The Key Mayoral Races on the Ballot in the 2023 Off-Year Elections

Voters across the country will head to the polls to determine the leaders of several of America’s largest cities next week.


Voters across the country will head to the polls to determine the leaders of several of America’s largest cities next week. While Democrats are favored, the Republican and Democratic candidates are neck-and-neck in the race to lead a key county in the premier swing state.

  • Progressives are hoping to build on their successes in the mayoral races held earlier this year.
    • Democrats took control of Jacksonville City Hall in May after Democrat Donna Deagan, a reporter, defeated Republican Daniel Davis in the race to succeed GOP Mayor Lenny Curry. 
    • Left-wing candidate Brandon Johnson beat moderate Paul Vallas to become Chicago’s new mayor back in April.
    • In Nashville, progressive metro councilman Freddie O’Connell defeated a wide field of candidates to replace mayor John Cooper, a more moderate Democrat.
    • Lincoln, Nebraska mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird, a Democrat, turned back a challenge from Republican lawmaker Suzanne Geist. 
  • In Houston, America’s fourth largest city, voters will be selecting the replacement for term-limited mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat. John Whitmire, a longtime Democratic state senator, is one of the two leading frontrunners to succeed Turner. 
  • His chief rival is Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a veteran Congresswoman whose campaign has been rocked by the release of a secret audio recording. In the clip, Lee can be heard profanely lecturing a member of her staff over a minor lapse of memory. 
  • The heavy favorite to become the next mayor of Philadelphia is former city councilwoman Cherelle Parker. Parker, who has pledged to support tougher law enforcement policies, defeated a wide field of candidates in the Democratic primary in the race to lead America’s sixth largest city. Her Republican opponent, former councilman David Oh, is a considerable underdog. 
  • Republicans are putting up a stronger-than-expected challenge in the race for chief executive of Allegheny County, the second-most populous county in Pennsylvania and the home of Pittsburgh. The race for the most powerful job in Western Pennsylvania is an open seat contest after the retirement of three-term incumbent Rich Fitzgerald. 
  • Four recent polls have found state Rep. Sara Innamurato, the Democratic nominee and a self-described democratic socialist, leading Republican Joe Rockey, a retired banker, by a one to seven-point margin in a county where Democrats hold a two-to-one registration advantage.

reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • The New York Times covered the mayoral election in one Texas town of 15,000: Uvalde, site of the horrific 2022 Robb Elementary shooting that left 19 children and 2 teachers dead. Kimberly Mata-Rubio, the mother of 12-year-old victim Lexi Rubio, is running for mayor against a local pol and an art teacher. 
  • Axios covered the major clashes of the Philadelphia mayoral debate, where Democrat Cherelle Parker and Republican David Oh disagreed on how to improve public safety. Parker wants to bring back “stop and frisk,” but Oh opposes it as “regressive.” The two canddiates also disagreed on the future location of the 76ers arena. 
  • According to CBS News, the races for Allegheny County executive and district attorney are “truly up for grabs” with less than two weeks to go until Election Day. Both contests feature a unabashedly progressive Democratic nominee and a moderate Republican candidate.



  • According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Rockey “has done just about everything a Republican can do to win an election in Allegheny County. But it might not be enough to push him over the finish line” to become the first Republican elected county executive since 1999. 
  • Breitbart covered the “polarizing” involvement of a local Moms for Liberty chapter in the mayoral election in Carmel, Indiana. The Democratic nominee has denounced the group as part of his platform and demanded his Republican opponent do the same. 
  • The New York Post reported on the startling accusations roiling a New York City Council race. Michael Bistreich, a former city council aide with autism has accused Democratic councilman Justin Brannan of verbal abuse and is backing GOP councilman Ari Kagan. Kagan and Brannan are squaring off in a rare incumbent-vs.-incumbent matchup after redistricting.


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© Dominic Moore, 2023