Walker trounces Neumann; Johnson walks away in a primary romp

It's a Kilbourn Avenue brawl for the governor's mansion - Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett vs. Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. Photo illustration by Brian Jacobson.

After years, months and weeks of campaign stops, ads and debates the voters finally narrowed down the fight cards, with expected winners and surprising margins ruling the primary evening.

The big news was the crushing loss suffered by Mark Neumann in his bid to be the Republican nominee for governor. While it was expected that Scott Walker would win the nod from the voters, the margin was much larger than the past week’s polls had predicted.

By the time Walker had finished his acceptance speech, the results showed he had a commanding win – with 59 percent of the vote compared to Neumann’s 39 percent of the total. In southeastern Wisconsin, Walker’s margin was even larger, where he took 72 percent of the vote, a death knell for Neumann.

Walker’s message to Wisconsin voters was simple – “Help is on the way!”

“When I travel the state, I stop at diners. From one part of state to another, people are scared. They’re scared about the economy, their own job, their spouses’ job, their kid’s jobs.  People are scared, their scared about the e4conom, their own job, their spouses job, or their kids job. Come Nov. 2 you don’t have to be afraid anymore, because help is on the way.

“We have a plan to get his state working again, to help employers create 250,000 jobs, improve the education system by lowering health care costs and improving roads and bridges, not paying for the boondoggle of the high-speed train.”

Walker announced he would run against Tom Barrett, who easily won the Democratic nomination, with a ‘blue print for prosperity’ based on his record of leading Milwaukee County for the last eight years. He recalled using the line item veto 100 times as county executive and promised to use the governor’s veto “1000 times or more if that is what it takes to balance our budget.”

He also began the general campaign, attacking Barrett and calling him a “third term of Jim Doyle.”

Barrett held his victory party in Oshkosh, to demonstrate the importance of the Fox Valley in state politics.  He said his campaign would be a serious discussion on the economy.

“The fiscal issues the state faces needs someone who doesn’t rely on gimmicks,” he said. “I have a track record of working with people to create jobs, that is something I have done as Mayor of Milwaukee.”

If Walker or Barrett need ideas for fixing the state of the economy, Neumann announced during his concession speech that he would be dropping copies of his book “Wisconsin Taxpayers First: A Bold Plan to Take Back Wisconsin” in the mail to both candidates.

“I encourage them to use my ideas to improve the state of Wisconsin and if that happens, then something good will have come from this campaign,” Neumann said.

In the crowded Lt. Governor primaries, voters choose Republican Rebecca Kleefisch to join Walker on the ticket, with current 5thAssembly Rep. Tom Nelson pairing up with Barrett on Nov. 2.

7th State Senate District

The 7th State Senate district will have a new face in the chair after November, as Democratic incumbent Jeff Plale was soundly beaten by Milwaukee County Supervisor Chris Larson. Larson received 65 percent of the votes cast, to Plale’s 35 percent. Larson ran well in Bayview and the UWM neighborhood, where his liberal, green message resonated.

Plale spent much of the campaign defending himself from Larson’s focus on Plale’s votes that went against traditional, liberal Democratic values, such as tabling a vote on Gov. Doyle’s green energy initiatives.

Lason faces Republican Jesse Ripp in the November general election. Ripp was unopposed on Tuesday.

U.S. Senate

Ron Johnson easily won the Republican nod to take on incumbent Democrat Senator Russ Feingold. He captured 85 percent of the vote, something expected after Johnson poured millions into a race to build name and issue recognition over four months. His Republican opponents, David Westlake and Stephen Finn captured 10 and 5 percent of the vote respectively.

4th Congressional District

Gwen Moore made quick work of her primary opponent Paul Morel, taking 85 percent of the vote in a district covering the majority of Milwaukee County. She ran on her five-year record in Washington and will face Dan Sebring, who beat his GOP opponent with 56 percent of the votes cast.

Milwaukee County Sheriff

Since Milwaukee County is considered a Democratic stronghold, the winner of the primary between Fox News Democrat and incumbent David Clarke and Milwaukee Police Lt. Chris Moews is a shoe-in for the job. Clarke won on a platform of fiscal conservatism, law and order policing and with the backing of local AM talkers. However, his win was by only 6 percentage points – the smallest margin of his three sheriff campaigns.  Clarke took 53 percent of the vote, compared to Moews’ 47 percent.

While the preliminaries are complete, now the real fun begins. The first round of the gubernatorial campaign is a public debate between Walker and Barrett on Sept. 16 at  Wauwatosa West High School at 7 p.m.


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