The City of Milwaukee is set to elect a new mayor for the first time since 2004. Former Mayor Tom Barrett resigned on December 22, 2021 and was sworn in as United States Ambassador to Luxembourg the following day. Because of the timing of Barrett’s resignation, the special election for mayor will coincide with the city’s upcoming spring election on April 5, with a primary on February 15. The city’s next regular mayoral election will take place in the spring of 2024.
January 11 was the deadline for candidates to submit at least 1,500 nomination signatures from city residents. According to the Milwaukee Election Commission, six of the 12 candidates who initially filed to run in the election submitted enough valid signatures. The candidates on the ballot will be Acting Mayor and Common Council President Cavalier Johnson, State Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas, Alderman Marina Dimitrijevic, former Alderman Robert Donovan, and entrepreneur Michael Sampson.
Two candidates who will not appear on the ballot submitted less than 1,500 valid signatures, while Milwaukee City Attorney Tearman Spencer and several other candidates did not submit any signatures by the deadline. One candidate, Wenona Lee Gardner, is registered to run as a write-in candidate.
Sen. Chris Larson and Rep. Daniel Riemer, both Democrats representing parts of Milwaukee in the Wisconsin Legislature, considered running for mayor but dropped out before the nomination deadline. Sen. Taylor has suspended her campaign for lieutenant governor while she runs for mayor.
As we covered here, on August 25, President Joe Biden (D) announced his intent to nominate Barrett as ambassador to Luxembourg, a small nation in western Europe. A hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was held in early November, and Barret’s nomination cleared the committee and then the full U.S. Senate unanimously in mid-December. Barrett previously served in the Wisconsin Legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives and twice ran unsuccessfully for governor against former Gov. Scott Walker (R).
UPDATE: Ieshuh Griffin restores enough signatures to become seventh mayoral candidate
At its January 17 meeting, the Milwaukee Board of Election Commissioners restored some of the nomination signatures submitted by prospective candidate Ieshuh Griffin, putting her over the necessary threshold of 1,500 signatures. Following the nomination deadline, Griffin submitted two corrective affidavits attempting to fix some nomination signatures that were initially found to be invalid.
Using a random draw, the commission decided that the seven candidates will appear on the ballot in the following order:
- Robert Donovan
- Ieshuh Griffin
- Michael Sampson
- Lena Taylor
- Earnell Lucas
- Marina Dimitrijevic
- Cavalier Johnson
This article was updated on January 20, 2022.