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Friday, December 5, 2014

 8:15 AM 

Milwaukee County Judge Bradley opts against state Supreme Court bid

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Bradley announced this morning she will not run for the state Supreme Court next year.

"After much thought, I have decided not to enter the 2015 race," she said. "It is my privilege and honor to continue serving my community and protecting children in need, as a Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge.

So far, only Rock County Judge James Daley has announced plans to run against Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, who is up for another 10-year term.

The period to circulate nomination papers for the spring election began Monday. Candidates or the state Supreme Court have to turn in a minimum of 2,000 valid signatures by 5 p.m. Jan. 6.

-- By JR Ross

Monday, December 1, 2014

 11:36 AM 

GAB certifies election results, 54.58 percent turnout for guv's race

The GAB today certified results of the November elections, reporting 54.58 percent of the state's voting-age population turned out for the guv's race last month.

In all, 2.4 million people voted in the guv's race, which Gov. Scott Walker won with 1.26 million votes, or 52.26 percent, to 1.12 million votes, or 46.59 percent for Dem Mary Burke.

See the final results

-- By Staff

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

 10:40 AM 

Schimel announces AG transition team

The state Department of Justice today announced the members of Attorney General-elect Brad Schimel's transition team as he prepares to succeed retiring AG J.B. Van Hollen.

Andrew Cook, an attorney at Hamilton Consulting Group and an adviser to Schimel's campaign, will serve as deputy AG when Schimel takes office in January. Johnny Koremenos, Schimel's campaign manager, will serve as transition director.

Other members of the transition team include former Lt. Gov. Margaret Farrow, former PSC chair Ave Bie, former Milwaukee County Judge Michael Brennan, UW-Madison vice chancellor for legal affairs Ray Taffora, DOJ administrator Brian O’Keefe and former federal prosecutor Mark Cameli.

-- By Andy Szal

Thursday, November 13, 2014

 2:31 PM 

Cates won't seek recount

Dem Assembly candidate Dick Cates announced this afternoon he will not seek a recount after narrowly losing to Republican Todd Novak in the open 51st District.

Novak held a 59-vote lead over Cates on Election Night, according to unofficial returns. A WisPolitics.com check of county canvasses in the district found Novak's lead grew to 65 votes. Cates said the margin was too much to overcome.

"I have decided -- reluctantly -- not to ask for a recount," Cates said. "I will continue to serve my community as well as I can and will speak out strongly when our elected leaders vote against the best interests of our community."

Novak's win puts the Assembly GOP majority at 63-36 for the upcoming session.

-- By JR Ross

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

 11:21 AM 

Wright concedes 85th AD race

State Rep. Mandy Wright today conceded the race for the 85th Assembly District to GOP Rep.-elect Dave Heaton.

"After reviewing the final canvass results today, and speaking with both my family and my campaign team, I have decided that I will not seek a recount," said Wright, D-Wausau. "Though the vote was extremely close, I believe that our poll workers, the County Clerk’s staff, and all of those involved in making our democratic process successful, performed their duties seamlessly on November 4th."

-- By Andy Szal

Thursday, November 6, 2014

 2:56 PM 

Senate Republicans retain Fitzgerald as leader, elect Lazich president

Senate Republicans have selected their leadership slate for the upcoming session, retaining Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, as majority leader and elevating Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, to Senate president.

They also selected Rick Gudex, R-Fond du Lac, as president pro tem and Paul Farrow, R-Pewaukee, as assistant majority leader.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

 3:15 PM 

Shilling opens door to run for Senate minority leader

State Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, indicated today she is weighing a bid for minority leader.

“Middle class families need an effective voice and strong leadership to represent their values, strengthen our communities and move Wisconsin forward," Shilling said. "Everyone in our state deserves the opportunity to get ahead and we need to find new ways to promote economic growth and prosperity from the ground up. As we look to the future, I will continue to reach out and talk with my colleagues to determine how Senate Democrats can be most effective in advocating for Wisconsin families.”

Shilling did not mention Minority Leader Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, in her statement. But there have been questions on whether he would face a challenge after Dems lost a seat in yesterday's elections and will come back in a 19-14 majority next session.

Senate Dems will caucus Nov. 12.

-- By JR Ross

 10:57 AM 

Jacque, Steineke officially in for Assembly majority leader

State Reps. Andre Jacque, R-DePere, and Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, have officially asked their colleagues for support in running for majority leader.

