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A Black elected official appears to be a first for Wauwatosa. Second contest goes into overtime

 Margaret Arney
Chuck Quirmbach
Margaret Arney speaks to a news reporter Tuesday afternoon in Wauwatosa.

Updated 1:08 p.m. CDT

Wauwatosa has what appears to be its first Black elected official in the 130 years since it was incorporated as a village. And a second Black individual is a tie-breaker away from being elected.

Margaret Arney didn't have an opponent and picked up 99% of the vote in winning the District 2 alderperson contest Tuesday. She said the Wauwatosa community, which is mostly white, is changing.

"We are manifesting values that say everybody belongs. And that we need to be treated with justice and treated as if we really are residents here. There's no more sense of you don't belong. You stay in your area, we stay in our area. That's not the world that we're in right now. We're in a connected world. We're in a world where we really need each other's talent," Arney told news reporters Tuesday afternoon.

Arney said she's particularly interested in improving the mental and physical health of Wauwatosa residents, as the COVID-19 pandemic eases. Arney also hopes the village will continue with its equity and inclusion efforts.

Another African American could join Arney on the Wauwatosa Common Council. Sean Lowe finished Tuesday evening tied at 702 votes with incumbent Rob Gustafson in the race for the District 5 seat.

Wauwatosa officials announced at midday Wednesday that there is another twist in the District 5 contest.

The city's statement is as follows: "There is a provisional ballot in Aldermanic District 5. A provisional ballot is a ballot that is marked but is not counted at the time it is cast. It is issued to a voter who is unable to provide the poll workers with documentation as required by Wisconsin federal law. A provisional ballot will not be counted unless the voter provides the required information to the city clerk by 4:00 pm on Friday, April 8. The Board of Canvassers will meet on Friday, April 8 at 4:00 pm to certify results. If the aldermanic race remains tied, Wisconsin statutes outline a process for determining results. This process is a method of chance, such as a drawing of lots. Per state law, eligible candidates will have the ability to request a recount by 5:00 pm on Wednesday, April 13."

Lowe issued a statement Tuesday night, saying he's thrilled by his level of support. He said, "Some people may be comfortable with the status quo, but others want change, diversity, history, safe neighborhoods, clean and available parks, and affordable housing."

A third Black individual, John Larry, came up 150 votes short in his bid to become a Wauwatosa alderperson.

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