Acting Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson can now lose the “acting” part of his title: With all in-person and absentee votes counted Tuesday night, Johnson handily defeated opponent Bob Donovan 71.69% – 28.31% to become the 45th mayor of Milwaukee. Johnson received 62,143 votes. Donovan received 24,543.
Johnson also becomes the city’s first Black elected mayor. Marvin Pratt served as acting mayor for three months in 2004. Pratt stepped in for a departing John Norquist, but soon lost to Tom Barrett in the general election. Barrett would go on to serve as mayor for nearly 18 years.
Johnson will serve out the remaining two years of Barrett’s 2020-2024 term. Barrett resigned in late 2021 to accept a position as the U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg.
Johnson, 35, is a graduate of Bay View High School and UW-Madison. He was elected to the Common Council in 2016, representing the 2nd District. He became acting mayor via his gig as president of the Milwaukee Common Council, a role he was elected to in 2020.
Donovan, 65, is a former Milwaukee alderman known for his no-nonsense law-and-order views. He represented the 8th District for 20 years, but did not seek reelection in 2020. Tuesday’s loss is a familiar one: Donovan ran for mayor against Barrett in 2016, but lost 70% – 30%.
Donovan quickly conceded Tuesday night. He previously said that if he lost the mayoral race, he would move back to Greenfield.
Tuesday’s election also featured a number of County Supervisor races:
• In District 1, Liz Sumner defeated Karen Gentile.
• In District 2, Willie Johnson, Jr. defeated Purnima Nath.
• In District 3, Sheldon A. Wasserman defeated Eric Rorholm.
• In District 9, Patti Logsdon defeated Donald G. Schwartz.
• In District 15, Peter M. Burgelis defeated John F. Weishan, Jr.
• And in District 12, frequent Milwaukee Record contributor Juan Miguel Martinez appears to have defeated incumbent Josh Zepnick by 17 votes. CONGRATS JUAN!
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• Getting excited for Milwaukee’s less-than-exciting mayoral election
• Next Milwaukee Mayor: Cavalier Johnson and Bob Donovan move on to April 5 election
• Tom Barrett to live on nice farm in country, a.k.a. take gig as U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg