(This is an opinion piece from KCE Editor Kevin Mathewson)
David Bogdala was a born-and-raised Republican. From his time on the Republican Party of Kenosha County Board as its Sergeant at Arms, to portraits of Ronald Reagan in his home, he is a Republican through and through. He was also a big supporter of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. Walker is perhaps the most hated man by the Democrats in Wisconsin history.
Bogdala always had political ambitions. He ran for and was elected to the high-ranking position of Sergeant-at-Arms for the Republican Party of Kenosha County. In 2008, he decided to run for an open seat to the City Council. He faced off against a man named Brian Weyrauch, and although it was very close, Bogdala was elected. Soon-thereafter, he would resign from the Republican Party of Kenosha County Board. It’s near impossible to become elected in Kenosha as an on-the-record republican. Bogdala would never face another opponent, becoming elected 7 more times since (Including this April).
Bogdala was one of only a couple of Republicans on the City Council. He fought tooth and nail with the other Aldermen and the mayor. He championed many conservative measures like 0% tax increases, reducing spending, and streamlining city departments. He fought to add cops and fire-fighters to the budget. He voted against the street-car. Bogdala was set to run for Paul Ryan’s (R) congressional seat if he was elected vice president alongside Mitt Romney (R) in 2012. As you know, no opportunity would present itself. Bogdala could be seen in the newspapers battling with former mayor Keith Bosman (D) on a slew of different issues. Bosman and Bogdala were both elected in 2008. Bogdala successfully lead a “rebellion” of sorts against the Mayor’s committee appointments. The majority on the council voted them down. The Mayor had to start from scratch. This hadn’t happened in recent memory. It was a first and perhaps only “win” for Bogdala against the Democratic machine here in Kenosha. After a while, Bogdala learned that Republicans don’t run Kenosha – Democrats do. He started drifting more and more away from partisan issues. He was invited and attended a fundraiser at Care Net, an anti-abortion non-profit. When the prayer started at the beginning of the meeting, he realized what the organization was all about. He quickly exited the event. Although Bogdala is pro-life, he didn’t want anyone to see him and take note of his presence. It will be interesting to see how Bogdala votes on the upcoming resolution to condemn abortion.
In 2016, powerful democrat John Antaramian became mayor…again. This author was elected to the City Council for the second time in 2016 as well. This is when Bogdala seemed to be in a very rapid slide to the left. He voted with the mayor and the democratic Aldermen almost all of the time for the next 6 years. He befriended the democrats on the Council that he had before clashed with like labor-leader democrat Curt Wilson (D). This author and others wondered why? We would all soon realize why. Bogdala wanted to be the Council President. In Kenosha, being the Council President doesn’t include much authority, other than being a heart-beat away from being the mayor. The President’s vote has the same weight as any other Alderman’s vote. In 2020, Bogdala was able to convince a majority-democrat council to elect him as Council president. Why did Bogdala want this position? Bogdala has toyed around with the idea of running for mayor for years. It is believed he is thinking of running in 2024. Antaramian isn’t seeking re-election. His health is bad after a recent heart-attack and surgery and after his botching of the riots, is most-likely not re-electable.
Bogdala has also stopped quarreling with County Executive Jim Krueser (D). They started working together and almost seem like friends. Bogdala’s wife applied for a job and was hired by Krueser’s administration in 2018 and is now the 4th highest paid County employee, making about $123k per year.
In the upcoming elections, Bogdala told a local Republican asking for his endorsement that “I’m staying out of the races this year.” That didn’t stop him from strongly endorsing former Chairman of the Kenosha County Democratic Party John Franco. Franco is facing a tough re-election bid this year and asked Bogdala for help. Franco’s wife is still on the Kenosha County Democratic Board.
Political newcomer Jenn Bittner is running against Franco. She has been calling him out for voting against the sex offender initiative, which would have given neighborhoods a seat at the table on where sexual predators live. She is calling him out for doing nothing during the riots including refusing to meet for an emergency meeting to ask for reinforcements, and refusing to sign on to a letter asking for more police officers.
Why would Bodgala endorse a Democrat that did these things without even meeting his opponent?
So…. why does someone who tells his family and friends he is a Republican want people to think he’s a democrat? I think its because he wants to be Mayor in 2024. Bogdala is a caring father, husband, and family-man. Politically however, Bogdala is an opportunist. Someone who would ignore what they think is the right thing to do to further their political ambitions is dangerous. “Mayor Bogdala” wouldn’t be good for the City. It’s hard to trust someone whose opinion and values switch with the wind. In purple Kenosha County, that could make all the difference.
We reached out to Alderman Bogdala to ask him what his biggest accomplishments were as Council President. He did not wish to tell us.