May 5, 2009

Dickert wins special election

John Dickert will be the next mayor of Racine.

The real estate agent and former lobbyist defeated state Rep. Bob Turner, D-Racine, in Tuesday's special election. Dickert walked into his campaign's party at 9:05 p.m. to declare victory. Turner conceded the race.

"We won," Dickert said in his first interview after learning of the results.

Preliminary results from the 34 precincts showed Dickert with 6,027 compared to Turner's 4,841. No total was given for write-in Jody Harding, since those votes have to be counted by hand.
At right, a victory kiss
for his wife, Teresa.

Turnout -- despite the importance of the election and the 11 candidates in the primary -- was awful. Voters cast 10,127 votes in the primary; so far the City Clerk shows just 10,868 cast for the two candidates on the ballot. The city had prepared 45,000 ballots, enough for 70% of the electorate.

"I'm so proud of the people who have worked together to get this done," Dickert said. "That's what the campaign is about tonight; I represent them. This was a movement for change. I truly believe that."

Dickert said his first act of mayor would be to call businesses and start working on bringing jobs to Racine.

Dickert pulled off an election that appeared close early on. He led after the first districts reported results, reaching a 300-vote lead after just six precincts had reported. But it kept getting closer, and when the 13th precinct was counted -- keep in mind, we don't know which precints these are, just the totals -- Turner led for the first time, by 27 votes, and then 75 votes... and then 52 .... But in the end, it was Dickert's night.

At his victory party at Salute's on Main Street -- a raucous affair marked by cheering supporters and even a bagpiper -- Dickert thanked his wife, Teresa, for telling him early on "to get off your butt and get to work." Then he saw his mother in the crowd and gave her a shout-out: "Hi, Mom, we did it!"

He praised Turner as "an honorable man," and said he looked forward to working with him in the Legislature. "This is not about me," he said, as he has during the campaign. "It's about us, and we've got to get to work." And he gave his supporters their first marching order: "Pick up those yard signs."

Turner's "party" was a gloomier affair, at Park Six, where the former candidate was standing alone near the window, right, face lighted successively by green and red disco balls, as he conducted a radio interview, seemingly with himself.

Turner said he wasn't disappointed by the results and offered a simple explanation of the election.

"The people decided they wanted John Dickert as mayor instead of me," he said.

Turner said his only regret was not winning the election for his supporters. He'll head back to the Assembly now after spending the last three months splitting time between his job in Madison and the mayoral campaign in Racine.

You can get the final results here, though they're lagging behind the campaign's numbers.

The new mayor will be sworn in in two weeks. Mayor -- interim mayor in actuality, though not in title -- Tom Friedel was at City Hall watching the early results come in, as poll workers arrived with their red two-wheeled suitcases full of ballots and totals to present them to the City Clerk. Asked what he will do for the next two weeks, Friedel said, "Whatever comes across the desk. That's what the job is in the short-term."

Dickert gets congratulations from his mother


  1. Ok - now that the election is over, lets get to work.

  2. Called it long ago. Knew it as soon as the results started coming in. Proving once again the failure of paid canvassers and consultants. There is no substitute for genuine volunteer zeal.

  3. God save Racine! Will His first act be the slum project in West Racine or cutting down Dekoven Woods?

  4. YES!! Congrats, Dickert :)

  5. now can we find someone to beat bob turner next november!!!

    dickert prooved it can be done!!

  6. Among his first words of victory, Dickert thanks those who worked to get him elected, then says, "I represent them". What about those not at the posh Salute resturaunt? What about the people who can't afford fancy bistros? What about the young people who have learned not to care? But he thanks his circle of friends and pledges to represent THEM. whew

  7. haikoooo...gazundtheit5/05/2009 9:58 PM

    About 55%.
    Voted for Dickert.
    45% against.

  8. 45 against.
    Countless didn't vote at all.
    No celebration.

  9. The Translator5/05/2009 10:05 PM

    Meet the new boss........ same as the old boss......

  10. "But it kept getting closer, and when the 13th precinct was counted -- keep in mind, we don't know which precints these are, just the totals..."

    Actually, the city website did give the results ward by ward (although, inconveniently, on separate pages for the two candidates), so we did know which precincts were reporting. Even when the count was close or even gave Turner the lead, it was evident that many more Dickert-leaning wards were yet to report, and that Dickert was therefore likely to win.

  11. Salute's "posh" ??? Now that's a stretch.

    Congratulations to our new mayor, John Dickert.

    P. S. Did anyone vote for Jody?

  12. Congratulations, John and your entire team!. The Racine area is the big winner tonight and for the next 2 years.

    I was fortunate enough to be at Salute's tonight. Yes, Salute's is a classic and great Downtown Racine restaurant. Posh, probably not-but only because they don't want to be posh. Interestingly for those Turner supporters who feel out of place at such a "high-brow" Downtown destination, who should be enjoying dinner right up the the big Dickert announcement but big John Lehman and his wife. Imagine that! And, to further add to the drama and the elite nature of Salute's, Jim and Joyce graced the place only to see that they had wondered into the wrong Downtown eating establishment. Oh well, what to do?

