Elections we’re watching in San Francisco and across the nation

Trayvon Thompson, 17, left, helps a voter use an electronic voting machine at the Schiller Recreation Center polling station Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio. Voters in Ohio are deciding whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

Trayvon Thompson, 17, left, helps a voter use an electronic voting machine at the Schiller Recreation Center polling station Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio. Voters in Ohio are deciding whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

(John Minchillo / Associated Press)

San Francisco’s housing measures

The top-of-the-ticket race in San Francisco looks like it’s going to be a snoozer. Mayor Ed Lee, who has spent 30 times more than all his opponents combined, is expected to win reelection handily.

But some other high-profile ballot issues are drawing out voters in the City by the Bay on Tuesday.

The most contentious of the nearly dozen measures is Proposition F, known locally as the Airbnb Initiative. The proposed law would put a 75-day limit on all short-term rentals, such as the ones listed on lodging website Airbnb. Currently, San Franciscans are limited to renting their units to 90 days per year if they are not present during the stay.

This is an issue that many cities, including Santa Monica, have struggled with recently. Airbnb and other opponents have raised nearly $8.4 million to fight the measure and have even mounted a campaign of provocative billboards that drew anger from locals. Proponents of the regulations have raised less than $800,000.

Other initiatives include a proposition to issue bonds to create a fund for low- and middle-income housing and an 18-month moratorium on any new market-rate housing construction in the city’s hip (and expensive) Mission District. There’s more from neighborhood site Mission Local here.

SIGN UP for our free Essential Politics newsletter >>

San Francisco's sheriff

Ross Mirkarimi, who has been San Francisco's sheriff since 2012, has faced a rocky first term, starting with a New Year’s Eve domestic violence incident with his wife that led to an ethics investigation, a guilty plea and a close vote by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that allowed him to keep his job.

Only two San Francisco sheriffs have lost reelection bids in the last 60 years, the Associated Press reports.

But Mirkarimi has faced new controversy since the July death of Kathryn Steinle, who was fatally shot as she walked along the city’s waterfront Embarcadero, allegedly by a Mexican national with a criminal record who had been deported multiple times.

Mirkarimi received the brunt of criticism over San Francisco’s sanctuary city law and over a Sheriff’s Department policy he enacted that required all communication with federal immigration enforcement officials to be cleared with him or his legal team.

His opponent, Vicki Hennessy, was appointed interim sheriff during Mirkarimi’s ethics investigation and has won the endorsements of the San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Assn., the deputies’ largest labor union and the San Francisco Chronicle.

You can track San Francisco’s election results here:

Palm Springs' mayor, 2 City Council seats and a referendum on downtown development

The popular resort town of Palm Springs is poised to choose a new mayor and two City Council members Tuesday. The election comes just two months after FBI agents and local investigators raided City Hall and the home of sitting Mayor Stephen Pougnet, who has been accused of having cozy ties with a major developer.

The Desert Sun describes the race as a vote on the future of development in the city’s downtown corridor, something that residents have expressed reservations about.

Follow those races here.

Republicans capture Kentucky governorship, other statewide offices

Just two states are holding gubernatorial races in this off-year election: Mississippi and Kentucky. The latter is the home state of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who became embroiled in controversy after she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. There, Republicans were eyeing an opportunity to take the governor’s seat in a state where Democrats have long dominated statewide offices.

They were successful Tuesday night as Matt Bevin, the Republican nominee, defeated two-term Atty. Gen. Jack Conway, the Associated Press reported. As of 9 p.m. Tuesday, preliminary results from 93% of precincts reporting showed Bevin ahead 52.2% to 44.1%. Bevin is the second Republican to be elected Kentucky governor in four decades, the AP reported.

Bevin had positioned himself as an outsider and appealed to the state's conservative voters. Both candidates had lost statewide races in recent years — Conway against now-Sen. Rand Paul and Bevin in his attempt to oust then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a GOP primary. The gubernatorial race was close as of Tuesday, the New York Times reported, and the candidates presented voters with starkly different views on a range of topics, including gay marriage.

Democrats appeared to be in peril of losing other statewide offices Tuesday evening. Republican challenger Mike Harmon appears to have defeated Democrat Adam Edelen for the post of state auditor and Kentucky voters also elected a Republican state treasurer Tuesday, according to the AP's projections.

Election returns can be found here.

Ohio: voters reject legalizing recreational marijuana

Ohio voters were asked to decide if they should follow in the footsteps of states such as Colorado and legalize and tax the sale of marijuana.

The measure failed, the AP reported Tuesday night. Early returns from the Ohio Secretary of State showed that more than 65% of the electorate voted against the measure.

Voters faced dueling ballot measures. One proposed legalizing recreational marijuana use for anyone 21 and older and allows for up to four plants for personal use. The second ballot measure, supported by lawmakers and intended to counter the legalization proposal, would limit commercial growing, granting those rights exclusively to 10 sites and essentially placing a ban on monopolies being written into the state Constitution.

Ohio would have been the fifth state to legalize pot. Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska, plus the District of Columbia, already allow marijuana sales for recreational and medicinal use. The legalization of pot has become a thorny issue in the 2016 presidential election.

Head to the Columbus Dispatch website for more detailed returns.

For more on politics in the Golden State and beyond, follow me @cmaiduc on Twitter.

For more, go to


Meet the richest man in Congress

Meet the poorest man in Congress

Interactive: How much are they worth?


6:46 p.m.: This article was updated to reflect election results on the Ohio recreational marijuana question.

6:25 p.m.: This article was updated to reflect election results in the Kentucky gubernatorial race.

The first version of this article was published at 5:18 p.m.