Respect Diversity + Inclusion

Milwaukee elects its first Black mayor

"This city for the first time in our 176-year history has elected its first Black mayor. We did it," Cavalier Johnson told supporters following his special election victory.
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Story at a glance

  • Cavalier Johnson was elected as Milwaukee’s first Black mayor Tuesday night.

  • Johnson, 35, has been the city’s acting mayor since Tom Barrett resigned his post in December to become ambassador to Luxembourg.

  • Unofficial election results show Johnson defeating former alderman Bob Donavan with more than 71 percent of the vote total. 

Cavalier Johnson made history Tuesday night when he was elected as Milwaukee’s first Black mayor.  

“This city for the first time in our 176-year history has elected its first Black mayor. We did it,” Johnson told supporters following his special election victory.  

“I want to thank the men and the women who paved the way for me to be victorious on this stage tonight, Jonson added. “I’m talking about the trailblazers in Milwaukee’s African American community, elected and not elected, who walked the long trek so that I could both run as well as win.”  

Johnson, 35, has been the city’s acting mayor since former mayor Tom Barrett resigned his post in December to accept President Biden’s nomination to serve as ambassador to Luxembourg. Barrett had been Milwaukee’s mayor since 2004.  


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Johnson, who was elected president of the city’s Common Council in 2020, will serve the last two years of Barrett’s term.  

Unofficial election results show Johnson defeating former alderman Bob Donavan with more than 71 percent of the vote total. Results will not be final until Friday after provisional ballots are counted.  


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