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'Humbled' Mlada Earns Victory in Port Washington Mayoral Race

The Port Washington mayoral race wasn't the only close one in Tuesday's election, which also saw a higher level of participation than usual, as well as an extra dose of partisan thinking.

Turnout was solid and races were competitive throughout Port Washington and Saukville on Tuesday as voters chose a new mayor, two aldermen and school board members, on top of voting in the presidential primaries.

In the biggest local race of all, defeated 1,555-1,370 to win a term as mayor of Port Washington. He'll replace outgoing mayor Scott Huebner.

"I'm beyond excited and obviously very humbled and honored; I’m very energized," Mlada said after learning of his victory. "My commitment is to Port Washington … to its residents, to business leaders, to property owners, to council at the city staff — and that’s everybody, whether you voted for me or not."

While Vollmar was obviously disappointed that he won’t be taking the reins as the next city leader, he still had a positive outlook on its future.

"I'm disappointed and I remain an alderman and I’m sure I can work with (Tom)," Vollmar said. "He said during his campaign he could move the city forward, and I’m going to hold him to his word."

Mlada said he thinks working with the entire council, including Vollmar, will lead to a lot of great things for the city.

"The brighter days that are even forthcoming are because of the work that the (council and city staff) collectively have done — I’ve been very fortunate in the sense that I’ve been able to partner with, already, and create effective relationships with (all council members) and I look forward to working with all of them," Mlada said. "Jim’s a part of that, I certainly look forward to working closely with him … I’ve certainly tried really hard to make sure he knows I am grateful for his service and in that regard I’m hopeful it will be a great partnership."

Port aldermanic seats see little change

There were two contested aldermanic races for the Port Washington Common Council, and incumbents will fill both spots.

Incumbent faced newcomer in the race for the . Larson, who has been on the council for four years, won with a 197-91 margin, 67 percent of the vote.

"I think people appreciate the things I've done to represent them and they've given me the opportunity to continue to do that, and I'm very grateful and humbled,” Larson said. "I'm proud of my voting record and I'll continue along that same path and continue to work hard to build the downtown and expand upon what we've done. I want to work on developing the coal dock and making Port even more of a destination than it is now."

Incumbents and faced each other in the race for the spot, . Babcock had served in what was formerly the 4th District. Neumyer won by a 220-175 margin.

"I didn't like being pitted against another incumbent,” Neumyer said after results came in on Tuesday. “Burt Babcock is a really nice man who has been very dedicated to the city, so I take no enjoyment in beating him. … Now I'm going to have to convince the other residents who voted for Burt that I can represent them. The most important part is being responsive to constituents' concerns when they have them and mediating problems they might have."

Babcock shared the sense of regret that the situation even existed in the first place.

“I just want to wish Paul all the best, and … he certainly was complimentary with what he had to say about the work that I had done and things that he had done for me,” Babcock said. “If something is available I would certainly like to continue to work on something with city.”

Douglas Biggs was the , and takes the seat with 145 votes. There was one write-in vote in his race.

School Board welcomes two new members

The was a big one, with six candidates vying for three positions and a lot of controversial debates surrounding teacher contracts and other fiscal issues.

In the end, and came out on top for the two seats representing the city of Port. Mueller had 2,028 votes and Fristch had 1,700. Losing candidates and had 1,632 votes and 1,587 votes, respectively.

"I just want to stress my thanks to all those that supported me not only at the polls but also with signs and everything throughout the campaign," Fristch said. "Right now, I’m excited to serve Port Washington and the students … and I really look forward to continuing the great education that is established here in Port."

Mueller did not return a call seeking comment on Tuesday night, but Fritsch said she knows Mueller personally and looks forward to serving with her.

"I think she’s a wonderful person and it will be good to serve with someone that I do have a lot of respect for," Fritsch said.

For the Saukville seat, incumbent walked away with the win with 2,127 votes over newcomer John Soper’s 1,466.

