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Race for county executive: Milwaukee city supports Larson, suburbs break for Abele

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MILWAUKEE -- Results from the Milwaukee county executive's primary election show suburban voters support incumbent Chris Abele, while Milwaukee city voters want a new leader.

Chris Larson

Chris Larson

Abele and state Sen. Chris Larson both advanced to the April general election. Vote totals show that Larson won the city, 50 percent to 40 percent, while Abele won the suburbs by almost an identical margin, 50-38.

Larson topped Abele by 708 votes overall. The challenger admitted that he was surprised by the results, after a mid-January poll paid for by Larson's campaign showed him trailing by double digits.

"I think the message is pretty clear," Larson said. "People think Milwaukee County is heading in the wrong direction. They`ve had five years with the current executive, Chris Abele, and they`re done."

 

Chris Abele vs. Chris Larson in spring primary election

Chris Abele vs. Chris Larson in spring primary election

Chris Abele vs. Chris Larson in spring primary election

Chris Abele vs. Chris Larson in spring primary election

Larson closed the gap as Abele contributed $2.75 million of his own money in the campaign by the end of January. He didn't rule out spending $5 million by April, when asked specifically about that figure on Wednesday.

"I haven't set a hard number yet," Abele said. "I don't take any (political-action committee) money, and I'm not beholden to anybody besides the people who put me in office."

Chris Abele

Chris Abele

Abele said he expected a close race and was not surprised by Tuesday's results.

Larson has criticized Abele for being too willing to work with Republicans in Wisconsin's Legislature, leading Abele on Wednesday to cast his opponent as too partisan.

"Telling people who you`re angry at doesn`t tell them what you believe in and how you`re going to get there," Abele said. "Telling people you`re going to work with half the electorate is, frankly, what a lot of people are frustrated with."

Abele said his campaign staff would continue to analyze Tuesday's results but did not plan to change the campaign's strategy.

Larson's campaign raised slightly less than $100,000 by the end of January, and he acknowledged the need for additional donations.

"I expect, after yesterday, it will engage many more people to chip in what they can to be able to help our campaign," Larson said. "If he (Abele) is going to try to throw more money out there and try to fool people, I think the voters are smarter than that."

Chris Abele for Milwaukee county executive

Chris Abele for Milwaukee county executive

Larson and Abele committed to participating in a debate in Milwaukee on Monday, February 22nd hosted by the non-partisan Public Policy Forum.

Chris Larson for Milwaukee county executive

Chris Larson for Milwaukee county executive

Larson says he wants four debates by April 5th. Abele said he also planned to do four debates.

CLICK HERE for complete coverage of the February 16th spring primary election via FOX6Now.com.

5 comments

  • Opinion8d

    Anyone who votes for Larson is just looking for more freebies on the back of the taxpayers. Abele is focused on tackling the needs of Milwaukee and being fiscally responsible. He’s not perfect, but he is far the better choice than Larson. I’m sure the general election turnout in the non-city vote will give Abele the votes he needs.

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  • Cameron

    Chris Larson all the way! Abele is out of touch with the people of the city. We need someone willing to get their hands dirty who understands what is going on and actually has ideas not only to work to fix problems, but to work with the people…not against them. Go Chris Larson!

    • Gary Lee

      Or, maybe the city of Milwaukee is out of touch with the rest of the county! Just look at who the city voters keep electing to the common counsel and county board: more tax/spend/regulate fools. Just what kinds of good paying jobs have any of these elected officials ever bought to Milwaukee? None. “Get their hands dirty”? If you’re a thief, I’d suppose so… Just go away, Chris Larson

  • Gary Lee

    Larson is supported by leaches who sponge off of those who earn a living and/or are too dumb to think for themselves. He’d be a close fit for the likes of Tom Barrett who can’t get enough tax payer dollars to spend.

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