Thieme will stay involved, despite mayoral loss

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Published on: 2/25/2014

Common Council President Terry Thieme might have been eliminated in last week's mayoral primary, but moving forward he'll still be at the forefront of decisions in the City of Waukesha.

"Absolutely, I'll be involved," Thieme said on his aldermanic position. "I still have two more years for my seat."

But make no mistake, Thieme wanted to be the next Waukesha mayor.

"It's a little disappointing," Thieme said a day after finishing third and getting eliminated in the primary behind top vote-getter Shawn Reilly and incumbent Mayor Jeff Scrima. "But what can you say? The voters spoke. You have to honor that. I did get almost 1,200 votes. That's pretty good."

Thieme finished with 1,193 votes or 28 percent of the vote, just 5 percent less than Scrima.

He, like the distant fourth-place finisher, Mike Volpano, is now putting his support behind Reilly. Thieme, a former police officer in the city, said he thinks he and Reilly have similar philosophies.

"I think we both talked about the lack of leadership in the mayor's office," Thieme said. "I would hope Shawn has the same work ethic as I would, would be available during the budget time, attend those meetings and be part of the process. There's no reason to doubt that. It comes down to the integrity issue (in backing Shawn)."

Given that he's giving his support to Reilly, is he confident all of his supporters will now turn to Reilly to give him a boost in the general election over Scrima?

"I would encourage them to do that, but it has to be the right candidate for them," Thieme said.

According to the latest campaign finance report filed before the primary, Thieme received $5,599 in contributions ($1,625 of which during the last month and $3,974 during the first period). In the most recent period, he had two $500 contributions and a $300 contribution.

The "Terry Thieme for Mayor" campaign spent $4,139.96, according to the last finance report ($2,959.14 in the second period and $1,180.82 in the first period).

His campaign's most recent biggest expense was on mailing and postage and for banners and three placements of advertisements in the Waukesha Freeman.

Thieme was third in money received and money spent, but he has no complaints with his campaign team.

"When it came down to money, we were frugal in what we did," Thieme said. "We put in more than enough money in getting my message out. I know how much work we put into this, from my wife, my family and friends, so I'm not disappointed."

Although Thieme, who was the top vote-getter in three wards, including two in his district, did not advance to the April 1 general election, he said he feels his voice was heard during the primary.

"I got my message out," he said. "A lot of people asked what I would do different during the primary. Absolutely nothing. I worked during the day, campaigned on nights and on weekends from sunrise to sunset. There was no more to do. I knocked on doors. I tried to hit as many voters and in the end, the voters thought I was not the best person for the job. I accept that.

"I went into this wanting to make a difference. I'm a faithful man, so I see it as God has a different plan for me. I'm comfortable with that."

Thieme, a member of the Water Utility Commission and a strong supporter of the city's Great Lakes water application, thanks all the support his constituents and the residents throughout the city gave him in the primary. He even thanked the voters who didn't vote for him.

After a busy campaign that began last summer when he announced his intentions, Thieme is looking to unwind a bit.

This includes spending time with his 1-month-old granddaughter and getting caught up on family time.

"One thing I learned from being involved in aldermanic races is that it's nothing like a mayoral race," Thieme said. "It's more time, more energy, more money. But I'm glad I experienced it. It gave me a different perspective on things."

Would the 57-year-old consider running again in four years for the mayoral seat?

Thieme said he's happy with his current job as a card support coordinator at Kohl's Department Stores and is looking forward to "laying low" over the next few months.

"Am I ready to do it over? Not today," Thieme said. "But I never want to rule anything out. I never rule something else out. I have a lot to offer the city, so who knows what will happen in four years."