Winners & Losers: Spring Election Edition
1. Wisconsin Voters
More than 700,000 Wisconsinites voted in the Republican primary yesterday. Turnout was 75 percent higher than in 2008′s contest between John McCain and Mike Huckabee. This year’s election brought the highest turnout in a Wisconsin GOP primary since 1980.
2. Mitt Romney
Even before the Wisconsin primary, Mitt Romney had all but locked up the Republican nomination. Romney picked up another victory in the Badger State, defeating closest challenger Rick Santorum by roughly seven percentage points (44.1 to 37.9). Romney won big in GOP strongholds Waukesha and Ozaukee counties, with the most recent numbers showing Romney received 60 percent of the vote compared to less than 30 percent for Santorum. En route to victory, Romney picked up key endorsements from Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Ron Johnson, and showed support for Gov. Scott Walker, which could be key for Romney in the state, as exit polling data showed that more than 70 percent of Tuesday’s voters “approve strongly” of Walker. While Romney’s focus shifts toward defeating President Obama in November, don’t expect the presidential conversation to leave Wisconsin entirely, as both Ryan and Walker were mentioned as potential vice presidential candidates in a Romney campaign.
Common Council and County Board incumbents had a strong showing in the Spring Election. Of the contested elections in the Milwaukee County Board, incumbent supervisors Theodore Lipscomb, Sr., Marina Dimitrijevic, Jim Luigi Schmitt, Michael Mayo, Sr., Peggy Romo West, and Willie Johnson Jr. retained their positions, as did Common Council members Milele Coggs, Bob Donovan, Robert W. Puente, Michael J. Murphy, Joe Dudzik,Terry Witkowski, Tony Zielinski, and Common Council President Willie Hines. Scott Manske also retained his seat as Milwaukee County Comptroller, and Tom Barrett was re-elected as Milwaukee Mayor.
4. Spencer Coggs
Spencer Coggs defeated Tim Carpenter by less than 1,000 votes in the race for Milwaukee Treasurer. The race was the closest of all of Tuesday’s elections, with Coggs receiving 35,096 votes to Carpenter’s 34,293. Coggs becomes the city’s first new Treasurer in 36 years, succeeding recently retired nine-term treasurer Wayne Whittow.
5. Martin Matson
As expected, Martin Matson cruised to victory for the office of Milwaukee Comptroller, receiving more than 65 percent of the vote. Matson ran virtually unopposed after outgoing 18th District Supervisor Johnny Thomas suspended his campaign due to felony bribery charges. Thomas’ name remained on the ballot, however, and he received more than 18,000 votes.
Despite numerous incumbent victories, 12th District Alderman James Witkowiak was defeated by challenger Jose Perez. Witkowiak served the Milwaukee Common Council from 1992 to 2000, and was elected again in 2004. Perez, a commercial real estate developer with LRG Development, LLC., worked as an economic development specialist at the Department of City Development from 2006 – 2009, was a national field representative with the AFL-CIO from 2004 – 2005, and was executive director and lead organizer of the Milwaukee Inner City Congregations Allied for Hope from 2000 – 2004.
2. Circuit Court Judge Nelson Phillips
Judge Phillips was the only other incumbent to be defeated on Tuesday, as Administrative Law Judge Carolina Stark won the seat by more than ten percentage points. Stark campaigned on not being the “Walker appointee.” Phillips was appointed by Gov. Walker last October, following the retirement of Judge Francis T. Wasielewski.
3. Eyon Biddle, Sr.
Eyon Biddle Sr. lost in his bid to unseat Council President Willie Hines. Biddle retired from his seat as 10th District Supervisor to run for Common Council, but Hines was re-elected with more than 59 percent of the vote. Urban Underground program director David Bowen, who was endorsed by Biddle, will take over as 10th District Supervisor after defeating Radolph Matthews, Jr. by a wide margin.
4. Kathy Nickolaus
County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus ran into more problems sending election results from Waukesha. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “When her staff went to upload data delivered by local clerks in packs and cards into her computer program, it didn’t work.’We were shocked,’ she said, saying she and her staff had tested the program ‘many times.’ “ Nickolaus was under fire a year ago for high-profile mistakes in reporting results from the Kloppenburg/Prosser State Supreme Court election. NBC’s Chuck Todd tweeted ”Hey, WI, thanks for voting error in county-level reporting; good thing there aren’t any close contentious elections coming up in your state.” Nickolaus is up for re-election in November and will face Democratic challenger Jessie Reed.
5. Rick Santorum
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum lost primary races Maryland and the District of Colombia in addition to coming up short in Wisconsin. Santorum did, however, carry the majority of the state’s western and northern counties. Santorum now looks to the primary in his home state on April 24, where he is currently polling ahead of Mitt Romney, though some members of the Republican Party are urging Santorum to drop out of the race. Santorum would now need to win 74 percent of all remaining delegates to become the GOP nominee.