An enthusiastic and hopeful crowd gathered Tuesday at the Angelic Brewing Company in support of mayoral candidate Paul Soglin. With local newscasts reporting only 89 percent of the polls counted, Soglin arrived and made the announcement that he had conceded defeat.
Soglin began his concession speech by announcing that he had just finished wishing Dave Cieslewicz the best of luck as Madison?s new mayor. Soglin said that as well as adjusting to his new position, Cieslewicz will have many serious problems to tackle, most notably the city?s budget deficit.
After giving a general thank you to the numerous supporters of his campaign, Soglin blamed his downfalls as a candidate as a major reason for his defeat.
?Thank you for all the support, that I probably didn?t deserve,? Soglin said. ?If we would have had a better candidate, I am sure that we would have won.?
While Soglin believes that he outweighed Cieslewicz on experience and economic issues, he noted that Cieslewicz?s fresh appeal and strong endorsements gave him the extra edge that was needed to gather the majority of voter support. Soglin also strongly emphasized his belief that Cieslewicz?s endorsement from Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk was a deciding factor in the race.
?Her endorsement pulled a lot of weight,? Soglin said. ?In all my years of politics, I have never seen a single endorsement carry so much influence.?
Soglin said this endorsement also contributed to his lack of support from female voters.
?For the first time in my life, I got whomped on the wrong end of the gender scale,? Soglin joked. ?Even though I have and always will care very deeply for gender-sensitive issues like affirmative action and improving child care, I did not do well with women in this race.?
Soglin also attributed a lack of pre-primary campaigning and field organization to his loss.
While as few as six students mingled through the predominantly middle-aged crowd, those in attendance felt very passionate about Soglin and his campaign.
?He is a true inspiration and a wonderful leader,? Soglin campaign campus coordinator and University of Wisconsin student Annie Hughel said. ?Whatever happens, it was a pleasure.?
Volunteer for the Soglin campaign and UW student Judy Burmaster said that she was slightly discouraged by some students? lack of interest in the campaign. Burmaster said that while the response to campaigning in the Library Mall area was positive, campaign efforts near Gordon Commons were not well received.
?I feel so strongly about politics, I guess I just don?t understand why students wouldn?t want to vote,? Burmaster said.
Soglin announced that although he will continue to be involved with city issues, he has no plans to run for office in the future.
?It?s been a very exciting race, but campaigns are hard on family life,? Soglin said. ?I have and always will be involved in this city.?