October 22, 2014

Turnout key in close U.S. Senate primary

Voter turnout will play a big part in Tuesday’s Republican primary in the U.S. Senate race. The four-way race for the GOP nomination has remained close heading up to the election, with three of the candidates polling within just a few points of each other in recent weeks.

On the ballot are former Governor Tommy Thompson, businessman Eric Hovde, former Congressman Mark Neumann, and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin is the only Democrat in the race.

Voter turnout is projected at about 20 percent, and Madison College political scientist Maurice Sheppard says that will be a big part of deciding who comes out on top.

He says the great unknown right now is the large number of undecided voters, which was put at 20 percent in the latest Marquette Law School poll. How they vote, or if they vote at all, will likely be the deciding factor in the race.

Sheppard also notes that naming of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as the GOP Vice Presidential nominee could play a big part in deciding the Senate race. He says the Ryan announcement over the weekend could re-energize many Republicans and put turnout higher than what was originally forecast.

The polls open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:13)