Graham Kilmer
2020 County Exec Race

Seven Will Run for County Executive

Gwen Moore endorses Lipscomb, Crowley has raised $53,000, no word from Abele.

By - Jan 7th, 2020 05:43 pm
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Milwaukee County Courthouse. Photo by The original uploader was Sulfur at English Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Milwaukee County Courthouse. Photo by The original uploader was Sulfur at English Wikipedia (GFDL) or (CC-BY-SA-3.0), via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, January 7 at 5:30 p.m., was the deadline for candidates to file their election signatures with the election commission. And we now have seven candidates who will run for Milwaukee County Executive. They include Milwaukee County Board Chairman Theo Lipscomb, State Sen. Chris Larson, state Rep. David Crowley, Glendale Mayor Bryan KennedyJim Sullivan, the county’s director of Child Support Services, a little-known conservative named Purnima Nath and a Milwaukee County Transit System employee named Yaghnam F. Yaghnam.

Though both Larson and Sullivan had announced their candidacy some time ago, they kept people in suspense, waiting to fill their nomination papers until yesterday, just before the deadline. Later this month campaign finance reports will be released, which should give a picture of how the various candidates are doing in drumming up support. Meanwhile, candidates are seeking big name supporters, with one high-profile endorsement adding heat to the race.

Lipscomb is the first candidate in the race with a major endorsement, announcing Tuesday that U.S. Representative Gwen Moore has endorsed him for County Executive. Moore’s son Sup. Supreme Moore Omokunde has served on the Milwaukee County Board with Lipscomb for the past 4 years.

In a statement released by the campaign, Moore was quoted saying, “Theo Lipscomb is without a doubt the best choice to be the next Milwaukee County Executive.”

Lipscomb said he was “honored and humbled” to receive Moore’s endorsement. He praised the congresswoman as a “tireless advocate for all our neighbors,” and for her work getting federal funds for transit and Milwaukee International Airport. He added, “As County Executive I will work with Congresswoman Moore to pursue additional federal funding to improve our infrastructure and services for those in need.”

Larson had previously received endorsements from state representatives Jonathan Brostoff and Christine Sinicki, as well as the backing of the American Federation of Teachers local 212, which represents the faculty at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Still, there haven’t been many endorsements from politicians thus far. One county insider told Urban Milwaukee not to expect much of that until after the primary, as many local politicians have relationships with multiple candidates. Though it isn’t an endorsement, Crowley did post a photograph of Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas signing his nomination papers.

Transit will be a major issue in the election this year, as Milwaukee County just narrowly avoided a multi-million cut to the transit budget for 2020. Most of the candidates have already highlighted it as an important issue for their campaign. Today, on Facebook, James Macon, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union 998, dangled his organization’s endorsement, saying the union will begin meeting with candidates. Macon said candidates will have to impress his membership. “They will be making the decision. Not my board, not me, but the membership.”has

Candidates needed 2,000 to 4,000 signatures to be included on the ballot. As of mid-day Tuesday Nath had collected the most signatures of the candidates with 3,118, with Crowley a close second with 3,074. Nath entered the race as the only openly conservative candidate. Prior to running for county executive she has tweeted praise for President Donald Trump, called climate change nonsense and said disparaging things about Muslim immigrants.

The release of candidates campaign finance reports later this month will be the first reports of fundraising for County Exec candidates since Abele announced he would not seek re-election. An email from the Kennedy campaign to potential donors said, “The financial numbers will be one of the few objective measures anyone has to gauge the state of this race. This means that a dollar we raise today matters more than a dollar we raise tomorrow.”

Crowley was the first candidate to announce how much he has raised so far, saying this week that his campaign has raised $53,000 since he announced his candidacy in late October. In his statement, Crowley also said: “While our significant funds raised are important, the effort we are making on the ground in every community in Milwaukee County is even more significant.”

The unmentioned 800-pound gorilla in the race for endorsements and contributions is outgoing County Executive Chris Abele, giving the wealth he has at his disposal. In the past he has spent millions on his own re-election campaigns and, using the third party organization Milwaukee Works, a 501c4 non-profit, he has thrown thousands of dollars into local races. Securing an endorsement or the support of Abele could mean a flood of third-party cash uplifting your campaign. But Abele hasn’t said a word about whom he might support.

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Categories: MKE County, Politics

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