, ,

Kenosha residents elect third new mayor since 1992

David Bogdala has been an alder in Kenosha for 16 years

Two ladies sit together at a table. One hands a ballot to a voter.
Lois Dukes, right, hands a voter a ballot while sitting next to fellow poll worker Barb Feran, center, on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at the Beloit Public Library in Beloit, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Kenosha voters chose a longtime alder to step in as the city’s third mayor since 1992.

David Bogdala — who has served on the city council for 16 years — got 53 percent of the vote, beating out City Plan Commissioner Lydia Spottswood. It’s the first time residents voted for mayor since the 2020 Kenosha police shooting of Jacob Blake, which led to days and nights of protests and unrest in the city.

A crowded pool of nine candidates tossed their names into the ring after longtime Mayor John Antaramian announced he would retire at the end of his term. The field whittled down to two candidates in a Feb. 20 primary, where Bogdala got 39 percent of the vote and Spottswood received 31 percent. 

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The new mayor will serve the city of about 100,000 residents.

Bogdala ran on a public safety campaign, his campaign website saying he plans to make public safety a “priority.” He also told voters he plans to improve roads and infrastructure across the city, invest in neighborhoods and “make Kenosha more efficient by focusing on better technology and customer service.” 

He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Bogdala received the endorsement of Antaramian, who has dominated city politics for more than a quarter century. He was also endorsed by Kenosha City Council President Rocco LaMacchia Sr., the Kenosha Professional Firefighters Local 414 and the Kenosha Professional Police Association Board. 

Meanwhile, former Kenosha Mayor Keith Bosman endorsed Spottswood, as did the Kenosha County Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

Bogdala’s current term as alder ends April 15. He will be sworn-in as mayor on April 16.

The new mayor comes into power as plans are in the works from the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin to open a gaming facility with Florida-based Hard Rock International on a 60-acre site just west of Interstate 94 in the city of Kenosha. The Kenosha County Board and the City of Kenosha Common Council approved those plans, but the deal is still waiting for state and federal approval.

Kenosha also announced a $450 million development project last year which includes plans for over 1,000 apartments and condominiums, office buildings, retail space, a market hall and hotel and across a nine-block radius downtown. Those plans are still in the works.

Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian stands at a podium with microphones
Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian. Photo courtesy David Cole/WGTD

Antaramian, 69, presided over the city as  it shifted from an auto manufacturing hub to a more diverse mix of residential development, small industry and warehousing. But he said he felt it was time to step down at the end of his term.

“It’s just time to move on. It’s time to let someone else come in, kick the tires and see what they do,” he told WPR in February. 

He and other city leaders came under the glare of international media attention and the focus of many residents’ frustration following the Blake shooting, rioting and the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. Ahead of the primary election, community residents said they wanted to see more transparency in the next mayor, and someone who will work to represent the entire community. 

buildings are shown from above
A development plan for Downtown Kenosha could reshape the area in the coming years. Photo courtesy of Cobalt Smith