By Dylan Deprey
The sounds of mariachi music filled the hall of La Perla on Milwaukee’s south side. Red “Re-Elect Mayor Tom Barrett” signs covered the windows and doors.
At 8 p.m. walking room was available. By 8:30 p.m., the term “elbowroom” did not exist.
Supporters of Barrett filled the room along with media sites and his campaign staff, waiting for the results of the February mayoral primary election.
There was no lack of tequila as margaritas were the choice of drink for many of the patrons.
The spicy smell of Mexican food filled the air. For those that followed their nostrils, there was a nacho and taco bar provided.
The “I Voted” sticker was the prominent fashion trend for the night.
The chatter of political topics like schooling and the new Metro Market soared through the air in preparation for the man of the hour.
If people weren’t taking sips of their drink or conversing, they were checking their phone for the updates on the election.
Supporters were shouting out to each other what they could find out.
“It’s only at eighty-five percent,” one said.
“Donovan is still pretty close,” another said.
As the clock struck 8:57 p.m., applause caressed the walls of the room as Mayor Tom Barrett walked in.
“Is there a bar stool open?” Barrett said.
He shook hands and took pictures with supporters.
Barrett managed to take 46 percent at the polls. Next was Ald. Bob Donovan at 33 percent, then Joe Davis at 19 percent and James Methu with three percent of the vote.
With Barrett and Donovan taking the first two spots in the primary, they will face off in the primary election in April.
The February primary usually has a lower voter turnout compared to the primary in April as the Presidential primary is held then.
After Barrett made his way through the crowd, he stepped up to the podium at the front of the room and gave his announcement.
Barrett mentioned how unlike the three other elections he has experienced, his children were not present for this one.
He thanked the crowd for getting him through the first step in this campaign.
“We have more work to do and we are going to get it done,” Barrett said.
He said the election for mayor is going to be about optimism and hope for the City of Milwaukee.
“I love this city, I love the people of this city and every day, I get up and fight for this city,” Barrett said. “I am proud of what we have accomplished.”
He addressed the improvement his administration has accomplished.
His main focus was the development in the neighborhoods as well as creating family supporting jobs.
He also spoke on the upgrading of the city library system.
“We are going to make sure our neighborhoods are safe,” Barrett said.
He also mentioned the strides the Milwaukee Police Department have made with the increased number of arrests during the surge in grand theft auto in Milwaukee.
“There have to be consequences or they are going to just keep doing it. I have been hammering away at this and will keep hammering away at it,” Barrett said
Barrett had a close race in the primary election. Although this was the case, his focus is on finishing his job.
“The next step is to get out there tomorrow, keep working and go out and talk to the people,” Barrett said.