MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican Amy Loudenbeck conceded defeat Monday in her bid to unseat Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette.
Final results from the Nov. 8 election showed La Follette defeated Loudenbeck by 7,442 votes, or about 0.29 percentage point. That was within the 1-point margin for Loudenbeck to request a recount, but outside the quarter-point gap that would have meant a free recount. Loudenbeck conceded after county canvasses ended Monday morning.
“Obviously, the general election did not turn out the way we hoped it would,” Loudenbeck said. “The feeling of disappointment is real, but so is the gratitude I have for the thousands of Wisconsinites who supported me in this campaign for Secretary of State.”
Loudenbeck campaigned on shifting oversight of Wisconsin elections from the bipartisan state elections commission to the secretary of state, a model similar to that used by 38 other states.
La Follette countered by raising questions about whether Loudenbeck would use the position to ensure Donald Trump wins Wisconsin in 2024.
He campaigned on keeping his office’s duties unchanged. The secretary of state’s only responsibilities are issuing travel documents and serving on a timber board, as the state Legislature has whittled down the responsibilities.
La Follette is a distant relative of “Fighting” Bob La Follette, a progressive who was Wisconsin’s 20th governor, served in the U.S. House and Senate and ran for President in 1924.
Doug La Follette was first elected as secretary of state in 1974. He served one term before stepping down in 1978 to mount a failed run for lieutenant governor. He successfully ran for secretary of state again in 1982 and hasn’t lost since; his victory over Loudenbeck earned him a 12th term.