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Who’s running for Madison City Council next year — and who’s not

City Council chambers (copy)

As one election cycle comes to close, Madison is already preparing for its next in the spring where the City Council will see some major changes.

As one election cycle comes to close, Madison is already preparing for its next one. This spring, the City Council will see some major changes with all 20 seats up for grabs.

A handful of City Council members have already announced they are not running for reelection, including Alds. Patrick Heck, Erik Paulson, Brian Benford, Grant Foster and Matt Phair. Council president Keith Furman also will not continue on with the council.

Additionally, Ald. Syed Abbas, District 12, announced his resignation Tuesday, effective Thursday (Dec. 1).

In 2023, all city of Madison alder seats will be on the ballot, along with the mayor.  A handful of alders — like Regina Vidaver, District 5; Nasra Wehelie, District 7; Bill Tischler, District 11; and Sabrina Madison, District 17 — have filed declarations of candidacy in each of their respective districts, and none face opponents for now. 

All papers and forms for new candidates are due at the City Clerk’s Office at 5 p.m. on Jan. 3, 2023. Dec. 23 is the deadline for incumbents not seeking re-election to file a notice of non-candidacy. The city of Madison has a webpage with all the important forms and deadlines to run for local office.

Here’s what we know about what the turnover could look like:

District 1

Longtime Ald. Barbara Harrington-McKinney won’t be able to run for reelection where she currently serves in District 1 due to redistricting, but has filed to run in District 20 instead. Currently no one else is running for the seat. 

Harrington-McKinney has served on the council since 2015. 

District 2

The city's redistricting included a shift in the District 2 that Ald. Patrick Heck represents. Since the shifts took effect on Jan. 1, Heck has resided in District 6 but legally can represent District 2 up until the 2023 spring election.

Winning candidates in the spring election will need to live in the district they would represent by the time they are seated on April 18, 2023. 

“I do not plan to move to District 2, so I will not be running for reelection in District 2,” Heck said in a Nov. 14 update. “As for District 6 (generally the Tenney-Lapham and Marquette Neighborhoods) in which I could run for election, I have also decided that I will not be running for District 6 alder.”

Colin Barushok and Evan McSorley have filed candidacy papers for the District 2 seat. 

Barushok serves on the Alcohol License Review Committee and works as a legislative aide in the state Senate. McSorley works as a sales representative for Columbia Pipe & Supply Co.

As of now, no other current alders live in the newly drawn District 6.

District 3

While Ald. Erik Paulson previously filed to run in the district he’s represented since May 2022, he has since changed his mind. 

“It was a difficult decision, but for some (happy!) personal reasons that perhaps I can share later, I have decided that I am not able to make a commitment to you all and the rest of the city for the upcoming term,” Paulson said in an update on Nov. 21

He added that he intends to continue working as hard as he can for the next five months on issues like transportation, land use and climate resilience.

“Being an alder is a tough but rewarding job, and it is an especially wonderful way to learn about Madison and its residents,” Paulson said. “If you have patience, a love for Madison, and a love for learning, you might also enjoy being an alder.”

District 4

Ald. Mike Verveer has represented District 4 since 1995 and, though he has not said whether or not he will run again, two competitors have thrown their hat in the ring for the seat.

University of Wisconsin-Madison students Samantha Givich and Maxwell Laubenstein have declared candidacy for the role.

District 6

Ald. Brian Benford announced Nov. 19 that he will not seek reelection. Benford previously served on the council representing District 12 from 2003 to 2007, and was elected to serve District 6 in 2021. 

Benford chalked up the decision to the “horribly sad” decision of his colleagues to implement an alder pay raise at the start of the next council’s term.

“Like foxes guarding the hen house, it felt slimy that we (not me) voted to give our selves a pay raise,” Benford said in a statement. “Holy buckets! I get that this aldering can be a hard, thankless job, but I serve for altruistic reasons rather than for any financial gain. 

Benford was also drawn out of District 6 which he represents, and added that to the reasons he won’t be running for reelection.

“It has been a tremendous honor to serve you,” Benford added.

District 8

Ald. Juliana Bennett announced on Nov. 22 that she will run for the District 2 alder seat due to redistricting and to “create room for students to run in District 8,” she said. Bennett is a student at the UW–Madison but will graduate in December.

“I am running for re-election to continue creating a future Madison that we all want to live in — a Madison where people don’t have to choose between paying their rent or buying groceries,” Bennett said. “I believe that we can create a brighter future for Madison. Do you?”

Two UW-Madison students Charlie Fahey and Muralidharan Govindarajan have filed declarations of candidacy for District 8.

District 10

Ald. Yannette Figueroa Cole represents District 10 and is expected to run again for the seat. However, if she does run she will face off against Ald. Sheri Carter who currently serves District 14 and has filed candidacy papers for the 10th district because of redistricting. 

District 12

Ald. Syed Abbas is stepping down from his council role effective Dec. 1, attributing the decision to wanting to spend more time with his family. 

“Resigning is not an easy decision, as I have loved serving you, my constituents and helping solve issues. The challenges of the district became my own and I am so thankful to have built lifelong friendships and bonds with many of you,” Abbas said. “Now, with a 3 year old and a 5 year old, I want to spend time with my family before they grow up in front of my eyes.”

He added that the decision is “not goodbye,” but instead a "see you out in the community."

“I won't stop championing what's right, but for now my service to the community needs to take a backseat to my home life,” Abbas said.  

District 14

With Ald. Sheri Carter, District 14, running in District 10, three newcomers have filed declarations of candidacy to fill the role.

As of Wednesday, Isadore Knox, Jr., Noah Lieberman and Katherine Pedracine had submitted their bids to represent District 14.

Knox previously worked as the equal opportunity manager in the Dane County Executive’s office and currently serves on the Police Civilian Oversight Board. Liberman works as the vice chair of campaigns for the Dane County Democratic Party and also at Epic in technical services. Pedracine, born and raised in Madison, is the owner of Katherine's Place, a residential housing corporation.

District 15

Ald. Grant Foster announced Nov. 21 he will not seek reelection after four years on the council. 

“It's been a great experience and I've grown a lot and feel proud of my contributions to date,” Foster said in a statement. 

There are a number of important initiatives Foster still hope to move forward before his term ends in April.

“I'm excited by the prospect of a new messenger that carries the right message of justice and love,” he said. “I'm happy to talk with anyone considering a run about my experience and what you might expect. You can find more information on becoming a candidate here.”

Currently, no one has submitted candidacy papers to fill the role in the 15th district. 

District 18

Ald. Charles Myadze has served on the council representing District 18 since April 2021 and will face off for the role against Michelle Ellinger Linley, a lifelong Madisonian and the owner and CEO of Madison Newborn Care, a company focused solely on newborn care and postpartum support.

District 19

Council President Keith Furman formally announced at the beginning of November he would not run for reelection in the spring.

“Many of you know that when I decided to run for a second term, I also decided it would be my last,” Furman said in a statement. “The last few years have been incredibly challenging but serving the residents of District 19 and the city of Madison has been an amazing experience. I'm grateful for the privilege to serve.”

He said he is proud of his work on transportation, government structure, public safety and development.

“I want to thank the residents and colleagues that made productive contributions to these efforts and the many dedicated, knowledgeable city staff members with whom we collaborated to improve the lives of our residents,” Furman said.

John Guequierre, a founder of Otologic Technologies, a health technology startup, has submitted a declaration of candidacy for the district. 

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