Yes, There Are Elections in 2021

While much of America is suffering from election fatigue after a very long and bitter presidential contest, the action is not over yet. In states and cities around the country, dozens of elections will be held in 2021. There will likely be some special elections for Congress, too.

That means that many companies, associations and nonprofits will continue their election efforts, registering voters, providing education and helping people cast a ballot. To help your program keep track of the action next year, here’s a summary of the elections ahead in 2021.

Georgia Runoffs 

This one is obvious. All eyes are on Georgia’s two Senate runoff elections, which will determine which party controls the upper chamber. More than 2 million early votes have already been cast. Election Day in Georgia is Tuesday, Jan. 5 and it is not too late to put together a Get Out The Vote plan using your Phone2Action Civic Action Center.

Republican incumbent U.S. Senator David Perdue is running for reelection against Democrat Jon Ossoff. Perdue garnered 88,000 more votes than Ossoff in the general election, but he did not surpass 50 percent required by the state to avoid a runoff. Perdue began the runoff campaign with a 4-point polling advantage, according to FiveThirtyEight, but the race’s margin has shrunk and is now considered a toss-up.

In the other race, appointed Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, who filled the remainder of Johnny Isakson’s term, is running against Rev. Raphael Warnock. Warnock received the most votes of any candidate in the Nov 3 Special Election, but far from the 50 percent required, because many Democrats were running. Loeffler finished second, splitting the Republican vote with Doug Collins and others. Polling also shows this race as a toss-up, but currently Warnock holds a slight polling advantage.

Democrats must win both seats if they are to gain control of the U.S. Senate, which would allow Vice President Kamala Harris to break a 50-50 tie. The races will come down turn-out. Georgia Democrats are hoping that the coalition that gave Joe Biden a victory in the state holds and that new voters put them over the top in both races. Georgia Republicans are concerned that mixed messages will keep some of their voters home.

If your organization wants to be part of the conversation, you can engage with your Georgia advocates to get them the information that they need to vote on or before Jan. 5.

What will happen is unknown, but what is known is that your organization has other important races to watch—and perhaps get involved with—beyond the Georgia runoffs.

Federal Elections

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced recently that California Secretary of State Alex Padilla will serve the remaining two-years of Kamala Harris’ Senate term. A handful of other California elected officials were discussed for the position, such as Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA 37), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA 13). By selecting Sec. Padilla, California will have its first hispanic U.S. Senator—and a special election was prevented.

However, the Biden Administration has tapped three House members to fulfill senior White House or Administration roles. Special elections will be held to fill the seats. In the coming year, special elections are expected in Louisiana, New Mexico and Ohio.

  • Louisiana Special Election. Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA 2) will resign from his current office on Jan. 20 to serve in the Biden administration as Director of the Office of Public Liaison and a Senior Advisor to the president. The special election to replace Richmond is expected to take place some time in March. While there are many potential candidates expected to run, three confirmed candidates are state Senator Karen Carter Peterson, state Senator Troy Carter and Baton Rouge political activist Gary Chambers. Richmond’s White House position will not require confirmation in the U.S. Senate.
  • New Mexico Special Election. Rep. Debra Haaland (D-NM 1) has been nominated as Secretary of the Interior. Two candidates have emerged to replace her, both of whom will run in a March special election: State Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, who also ran for the seat in 2018, and State Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-NM 28), who has held the seat since 2019. There are more than 10 other potential candidates who might run in the election. Haaland will stand for Senate confirmation. If confirmed, she will be the first Native American to serve as Secretary of the Interior.
  • Ohio Special Election. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH 11) is Biden’s state nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. It is unclear when the special election to fill her vacancy will take place but several candidates have already declared their intention to run, including Cuyahoga County Council member and chair of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Shontel Brown; former state Senator and current City Council Member in Cleveland, Jeff Johnson; and Nina Turner, a former state Senator and Cleveland City Council member and current president of Our Revolution, a progressive political action organization. 
  • Louisiana Special Election Representative-elect Luke Letlow of Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District passed away from the coronavirus at age 41, on December 29. Gov. John Bel Edwards is expected to call a special election to take place on March 20 to fill the late Rep.-elect Letlow’s seat.

State Elections

New Jersey and Virginia are the two states that will be holding gubernatorial and other statewide elections in 2021. Both states will; hold primaries June 8 and general elections Nov. 2. 

In New Jersey, incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy will seek reelection. There are currently three candidates running in opposition: Jack Clattarelli (R), Hirsh Singh (R) and Justin Maldonado (I). Members of the state Senate and General Assembly will also be on the ballot.

In Virginia, incumbent Gov. Ralph Northam will not be running again due to term limits. A number of candidates have already announced their intention to run, including Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, former governor and DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe, Jennifer Carroll Foy (D), Jennifer McClellan (D), Kirk Cox (R), and Amanda Chase (R). Elections for Virginia’s House of Delegates will also be on the ballot.

Mayoral Elections

There will be many high-profile local elections in 2021. 

The largest Mayoral race will be in New York City. Favored candidates include NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, New School professor and civil rights attorney Maya Wiley, and former-Obama HUD Secretary and OMB Director Shaun Donovan. Presidential candidate Andrew Yang recently gained headlines by filing paperwork to run as well.

Many other local elections will get your advocates to the polls or voting early in 2021, including those in Albany, NY; Rochester, NY; Buffalo, NY; Hoboken, NJ; Atlantic City, NJ; Jersey City, NJ; Cleveland, OH; Cincinnati, OH; San Antonio, TX; Fort Worth, TX; Miami, FL; St. Petersburg, FL.; Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; Boston, MA; Burlington, VT; Charlotte, NC; Detroit, MI; Jackson, MS; Minneapolis, MN; New Orleans, LA; Omaha, NE; Pittsburg, PA; ; Seattle, WA; and St. Louis, MO.



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