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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

 5:26 PM 

Voters approve nearly $40M in school referendums

Most of Tuesday's school spending referendums have passed at the ballot box, with voters in six districts approving eight ballot initiatives worth nearly $40 million.

That includes the four largest spending measures: Rhinelander, with two referendums totaling $18.2 million; Edgar at $7.6 million; Hilbert at $4.7 million; and Three Lakes at $4.6 million. Other referendums to pass include Shiocton at $3.2 million and two referendums in Bangor worth $1.6 million.

Just two measures failed yesterday. In Brodhead, voters rejected a $3.6 million referendum, while Green Lake saw a $3.3 million referendum defeated.

Search for all referendum results

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 4:55 PM 

Gonzalez cites court experience in backing Leineweber

Ramona Gonzalez and Brian Blanchard had a sometimes contentious relationship during the 4th District Court of Appeals primary, especially over an early claim Blanchard made that he was the only candidate in the race not accepting special interest money.

Gonzalez charged Blanchard didn't bother to check with her before making that claim and that she also wasn't accepting those contributions. Blanchard changed his campaign ad and literature after the complaint, and his campaign said Gonzalez had failed to raise an earlier objection despite several opportunities to do so.

Gonzalez said she's backing Leineweber, in part, because once Judge Charles Dykman leaves the 4th District spot later this year and state Rep. Gary Sherman, D-Port Wing, accepts his appointment to replace Burnie Bridge on the court, the only member with experience as a trial court judge will be Paul Higginbotham.

She also took a swipe at Blanchard, saying he made his claim on special interest money because he was more interested in a political advantage than what benefits the public.

Blanchard campaign manager Melissa Mulliken said in response, "We're looking forward to a positive general election campaign in which voters are going to have a clear choice between a candidate, Brian, who is refusing special interest money and has voluntarily limited the amount of individual contributions, and the candidate who is not making those same pledges."

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 4:23 PM 

Gonzalez concedes in 4th District court race

It'll be Richland Co. Judge Edward Leineweber vs. Dane Co. DA Brian Blanchard in the April race for the 4th District Court of Appeals.

The race was set this afternoon after La Crosse Co. Judge Ramona Gonzalez conceded and endorsed Leineweber.

"I believe the taxpayers have already spent enough money on this election," Gonzalez said late this afternoon. "He has my 110 percent support. I am committed to getting a good trial judge from outside of Dane County on that court of appeals. I think that's crucial for that court, and I am confident that he will be victorious in April."

Various media outlets reported different results from yesterday's primary, though all had Blanchard well ahead of his two primary opponents.

WisPolitics checked with the clerks in all 24 counties in the district this morning and found Blanchard with 28,238 votes, Leineweber with 12,964 and Gonzalez with 12,782. There was a scattering of 133 votes.

The Government Accountability Board won't begin receiving totals from the counties until later this week and won't certify the results until next week. But GAB spokesman Reid Magney said the staff contacted the clerks to get some preliminary numbers and got the same results that WisPolitics found in its checks.

State law allows candidates to request a recount without having to pay for it so long as they are within half of a percentage point in terms of their share of the overall vote. Leineweber received 23.96 percent of the vote, while Gonzalez received 23.61 percent, according to the WisPolitics tally. That's well within the requirement for a free recount.

But Gonzalez said she won't pursue that option.

Leineweber campaign manager Sheryl Albers, the former GOP state rep, said the Richland County judge didn't want to comment on Gonzalez's concession, preferring to wait until the official canvass is in.

Earlier in the day, Leineweber said the conflicting vote totals threw off some of his supporters, who sent him a series of e-mails this morning.

"Half of them say sorry. Half of them say congratulations," Leineweber said.

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 10:16 AM 

4th District race looks like Blanchard v. Leineweber

Dane County DA Brian Blanchard will advance to the April general election to fill an open seat on the 4th District Court of Appeals, while Richland County Judge Edward Leineweber had a slim lead in the race for the other spot on the ballot, according to unofficial results.

The state does not collect Election Night returns and has not yet compiled initial reports from the 4th District. But a WisPolitics check of returns reported by the 24 counties in the district this morning found Leineweber with 12,964 votes to 12,782 votes for La Crosse County Judge Ramona Gonzales.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

 11:27 PM 

Blanchard advances in 4th District primary

Dane County DA Brian Blanchard is headed to the general election to fill an open seat on the 4th District Court of Appeals. Richland County Judge Edward Leineweber had a slight lead in the race to grab the second spot on the April ballot with half a dozen precincts still out.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Blanchard had 28,317 votes, or more than half of what had been counted.

Meanwhile, Leineweber had 13,138 votes, and La Crosse County Judge Ramona Gonzalez had 13,081.

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 4:34 PM 

State election officials expect turnout under 10 percent

Government Accountability Board spokesman Reid Magney said there was only one significant issue reported today. At a polling site in Salem, which is in Kenosha County, voters were allowed to cast ballots for up to four candidates in a town supervisor race. State law only allows voters to cast ballots for up to two.

The problem was discovered this morning, the clerk was directed to isolate the ballots that could have four votes and the ballots were updated to correct that votes could only be cast for two candidates.

There were six people in the race with the top four vote-getters advancing to the general election.

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 10:06 AM 

Appeals court, local races highlight spring primary

The candidates for a spot on the 4th District Court of Appeals will go before voters today, headlining a light slate of elections on the 2010 spring primary ballot.

The primary will narrow the race to replace retiring Judge Charles Dykman to two candidates for April's general election. Dane County DA Brian Blanchard, La Crosse County Judge Ramona Gonzalez and Richland County Judge Edward Leineweber are on the ballot in District IV, which includes Dane County and most of western Wisconsin.

Tuesday's ballot also includes 10 spending referendums in eight school districts across the state, totaling more than $50 million in additional school funding.

The largest spending measure headed to voters is in Rhinelander, which has two referendums totaling $18.2 million on the ballot.

Other races on the ballot include mayoral primaries in Waukesha, Brookfield, Neenah and Kaukauna, among others.

-- See candidates on the spring primary ballot

-- See local school referendums

-- Find your polling location

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