Good morning from New Jersey! I'm sort of on vacation, so here is a quick response to the election results last night.
Scott Walker wins GOP nomination 59-39, a margin of victory that I heard predicted by several politicos in the weeks running up to the election. Neumann says he'll send his book to both Barrett and Walker, as if either of them asked. Nevertheless, Walker emerges from the race weakened financially, with about half the amount of cash on hand of his Democratic opponent. The primary didn't turn out to be quite the bloodbath Democrats hoped it would be, but it certainly left Walker significantly poorer and some Neumann voters with hurt feelings.
Rebecca Kleefisch easily beats Brett Davis for the GOP Lt. Gov nomination. Although the former TV news reporter finished far behind Davis among GOP convention voters in May, her friends in the right-wing talk radio circuit, including host Charlie Sykes, whom she once worked for, rallied her crucial support.
Tom Nelson blows away competition in Dem Lt. Gov primary. Wow. Several months ago there was an assumption in some quarters that Nelson was Barrett's preferred candidate, and that the party would covertly work to make sure he prevailed. Because nobody (justifiably) pays attention to the LG race, there was little speculation about the results, and the speculation that occurred was usually wildly off-base. The myth that was most defiantly rejected last night was the myth of Henry Sanders' viability. As recently as a couple nights ago a top liberal politico was telling me he hoped Sanders would pull through. The Waunakee businessman finished with half (9%) the votes of James Schneider, the nobody from nowheresville that somebody apparently voted for. Coggs disappointed but he at least turned out his base in Milwaukee.
Brett Hulsey easily wins 77th Assembly district Democratic primary. Again, many people thought Hesselbein had a chance in this one. Wrong. The support from the AFT, which apparently turned out some student wards heavily for Hesselbein, the support of most of the Dane County board's progressives, including County Board President Scott McDonell, could not overcome the name recognition and popularity Hulsey has developed over his years on the board. As Lukas Diaz discusses, Hulsey's county board seat occupies a much larger portion of the 77th district than Hesselbein's Middleton district. In a proxy war between Kathleen Falk and Scott McDonell, Falk wins. What was not surprising was the distant finishes of the other three candidates.
Reid Ribble easily defeats Roger Roth and Teri McCormick for 8th Congressional District GOP nomination. He will challenge vulnerable incumbent Steve Kagen in November. As I have been speculating recently, McCormick's campaign would have only done worse had the race last another day -- the outside money resulted in a humiliating third place finish for the former state rep. Roger Roth showed promise, but could not overcome the fund-raising advantages and perhaps the business appeal Ribble brought to the race. Of note is the $30,000 national roofing interests (Ribble was the former president of the national organization) poured into the race. There's much more where that came from for the general election.
Chris Larson beats State Sen. Jeff Plale in South Milwaukee primary. Benefitting from money and support from Madisonians, including Rep. Spencer Black, who were infuriated with Plale for derailing the Clean Energy Jobs Act, the liberal County Board Supervisor beat the incumbent handily. He was also likely helped by conservative Democrats voting in the GOP primary for Scott Walker, instead of in the Dem primary for Plale. This is contrary to the prediction the Playground Supervisor made -- that Walker would be hurt by conservatives opting to vote in the Dem primary for Plale. Voters always go for the bigger office!
Frank Lasee wins GOP nomination for Door County Senate seat being vacated by cousin Alan Lasee. If Frank didn't have the same last name as the guy leaving the seat after more than three decades, this would be great news for the Democrats. Frank is the quintessential know-nothing neanderthal, famous for proposing guns for teachers in the wake of a school shooting, as well as for proposing to kill the UW law school. Granted, this shouldn't be the year to be running as legacy politician. So the name-association might not work as well as he might otherwise hope. The lunacy, on the other hand, just might.
Last and probably least, Chad Lee is the candidate who wins the privilege of losing to Tammy Baldwin this November. Lee edged out Peter Theron 53-47 percent. This would be a good opportunity for me to apologize to Chad Lee for misstating his age in a recent article I did on the race. He is 27-years-old.
Plale was the only legislative incumbent who lost in the primary. Many others were targeted, but they all prevailed, including Racine Rep. Bob Turner, who beat Jim Dematthew by an overwhelming margin. Some speculate that Turner's victory means a better chance of area Sen. Jim Lehman retaining his seat, since Turner's support among the heavily black population in Racine will mean more Democratic turnout in November.