Taking the stage at the High Noon Saloon Tuesday night to the strains of U2's 'Beautiful Day,' as interpreted by The Gomers, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz claimed victory in his bid for reelection in the same way he greeted his supporters four years ago.
'Thanks to all of you for stopping by tonight,' he said. 'That turned out okay.'
Indeed, a 24% margin of victory gave the mayor and his supporters room to be giddy. Cieslewicz surpassed the 60% mark with nearly 31,000 of approximately 49,000 votes cast. Cieslewicz's opponent, former Madison school board member Ray Allen, tallied just under 19,000 votes, winning in many of the city's peripheral wards, although by smaller margins than did Paul Soglin, Cieslewicz's opponent four years ago, indicating a broader base of support for the mayor this time around.
'We've brought people together,' said Cieslewicz in his victory speech. 'We've reached out to diverse communities across out city. We haven't been afraid to try new things and we've always been optimistic about the future of Madison. Over the next four years, we're going to continue to do those three things to keep Madison moving forward.'
Cieslewicz was joined by Dane County Exec. Kathleen Falk, a longtime supporter, and his wife, Diane, at the podium where they led chants of 'Four more years!' and hugged campaign staffers and supporters. The Gomers, who played their traditional Tuesday night live band karaoke in the hours preceding Cieslewicz's victory speech, accompanied last-second preparations with Queen's 'We Are the Champions,' adding some flavor and humor in contrast to what many considered a rather boring race.
Cieslewicz addressed that observation last week when he said there was a lot he and Allen agreed on, but mainly differed on management style. But throughout the campaign, Allen pointed out how the city's biggest problems were the result of growing poverty, an issue Cieslewicz will certainly have to address in his second term.
But on Tuesday night, Cieslewicz focused only on the positives.
'The biggest challenge we have going forward is that we're a successful community,' he said. 'And we need to manage our success.'