RACINE — After six years in office, Mayor John Dickert will get the next four years to complete his 10-year plan for the city of Racine.
With all wards reporting, unofficial results found Dickert with 5,392 votes, putting him 847 votes ahead of ahead of local pastor the Rev. Melvin Hargrove’s 4,545 votes.
Gathered with supporters at Salute Italian Restaurant, 314 Main St., Dickert thanked those who voted for him.
“(The results) simply mean we have more work to do. We will continue working on our plan and working with the community to make sure we listen to their voices,” Dickert said. “I think people see the city moving in the right direction.”
Across town at Infusino’s Banquet Hall, 3201 Rapids Drive, Hargrove told his supporters that despite the loss none of them should leave the hall with their heads down.
“I am not walking out with any regrets whatsoever,” he told a packed room. “This is still our city.”
Asked about what he hoped people would take away from his candidacy, he said that the city needs genuine partnerships to flourish.
A former real estate agent with a background working for state and federal lawmakers, Dickert, 52, was first elected mayor in 2009 following the resignation of then-Mayor Gary Becker.
A well-known leader in the black community, Hargrove, 48, officially announced he was running for mayor in September of last year.
In February he emerged, along with Dickert, as one of the two top vote-getters in the primary, beating out fellow challengers 15th District Alderman Eddie Diehl and Janice Hand, a former Mount Pleasant town chairman.
Dickert largely stood on his record in office during the course of the race, touting his experience in state and federal government as well as what he saw as successful efforts by his administration to create jobs by providing assistance to local companies to help them expand.
Hargrove, pastor of Zoe Outreach Ministries, 2130 Racine St., and a Racine Unified School Board member, spoke of his desire to build partnerships and “right-size” the budget to ensure funding for city services.
Dickert’s fundraising totals dwarfed those of his opponents. Beginning the year with nearly $23,500 in his war chest, his campaign raised close to another $29,000 between Jan. 1 and March 23.
Drawing hefty donations from local Realtors and top executives for businesses with locations in and around Racine and Milwaukee, the campaign spent much of the money it raised on consultants and glossy direct mail pieces crediting Dickert for reductions in crime and the city’s unemployment rate.
Ads produced near the end of the race featured testimonials from local residents and business leaders, such as Tom Buhler, the director of business development for Butter Buds.
Hargrove, who started the year with $2,776, raising another $17,356, drew much of his support from members of the black church community, raising money by selling buttons and tickets to fundraisers.
The campaign got help spreading the message of Hargrove’s candidacy from leaders in the black community and community publications, including a write-up in a Mississippi newspaper.
Dickert will be sworn into his next term on April 21 along with the new City Council members.