The election homepages for Wausau and Marathon County
Here is everyone who is running in spring 2024 (updated as we gather more)
This post will continue to be updated as we learn more. Keep checking back for updates as we gather all the contested races around the Wausau metro and Marathon County.
This has so far been one of the most unusual election cycles I’ve seen, especially on the county board. The number of county board supervisors deciding not to run again is one of the highest I’ve ever seen since covering I started covering the county in 2014. And there is the potential for nearly half the board to turn over next April.
And, while I was writing this post, the spreadsheet for the county was updated several times, with new names being added to the list of candidates in real time. That’s something new the county clerk is trying out (I approve).
The Wausonian will update this post following the deadline on Tuesday, along with additional municipalities.
We have three candidates for mayor in Wausau.
Katie Rosenberg: The incumbent, running for her second term in office after she successfully challenged Robert Mielke in 2020. Her campaign hit a rocky start when it ran an unattributed campaign ad in the coloring book handed out at Wausau Event’s holiday parade that also linked to a website featuring drug use. Rosenberg is the only candidate to turn in the required signatures so far.
Doug Diny: Diny is a one-term city council member who is challenging Rosenberg, providing a conservative answer to Rosenberg — though some supporters at his campaign launch might surprise you. Diny has turned in the signatures and so all three will be on the ballot.
Christopher Wood: Weirdly some media don’t seem to want to say his name, a precedent I haven’t seen yet. But it’s probably because he is known for spouting anti-Semitic speeches at the 400 Block, on Twitter spaces (er, X, sorry) and TikTok. And when I say that, I don’t mean covertly — the titles of his spaces are often along the lines of “How to defeat the Jews.” He has now filed his paperwork and will officially be on the ballot.
It’s pretty unusual for challengers to pop up late in the game but several came out of nowhere on Friday. There are now six contested races on city council. Two non-candidacies mean we will at least see two new council members and could potentially see seven new council members - more than half the seats.
District No. 1: Incumbent Carol Lukens will face off against a late challenger, Catherine Kronenwetter. Kronenwetter spoke out a lot during the early Thomas Street environmental concerns. She’ll take on Lukens, who is seeking her second term, if she turns in the required signatures on time.
District No. 3: With incumbent council member Tom Kilian stepping down, this district will likely see a race between Terry Kilian (Tom’s mother) and William Harris. Harris hasn’t yet filed the necessary signatures, but Terry has, according to city records. Harris formerly represented the district for the county board and ran for judge. But Harris has since confirmed to The Wausonian that he is no longer pursuing the seat.
District No. 4: All three candidates in this race are challengers (Diny filed non-candidacy in order to run for mayor.) Tom Neal previously held the seat before stepping down last term. He worked in marketing. He’ll face off against Deb Weiss, who recently started the alternative farmers market and had run the Commission for a Greener Tomorrow and Vilius Leskys.
District No. 5: Incumbent Gary Gisselman is now facing a challenger, Orlando Alfonso. Alfonso is also challenging Gisselman on the county board.
District No. 6: Incumbent council president Becky McElhaney will face a challenger in Bronson Lobato.
District No. 8: Incumbent Sarah Watson will face challenger Josh Dirks, who previously ran for the seat.
District No. 9: This is the other confirmed race. Incumbent Dawn Herbst will face off against Victoria Tierney.
Ten incumbents filed non-candidacy paperwork on the Marathon County Board. They are: Michelle Van Krey (1), Rebecca Buch (7), Dave Oberbeck (9), Alyson Leahy (11), Board Vice Chair Craig McEwen (18), Crystal Bushman (24), Dennis Gonnering (28), Andrew Venzke (30), Bruce Lamont (36) and Bobby Niemeyer (38).
That is likely the highest number of incumbents to not run since I’ve covered the county board (nearly 10 years). Several candidates declared their candidacies late in the game. Kim Ungerer (8) was the latest, filing on the Tuesday deadline. Chris Dickinson (29) filed late last week. Joel Straub had been late to file as well, but has since turned in his paperwork, creating a three-way race.
Several candidates filed paperwork very late in the game, so the number of contested races has dramatically increased. There are 13 total contested races, which is close to half the board. (It had been 14, until a signature challenge knocked one candidate off the ballot.) They are as follows (I = incumbent, or current office holder):
District 1: John Kroll vs Ken Tokarz
District 3: Kody Hart (I) vs Jo Ann Egelkrout (Egelkrout ultimately did not have enough signatures after Hart challenged some of them - that is still open to appear)
District 5: Gary Gisselman (I) vs Orlando Alfonso
District 6: Stacey Morache (I) vs Jeff Johnson
District 7: Deb Hoppa vs Alex Eichten
District 10: Donna Krause (I) vs Randy Radtke
District 11: Randy DeBroux vs Bruce Trueblood
District 14: Rick Seefeldt (I) vs Ken Charneski
District 15: Joel Straub (I) vs Randy Fifrick vs Alexander Vedvik (will spark a February primary)
District 16: Tony Sherfinski (I) vs Bill Conway
District 23: David Baker (I) vs Chris Voll
District 32: Kurt Gibbs (I-Board Chair) vs Cindy Beaty
District 36: Scott Poole vs Frederick Schaefer (Incumbent Bruce Lamont is not running)
District 38: Brandon Jensen vs Jonathan Fisher (Incumbent Bobby Niemeyer is not running)
Wausau School Board
Incumbents Karen Vandenberg, Patrick McKee and Cody Nikolai will face Sarah Marie Brock, Jane Rusch and Fred Tealey. The top three vote-getters will earn a seat on the board. The number of candidates is just low enough that it won’t spark a February primary.
A total of nine candidates will vie for three seats on the Kronenwetter village board. That means there will be a primary on Feb. 20 to narrow down the number of candidates to six. According to the village clerk, that is a record number of candidates for village board.
Rothschild, Schofield, Weston, Rib Mountain
There don’t appear to be any contested races in Schofield, Weston or Rib Mountain. Rothschild will have a contested race for three village board seats. Bill Schremp (I), Dan Helgeson, Deb Ehster (I), Jason Jablonski and Pamela Merritt will vie for three village board seats next spring. That means at least one board member will be new (according to the village of Rothschild website, Katy Hale’s term expires this year but she doesn’t appear to be running again).
UPDATE: A previous version of this post misspelled Orlando Alfonso’s, Jonathan Fisher’s and David Baker’s names. The Wausonian regrets the errors.