Some post-primary winners and losers

So the results of tonight’s partisan primary election are in, and I’ve got a few winners and losers (and they’re not necessarily all candidates).


Jonathan Brostoff: With a narrow victory in the Democratic primary in the 19th Assembly district, Brostoff is virtually assured of victory in November, with only Pirate Party candidate Joseph Klein standing between Brostoff and a seat in the Assembly that he will likely occupy for as long as he wants.

Susan Happ: Jon Richards appeared to be the candidate the Democratic establishment had coalesced around, and he was certainly the most visible of the three Democrats running for Attorney General, but despite running a bit of a “stealth campaign” in comparison to Richards, Happ prevailed. No doubt Susan Happ will be a formidable opponent to Republican Brad Schimel, and I’m confident she’ll emerge victorious in November.

Justin Moralez: Though he lost in the Republican primary in the 20th Assembly district, Moralez can hold his head high knowing he didn’t compromise his beliefs in order to pander for votes in a primary that quickly devolved into a contest to see which candidate could veer furthest to the right the fastest. While he lost tonight, Moralez likely hasn’t run his last campaign for an office higher than the one he currently holds.

Mary Burke: With her victory Burke becomes the first woman to be either party’s nominee for governor. That’s a big deal, and it’s an even bigger deal that despite a furious barrage of negative ads against her by Gov. Scott Walker and his dark money allies, Burke holds a one percent lead against Walker among likely voters. While some on the left may not be sold on Mary Burke, I believe she can beat Scott Walker in November.


Chris Abele: The two Abele-backed candidates for State Assembly, Tia Torhorst and Dan Adams, both lost in their respective primaries. Adams finished third in a four person race despite the best efforts of a dark money group’s negative mailing campaign towards the end of the race, and while Torhorst finished second in her race, she was beaten by David Bowen by a margin of 55% to 22%. There’s no way last tonight’s results in the 10th and 19th Assembly district races can be viewed as anything other than a loss for Abele, who sought to expand his Milwaukee County power base in Madison.

John Lehman: While Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke easily beat Brett Hulsey by a margin of over 60 percentage points in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Lehman beat his opponent Mary Jo Walters by a margin of just 10 percentage points. For a seasoned politician with the backing of the Democratic establishment to prevail by such a small margin against nominal opposition is surprising to me.

Dan Sebring: Though Sebring prevailed in the Republican primary in the 4th Congressional district, his prize for winning is another likely electoral drubbing at the hands of incumbent Rep. Gwen Moore. I’m betting Sebring will lose to Moore in November by a margin approaching 35%, and perhaps then he’ll get the message that voters in the 4th Congressional district simply don’t care for his far right-wing ideology.


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16 thoughts on “Some post-primary winners and losers

  1. I’d argue that progressives are another big loser. Jon Richards and Ismael Ozanne, both from the progressive wing of the party, lost the AG primary, and David Leeper lost the treasurer’s race, although progressives like Kelly Westlund, Rob Zerban, Janet Bewley, and David Bowen won their races, so progressives didn’t completely lose tonight.

    In case you’re wondering, with one race (17th State Senate District, where a recount is likely) not yet decided and the candidate I’ve endorsed is still in the running, and not counting Melissa Sargent and Mark Harris (who had no primary opposition), and also not counting a slate of write-in candidates I encouraged people in state legislative races where no Democrat was running, my endorsement record is 6-5 (Burke, Lehman, Zerban, Moore, Westlund, and Ringhand winning, and Richards, Leeper, Johann, Geenen, and Moews losing, although my endorsement of Burke was a very reluctant one). Even if my record ends up being 6-6 should Pat Bohmack come from behind to win in the 17th SD (Ernie Wittwer, who I’m endorsed, leads by two votes with absentee votes yet to be counted and a likely recount looming), that’s still a better record than Chris Abele, who went 0-4 tonight. Who would have thought that some blogger from Illinois would be better at picking winners than the county executive than Wisconsin’s largest county?

    1. Actually, my endorsement record is 6-6…I endorsed Mark Clear in the 78th Assembly District, who lost the Democratic primary to Lisa Subeck.

      1. Wait… wait… wait…

        You’re telling me Mark Clear was more progessive than Lisa Subeck?

        … ok?

    2. Huh? Progressives won big in AD-10 and AD-19, and Happ’s positions are more than progressive enough for most of us, and she’ll definitely help the Burke campaign in Fall. And Mark Harris just got a huge boost from Gross Man looking like the candidate in WI-6.

      The only real loss is that dingbat Clarke winning, although it’ll probably fatten up his ego even more (if possible) and he’ll self-destruct soon enough.

      Stay in your purity basement, leave the punditry to us that, you know, live and work here

    3. Especially sorry to see Leeper lose. Correction to one of your comments, actually there are no progressives in the State Democratic Party. They have generally left the party to pursue Progressive causes in other ways.

    4. Are you arguing that Susan Happ isn’t a progressive simply because she didn’t sign a recall petition?

      By that logic, Chris Larson isn’t a progressive, because I don’t recall seeing that he signed a recall petition.

  2. Wisconsin misogynists will rush to the polls to vote for Walker in November. But I agree, Burke will prevail.

  3. I think when the analysis is done people will be counting Mike Tate and machine politics in the loser column as well. The Walters and Wittwer results seem a clear condemnation of how the DPW involved itself in the candidate selections and in the primary process. When candidates on the ballot are ignored at convention and are not even acknowledged on the DPW website and still get that many votes it shows something. I think Burke is extremely lucky in both the level of Walker hatred and Hulsey insanity

    1. The Wittwer results are bad for Larson who is the one who stepped into that primary, not DPW and Tate. Although Tate and DPW are certainly picking winners and losers they were not involved in this one.

      1. I think Brostoff makes the night break even for Larson and the way Wittwer was treated on the DPW website and at the convention implicates Tate and the party

        1. I agree with Paul. While the DPW may not have had a direct hand in the decision by Larson to endorse Bomhack, the DPW bears responsibility for how they treated Ernie Wittwer at the convention.

  4. I really hope the DPW looks at what Mary Jo Walters did in the Lt. Gov. race, because she did an amazing job. She had very little money, and the party tried to pretend she didn’t exist, but she made the most of every contact she ever made – I know her, and I saw many times that she never passed up an opportunity to introduce herself to people, describe her campaign, and ask for their votes. Lehman’s only position was that he supported Mary Burke’s platform, but Mary Jo actually worked out a platform. She particularly wanted to bring attention to the problems of frac sand mining and the proposed mine in the Penokees, and she spent a fair amount of time in those areas, which I think brought her a lot of support – one thing the DPW could learn from her campaign is that taking a strong stand on environmental issues is a winner.

  5. Susan who? What HAPPened to Richards?

    Ouch, it hurt$. Gambling and Primarys; not much difference. Can I get a refund on my pre-primary contributions?

    And where is Tate the morning after?

    1. Duane, I’d actually argue Susan Happ is a much tougher opponent for Brad Schimel than Jon Richards. After all, her experience as a District Attorney negates the easiest line of attack Schimel’s camp would have had against Richards, that being Richards’ lack of experience as a prosecutor.

  6. I received a thank you this morning from Jon Richards. I was somewhat surprised by his comment, “…and now I hope you will join me in supporting Susan Happ.” Jon also provided me with a link to help Susan in her bid to become our next Attorney General:

    Jon Richards: a class act who puts cause over self.

    Of course, I will support Susan.

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