Most of the Aug. 12 primary election races had clear-cut winners.
With one major exception, a race whose outcome was decided eight days after the election.
The state Government Accountability Board reported Wednesday morning that Ernie Wittwer of Hillpoint won the 17th Senate District Democratic primary by seven votes — 3,847–3,840 — over Pat Bomhack of Spring Green.
Wittwer originally was reported as winning the primary by two votes. Counting absentee ballots, followed by canvasses of the municipalities in the 17th Senate District, gave Wittwer an additional 19 votes and Bomhack another 14 votes.
Grant County had 30 absentee ballots. Iowa County had 14, and Lafayette County had four outstanding absentee ballots, only one of which arrived by the Friday deadline.
Wittwer can thank Grant County for the added margin, even though Bomhack won in Grant County. After the Grant County canvass, Wittwer’s overall lead grew by eight votes. Bomhack won in Grant County 1,001–647.
Bomhack, who lost the 2012 51st Assembly District Democratic primary, won in Lafayette County, 321–291, while Wittwer won in Iowa County, 567–468. Bomhack gained two votes in Lafayette County, while neither vote total changed in Iowa County.
Wittwer will face state Rep. Howard Marklein (R–Spring Green) in the general election Nov. 4.
Marklein’s replacement in the 51st Assembly District will be either Dodgeville Mayor Todd Novak or Richard Cates of Spring Green. Novak received 48.4 percent of the vote, with Town of Spring Green chairman Dennis Polivka second with 19 percent of the vote, followed by Tyler Schultz of Monroe and Ken “Rhino” Rynes of Richland Center.
Novak easily won Lafayette and Iowa counties with well over half the vote.
Dreckman, Gill win: Grant County Sheriff Nate Dreckman and Lafayette County Deputy Sheriff Reg Gill will be unopposed on the ballot Nov. 4 after winning their Republican primaries.
Dreckman, who was appointed by Gov. Scott Walker in 2012, defeated sheriff’s Sgt. Ed Breitsprecker, 2,305–1,649.
“Together we have kept Grant County a safe place, made the Sheriff’s department more transparent, combated the emerging threat of heroin and maintained a fiscally responsible budget,” said Dreckman in a news release. “I thank the voters of Grant County for their support and those that have stood by me during this campaign.”
In southern Grant County, Breitsprecker’s best strength was in the Potosi/Tennyson area and Dickeyville. Breitsprecker won the villages of Potosi, Tennyson and Dickeyville, and the towns of Potosi and Paris. Dreckman and Breitsprecker tied in Jamestown, 57–57.
However, Dreckman won in Platteville 275–157, and by bigger margins in Fennimore, 162–68, and Lancaster, 440–167.
Gill won the Lafayette County GOP primary easily, 2,858–395, over Darlington Police Chief Jason King. Gill reportedly will have a Democratic write-in opponent, Ralph Brown, in the battle to replace retiring Sheriff Scott Pedley.
Kurtz wins in Third: Tony Kurtz of Prairie du Chien outdistanced two Republican challengers to earn the GOP nomination to face U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D–La Crosse) Nov. 4.
Kurtz received 57.6 percent of the vote to win over Karen Mueller of Chippewa Falls, who received 22.2 percent, and Ken Van Doren of Mauston, who received 20.1 percent of the vote.
“We’ve traveled nearly 30,000 miles, walked in 34 parades, held 20 meet and greets, and met thousands of people,” said Kurtz in a news release. “I’m ready for the next stage of our campaign to bring the 18-year incumbent a challenge like he’s never faced before.
“What we need now is unity behind the goal of sending Washington the message that we’ve been sharing all along: It’s time for career politicians — it’s time for Ron Kind — to go.”
Voters apparently will get to choose from Kurtz, Kind and Van Doren Nov. 4. Van Doren announced on his Facebook page Monday night that he will run as an independent, after leaving the GOP because of “numerous attacks against him by party officials and members,” he said on his KenVanDoren.com page.
“I am sure the GOP will continue their attacks against me and claim that I am out to steal their Republican votes, but I’m not here to steal anyone’s votes; I’m here to bring new voters and disenfranchised voters to the polls. My platform is not partisan. Voters need to know that someone is listening to them.”
Statewide races: Voters in Grant, Lafayette and Iowa counties followed the statewide trends in voting for the winners of party nominations for statewide offices, with the exception of one race.
Mary Burke easily won the Democratic nomination for governor over Rep. Brett Hulsey (D–Madison). Burke won 1,681–108 in Grant County, 612–46 in Lafayette County, and 1,440–85 in Iowa County.
The margin was closer, but state Sen. John Lehman (D–Racine) defeated Mary Jo Walters to win the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. Lehman defeated Walters 854–699 in Grant County, 321–270 in Lafayette County, and 743–601 in Iowa County.
Burke and Lehman will run against Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch Nov. 4.
Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ won the Democratic nomination for attorney general, defeating state Rep. Jon Richards (D–Milwaukee) and Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne. Happ won by more than 2-to-1 margins over Richards in Grant and Iowa counties and over Ozanne in Lafayette County.
Happ will face Republican Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel Nov. 4.
The state treasurer election to succeed retiring Republican Kurt Schuller will feature Democrat David Sartori, who defeated former Green County District Attorney Dave Leeper, against Republican Matt Adamczyk, who defeated Randy Melchert. Contrary to statewide results, however, Leeper defeated Sartori 765–665 in Grant County, 327–218 in Lafayette County, and 603–597 in Iowa County. Adamczyk defeated Melchert 1,508–1,075 in Grant County, 1,028–691 in Lafayette County, and 438–297 in Iowa County.
Julian Bradley of La Crosse defeated former state Rep. Garey Bies (R–Sister Bay) to win the Republican nomination for secretary of state against long-time Democratic incumbent Douglas La Follette. Bradley won 1,816–794 in Grant County, 1,379–432 in Lafayette County, and 559–187 in Iowa County.