‘This is no joke’: UW-La Crosse professor says La Crosse residents should value mayoral race

Political science expert Anthony Chergosky says low voter turnout could advance unqualified mayoral candidates past February primary
La Crosse

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Two more people are adding themselves to the list of candidates for La Crosse mayor. Those declarations were filed Monday bringing the total to 10 (pending other required paperwork). A La Crosse political science professor said “disastrous” results could follow the primary election next month if people don’t show up to vote.

A lot of eyes are on Washington D.C. right now. The electoral college, objections to election results, voter fraud, political division, to name a few. City Hall in La Crosse carries an ironic silence, but its potential effect on La Crosse residents’ lives is deafening if people listen.

“This is no joke,” Anthony Chergosky said, UW-La Crosse assistant professor of political science

Chergosky holds a Bachelors’s, Masters’s, and Ph.D. in the field he teaches. He said La Crosse residents best keep their eye on a field of candidates vying for the top chair in the city.

“The elections that affect us the most, AKA local elections, are often the elections that attract the least attention and the lowest turnout,” Chergosky said.

Right now, ten candidates have filed declaration of candidacy papers with two who still need to file their campaign finance statements and their nomination papers, as of Tuesday afternoon. The ballot for the primary in February will not tell voters what these people stand for, such as a political party.

“In a race like this, you don’t have the D or the R,” Chergosky said.

That research is on the voter.

“This is going to be an enormous challenge for voters,” he said. “It’s not because people are bad. It’s because people have other things to do.”

Chergosky expects few people to head to the polls and vote.

“The combination of a low turnout election and a large field is really scary,” Chergosky said. “It’s really, really scary.”

The primary on Feb. 16 could advance two people who are not the best fit for this job.

“It’s entirely possible that that would happen,” he said.

Chergosky’s eyes reflect what is at stake.

“The pothole down the street, or public safety,” Chergosky said.

The cards are in the hands of those who decide to pay less attention to what’s happening 1,000 miles away, and place a priority on what’s going on a mile from their home.

“What the people in La Crosse can control is turnout,” he said.

The official deadline for candidate paperwork was 5 p.m. Tuesday. Chergosky said he hopes candidates run “active and informative campaigns” to help voters make educated decisions.