The 15 Elections to Watch on April 4

Chicago’s mayoral race and the election to control the Wisconsin supreme court are grabbing national headlines this week. But many other races will be decided on April 4.

These include mayoral elections in three of Wisconsin’s five biggest cities, referendums in Wisconsin and Missouri, the first round of Denver’s mayoral election, and runoffs that will shape the politics of Chicago’s city council.

Here are 15 elections that Bolts will be watching on April 4. The page is prepared by Daniel Nichanian. More may be added to our cheat sheet through Election Night. 

Check back on Election Night as we fill in each result in the second column.

Dan Kelly, Paul Vallas, Brandon Johnson, and Janet Protasiewicz headline April 4. (Photos from each campaign’s Facebook page)

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Supreme Court


Control of Wisconsin’s state supreme court hangs in the balance in the showdown between liberal Janet Protasiewicz and conservative Dan Kelly. The result may determine the fate of Wisconsin’s abortion ban, and will shape the outlook for democracy in the state: A liberal court may strike down gerrymanders and impose more scrutiny on recent voting rights restrictions. The election is breaking spending records, but despite its stakes, it is still  an off-year, lower-turnout election, leading to a scramble to mobilize voters.


Colorado | Denver

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is term-limited, and an extremely crowded field is running to replace him. Tuesday’s election, defined in part by debates over policing, will decide which two candidates move into a runoff.
Illinois | Chicago

Lori Lightfoot became the first Chicago mayor in more than three decades to not win a second term when she was ousted in the first round, leaving county commissioner Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas, the former CEO of the city’s public schools, to face off. The runoff is marked by huge contrasts from education to policing. City progressives and the teachers’ union have largely rallied behind Johnson as Vallas runs on ramping up policing with the support of the local police union.
Wisconsin | Green Bay

Mayor Eric Genrich, a former Democratic lawmaker, faced a recall effort fueled by Donald Trump supporters angry that he accepted an outside grant to help run the 2020 election. (Many localities across Wisconsin and the country received similar grants.) He faces Chad Weininger, a former Republican lawmaker, with a plethora of local issues like what flags the city can fly heating up the campaign.
Wisconsin | Madison

Satya Rhodes-Conway, the incumbent mayor, is running for re-election against challenger Gloria Reyes, the former head of the local school board. Rhodes-Conway finished well ahead in the February primary.
Wisconsin | Racine

Cory Mason, a Democratic incumbent, faces Henry Perez, an alderperson and former police officer who is campaigning for the city to take a conservative turn, WPR reports.



Wisconsinites are voting on two constitutional amendments, referred by GOP lawmakers, that would expand the circumstances under which judges can impose restrictive pretrial conditions, including imposing cash bail.
See also: Many jurisdictions across the state of Missouri are voting on whether to impose a local sales tax on marijuana, in addition to the statewide sales tax.


Wisconsin | Senate District 8

A special election, triggered by the resignation of Republican Senator Alberta Darling in this red-leaning district in the Milwaukee suburbs, will decide whether the GOP enjoys a supermajority in the state Senate. If Republicans win, the GOP would have the votes to remove elected officials who have been impeached by the Assembly; some have already floated the possibility of removing Protasiewicz should she win the supreme court race.

Chicago City Council

5th ward

This race pits Tina Hone, who worked as the chief engagement officer under Lori Lightfoot, against Desmon Yancy, a community organizer who is endorsed by the Chicago teachers’ union and was active with the group that created the city’s new civilian oversight boards. Block Club Chicago reports.
6th ward

William Hall, an organizer endorsed by the teachers’ unions and other labor groups, faces off against former police officer Richard Wooten. The winner will replace one of the founders of the city’s Progressive Reform Caucus.
10th ward

A stark contrast in a race that pits Peter Chico, a police officer endorsed by the police union against labor organizer Ana Guajardo.
11th ward

The police union has endorsed police officer Anthony Ciaravino to oust incumbent Nicole Lee.
45th ward

Jim Gardiner, an incumbent who has faced ethics investigations and is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, faces challenger Megan Mathias.
46th ward

Progressive or left-leaning organizations, including the teachers’ union and Democratic Socialists of America, are supporting Angela Clay, a community organizer who faces off against Kim Walz, who has worked for Chicago politicians and has the backing of the governor.
48th ward

Not far from the 46th ward, this is another runoff where the teachers’ union is hoping to boost progressives in the city council via the candidacy of Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth. Her opponent Joe Dunne has the backing of the retiring incumbent.
See also

Denver, Colorado, is also voting for city councilors, but many of the contested elections are likely to be decided in runoffs in two months.