MILWAUKEE CO. (WITI) -- Perhaps the most hotly-contested race in Tuesday's primary election was for Milwaukee County sheriff. Neither candidate was claiming defeat -- even as 100% of precincts had results in early Wednesday morning -- but now, a winner has been declared. Incumbent Sheriff David Clarke has defeated Milwaukee Police Lieutenant Chris Moews -- 52% to 48%.
On Wednesday afternoon, Sheriff David Clarke held a press conference -- declaring victory in the race. Now, he's talking about what his next steps will be.
The race for Milwaukee County sheriff left supporters seeking a resolution. After midnight, when Chris Moews spoke to supporters at his election night gathering, he refused to concede.
"It seems like the gap is closing. We have a tremendous number of votes out. We`re not ready to call it a night," Moews told supporters early Wednesday morning.
Later Wednesday morning, the Moews campaign issued a concession statement.
Results at FOX6Now.com showed Clarke with 52% of the vote, to Moews' 48%.
Moews issued the following statement:
“The voters have spoken, and I accept the results. With twice as many voters in this election than four years ago, there’s a brighter spotlight shining on the work of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office.
“I hope the sheriff will set politics aside, reconsider his go-it-alone approach and work collaboratively and respectfully with law enforcement and municipal leaders to truly make our community safer and stronger.”
"When I read that, my first thought is 'when a concession speech is not a concession speech,'" Sheriff Clarke said.
Clarke declared victory on Wednesday afternoon, saying Tuesday's primary race was a referendum on his approach, vs. Moews'.
"Obviously the voters of this county, by a majority, have said they like my style," Sheriff Clarke said.
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele was an open supporter of Moews.
"I wrote his campaign a check. I was supporting Chris. I like Chris, but I'll always work with whoever's there," Chris Abele said Wednesday.
Sheriff Clarke says he, too plans to work on his relationship with Abele going forward, though on Wednesday afternoon, there were hints of the friction we've seen between the two in the past.
"I`m supposed to take that at face value? He wants to work with me when he just tried to eliminate me from the public scene here?" Sheriff Clarke said.
Abele says he called Sheriff Clarke to congratulate him on his victory in Tuesday's primary.
Sheriff Clarke says he didn't get the message -- saying he's gotten hundreds of congratulatory calls.
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