Madison's 56th Mayor 2003 - present
Paul Soglin was making one more comeback try in the spring of 2003. He had been mayor in the
1970s, stepped down, and came back for more in 1989 before he decided to step down a second
time some eight years later. Becoming disenchanted by the direction of city government in the
early 2000s, Soglin threw his hat in the ring once again.
A young environmentalist named Dave Cieslewicz decided to give it a try too, and both he and
Soglin made it through a hot and heavy primary in February 2003. The campaign between the two
was for the most part civil. Both newspapers endorsed Soglin, as did much of Madison's
business community and many of its more veteran local politicians. Soglin, after all, had been
a popular mayor and one with a reputation for getting things done.
The voters, however, chose Cieslewicz by a 29,717 to 28,528 margin, in what was viewed as an
upset by a candidate who had little government experience.