Round one done. On to the general election for Jeff Stone and Chris Abele. Finally an election prediction I got right!
Milwaukee County Executive
Since Scott Walker moved to Madison, the most popular parlor game in the area has been “Who will be the next Milwaukee County Executive?” There was much speculation over who would run – as former state politicians Sheldon Wasserman and Jeff Plale, Sheriff David Clarke and Parks Supervisor Sue Black were mentioned as possibilities. But the final slate included Assemblyperson Stone, community philanthropist Abele, former lawmake Jim Sullivan, County Board Chairman Lee Holloway and community activist Ieshuh Griffin.
Stone has been the darling of the conservatives, right and Citizens for Responsible Government and represents the closest thing the voters in the county had to keeping Walker after his gubernatorial win. He did very little campaigning since he was in Madison for most of January’s special session, but in the last days of the campaign he began a series of radio ads that touted his conservative credentials. He had campaigned on a platform of fiscal responsibility, tax cuts and economic development, which earned him 44 percent of the primary vote.
During an interview with WISN Channel 12, Stone said it was his message of bringing affordable taxes to the citizens that resonated with the voters across the county.
“We had a good win tonight and getting 40 percent or more is a solid win,” he said. “We won the city of Milwaukee out of all the candidates.”
Stone said his general election campaign will continue to focus on making changes to the methods of providing mental health care and employee pension and health care benefits. He added that he will also focus on working with state lawmakers to develop a funding source for transit without increasing the sales tax in the county.
Abele campaigned relentlessly, spending almost $500,000 on television, radio and mail to get his message of bipartisan cooperation out to the people. But for all that money, Abele just squeaked by with 25 percent of the primary vote to former State Senator Sullivan’s 22 percent.
Abele impressed conservative talkers at first, but when tapes of him addressing the county Democratic Party were leaked and he referred to himself as a “leftie,” those talkers turned on him and he withstood a constant barrage of negative press. But Abele didn’t waver from his message of looking at all ideas, no matter which side they originated from, and implementing the best practices for the county.
At a campaign party in Bay View, Abele said he was pleased with the outcome, considering he had only started his political career six weeks ago. And he’s looking forward to the general election.
“We’ll work as hard as possible and do what it takes because I love this county,” Abele said. “I will hammer home consolidation, coordination and leadership, with a big L. Taxpayers deserve the most effective use of their tax dollars and that we work with the city, the state and the municipalities. If we work together we can do a lot better than we are doing right now.”
Wisconsin Supreme Court
In the race for incumbent Justice David Prosser’s seat on the state’s highest court, it seemed the three opponents were more interested in running against Justice Michael Gableman. All three challengers cited Gabelman’s ethically-challenged 2008 campaign as a reason to vote for them and not Prosser, a solid conservative on the court.
Of the three, Joanne Kloppenbug, was the least activist and virulent against Gabelman, which probably helped her to a second place finish in this primary with 25 percent of the statewide vote. Kloppenburg, a long-time attorney with the Department of Natural Resources bested Prosser easily won the contest with 55 percent of the vote. Both candidates will move on to the April 5 general election and a shot at a 10-year seat on the court.
Both candidates took public funding for their campaigns, up to $100,000 from the taxpayers in exchange for not using traditional fundraising. This was a new program instituted by the court for 2011 to remove the pressure of public interest groups on the election. Prosser and Kloppenburg will each receive $300,000 for the general election.
Milwaukee County 18th District Court
Incumbent Pedro Colon was appointed to the bench after leaving his seat in the Assembly and seeking jobs as counsel for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District, Milwaukee Mayor and city attorney. He is running for his first full term on the bench, where he has been hearing juvenile court cases. His name recognition and years of political experience came in handy as he pulled in 36 percent of the primary vote, taking the top spot among three candidates.
Glendale Municipal Court Judge Christopher Lipscomb, Sr. received 33 percent of the vote to finish second, setting up a runoff with Colon in April.
Roy Korte, state Department of Justice litigator received 31 percent of the vote.
Milwaukee County Board
The Milwaukee County Board is one step closer to being at full force, as the primary narrowed the race for the vacant 10th and 14th supervisory seats. These chairs have been empty since Elizabeth Coggs and Chris Larson vacated their positions to take seats in the state assembly and senate, respectively.
The voters in the 10th district, making up the downtown area and west side, moved Eyon Biddle and Tearman Spencer onto the general election. Biddle is the executive director of the Service Employees International Union and has made putting county residents to work on public project. Spencer, is a private attorney and businessman, who is campaigning for job growth and economic development. He has said he understands the nuts and bolts of development and would be an asset to the county.
The 14th district, making up the Bay View and near south side neighborshoods, will choose between Steven Krueger and Jason Haas. Krueger owns a trucking company and builds roads and sewers. He has promised to sell his company if elected to the supervisory seat and wants to follow Walker’s plan, to open Milwaukee County for business. He will focus on balancing the county budget, maintaining the Hoan Bridge and constituent services.
Haas is a community activist and stay-at-home dad, is running in the tradition of the former supervisor Larson. Haas plans to focus on transit, clean parks and economic development.
For election vote totals, please click here.