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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Jay Brower wins District 13 Dane County Board seat

Ten contested races appeared on the general election ballot on April 2.

<p>Courtesy of Jay Brower</p>

Courtesy of Jay Brower

Incumbent Jay Brower defeated challenger Travis Austin late Tuesday evening for the District 13 Dane County Supervisor seat in a general election. 

Brower won by a margin of 460 votes, receiving 62.8% of the vote compared to Austin’s 36.2%.

Brower announced his re-election campaign in January after being appointed to the board in September to fill the campus-area seat vacated by former Supervisor Olivia Xistris-Songpantra. District 13 represents much of Madison’s Regent Neighborhood and southern portions of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, including dorms and off-campus student housing.

Brower campaigned on food accessibility, affordable housing and climate action. According to his website, Brower plans to “continue [his] dedicated efforts in support of working families, uplifting our neighbors who rely on high-quality county services and to champion common-sense solutions to address the climate crisis.”

"Students make up a large percentage of voters in District 13, and I will continue to prioritize youth engagement in local government throughout my term as Supervisor," Brower told The Daily Cardinal. "I am committed to engaging with the campus community to ensure that the unique concerns of students are consistently acknowledged and acted on."

Austin, a Town of Berry Board Supervisor who unsuccessfully challenged Brower for the seat last fall, campaigned on water quality, job opportunities and affordable housing, highlighting the importance of young citizens having a voice in government.

Austin sent a concession letter to The Daily Cardinal on Wednesday, thanking those who supported his campaign and extending congratulations to Brower for his win. 

“While I am disappointed that we came up short, I am proud of the campaign we ran. We knocked on almost every door within the district and engaged student voters about the importance of local government,” Austin told The Cardinal. “While I worked to earn the support of those voters as well, I came up short.”

Austin said he plans to continue to advocate for the issues he passionate about, “especially HIV policy in our state, standing against attacks on the LGBTQ+ community and fighting for the right of everyone to cast their vote without hindrance by the government.”

Brower and Austin beat UW-Madison freshman Ronan Rataj in the primary election on Feb. 20.

Madison District 8 Ald. and UW-Madison student MGR Govindarajan publicly endorsed Brower on Feb. 15, citing what he said was Brower’s willingness to “work with the city to push similar policies at the county level and prioritize students.”

Other contested races

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The Board of Supervisors is a legislative body that oversees the policy-making in Dane County. Each of the 37 supervisors serve a two-year term. 

According to the Dane County Clerk’s Office, 375,452 registered voters cast 130,941 ballots for the primaries with a 34.9% turnout percentage. 

Ten districts were contested by two candidates each. 

In District 4, which encompasses north Fitchburg and parts of the near west side of Madison, incumbent Matt Veldran defeated challenger Richard V. Brown Sr. by 516, a margin of 60.9% to 38.5%.

Veldran has served on the board since 2006. Brown Sr., a retired accountant, previously served two terms on the Dane County Board of Supervisors from 2000-06.  

In District 9, which is far west past West Towne Mall, incumbent Steven Peters defeated challenger John Wollaeger, a retired associate clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and chief of orthopedics at the Veterans Hospital.

Peters defeated Wollaeger by 988 votes, 68.3% to 31.3%.

In District 12, east of Dane County Regional Airport, two newcomers battled for a supervisor seat. 

Tommy Rylander, a former political organizer and legislative aide in the Wisconsin State Capitol, defeated Sean Burke, a self-employed independent, by 429 votes, 60.1% to 39%.

In District 20, which covers the towns of Bristol and York as well as the villages of Marshall and Windsor, incumbent Jeff Weigand defeated challenger Andrea Andrews, director of logistics and trade compliance at Madison Air and a former Village of Marshall Trustee.

Weigand defeated Andrews by 146 votes, 52.5% to 47.3%.

In District 22, which encompasses the villages of Windsor and DeForest, incumbent Maureen McCarville defeated challenger Rebecca Witherspoon, a DeForest trustee and small business owner. 

McCarville defeated Witherspoon by 316 votes, 56.4% to 43.5%.

Two newcomers ran to represent District 25, which includes the village of Waunakee. 

David Boetcher, a U.S Army veteran, the assistant business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 159 and a former Waunakee School Board member, defeated Mark Foster, a sales director at Future Foam by 853 votes, 62.1% to 37.7%.

In District 28, which lies at the northwest edge of the county and contains the villages of Cross Plains and Mazomanie as well as the towns of Berry, Black Earth and Mazomanie, incumbent Michelle Doolan defeated challenger Bill Brosius, a manager at health software company DeliverHealth. 

Doolan defeated Brosius for the second time since 2022 by 626 votes, 58.2% to 41.4%.

In District 34, which encompasses the towns of Dunn and Blooming Grove and the village of McFarland, incumbent Patrick Miles defeated Ed Wreh, a senior consultant at technology consulting firm Nordic. 

Miles defeated Wreh by 498 votes, 54.7% to 44.9%.

Two newcomers in District 36, which encompasses Cottage Grove and surrounding areas east of Madison, ran to replace retiring incumbent Melissa Ratcliff, who is now in the state Assembly.

David Peterson, a Cottage Grove County Board member, defeated Monona Grove School Board President Loreen Y. Gage by a razor-thin six votes. A recount is likely in the race.

Ten incumbents decided not to run for reelection, leaving their seats open in Districts 5, 12, 17, 21, 25, 26, 29, 33, 36 and 37. 

Twenty incumbents ran unopposed and appeared on the ballots alone in Districts 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 26, 27, 29, 33 and 37. 

Additionally, seven new candidates ran unopposed in Districts 5, 17, 21, 26, 29, 33 and 37.

Visit the Dane County website to find your district’s supervisor, and view full unofficial election results here.

Editor's Note: Daily Cardinal staff writer Ella Hanley contributed to this story. This story was updated at 4:30 p.m. Thursday to include information from Jay Brower, District 13 Dane County Supervisor.

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Marin Rosen

Marin Rosen is the City News Editor at The Daily Cardinal and a second-year journalism student. Throughout her time at the Cardinal, she's written articles for city and state news. Follow her on Twitter at @marin_rosen

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