Kenosha Democrats see election victories as positive sign, but say fight isn’t over - TAI News
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Democratic-backed candidates were mostly successful at beating back a slate of conservative Kenosha Unified School District board contenders during Wisconsin’s spring election on April 2.

Of the four candidates endorsed by the Kenosha County Democratic Party, three — Mary Modder, Todd Price and Sabrina Landry — secured seats on the nonpartisan Kenosha school board, according to unofficial election results. One Republican-endorsed candidate, Bob Tierney, won one of the four school board seats in contention this year.

Kenosha Democrats had previously indicated deep concerns about extremist positions held by the four conservative school board candidates, including denial of the 2020 presidential election results and anti-LGBTQ statements. The local party had also pointed out that some of the candidates were endorsed by the far-right groups Moms for Liberty and MassResistance, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated extremist or hate groups.

Lori Hawkins, chair of the Kenosha County Democratic Party, said she is much less concerned about the future of education in Kenosha now that most of those candidates have been defeated.

“This gives us a 5-2 majority, with good, pro-public school leadership on the county board,” Hawkins said. “We were disappointed that Bob Tierney was elected. But you know, let’s see what he makes of this.”

She saw a hopeful sign in the fact that Robin Cullen, a Democratic-endorsed write-in candidate, was able to bring in more than 5,000 votes.

“Next April, there will be another seat open,” Hawkins said. “So I think that this positions her really well to run on the ballot if she chooses to.”

Even more of a prize for local Democrats, though, was flipping control of the Kenosha County Board of Supervisors, Hawkins said.

Candidates backed by the local party picked up four seats while keeping one held by a retiring progressive, giving local Democrats and their allies a new 12-11 majority on the Board of Supervisors, which, like the school board, is also officially nonpartisan.

“That’s huge,” Hawkins said. “We’re excited about that and how the county board can now actually govern rather than wasting taxpayers’ money and their time on virtue signaling right-wing issues.”

Still, the battle against right-wing forces in local government is far from over, one victorious school board incumbent said.

“They will be back,” said Modder, who has been on the Kenosha Unified School District board for six years. “These are very passionate people. Honestly, they feel like they’re saving the world from dirty books and dirty pictures and whatever, and they’re not going to go away.”

Other Kenosha-area races were more of a mixed bag for Democrats and progressives, Hawkins said, with candidates backed by local Democrats for Kenosha mayor and Kenosha County circuit court judge losing their elections.

Hawkins said she does hope that some of the local victories mean that voters will keep turning out.

“What I did appreciate was how many county board seats we flipped, and how we did on the school board, because I believe that shows that people are paying attention to issues,” Hawkins said. “It’s easy to find out information about your top-of-the-ticket races. But you actually have to do your homework and have discussions with people about those more down-ballot races. And I think just seeing those very intentional votes bodes well for the future for us.”

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