Hamilton Tidbits Provides Wrap-up of Wisconsin Primary 2010

The Sept. 15 issue of Hamilton Political Tidbits provides results of the primaries across the state as well as other political and policy news, including a discussion of several Wisconsin Supreme Court cases to be decided this term.

Voters in Wisconsin went to the polls yesterday in record numbers – an estimated 28 percent – to select statewide and legislative candidates for the November general election. Many of the state legislative races were open seats, with 23 legislators – three senators and 20 representatives – either retiring or seeking higher offices.

The most closely watched race was the Republican gubernatorial primary election, where Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker defeated former Congressman and current home builder Mark Neumann. Walker now faces the Democratic candidate, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the general election.
In the lieutenant governor race, Assemblyman Democrat Tom Nelson will join Barrett on the ticket, while former TV news anchor Rebecca Kleefisch will join Walker on the Republican side.

A hotly contested race on the Democratic side was for the 7th Senate District in Milwaukee, where Milwaukee County Supervisor Chris Larson unseated Jeff Plale. A number of outside groups spent large amounts of money seeking to unseat Sen. Plale in favor of the more liberal Larson. Those groups blamed Plale for the demise of the climate change bill in the past legislative session.

Another notable race was for the seat held by longtime State Rep. Spencer Black (D-Madison), who was first elected in 1984. Brett Hulsey was victorious, defeating four other candidates, including Dane County Supervisor Diane Hesselbein. Because the district is solidly Democratic, Hulsey is all but certain to prevail in the general election.

At the federal level, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Ron Johnson, easily defeated his opponent, Watertown businessman David Westlake. Johnson will face Sen. Russ Feingold, who has held the seat since 1992.

In the 7th Congressional District, Republican Sean Duffy easily defeated his opponent, Dan Mielke, and will face State Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) in the general election to fill the vacant seat of longtime Congressman, Dave Obey. Another closely watched primary was in the 8th Congressional District, where Reid Ribble defeated his two opponents – Terri McCormick and State Rep. Roger Roth (R-Appleton). Reid faces Congressman Steven Kagen (D), who is considered vulnerable by many pundits.

While politics dominates the news, the Wisconsin Supreme Court began its 2010-11 term. Tidbits notes a few cases the Court will decide this year.