Evers upsets Walker in governor race

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By Correne Martin

Wisconsinites woke up to a new direction of leadership this morning (Wednesday, Nov. 7), as Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Tony Evers ousted Republican incumbent Scott Walker in the what media outlets are saying is the tightest gubernatorial race in 50 years. Though, Walker had yet to concede at press time. Reports said he claims thousands of ballots in the Milwaukee area were damaged and may have skewed the count.

Walker was seeking a third term as governor, but Evers looks to have halted that effort with a margin of victory of 1.15 percent. The race wasn’t officially called until 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, when almost all precincts had been reported, including about 50,000 ballots that came in from the city of Milwaukee. 

Evers’ win also means his running mate Mandela Barnes will be Wisconsin’s first African-American lieutenant governor. 

The Wisconsin State Journal reported that unofficial results showed Evers beating Walker by about 30,000 votes out of more than 2.6 million votes cast. “State law only permits recounts for losing candidates who are within 1 percentage point,” though that would be at Walker’s expense. The state would have automatically announced a recount if the margin of victory was less than .25 percent. 

According to the Associated Press, the numbers panned out with Evers earning 1,324,648 votes, and Walker amassing 1,293,799 votes.

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Late results seemed a trend statewide, according to news reports, since an extraordinary number of absentee ballots, coupled with high voter turnout, made for long work counting ballots on election night.

Crawford County Clerk Janet Geisler predicted this possibility  to the Courier Press last week. In fact, the clerk’s office reported, the county turned out 79.3 percent of registered voters.

Local voters generally agreed with how the state leaned as a whole. Crawford County gave Evers and Barnes 3,354 votes, and the Walker/Rebecca Kleefisch ticket 3,117 votes. 

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The other race that had county residents following closely was that for the state Assembly District 96. With Republican farmer Lee Nerison retiring, two fellow farmers opposed one another for the seat. Also a Republican, Loren Oldenburg won out with a 52 percent edge over challenging Democrat Paul Buhr. Statewide, Oldenburg received 12,316 votes, and Buhr had 11,545.

Crawford County also narrowly favored Oldenburg, with 3,292 votes over Buhr, who received 3,266, unofficially—a difference of 26 votes.

* * *

In Tuesday’s other state races, by the end of election night in Wisconsin, it appeared being a Democrat was the right attribute to win in this mid-term election.

For Attorney General, incumbent Brad Schimel, a Republican, was unseated by Democrat Josh Kaul. Results showed Kaul with a lead of 20,869 Wednesday morning, as Kaul was expected to declare victory at a 9 a.m. press conference, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. This race, like the one for governor, is reported to have been affected by the late city of Milwaukee ballots.

Crawford County agreed with the state in this race as well. Some 3,292 ballots were cast for Kaul and 3,082 for Schimel.

Secretary of State Doug La Follette, a Democrat, regained his position. He will take an eighth term in office, thanks to yesterday’s win over Republican Jay Schroeder. La Follette received 52 percent of the vote Tuesday night.

County numbers coincided for this race, as voters chose La Follette as well, giving him 3,567 votes, compared to 2,925 for Schroeder.

For the Treasurer position, two newcomers faced off and it was again a Democrat who ended up in the victory column. Sarah Godlewski earned the seat over Travis Hartwig. She will replace outgoing Treasurer Matt Adamcyzk.

Godlewski also won in Crawford County, as voters awarded her 3,368 tallies and Hartwig 2,935.

Fellow Democrat incumbent Tammy Baldwin won her contentious race for U.S. Senate against challenger, Republican Leah Vukmir. Baldwin netted 1,459,873 votes, or 55 percent of the vote, over Vukmir, who had 1,175,370.

Baldwin also topped Vukmir in the county, earning 3,852 ballots, while Vukmir finished with 2,703. 

Lastly, moderate Democrat Ron Kind emerged from his race in Congressional District 3, over challenger Steve Toft. He will take his 12th term in office, having served since 1997. Kind garnered almost 60 percent of the vote statewide, collecting 187,615 ballots in his favor, over Toft’s 126,897.

The most overwhelming difference in a county race came for Kind’s seat. Some 4,244 voters entrusted him with the position once again. In contrast, Toft received 2,322 votes.

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In unopposed local races, Crawford County Sheriff Dale McCullick, Coroner Joe Morovits and Clerk of Court Donna Steiner were reelected with majority votes.

One referendum was on the Scott Township ballots Tuesday. Voters predominantly voted in favor, with 146 “yes” votes, compared to 63 “no” votes. 

All state and county election results are unofficial until boards of canvassers meet in the coming week. Complete tallies from each municipality in the county will be published in an upcoming issue of the Courier Press.

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