Damakant Jayshi

Three days in, and the Spring 2022 election has already been marked with some surprises.

Incumbent Marathon County Board supervisor Ka Lo joined three of her colleagues in not seeking re-election for a new term next year. A former Board supervisor and long-time City Council member, Gary Gisselman, aims to make a comeback by filing for both the Marathon County County Board and the City Council.

Lo, one of the only two members from Hmong community on the Board of Supervisors, filed her non-candidacy notification on Friday. She was elected unopposed in 2018. Hmong constitute the second largest community of color in Marathon County. As per the 2020 Census, about 91% of 138,000 residents are white, and 6% are Asians, of which Hmong are the largest group.

Lo, a first-term member on the 38-member Board of Supervisors, cited focusing on “personal responsibilities” and other duties in her decision not to seek another term.

“Taking on responsibilities as a Marathon County Board supervisor and school board member made it difficult to prioritize family responsibilities and personal goals,” Lo told Wausau Pilot & Review. She is on the Wausau School District Board of Education and her term in the district ends in Spring 2023. She declined to say whether she would seek re-election to the WSD Board.

On Thursday, Supervisor Alan Christensen from Dist. 22 also filed his non-candidacy notification.

Among the incumbents on the County Board, Michelle Van Krey (Dist. 1), Bill Conway (Dist. 16), Jennifer Aarrestad (Dist. 17), Craig McEwen (Dist. 18) and Thomas N. Rosenberg (Dist. 21) have filed their Declaration of Candidacy.

Of these, Krey, Conway, Aarrestad and Rosenberg have drawn challengers in Christopher Wood, Tony Sherfinski, Cheryl Martino, and Dave Dalley, respectively. [For a list of candidacies declared so far, click here.]

Meanwhile, the race for the 11-member City Council saw at least six candidates including three current alderpersons, each of whom filed their Declaration of Candidacy in the last two days.

Sarah Watson (Dist. 8), Lou Larsen (Dist. 10) and Tom Kilian (Dist. 3) submitted their forms signaling they will seek a new two-year term beginning in April next year.

Doug Diny, who unsuccessfully challenged Alderperson Tom Neal for Dist. 4 in the 2018 election, filed his candidacy declaration for the district on Wednesday. Carol Lukens, a Wausau resident on the city’s southeast side, filed hers for District 1, according to Deputy Clerk Goede.

Former alderman Gary Gisselman filed his Declaration of Candidacy on Friday, according to Deputy Clerk Mary Goede. Gisselman, who represented Dist. 5 on the City Council since 2006, did not seek re-election in 2019. Jim Wadinski represents the district at the moment. Gisselman also filed his paperwork to represent Dist. 5 on the County Board, the seat currently held by Lo.

Two alderpersons – Pat Peckam (Dist. 1) and Neal – have said they wouldn’t seek re-election.

Meanwhile, another first-time supervisor, William Harris (Dist. 3), has already announced running for judgeship on the Circuit Court. Harris, the first Black Marathon County supervisor, was elected in April 2020. He is seeking the position that will be vacated when Circuit Judge Greg Huber retires. Huber said he won’t seek another term, ending a more than 17-year tenure on the bench. Harris, a public interest attorney, filed his non-candidacy notification with the County Clerk on Monday. 

No information is available on the remaining Board supervisors who intend to seek re-election. However, a number of county residents have filed their Declaration of Candidacy for the open seats as well as for those where incumbents are yet to decide on their next move. (For a list of candidates, click here.)

Local elections – Marathon County, City Council and some school Board members – have been scheduled for April 5, 2022. Nomination papers or declarations of candidacy for April elections are due by 5 p.m. Jan. 4, 2022. The deadline for filing non-candidacy papers is Dec. 24.

The primaries will be held Feb. 15.