Steineke, the assistant majority leader, noted in an email to colleagues this morning that he led the Assembly GOP effort to back top candidates, an operation dubbed "leggiepalooza." 

"This work has provided me with invaluable insight into the variety of issues that affect our districts," he wrote. "While we are all citizens of the same state, our districts can be very different. We need to craft our legislation and our message with those differences in mind."

Jacque said in a short interview he has spent the past 70 days helping colleagues seek Assembly seats and is now looking to take a greater leadership role. His efforts include donating to a number of his fellow GOP candidates, according to his campaign finance reports.

"I’m not going to be outworked," he said. 

-- By JR Ross

 10:44 AM 

Ballweg to run for Assembly majority leader

Rep. Joan Ballweg announced this morning she will run for majority leader in the Assembly in what could be a three-way race.

The post is open after Republicans elected the retiring Pat Strachota, R-West Bend, to the the job earlier this year after they dumped Rep. Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, over allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Assistant Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, is also expected to run for the job, as is Rep. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere, according to multiple sources.

Ballweg, R-Markesan, currently serves as caucus chair.

Assembly Republicans will hold leadership elections during a Monday caucus.

-- By JR Ross

 2:32 AM 

Statewide turnout roughly 2.4 million

Statewide turnout for Tuesday's election will likely end up around 2.4 million voters, just short of what the GAB had predicted but still the best showing in a November guv's race in decades.

With 3,555 of 3,568 precincts reporting, just shy of 2.4 million votes were cast in the guv's race for Republican Scott Walker, Dem Mary Burke, Libertarian Robert Burke and independent Dennis Fehr, according to unofficial returns.

The GAB had predicted 2.5 million Wisconsin residents -- or 56.5 percent of those eligible -- would vote.

Along with the final precincts still out early this morning, absentee ballots clerks receive by Friday will also go toward the final number.

If this year's turnout ends up at 2.4 million voters, that would equal about 55 percent of the state's voting age population of 4.3 million.

The highest turnout in a November gubernatorial election in the last 50 years was 52.4 percent in 1962.

See unofficial results in contested races here.

-- By JR Ross

 2:16 AM 

LaFollette wins re-election to secretary of state's post

Dem Doug LaFollette has won re-election to the secretary of state's office, a post he has held since 1973 except for one four-year period.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, La Follette had 1.15 million votes, or 50 percent, to almost 1.07 million, or 46 percent, for Republican Julian Bradley.

 -- By JR Ross

 2:13 AM 

Bewley to hang on

Dem Rep. Janet Bewley appears to have hung on in the open 25th Senate District.

With 202 of the 203 precincts in the district reporting, Bewley had 34,959, or 51 percent, to 33,197, or 49 percent, for Republican Dane Deutsch.  

-- By JR Ross

 1:59 AM 

Adamczyk wins treasurers race

Republican Matt Adamczyk has won the treasurers race over Dem Dave Sartori.

With 97 percent of the vote in, Adamczyk, who has pledged to seek the elimination of the office, had almost 1.1 million votes, or 50 percent. Sartori had 965,803, or 44 percent.

The only constitutional office still hanging out there is the secretary of state's race. Longtime incumbent Doug LaFollette had a nearly 44,000-vote lead on Republican Julian Bradley with 97 percent of precincts in.

 -- By JR Ross

 12:54 AM 

Vinehout wins, Bewley leading 25th

Dem Sen. Kathleen Vinehout has won re-election in a closer-than-expected race.

With 99 percent of the vote in, Vinehout had 35,011 votes, or 52 percent, to 31,754, or 48 percent, for Republican Mel Pittman.

Meanwhile, Dem Rep. Janet Bewley was holding onto her lead in the open 25th in another closer-than-expected race for Dems. With 92 percent of precincts in, Bewley had 32,189 votes, or 51 percent, to 30,615 votes, or 49 percent, for Republican Dane Deutsch.

If those results hold, it would mirror 2010, when Deutsch also lost a close race for what is normally a strong Dem seat. Then, state Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, won re-election with 51.27 percent of the vote over Deutsch, a margin of 1,583 votes.

-- By JR Ross

 12:30 AM 

Bomhack concedes, Republicans at 19 seats in Senate

Pat Bomhack has conceded to GOP Rep. Howard Marklein in the open 17th SD, the Dem's campaign said.

