Mequon - Longtime Alderman Dan Abendroth has unseated incumbent Mayor Curt Gielow in a neck and neck contest, edging out Gielow by barely more than half a percent.
Abendroth claimed 50.57 percent of the 7,666 votes cast by Mequon voters. Gielow received 49.37 percent, 92 fewer votes than Abendroth.
Election results remain unofficial until they are certified by the board of canvassers:
Dan Abendroth 3,877
Curt Gielow (i) 3,785
Abendroth characterized his campaign a "grass-roots effort" whose spirit was the deciding factor in the race.
"I think it had to do with all the people who came together and put their time and passion into our campaign," said Abendroth. "Our victory is for the heart and soul of so many people who have worked to shape this community for so many years."
While certainly disappointed by the outcome of the race, Gielow thanked his supporters and wished Abendroth the best.
"(The results) tell me we've got a city divided, and I just want to wish the new mayor luck, and well in what he does," said Gielow. "I leave with no regrets. It's been an honor to serve the city."
Abendroth, 58, commented that one of his immediate goals will be to bring residents together after such a divisive race.
"I'm going to focus on remedying the divide that exists in the community, so we're all focused on the same goals and can work together," he said.
In the long term, as he has said throughout his campaign, Abendroth's plan is to preserve the environment, spaciousness, and quality of development in the city - which he said hasn't been the case recently.
"(Voters) saw that changing direction and they wanted to keep the city focused on its successful vision," said Abendroth, adding that he will "stick to the standards and policies that have guided us over the years."
Gielow commented that, for him, this race signals a bittersweet departure from the world of local politics.
"This is the end of my political career," said Gielow, 68. "It's always more fun to go out on top, but I'm at peace. The people have spoken."
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