Yesterday was election day in Wisconsin. In Dane County about 30% of registered voters cast a ballot. WORT’s Jade Iseri-Ramos explains the election results.
Though yesterday was technically a nonpartisan election , the union and Democrat backed candidate won the only statewide race. Jill Underly won out against Deb Kerr as the new Wisconsin State Superintendent. She won with 57% of the vote, though in Dane County, Underly took 80% of votes.
County Executive Joe Parisi will keep his position. His challenger, Mary Ann Nicholson, suspended her campaign last month, but still appeared on the ballot and received just over 20% of the vote.
In a relatively close race Incumbent Larry Palm won his reelection for County Supervisor against Amani Latimer Burris. Palm has served in this position since December, filling the late Paul Rusk’s seat. Cecely Castillo won her uncontested reelected bid for County Supervisor. She was also appointed last year to fill the seat left by Richard Kilmer. Both Palm and Castillo will serve a one year term and face reelection in 2022 when county board supervisors are on the ballot.
City of Madison
All twenty seats for Madison alder appeared on ballots yesterday. Just over half were contested. Seven iIncumbents – who faced a challenger – won reelection. They are Patrick Heck, Lindsay Lemmer, Syed Abbas, Tag Evers, Sheri Carter, Keith Furman, and Christian Albouras.
Two incumbents – one a staunch conservative and the other a staunch progressive – lost their seats to challengers last night. Alder Rebecca Kemble, a frequent critic of the Madison Police Department, was ousted by Charles Myadze, who was endorsed by the local police union. Kemble had served on the council for 6 years. Conservative Paul Skidmore, a defender of the Madison Police Department, lost to challenger Nikki Conklin.
Conklin’s win marks the end of Skidmore’s 20 years on the council. Conkin says that reflecting on the campaign, she feels like anything is possible. “When I first thought that I was going to run, I never thought about winning. I just thought about really putting myself out there and advocating for people who couldn’t advocate for themselves,” she remembers. “To know I just came from living in my community, being a parent, and working at the community center, I didn’t know my life could be like this. It’s just amazing.”
Alders who ran uncontested and won are incumbents Barbara Harrington-McKinney, Mike Verveer, Nasra Wehelie, Arvina Martin, and Grant Foster.
The council saw three competitive elections where the incumbent did not seek reelection.. Those new alders are Juliana Bennett, Yannette Figueroa, and Jael Currie. New-comers Regina Vidaver, Brian Benford, and Gary Halverson ran unopposed to fill seats where the incumbent was not running.
New alders will start their term in just about two weeks. The Common Council will likely be one of the most diverse councils in local history. Notably, a majority of the new faces on the council are Black or people of color.
Among Madison’s four advisory questions on the structure of the city council, voters supported only one change to the city council—term limits. They did so by a large margin, with 71% of the vote in favor.
Voters also resoundingly supported keeping the council the same size, with 70% of the vote in favor of keeping the size at twenty alders. Voters did not signal support for the other referendum questions, with a majority voting no for full time council and 4 year terms.
17 provisional ballots were issued in Madison yesterday–those are ballots for people who were missing documentation when they showed up to vote. Those ballots need to be returned to the city clerk by 4pm Friday.