Rhodes-Conway to become next Mayor of Madison

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) --- Former Alderwoman Satya Rhodes-Conway has knocked off longtime Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.

According to the Dane County Clerk's Office, Rhodes-Conway won 61.9 percent to Soglin's 37.7 percent with all 144 precincts reporting.

Rhodes-Conway easily defeated Soglin on Tuesday to become Madison's first openly gay and second female mayor in city history.

“I think it is a very big deal not for me, but for what it says for other people and for young people today. I really want young women, young LGBTQ people to know that they can see themselves in leadership someday,” she said.

The 73-year-old Soglin was coming off an unsuccessful primary run for governor last year. He had the name recognition of serving 22 years over three different stints, and campaigned on his experience and leadership.

At his watch party on Tuesday night, Soglin said he hopes the city continues to make progress in creating affordable housing, and said he does not want the city to return to what he referred to as a drought in housing construction in 2011.

"I do not hope that we retreat from that partnership that we've established," Soglin said. "We cannot have a city pitted against those who build housing if we are going to solve what is a national problem and one of deep concern here in the city of Madison."

But the 47-year-old Rhodes-Conway, a member of the City Council from 2007-2013, outraised Soglin and mounted a strong grass-roots effort.

Rhodes-Conway is managing director of the Mayors Innovation Project at University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center on Wisconsin Strategy. She promoted change such as using an affordable housing fund to fix up existing housing stock along with several green initiatives.

She will be sworn in on April 16.

Current Mayor Paul Soglin was first elected mayor in 1973 and since then, he's been serving on and off for a total of 22 years in office.

Candidate Satya Rhodes-Conway sat on the City Council for six years and has been part of the mayor's Innovation Project, a think tank in Madison running a learning network for mayors across the country.

The Spring Primary for mayor was a close one. Soglin received about 28-percent of the vote while Rhodes-Conway received about 27.7-percent .

NBC15's Hannah Flood sat down with both candidates to learn more about their visions for the future of Madison. CLICK HERE to see those interviews.