Jeramey Jannene

Bowen Won’t Seek Recount, Pratt Is New Alderwoman

Andrea Pratt wins race to replace Ashanti Hamilton by 17 votes.

By - Apr 13th, 2023 11:37 am
Andrea Pratt (left) and David Bowen. Photos provided.

Andrea Pratt (left) and David Bowen. Photos provided.

There will be no recount. A 17-vote margin has decided a Milwaukee Common Council race. Andrea Pratt is the new representative of the 1st Aldermanic District.

Former state representative David Bowen announced Thursday morning he would not pursue a recount in the narrowly-decided special election to replace longtime alderman Ashanti Hamilton. Pratt won 2,577 to 2,560.

“First, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the thousands of residents that supported my campaign’s vision to move our community forward together,” said Bowen in a statement. “Thank you to everyone who made your voices heard during this close election. Your enthusiasm helped deliver a decisive victory for progress within the Wisconsin Supreme Court. I am thankful to the many supporters, volunteers, donors, and organizations who continue to affirm that my decade-plus of elected leadership is one to be proud of.”

Under state statute, Bowen has until the end of the day Thursday to submit a request for a recount. But he announced he wouldn’t pursue one after discussing the issue with the Milwaukee Election Commission.

“Previously, I stated my belief in the utmost ability and integrity of the City of Milwaukee election workers and that has not changed. I’m thankful for their service. This was one of the closest watched races in our City for a reason,” said Bowen. His statement notes that 10 absentee ballots weren’t counted due to issues with the returned ballots and seven out of 20 early voters impacted by a ballot error didn’t return to vote again after their initial ballot omitted the Bowen-Pratt race. There were 65 write-ins.

Bowen appeared to be up by 34 votes until the city’s absentee results were reported early April 5. The city’s absentee ballots, including early votes, are counted at a central facility and then transmitted to the Milwaukee County Election Commission in one large report instead of being distributed, counted and reported directly from each of the more than 300 wards.

Pratt has already attended at least one council committee meeting in an unofficial, non-voting position as alderwoman-elect. City Clerk Jim Owczarski could formally swear her in tomorrow. She will be ceremonially sworn in at Tuesday’s full council meeting alongside the two other special election winners.

She most recently worked for the city’s Office of Equity and Inclusion and previously served as an aide to Hamilton. Pratt was a longtime Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) coordinator before shifting to working for the city in the past five years. She is the daughter of former council president and acting mayor Marvin Pratt.

Pratt narrowly defeated Bowen (34% to 33%) in a five-way primary. The third-place finisher Zandra Bailey (17%) endorsed Pratt in the general election.

Bowen is a former member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors and the Wisconsin State Assembly. After announcing he would run for lieutenant governor in 2021, Bowen ultimately pulled out of that race and also didn’t run for reelection to the assembly seat he had held since 2015. In 2020, Bowen was one of the highest-profile participants in the racial justice marches in Milwaukee following the killing of George Floyd. Bowen has been heavily involved in Democratic politics, but the council is a nonpartisan body.

“While I reflect and determine my next steps, I will continue to use my platform to advocate for the policies needed for families in the First District, the City of Milwaukee and in Wisconsin. The brighter, healthier, and safer days we all deserve depends on all of us coming together to make it happen,” said Bowen. He said he looks forward to working with Pratt.

The irregularly-shaped 1st District runs from W. Bradley Rd. to W. Capitol Dr. in the northeastern corner of the city. Its primary eastern and western boundaries are N. Green Bay Ave and N. 43rd St., though one section reaches N. 55th St. It includes the Old North MilwaukeeThurston WoodsGarden HomesFairfieldTripoli ParkMcGovern ParkHampton Heights and Rufus King neighborhoods, as well as the portions of Brown Deer Park and Lincoln Park that are in the city.

A Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) report says 83.3% of district residents identify as Black, 8.2% white, 4.5% Hispanic and 2.7% Asian.

The 15 council members are paid $73,222 annually and serve as the legislative representative for approximately 40,000 district residents at City Hall.

Westmoreland, Taylor Sworn In

The other two special elections on the ballot were decided by far more than the recount allowance of 1%, allowing the two winners to be sworn in after the results were certified Monday.

Lamont Westmoreland is the new representative for the 5th District. Larresa Taylor is the new representative for the 9th District.

Westmoreland secured more than 66% of the vote in his race. Taylor netted 51.9% over Odell Ball‘s 47.7%, but her election came with a caveat: she needed to move to the district. Owcarszki, the City Clerk, told Urban Milwaukee he was presented with a new driver’s license affirming a valid district residence for Taylor, allowing her to be sworn in.

For the first time since Cavalier Johnson became acting mayor in December 2021, the Common Council will have a full complement of 15 voting members. All 15 seats are up for election in April 2024.

Categories: Politics, Weekly

2 thoughts on “Bowen Won’t Seek Recount, Pratt Is New Alderwoman”

  1. Ryan Cotic says:

    Is this the same David Bowen who was involved with the shooting at officer Mensah’s girlfriends home in Tosa? How would a public official involved with alledgedly lying about and covering up a shooting be able to even run for office in this state?

  2. ZeeManMke says:

    I am looking forward to next year’s election. All of the Common Council and the Mayor up for election. Based on what I saw last Tuesday, there will be big changes as people are demanding progressive government that works for them. The “status quo” of the past is gone and so will about 33%-50% of those in office today. Deliver for the people or find your fate next election day. Let the viewing party begin. They will start to rush around doing things they claim are for the people. It is going to be a hoot.

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