Voters return area legislators to Madison
Voters in the Northland turned out en masse to retain its legislature in Wisconsin.
Sen. Janet Bewley, D-Mason, fended off a challenge from Republican businessman James Bolen in Tuesday's election by carrying about 51 percent of the vote.
Bewley will serve her second term in the Wisconsin Senate.
Rep. Beth Meyers, D-Bayfield, defeated Republican challenger Jeff Fahl, a former mayor of Phillips, for the 74th District Assembly seat, and Rep. Romaine Quinn, R-Rice held off a challenge from Democrat Ali Holzman, carrying 62 percent of the vote for the 75th District Assembly. Rep. Nick Milroy, D-South Range, ran unopposed for the 74th District.
A steady stream of voters headed into the polls in Superior and Douglas County on Tuesday, where 65 percent of voters cast a ballot. In several rural communities in Douglas County, more than 80 percent of voters made it to the polls. According to the Milwaukee State Journal, about 59 percent of voters statewide turned out to make their opinion known in the midterm election.
Midterms have typically drawn around 50 percent or fewer voters to the polls in Wisconsin, according to data compiled by the Wisconsin Elections Commission dating back to 1950.
"I know people aren't very happy and his rhetoric. I think that did spur a lot of voters on," said Cheryl Senn, who cast her vote at Central Assembly of God in Superior.
Throughout much of the afternoon, the church's parking lot was packed with cars as voters moved in and out of the polling site.
For Senn, however, it was issues that concerned her as she cast her ballot Tuesday.
"It was basically the issues, keeping health care," she said. "I'm very concerned about that ... when you talk about Medicare and Social Security. I just got on Medicare so I want to make sure that gets preserved."
Locally, national issues took center stage as a motivating factor, although some state races, such as the governor's race between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Tony Evers, superintendent of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, were mentioned. Evers won that race by fewer than 31,00o votes of the more than 2.6 million cast.
Walker issued a statement Wednesday afternoon after calling Evers to concede the race.
After inquiring further about additional ballots in Milwaukee, Friends of Scott Walker determined that any change in the result would not be significant enough to determine the outcome of the election, despite its close margin and questions about how the city of Milwaukee executed its election night operations, according to the statement.
Larry Hicks said he voted a straight Democratic ticket after casting his ballot at the Salvation Army in Superior.
"I just think the country is going the wrong way with Republicans in office," Hicks said. "I'd like to see Democrats back in there ... I'm more of a union guy and Walker certainly isn't. Health care is in shambles. I think it's too expensive. The wall is too expensive, and I think it's wrong."
Pastor Jack Swonger cast his ballot in Bennett on Tuesday because of the chaos in Washington, D.C., and the inability of leaders to "play well together."
"I vote all the time," Swonger said, acknowledging that's usually during presidential, not midterm, elections. "I've never seen it this bad. This was nuts ... You have people that are getting angry with each other."
Swonger, who said he is a President Trump supporter, said he favored a change in leadership to check the power of the president.
"Everything's gone so far left and so far right," Swonger said. "I agree with (Trump's) policies, but I also know that one party can't have the legislature and the White House."
Bill McKay also cast his ballot at the Salvation Army. He said he's been voting Republican since former President Bill Clinton turned his back on veterans and that didn't change Tuesday.
He said the issues that were important to him Tuesday were making sure there are jobs available for people.
"Right now, our government is sitting good," McKay said. "We should not disturb it. We should not change things around — make things worse — by voting in people who maybe don't know or say they're going to change things just because."
In other statewide races:
• U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin will serve a second term after defeating Republican opponent and state Sen. Leah Vukmir.
• Democratic attorney general candidate Josh Kaul declared victory Wednesday morning in Madison after narrowly defeating the incumbent, Republican Brad Schimel.
• Democrat Doug La Follette, who has served as secretary of state since 1974, held onto his seat against a challenge from Republican Jay Schroeder.
• Republican Travis Hartwig conceded victory Wednesday morning to Democrat Sarah Godlewski in the state treasurer's race. The incumbent, Matt Adamczyk, decided not to run for re-election.