Wisconsin’s Political Outlook: Primary Results

The primary election seemed to sneak up on voters after being overshadowed by the June recalls and GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s selection of Wisconsin-native U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Despite these distractions, the Government Accountability Board projected 20% of the state turned out to vote, driven by the competitive federal races.

U.S. Senate

As projected by recent polls, former Gov. Tommy Thompson bested his challengers in the primary race to fill retiring Sen. Herb Kohl’s seat.
Thompson will face current U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin in the general. This was the first time since 1998 Thompson was on a ballot.


Baldwin’s bid for the Senate means her District 2 Congressional seat is up for grabs. Two Wisconsin Assembly members faced off in the Democratic primary, Mark Pocan and Kelda Helen Roys.

Pocan easily defeated Roys. With votes still being counted late Tuesday, Pocan had about 72% of the vote compared to 22% for Roys. Also running were Matt Silverman and Dennis Hall.

Wisconsin Assembly & Senate

In the state legislature, several incumbents faced primary challengers, thanks in part to redistricting. All incumbent Republican legislators won primary challenges while a few Democratic incumbents fell.

Democratic incumbents Reps. Jason Fields and Peggy Krusick lost to challengers Mandela Barnes and Dan Riemer respectively.

One of the more surprising results of the evening was the victory of Milwaukee County Supervisor Nikiya Harris, who defeated four competitors, including state Rep. Elizabeth Coggs, to win the District 6 Senate Democratic primary for the seat of the retiring Sen. Spencer Coggs.

This is not the last primary this year, as there is a battle heating up over the seat being vacated by state Sen. Rich Zipperer, who resigned in order to become Gov. Walker’s deputy chief of staff.

Freshmen Reps. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) and Paul Farrow (R-Village of Pewaukee) have both announced plans to run for Senate. Kapenga and Farrow are running for reelection in their respective Assembly districts. If one of them wins the senate seat, another special election would have to be held in early 2013 to fill the winner’s assembly seat.

This blog will be updated as additional results become available.