Johnson, Donovan look ahead to April election following top-two finish in mayoral primary

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson and former alderman Bob Donovan basked in their top-two finish in the mayoral primary Tuesday night, but Wednesday morning both began strategizing their paths to victory in April's general election.

Political expert Mordecai Lee of UW-Milwaukee said both candidates capitalized on their core base of voters in Tuesday's primary -- Johnson with Black voters and Donovan with conservative voters.

"I'm guessing that turnout by African Americans was above average, and I'm guessing turnout by moderate Republicans, conservatives, was above average," Lee told CBS 58. "And so those two voting blocs, in a sense, determined the results of the election."

Those divisions are expected to carry on to the general election, but experts said it is a contrast that helps voters.

"Here we've got an excellent opportunity for the voters to say, 'this is the kind of mayor I want,' or, 'this is the kind of mayor I don't want.'"

The primary displayed how Johnson's fundraising efforts helped him pull away from the rest of the pack. It's something Donovan highlights as a contrast between the two candidates.

"He's outspending me 10 to one, but my message to the citizens of Milwaukee [is] who is going to elect Milwaukee's next mayor? Money or the people?" Donovan told CBS 58 Tuesday night. "I'm counting on the people."

Johnson told reporters Wednesday his sizeable war chest is indicative of his wide-ranging support.

"Folks have flocked to me to be the leader, to carry Milwaukee into the future," Johnson said in a news conference outside his campaign office. "So, I understand what Bob [Donovan] is saying. I'm fortunate and my campaign is fortunate, I think, to have broad-based support across the city and I'm proud of that."

Experts say fundraising may be one of the determining factors in the general election.

"We're going to see a result in April that might reflect what happened yesterday, and that's that the top-spenders did better," Lee said.

Johnson told reporters both campaigns are in discussions about debates. A schedule for those events is expected to be announced in the coming days.

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