Sheboygan Mayor Drinking

January 27, 2012 by staff 

Sheboygan Mayor Drinking, Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan, whose well-documented problems with alcohol paved the way for the city’s first-ever mayoral recall election, captured first place in Tuesday’s primary and will face former state Rep. Terry Van Akkeren next month to determine if he can continue to hold office.

It will be rematch of the 2009 mayoral election, in which Ryan defeated Van Akkeren, 6,191 to 4,173, to win his first term in office.

“I beat him once, I can beat him again,” Ryan said Tuesday night at a party with a group of supporters at Brisco County Wood Grill.

The mayoral recall general election will be held Feb. 21. If Ryan wins, he will be able to stay on as mayor; if Van Akkeren wins, he would be sworn in at the March 5 Common Council meeting to finish out the remainder of Ryan’s term, which ends in April 2013.

Ryan and Van Akkeren topped a field of eight candidates in the primary, which despite a snowstorm early in the day ended up with a turnout of 34.5 percent of Sheboygan’s 28,458 registered voters, which led to two polling places to briefly run out of ballots late in the afternoon.

In unofficial results Tuesday, Ryan received 3,225 votes, or 32.85 percent, while Van Akkeren received, 2,567 or 26.15 percent. To win the primary outright, a candidate would have had to receive at least 50 percent of the vote, plus one.

Van Akkeren, 57, a former alderman, said he felt good about the results and his chances for defeating Ryan in the regular election.

“Bob got 32 percent of the vote; that means 68 percent of the people voted against Bob Ryan,” Van Akkeren said.

Rounding out the primary field were Roberta Filicky-Peneski, a retired financial executive, with 1,595 votes; Harbor Centre Business Improvement District Manager Randy Schwoerer (1,507); Ald. Jean Kittelson (480); Erik G. Neave, a musician with the band Cedarwell (289); Mark Hermann, an employee at Brisco County Wood Grill (103) and 18-year-old South High School senior Asher Heimermann (38). There also were 14 write-in votes.

Ryan, 48, a self-described alcoholic who has acknowledged his drinking problems, focused his campaign on the job he has done in the mayor’s office, touting new development and business, and promised voters that his “personal issues” would ever get in the way of his doing his job as mayor.

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