Graham Kilmer
MKE County

County Board Races Finally Settled

Preliminary results show Deanna Alexander won 8-candidate, write-in race in District 18.

By - Apr 12th, 2022 10:05 am
Juan Miguel Martinez and Deanna Alexander.

Juan Miguel Martinez and Deanna Alexander.

The results from the spring election for all seats on the Milwaukee County Board, though still uncertified, are finally in.

On the south side of the city of Milwaukee, Josh Zepnick, a former state representative and candidate for the Milwaukee County Board has formally conceded to Juan Miguel Martinez for the election in District 12.

Meanwhile, on the northwest side of the city, the preliminary results of a crowded write-in election have finally come in. There were eight candidates running for the county board’s District 18 after the incumbent, Sup. Russell Antonio Goodwin, Sr. failed to get enough signatures to have his name on the ballot.

The unofficial results from District 18, released Monday evening, now show that former Sup. Deanna Alexander will rejoin the board. Alexander didn’t seek reelection in 2020.

The Milwaukee County Election Commission has until Friday to finish a canvass of the election. Once that process is finished, the commission will certify the results and send the materials off to the Wisconsin Elections Commission for certification at the state level.

The election resulted in turnover of approximately one-third of the county board, though three of the six new supervisors ran for their seat unopposed.

District 18 Write-In Race

The election commission released the unofficial results for District 18 Monday, showing Alexander won the district with 645 votes. The next candidate was the incumbent Goodwin, Sr. with 452 votes.

In the days following the election, Alexander asked the county election commission for the preliminary election results. But the commission had not finalized its tally, nor had it received all the election material it needed from the City of Milwaukee to do so, and it declined to release the results.

The election commission was still waiting on the “return to county envelopes” for two wards in the district, said Elections Director Julietta Henry. These envelopes contain everything the commission needs to certify election results. But the city did not send the remaining two envelopes along until they retrieved the poll lists for two wards from voting machines. The city’s machines came in from polling locations on Thursday, and the county commission had all the materials it needed by Friday, Henry said.

Alexander questioned why the results weren’t released and posted and eventually filed an open record request for poll worker tally sheets. She released the results from these tally sheets on her Facebook page.

Henry told Urban Milwaukee Monday afternoon that the commission was still working on verifying all the results from the tally sheets for the write-in district.

The unofficial results released Monday evening did not change the outcome of the election compared to the poll tally sheets Alexander published. The vote counts were not the same, though, as the top five vote-getting candidates saw their votes increase.

Zepnick Concedes in District 12

When the preliminary results came in from the election Tuesday, they showed Martinez had narrowly defeated Zepnick, winning by 17 votes. Zepnick announced that he was considering calling for a recount.

Two days later, on Thursday April 7, Zepnick announced he would not call for a recount. In a statement, he said, “I want to put the campaign in the rear view mirror and move forward. Part of that process involves congratulating the winner and wanting to see his public service be successful. From a tactical perspective, my opponent had a strong GOTV operation helped by several groups that endorsed his campaign. I’m not bitter, that’s politics. Just because we disagree with each other on key things  does not mean we should dislike or destroy each other. That mentality is toxic and does nothing to make Milwaukee stronger.”

Martinez released a video statement on Facebook Wednesday, April 5, saying, “Being the first elected Latino Socialist in the history of Milwaukee is something that I do not take lightly. It’s a duty that I will definitely fulfill as a servant to the people.”

Voces de la Frontera, a community organization that advocates for immigrant rights, provided institutional backing for Martinez, who had special thanks for the organization, saying, “Voces De La Frontera mobilizing so many young people, so many canvassers and all the people working behind the scenes to get me to where I was today. It really was no small task brought by Voces. It’s just truly humbling to know that Voces has my back like that.”

Martinez was endorsed by the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. He also had the endorsement from the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association and support from local organizations such Wisconsin Working Families Party, Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC) and the Milwaukee Area Service and Hospitality Workers Organization (MASH). Martinez is an organizer with MASH.

“All these organizations are backed by the people, for the people,” he said, “and I’m very proud to be your champion.”

Categories: MKE County, Politics, Weekly

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