by Thomas E. Mitchell, Jr.
ith the exception of a few contests, the results of Tuesday’s local general elections for Milwaukee mayor, aldermen, and Milwaukee county supervisor and circuit court reflected the MCJ’s call for experience in our endorsements last week, as incumbents ruled the day in a number of key political races.
Despite several new faces presenting fresh and innovative ideas, voters who came out on election day preferred familiarity
to change. Perhaps this was the reason voter turnout was moderately light.
An example was the aldermanic ninth district race where incumbent Ald. Robert Puente narrowly beat the one challenger many political observers–including us–expected to win, Ray Harmon, a former Milwaukee Urban League director of economic development and a legislative assistant in city, county and state government.
Shunning public appearances, interviews and an offer to debate against Harmon in favor of large signs with his name boldly embossed on them that were found on the facades and signage foundations of non-Black businesses, Puente managed to squeeze out a 2,654 vote to 2,015 win.
Election observers believe the light turnout among Black voters in what has become a predominately Black district on the northwest side is responsible for Harmon’s surprising defeat.
One city election, which went as predicted was the mayoral race. Incumbent Mayor Tom Barrett easily won reelection over challenger EdwardMc- Donald, 50,644 votes to 21,369.
With his win, Barrett will now divide his time running the city and running for the state’s highest office. Barrett recently threw his hat in the ring with three other Democrats to challenge Gov. Scott Walker in a recall election.
Obviously while Barrett is campaigning, 15th district Alderman and Common Council President Willie Hines will from time-to-time hold the reigns of city government. The incumbent Hines handily won reelection, garnering 2,466 votes to Milwaukee County Board District 10 Supervisor Eyon Biddle’s 1,671 votes.
Another easy Common Council victor was sixth district Ald. Milele Coggs. She retained her seat garnering 3,161 votes to challenger Ieshuh Griffin’s 499 votes.
Another Coggs, State Sen. Spencer Coggs becomes the first citywide elected African American office holder, winning the City Treasurer position. He edged out another state senator, Tim Carpenter, by less then a thousand votes, 35,096 to 34,393.
Like the city treasurer race, there was no incumbent in the district five Milwaukee County Board Supervisor race to replace retiring Board Chairman Lee Holloway. In that race, two political new comers from well-known political families squared off to replace Holloway. Russell Stamper II, son of Judge Russell Stamper, will replace the long-time supervisor and chairman, garnering 2,521 votes to Priscilla Coggs-Jones’1,875 votes. Coggs-Jones is the daughter of former County Board Supervisor now State. Rep. Elizabeth Coggs.
Another board race without an incumbent was in the 10th district where David Bowen won that vacated seat over Radolph Matthews, Jr., 1,915 votes to 1,287 votes respectively.
The twoMilwaukee County Circuit Court races we endorsed turned out the way we predicted. Carolina Stark (59,886 votes) will replace incumbent Nelson Phillips III (46,805 votes) on the Branch 17 circuit court bench. Lindsey Grady (59,739 votes) will preside over branch 23 after defeating Hannah Dugan (39,324).