MILWAUKEE — Do you know who you'll be voting for in Milwaukee's mayoral primary?
With former Mayor Tom Barrett starting a new role as the U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg, there will be a special election to fill his position. On February 15 a primary will be held, with the top two candidates advancing to the general election on April 5 to determine the next mayor of Milwaukee. The winner will finish the remaining two years of Barrett's term, which will end on April 16, 2024.
The two candidates to emerge from the primary have agreed to participate in a debate co-hosted by TMJ4 and Marquette University at Marquette's Varsity Theater on March 27th from 6 to 7 p.m. Watch on TMJ4 News and anywhere you stream TMJ4.
In order to prepare our viewers for the primary, TMJ4 News anchors Charles Benson and Shannon Sims sat down with all seven candidates inside downtown Milwaukee's beautiful Turner Hall to talk about the issues facing our city. We hope that these interviews, all of which have been collected below, will help inform your vote on February 15th.
Editor's note: The candidates below have been arranged in the same order as you will see them on the February 15 ballot.
Bob Donovan, Former Milwaukee Alderman
Bob Donovan was born and raised in Milwaukee. He held various jobs at the beginning of his career. In the 1990s, he became involved in community activism and organization. Donovan became the District 8 alderman in 2008. He served in that position for two decades and retired in 2020. In 2016, he launched an unsuccessful bid for Milwaukee mayor. Bob Donovan for Milwaukee Mayor
Ieshuh Griffin, Community Activist
Ieshuh Griffin was born in Chicago but raised in Milwaukee. She is a paralegal and focuses the majority of her time on community activism. From 2010 to 2012, she ran for state assembly, Common Council, and Milwaukee mayor, but did not win. The Poor People's Piece of the Pie
Michael Sampson, Entrepreneur
Michael Sampson grew up in the towns of Sullivan and Palmyra. He left Wisconsin for several years, but moved back to Milwaukee in 2008. Sampson is a career businessman and entrepreneur. He helped create the Shamrock Shuffle, Cream Puff 5K, Milwaukee Oktoberfest, and Milwaukee WingFest. In addition to these events, he helped open businesses like Brunch, 1983 Arcade bar, Matador, Revel bar, and The Hive Co-working space. Michael For Milwaukee
Lena Taylor, State Senator
State Senator Lena Taylor was born and raised in Milwaukee. She was a public defender for several years before opening her own private law practice in Milwaukee. In 2003, she was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly. In 2004, she began her tenure as a state senator serving the areas of Shorewood, Wauwatosa, Glendale, and Milwaukee. She ran for county executive in 2008 and Milwaukee mayor in 2020, but was not elected. She was former a 2022 candidate for lieutenant governor of Wisconsin. Lena Taylor for Milwaukee Mayor
Earnell Lucas, Milwaukee County Sheriff
Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas was born and raised in Milwaukee and worked with the Milwaukee Police Department for 25 years. Afterward, in 2002, he began a second career holding various administrative security roles with Major League Baseball, eventually holding the title of Chief Liaison of Security & Investigations. In 2018, he was elected Milwaukee County Sheriff. Earnell Lucas For Mayor
Marina Dimitrijevic, Milwaukee Alderwoman
Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic was born and raised in Milwaukee. In 2004, she became the youngest woman ever to be elected to the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. She was re-elected four times. In 2020, she was elected to the Milwaukee Common Council as the representative of the 14th District. Marina For MKE
Cavalier Johnson, Acting Mayor of Milwaukee
Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson was born and raised in Milwaukee. He has spent much of his life in local politics and as a community organizer. In 2016, Johnson was elected to the Milwaukee Common Council to represent the 2nd District. In 2020, he was re-elected and chosen to be the Common Council President. He became the acting mayor on Dec. 23 when former Mayor Tom Barrett became Ambassador to Luxembourg. Cavalier For Milwaukee