Milwaukee elects Cavalier Johnson, the city’s first Black mayor

Johnson defeated former city Alderman Bob Donovan with an overwhelming percentage of the vote

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On Tuesday, Milwaukee elected Cavalier Johnson as its first Black mayor. Johnson overwhelmingly defeated former city Alderman Bob Donovan with 72% of the vote, according to the City of Milwaukee website.

“This city for the first time in our 176-year history has elected its first Black mayor. We did it,” Johnson told supporters during his victory speech at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, CNN reports. 

Donovan conceded less than an hour after polls closed and congratulated Johnson, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Cavalier Johnson (Official campaign website)

“Well, we took it on the chin tonight, but boy oh boy, we’re not down,” he said. “There’s no shame in going after it and coming up short,” Donovan continued. “We had a vision, a goal, a plan for Milwaukee that I still to this day believe in.”

Since this was a special election to replace long-serving Democrat Tom Barrett, who resigned in December to take up an ambassadorial role in Luxembourg, Johnson will serve a truncated two-year term.

“We’ve got a lot to do,” he said, when it comes to curbing violence, rebuilding neighborhoods, and creating jobs. 

Currently serving as the city’s acting mayor, Johnson, 35, has also become the city’s first millennial to be elected to the official role. In his victory speech, he talked about his childhood growing up in poverty and surrounded by gun violence. “We want our city to be loving, nurturing, and stable,” Johnson told his supporters. “That’s why I ran for mayor.”

“Tonight we’re celebrating and tomorrow we continue the hard work of governing. The hard work of transforming our city into a place where all of our residents can thrive. Where businesses the world over want to move to, and where every family can gather without fear of violence and crime marring our joy,” he said, CBS 58 reports.

Johnson, a Milwaukee native, lives on the city’s North Side with his wife and their three children. In 2016, he was elected by residents of the 2nd District as an alderman to the Milwaukee Common Council and reelected without opposition four years later, per his biography on the Common Council website. He is the 45th mayor of the midwestern city. 

“I announced I was going to run for mayor last August and here we are on Election Day,” Johnson told CBS 58. “I feel good, like we ran a strong campaign…so I feel really good about it.”  

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