Madison Alder Samba Baldeh appears poised to make the jump from Madison City Council to become the first Muslim elected to the state Legislature, according to preliminary results from Tuesday's primary.
Baldeh, 48, an IT project engineer at American Family Insurance, beat out fellow Madison Alder Lindsay Lemmer, attorney Walter Stewart and economic developer Jason Vangalis with nearly 50% of votes for the 48th Assembly District. Election results are considered preliminary until officially canvassed.
As an African immigrant, Baldeh campaigned with a focus on adding diversity to the state Legislature in order to tackle hard issues, such as racial and economic injustice.
“I think what resonated with voters was how clear our message was,” Baldeh said. “We were very clear on what we will do, but we also were very clear on what our experience has been, as well as what the challenges are and how we intend to deal with them.”
Lemmer congratulated Baldeh on his campaign and wished him the best as he looks to enter a state Assembly that is about two-thirds Republican.
"I look forward to continuing to serve the people of the third district as their alder," Lemmer said. "Together, we can continue to move this city, our state, and our nation forward, toward a more just, inclusive, and fair society."
Baldeh will go on to face Republican Samuel Anderson in November, but the district also leans strongly Democrat — Clinton won 70% in 2016.
The winner will serve a two-year term in the Assembly, taking over for Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, who has represented the 48th Assembly District since 2013. Sargent resigned from her seat to run on Tuesday for the 16th Senate District seat. Sargent won her bid for the 16th Senate District Tuesday.
Baldeh moved to Madison from Gambia two decades ago to pursue an education. He is in his third term as an alder representing Madison's 17th District.
Assembly District 48 covers Madison’s North and East sides as well as the village of Maple Bluff.
Learn about the candidates running in today's partisan primary
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