In an unusual election cycle in Wauwatosa, voters turned out in high numbers Tuesday, reported City Clerk Carla Ledesma.
About 64 percent of Wauwatosa voters eligible voters turned out to the polls, Ledesma reported. That number is higher than the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board's statewide prediction of a 40 percent turnout.
"That's pretty high," Ledesma said, adding, "certainly in recent memory for an April election."
The spring elections drew only two contested races in Wauwatosa — both for seats on the city's common council. One of those races was between two write-in candidates.
According to unofficial results from Milwaukee County, Nancy Welch won the city's 3rd District seat over opponent Joe Johnson with 919 votes, or about 52 percent of the vote. Johnson received 834 votes, or 47 percent.
Welch said she was "really happy" about the election's outcome, adding it took a lot of work to win.
"I'm looking forward to just rolling up my sleeves," she said of the coming days. She looks to get to work on key issues in the city like the proposed bus rapid transit system and a number of development projects.
Welch said her opponent "really stepped up" during the election, despite losing.
"He just needs a bit more time," she said of Johnson. "I look forward to working with him in the future."
Johnson said he's glad he ran, regardless of the outcome, and he's not ruling out running again in the future.
"I'm going to stay involved in the community and I guess we'll see where things go," he said. "Thanks to everyone who helped out. It was a great experience, (and I) met a lot of great people."
Mayor Kathy Ehley will serve another four-year term, as she was unopposed in the election. Aldermanic incumbents James Moldenhauer of the 1st District, John Dubinksi of the 2nd District, Dennis McBride of the 4th District, Joel Tilleson of the 5th District, Cheryl Berdan of the 7th District and Jason Wilke of the 8th District were all re-elected to their seats. All were unopposed. Each seat on the common council carries a four-year term.
According to unofficial election results, Kelly K. Rifelj snagged the 6th District seat, a position previously held by Alderman Jeff Roznowski. Rifelj, who received 131 votes, beat out opponent Craig Wentzel, who garnered 109 votes.
"It's kind of exciting to be involved in all of the policy matters coming up," Rifelj said. "It will be great to move forward."
Rifelj said Wentzel would have "also been good for Wauwatosa."
Wentzel did not return a phone call left late Tuesday night.
Election results were still subject to change Tuesday night, said Ledesma. Approximately 3,800 absentee ballots were issued to voters and they still needed to be counted as of late Tuesday night.
The clerk said county votes took longer than usual this election as the city moved to a new central count process, which came with a learning curve, Ledesma said.
"When you're not sure how long the process will take, it's hard to anticipate," she said. "We will attack it from a different perspective next time. The first time through is the learning experience."
Wauwatosa school board results
Two new faces were voted onto the Wauwatosa School Board; Shawn Rolland, a father of three in the school district and a Wauwatosa resident who works in communications at Northwestern Mutual won a seat on the board. So did Emily Kenney, a Colorado transplant who works as a crisis services coordinator at the county's mental health complex.
They took seats No. 1 and No. 3, respectively and both celebrated at Yo Mama! frozen yogurt shop in the Village of Wauwatosa Tuesday night, according to an email from Rolland. Both candidates were unopposed and the seats carry a three-year term.
Incumbent board member Mike Meier retained his spot for seat No. 2. He also was unopposed.
Presidential primary results
Wisconsin held its presidential primary April 7. The contests followed a week of animated rallies throughout the state — including an informal town-hall stop made by Ohio governor and presidential hopeful John Kasich at Wauwatosa's Crowne Plaza, 10499 W. Innovation Drive, on March 23.
Republican candidate Ted Cruz won about 59 percent of the vote in Wauwatosa with 5,296 votes. Kasich came in second with 2,009 votes, or about 22 percent, and Donald Trump came in third with about 16 percent, or 1,465 votes.
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders won 53 percent of the vote in Wauwatosa with 5,114 votes. Hillary Clinton took second place with 4,452 votes, or about 46 percent.
Sue Burwell, a pastor at Wauwatosa Avenue United Methodist Church, said she walked across the street from her office to the 1st District polling center at the Wauwatosa Fire Department, 1601 Underwood Ave.
Burwell timed her arrival just right so that she would miss the noon rush, she said. She was the 400th person to vote at the center, around 1 p.m. Tuesday. She didn't have to wait in line at all, she said.
"This is an important vote!" she exclaimed, as she crossed the street, returning to the church.
Also voting at the fire station was Miranda McVoy, who had her 4-year-old daughter, Julianne, in tow.
McVoy said she strives to vote every cycle and wasn't necessarily drawn to the polls this time around for any overarching reason.
"I go and try to be an active part and vote," she said.