Milwaukee prepares for 2022 special election to succeed its longtime mayor

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Common Council President Cavalier Johnson will become acting mayor once Barrett leaves, which will make him the second African American to serve as mayor of Wisconsin’s largest city; the first was Marvin Pratt, who also took over as acting mayor back in 2004 a few months before losing to Barrett. Johnson announced back in August that he’d campaign in the special election, but a few fellow Democrats also said that they’d run in the months before Barrett was officially confirmed.

The field already includes Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas, who decisively won the 2018 race that took place a year after the infamous David Clarke resigned, and Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, whom Wisconsin Public Radio called one of the Common Council’s “more outspoken liberal members.” Lucas, like Johnson, would be the first Black person elected mayor, while Dimitrijevic would be the first woman to lead the city. 

The other notable declared candidate is former Alderman Bob Donovan, a conservative who lost to Barrett in a 70-30 landslide in 2016. Others can still get in, though they’d have to decide fast if the nonpartisan primary ends up getting scheduled for February. Whoever ultimately wins could be here for quite some time, as Barrett is only the fourth person to be elected to the post since 1945.



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