In a clean sweep despite low voter turnout, Wyndham Manning secured his seat as the Dane County District 5 Supervisor Tuesday.�
Manning, a University of Wisconsin senior, beat out freshman Conor O’Hagan for the two-year term representing a primarily student district comprised of about 14,500 people, according to outgoing District 5 supervisor Ashok Kumar.
According to poll results from the Dane County clerk, O’Hagan received 146 votes, Manning captured 304, and there were 10 write-ins. Voter turnout was less than half of other downtown districts.
Manning described his state as “pure ecstasy” at his victory party at an art gallery Tuesday night attracting about 30 people, more people than the Manning-O’Hagan debate last week.
He thanked O’Hagan for making him work harder and participating in a clean race.
“I want to write an entire book about this experience,” Manning said. “I encourage everybody to do it, and I encourage nobody to do it because it was just about the most random experience ever.”
Up and out campaigning by 5 a.m., Manning said he and his campaign team spent hours chalking and passing out handbills in a last push before voters headed to the polls.
Manning clinched the Lakeshore dorms polling area, where O’Hagan lives, by 10 votes.
“I had actually some of my biggest support from O’Hagan’s district,” Manning said. “People may not necessarily believe with my politics sometimes, but they want somebody who has a vision.”
Previous District 5 Supervisor Ashok Kumar was also present at Manning’s party.
“I’m immensely proud to see the district remaining in the hands of a radical progressive, Wyndham Manning, who ran with the support of the green party, Progressive Dane and the Teaching Assistants’ Association,” Kumar said.
O’Hagan congratulated Manning on his win from his Bradley Hall dorm room, saying his loss will give him a chance to get back into activities he is invested in, like Youth in Government and a new elementary school drug and alcohol awareness program.
He said running again in the future is definitely a possibility.
“I will definitely spend these next two years watching what happens and getting more experience. I feel I will know the issues better,” O’Hagan said. “I will be more experienced. I will have more of the passion to do it in the future.”
According to O’Hagan, voter turnout was “heartbreaking and pathetic” and is looking into changing UW’s policy prohibiting candidates from campaigning in dorms.
Ald. Eli Judge, District 8, said he and the Dane County District 5 share many important challenges as they both represent a primarily student district.
“Getting students engaged is really difficult, and that one should be one of the No. 1 objectives student supervisors should engage in,” Judge said.
Judge said transportation and how students interact with the environment are two issues the city and county should work together on over the next two years.
With a total of 460 votes overall, the 2008 District 5 supervisor election captured less than the 2006 election, which brought in 668 overall votes.
Ann Waidelich, chief inspector for the Memorial Library polling place, said the 13-hour day went very slowly, adding it is “really sad” the candidates could not mobilize more voters.
“It’s hard for the kids because they live here temporarily, so it’s difficult for them to connect to the city,” Waidelich said. “Dane County Board of Supervisors seems even more remote than the City Council.”