WISCONSIN (April 6, 2022)–Voters in Milwaukee have elected Cavalier Johnson as the city’s next mayor, CNN projects. Johnson, a Democrat who currently serves as the city’s acting mayor, is the first African American elected to the post.
“This city, for the first time in our 176-year history, has elected its first Black mayor. We did it,” Johnson said Tuesday.
Johnson, who at 35 is also the city’s first millennial mayor, defeated former Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan in the special election for a shortened two-year term. He took over as the city’s acting mayor last December, after the incumbent Tom Barrett stepped down to become the US ambassador to Luxembourg.
Johnson and Donovan, who previously ran for mayor in 2016, were the top-two finishers in the February primary election.
Johnson grew up and still resides on the city’s north side. He was elected as an alderman to the Milwaukee Common Council in 2016 and reelected four years later, according to his biography on the Common Council website. He has also served as president of the Common Council.
As acting mayor, Johnson established his presence at City Hall, holding news conferences and gaining name recognition.
In his election campaign, he prioritized public safety and touted a plan “to combat reckless driving and for safer Milwaukee streets.”
He also ran on a platform of “reducing violence and ensuring safety” for the city, which he said “is at a critical junction.”
Milwaukee, one of the country’s 40 most populous cities, recorded more homicides in 2021 than in any other year on record, according to a CNN analysis of police department data. It was the second year in a row that the city set a homicide record, a police spokesman confirmed to CNN.
In his campaign, Johnson said he was focused on “creating jobs” and “fighting Covid.”
A former member of a pre-college program for low-income Milwaukee Public School students, Johnson has been involved in Milwaukee community initiatives from a young age.
He worked in the Milwaukee mayor’s office prior to serving as alderman, and he has served on the boards of the Milwaukee YMCA, ACLU-Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Community Brainstorming Conference, according to his campaign website.
While the race was nonpartisan, Johnson’s campaign received a $100,000 contribution from the state Democratic Party last month. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Donovan was endorsed by former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson, who are seeking the GOP nod for Wisconsin governor this year.
Source: CNN contributed to the article.