"I'm really happy to be able to continue to serve the community the way I've always done,” Gremming said. "We have a lot of positive things to celebrate and we stuck to the positive parts of the campaign, sharing the wonderful things that we've done fiscally and for our district. … We have a lot of work ahead of us, and we're in the middle of a lot of projects, so it's back to business as usual."

Nonpartisan races get political

Port Washington City Adminstrator Mark Grams said the city typically sees about one-third of its voting population hit the polls.

“The State GAB estimated the turnout at 35 percent and I think we’ll hit that and may even go to 40 percent,” Grams said on Tuesday afternoon. “I think the presidential primary and local elections are causing the higher than expected turnout.”

There are about 7,000 eligible voters in Port Washington, according to Deputy Clerk Susan Westerbecke; there were 2,936 total votes in the city on Tuesday.

And the as well as the political turmoil that has been rippling through Wisconsin for more than a year now, likely influenced voters at the polls to come with partisan thoughts this election season — despite the fact that mayoral and school board races are nonpartisan.

“I basically went full Republican,” said John Love, a Saukville resident.

Volunteering for conservative candidates outside , Craig Simmons was talking to voters about candidates’ party affiliations, and passing out flyers advocating for Larsson, Kelley and Soper.

"A lot of people say, 'Thank you, I did not know who to vote for,'" Simmons said.

Wearing a baseball cap with a graphic of the Republican elephant, Simmons said several voters came to him with questions.

"It's especially refreshing when people make a beeline for me when they see the cap and say, 'Oh, you're a Republican; who are you supporting?'" Simmons said. "Party affiliation is everything."

In order to discern a candidate’s political leanings, at least one voter, Saukville resident Dave Kempin, said he used verifytherecall.com to find who not to vote for.

Politics even played a strong role in the School Board race for some voters. Port Washington resident Erik Halling said he voted for Larsson because he thought he was the most fiscally conservative.

Ruth Duffrin April 06, 2012 at 02:27 AM
The job of the school board isn't to just write a handbook in which you spell out the rules, pay and benefits for teachers, there are many things that the school board is responsible for. Act 10 doesn't just affect teachers. It affects other public employees, except police and fire. The reasons people signed for the recall are varied and not just centered on teachers. So when you go looking for names on the recall don't assume they signed in support of teachers, there are many more people affected by Act 10.
Tom Kamenick April 06, 2012 at 02:42 AM
I'm taking your request seriously, so I wanted to give it some time and thought. I'm sure you would agree that me apologizing for something I'm not sorry for just to hear you apologize would be completely inappropriate. So what did I do? I took politician's actions, words, and occasionally, lack of words, and then engaged in conjecture about those things and tried to infer from them how they would govern over the things we entrust to them. There's nothing wrong with that - that's what good voters should do. I also gave them the benefit of the doubt by not writing a single word about my opinions of what their signing meant until AFTER the election. All I did prior to the election was put the information out there. What didn't I do? I didn't put words in anybody's mouth. I spoke in generalities - I did not claim to know why any specific person signed, but nor did I claim that everybody who signed it had the same motivations. Specifically, I did not engage in a conversation with any of the signers and twist their words in any way to rebut an argument they didn't make. Nor did I publish my conclusions without clarification. As I noted, my purely informational post with no editorializing was posted 2 weeks before the election. The signers had opportunity and were asked to clarify their reasons for signing. That they didn't respond was their choice, but neither they nor anybody on their behalf should complain about people reaching their own conclusions.
Tom Kamenick April 06, 2012 at 02:44 AM
So I don't see anything I've done that you've complained about for which I should apologize. I will admit that my tone got sarcastic or acerbic at times (like many people, I enjoy my own attempts at wit!), and if that offended you or anybody else, I do apologize. I'll work on moderating my own words better.
Tom Kamenick April 06, 2012 at 02:48 AM
And I should apologize to Mr. Mlada for hijacking his thread so badly :) Congratulations, sir!
Flyer April 06, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Too long/too many words to read. When there is a clearly defined apology without reservation or hedging your bets, you will have the same, and I stand with my statement until then, sir.

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