Race for Milwaukee Mayor: Johnson, Donovan advance to general election

February 17, 2022

Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson and former Alderman Bob Donovan.

Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson and former Alderman Bob Donovan have advanced to the spring general election in the race for Milwaukee’s next mayor.

As returns began to roll in the evening of Tuesday, February 15, 2022. Johnson and Donovan were the early leaders.

Johnson declared victory before 10 p.m. Tuesday.

“With so much of what we are facing, it’s racial injustice that’s left us in a worse place. Our health care outcomes are worse for Black and brown people. Our educational achievement is worse for Black and brown folks in Milwaukee. Our wages are worse for Black and brown folks here in Milwaukee,” Johnson said. “By building a safe, strong prosperous city for all, that’s how we make Milwaukee a shining city on a hill. It is not racial equity or economic strength, it’s prosperity because we include everyone. That’s the vision, that’s the goal.”

During a speech Tuesday night, Donovan said he was running for mayor for three major reasons: safer streets, better schools and good jobs.

“I’m very pleased with the results tonight. Now the big challenge comes,” Donovan said to WISN-TV 12 at 10 p.m. “We need to move our city forward, and I believe I’m the guy to get that done.”

Also running were State Sen. Lena Taylor, Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas, business owner Michael Sampson and community activist Ieshuh Griffin.

“I think in the Black community, we have to deal with homeownership, entrepreneurship and access to opportunity. If we want to fix public safety, we’ve got to dig into the root to do it. You’re not going to be able to police or mass-incarcerate your way out. You’re going to be close to the status quo with the people that you have in the primary,” Sen. Taylor said Tuesday night.

Shortly after 9 p.m., Lucas thanked his supporters.

“The people have spoken tonight,” he said.

Lucas said he called Johnson and Donovan to congratulate them, even though not all the results were in.

Lucas announced Tuesday night he would not run for sheriff again in the fall.

Dimitrijevic sent out a statement late Tuesday saying, in part, “Milwaukee’s never elected a woman to lead it, much less a mom. While we didn’t manage to break that particular glass ceiling this time around, we did show Milwaukee, and all of its women and young girls, that a woman could run a campaign that could be taken seriously.”

The more than 23,000 absentee votes were added into the count just before 11 p.m., confirming Johnson and Donovan as the unofficial winners.

The spring election is April 5, 2022. The race will fill the seat left by former Mayor Tom Barrett, who is now the U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg.