Mayoral Elections in Kentucky: 2010-2014
Marschall, Melissa; Lappie, John
Political observers’ assumptions about local election trends are often based on anecdotes, incomplete observation or simply conventional wisdom. However, the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and its Center for Local Elections in American Politics offer a first-of-its-kind way to analyze elections. Mayoral elections in Kentucky, perhaps because they are held in Novembers of even-numbered years, tend to have respectable voter turnout rates. However, there is an alarming lack of competition in Kentucky mayoral elections; well over half of mayoral elections were uncontested between 2010 and 2014. Even when there is more than one candidate, mayoral elections tend not to be close. Kentucky policymakers would be well advised to take steps to rectify this situation.
Under Kentucky law, each of the state’s 425 cities must have a directly elected mayor. But this analysis shows that 57.6 percent of mayoral races there went unopposed. Unopposed elections are especially prevalent in the suburban communities of the Louisville metro, where 85 percent of mayoral elections in that area are unopposed.