It wasn't even close. Dave Mahoney, a 26-year veteran of the Dane County Sheriff's Office, easily trounced Robbie Lowery in the Democratic primary for Dane County sheriff, 27,286 to 16,132.
"I think it got a little negative in the end unfortunately," says Mahoney, who accuses Lowery's campaign of "misrepresentations" and "name calling" in the final days.
Lowery's campaign falsely told voters that Mahoney is not against allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons. But Mahoney sent out campaign literature proclaiming he was the only candidate who opposed the gay marriage ban, which Lowery also opposes.
Mahoney now faces Republican Mike Hanson in the Nov. 7 general election. Will that race be just as messy?
"I hope it stays professional," says Mahoney.
Hanson is a County Board supervisor and the spokesman for the Madison Police Department. While both positions raise his public profile, Hanson will have a tough time defeating Mahoney. According to campaign finance reports filed last week, he has only $7,276 cash on hand going into the general election.
"I have events lined up where I'll be raising more money," says Hanson, who just began running his first campaign ad on local radio.
Mahoney, meanwhile, still has $18,927 in the bank, even after spending more than $12,000 to beat Lowery. He expects to spend "significantly more" than that against Hanson.
Mahoney also touts his crossover appeal to Republican voters. In the days before Tuesday's election, his Web site reminded voters that they could vote for only one party in the primary. "You cannot cross party lines," it read. "[A]nd since we know you'll be voting Mahoney, you'll need to vote for the candidates that are Democrats. (Sorry - that's just the way it is.)"
Mahoney doesn't believe Dane County voters are partisan when it comes to this office. "The issues you deal with as sheriff cross party lines," he says. "It's important for me to have broad, bipartisan support."
Hanson also boasts broad support, including from former Madison Mayor Joel Skornicka, Fitchburg Mayor Tom Clauder and County Supvs. Eileen Bruskewitz and Richard Brown. "I have a wide range of individuals that are excited about my campaign," he says. "It's going to be a fun race!"