Dane County Board Chairman Scott McDonell won a four-way Democratic primary for county clerk Tuesday on promises to improve online public access to government records on elections, campaign finance and other matters.
McDonell fended off a vigorous campaign by another party activist, Mike Quieto, and also overcame the challenge of Sun Prairie City Clerk Diane Hermann-Brown, who was endorsed by the current county clerk, Karen Peters, who didn’t seek election.
The fourth candidate was Santiago Rosas, a former Madison City Council member.
“I’m very proud because it was kind of a difficult race,” said McDonell.
“To be able to get support from across Dane County was key to winning. There can be a bit of an anti-Madison (sentiment), even among Democrats.”
McDonell has served on the county board since 1996 and been its chairman since 2005. County Executive Joe Parisi, the county Democratic Party and public employee unions were among those who endorsed McDonell for clerk.
The county clerk campaign, however, wasn’t as easy for McDonell as his win on Tuesday.
During the campaign Quieto alleged that McDonell had tried to obscure contributions from a political action committee he controls to his campaign fund. McDonell said he’d made a simple clerical error and slammed Quieto for describing himself as a city clerk’s employee and for campaign literature that pictured Quieto with prominent politicians who hadn’t endorsed him.
McDonell, who has no Republican challenger in the November election, said he looks forward to increasing coordination with municipal clerks.
“Under the new state law that governs elections, we really have to coordinate with municipal clerks. We also need the municipalities to recognize each other’s trainings,” he said.
Meanwhile, Adam Gallagher, a Madison Board of Review clerk, narrowly won in the Democratic primary for county treasurer by defeating two County Board supervisors, Matt Veldran and Dave de Felice .
After jumping out to a double-digit lead in rural and suburban Dane County, Gallagher gave back most of that lead to Veldran as Madison wards began to report. Gallagher held on with 36.6 percent of the vote, compared to Veldran’s 34.4 percent and de Felice’s 28.6 percent.
No Republican is seeking the post being vacated by Dave Worzala.