MILWAUKEE -- It was an emotional campaign filled with accusations of racism and dirty politics. 12th District Alderman Jim Witkowiak lost his seat to challenger Jose Perez during last Tuesday's elections. Witkowiak was initially calling for a recount, but Tuesday, April 10th, Witkowiak's attorney said Witkowiak will not pursue a recount because it would cost him too much money.
Witkowiak's campaign said initially that Election Day technical problems may have led to an inaccurate tally.
"We are aware that at some of the polling places, some of the voting machines were having mechanical issues and some of the ballots were destroyed," Witkowiak campaign manager Natalia Santamaria said.
Perez said a recount would not affect the outcome, which was decided by 86 votes. "Just from knowledge of other political campaigns, that usually over one percent, you don't do a recall. It's just not the norm. We don't think anything is gonna change," Perez said.
Witkowiak's campaign says many south side voters went to the polls with inaccurate information because of false attacks. Santamaria says Perez used race as a wedge issue in the predominately Hispanic district. "I'm a Latina and I've just been overwhelmed and quite offended by the fact (race) was the central issue or theme of the Jose Perez campaign," Santamaria said.
Perez says race was not and should not have been the deciding factor. But he adds it is relevant in the 12th district. "People in the district feel a connection between similar journeys and understanding cultures and language is important, but most important is having a qualified candidate run for office and win," Perez said.
Since the margin of victory was more than 1%, Witkowiak would have had to cover the cost of the recount.