Wisconsin votes for Obama, Baldwin, Congressional incumbents and GOP legislatureWisconsin News
-- Democrat Barack Obama became the third president in a row to win a second term – and Wisconsin continued its 28-year string of sending Democrats to the White House.
Democrat Barack Obama became the third president in a row to win a second term – and Wisconsin continued its 28-year string of sending Democrats to the White House.
With about 91-percent of the statewide vote counted, Obama had a five-point lead over Republican Mitt Romney in the Badger State, 52-47 percent. Not even the presence of Janesville’s Congressman Paul Ryan on the ticket helped the GOP, as it failed to win Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes for the seventh straight time.
State Senate Republican Alberta Darling, who co-chaired the Romney campaign in Wisconsin, said her party was stunned. She said the GOP base was energized, and independents had been falling their way. But Darling said quote, “Maybe we were just not dealing with the real reality.” AP exit polls showed that Obama got his Wisconsin support from women, African-Americans, those under 40, college grads, and families making less than 50-thousand-dollars a year. Romney was preferred among Wisconsin men, voters in their 40’s and over-65, Christians, and families making over $100,000. Other exit polls showed that independents were about split.
Ryan still landed on his feet, however. He was easily re-elected to the First District House seat he’s held for 14 years.
Democrat Tammy Baldwin will become Wisconsin’s first female United States senator. With 91-percent of the vote counted, Baldwin – the House member from Madison – had 51-percent of the vote to 47-percent for former governor and U.S. health secretary Tommy Thompson. Baldwin replaces the retiring Herb Kohl, in a seat that’s been held by the Democrats since 1957 – and she helped Democrats nationally retain control of the Senate, while the GOP still runs the House. Baldwin said she had a long and hard-fought campaign, and it ended with quote, “a huge victory for Wisconsin’s middle class.” She’ll be the first openly gay senator in American history. But her sexual preference was never much of an open issue in the campaign. And Baldwin said quote, “I didn’t run to make history – I ran to make a difference … a difference in the lives of students worried about debt, and seniors worried about their retirement security.” Thompson was Wisconsin’s governor for 14 years, but had not held elected office since 2000. Thompson said he never campaigned harder than he did this time – and at 70, he said he would not run for office again – and he vowed not to “go away.” The Wisconsin race was among the most contentious Senate contests in the nation, and it attracted the country’s second-largest amount of special interest money. Total spending in the race was around $65-million-dollars at last word – and counting.
Wisconsin will continue to have five Republicans and three Democrats in the U.S. House. All seven of the state’s incumbents were re-elected yesterday. And State Assembly Democrat Mark Pocan easily won the Madison area House seat by a 2-to-1 margin over GOP businessman Chad Lee. Pocan replaces Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin, who held the House post for 14 years. Janesville Republican Paul Ryan will keep the House seat he’s held since 1999, after losing his bid for vice president. Democrat Rob Zerban, a former Kenosha County board member, got 43-percent of the vote against Ryan – and while he’s disappointed he didn’t win, he’s proud of what he accomplished. Two freshmen also had the state’s closest races, but both won their second terms by about 12-points each. Wausau area Republican Sean Duffy defeated former state Senate Democrat Pat Kreitlow and Sherwood Republican Reid Ribble out-polled Green Bay’s Jamie Wall. Ribble said he was “humbled and honored.” Duffy said he was “over-joyed” that voters thought enough of him to give him a second term. Milwaukee Democrat Gwen Moore had the biggest margin of victory among the state’s House incumbents. She got around 72-percent of the vote over Republican Dan Sebring.
Republicans have regained full control of state government, after re-capturing the Senate yesterday – but the extent of their power is still up in the air. The GOP will have at least a 17-16 majority, after Assembly Republican Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst easily won an open Senate seat given up by Democrat Jim Holperin. And they would have a three-vote majority if Fond du Lac Republican Rick Gudex can preserve a close victory over Oshkosh Democrat Jessica King – who won a recall election last year. Final totals showed Gudex winning by just 590 votes out 85,000 cast – and a recount can certainly be expected. If Gudex wins, Republicans will have enough of a majority to ram through pretty much what they want – just like they did in the last two years when the virtually took away the bargaining powers of public employee unions. But if King can hold on, Democrats will have a chance for compromise on at least some issues. That’s because moderate Republican Dale Schultz of Richland Center doesn’t always go with the party line. Meanwhile, the GOP came into yesterday’s elections with a 20-vote majority in the other house – and their control of the Assembly was never threatened. Democratic incumbent John Steinbrink of Kenosha County lost to GOP Representative Samantha Kerkman, after re-apportionment moved both into the same district.
Wisconsin’s largest school referendum was easily approved by the voters yesterday. A $59-million-dollar building proposal in the Middleton-Cross Plains district was approved 68-32 percent, with almost 14,800 people voting yes. A series of additions and renovations are planned for two middle schools in the district, which is located west of Madison. In a separate referendum, 64-percent approved almost $800,000 for equipment and operations. Almost 30 school districts had referendums. Many of them asked voters to exceed their state-mandated taxing limits. Of those, Marshfield asked for the most – two-and-a-half million dollars a year for four years. And that referendum appeared to be headed toward passage, with a 16-hundred-50 vote “yes” lead overnight.
President, Wisconsin (96% reporting): Barack Obama (Dem-Inc.) 52%, Mitt Romney (GOP) 47%
U.S. Senate, Wisconsin (96%): Tammy Baldwin (Dem) 51%, Tommy Thompson (GOP) 47%
1st District U.S. House (92%): Paul Ryan (GOP-Inc.) 56%, Rob Zerban (Dem) 43%
2nd District U.S. House (97%): Mark Pocan (Dem) 68%, Chad Lee (GOP) 32%
3rd District U.S. House (96%): Ron Kind (Dem-Inc.) 64%, Ray Boland (GOP) 36%
4th District U.S. House (92%): Gwen Moore (Dem-Inc.) 72%, Dan Sebring (GOP) 25%
5th District U.S. House (95%): Jim Sensenbrenner (GOP-Inc.) 68%, Dave Heaster (Dem) 32%
6th District U.S. House (96%): Tom Petri (GOP-Inc.) 63%, Joe Kallas (Dem) 37%
7th District U.S. House (99%): Sean Duffy (GOP-Inc.) 56%, Pat Kreitlow (Dem) 44%
8th District U.S. House (99%): Reid Ribble (GOP-Inc.) 56%, Jamie Wall (Dem) 44%