By Shereen Siewert
A primary is likely in at least one Wausau district after three candidates — including a former council member — have come forward to represent Dist. 10.
Current Dist. 10 Alder Mary Thao announced earlier in December she would not seek another term for the seat, representing a swath of the city’s west side. But as of Dec. 30, Donna Krause, Lou Larson and former Dist. 10 council member Sherry Abitz have filed candidacy papers with the city clerk.
Abitz held the seat for more than a decade, but stepped away from local politics in 2018. She also represented her district on the Marathon County Board of Supervisors.
Abitz’ tenure in local politics was not without controversy. In 2016, she sent an email to Thao, who is also on the Wausau School Board, comparing a Hmong peace march to a KKK rally. She later apologized.
Also in 2016, Abitz threatened in a Facebook post in 2016 to get “revenge” against city residents she blamed for delaying Thomas Street’s reconstruction and appeared to blame them for the death of one of her constituents, according to a Wausau Daily Herald report.
Krause currently represents Dist. 10 on the Marathon County Board of Supervisors.
Larson is a political newcomer but has often appeared as a vocal participant in city meetings. He has been an advocate for environmental safety and a public critic of city spending.
If all three candidates turn in their completed paperwork, Krause, Larson and Abitz will face off in the Feb. 18 primary election to narrow the field from three to two.
Voters in February will also narrow the field in the three-way mayoral race, where current Mayor Robert Mielke being challenged by Christopher Norfleet and Katie Rosenberg.
So far, four council members remain unchallenged for 2020: Pat Peckham, in Dist. 1; David Nutting, in Dist. 3; Becky McElhaney, in Dist. 6; and Dawn Herbst, in Dist. 9. For a list of candidates in other districts, see our Dec. 26 update here.
The deadline for candidates filing declarations of non-candidacy has passed, but interested candidates have about a week left to file.
Nomination papers or declarations of candidacy for April elections are due by 5 p.m. Jan. 7, 2020. Residents interested in running for office in Wausau can find paperwork online here.