October 20, 2014

With primaries done, party leaders look to November

Mike Tate (File photo)

Mike Tate (File photo)

Although the winners of a few races remain unclear at this point, Democrat and Republican leaders claim there were few surprises during Tuesday’s primaries and argue their winning candidates emerged stronger than before.

With Mary Burke has officially won the Democratic nomination in the race for governor, State Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate says they can turn their attention towards defeating incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker. Tate says “there’s obviously a reason Mary’s running neck and neck with Scott Walker in the polls right now. It’s because she’s a phenomenal candidate, someone who won’t reject an idea because it’s a Democrat idea or a Republican idea.”

Still, state Republican Party Vice Chair Brian Schimming believes Walker is well positioned to take on Burke in November. “He’s got the record to bring to the table. We look forward to the contrast between him and Mary Burke, and talking about how the state’s been moving forward.”

Tate is also excited about Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ’s win in the primary for attorney general. Happ defeated state Representative Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) and Dane County D.A. Ismael Ozanne. Richards was seen by many as a widely-backed establishment candidate, but Tate says any of the three Democrats running would have been a strong nominee. He credit’s Happ’s decisive win to her having a “message that resonates” with voters, and argues that people want someone with her background in the attorney general’s office.

Schimming says Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel, the Republican nominee, will be ready to take the issues to voters ahead of November. Schimel faced no opposition in the primary.

Brian Schimming

Brian Schimming

The most visible undecided race in the state right now is the Republican primary in the 6th Congressional District. State Senator Glenn Grothman maintains a narrow lead of just over 200 votes and state Senator Joe Leibham, the next closest candidate in the four-way primary, could request a recount once the vote totals are finalized. Even if that happens, Schimming says he expects the race to be resolved quickly and that both candidates will continue to prepare for November as if they are the nominee. He says “they’ll be ready, no matter what.”

The eventual winner will go on to face Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris, the Democratic nominee. Tate describes both Grothman and Leibham as extreme conservatives, although he adds that “having someone like Glenn Grothman is kind of like the epitome of a knuckle-dragging, right wing conservative, give Mark Harris a phenomenal chance to win that seat in November.”