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GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL ROUNDUP: Burke wins the Dem nomination for Governor

As voters were nominating her for governor, Mary Burke was in the Northwoods spelling out an agenda for northern Wisconsin.  She spent last night in Rhinelander, where she vowed not to change her campaign strategy after getting 83-percent of yesterday's Democratic primary vote over long-shot candidate Brett Hulsey.  The latest Marquette poll shows Burke in a dead heat with Republican Governor Scott Walker -- who was in central Wisconsin yesterday, kicking off the state's Farm Technology Days near Plover.  Walker talked about the economic impact of agriculture, and how it's a way of life instead of just a job.  At Rhinelander, Burke sounded an alarm about people leaving northern Wisconsin.  She said it's vital to keep more young folks in rural areas.  The former state commerce secretary and Trek Bicycle executive said its hard to support an aging population when the numbers of jobs fall.  She noted a five-percent drop in total jobs in northern Wisconsin from 2000-through-2012.  Burke also cited a need to reform education -- specifically the state aid formula which Burke says is hurting most rural schools, due to declining enrollments and the impact of vacation homes which make a school district appear wealthy on the surface.


Milwaukee's controversial sheriff will most likely spend another four years in office.  David Clarke got 52-percent of the vote yesterday over Milwaukee Police lieutenant Chris Moews, with almost 115-thousand votes cast.  Clarke has no Republican challenger in November, and only independent Angela Walker is on the ballot.  Clarke attracted national attention when he said residents should not rely on law enforcement to ward off criminals -- and they should learn how to use firearms to protect themselves.  It brought in campaign money from the National Rifle Association.  The left-leaning Greater Wisconsin Committee and a group headed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg later kicked in a total of almost 600-thousand dollars.  The N-R-A made a last-minute contribution of 30-thousand-dollars to Clarke -- who said the people spoke above the din of special interests and political parties.  He said support from conservative talk radio also helped.  Despite his conservative views, Clarke runs with the predominant Democratic Party in Milwaukee.  He was appointed as sheriff in 2002, and has been elected three times since.  Numerous primaries for sheriffs and other county offices were held throughout Wisconsin yesterday.  In Portage County, Mike Lucas won the Democratic bid for sheriff.  With no Republican running, Lucas is expected to replace John Charewitz, who's stepping down after 12 years in office.  He endorsed Kevin Sorenson for the post, but he finished second in the voting.  


Three Wisconsin legislative incumbents survived primary challenges yesterday. G-O-P Assembly Speaker Robin Vos had no problem defeating Bryn Biemeck 89-to-11 percent in their Racine County contest. Milwaukee Democrat JoCasta Zamarripa got 61-percent of the vote in her primary.  And Milwaukee Representative Leon Young had 63-percent over his challenger.  

A key state Senate race was virtually tied during the night.  Democrats Ernie Wittwer and Pat Bomhack were just two votes apart in a southwest Wisconsin primary with 76-hundred votes cast.  Wittwer, a former D-O-T official, had a slight two-vote lead over ex-Russ Feingold aide Bomhack.  The eventual winner will face Assembly Republican Howard Marklein in November for a Senate post in a moderate Richland Center region where Dale Schultz is retiring.  Democrats would need to gain that seat and one other this fall, in order to take back control of the Senate and split legislative power with an Assembly that's expected to stay Republican.  

Former Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan failed to make a political comeback, finishing third-and-last in a Democratic Senate primary.  Assembly Democrat Janis Ringhand won that contest with 40-percent of the vote, giving her a chance to replace the retiring Tim Cullen.  Another Assembly Democrat, Janet Bewley of Ashland, easily won a three-way primary for the Senate seat given up by veteran Bob Jauch of Poplar.  Former Senate Republican Van Wanggaard of Racine has a chance to win his old job back, after winning his primary with 71-percent of the vote.  And Tiffany Koehler of Slinger failed to become the first African-American woman ever to represent the G-O-P in the Legislature.  She got 28-percent of the vote, losing to Bob Gannon in a three-way primary.