That puts Republicans at 19 seats in the chamber, a pickup of one seat.

It's the third time they've had 19 seats over the past decade, starting the 2005 and 2011 sessions with the same number of seats, according to the Wisconsin Blue Book.

-- By JR Ross

 12:12 AM 

RACC: Novak, Heaton up narrowly with all votes in, would put GOP at 63 seats

Republicans are on the verge of having their largest majority in the Assembly in nearly 50 years if a couple of tight leads hold up.

With all precincts reporting, Republican Todd Novak was leading in the open 51st District over Dem Dick Cates by 59 votes, according to unofficial returns, 10,619-10,560, with all wards in. Meanwhile, with all precincts in, unofficial returns have Republican David Heaton with an 86-vote lead on Dem Rep. Mandy Wright in the 85th District, 11,159-11,073.

ADCC expected recounts to be requested in those races. Absentee ballots can still be counted if they're received by Friday, and the county canvasses also may change numbers.

If the winning margin is less than 0.5 percent, the candidate requesting the recount does not have to pay for it.

"If those numbers don't change, I would fully expect we'll request recounts in both races," said ADCC Executive Director Joel Gratz.

Meanwhile, GOP Rep. Kathy Bernier, who was considered the most vulnerable Republican incumbent in the Assembly, is poised to hold onto her seat in a race with Dem Jeff Peck that wasn't as close as some initially expected.

If the margins in the 51st and 85th hold up following likely recounts, Republicans would have 63 seats. That would be the most seats they've held in the Assembly since the 1957-58 session, when they had 67, according to the Wisconsin Blue Book.

-- By JR Ross

Editor's note: This post has been updated with unofficial returns from the 51st and 85th, where all precincts are now in.

 12:03 AM 

Walker focuses on Washington in victory speech

WEST ALLIS -- Gov. Scott Walker told a cheering crowd at State Fair Park that "we understand that true freedom and prosperity doesn't come from the mighty hand of the government but comes from empowering people to live their own lives," as he won his third statewide election in four years.

Walker, who was up by 9 percentage points when Dem opponent Mary Burke conceded, referred to America and to Washington throughout the speech.

"In America, opportunity is equal, but the outcome is up to you," Walker said. "America is one of the few places in the world where it doesn't matter what your parents do for a living, it doesn't matter what class you're born into, in America, you can do anything you want."

Walker said there is a "sea change" of difference between Wisconsin and Washington, because Washington "is all against something but we are for something."

Walker started off by thanking his family and supporters, but made a point to thank the military. "There are literally hundreds of people from Wisconsin who are still deployed even as we speak, in harm's way. That's something even more incredible than what we're doing here this evening."

The governor also said he had called to thank Mary Burke.

"I know there are disagreements on policy issues," Walker said, "but that picture signifies that she has a great love for her state, just like her supporters did," referring to a photo taken over the weekend of Burke and Walker during a chance meeting on the campaign trail.

The governor repeatedly mentioned dependence on government in his speech, saying that "Washington measures success by how many people are on government assistance, by how many people are on food stamps and how many are on Medicaid," he said. "We measure success by how many people are no longer dependent."

"It's the American dream that talks about the dignity of work and we take a day off to celebrate the Fourth of July and not the 15th of April," Walker said to end his speech, prompting loud cheers from supporters.

Earlier, when Burke's concession speech was shown to the crowd on a large screen, boos and heckles abounded. Many in the crowd -- some of whom were drinking beer sold at the State Fair concession stand -- shook their fists and then began waving and singing, "Nah, nah, nah, nah. Hey, hey, hey, goodbye."

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch told the crowd, "The third time's the charm."

"Get ready for lower taxes, get ready for more jobs, get ready for we the people to be in charge again," said Kleefisch.

Few fellow GOP lawmakers were in the crowd, but state Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, watched from the back. Afterward, she told WisPolitics, she had predicted Walker would win the race "either by a very small margin or a blowout."

Darling said the vote "shows most people believe we are on the right track."

Darling noted there should no longer be worry in the business community about the state's "uncertainly about leadership" as they had during the recall election two years ago.

"I think we're perfectly positioned now," she said. "The certainty of a Walker administration for four more years will add stability to our state of Wisconsin and that's a good thing."

-- By Kay Nolan
For WisPolitics.com

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