This is the first in a series on Whitewater’s local politics of 2021. One begins with two reminders: I endorsed no one in any local races, and suggested that for some – but not for those watching carefully – the results were likely to be a surprise. (They should not have been a surprise.)
Today’s post will summarize the local election results and offer a few observations; subsequent posts in the series will expand on particular, and notable, local political conditions.
For the Whitewater Unified School District, the district saw three active candidates on the ballot for two seats on the board. Unofficial results from Rock, Jefferson, and Walworth counties: Maryann Zimmerman 1354, Larry Kachel 1322, Tom Ganzer (I) 1075.
In the City of Whitewater, for an at-large council seat, unofficial results show Lisa Dawsey-Smith with 708, Dan Machalik with 328. In the fifth aldermanic district, Greg Majkrzak (I) received 62 votes, with Neil Hicks receiving 60. In the first aldermanic district, Carol McCormick (I) ran unopposed, as did Brienne Brown (I) in the third aldermanic district.
The center-left candidate in the statewide race for schools superintendent, Jill Underly, carried Whitewater over the center-right candidate, Deb Kerr, by 842-379.
A few remarks:
Voters won’t help an incumbent who won’t help himself. One expects an incumbent to advance his record confidently and defend himself thoroughly against criticism. People aren’t inclined to do for a politician what he won’t do for himself. Advancing and defending are not assurances of re-election, but their absence makes defeat likely. It has been a tumultuous year; passivity is not a winning response to tumult.
Underly’s Performance. Jill Underly performed meaningfully better in Whitewater than Tom Ganser, the incumbent school board candidate. They were ideologically similar candidates with different local receptions. It’s not broad ideology, but particular local circumstances, that account for their different levels of support.
The election invites consideration (among other topics) of the kinds of conservatives in Whitewater, the city’s center-left, the city’s few progressives, managing Whitewater’s common council, the intermixing of city & district politics, demographics, marketing, and majoritarianism in the school district, and the limits of political change in the city or school district.
Tomorrow: The Kinds of Conservatives in Whitewater.