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home : news : elections May 26, 2016

5/10/2012 5:15:00 PM
Barrett wins Democratic Recall Primary; Falk wins Oneida County
Falk wins Oneida County, Barrett narrowly wins in Vilas County
Tom Barrett
Tom Barrett
Kathleen Falk
Kathleen Falk
The candidates may be the same, but Wisconsin isn't.

In the tumultuous 18 months since Republican Scott Walker defeated Democrat Tom Barrett in the 2010 governor's race, Wisconsin has been rocked with massive protests over workers' rights, recall elections over a contentious union rights law and a partisan divide that's strained families and friendships.

Now Walker and Barrett are headed for a rematch.

Milwaukee mayor Barrett easily won the Democratic Recall Primary Tuesday night, but found himself in a horse race in both Vilas and Oneida counties.

Walker defeated Barrett by 125,000 votes, or 5 percentage points, in 2010 as part of a GOP sweep into power that also saw them take the Legislature and knock off Democrat U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold.

Though Barrett won in Vilas County, it was by less than 100 votes, it was former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk who bucked the statewide trend and won the vote in Oneida County, 2,215-2,163.

In Vilas County, Barrett received 1,331 votes to Falk's 1,223.

Statewide, Barrett easily defeated Falk, the candidate who entered the race early and garnered the vast majority of union endorsements, including that of the Wisconsin Education Association Council.

Barrett captured 58 percent of the statewide vote with Falk garnering 34 percent.

The Democrat nominee will now face off with Gov. Scott Walker in the June 5 Recall General Election. Walker easily won Tuesday night against his opponent, Arthur Kohl-Riggs.

Statewide turnout for the recall primary election broke 30 percent, the highest for a partisan primary in Wisconsin in 60 years.

More than 1.3 million people cast ballots Tuesday, which equates to 30.2 percent of eligible voters statewide.

About 670,000 votes were cast for one of the Democratic candidates, with Barrett getting about 387,000 votes. About 646,000 votes were cast on the Republican side.

This is the first gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin history so there are no comparable primaries with which to compare it. However, the previous high turnout for a regular fall primary was 38.9 percent in 1952 based on records dating to 1948.

"Our view is Scott Walker has done a lot of damage to the state and Wisconsin can't be fixed as long as Scott Walker is governor," Barrett told The Associated Press.

Walker told his supporters Tuesday that the choice in the recall is to move ahead with his initiatives that he said are putting the state in a better position to succeed or revert to what he called the failed policies of Democrats.

"We're not going backwards; we're going forward." Walker said.

Vilas County voter turnout

According to figures provided by the office of Vilas County clerk, 45 percent of the county's eligible voters, 6,816 out of 15,303, cast votes in Tuesday's election.

Manitowish Waters had the highest percentage of voter turnout with 58 percent casting their ballots, followed by Winchester with 54 percent.

Arbor Vitae had the highest number of voters cast their ballots Tuesday - 1,093, or 49 percent of eligible voters, followed by St. Germain with 724 and Lincoln with 720.

In Oneida County, 10,295 people cast their ballots.

Portions of this story were provided through information posted by the Associated Press.

Joe VanDeLaarschot may be reached at jvandelaarschot@lakelandtimes.com.

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