Milwaukee County Executive Race: David Crowley, Chris Larson Head To General Election

Feb 18, 2020

Updated Wednesday at 11:39 a.m. CT

David Crowley and Chris Larson are advancing to the April 7 general election in the Milwaukee County executive race. They were the top two vote-getters in the primary election, beating out Theo Lipscomb and Purnima Nath.

Both Crowley and Larson are Democrats who serve in the Wisconsin Legislature – Crowley in the Assembly and Larson in the Senate.

>>Wisconsin Election Results — 2020 Spring Primary Elections

Crowley was delayed because of a long state Assembly session Tuesday in Madison. So, Milwaukee Alderman Cavalier Johnson, who endorsed Crowley, stood in for him as supporters celebrated his victory. He says went to high school with Crowley and has known him for about 20 years.

"David has a tremendous track record of bringing people together. He has a tremendous track record of being a standup person who looks out for the interests of the community that he serves and I think people really saw that message and it really resonated with people across the county," Johnson said at Crowley’s party in the Bronzeville neighborhood.

Johnson says Crowley is running for Milwaukee County executive to ensure that his kids and all residents — no matter their ZIP code — receive quality services and have access to opportunity.

"He’s going to be fighting for racial equity in Milwaukee County. He’s going to be fighting to make sure that we have a robust transit system that gets people from their neighborhood to locations where there are family supporting jobs. He’s going to be fighting to protect Milwaukee County Parks. These are things that everybody in Milwaukee County, no matter what municipality you live in, can resonate with and can get behind. And David’s going to be the champion to deliver on those things," Johnson said.

At Larson's victory party, he presented himself as a champion for the downtrodden and a voice for unity.

"People who have been left behind are going to have a seat at the table of the Larson administration, especially African American neighbors, LGBTQ neighbors, senior neighbors, neighbors who fought for our country in the military. Neighbors who worked tirelessly serving their community as teacher," Larson said.

Chris Larson speaks to his supporters, which include union leaders and public education advocates, after his victory in the 2020 spring primary Milwaukee County executive race.
Credit Emily Files

Larson challenged Chris Abele for county executive four years ago but lost. Abele announced last October that he's not seeking reelection after holding the post since 2011. If elected this time, Larson says his top priorities would be to end family homelessness, protect senior services, revitalize county parks and secure dedicated transit funding.

When asked what distinguishes him from Crowley, Larson emphasizes his pledge to reject “big money” in his campaign.

“I think at this point we have a longer history of standing up at the state, standing up at the county, standing up to big moneyed interests when push comes to shove. And I think at this point people are going to be looking out for the community first, looking out for the person who has been shouldered out of the process,” Larson said.

In the weeks leading up to the general election, Larson says he’s going to campaign in each of the county’s 19 municipalities and visit all of its more than 100 parks. Many have suffered from deferred maintenance because of the county’s tight budget.

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