Democratic voter energy powers mayors in Green Bay, Madison, Racine to reelection

Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich survives challenge from Brown County administration director

Mayor Eric Genrich and his family embrace after he delivered a victory speech at Gather on Broadway in Green Bay Tuesday night
Mayor Eric Genrich and his family embrace after he delivered a victory speech at Gather on Broadway in Green Bay Tuesday night, April 4, 2023. Genrich defeated Brown County Director of Administration Chad Weininger. Joe Schulz/WPR

Green Bay’s mayor, a former Democratic Assembly representative, fended off a conservative challenger Tuesday. Mayor Eric Genrich will have a second term.

In Racine, another former Democratic Assembly member, Mayor Cory Mason, won reelection. And in Madison, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway overcame a challenge from former deputy mayor Gloria Reyes.

The victory by all three incumbents came as Democratic energy powered Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz to a victory over Justice Dan Kelly in the state Supreme Court race.

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Green Bay mayor wins victory following contentious race

Genrich received 52.8 percent of the vote, while challenger Chad Weininger received 46.9 percent, according to unofficial results from Brown County. Like other spring races, the contest was officially nonpartisan but heavily coded by political parties. Both candidates previously served in the Wisconsin state Assembly, Weininger as a member of the Republican Party.

Genrich framed his reelection bid as an opportunity to build on the progress made in his first term. Meanwhile, Weininger argued the city hadn’t made enough progress despite raising taxes.

On Tuesday, Genrich celebrated his victory at Gather on Broadway in Green Bay and said his reelection provides the city an opportunity to continue building on the work he’s done toward sustainability and inclusivity.

“I’ve taken maybe a broader approach to politics than some people are familiar with or comfortable with here in the city of Green Bay, but that’s because it’s that important, right? I mean, I believe that Green Bay is destined to be a great community,” Genrich said during his victory speech. “We’ll be doing that together. It’s not just all the issues that we’re focused on in the past. It’s not just the same faces that have participated in our democracy in the past. It’s bringing everyone along.”

The race could have major effects on the state’s third-largest city, where Genrich has been the tie-breaking vote on an ideologically divided city council. He may have his work cut out for him in his second term as nine of the city’s 12 Common Council members endorsed his opponent on the eve of the election.

The election came as Genrich and the city found themselves embroiled in controversy over the city’s use of audio recording devices in public hallways of city hall. Genrich and the city face a lawsuit from the Wisconsin State Senate and three other plaintiffs over the practice, and the Common Council voted to remove remove audio devices from city hall and to destroy the recordings when the lawsuit is resolved.

Madison mayor gets a second term

Satya Rhodes-Conway stands outside near steps to the courthouse as she speaks at a podium.
Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway speaks in front of the Dane County Courthouse on Thursday, July 28, 2022, in Madison, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Rhodes-Conway received 55.2 percent of the vote, while Reyes received 44.1 percent, according to unofficial results from Dane County. Rhodes-Conway said Reyes called her to concede the race Tuesday night.

The race was dominated by issues like public transit, affordable housing, policing and racial equity. Rhodes-Conway is Madison’s first openly gay mayor and was elected in 2019. She centered her campaign around addressing climate change and improving public transit.

Reyes previously served as an officer in the Madison Police Department for 13 years. She focused her campaign on increasing community engagement with local government, public safety and economic development.

In her victory speech, Rhodes-Conway said she looks forward to continuing to work with local leaders to continue making progress in Madison.

“I want to thank all of the dedicated city staff who work every single day to make Madison a better place,” she said. “All of these policies and programs are possible because of the work they do day in and day out for the city.”

Racine mayor reelected

State Rep. Cory Mason
Democratic state Rep. Cory Mason said the bill is a boon to special interests. Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin State Legislature

Mason received 57.4 percent of the vote, while Perez received 42.5 percent, according to unofficial results from Racine County.

The race was officially nonpartisan, but the Racine County Republican Party endorsed Perez and Mason is a former Democratic state representative. He was first elected Racine mayor in 2017.

Mason’s campaign focused on public safety, building community and improving housing. Perez focused his campaign on public safety and increasing transparency within city government.

In a Facebook post after his victory, Mason said he was honored to be reelected.

“Thank you voters and to all of my supporters who reflect the wonderful diversity of our community,” Mason wrote. “Forward together.”