MILWAUKEE -- The race for Milwaukee County executive was one to watch on Monday evening, April 13. As of 10 p.m., there was no clear and confirmed winner.
Despite the closeness of the vote tally, State Rep. David Crowley declared victory against State Sen. Chris Larson. Crowley said in a statement, "Tonight’s results were the culmination of that goal. The voters of Milwaukee County showed that they are ready to join together and address the many issues facing our community."
Both campaigns said at least two Milwaukee County communities had not yet reported absentee ballots. It's possible those ballots were still waiting to be counted -- or were being tallied late into the night.
After Larson's campaign got wind of Crowley calling the race, Larson sent out a statement saying there were still 17,000 absentee ballots outstanding to be counted in Milwaukee County.
Crowley's complete statement
“When I announced my campaign at the beginning of November, I had one simple goal. I wanted to bring residents from across Milwaukee County together to move our shared community forward. I made it clear; it didn’t matter what municipality you lived in, what you looked like, how much money you had, or what political party you belonged to, this campaign was for you.
“Tonight’s results were the culmination of that goal. The voters of Milwaukee County showed that they are ready to join together and address the many issues facing our community.
“I do not take lightly the fact that I am entering office in unprecedented times and in the middle of a public health crisis. However, tonight I am both proud and hopeful.
“I’m proud that our community was able to put politics aside and think about what’s best for all of our community and I’m hopeful that we will be able to continue to work together as we move forward through this crisis and into the future. Once we get through these trying times, we need to get to work rebuilding our economy and getting our residents and businesses back on their feet in every neighborhood in this county.
“The challenges that Milwaukee County faced prior to the pandemic were daunting. The challenges now are critical. We are going to look to our partners at the state and federal government for help. My first calls tomorrow will not just be only to Governor Evers, Speaker Vos and Majority Leader Fitzgerald, but also to Senators Johnson and Baldwin and the entire Wisconsin Congressional Delegation. We, like every other county across this state, need their assistance right now more than ever.
“I will also reach out to the leaders of our municipalities across Milwaukee County, including Mayor Barrett and the rest of our mayors and village presidents, to coordinate from day one on how we respond to this crisis. We are all in this together and we must break down old provincial barriers to coordinate in ways we never have before.
“I want to thank Senator Chris Larson for all that he does for this community and for running a strong race and contributing to the conversation around so many issues that are important to our community. Senator Larson is my friend. He has been fighting for the people of Milwaukee County in Madison for over a decade and I look forward to continuing to work with him. I welcome his thoughts and input as we transition into my administration.
“I want everyone to know that the historical significance of tonight’s results is not lost on me. Growing up in Milwaukee’s 53206 zip code, I could have never imagined that I would be making this statement today as the first African American elected to lead the largest county in Wisconsin.
“I believe I bring a unique experience to this office because I understand the struggles that so many of our residents are going through. Our work to remedy these struggles begins right now. At the beginning of this campaign, I said that I wanted to build a bridge between our thriving and struggling communities. That gap has never been more apparent than right now in this crisis. It is my commitment today that my administration will do everything we can to make sure that when Milwaukee County bounces back from this crisis, none of our residents will be left behind.
“I want to extend my deepest thanks to my wife Ericka, my daughters, Alyssa, Ava, and Autumn and to the rest of my family for all of the support they have given me and for shouldering the burden that a campaign like this places on them. I also want to thank everyone across Milwaukee County who voted, those who put their faith in me and to those who did not. I want to make it clear, whether you voted for me or not, your voice will matter in my administration.
“Thank you and stay safe and healthy. The real work begins now. We will get through this, together.”
Statement from Chris Larson:
"In an election that hinged on the votes of absentee voters, there are still 17,000 absentee ballots outstanding to be counted in Milwaukee County. This race is far too close to call and anybody who claims otherwise is acting prematurely. We need each and every voter to be counted before declaring a decision in this race."