    Congrats John!!

  13. Anon 9:54. A politician's first loyalty should always be to the volunteers who worked every day to get him elected. Otherwise, elections have no meaning. Volunteers pick a side and work to make it happen. They won the election. Not the candidate and not the voters. The volunteers make it happen.

  14. What were the chances of Racine electing a black mayor?


    So we get a real estate salesman and lobbyist.

    God help us!

    They are the ones that has led the world to the brink of depression.

  15. Oh, You Stupid People!

  16. Perhaps stupid is the wrong word. Maybe misinformed better describes it. Many people think that government is the solution to their problems. How many failed government programs does it take to define failure? Where are you now, Peter, Paul & Mary?

  17. now can we PLEASE see the ten-year plan???

  18. A plan, be it 10 days, 10 months or 10 years would be a welcome change to the governance of past mayors! Can we at least give the winning candidate a chance to take office before the gutless, nameless blogging begins?

  19. I am surprised that the Lehman, Smith elite haven't jumped to explain the weakness of their leaders! OK, so maybe not surprised but certainly curious! Can anyone explain their intentions?

  20. DepressedInRacine5/05/2009 11:06 PM

    God save Racine. Two absolute losers were the final choice coming out of the primary and now we've got an unethical, tax-and-spend, in-it-for-himself, liberal snakeskin oil salesman for a mayor with a 10 year plan for nothing but getting himself re-elected.
    With Dickert we'll have the same thing we had with Becker: the City Council lining up behind him like a bunch of little ducks voting for anything he wants. Dickert = City Council run wild.
    With Turner we would have had an ineffectual bumbler surrounded by the City Council doing whatever they would have told him to do. Turner = City Council run wild.
    It's a lose-lose situation for Racine either way.

    It's also pretty pathetic that no one has reported how many votes Jody Harding pulled as a write-in candidate. It looks like they just want make Dickert look better that he really is. After all, he is the Urinal Times boy.

  21. Dear DepressedinRacine: Poor you! Apparently no other town,village, city,county, or other governmental body will have you. I'm so sorry. Maybe it is time to stand up, breathe the fresh air, overcome your personal failures and become a part of the solution. God knows it beats feeling sorry for yourself!

  22. All the unions, all the endorsements, all the top officers of the democratic party, $9,000 to Craig Oliver, Mike Shields- the head of the county NAACP, the local state senator and local state representative couldn't pull off a victory for Turner.
    I hope they have a lot of egg handy because they need a lot to go around tonight.
    Remember Dickert was all but thrown out of the county dem party for being a vice chair under Frank Tingle. Dickert was attacked for years because he dared to run against Turner in a primary. Dickert was shunned by Gary Becker when Becker got all high and mighty.
    But, Dickert prevails as the new Mayor...against all those things he still won a major race.
    That alone makes me sure he's got what it takes to run the city and be aggressive enough to not only bring businesses here but to fight the problems in the city with full force.
    Congratulations is not enough for John tonight. That guy deserves a medal.

  23. Cheers Anon 11:28. You got it absolutely right. Well said!

  24. Hello? DepressedinRacine? Still there or does the cat have your tongue? (U may have to look that reference up. I'll wait)

  25. Democrats in Madison - I hope you're watching tonight. You have officially been put on notice.

    Racine is demanding results, not fake solutions that insult the public. We're energized, ready to fight and we know our issues. Cheap tactics won't fool anybody.

    You still have a chance, but time is running out.

    Your move.

  26. Why do you feel the need to give a dying idea new life? Have we not already determined that the future of the Racine area rests in the hands of those who understand that politics as usual is not acceptable?

  27. Congrats Dickert....Salute's sucks...Now let's get Turner out of Madison ASAP!

  28. Congratulations John!!!! You worked hard for the city for many years and deserve this!!!

  29. I don't know if John deserves a medal but he certainly deserves respect. Some of these bloggers really really are a load of stones.

    Thanks John! Good job. Refreshing, determined, well thought out. Good work.

    Ot just goes to show you, people can tell the difference between Obama and his intelligence and Turner and expecting it to be handed to him.

  30. Really Salute sucks?? Have you ever met John the owner? You are scum for saying crap like that. Thanks you John for your service to our country and the city. It's obvious that the jerk who called Salute "posh" in a negative has never been there. In your world Culver's is probally to good for you because it's "good" fast food and only elitest's dine there.
    Depresssed in racine is the poster boy of stupid moronic coward bloggers! Wayne is that you???
    I love Racine! I don't always agree with its government, but I'm also not going to be a pathetic drain on it's image and future.
    Jody Harding deserved to lose and all her followers deserved to lose like the little negative anti Racine toadies you are!
    For the love of god!!! Grow up you unrealistic life sucking peices of......well you already know, you see it in the mirror every day.
    Good luck idiots!!!

