Unsuccessful district attorney candidate Verona Swanigan lost every ward in every Milwaukee County suburb, won just one Milwaukee ward south of I-94, and swept to victory through much of the city’s central city, according to county election results.
The south side ward Swanigan won, ward 254, boasted a total of seven voters. She won five, and District Attorney John Chisholm, who won re-election to his third term, won two.
Swanigan averaged 60% of the vote in the 116 city wards she won; Chisholm received an average of 69% of the vote in the 204 city wards he won.
Chisholm's biggest margin of victory came in Shorewood, where he won 87% of the vote; Swanigan came closest in Milwaukee, Brown Deer and West Milwaukee. She won about 40% of the vote in each of those communities.
Swanigan’s election strategy depended on a coalition of black voters and the machinations of dark hat political operative Craig Peterson, who is a money-funneler for Eric O’Keefe and the right-wing Club for Growth.
It didn’t work. Chisholm had a strong record, and the liberal Greater Wisconsin Committee came to his aid. Swanigan, on the other hand, had significant liabilities, including a paucity of experience, questionable ability, a history of mental and physical health issues, and a bankruptcy. One woman, Shalonda Ezell, even offered voters gift cards to cast their ballots for Swanigan.
Overall, Chisholm won in a landslide, 65% to 35%.
The map below shows voting results, some of which follow reflect the city's traditional geographic racial divisions. The green areas represent Chisholm wins; light areas are Swanigan wins; and the blue areas are where the two candidates tied. The data source is unofficial Milwaukee County election returns.
Below that is a chart showing each municipality's vote totals.
Gretchen Schuldt is executive director of the Wisconsin Justice Initiative.
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