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Democrats defeat Walker, send Baldwin back to Senate



MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin voters handed Democrats two huge victories, defeating Republican Gov. Scott Walker and handing Tammy Baldwin a second term in the U.S. Senate. But Democrats failed to unseat a single GOP legislator and their attorney general hopeful, Josh Kaul, was locked in a race with Republican incumbent Brad Schimel that was still too close to call Wednesday morning.


Democratic gubernatorial challenger Tony Evers narrowly defeated Walker, denying him a third term. Evers’ victory is a monumental win for Democrats and a steep fall for Walker, who just three years ago was seen as an early front-runner in the GOP primary for president.


Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin easily beat back a challenge from Republican Leah Vukmir to win a second six-year term. Baldwin led Vukmir in fundraising and in the polls throughout the race. Vukmir campaigned as an underdog and staunch supporter of President Donald Trump.


The GOP easily maintained control of the Assembly and had an 18-14 advantage in the Senate with a race for an open seat in Wauwatosa still undecided. Republicans have controlled both houses since 2011; the Election Day wins ensure they’ll hold both chambers for a full decade.


Democrat Josh Kaul was looking to unseat Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel in a race that was too close to call early Wednesday. Kaul is the son of the late former Democratic Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager and served as a federal prosecutor in Baltimore but hasn’t played up his background, choosing instead to focus on attacking Schimel. He says Schimel took too long to test thousands of unanalyzed sexual assault evidence kits, allowed testing delays at the state crime labs to grow, spent taxpayer money on commemorative coins for police and failed to get control of the state’s opioid crisis. Schimel pushed back by playing up efforts to award safety grants to schools and painting Kaul as inexperienced.


Democrats thought they finally had a shot at Ryan’s 1st Congressional District seat after Ryan decided not to seek re-election after 20 years in Washington. The party pinned its hopes on Racine ironworker Randy Bryce but Republican attorney Bryan Steil defeated him easily. Bryce generated more than $6 million in contributions by the end of July but had plenty of problems. He failed to pay child support and has been arrested nine times. Steil worked as a Ryan aide for a year in 2003 and had Ryan’s support since he entered the race. The district includes Janesville, Racine and Kenosha.

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