It’s 2003 all over again. Except this time, there’s a different guy on top of the primary results.

Paul Soglin won 50 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s primary to Mayor Dave Cieslewicz’s 47 percent, setting the stage for a memorable mayoral race this April. 

Soglin said he was excited about the lead and hopes it gives him a chance to further express his ideas for addressing current city issues.

“There are a lot of difficult problems in these complicated times,” said Soglin, who served as the city’s mayor in the 1970s and 1990s.

Cieslewicz said the closeness of the race provides a platform for the candidates to discuss their records as mayor.

“It’s a close race – we knew it would be,” Cieslewicz said. “We are looking forward to that because it gives us an opportunity to talk about our records and Madison’s future, which is what this campaign is all about.”

Cieslewicz said the next seven weeks will give the candidates the chance to discuss what can be done to build a strong economy. He said the candidates would also have the chance to lay out their plans for building on the city’s reputation as one of the most secure cities in the country with one of the lowest crime rates.

Soglin said he hopes to get out the student vote before the April ballots come out. He said he was not surprised by the low student turnout because many students might have been unaware of the primaries.

“[The low student turnout] was to be expected,” Soglin said. “I think we will be able to pull in more of the student vote in the general election.”

Soglin lost to Cieslewicz by two percentage points in the 2003 election.

- Sasha Hayman contributed to this report.