Jeramey Jannene

Chambers vs. Ballard For Common Council Seat

Chambers gets 60% of vote in three-way primary to fill mayor's former council seat.

By - Aug 10th, 2022 12:46 am
Jerel Ballard, Mark Chambers Jr. and Keyellia Morries. Photos from candidate websites.

Jerel Ballard, Mark Chambers Jr. and Keyellia Morries. Photos from candidate websites.

Mark Chambers Jr. got twice as many votes as any other candidate in the race for an open Common Council seat, but he’ll need to win again in November.

Chambers and second-place finisher Jerel Ballard will advance to the November general election.

The winner will represent the city’s second aldermanic district, which includes a portion of the northwest side. Generally speaking, the oddly-shaped second district runs from W. Good Hope Rd. south to W. Capitol Dr. and from N. 51st St. to N. 107th St. The bulk of the district falls between W. Mill Rd., W. Hampton Ave., N. 60th St. and N. 91st St.

The seat was held by Cavalier Johnson since 2016, but Johnson had to resign after being elected mayor in April

Chambers works as a consultant for nonprofit employment and job training organization Community Related Training Inc. A self-described lifelong resident of the district, he grew up in Westlawn Gardens and reports losing his father to gun violence and a friend to reckless driving. Chambers, 35, says he has the lived experience for the position.

Ballard, 27, is the communications director for the Public Service Commission. He previously worked in communications and marketing for the Milwaukee Police Department. A graduate of Columbia College Chicago, he briefly worked as a television journalist in Wausau and founded the Milwaukee’s Finest Scholarship Foundation and co-founded Lead2Change. He did not live in the district when he filed his campaign paperwork.

Keyellia Morries finished in third place, but spent much of the night appearing to be down by only 14 votes. When absentee votes were reported out in bulk, she ended up losing by 81 votes. Morries is a retired Milwaukee Police Department detective.

When absentee votes were reported, Chambers saw his vote total grow from 488 to 983 (60%), besting Ballard’s 371 votes (22.7%) and Morries’ 284 (17.3%).

The district includes the Columbus ParkValhallaSilver SwanLittle Menomonee ParkwayMenomonee River HillsVogel Park and Westlawn Gardens neighborhoods. The 2012 map under which the special election will be held was created when the district had 41,707 residents of which 67.3% of voting age residents were Black, 21.3% white, 6.9% Asian and 3.2% Hispanic.

The winner will be elected to the remainder of Johnson’s term, which lasts through April 2024. Council members are elected to four-year terms and paid a base salary of $73,222. They serve on the city’s 15-member legislative body.

Two other council seats are open.

State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff is the only candidate running to replace Nik Kovac in the third district. Kovac was appointed Johnson’s budget director. The formal election is in November.

A special election has yet to be called to replace Chantia Lewis, who pled guilty to two campaign finance penalties last month and was removed from office. She is due to be sentenced on Monday, but is still active on social media. So active that she endorsed Chambers in a Facebook post, which Chambers clicked “love” on.

More about the Fall 2022 Primary

Read more about Fall 2022 Primary here

Categories: Politics, Weekly

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