Abele won’t run again for county exec

By: - October 17, 2019 7:31 am
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele raises a pint at South Shore Terrace to kick off the open season. (April 2019 via county Facebook)

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele announced on Wednesday that he will not run for re-election. 

“I have approached public service just as I have approached every venture I take on – giving it my all every day, all day, leaving everything on the field. But I also believe public service is about passing the torch when we have done our best to do what you have elected us to do,” Abele said in a statement. 

Abele, who had no opponent yet in the April 7, 2020 election, did not say what made him decide to step away from the county executive’s job after nine years.

“Chris Abele has never been your standard politician and has always been unpredictable,” said Bruce Murphy, editor of Urban Milwaukee. “And his sudden decision not to run is true to form. He’s always struck me as someone who is restless and looking for the next phase of his life. I guess we’ll find out eventually what that might be.”

Urban Milwaukee’s report on Abele’s decision to step down noted:

Abele, 52, is a high-profile philanthropist and recently married Jennifer Gonda and his statement references that, noting that public service, “required significant sacrifice, which I was honored and humbled to take on. 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 recently found himself immersed in controversy for razing a historic mansion in Shorewood and building a new home to replace it. It seemed a surprise and not the sort of controversy someone running for office would want to generate.

“This announcement does not mean I am slowing down,” Abele said. “We have more to do, and we will do everything we can to walk out the door leaving Milwaukee County and its residents in a stronger place than it has ever been.” 


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Ruth Conniff
Ruth Conniff

Ruth Conniff is Editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner. She formerly served as Editor-in-chief of The Progressive Magazine where she worked for many years from both Madison and Washington, DC. Shortly after Donald Trump took office she moved with her family to Oaxaca, Mexico, and covered U.S./Mexico relations, the migrant caravan, and Mexico’s efforts to grapple with Trump. Conniff is a frequent guest on MSNBC and has appeared on Good Morning America, Democracy Now!, Wisconsin Public Radio, CNN, Fox News and many other radio and television outlets. She has also written for The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. She graduated from Yale University in 1990, where she ran track and edited the campus magazine The New Journal. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and three daughters.