There is another race to see who will replace one of Wisconsin’s most powerful politicians. 

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele on Wednesday shocked the political scene in the state by announcing that he will not run for reelection next year. 

“Now – alongside my three incredibly dynamic daughters and a new marriage with a strong woman who brings life and love into every room she walks into – it is time to write our next chapter together,” Abele said in a statement.

Abele has served as Milwaukee County’s top man since 2011, when he took over for Scott Walker after Walker was elected governor. Abele won elections in 2012 and 2016. 

“I ran for County Executive because I care about the community I live in, because I believe in public service and because I wanted to improve the quality of life for everyone in Milwaukee County. And I have been humbled that you elected me to serve you for the past nine years,” Abele said. 

But he added that it is now time to pass the torch. To whom, no one knows. 

“I will be ready and willing to work with whoever is lucky enough to take on this job next, a person that is sure to have fresh eyes, a different perspective and the passion and energy it will take to serve our residents to the level they deserve,” Abele said in his statement. 

But he is not endorsing anyone, at least not yet.

There are already a number of Democratic lawmakers and Democratic leaders in and around Milwaukee who are talking about running. 

State Sen. Chris Larson, who lost to Abele in 2016, is reportedly interested in a run. So are Milwaukee state Rep. David Crowley, Milwaukee Alderman Cavalier Johnson, Glendale Mayor Bryan Kennedy, Milwaukee County Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman, and Milwaukee County Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson. 

Candidates for county executive can start getting signatures to get on the ballot in December. Their campaign paperwork is due to election managers by January 7th. 

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