Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Déjà vu: Liberal Madison recycles mayor

He’s back.

After bringing in roughly half the votes from one of the highest election turnouts in the Madison’s history, Paul Soglin will once again become mayor.

In a close race between Soglin and incumbent Dave Cieslewicz, Soglin took 44,542 votes to Cieslewicz’s 43,829. That’s a difference of just 713 votes, eerily similar to their 2003 difference of 1,189, a contest that brought Cieslewicz to the city’s highest office.

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“Dave and I have some basic shared values in regards to the importance of work and recognition of workers, in regards to the importance of good development in an urban setting and in regards to economic and social justice and the environment,” Soglin said. “The difference between the two of us is the emphasis in the priorities.”

Following a familiarly competitive campaign, Soglin said voters made a “tough but very good choice” in electing Soglin to serve the city again. He previously served as Madison’s mayor from 1973 to 1979 and again from 1989 to 1997.

When Soglin announced the victory to a crowd of anxious supporters who cheered anytime newly elected Dane County Executive Joe Parisi appeared on the television and jeered at the narrow results of the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, the group climbed on chairs and chanted “Mayor! Mayor!”

Soglin said he was well-prepared and excitedly awaiting the beginning of his two-week transition period in which he said he has to work with “millions of people” to follow through on campaign promises.

“There are more than 8 million people who during the campaign had advice and suggestions for me, and I promised each and every one of them I’d meet with them,” Soglin said. “I have more than 7.9 million people I have to check in with.”

Although this election marks what some would consider a mid-point of Soglin’s long history with the city, Soglin stood victorious and reminded the standing room-only crowd “this was just the beginning.”

“This election is just the beginning of a very long journey – we are just beginning, we are just beginning,” Soglin said during his speech, alluding to the battle he has vowed to launch against Gov. Scott Walker’s state budget proposal. “…Once I take office, the first thing to do is preparing the strategy and the alternatives to the governor’s budget proposals – we have to be prepared.”

Noting Madison has become a “very special place” for Soglin and his family throughout the years, the victor said he had to thank his wife and daughters for “allowing him to do this one more time.”

After Soglin disappeared into a crowd of handshakes and “well dones,” long-time political friends walked up to his wife, Sara Soglin, and congratulated her on having a “happy husband” once again.

Cieslewicz called Soglin around 11 p.m. to concede the race and shortly after entered his party to thank supporters.

He approached the stage to wild applause, including chants of, “Dave! Dave! Dave!” At least one supporter yelled, “Governor! Governor!”

Once the crowd quieted, Cieslewicz said while the results of the mayoral race did not turn out as he had hoped, he thought overall Wisconsin had taken steps forward in Tuesday’s elections.

“This was a great evening for the progressive movement in Wisconsin,” he said.

After thanking the people of Madison for the opportunity to serve as mayor, Cieslewicz finished his remarks with a quote he said he used in his first campaign.

“I think the measure of our success is that we have made Madison a city worthy of the name ‘home,'” he said.

After his speech, Cieslewicz said he was emotionally prepared for any outcome, adding he knew the race would be very close. Given a chance to re-do the race, he said he would have done “probably a million” things differently but noted “you don’t get do-overs in this business.”

Cieslewicz said he did not know what was next for him, though he may look for work in the environmental movement. As for the requests to run for governor, Cieslewicz gave a simple answer.

“I’ll have to talk to my wife,” he said.

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