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Racine Unified Election Update: Incumbents Grab Strong Lead

Want to know who's in the lead?

With tallies in from 100 percent of the polling places in the Racine Unified School District, incumbents Kim Plache, Gretchen Warner and Don Nielsen led the Racine Unified School Board primary race all evening.

However, all six candidates—Scott Brownell, Gretchen Warner, Kim Plache, Roger Pfost, Brian Dey and Don Nielsen—will all advance to the spring election, which will be held April 3.

In Caledonia, 3,860 people voted in the primary election while 4,491 people voted in Mount Pleasant, and 401 people voted in Sturtevant. Plache, Nielsen and Warner earned the top votes in all three communities. Caledonia had 97 outstanding absentee ballots.

Don Nielsen waited for the results at the District office.

"I’d like to say that the board is starting to build a trust within the community," Nielsen said. "I think that it’s a start and it’s going to be an ongoing process… we’re not going to make a dramatic change in the District unless we get the support of the community. Hopefully this is going the first step in that process."

Here are the totals:

Scott Brownell: 2,001

Gretchen Warner (I): 3,350

Kevin Cronin: 775

Kim Plache (I): 3,959

Roger Pfost: 1,888

Brian Dey: 1,974

Don Nielsen (I): 3,343

Other: 8

Total votes: 17,299

Vote totals are unofficial until certified by the Board of Canvassers. 

Patrick C. Tetzlaff February 22, 2012 at 04:43 AM
I am not sure how to explain that incumbents swept this race. Apparently the community at large is satisfied with the results and overall direction of RUSD. Our community must have low expectations. I also just read the article from the Greendale Patch on how they were able to eliminate 1/2 days due to Act 10. Good thing R.U.S.D. had the vision to extend the contracts in time so that we cannot implement common sense changes such as this. I know the kids really benefit from all of the 1/2 days during the school year.
James R Hoffa February 22, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Actually, the results really weren't all that bad when you consider the circumstances. The union pushed to get their base out in order to make/send some kind of symbolic message going into the general, while the other side didn't expend very much effort on this primary due to the fact that all of the remaining candidates would be advancing to the general election anyway. The fact that Dey, Brownell, and Pfost all managed to carry around 2,000 votes each given such reality is actually quite encouraging, as just imagine how well they'll do once their base actually turns out en mass. The union puppet incumbents aren't sleeping very soundly tonight. On to the general and victory for Dey, Brownell, and Pfost!!!
Racine Progressive February 22, 2012 at 12:55 PM
The truth is that the good people of Racine just don't want a bunch of tea baggers in charge of education in Racine. Funny thing - Dey wasn't even first amongst the tea baggers. Even the tea baggers don't like Dey.
Terry Van Parys February 22, 2012 at 01:18 PM
It strikes me as odd that Racinians tend to vote no on the RUSD spending referendums but won't vote for people that will curb spending.
GearHead February 22, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Well, all the teachers, TA's and admin came out to vote. Factor them out, and the challengers did quite well. I see no support for the incumbants in the general election beyond their own institutional self-interest. Put another way, the final cut will be made during the Republican primary election. We'll be there en mass to vote Dey, Pfost and Brownell in.
Patrick C. Tetzlaff February 22, 2012 at 02:06 PM
It would be nice to have an honest, fact based, discussion about these issues but instead you choose name calling (Tea Baggers, Scooter, etc) and shouting people down. This only serves to highlight the lack of credibility of your positions.
Heather in Caledonia February 22, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Every year there's an election for RUSD board, I always vote for new people while fully accepting that it doesn't make a bit of difference. Those employed by RUSD far outnumber those who want to change things and care enough to step out of the house on voting day. I'll still vote for the "new three" in April and will encourage those of my friends who I know have problems with RUSD to vote, but I am not expecting the results to be much different than yesterday's. It's so disappointing, but I suppose Racine deserves it! At least my kids don't have to deal with the problems in the schools - we just have to continue to pay the increasing taxes.
Chris Larsen February 22, 2012 at 03:28 PM
This is encouraging considering that most municipalities had no other local races on their ballots, just the City. Expect turnout higher at the general election, but also watch for the flood of REA, WEAC and PAC fliers coming out.
Brian Dey February 22, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Heather- Don't be discouraged. We're not, in fact given the circumstances of the primary, the showing has just the opposite affect. The unions pressed hard, including phonebanks, literature distributed to teachers in the schools by the unions and these are long time incumbents. Needless to say, they are very motivated to hold onto what they have and they have a current board that agrees. On the otherhand, every article by the Journal Times said the primary was a done deal, so the supporters of the new candidates were not nearly as motivated. If anything, we are finding that the results of the primary are motivating our supporters. So hang in there. This is what we expected and we are prepared to campaign hard to take back our schools for you.
Eric February 22, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Brian as far as I'm concerned Caledonia should be looking to get the hell out RUSD. I see no reason why we should be funding a failing schools system that we get to send our kids out of our community to attend. You have my vote until then maybe you and others can turn things around but I ain't holding my breath.
mau February 22, 2012 at 08:49 PM
You hit the nail on the head. They were definitely out to send a symbolic (and verbal) message.
Sandy February 24, 2012 at 06:37 AM
I actually think many did not even know of the election. I found out the day of and then ended up getting stuck out of town and couldn't vote. I will be voting in the April 3rd election though and getting the word out between now and then will be crucial if we want to change the tide of RUSD. Any ideas, other than word of mouth, how we can get the word out? I don't watch the news and rarely listen to talk radio. I know there are more like me out there and they need to be reached.

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