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Eight Madison Common Council incumbents face challengers in spring 2013 election

Madison's Common Council is about to get a makeover. How extreme depends on how well voters think eight incumbents are doing.

Only seven incumbents - Mike Verveer, Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, Steve King, Chris Schmidt, Anita Weier, Mark Clear and Scott Resnick - on the 20-member council are running unopposed on April 2. All of the seats are two-year terms.

Eight incumbents face challenges. Philip Sigurslid is taking on first-term incumbent Lisa Subeck; Barbara Davis is challenging Lauren Cnare, an alder since 2005; Scott Thornton challenges Marsha Rummel, who has served since 2007; Ricardo Cruz is challenging Paul Skidmore, a councilman since 2005; Zach Madden is challenging Sue Ellingson, who is finishing her first term; John Strasser is taking on Tim Bruer, the council's longest-serving member, first elected in 1985; Spencer White is taking on Joe Clausius, an alder since 2007; and first-term alder Matt Phair is being challenged by Kevin Wymore.

In addition, incumbent Larry Palm (who was redistricted) is running in a new district against Leslie Peterson for the seat now held by Satya Rhodes-Conway.

Rhodes-Conway says toppling an incumbent is no easy task.

"It does happen, but it's not common," she says. "I haven't analyzed all the races in depth, and I don't do predictions, but my sense is you're going see some change but not a whole lot."

There are two open seats at play. David Ahrens and Hawk Sullivan are vying for Palm's old seat on the east side. Bryan Post and Ledell Zellers battle for Bridget Maniaci's seat representing parts of downtown and the near east side.

But some seats haven't attracted much interest. In addition to the incumbents running unopposed, two open seats have only one candidate. Denise DeMarb is the lone contender for the southeast seat now held by Jill Johnson, who is stepping down. And Maurice Cheeks is running unopposed for the west-side seat now held by Brian Solomon, who was redistricted.

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