RACINE — Voters in the 66th State Assembly District can head to the polls today to cast a ballot in the Democratic primary. No Republican or other party candidates filed to run in the election, so the winner to today’s election likely will be the new state representative for a large part of Racine.
The official election to the seat is Jan. 16. Racine Mayor Cory Mason is stepping down from the seat after being elected mayor in October.
The voters today will have a choice between 3rd District City Alderman John Tate II and Greta Neubauer, a former aide to Mason.
Tate, 33, is serving in his first term as alderman, was elected to the City Council in April and works as a social worker.
Tate’s mother is a public sector employee and proud union activist, and Tate has received the endorsement in the race from the United Auto Workers.
Neubauer, 26, served as a legislative aide to Mason from August until announcing her candidacy. For several years she also was the director of a nonprofit that focused on environmental issues. She is the daughter of former state representative Jeff Neubauer and Wisconsin Court of Appeals Judge Lisa Neubauer.
For a little more than a month, both candidates have been knocking on doors and meeting constituents face-to-face. They each have been gathering donations, with some local officials putting their dollars behind their candidate of choice.
One striking contrasting point has been the difference in money raised. Neubauer has raised more than $38,000, and so far Tate has raised a little less than $7,000, according to state campaign finance records.
Most of Neubauer’s contributors are Wisconsin residents, but she also received some small donations from individuals as far away as San Francisco; Austin, Texas; Washington, D.C.; and Brooklyn, N.Y.
A few notable contributors include Milwaukee Bucks President Alex Lasry, 7th District Alderman Ray DeHahn, Deputy District Attorney Maureen Martinez and State Rep. Jimmy Anderson, D-Fitchburg.
Most of Tate’s contributions came from Wisconsin residents with a few small donations from Illinois residents. Tate also received the backing of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Gronik, fellow aldermen Dennis Wiser (10th District) and Jason Meekma (14th District), Racine County Supervisor Monte Osterman and Racine Unified School Board members Michael Frontier and John Heckenlively.
Both candidates have similar views and would like to see increased funding to public schools, transportation and infrastructure. Both have been critical of the deal the state made with the Foxconn Technology Group and said they would not have voted for that deal as Mason did as a legislator.
New voting machines
Besides casting a ballot for one of the primary candidates, voters today will be using the new voting machines the county is putting into service.
Gone are the days of voters completing an arrow pointing toward the candidate for whom they intend to vote. Instead, voters will be filling in ovals to mark their choice. Voters will still place their ballots into the machine as they have done in the past, Racine County Clerk Wendy Christensen said.
Christensen added that results from tonight’s primary will be uploaded all at once to the county website, instead of incrementally, so officials can get more familiar with the new system. However, for future elections, the county might update its website multiple times as the results come in, Christensen said.
Polls are open today from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.