By TODD RICHMOND, Associated Press
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Although Democrats held on to a U.S. Senate seat and appeared to score a big victory in the governor’s race, they were unable to seize outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan’s seat or send former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl’s nephew to Congress.
In other contests, Democrats were looking to send Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel packing, hold onto the secretary of state’s office and flip the state treasurer’s office after eight years of GOP control.
A look at each of the races:
PAUL RYAN’S SEAT
Democrats thought they finally had a shot at Ryan’s 1st Congressional District seat since his decision against seeking re-election after spending 20 years in Washington.
The party had pinned its hopes on the ironworker Randy Bryce but the Republican attorney Bryan Steil defeated him easily. Bryce had built a national following, branding himself “Iron Stache,” a play on his occupation and his thick mustache. He generated more than $6 million in contributions by the end of July but had a bit of a checkered past. He failed to pay child support and has been arrested nine times. Steil, a University of Wisconsin System regent, worked as an aide to Ryan for a year in 2003 and enjoyed Ryan’s support from the start. The district covers Wisconsin’s southeastern corner and includes Janesville, Racine and Kenosha.
6th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
The Republican incumbent Glenn Grothman defeated his Democratic challenger, Dan Kohl, to win a third term in Washington. The 6th Congressional District has trended Republican for years, but Grothman was still worried the race against Kohl would be the toughest re-election fight of his career. Early returns on Tuesday evening showed Grothman with about 56 percent of the vote.
Democrat Josh Kaul is looking to unseat Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel. Kaul is the son of the late former Democratic Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager and served as a federal prosecutor in Baltimore but hasn’t played up his background on the campaign trail, choosing instead to concentrate on attacking Schimel. He says Schimel took too long to test thousands of unanalyzed sexual-assault-evidence kits, allowing testing delays at the state crime labs to grow, spending taxpayer money on commemorative coins for local police and failing to get control of the state’s opioid epidemic. Schimel has pushed back by talking about his work to award safety grants to schools and painting Kaul as an outsider with little prosecutorial experience.
SECRERTARY OF STATE
The Democratic incumbent Doug La Follette won his 12th term in a powerless office on Tuesday evening, defeating the Republican Jay Schroeder, a mortgage-loan officer from Neenah. Republican lawmakers have stripped the secretary of state’s office of nearly all of its duties over the years. The secretary’s only real tasks now are sitting on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands and issuing international authentication certificates for documents.
The Republican Travis Hartwig of Oak Creek and Democrat Sarah Godlewski of Madison were vying to replace the outgoing state Treasuer Matt Adamcyzk.
The treasurer has no real tasks except to sit on the Board of Commissioners of Public Land and track unclaimed property. Godlewski wants the office to review state finances and protect senior citizens from financial exploitation. Hartwig wants the office to help with audits of state and local government. Neither of them can do anything unless legislators hand the office more powers.