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Key Mayoral Races

In addition to New York City, a number of other major US cities are voting for mayors in 2021. Places like St. Louis, San Antonio and Omaha already picked their mayors in the spring, but November will see notable contests in every time zone from coast to coast. These are key races to watch in some of the largest metropolitan regions in America.

Albuquerque

The largest city in New Mexico has more than a half million residents and is the fourth largest city in the southwest behind Phoenix, Las Vegas and El Paso, Texas. There are three candidates on the ballot: incumbent Democrat Tim Keller, who was first elected in 2017; Republican Eddy Aragon, a radio talk show host; and Democrat Manny Gonzales, the Bernalillo County Sheriff. Republican Patrick Sais is also running as a write-in candidate. If no candidate gets 50% plus one vote, then there will be a runoff on December 7.

State of the race
Polls closed at 7 p.m. local (9 p.m. ET).

UPDATE - 1:57 a.m. ET - CNN can project that Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller will win a second term and avoid a runoff. The Bernalillo County clerk has results here.

Atlanta

Fourteen contenders are vying to succeed Democratic Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who chose to not run for reelection after a year dealing with vandalism that followed demonstrations over George Floyd’s death and Atlanta’s alarming rise in violent crime, which she framed as a “Covid crime wave.” The vote is the first since the Republican-controlled state legislature passed sweeping changes to election laws that imposed significant new obstacles to voting – offering a window into whether restrictions could impact turnout in the state in 2022 and 2024. The leading candidates – including former Mayor Kasim Reed, City Council President Felicia Moore and Councilman Andre Dickens – have put Atlanta’s crime rate at the forefront of their campaigns. If no candidate receives at least 50% plus one vote, then there will be a runoff on November 30.

State of the race
Polls closed at 8 p.m. ET. Fulton County and DeKalb County have the results.

UPDATE - 1:07 a.m. ET Wednesday - CNN projects the Atlanta mayoral election will go to a runoff. Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore, who currently leads the race against more than a dozen other candidates, will be a candidate for the runoff election on November 30.

UPDATE - 1:00 p.m. ET Friday - Moore will face Andre Dickens in the runoff after Kasim Reed conceded on Thursday.

Boston

Boston will make history – regardless of who wins on Tuesday – with the election of a woman of color after a long history of White male mayors. Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu, an advocate of progressive policies, faces more politically moderate rival Annissa Essaibi George, a city councilor-at-large. Both women have highlighted their family roots as the daughter of immigrants. Wu finished ahead of Essaibi George in September’s preliminary municipal election, but both women dispatched other candidates including Acting Mayor Kim Janey, who replaced Marty Walsh to become the city’s first Black mayor and first woman mayor when Walsh became President Joe Biden’s Labor Secretary in March. Essaibi George appealed to centrist voters in that initial round, and has criticized some of Wu’s ideas as too unrealistic and expensive, but recent polls have shown Wu opening a lead with the left of center electorate.

State of the race
UPDATE - 1:57 a.m. ET - CNN can project that Michelle Wu will be the next mayor of Boston. Her opponent, Annissa Essaibi George, conceded earlier in the evening with a large share of the vote still waiting to be counted. “I want to offer a great big congratulations to Michelle Wu,” Essaibi George said to a crowd of supporters at her Election Night party. “She’s the first woman and first Asian American elected to be mayor of Boston.” The city has results here.

Buffalo

Democratic Socialist India Walton defeated four-term incumbent mayor Byron Brown in Buffalo’s Democratic primary in June. She could become the first socialist mayor of a major American city in more than 60 years in a rematch with Brown, in which he is running as a write-in candidate. The race has attracted national attention as a proxy battle between progressives and moderates over the direction of the party in New York.

State of the race
UPDATE - 2:37 a.m. ET - Buffalo’s incumbent Mayor Byron Brown declared victory Tuesday night in his write-in campaign for a fifth term. Brown lost the Democratic primary earlier this year to self-described Socialist India Walton. As of 12:30 a.m. ET, about 59% of votes had been cast for write-in candidates, and 41% had gone for Walton. Brown’s campaign likely accounts for the strong showing for write-in candidates on the ballot, but Erie County won’t begin to tabulate the write-in votes until November 17. That makes it impossible to say definitively who those voters wrote in, despite Brown’s victory declaration.

Cincinnati

While the city itself is home to just more than 300,000 residents, the greater Cincinnati metropolitan region includes more than two million people in three states (Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky). Longtime city councilman and one-time US Rep. David Mann, who served briefly as mayor in the 1980s and 1990s, is facing Aftab Pureval, the Hamilton County clerk of courts. The two Democrats emerged as the top candidates in a nonpartisan primary in May 2021. The generational split – between the 39-year-old Pureval and Mann, 82 – emerged as a flashpoint in their September debate, where the Cincinnati Enquirer noted that Mann described his rival’s job as “not terribly important,” adding “Sometimes it seems to me like the clerk is over here saying, ‘Look, I’ve flown a kite and now it’s time for me to take the controls of a 747.’”

State of the race
UPDATE - 10:24 p.m. ET - Aftab Pureval will win the Cincinnati mayoral race, CNN projects. His opponent, David Mann, wrote in a tweet conceding the race, “Congratulations to Aftab on his well-deserved victory. I have spoken with him and wish him nothing but the best, and it has been the honor of my lifetime to serve this community as a councilman, mayor, and member of congress throughout my career. Thank you, Cincinnati!”

