RACINE — Television commercials related to the Racine mayoral race between incumbent Cory Mason and challenger Henry Perez have aired on Milwaukee TV stations this week. The election is Tuesday, April 4.
Concerned Citizens for Safer Streets LLC commercial
An independent campaign expenditure committee, called Concerned Citizens for Safer Streets LLC, produced and aired an ad critical of Mason starting last weekend.
That commercial cited increases in violent crime amid Racine Police Department staffing shortages that have occurred since Mason has been in office.
Because the organization is registered with the state as an independent committee, the ad does not mention Mason’s opponent, Perez.
Mason for Racine commercials
Meanwhile, Mason for Racine (the mayor’s campaign organization) has aired two TV commercials this week.
One is directly critical of Perez linking him to “extremism” and former President Donald Trump.
The other commercial points to the mayor’s support from organized labor, police/fire funding and lower property taxes. The ads have also been linked to the campaign’s Facebook page.
Who are the Concerned Citizens for Safer Streets?
Concerned Citizens for Safer Streets registered with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission on March 15. State elections reporting records show the group has spent $1,675 with Weigel Broadcasting (operator of WDJT-TV, channel 58; WMLW-TV, channel 49) and Scripps Media (operator of WTMJ-TV, channel 4).
Mark Balwinski, the committee’s treasurer, said that radio time has also been purchased for ads prior to the election.
“This is a group of citizens fed up and frustrated about escalating crime. It’s just disheartening,” he said. “Somebody needs to take off the rose-colored glasses.”
Balwinski said the group’s TV ad was created to give Racine residents “a contrast to what’s been the Mason campaign messaging.”
He added that there has been discussion about expanding the organization’s messaging beyond this year’s spring election and into other cities.
Racine mayoral election voting underway
Mason was first elected in a 2017 special election and to a full, four-year term in April 2019. Prior to being elected mayor, he represented the Racine area in the Wisconsin State Assembly as a Democrat for a decade.
Perez has been a Common Council member since 2013 representing the 12th District on the city’s southwest side. He was re-elected in April 2022.
A third candidate, Michael Schrader, has filed as a write-in.
In-person absentee voting (early voting) in the City of Racine runs through Saturday, April 1.
For voting information, visit the Racine County Eye’s Racine County Election Guide: Spring 2023 for helpful articles, information and links to useful tools to help you make an informed decision.
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