  31. It's obvious that a blogger or two doesn't know Salute's. Upscale? What? It is a decent and good place to eat and while nothing fancy, it welcomes you with open arms.

    There will be petty people blogging making mountains out of mole hills.

    John, good luck to you. You ran an honorable campaign and it puts the whole nasty previous mayor escapades somewhat behind us.

    Mayor Dickert - you done good!

  32. Jody Harding know that the first day of the nerxt race in two years was last night.
    My Guess is that property records, SEC records and other documents will be looked at to see who owns what and who the proxies are. My Guess is that for the next two years many City meetings will be attend and recorded.
    Yes the Good old boys won last night and it was a hard fought race but my guess too is the war between dems in Racine is far from over there is way too much money at stake.
    Racine now belongs to the developers, God save Racine.
    We had a chance when less then 20% voted in the primary that chance when away.
    In two years know your taxes are going up a lot know that be more companies and home owners leaving Racine.

  33. Lehman, Mason: you choose poorly and politicaly.

    You, the Gov., all the unions, special interest groups, knock and draggers, big white Church vans, nasty blog bashers, brick throwers and your paid 'volunteers' couldn't beat a relatively small group of dedicated volunteers with vision and passion.

    Good luck with your re-election campaigns.

  34. Oh ALL the unions didn't get involved. I am not so sure that Turner's campaign was well coordinated but I will tell you that people voted against Turner because they wanted to keep him in Madison.

    I was astounded at hoe many people were immediately turned off by the involved of Craig Oliver. It was the final kiss of death right in the beginning of the campaign.

  35. I hope Dickert does not start hanging out in Bars, it would be sad if racine had to deal with another Party Boy mayor! I will give him three months and he will be hanging out in the Ivanhoe like a good ole boy!

    On the other hand a respectable man like Dickert has a beautiful wife and children at home; I am sure his family's reputation means more to him than hanging out at the bar. WE will see!

  36. Wow since when is Salute's posh and high-brow? It's a nice little Italian restaurant with good food and decent prices. What makes it "high-brow"? Seriously, people will criticize anything for the sake of criticizing.

  37. I find it facsinating that some feel the good old boys help to elect John Dickert. We all know the real "Good Old Boys" the union leaders did their best to work the campaign and bring in out-of- towners to help with that. Thank god our Racine citizens were heard and not Turners union friends from Centerville WI that were staying at the Fairmont Inn. This time the good old boy tactics did not work! It's also interesting how race was brought in at the last hour with vans that had banners on them that said, " Make history vote Turner. " The good guy won this time! Go John Dickert!

  38. I voted for Obama.
    I did NOT vote for Turner.

    Race had nothing to do with either of my choices. I would never vote for anyone based on race alone.

  39. I think you should reread my comment selective reading once again!

  40. One more time, most union members voted who they wanted for. Turner never had a hold on any union. I am not aware of any city union that came out and endorsed Turner.

  41. Since some of Jody's never-say-die supporters want to know how many votes she got, do Racine's voting machines generate a Total Number Of Votes Cast result? One could subtract Dickert's total and Turner's total and at least derive the maximum number of write-ins that she could conceivably have received.

  42. Downtown Eye Guy5/06/2009 11:39 AM

    Congratulations John Dickert, and all of his supporters. I'll look forward to your leadership in our community. While I worked for one of your opponents, I support the Mayor. I'll be with you when your right, and I'll work against you when I think your wrong.

    Glad to hear your already working to bring new businesses to our community. That's Great. But let's also work to keep the business here already healthy too, by controlling spending and therefore taxes. Let's ease up on some of the over the top regulations. Your leadership could encourage the City council to welcome businesses to our town!!

  43. Jody received 417 votes in total.

  44. My question is do those 417 Jody voters feel even more despair?....or how does that work?

    I wonder if they showed up on time for work today.

  45. So now, the Racine Dems have (more) reason to oust Mike Shields as chair of their party. As Dem party chair, he should have stayed clear of this race but he was in fact supporting Turner.

  46. Downtown Eye Guy - come across the street and say hello this afternoon.

  47. Another Father for Liberty5/07/2009 12:24 PM

    So Jody is gearing up for 2011? How much worse does she want to get beat. If she has all the answers run for alderwoman and bring an end to their senseless spending. But then again, she'd probably talk down to her neighbors and lose.

  48. Anonymous who does not know of any unions who came out and supported Turner really needs to check his facts. Are you sure you live in Racine? What a joke!

  49. YES, it can be done( beating Robert Turner) anyone can be beat. But what has Dickert done as of yet........hmmmm the paper said, NOTHING. WOW what a mayor we have. GO DICKERT see how long you can stay in office and do nothing. What is Racine coming to.

  50. Dickert has what it takes to run the city of Racine huh.....WOW, he can't even keep his own finances and properties straight. GOOD LUCK WITH THIS ONE!! Mr. DO NOTHING! LOL