The Hamilton County Board of Elections has results here.

Cleveland

The city has a population of nearly 400,000 people and the larger region that stretches an hour south to Akron and Canton is home to more than 3.5 million. Incumbent Mayor Frank Jackson, first elected in 2005, declined to run for a fifth term. Democrats Justin Bibb, a nonprofit executive, and Kevin Kelley, the Cleveland city council president, emerged from September’s nonpartisan primary in which former presidential candidate and US Rep. Dennis Kucinich (who was previously elected as mayor at age 31, serving from 1977 to 1979) finished in third place. Voters will also weigh in on a ballot initiative that would establish a new civilian commission with final authority over the police department’s policy and procedures, hiring and training, and disciplinary action.

State of the race
UPDATE - 11:17 p.m. ET - CNN projects Justin Bibb will win the Cleveland mayoral race. The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has results here.

UPDATE - 1:57 a.m. ET - CNN projects that Cleveland voters have approved a ballot measure that will restructure police oversight.

Detroit

Michigan’s largest city is home to more than 600,000 residents and the larger region (referred to locally as Metro Detroit) includes more than 4 million people. Incumbent Mayor Mike Duggan is seeking a third term against fellow Democrat Anthony Adams, who previously served as a deputy mayor and as the city’s school board president. The two candidates received the most votes in a nonpartisan August primary. Detroit will also vote on two notable ballot questions: one about establishing a task force that would recommend housing and economic programs to “address historical discrimination against the Black community” and another about decriminalizing the possession and therapeutic use of entheogenic plants by adults.

State of the race
UPDATE - 1:20 a.m. ET - CNN projects incumbent Mayor Mike Duggan will be reelected to a third term in Detroit. The city clerk’s office has results here.

Miami

Florida’s second-largest city has less than half a million residents, but the Miami metropolitan region is home to more than 6 million. Incumbent Mayor Francis Suarez, a Republican, faces several challengers in the nonpartisan race. Suarez is the son of a former two-term mayor and has been critical at times of two Florida GOP heavyweights – Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump. In an April interview with the New York Times, he acknowledged meeting with former UN ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a potential future presidential candidate, and didn’t deny interest in being her running mate if asked.

State of the race
UPDATE - 9:14 p.m. ET - CNN projects Mayor Francis Suarez will remain mayor of Miami. Miami-Dade County is posting results here.

Minneapolis

The Minneapolis mayor’s race has touched on issues like affordable housing, the climate crisis and rent control, but the debate has centered on the historic problems faced by the city’s police department and the question of how to make police more accountable to residents. Incumbent Democratic Mayor Jacob Frey is fending off challenges from 16 candidates. The election will use ranked choice voting and it’s likely no one will get 50% plus one in the first round. The most progressive candidates and allied groups have increasingly framed the race as a referendum on Frey’s handling of the city’s police department and whether he did enough to rein in what critics perceive as over-policing by the department before George Floyd’s death. Progressives have championed Sheila Nezhad, a community organizer, and former state Rep. Kate Knuth, both of whom have the backing of US Rep. Ilhan Omar and have joined forces to encourage voters not to rank Frey on their ballots.

State of the race
UPDATE - 2:34 p.m. ET Wednesday - Minneapolis election officials reported that Mayor Jacob Frey will be reelected, based on unofficial results of ranked-choice tabulation. Former Minnesota state Rep. Kate Knuth finished with the second most votes in the final round, according to the unofficial data.

UPDATE - 10:10 p.m. ET Tuesday - A referendum that would have significantly overhauled policing in Minneapolis has failed, CNN projects. Minneapolis Question 2 would have created a Department of Public Safety, eliminated a requirement on the number of officers the city must have and split control of the new department between the city council and the mayor.

Pittsburgh

The second-largest city in Pennsylvania (after Philadelphia) is home to about 300,000 residents within the city limits and roughly 3 million people in the greater metro region. Two-term incumbent Bill Peduto lost the Democratic primary for renomination in May to state Rep. Ed Gainey, who will be the city’s first Black mayor if he wins. Gainey faces Tony Moreno, a former police detective who also lost the Democratic primary but received enough write-in votes to secure the Republican nomination.

State of the race
UPDATE - 9:17 p.m. ET - CNN projects Democrat Ed Gainey will be the next mayor of Pittsburgh. Allegheny County has results here.

Seattle

Seattle City Council President Lorena Gonzalez and her predecessor Bruce Harrell face off to be the next mayor of Washington’s largest city, which has a population of roughly 750,000 inside the city and 4 million in the metro area. The two Democrats emerged as the top candidates in August’s nonpartisan primary after first-term Mayor Jenny Durkan declined to run again.

State of the race
UPDATE - 1:20 a.m. ET - CNN projects Bruce Harrell will be the next mayor of Seattle. King County has results here.

Notes:

  • All times ET.
  • Not all candidates are listed.
  • CNN will broadcast a projected winner only after an extensive review of data from a number of sources.
  • “Flipped seat” denotes a race where the projected winner is from a different party than the previous winner or incumbent.