8 candidates have officially joined Milwaukee mayoral race, and more could be on the way

NOW: 8 candidates have officially joined Milwaukee mayoral race, and more could be on the way

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- It's shaping up to be a crowded field vying for the mayor's seat.

As of Friday afternoon, eight candidates have filed for candidacy with the Milwaukee Election Commission and more could be on the way. CBS 58 asked them to share their visions for the city and what sets them apart from their opponents.

In a year with unprecedented levels of violent crime, most of the candidates said tackling that was their main priority. They all have different backgrounds and experience levels, but there was a consensus that change is needed in Milwaukee.

The first to file for candidacy was Common Council President Cavalier Johnson, who will serve as interim mayor. He named public safety as his top issue and said he is the best person for the job because he grew up in an underserved Milwaukee neighborhood and has the experience needed for the job.

"In order to be successful, the next mayor's going to have to be able to get things through the Common Council, and obviously, I've been able to get council president and been able to get things done in the time that I've been council president, so I think I'm uniquely qualified to do this job," Johnson said.

Nick McVey was next to file for candidacy. He's a former Common Council candidate, works at Milwaukee Tool and calls himself a "community advocate."

"I'm actually out there in the community doing things," he explained. "You get these alder people. They're already on the common council and ever since they got in like the crime rate has gone up ... so if one of them were to become mayor, would it change anything? I mean, I don't think so."

Then there's Bob Donovan, who served as a Milwaukee alderman from 2000 to 2020. He named three top issues: leadership, public safety and tackling the city's fiscal challenges.

"Of all the candidates, I have the most experience in local government. I know what works at City Hall and what doesn't work, and I know how to make it work better," Donovan said.

Candidate Sheila Conley-Patterson was unavailable for comment Friday.

Michael Sampson, founder of Swarmm Events told CBS 58 tackling reckless driving would be his top concern.

"What separates me from the other candidates is that I have no connections in City Hall. I'm not a current politician, and I have the opportunity to come in and shake things up," he said.

Earnell Lucas has served as Milwaukee County's sheriff since 2019, but he now his eyes set on City Hall. He said his main priority is instilling leadership and changing the culture in city government.

"I have the love and the passion for this city as someone that has public and private sector experience, somebody that's coming into city hall to get the job done," Lucas said.

Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic named public education, protecting the environment and affordable housing as cornerstones of her campaign. She currently chairs the city's Public Safety and Health Committee. She said she hopes to be Milwaukee's first female mayor, saying she will be "challenging the status quo."

"I'm the candidate with the most local elected experience. I have a great progressive record, and I think I present the fresh new change that we need. This is a really unique opportunity to do something new," the alderwoman said.

State Rep. Daniel Riemer filed his campaign registration statement late Friday afternoon. He has served in the Wisconsin State Assembly since 2013.

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