More than 300 cities will hold mayoral elections, including the nation’s fourth and fifth largest cities of Houston and Philadelphia. In Houston’s nonpartisan election, seven candidates are seeking to succeed term-limited Mayor Annise Parker. In Philadelphia, where Democrats hold a 7-to-1 voter registration edge over Republicans, Democratic nominee Jim Kenney is the favorite to succeed term-limited Mayor Michael Nutter.
Other large cities holding mayoral elections include San Francisco and Indianapolis, Columbus, Ohio, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
In Salt Lake City, two-term incumbent Mayor Ralph Becker is facing a challenge from former state lawmaker Jackie Biskupski, who would become the city’s first openly gay mayor if elected.
The battle over marijuana shifts to Ohio, where a ballot initiative would legalize the recreational use of pot by adults 21 and older and allow for medicinal use by others. The initiative would authorize 10 particular facilities to grow marijuana. A separate measure, referred to the ballot by legislators, seeks to nullify the marijuana proposal by adopting a ban on constitutional amendments that create an economic monopoly.
Colorado voters, who approved the recreational use of marijuana in 2012, must now decide what to do with about $66 million of marijuana tax revenues. If approved, a ballot measure would let the state spend the money on schools and other projects. If rejected, the money would be returned to taxpayers and marijuana growers, and the pot sales tax would be temporarily rolled back. A state law requires new tax revenues to be refunded when overall state income exceeds projections.
Houston voters will decide whether to grant non-discrimination protections for gay and transgender people. The referendum on a city ordinance originally passed last year has drawn support from the White House and Apple Inc. Opponents include a coalition of conservative pastors who contend it would infringe on their religious beliefs against homosexuality. With same-sex marriage now legal nationwide, nondiscrimination laws have become the new priority for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups.