Democrat Tony Evers ousted Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday, denying the polarizing Republican and one-time presidential candidate a third term.
As a whole, Dunn County voters preferred Walker. The incumbent Governor won 50 percent of Dunn County votes, 9,255 votes. Evers got 46 percent, almost 600 votes fewer than Walker, according to unofficial voting results from the Dunn County Clerk’s Office.
However, county numbers suggest Democrat-sympathetic voters closed the gap between the two candidates significantly, compared to 2014.
The difference between Dunn County voters’ preference for Walker and Evers was much closer in 2018, compared to the 2014 matchup between Walker and Mary Burke.
In 2014, Walker got 53 percent of the Dunn County vote, compared to Burke’s 45.5 percent – a 7.5 percent difference.
Four years later, facing off against Evers, Walker only found 49.9 percent of Dunn County voters. Evers got 46.9 percent, closing that gap to just 3 percent.
Walker grabbed the majority of voters in smaller Dunn County municipalities, winning the towns of Menomonie, Colfax, Dunn, Spring Brook and Tainter.
Evers performed better in the larger municipalities. He won every ward in the city of Menomonie—3,429 votes to Walker’s 2,068 in total—and the villages of Elk Mound and Colfax.
Dunn County also threw its support behind Walker in the 2014 governor’s race, when he fended off a challenge from Democrat Mary Burke. Walker grabbed 53 percent of the Dunn County vote in the 2014 matchup, compared to Burke’s 45 percent, according to Dunn County election records.
Evers’ win gives Democrats a boost after President Donald Trump narrowly carried Wisconsin by less than 1 point in 2016 (though he won Dunn County decisively with 52 percent of the county’s vote, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 40 percent). It also puts Evers in position to dismantle much of what Walker and Republicans did over the past eight years, including rolling back portions of the law that effectively ended collective bargaining for public workers in the state.
The county will verify Tuesday’s results at a Board of Canvass meeting 8:30 a.m. Nov. 13 in room 147 of the Dunn County Government Center, 800 Wilson Ave., Menomonie.
County leaned toward Baldwin
Democratic Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin cruised to a re-election win over Republican Leah Vukmir after successfully making the race about healthcare and her support for guaranteeing insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
Baldwin, one of the Senate’s most liberal members, beat Vukmir, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, by double digits, based on unofficial results.
Baldwin won a number of counties that Trump took in 2016 when he narrowly carried Wisconsin by less than a point.
Dunn County voters favored Baldwin over challenger Vukmir by over 1,000 votes.
Tuesday night, 9,741 county votes were cast for Baldwin. Vukmir received 8,623.
A similar pattern to the gubernatorial race persisted in Dunn County for the U.S. Senate matchup. Vukmir won 17 smaller municipalities, mostly towns, and narrowly took the village of Boyceville. Baldwin only took 5 towns, but found more support in larger communities: She carried the villages of Colfax, Downing, Elk Mound, Knapp, Ridgeland and Wheeler and handily took the city of Menomonie with 3,769 votes to Vukmir’s 1,968.
Dunn County favored Republicans for both Wisconsin attorney general and state treasurer, though Democrats won in both races. A slim majority of county voters supported incumbent Brad Schimel over Josh Kaul for attorney general and Republican Travis Hartwig over Sarah Godlewski for treasurer. However, Kaul and Godlewski won their respective races statewide.
Evers, Walker fought long race
Evers, 67, a former schoolteacher and cancer survivor, campaigned on supporting the national health care law and its guarantees of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. He also promised to cut middle class taxes by 10 percent, paid for by all-but repealing a manufacturing and agriculture tax credit program Walker enacted. Evers is also open to raising the gas tax to pay for road repair and construction, although he hasn’t released a specific plan.
Walker, the 51-year-old son of a Baptist preacher, swept into office in 2010, part of a Republican wave that saw the GOP take over control of the state Legislature. With Republican partners in the Statehouse, Walker pushed a law through which effectively ended collective bargaining for teachers and public workers.
Anger over that law led to the failed 2012 recall election. Walker’s stature among conservatives and national profile skyrocketed after the union fight and the passage of a host of Republican priorities, including making Wisconsin a right-to-work state; cutting taxes by $8 billion; implementing a voter ID law; expanding the private school voucher program statewide; freezing tuition at the University of Wisconsin; rejecting federal Medicaid expansion money under the Affordable Care Act; and restricting access to abortion.
Walker ran for president in 2015, but dropped out before any votes were cast, as he was out of money and down in the polls. His voter approval rating in Wisconsin correspondingly dropped to its lowest levels.
Last year, working closely with the Trump administration, Walker signed a deal with Taiwan-based Foxconn to build a display screen factory in the state that could result in $10 billion in investments and 13,000 jobs. He’s pointed to that as signs of the state’s economic recovery.
Evers wants to renegotiate the deal, saying the potential $4 billion in state and local tax breaks for the Taiwan-based company is too high. Evers has also vowed, on his first day in office, to withdraw Wisconsin from a federal lawsuit seeking repeal of the Affordable Care Act.