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Friday, February 23, 2024
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Courtesy of Madison Public Library via Flickr

Rhodes-Conway, Reyes advance to general election for Madison mayor

The incumbent mayor won a majority of votes cast and will face former deputy mayor Gloria Reyes in the April 4 general election.

Incumbent Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway will face off against former Deputy Mayor Gloria Reyes in the mayoral general election. 

The Madison mayoral race is nonpartisan, and the two candidates who received the most votes advanced to the general election. 

Rhodes-Conway won 59.5% of the votes cast, while Reyes won 27.9%. Scott Kerr, a longtime city traffic engineer, received 11.8% of the vote and was eliminated. 

In a statement posted on Twitter Tuesday night, Rhodes-Conway said the results reflected Madison residents’ support for her policy initiatives.

“I want to thank each and every one of you for making this victory possible,” Rhodes-Conway said. “Over the last four years I’ve worked on problems Madisonians care about most, [and] the results tonight show broad support for my leadership and the progress we’ve made.”

Rhodes-Conway carried all but three wards in the city, while Reyes won two wards and one split evenly between Rhodes-Conway and Kerr. Approximately 36% of registered voters cast their ballots in the primary -- far higher than the 2019 mayoral primary race and likely boosted by a high-profile Wisconsin Supreme Court election.

Reyes’ campaign manager Chandra Chouhan told Isthmus Reyes will continue to emphasize her values going into the next phase of the campaign. 

“Transparency, pragmatism and heart,” Chouhan said. “That’s what the city needs.”

Rhodes-Conway was elected mayor in 2019 and is seeking her second term in office. She is the first openly LGBTQ+ person and second woman to serve as mayor of Madison. 

Rhodes-Conway focused much of her campaign on addressing the need to build more housing in Madison. During a mayoral debate, she proposed changing zoning laws to allow for the construction of more housing without displacing current residents.

“There are different rules depending on if you own your home or rent your home, and I don’t think that’s fair,” Rhodes-Conway said. “Yes, we should be changing the zoning, but at the same time we have to think about unintended consequences and make sure we’re not displacing folks out of our neighborhoods.”

Reyes previously served as deputy mayor, president of the Madison Board of Education and a Madison Police Department officer. If elected, she would be the first Hispanic woman to serve as mayor. 

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Reyes said in a previous candidate forum she opposed Rhodes-Conway’s proposed changes to zoning in single-family neighborhoods, preferring to defer to neighborhood residents when deciding whether to build more housing units.

“This cannot be a top-down approach,” Reyes said. “We have to keep the unique feature[s] of our neighborhoods and have an in-depth engagement with our neighborhood residents and our neighborhood associations to develop a plan of what they want their neighborhoods to look like.”

The general election will take place April 4. In addition to the mayoral race, the city will hold elections for all 20 Common Council districts.

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Francesca Pica

Francesca Pica is the city news editor emeritus for The Daily Cardinal. She has covered multiple municipal elections and is a leading reporter on Madison labor issues. Additionally, she served as a summer intern for The Capital Times and currently serves as a WisPolitics intern. 

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