Wisconsin city mayor survives first round of recall election
REUTERS SHEBOYGAN THE first-term mayor of a Wisconsin town, a selfdescribed alcoholic who has come under pressure to step down, survived the first round of a recall election on Tuesday by getting more votes than any other candidate.
Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan, 48, took about 33 percent of the vote in the eightway contest, the city’s first mayoral recall election, and former state representative Terry Van Akkeren finished second with 26 percent, the city clerk’s office said.
“I feel great. We took first place,” Ryan said in an interview from his post-election party.
The Sheboygan election came on the same day as opponents of another Wisconsin politician — Republican Governor Scott Walker — filed petitions containing more than a million signatures to try to force the governor into a special election only a year after he took office.
Since no candidate received a majority of the votes cast in the Sheboygan election, where the contenders also included a high school student, the top two vote-getters move on to a run-off on February 21.
That vote will be essentially a rematch of the last election, in which Ryan defeated Van Akkeren to win the office in 2009.
More than 4,000 Sheboygan voters had signed petitions to force the recall after Ryan was caught on tape making sordid jokes about a sister-in-law and was photographed passed out in a tavern during a drinking binge last summer.
Ryan, a married father of three, admits he was a binge drinker and considers himself an alcoholic but said he has not had a drink for months.