April 7, 2009

Dickert, Turner ready for rematch

Robert Turner and John Dickert will revive their fierce political rivalry this month after they both advanced to the May 5 general election to become Racine's next mayor.

The two candidates easily out-paced the 11-candidate field. Dickert led the way with 2,308 votes, or 23 percent, followed by Turner with 1,673, or 17 percent.

Vote totals from the County Clerk

They were followed by Kim Plache and Jim Spangenberg (each with 13 percent). Greg Helding (12 percent), Pete Karas (9 percent), Jody Harding (7 percent), Q.A. Shakoor II (4 percent), Lesia Hill-Driver (2 percent), and Raymond Fay and Jaimie Charon (each with 1 percent).

But it was Dickert's and Turner's night, setting the stage for a rematch of the 2002 primary election for Turner's Assembly seat. Dickert ran aggressive campaign seven years ago to try and break into the Legislature, but couldn't overcome Turner's strong base of support.

The election ripped the local Democratic Party in half, a rift that's arguably never healed.

Both candidates played down the past election at their victory parties Tuesday night.

Turner celebrates with his wife and supporters

Turner, celebrating at his campaign headquarters on Washington Avenue, said he didn't see a rivalry with Dickert. Instead, he focused on the voters choosing him for his 32 year of local political experience.

"I have the experience, skills and know-how to put Racine back in place," he said.

Dickert and his wife arrive at their campaign victory party

Dickert, surrounded by upbeat supporters at Olde Madrid on Sixth Street, described Turner as a "strong candidate" with solid support in the community. But he was also quick to contrast himself with Turner's experience.

"Bob's the history, we're the future," Dickert said.

But the candidates' shared past is likely to revive old wounds, like allegations Dickert used a push poll in 2002 against Turner and that Turner's supporter intimidated businesses to take down Dickert signs. Then there's this incident involving Democratic Party furniture.

Turner won the campaign by 275 votes and has cruised to re-election ever since.


  1. Don't know nuthin' bout nuthin'4/07/2009 9:36 PM

    Yeah, I remember. Interestingly enough I happen to know that back then they both solicited support from one of the few public endorsers in this contest, who chose yet another in the current race. Politics hey?

  2. Colt - I suggest you sit down with John Dickert and have a talk with him. Talk to him about whatever it is about him you are concerned about. I think you might leave with a different opinion.

  3. stopthemadnessNOW4/07/2009 10:56 PM

    For a quick election night analysis, it's important to remember that a citywide mayoral election is a much different animal than a party primary.

    My guess (and that's all it is at this point) is that this Dickert-Turner race will be considerably less divisive than the Democratic primary battle of a few years back. This is because this contest is between two citywide candidates instead of two members of the same party vying for a legislative seat that encompasses just part of the city (and some suburban areas.)

    Of course, it is also going to be a classic race between the outsider (Dickert) and the long-entrenched insider (Turner.)

    I'd be interested to see others' views on this. Whatcha say, Dustin?

  4. what colt said.

  5. Interesting take, Madness. Turner has been around a long time, but Dickert is no stranger to the city's power structure.

    I remember in 2002 feeling like Dickert was the front-runner in that race, only to see Turner retain his seat.

    The same thing, to a degree, happened tonight. Turner didn't run a flashy campaign, but it was clearly effective.

    It'll be interesting to see who someone like Kim Plache endorses in the race.

  6. To the candidates...everyone for the most part has kept a clean campaign....If either one of you start mud slinging that person WILL NOT get my vote.. The person that becomes mayor has a fubard city to clean up. Please for the sake of the citizens, stick to the issues and making Racine a great (well at this point tolerable) city to live in. Don't take cheap shots at eachother.

  7. Plache - who does not even live here, placed third. Turner, who has done NOTHING for this city in 30 years, placed 2nd. What the hell is wrong with this city?

