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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

 11:01 PM 

McGee wins primary while in jail, to face Coggs

MILWAUKEE -- Despite being jailed on a litany of federal and state charges alleging bribery, extortion, a beating conspiracy, and election law violations, Milwaukee Ald. Michael McGee Jr. has come out on top in a nine-way primary.

With 96 percent of the vote in, McGee managed to capture 32 percent of the vote despite running his campaign from jail. According to unofficial returns, Milele Coggs, niece of state Sen. Spencer Coggs, was in second place with 23 percent of the vote and will advance to the April 1 general election.

Trailing Coggs was former Ald. Fred Gordon, with 17 percent, and ViAnna Jordan, with 11 percent.

Coggs said her life-long residence and community work accounted for her support.

"I was born and raised in the 6th District and have done a lot of work within the district," Coggs said.

But Coggs said the win didn't come easy.

"I earned those votes," Coggs said. "I knocked on thousands of doors in the blistering cold weather and spoke with the residents and the voters; they obviously liked what they were hearing."

Coggs said she's confident she can win the general election. She said her campaign was never about running against McGee but for the future of the district, which doesn't have physical representation with McGee in jail. He faces a trial later this spring.

Jordan, who led an unsuccessful recall bid against McGee last year, said people do not want an alderman who is in jail and that the results look "suspicious."

"This is not credible; this is a mockery," Jordan said. "Don't ever believe the people here want to dibble dabble in this. Nobody wants a shakedown artist for their alderman."

Jordan did not specify any incidents of fraud.

Several of the charges against McGee allege violations in his defense of the recall attempt.

McGee's campaign could not be reached for comment, and Gordon did not immediately return a call.

-- By David Wise

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