MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett cruised to victory in his re-election bid Tuesday, easily winning another four-year term by turning back challenger Edward McDonald.
Unofficial returns showed the Democratic mayor with about 70 percent of the vote, compared with about 30 percent for McDonald.
Barrett's win wasn't surprising, given his strong cash advantage. The latest campaign finance filings showed Barrett had nearly $436,000 cash on hand compared with just $424 for McDonald.
Barrett also had statewide name recognition. He ran for governor in 2010 and lost to the eventual winner, Gov. Scott Walker, by 5 percentage points. He also served in Congress and has been mayor of Milwaukee for eight years.
McDonald, a University of Wisconsin Extension faculty member and longtime community activist, wasn't nearly as well-known.
Messages left with both campaigns late Tuesday were not immediately returned.
Barrett was re-elected despite announcing last week that he plans to run against Walker in a recall election in the next few months. For him to earn a rematch of the 2010 race, he will have to win a likely Democratic primary next month. Three other Democrats have said they're running — former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Secretary of State Doug La Follette and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout.
The Democratic primary would be May 8, and the winner would face Walker June 5.
Barrett was first elected mayor in 2004 with 54 percent of the vote after defeating incumbent Marvin Pratt. Four years later, he easily won re-election with a whopping 79 percent of the vote.
His political career began in 1984 when he was elected to the state Assembly. He stayed for five years before being elected in 1989 to the state Senate, where he remained until he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992.
Barrett won and remained in Congress for 10 years before returning to Wisconsin to run for governor in 2002. He lost to Jim Doyle in the Democratic primary.
Barrett ran for governor a second time two years ago.