Ross: No regret in effortsSuperior’s Mayor Dave Ross didn’t have any illusions about entering a statewide race from this far north.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Superior’s Mayor Dave Ross didn’t have any illusions about entering a statewide race from this far north.
The second candidate on a statewide ballot from Superior in 100 years, Ross always knew a win Tuesday night was a long shot. After all, other candidates in more populous parts of Wisconsin would have direct contact with the majority of state voters. He knew they could out-fundraise, out-spend and out-maneuver his campaign.
And with 58 percent of the state’s 3,601 is running third of five candidates vying for the Republican nod for lieutenant governor. Rebecca Kleefisch of Oconomowoc was leading with 47 percent of the vote, followed by Rep. Brett Davis with 26 percent of the vote.
Still the mayor plunged ahead, running a grassroots campaign on weekends to reach out to the voters and get his message out.
After crisscrossing the state, putting 100,000 miles on the road to most of the state’s 72 counties, Ross admits he won’t miss Friday afternoons, getting in the car and knowing he won’t be home again until late Sunday night.
But he has no regrets.
“This has been a marvelous experience, getting to know the state in a way I’ve never known the state before,” Ross said Tuesday night. “And I’ve been very proud to represent the city of Superior. I’ve been able to talk about our community all over the state because this was part of our message – good things have happened in Superior. We think good things can happen in Madison.
In the end, Ross said, his campaign didn’t reach its fundraising goal, coming up about $10,000 short of the modest $75,000 goal set to run a campaign over the last 22 months.
Most of Ross’ opponents on the Republican ticket raised more money and spent more on their campaigns than the mayor, including late-comer Robert Lorge, who garnered 9 percent of the vote…Ross said the bulk of that money was spent on reaching voters through direct mail. Although the mayor bought some television air time in the Fox Valley area of the state over the last several days. He ended his campaigning Sunday and was back to work in his Government Center office Monday.
By in large, however, Ross made his pitch directly to the voters over the last 22 months as he spent his spare time traveling around the state to address the voters directly.
But Ross might have garnered more votes if not for the state’s single-party voting during primary elections.
Bill Johnston, who cast his ballot at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, was among those who wanted more flexibility in Tuesday’s primary. Although he voted on the Democratic ticket, the Superior man wished he could have voted across party lines.
“I’m a Democrat more than a Republican,” Johnston said. “I try to vote for the person but you can’t do that here.” That restriction prohibited him from voting for Ross. Johnston said he would have supported Ross in the general election.
The mayor didn’t let that trouble him as he traveled from county to county, event to event, to pitch his brand of fiscal responsibility that reduced the city’s debt, ended taxpayer-subsidized golf in Superior and garnered greater gains from the city’s jewel, Barker’s Island Marina.
It’s the kind of responsibility that brought Billings Park residents out in support of the mayor’s bid for statewide office.
“I feel he’s done a good job as mayor of Superior,” said 9th District voter Ross Peterson. “I felt it was important to come support him.”
Superior Telegram reporter Maria Lockwood contributed to this report.