Brenda Konkel

Brenda Konkel announced Wednesday that she will not be running for mayor. 

Citing issues getting her campaign off the ground, former Tenant Resource Center executive director and City Council member Brenda Konkel announced she is dropping out of the race for Madison mayor.

The TRC board of directors fired Konkel from her position in October.  

“It made it difficult to plan a campaign that was viable just because there was a lot of uncertainty about what was going to be happening next,” Konkel said Wednesday.

The TRC board rejected Konkel’s appeal of her termination and cited in a press release “a review of the organization’s financial position” for Konkel’s termination. Konkel has disputed all of the financial charges.

Konkel said dropping out of the race is a “huge disappointment.” She called the decision “soul crushing” in a Facebook post announcing her decision.

“I’d rather be running for mayor,” she said. “I couldn’t figure out how to make it work.”  

Konkel, a former alder for District 2, has been very involved in local politics and the Madison community. She is involved with the Social Justice Center, Occupy Madison and Progressive Dane. Konkel also documents much of the goings on in City Hall on her blog Forward Lookout.

“I care a lot of local government and have been paying attention for a long time,” Konkel said. “The city can do so much better, but we have lacked the political will and political leadership to do the things that we need to do.”

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Konkel said she hopes the bold campaign ideas and visions do not fade after the election is over.

When she announced her campaign in July, Konkel said she wanted to focus the city's priorities to addressing housing and equity. Additionally, Konkel said she wanted to implement a consultant’s recommendations for the Police Department and address the structure of Madison's local government ahead of redistricting following the 2020 U.S. census. 

The spring election is April 2 with a primary election scheduled for Feb. 19.

Candidates for mayor include:  

  • Incumbent Mayor Paul Soglin, first elected as mayor in 1973 and previously served from 1973–1979 and 1989–1997. He has held office since 2011 when he defeated former Mayor Dave Cieslewicz.  

  • Satya Rhodes Conway, managing director of the Mayors Innovation Project at the Center on Wisconsin Strategy and a former alder

  • Maurice Cheeks, District 10 alder and vice president of business development at MIOsoft Corporation

  • Raj Shukla, executive director of River Alliance of Wisconsin

  • Toriana Pettaway, the city of Madison’s racial equity coordinator

  • Nick Hart, local comedian

  • Eric Koth, software developer for Epic Systems

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Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.