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MADISON — Democrat Tony Evers ousted Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday, denying the polarizing Republican and one-time presidential candidate a third term and succeeding where his party had failed in three previous attempts, including a 2012 recall.

Evers' victory is a monumental win for Democrats and a steep fall for Walker, who just three years ago was seen as an early front-runner in the GOP primary for president. When Walker dropped out of the presidential race, he focused on rebuilding his low approval ratings in Wisconsin.

Walker had promised if he won the third term would have been his last, but voters decided that two was enough.

Evers, 67, a former teacher and state superintendent since 2009, used his folksy, nondescript personality to his advantage in the campaign, using words like "jeepers" and "holy mackerel" while arguing that voters were tired of divisiveness and yearned for more collegial politics.

The win gives Democrats a boost after President Donald Trump narrowly carried Wisconsin by less than 1 point in 2016. 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.

Evers, a 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 as well. With Republican partners in the Statehouse, Walker pushed through a law that effectively ended collective bargaining for teachers and most 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, out of money and down in the polls. His voter approval rating in Wisconsin 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 much. Evers has also vowed, on his first day in office, to withdraw Wisconsin from a federal lawsuit seeking repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Baldwin wins re-election

Democratic Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin cruised to a re-election win over Republican Leah Vukmir after successfully making the race about health care 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 1 point.

Baldwin said in her victory speech Tuesday that her win sends a "loud and clear message" that people in Wisconsin want a senator who will stand up for them against special interests.

Baldwin was an early target for outside conservative groups that spent millions attacking her over the summer. But Baldwin outraised Vukmir 5-to-1 and blanketed the airwaves with ads contrasting her support for the Affordable Care Act with votes Vukmir made in the state Legislature in favor of insurance companies.

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(1) comment


Yay for the Democrats!

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