ONALASKA, Wisconsin (WXOW)—There are 11 candidates on the La Crosse mayoral primary ballot. With such a large field of candidates, emerging as one of the top-two vote getters to advance to the general election is a challenge.
Onalaska Mayor Joe Chilsen was elected in April of 2012, and though he did not have to compete in a primary, he says the primary can work in a candidate's favor by generating excitement and increasing voter turnout. To do that, Chilsen says candidates need to keep their message focused and positive.
"Your really have to have a message and you have to drive that message, and you have to work the assets you bring to the job," Chilsen said. "And, connect the dots, get people out working for you, and I think, especially in a mayor's race, you have to stay positive."
Chilsen says he thinks having so many candidates will increase voter turnout in the primary. And, he says he is following the race because he works closely with the La Crosse Mayor.
"All the local mayors and village presidents, we get together regularly and we sit on several boards together," Chilsen said. "So, we have to work with one another. So I just hope whoever wins the election is open to sitting down and talking, from a regional standpoint."
The primary race is February 19 and the two candidates will face-off on April 2.
8 of the 11 mayoral candidates are met Monday for a debate in La Crosse. WXOW's Pete Zervakis will have more on what happened tonight on the 6pm and 10pm Reports and on wxow.com
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