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Haass and Matter advance in West Allis aldermanic primary

Special election is for longtime alderman's seat

Feb. 18, 2014

West Allis — From a field of six candidates for one of the city's 5th District aldermanic seats, Kevin Haass and Gerald Matter emerged from Tuesday's primary election to advance to the April 1 special election.

Haass got 146 votes and Matter received 117, edging out Wayne Clark, who garnered 110 votes for a close third-place finish. Totals for the other candidates are Jim Blask, 66; Diane Brandt, 41; and Roy Beaudry, 31.

The vote totals are unofficial until the Board of Canvassers meets.

The voter turnout was 7.4 percent.

The winner of the special election April 1 will serve the two years remaining on the term of James Sengstock, who retired last fall, ending 41 years of service on the Common Council.

Haass said he was hopeful that he would do well going into the primary based on feedback he received while campaigning door-to-door.

"I was getting good responses — I felt I was connecting with everyone," Haass said. "I hope to continue that in the general election."

Haass said his theme — responsible, as a steward of tax dollars, and responsive, in terms of constituent concerns — seemed to resonate with voters, and it will remain the same for the general election.

"People will always be able to reach me," Haass said.

He will continue what he called his old-fashioned campaign of knocking on doors and putting up yard signs.

"My dad is my yard-sign guy," Haass said.

Matter was happy with the vote totals, as well.

"I'm number two, but at least I'm there (on the April ballot)," Matter said late Tuesday.

He felt voters were attracted to him because he is a lifelong West Allis resident and because he has proven management ability.

"Because of my ability as a small businessman, I think a lot of people believe I will be able to work with all entities in the city," Matter said.

They may also appreciate his expertise in helping bring new business into the city to beef up its tax base, Matter said. People are concerned about redevelopment, and as chairman of the Economic Development Commission he has been helping the city in that regard, he added.

Development is tied closely with taxes, another critical concern, he said.

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