent Ann Johnston, signaling that residents could be hungry for change in a city beset by a record number of murders and bankruptcy.
• Thousand Oaks
• California
• Popl: 127,000
Jacqui V. Irwin
• Virginia Beach
• Virginia
• Popl: 438,000
William Sessoms Republican, in office since 2009. Vice Mayor from 1992 to 2002

Notable Democratic victories
• Mayor Kip Holden was elected to a third term in Baton Rouge, LA.
• Mayor Bill Euille was re-elected for another term in Alexandria, VA.
• Mayor Dwight Jones was re-elected for another term in Richmond, VA.
• Mayor John Hieftje was re-elected Mayor in Ann Arbor, MI.
• Former Congressman Bob Filner won his bid for Mayor in San Diego, CA.
• Billy Kenoi was elected Mayor of Hilo, HI
• Kirk Caldwell was elected Mayor of Honolulu, HI
• Dennis Williams was elected as a successor to Mayor Baker in Wilmington, DE.
• Charlie Hales was elected as a successor to Mayor Sam Adams in Portland, OR.

Notable defeat for the Tea Party
The conservative mayor of Troy, Michigan, who made national headlines for her anti-gay comments, was voted out of office after a successful movement to have a recall vote was put on the ballot. Janice Daniels, a self-professed member of the Tea Party, was removed from office. Fifty-two per cent of voters supported the recall, which was launched in December because of her homophobic statements.

In June 2011, Daniels took to Facebook and wrote: "I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there." Six months after the controversial comment and after she became the mayor of Troy, the media spotlight was put on Daniels for her homophobic statement but instead of apologising she doubled up on defending her remarks. "It’s my personal belief that marriage is between one man and one woman," she said. "I love people, but I want to acknowledge my First Amendment right to speak freely. I know that as mayor, I represent all of the people in this city.

"Not long after, Daniels was fired from her day job as a realtor for Century 21. A spokeswoman for the company said they could not hire anyone "who would be capable of such insensitivity to the gay and lesbian community." Daniels, however, continued in her second job as mayor of the Eastern Michigan city, which has a population of nearly 81,000 and is located 22 miles north of Detroit.




Charlie Hales takes over as Democratic mayor of Portland, Oregon


On other pages
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