Six Candidates Seek Aldermanic Job
With Ald. Witkowski resigning, special election has been called, with primary on July 16th.
Residents of the city’s far South Side will have plenty of candidates to choose from to replace their longtime representative at City Hall, Alderman Terry Witkowski.
Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton called for a special election to replace Witkowski, whose retirement was effective at 1:00 p.m. May 30th. A primary, if three or more candidates submit paperwork to appear on the ballot, would be held on July 16th. A general election for the 13th District seat will be held on August 16th.
Five candidates have already filed declarations of candidacy with the Milwaukee Election Commission and can begin circulating nomination papers today. A sixth candidate has filed a campaign registration statement, indicating a likely run.
Witkowski’s aide Scott Spiker was the first to declare. He’s joined by another legislative aide, Patty Doherty, a longtime district resident and aide to Robert Donovan. City Plan Commission chair and UW-Milwaukee employee Patricia Torres Najera has declared for the race. Former Wisconsin State Assembly Representative Josh Zepnick has opened a campaign account.
The candidates have until June 18th at the close of business to submit their completed nomination papers.
Whoever wins the election best not throw out their yard signs. The candidate will need to run for re-election in less than a year, in April 2020.
Witkowski didn’t offer much in the way of an explanation for his retirement beyond a desire for some time off. The 74-year-old said: “It is time for a summer off. I have worked since I was 12,” when he announced his surprise resignation. Spiker had filed to run before Witkowski made his announcement.
The alderman recently received substantial media attention after sending a taxpayer-funded, quarterly newsletter to district residents that said the 15 member council was making decisions based on race. “This term is more an anti-mayor/color-of-our-skin council,” Witkowski wrote. “Fairness and issues don’t seem to matter much.”
Witkowski, who was the biggest advocate for the policies of Mayor Tom Barrett on the council, was first elected in 2003. He represented the council’s 13th District, which includes the Garden District, Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport and a host of far south side neighborhoods.
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