Madison Mayor-elect Bob Courtney spoke at Republican Headquarters Tuesday night after leading the GOP to a sweep of eight of the nine elected offices in the city. Other GOP winners standing behind Courtney include (from left) District 4 Councilwoman Katie Hosier-Rampy, Clerk-Treasurer Rick Berry, Council At-Large winner Jim Bartlett, District 1 Council winner Patrick Thevenow, District 2 Council winner Amanda Creech and District 3 Council winner Lucy Dattilo. (Courier staff photo by Mark Campbell)
Madison Mayor-elect Bob Courtney spoke at Republican Headquarters Tuesday night after leading the GOP to a sweep of eight of the nine elected offices in the city. Other GOP winners standing behind Courtney include (from left) District 4 Councilwoman Katie Hosier-Rampy, Clerk-Treasurer Rick Berry, Council At-Large winner Jim Bartlett, District 1 Council winner Patrick Thevenow, District 2 Council winner Amanda Creech and District 3 Council winner Lucy Dattilo. (Courier staff photo by Mark Campbell)
Madison will see four more years of Republican leadership as the city’s mayoral election went GOP for a third consecutive election on the strength of Bob Courtney’s 2,284 to 1,488 win over Democratic challenger Julie Berry.

But unlike the back-to-back wins by former Mayor Damon Welch in 2011 and 2015, Tuesday’s election saw the GOP also sweep eight of the nine city offices as incumbent Democratic council members Jan Vetrhus, Robert “Derma” Smith, Darrell Henderson and David Alcorn all lost bids for re-election with only Democratic Councilman At-Large Daniel C. Dattilo escaping the Republican wave.

Courtney and incumbent GOP Clerk-Treasurer Rick Berry carried all 13 precincts to out-poll their Democratic counterparts across the board. Berry’s 2,462 to 1,238 win over Democratic challenger Phil Mullins also produced the widest gap of the day as the former Democrat turned Tea Party member turned Republican carried 66.54% of the votes to Mullins’ 33.46%.

GOP Chairman Karl Eaglin said the big win is the product of a lot of hard work to get out among the voters, visit them on their home turf and hear their concerns and tell them how you plan to fix their problems. He thinks Republicans outworked their Democratic counterparts throughout the campaign.

“We’ve preached and preached to get out and knock on doors, talk and visit people on their porches and get out in the community,” Eaglin said. “I noticed on Monday we still had two candidates downtown — Patrick Thevenow and Lucy Dattilo — who were still knocking on doors and I think that is our strong point. You can do a lot of advertising in The Madison Courier and other places but people want to see you.

“We always stress to be honest, be fair and don’t slam your opponents and just tell them what you’re going to do, and I think that’s our strong point, too,” Eaglin added. “We’ve never gone into mud-slinging. I think you’ve just got to be honest and fair and work hard to get there.”

Both the mayor’s race and clerk-treasurer’s race followed a similar pattern to the last election in 2015 when Welch defeated Jan Vetrhus 1,914 to 1,192 and Berry edged Democrat Tammy L. Boldery 1,582 to 1,530.

Precinct 4-1A, which votes at the VFW on Madison’s hilltop, was once again the Republican stronghold while Precinct 1-1, which votes at the American Legion in downtown Madison, was the most supportive of Democrats.

Courtney carried 67.94% of the vote at Precinct 4-1A to Berry’s 32.06% for a 214-101 win, while Berry’s strongest precinct was 1-1, where she still lost 54.78% to 45.22% while being out-polled by Courtney, who grew up in that precinct on Walnut Street, 195 to 161.

Rick Berry’s big win was also in 4-1A, where he out-polled Mullins 77.96% to 22.04% to build a 237-67 gap, while Mullins ran strongest in Precinct 1-1 with 45.14% while still being out-polled 192 to 152.

Both Welch and Rick Berry ran strong in 4-1A in 2015 — Welch beating Vetrhus 156-69 and Berry out-polling Boldery 140-86 — but both candidates lost Precinct 1-1 in 2015 where Vetrhus edged Welch 154-147 and Boldery beat Berry 174-126.

This time around both Republicans benefited by strong GOP support in the District 1 council race, where political newcomer Patrick E. Thevenow out-polled Vetrhus 210-124 (61.04% to 33.22%) in Precinct 1-1, while independent Derek Alexis Hughes claimed 52 votes.

In the end, the Democrats won a few scattered precincts but none for much effect other than Dattilo’s successful bid for re-election.

Dattilo ran strong throughout the city to easily stand as the top overall vote getter among the four at-large candidates with 1,998 votes. He was also the top vote-getter in nine of the 11 individual precincts.

Other Democrats who pulled off precinct wins only to lose their overall races were Smith, the District 3 incumbent, in Precinct 2-1 and District 5 incumbent Henderson in Precinct 5-1. Democratic challengers Thomas Ray Sedam Sr. and Brad Wood picked up a precinct win each in 4-2 and 1-2, respectively, and Wood also tied Republican Amanda Kay Creech in Precinct 1-2.

Although GOP Council At-Large challenger Joshua J. Wilber finished fourth in that race, where only the top two vote-getters are elected, he ran well in the Republican stronghold Precinct 4-1A, where he was the top vote-getter with 169 votes (29.81%), with fellow Republican Jim Bartlett running second with 163 votes (28.75%). In Bartlett’s case, that was enough to give him the push he needed to unseat Democrat Alcorn for the final at-large seat on city council.

In straight-party voting, the Republicans bested the Democrats 584 to 334.

Eaglin said Republicans pulled off the big win without some of the name-calling and negative campaigning voters often see in statewide and national elections and he’s proud that GOP candidates focused on the issues and their vision for the future.

“I’m very proud of our candidates,” Eaglin said. “I can’t think of a single thing. There’s some things that came out from other people as far as mud-slinging but nothing came from any of our candidates other than maybe a correction. I don’t know of anything that I’d consider mud-slinging.

“You can’t control what’s going on around you or other outside connections but they did not talk to me or anyone else in the party about any of that. I spoke to no one about anything on the Madison forums. I think it was the candidates and the hard work that everyone put in this year that pushed us over the top.”

The GOP celebrated Tuesday night and woke up Wednesday still smiling from the big win, Eaglin said the work will begin soon with both voters and the party expecting and deserving progress.

“Whatever you run on, whether it’s the security and safety of our community or sidewalk issues or other things we have going on, when you make promises, you’ve got to keep them,” Eaglin said. “We will meet and discuss all that at different times and we will hold them accountable for what they ran on.

“I think that’s what hurt some of the Democrat friends that I have. They made a lot of promises but there wasn’t much there and we’re going to make sure those promises are kept. I know Bobby Courtney has also said we will review all of those promises periodically and make sure that those promises are being kept.”