Parisi, Soglin win top Dane County races

Scott Foval, Contributing writer

High-profile races for Wisconsin Supreme Court, mayor and county executive drew an estimated 70 percent of registered voters to the polls in Dane County on April 5.

State Rep. Joe Parisi received 70 percent of the vote in his race against conservative Republican Eileen Bruskewitz for Dane County executive. Retiring incumbent Kathleen Falk, out state Rep. Mark Pocan, One Wisconsin Now and Fair Wisconsin all backed Parisi.

Splitting Madison’s progressive vote almost in half, six-time former Mayor Paul Soglin defeated two-term incumbent Mayor Dave Cieslewicz by a narrow 51 – 49 percent margin. The race ran well into the evening, with Cieslewicz not calling Soglin to concede until 11:15 p.m.

Cieslewicz, who was supported by Pocan and Fair Wisconsin, lost many of the city’s most progressive wards but carried a majority of the left-leaning UW-Madison student vote.

Incumbent alder Bridget Maniaci narrowly defeated openly gay community activist Sam Stevenson, who was endorsed by Pocan and Fair Wisconsin. Voters in the city’s progressive District 2 returned Maniaci to office with just over 50 percent of the vote. Maniaci was considered vulnerable due to her involvement in the controversial Edgewater Hotel re-development project.

Candidates and media outlets expressed frustration on election night with the City of Madison’s slow vote tabulation. Delays were blamed on the city’s physical method of vote collection.

In Dane County, which has more rural polling places, a majority of precincts reported via telephone or modem transmission, making their results available hours ahead of the city’s.