  8. Mark Gregory4/08/2009 5:59 AM

    I have worked with John Dickert for the last year and I can tell you he is a good and decent man who loves his wife and children dearly. I can also tell you John's only interest in being mayor is to make Racine a better place for all of us to live. John has a passion to do a great job. I strongly support him to be the next mayor of Racine.

  9. Dustin: Do you support Dickert or Turner? Are you a "friend" of Dickert on his Facebook page?? Just curious, a simple yes or no will suffice. Thank you.

  10. Plache will probably endorse Turner just like she did back in 2002. It wasn't the Turner/Dickert race that split the Dem party in half - that started well before then. It was the mayoral races of Jim Smith (prior to Becker) that split up the party because Smith was at that time, a known Republican. Joyce Smith was the chair of the Racine County Republican party. Yet, we had Democrats supporting Smiths as mayor.

    The same "split" was then seen in the Turner/Dickert race. All the Smith supporters, (like Mike Shields & Kim Plache) supported Turner.

    If you are going to talk Racine County Dem party history, you have to go further back to understand what happened.

  11. 6:05 - I'm a Facebook whore, I "friend" just about everything (mainly to get the announcements in case anything interesting is written in them).

  12. Another month of not taking care of business, although what does it matter

  13. The same people who are backing Dickert in this election, backed your previous mayor.

  14. May have managed his campaign?

  15. I haven't heard either candidate slinging mud at the other. In fact, when I talked with John Dickert, he had positive things to say about Bob Turner giving him a spirited challenge, and welcoming him into the race. The only mud-slinging I've heard comes from the same, tired people who threw mud in 2002. It's a new day, folks. If you think something about one of the candidates and you haven't spoken with them, maybe give them a call. They'd be happy to talk to you and clear things up so you can make an educated decision, rather than an ignorant one based on your neighbor's rumors. Just a thought.

  16. Does Dickert think that he is a celebrity?? Why would he put a star dotting the "i" in his campaign sign?? Seems a bit arrogant.

  17. Anon 4:37.....There is no star on the yardsign it's a dot. Turner lies again. God help Racine.

  18. Anon 5:52-

    You better open your beady little eyes a little wider. If that's not clearly a star, I don't know what is. Why are all the Dickert supporters stupid and arrogant? Anyone know? I swear to god, this is like Gary Becker all over again.

  19. Dustin - If you are such a facebook whore, and friend just about anybody, did you add your name to the list of other candidate's facebook pages?

  20. Who cares ya idiot

  21. Boy Joyce Smith is really obsessed with John Dickert.

  22. Anon 7:37

    I am a Dickert supporter and Greg Helding is my friend.

    Facebook friends don't really mean much to people of our generation. Sure, there are your real friends, but I'm also "friends" on Facebook with people I've never met.

  23. "Does Dickert think that he is a celebrity?? Why would he put a star dotting the "i" in his campaign sign?? Seems a bit arrogant."

    Seriously? Tell me you are joking. If you are not - then please stop getting involved in politics before you hurt someone. Stars, stripes,flags, lines - graphics are on yard signs all the time.

    This is the problem with our system - even the stupid and misinformed are allowed access.

  24. I too think it's a valid question that no-one has answered in here. Does he think he's cool and suave?? Is that washed up, failure, wannabee movie star Wynhoff behind all of this?? LMAO.

  25. Anon 2:59 -

    I think your mom posted right before you. It must make both of you stupid and misinformed.

    Turner may not be the right choice for this city, but camp Dickert and the good ol' boys are seriously cocky and arrogant. Kind of reminds me of Gary Becker.

    Why doesn't camp Dickert and Turner's team for that matter simply ignore the comments?? It would be a little more classy.

  26. You know if more then 13% of Racine would have bothered to voter just maybe we could have a better choice.

  27. Charles Adams4/11/2009 10:29 AM

    Yeah, we need to do away with the "Hope" theme up top. It doesn't look like anything inspiring as it looks more like their body heat index for the whole of Racine to view. Creepy.