And then there were two.

With all votes counted (including absentee ballots), Cavalier Johnson and Bob Donovan emerged as the top two vote-getters in Tuesday’s Milwaukee mayoral primary election. Johnson nabbed 41.79% of the vote, while Donovan nabbed 22.28%.

The two candidates will now face each other in a general election on Tuesday, April 5. They will vie for the title of Milwaukee’s Next Mayor And First Elected Mayor Not Named Tom Barrett Since 2004.

Both Johnson and Donovan declared primary victory Tuesday night. Here’s Johnson at “Cavalier HQ.” Here’s Donovan at McKiernan’s Irish Pub.

There were five other candidates in Tuesday’s primary. Lena Taylor (12.77%), Marina Dimitrijevic (12.19%), Earnell Lucas (9.54%), Michael Sampson (0.83%), and Ieshuh Griffin (0.51%).

A total of 61,634 votes were cast in the City of Milwaukee, representing about 21% of registered voters. Absentee ballots accounted for 23,867 votes.

A total of 56 votes went to write-in candidates. Or, more likely, a single write-in candidate:

Cavalier “Chevy” Johnson, 35, is the current acting mayor of Milwaukee, having assumed the job via his gig as president of the Milwaukee Common Council. Johnson stepped in following Barrett’s early resignation to become the U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg. Johnson is a graduate of Bay View High School and UW-Madison. He was first elected to the Common Council in 2016, representing the 2nd District.

If triumphant in April, Johnson would become Milwaukee’s first elected Black mayor. Marvin Pratt served as the city’s first Black acting mayor in 2004, but lost to Barrett in the general election.

Bob Donovan, 65, is a former Milwaukee alderman known for his no-nonsense conservative views, his “Burn The Masks” party in June 2021 with ex-sheriff David Clarke, and for smokin’ cigs outside City Hall. He represented the 8th District for 20 years, but did not seek reelection in 2020. This isn’t the first time Donovan has been one stall away from the city’s top job: he ran for mayor against Barrett in 2016, but lost 70% to 30%.

If triumphant in April, Donovan would, well, shock pretty much everyone who pays even the slightest bit of attention to Milwaukee politics. But hey: Good luck to both candidates!

Tuesday’s primary also featured three County Supervisor races. Liz Sumner (81.29%) will face off against Karen Gentile (11.95%) in District 1. In District 3, Sheldon A. Wasserman (50.79%) will face off against Eric Rorholm (25.12%). And in District 12, Josh Zepnick (40.65%) will take on Juan Miguel Martinez (29.70%). GO JUAN.

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Here’s your handy Milwaukee mayoral primary voting guide

About The Author

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.