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Local races feature endorsements, campaign help from political parties, prominent political figures

Although Wisconsin's Spring Elections are officially non-partisan, and no political label is attached to candidates on the ballot, the partisan leaning of candidates and the involvement of political parties has been increasing.

For example, the three winners in the Eau Claire School Board race were endorsed by the Eau Claire County Democratic Party and prominent local progressives, while the three challengers - newcomers Cory Cronrath, Nicole Everson, and Melissa Winter - ran a coordinated campaign as conservative candidates.

Both the Eau Claire County Democratic Party and the Republican Party of Eau Claire County had pages on their website with lists of endorsed candidates:
Eau Claire County Democratic Party:  "Vote for Democratic and Progressive Candidates"
Republican Party of Eau Claire: "2022 Conservative Spring Voter Guide"

Eau Claire Board of Education
In the School Board race, the conservative candidate with the highest vote total, Nicole Everson at 7,111, finished 1,381 votes below the progressive candidate winner with the lowest total, incumbent Marquell Johnson, who had 8,492.
Eau Claire Board of Education Results

Statewide, the results of local school board races were mixed. In Waukesha, conservative-identifed challengers took all three open school board seats. See the links at the end of this article for more information.

Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors
The Spring 2022 Election saw significantly more competitive County Board races that is typical, with 21 of 29 seats contested. The result was a turnover of 11 total seats, with seven incumbents not seeking reelection, and four incumbents defeated. Of the four incumbents who lost their races, all were replaced by Republican-endorsed candidates: Carl Anton by Larry Hoekstra in District 5, Kevin Stelljes by Cory Sisk in District 8, Don Mowry by Allen Myren in District 9, and Nathan Anderson by John Folstad in District 20.

Overall, however, 23 of the seats were taken by Democratic-endorsed candidates and 8 by Republican-endorsed candidates. Other Democratic-backed winners were Todd Meyer (Dist 1), Amanda Babb (2), Joe Knight (Incumbent, 3), Stella Pagonis (Incumbent, 4, uncontested), Nancy Coffee (Incumbent, 10), Nathan Otto (Incumbent, 11), Connie Russell (Incumbent, 13, uncontested), Judy Gatlin (Incumbent)14), Nick Smiar (Incumbent, 15), David Hirsch (16), Thomas Vue (17), James Dunning (Incumbent, 18), Jerry Wilkie (Incumbent, 19), Katherine Schneider (Incumbent, 22, uncontested), Robin Leary (Inumbent, 23, uncontested), Heather DeLuka (Incumbent, 24), Jodi Lepsch (25), Tami Schraufnagel (Incumbent, 26, uncontested), Kyle Johnson (27), Kimberly Cronk (Incumbent, 28, uncontested), and Missy Christopherson (Incumbent, 29). Other Republican-backed winners included Dane Zook, (Incumbent, 6, uncontested), Steve Chilson (Incumbent, 7, uncontested), Brett Geboy (12), and Mark Beckfield (Incumbent, 21, uncontested).

Two races were very close: In District 23, Robin Leary beat Donald Zwicker by just 3 votes, 349-346, and in District 26, Nathan Otto defeated Tara Balts by just 9, 187-178.
Eau Claire County Board Results

Eau Claire City Council
All five At-Large seats on the Eau Claire City Council were won by Democratic-endorsed candidates, Incumbents Kate Beaton and Rod Jones, along with newcomers Larry Mboga, Joshua Miller, and Charlie Johson. The Democrats actually endorsed six total candidates, including Mark Richter, who did not win a seat. Mboga was also endorsed by the Republicans, the only candidate in the Spring Election to be endorsed by both parties.
Eau Claire City Council Results

Statewide coverage of political party involvement in spring non-partisan elections:
Republican-backed candidates gain in many suburban Wisconsin school boards, while cities see a mix of liberal, conservative wins (WPR)
GOP-funded school board campaigns oust incumbents in red areas, fall flat in others (Journal-Sentinel $)
Conservatives’ school board push yields mixed results in Tuesday elections (Wisconsin Examiner)
Conservative candidates win big in Wisconsin school board races (The Center Square)
GOP-backed school board candidates win in Milwaukee suburbs (AP)

Note on article links: A subscription is required for those marked with "$"
Publications known to have article limits for non-subscribers are marked with "+"

Posted by Scott Rogers, Vice President Governmental Affairs

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