Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker narrowly lost his bid for a third term Tuesday to Democratic State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers. It was the closest governor’s race in the state in decades, so close that Walker’s Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch said, before the race was called, that Democrats would be likely to call for a recount.
“We are preparing for the likelihood of a recount in the state of Wisconsin,” Kleefisch told supporters in Pewaukee. A campaign adviser said Governor Walker would wait until the official canvass and tallying military ballots before deciding on a course of action.
Under provisions of a law Walker signed last year, candidates who lose by 1 percent or less can demand a recount. Evers margin on Tuesday was 1.2 percent.
Evers and his running mate, former state Representative Mandela Barnes, took the stage early Wednesday morning in Madison. “It’s time for a change folks,” Evers told a jubilant crowd of supporters. “Now that race is behind us, I look forward to moving forward, together.”
Evers’ win was propelled by big Democrat turnouts in Milwaukee and Madison. But Democrats did not gain any ground in legislative races. Republicans retained control of both houses of the legislature, even picking up a seat in the state Senate.