KEY POINTS

  • How much change do Milwaukee voters want?
  • A black candidate appears headed to be county executive
  • A man who declared bankruptcy is running for comptroller

Milwaukee's political face could be more colorful after the April 7 run off. That's right, April 7.

Even though Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers urges voters to use absentee ballots, he has refused to change the date in spite of many calls to do so over coronavirus  fears.

State Sen. Chris Larson and state Rep. David Crowley are facing off for the Milwaukee County executive seat Democratic runoff. The black candidate, Crowley, edged Larson 24,284 - 23,661 in the primary.

Crowley told the  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he takes advancing as a sign that Milwaukee County is ready for a change. He wants to build a bigger table for all voices to be heard. Crowley has been endorsed by former County Executive Chris Abele, receiving $240,000 in advertising. 

Larson ran for the position of county executive in 2016, winning in the primary, but losing the general election to Abele. Larson said his campaign has been about people power and not spending in the race, and has focused on solutions to family homelessness, securing funding for transit and keeping parks free, according to the Milwaukee newspaper.

People of different races are also vying for the city's top elected post. White incumbent Mayor Tom Barrett, who has been in office for four terms, must face state Sen. Lena Taylor in the Democratic run off. Barrett topped Taylor by 13,000 votes in a 4-person primary.

Barrett reportedly told reporters that voters saw his commitment "to every part of this city." Taylor said Milwaukee residents want change and grassroots efforts of the people can overcome Barrett's financial advantage in the race. 

A couple of seasoned politicos are also facing off in the battle to control Milwaukee's $1.6 billion budget and the city's $1 billion debt program.

Comptroller Martin Matson is retiring. In the race to become the city’s chief financial officer, state Rep. Jason Fields, who is black, faces Aycha Sawa, a first-generation American whose parents immigrated from Turkey, for Milwaukee’s comptroller in the Democratic run off.

Fields is in his third term as a Wisconsin assembly member. He has a financial past as a former stockbroker, investment banker and heading a venture capital fund. He also carries a load of baggage including a 2016 bankruptcy and two convictions of drunken driving in his past.

Sawa has held the No. 2 position in the city comptroller’s office for three years. She previously worked as an auditor for Wisconsin. She is a certified public accountant and a certified internal auditor.