November 5, 2013 / 2:22 PM / 6 years ago

Factbox: Mayoral races around U.S. quirky, serious and hard-fought

(Reuters) - Voters around the United States will choose mayors on Tuesday, from a closely contested race in Boston to a runaway in New York to one in Pittsburgh where the challenger is living overseas.

Thirty-five candidates are running in Minneapolis, and in Detroit the mayor will serve under a state-appointed emergency manager.

Here is a brief look at some of the races:

ATLANTA - Incumbent Mayor Kasim Reed is expected to win a second four-year term as he faces three challengers with little name recognition or money in Atlanta’s nonpartisan race. Reed, endorsed last week by President Barack Obama, has touted his hiring of more police officers and reform of the city’s pension system. His challengers are certified mediator Al Bartell, financial planner Fraser Duke and consultant Glenn Wrightson.

BOSTON - Boston’s most competitive mayoral race in more than two decades was a dead heat going into Election Day, pitting City Councilor John Connolly against state Representative Marty Walsh. Connolly, a former teacher, has campaigned on a pledge to improve the city’s schools. Walsh has the backing of the city’s labor unions. Both are Democrats, competing in the city’s nonpartisan election to succeed incumbent Thomas Menino, who opted against seeking re-election after 20 years in office.

BUFFALO - In an election notable for not having a white person on the ballot, two-term incumbent Byron Brown, a Democrat and the city’s first black mayor, faces Republican challenger Sergio Rodriguez, a former U.S. Marine born in the Dominican Republic. In endorsing Brown, the Buffalo news called him a “competent mayor” who “could be a better leader.” The editorial called Rodriguez “too green for this position.”

CHARLOTTE - A rare open-seat mayoral election in North Carolina’s largest city will decide the elected successor for Anthony Foxx, who in July joined President Barack Obama’s cabinet as U.S. Transportation Secretary. Mayor Pro-tem Patrick Cannon, a Democrat, has a political edge in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1. But Republican Edwin Peacock, a former city councilman, has received help from the state and national parties, which are keen to get a head start on voter turnout as they aim to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan next year.

CINCINNATI - John Cranley and Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls are running to succeed Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, limited to two successive terms in office. Cranley, who served on the city council for nearly a decade, is a real estate attorney and was a co-founder and former director of the Ohio Innocence Project that aims to exonerate the wrongly convicted through DNA testing. Qualls, who served as mayor in the 1990s, returned to the city council in 2007 and has focused on improving neighborhoods and public transportation.

CLEVELAND - Incumbent Mayor Frank Jackson is seeking a third term against fellow Democrat Kenneth Lanci, a businessman who is considered a longshot. However, Lanci has received the endorsement from the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association, the officers’ union. With a slogan “together we will do better,” Lanci, who is white, has courted the inner-city black vote while driving his luxury Bentley car through the poor areas of Cleveland. Jackson is black.

DETROIT - In the city that has filed for an historic bankruptcy with $18 billion of debt, Detroit voters have a choice between Mike Duggan, a former chief executive of a Detroit hospital, and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. Duggan is widely expected to win, which would make him Detroit’s first white mayor since 1974. Whoever prevails will take office under Kevyn Orr, the emergency manager appointed in March by Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder to tackle Detroit’s fiscal crisis.

HOUSTON - Incumbent Annise Parker, the city’s first openly gay mayor, is seeking a third and final term, facing challenges from eight candidates including attorney Ben Hall. Both Hall and Parker are Democrats, although Hall has portrayed himself as more fiscally conservative. The most recent poll by KHOU-TV and Houston Public Radio in September had Parker leading Hall 34 percent to 14 percent, with nearly half of respondents undecided. To avoid a runoff in December, the leading candidate would need more than 50 percent of the vote.

MIAMI - Cuban-American Mayor Tomas Regalado is running for re-election virtually unopposed. Regalado survived a rough first term that saw property values and his city budget plummet due to the recession, and a public battle with a police chief over a series of police shootings of mostly unarmed black men. Also on the ballot is a referendum on whether to raise property taxes to fund $830 million in upgrades and new equipment and facilities for the county’s public hospital network, Jackson Health System, the state’s largest public hospital.

MINNEAPOLIS - Thirty-five candidates are on the ballot to succeed R.T. Rybak, who opted against seeking a fourth term as mayor of Minnesota’s largest city. There are no clear favorites among the candidates who include current and former council members, private business owners and workers, retirees and activists. Issues include a proposed light rail expansion, reintroduction of trolleys, construction of a new football stadium and ways to reduce crime and property taxes. Voters rank their top three preferences in order, and should none of the 35 candidates receive a majority on Tuesday, election officials will start determining a winner on Wednesday based on the second- and third-choice votes.

NEW YORK - Democrat Bill de Blasio faces the challenge of high expectations as much as Republican Joe Lhota, with de Blasio holding at least a 40-point lead in public opinion polls in the race to succeed Michael Bloomberg, who is stepping down after 12 years in office. De Blasio won a hotly contested Democratic primary by running against Bloomberg’s record on crime-fighting and economic inequality.

PITTSBURGH - Bill Peduto won the Democratic primary and is expected to defeat Republican perennial candidate Josh Wander, who is currently living in Israel. A union town, Pittsburgh is a Democratic stronghold and outgoing Democratic Mayor Luke Ravenstahl could have run for re-election but decided against it. Ravenstahl was 26 seven years ago when Mayor Bob O’Connor died suddenly and Ravenstahl became the youngest mayor of any major city in the country. Known for his youthful hijinks, including public intoxication, he is currently trying to secure his legacy on Twitter using the hashtag #7yearsofsuccesses while his administration fields questions from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in an investigation shrouded in secrecy.

SEATTLE - Mayor Mike McGinn is facing a serious challenge from fellow left-leaning Democrat Ed Murray, who promises a more inclusive governing style. Polls have consistently shown Murray, the leader of the state Senate Democrats who helped shepherd the passage of gay marriage legislation last year, with a sizable lead over McGinn, a former Sierra Club executive who rides his bike to work. Murray would be Seattle’s first openly gay mayor.

Reporting by David Beasley, Scott Malone, Daniel Trotta, Colleen Jenkins, David Bailey, Kim Palmer, Andrea Lorenz Nenque, David Adams, David Bailey, Elizabeth Daley and Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Maureen Bavdek

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