‘This has been a journey:’ Earnell Lucas wins Democratic primary; will be next Milwaukee Co. sheriff

MILWAUKEE COUNTY -- Acting Milwaukee County Sheriff Richard Schmidt faced Earnell Lucas, former police captain and current Major League Baseball executive and Robert Ostrowski, a sheriff's deputy in the race to replace former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.

There were no Republicans in the race that Lucas won.

Schmidt voted Tuesday morning at Saint Martin's of Tours near 116th and Forest Home in Franklin. His "victory party" was held at Mo's: A Place for Steaks on Plankinton in Milwaukee. He said he was feeling confident, but said he knew it would be a tight race. He applauded his opponents for the work they put into their campaigns.

Richard Schmidt speaks after losing Democratic primary to Earnell Lucas

Lucas voted Tuesday morning at Plymouth Church near Summit and Kenwood in Milwaukee. His "victory party" was held at the Rave/Eagles Club Tuesday night. He took his 17-year-old granddaughter to the polls on Tuesday morning to stand by his side as he cast his ballot.

This was a race that has gotten negative in recent weeks.

Richard Schmidt

Schmidt, who was appointed by Governor Scott Walker to serve out the remainder of Clarke's term (until January 2019) faced two big hurdles. First, how voters would view his seven years as Clarke's second in command. The second -- with a competitive Republican U.S. Senate primary, it was possible few Milwaukee County GOP voters would cross over to vote in the Democratic primary for sheriff. Schmidt told FOX6 he's a Democrat "for now," while Lucas won the endorsement of several Democratic officials.

"There's serious issues Milwaukee County. I believe I have that experience -- 32 years of law enforcement experience. My opponents have nowhere near that. One of them hasn't been in law enforcement for 16 years. The other has never had a supervisory job. To turn over all the work that we've done would just be a little rough for me," said Schmidt.

Schmidt received a major boost in the past two weeks: Leadership MKE, a group funded almost entirely by County Executive Chris Abele, spent $300,000 supporting Schmidt through TV and online ads. That wiped out the fundraising advantage Lucas held.

Schmidt criticized Lucas for not being a certified law enforcement officer, meaning Lucas could not arrest someone. Lucas responded that it's not a requirement of the job, because sheriff is a constitutional officer.

Earnell Lucas

He said he wants to restore integrity to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office, and called himself the "true Democrat" in the race. He had the endorsements of several local liberal groups, including the Milwaukee County Democratic Party, Voces de la Frontera and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

"We still have a lot of work to do. We're taking nothing for granted. There are still undecideds out there for all races," said Lucas.

Earnell Lucas

Ostrowski, the former president of the deputy union, raised little money, but did have some support in South Shore communities.

Robert Ostrowski