November 1, 2014

Coggs loss closes legislative dynasty

When the next session of the Wisconsin legislature is sworn in next year, there will no members of Milwaukee’s Coggs family serving there for the first time in more than 40 years. Assembly Democrat Elizabeth Coggs will leave the Capitol, after being defeated Tuesday in her bid for the state Senate. She ran for the Senate seat given up by her cousin Spencer Coggs, but finished second in a five-way Democratic Senate primary.

While Elizabeth Coggs was elected to the Assembly just two years ago, Spencer Coggs is leaving after a 29-year legislative career which included nine years in the Senate and two decades in the Assembly. For part of that time, he served along with Elizabeth’s mother, Marcia Coggs, who was elected to the Assembly in 1977 and served until 1993. In addition, Elizabeth Coggs’ father Isaac was the first African-American to serve in the legislature, from 1953 to 1964.

Elizabeth Coggs received 33 percent of the Senate primary vote, to 45 percent for Nikiya Harris – who in essence won the seat, since there’s no Republican opposition in November. Spencer Coggs narrowly defeated fellow Milwaukee Democrat, Senator Tim Carpenter, in April’s election for Milwaukee City Treasurer.