CRAWFORD COUNTY - The polling places were busy in Crawford County and the vote totals were high, but the results remained pretty much the same as expected with some notable exceptions.
Gays Mills resident Jayne Swiggum, a Democrat, running to represent the 96th District of the Wisconsin State Assembly lost to two-time Republican incumbent Loren Oldenburg by about 612 votes in Crawford County (3,821-3209). Oldenburg defeated Nurse Jayne in Vernon County by 1,310 votes (6,693-5,383). In the portions of Monroe County within the 96th State Assembly District, Oldenburg won 4,263 to 1,875.
So the unofficial returns, had Oldenburg defeating Swiggum 14,777 to 10,467.
It should be noted Swiggum did win some municipalities in the county including Gays Mills, Mt. Sterling and some wards in DeSoto. She also won the townships of Utica, Clayton and Freeman.
In another race of major interest in Crawford County, the North Crawford School District Referendums both passed by substantial margins. The capital improvement referendum, which authorized repairs to the school’s roof and other needed improvements, passed 955-446, while the operations referendum that funded programs and needed staff passed 871-528.
Both referendums won in each of the nine municipalities where they appeared on the ballot.
In other races in Crawford County, Republican Derrick Van Orden defeated Democrat Brad Pfaff in the U.S. Congressional Third District election by the vote of 3,667 to 3,334. Republican incumbent U.S. Senator Ron Johnson defeated Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes in Crawford County by 3,797 to 3,179. The closest race in Crawford County was for Governor. Incumbent Democratic Governor Tony Evers lost to Republican challenger Tim Michels by the narrow margin of 57 votes 3,486 to 3,429.
One thing town and village clerks agreed upon was that voter participation was extremely high for a midterm election.
“The amount of people that voted today is amazing,” Clayton Town Clerk Charity Smith said when contacted early Tuesday evening. By 6 p.m., Clayton had 454 votes cast (389 in person and 65 absentee) and they were expecting more. They went into the election with only 591 registered voters and had over 30 people register as new voters.
It was just as busy down the road in the Village of Soldiers Grove, where clerk Kaitlynn Ott reported they had run out of ballots provided by the county and had to print more of their own. The ballots they printed would have to be counted by hand, according to Ott. In all they had 228 people who voted by a little after 6 p.m. and that included 15 new voters who registered at the polling place.
In the Town of Seneca, it was more of the same. Town clerk Julie Payne called the turnout magnificent. Just before 7 p.m. the town had recorded 457 votes.
Later in the evening, major television networks called the governor’s race in favor of incumbent Democratic Governor Tony Evers estimating the vote to be Evers 50.9% and Michels 48%. The same networks called the Third District Congressional Election in favor of Republican Derrick Van Orden over Democrat Brad Pfaff.
At press time, in the race for the U.S. Senate in Wisconsin between incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson and Democratic challenger Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, it was too close to call for the networks. They had Johnson at 50.7% and Barnes at 49.2%. At that time, there were still unreported votes in Milwaukee and Dane counties.Note: vote totals for Vernon and Monroe counties in the race for the Wisconsin 96th Assembly seat have been updated since this story was originally published in the wee hours of Wednesday, Nov. 9.