By Shereen Siewert

Voters in Wausau have chosen Katie Rosenberg to be the city’s next mayor, the second woman ever to be elected to the position.

Results from the April 7 election were posted Monday, April 13 after clerks counted and recorded all absentee ballots. Rosenberg, who challenged Mayor Robert Mielke to become the city’s chief operating officer, will assume the role later this month.

Mielke spent one term as mayor after being elected in 2016.

Rosenberg defeated Mielke 4,936 to 4,467, or by a 52 to 47 percent margin.

Meanwhile, the Wausau City Council will have five new faces for the next two years. Three members of the current council, Mary Thao, Dennis Smith and Gary Gisselman, chose not to seek another term. Seven current seats were contested in this year’s election. Only Becky McElhaney in Dist. 6 and Dawn Herbst in Dist. 9 were unopposed.

The new council will consist of incumbents Pat Peckham, Michael Martens, Tom Neal, and Lisa Rasmussen; and newcomers Tom Kilian, James Wadinski, Sarah Watson, Lou Larson and Debra Ryan.

Wausau’s first female mayor, Linda Lawrence, was appointed to the council late last year after the resignation and death of longtime Dist. 8 council member Karen Kellbach. But voters on Tuesday chose her opponent, political newcomer Sarah Watson, for the seat.

Turnout in Marathon County was about 45 percent of registered voters. According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, 25,348 absentee ballots were requested in Marathon County. Of those, 24,974 were sent and 21,384 were returned by the deadline.

Voters can check to ensure their ballots were counted by looking up voter information here. The information may not be available until after Monday, according to Wausau City Clerk Leslie Kremer.

Here is how the votes broke down:


  • Robert Mielke (incumbent): 4,467
  • Katie Rosenberg: 4,936

Wausau City Council:

District 1

  • Pat Peckham (incumbent): 910
  • Christopher Norfleet: 255

District 2

  • Michael J. Martens (incumbent): 386
  • Tiffany Rodriguez-Lee: 338

District 3

  • David E. Nutting (incumbent): 108
  • Tom Kilian: 276

District 4

  • Judith Miller: 318
  • Tom Neal (incumbent): 544

District 5

  • Joel A. Lewis: 280
  • James Wadinski: 316

District 7

  • Tracy Wheatley: 229
  • Lisa Rasmussen (incumbent, council president): 580

District 8

  • Sarah Watson: 380
  • Linda Lawrence (incumbent): 255

District 10

  • Lou Larson: 312
  • Sherry L. Abitz: 271

District 11

  • Debra Ryan: 451
  • Patrick Bacher: 351