Several large cities getting new mayors
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Several U.S. cities were getting ready to welcome their new mayors on Wednesday, as voters in such metropolises as Miami and Minneapolis handed defeat to incumbents and newcomers prepared to take office in Detroit, Cleveland, Seattle and elsewhere.
Though most attention on municipal contests this year focused on New York following the September 11 terrorist attacks that devastated the Big Apple's financial district, there were big races in key cities across the country.
-- In Miami, incumbent Mayor Joe Carollo (R) finished third in a crowded field, leaving him out of an upcoming runoff between former Mayor Maurice Ferre (D) and attorney Manny Diaz (D). Diaz gained national attention during last year's Elian Gonzalez custody battle as a lawyer for the boy's Miami relatives. Ferre was the city's mayor for 12 years in the 1970s and 1980s.
-- Houston Mayor Lee Brown (D) failed to get 50 percent of the vote. Brown, a former national drug czar and head of police forces in Houston, New York and Atlanta, will face Councilman Orlando Sanchez (R) in a runoff for the seat. The runoff will be a race between the man who became the city's first black mayor, and a man vying to become its first Latino mayor.
-- In another Texas city, Austin, former councilman Gus Garcia was voted in as the state capital's first Latino mayor. Garcia, a Democrat, brushed back a crowded field, taking 60 percent of the vote in a special election to finish the term of Mayor Kirk Watson, who is resigning to run for state attorney general.
-- Minneapolis voters ousted two-term Mayor Sharon Sayles Benton (D), handing a decisive victory to civic activist R.T. Rybak (D). Rybak, a newcomer to elected politics, won 65 percent of the vote compared to 35 percent for the incumbent.
-- In Atlanta, former city administrator Shirley Franklin (D) barely avoided a runoff, winning 50 percent of the vote to become that city's first woman mayor. City Council President Robb Pitts (D) finished a distant second, taking 33 percent of the vote.
-- Cleveland also elected its first female mayor. Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jane Campbell (D) took 54 percent of the vote to handily defeat Raymond Pierce (D) -- a former Clinton administration Education Department official -- who ended the race with 46 percent of the tally.
-- In Seattle, King County Council member Greg Nickels led City Attorney Mark Sidran, a fellow Democrat. Tens of thousands of absentee ballots, however, must still be counted. The victor will succeed Mayor Paul Schell, who was defeated in the primary amid voter frustration over the 1999 World Trade Organization riots and the city's loss of economic mainstay Boeing.
-- In Cincinnati, incumbent Mayor Charlie Luken (D) weathered a challenge from Courtis Fuller, also a Democrat, winning 55 percent of the vote to Fuller's 45 percent. Fuller, who is black, had criticized Luken's stewardship of the city during rioting in April that followed the shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer.
"I'm grateful to the voters for the vindication," said Luken, who is white, according to the Associated Press. "Obviously, we've got a lot of work to do in this city."
-- Kwame Kilpatrick, a young state legislator and local Democratic scion, won the mayor's job in Detroit, defeating three-term City Council President Gil Hill, also a Democrat. The two vied to fill the seat after incumbent Dennis Archer did not seek a third term.
-- Several incumbents easily handled their challenges this year, including Boston's Thomas Menino (D), Pittsburgh's Tom Murphy (D), and Charlotte's Pat McCrory (R).
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