 ___________________ Stop the presses.  A few hours after Glenn Grothman was declared the winner of the Sixth District U-S House primary, a more complete tally of the Sheboygan County votes made the race much tighter.  With 99-percent of the district's ballots counted, Grothman -- a state Senate Republican from Campbellsport -- had only a 215-vote lead over fellow Senator Joe Leibham with 46-thousand votes tallied.  Leibham refused to accept the A-P's declaration of a Grothman victory, saying too many wards in his home county of Sheboygan went uncounted.  His camp issued a statement around 2:30 this morning that Leibham will wait to pass judgment on the results until they're final. Assembly Republican Duey Strobel finished third in the four-way primary with 26-percent.  That's after the real estate developer spent 700-thousand dollars of his own money on the race.  Oshkosh retiree Tom Danow was a distant fourth. Grothman had not commented on the overnight development.  Earlier, he said the voters wanted "bold, conservative reforms."  The Republican winner faces Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris in November for the House seat given by up by 36-year G-O-P veteran Tom Petri of Fond du Lac.   ____________________

Four other Wisconsin congressional seats had primaries, and those incumbents were never in jeopardy.  Milwaukee House Democrat Gwen Moore got 71-percent of the vote over ex-state Senator and convicted felon Gary George.  Moore will now face Republican Dan Sebring, who won his primary with 80-percent of the vote.  Janesville Republican Paul Ryan got 94-percent against Madison protester Jeremy Ryan.  The House budget chair will face Kenosha Democrat Rob Zerban in November for the second time in a row. Zerban beat out the Sikh Temple's Amar Kaleka 78-to-22-percent.  Incumbent Wausau Republican Sean Duffy easily won a primary challenge from Don Raihala.  Duffy will face Ashland City Council member Kelly Westlund in November.  She won her primary with 78-percent of the vote.  And in western Wisconsin, Tony Kurtz got 57-percent in a three-way G-O-P primary for the right to face veteran Democrat Ron Kind in November. _____________________

Wisconsin voters have chosen Susan Happ to run against Waukesha prosecutor Brad Schimel for state attorney general.  Happ, the Jefferson County district attorney, received 52-percent of over 275-thousand votes in a three-way Democratic primary yesterday.  Milwaukee state Representative Jon Richards finished a distant second at 33-percent.  Dane County D-A Ismael Ozanne was third with 15-percent.  November's winner replaces Republican J-B Van Hollen, who's stepping down after eight years as the state's "top cop." Happ says the primary results show that Wisconsin wants a "different kind of attorney general."  She said people are sick of divisiveness and partisan politics.  Schimel, who has almost four times the campaign money as Happ, says voters would have a clear choice -- and he'll highlight his 24 years of what he calls "an aggressive front-line prosecutor."  _____________________ In other state contests, five-of-every-six Democratic voters chose Mary Burke to run for governor against Scott Walker.  Assembly Democrat Brett Hulsey lost with 17-percent of the vote.  Racine Senator John Lehman will be Burke's running mate, with a ten-point victory over Mary Jo Walters for lieutenant governor.  Assembly Republican Garey Bies got only one-of-every-three votes against Julian Bradley for secretary of state.  Bradley will run against three-decade incumbent Doug La Follette for a job that's been dramatically scaled back by lawmakers in recent years.  The same can be said for state treasurer, where Republican Matt Adamczyk and Democrat David Sartori won their primaries.  _______________________ Governor Scott Walker is honoring the 12-year-old victim of the Slender Man stabbings in Waukesha.  The Republican Walker has proclaimed today as "Purple Hearts for Healing Day."  He has asked Wisconsinites to wear something purple, the girl's favorite color.  Thousands of people from throughout the world have sent purple hearts to the youngster.  She continues to recover at home, and Walker wishes her the best for that.  The governor said he chose the 13th of the month for his proclamation because most members of her family were born on the 13th day of different months.   The unnamed victim was stabbed 19 times in late May, allegedly by two of her middle school classmates in apparent allegiance to the fictional online horror character Slender Man.  Twelve-year-old Morgan Geyser has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial, and she's getting psychological treatment for at least the next year.  Twelve-year-old Anissa Weier faces a preliminary hearing next month on an adult felony charge of attempted homicide. _________________________

Wisconsin school referendums had mixed results.  Voters in the Oconto Falls School District said yes to borrowing three-point-four million dollars for various projects.  They'll include an outdoor track, roof repairs, more computer access, and more funding for teachers.  Seventy-one percent of Brown Deer school voters agreed to re-finance almost four-million dollars of previous obligations.  A four-million-dollar referendum was defeated in the Blackhawk Technical College district near Janesville, which would have exceed the state-mandated taxing limit to keep current programs going.  That vote was 57-to-43-percent against.  In southwest Wisconsin, voters in the North Crawford School District voted 505-to-199 against a one-point-three million dollar package.  It would have included a new school wellness center, classroom renovations, and related equipment.  A referendum to exceed the state revenue caps was approved in Green Lake, while a similar one was rejected in Princeton.