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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

 10:35 PM 

Some early signs from key counties

Going into Tuesday's race, one GOP operative said if Scott Walker could hit 54 percent of the vote in Brown County, it would be a good sign for him.

It turns out Brown County was a great sign for the guv.

With just three of the 85 precincts still out, Walker was beating Barrett with 60 percent of vote in the northeastern Wisconsin county, a margin of just less than 20,000 votes.

By comparison, Walker won with 56 percent of the vote two years ago, a margin of about 12,000 votes.

A quick look through other key counties suggests Walker easily hit his marks that insiders expected to be key to holding off the recall effort. The GOP intensity was there for Walker in places likes Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties, where he was above 70 percent in each of them with wards still out.

Meanwhile, the bounce back in western Wisconsin that Dems needed did not materialize. In fact, Walker largely outperformed his 2010 numbers in the 11 counties that run along the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers.

Two years ago, Barrett won Crawford and Trempealeau counties along that stretch of 11 counties. He may not win any of them this year. With only the vote in La Crosse County still out, Walker won the other 10 counties that have been decided, and many in remarkable fashion and he was leading in La Crosse County.

Take Trempealeau County. Barrett won it by 30 votes in 2010. Walker took it by 1,624 votes today, according to unofficial returns. Barrett's vote total there was down slightly, but the big difference was the 1,364 more voters Walker pulled there compared to 2010.

UPDATE: 11:36 p.m. -- It looks like Barrett will win fewer counties tonight than he did in 2010.

Insiders were watching to see if Barrett would be able to take back Kenosha and La Crosse counties after Walker won them two years ago. The mayor was able to eke out a 705-vote win in Kenosha County, according to unofficial returns. With eight of the 48 precincts still out, Barrett was leading in La Crosse County 51 percent to 49 percent.

But Barrett lost Crawford, Eau Claire, Green and Trempealeau counties from his 2010 list. Eau Claire was one insiders were watching after Barrett won by 436 votes, and the belief was he needed to boost that margin significantly. Instead, Walker won narrowly took it by 160 votes.

Barrett also picked up Columbia County, which he lost in 2010, giving him wins in 12 counties, compared to 13 two years ago.

What's more, Barrett gave up even more ground to Walker in Marathon and St. Croix counties as the guv significantly overperformed there compared to 2010.

-- By JR Ross

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