November 3, 2010

County Republicans make a clean sweep -- almost

Paul Ryan, right, brought Van Wanggaard to podium before his race was decided

There's a new sheriff in town -- literally and figuratively.

Racine County elected Sheriff's Department Investigator Christopher Schmaling as its new sheriff, but the bigger news was the Republican sweep across the country, which echoed in Wisconsin as well as locally.

Wisconsin has a new senator and a new governor. Three-term Democratic senator Russ Feingold will be replaced by Republican Ron Johnson. "It's on to the next battle; it's on to the next fight; it's on to 2012," said Feingold. The governor's mansion will be occupied by Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, who defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the race to succeed Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.

Locally, 21st District State Sen. John Lehman, who spent eight years in the Assembly before moving up to the State Senate in 2006, was ousted by Republican Van Wanggaard.

John Lehman, right,
with Cory Mason

The only challenged Democrat to withstand the Republican onslaught was 62nd District Rep. Cory Mason, who won a third term by defeating Republican Chris Wright.   Democratic Rep. Bob Turner, who's been in the Assembly since forever -- 1990 -- easily defeated his Libertarian opponent, George Meyers.

In his concession speech at 11 p.m. at the Buona Vita restaurant, where the Democrats gathered for what felt like a wake, Lehman said "It's a Black Tuesday" with both houses of the Legislature and the governorship changing from Democratic to Republican control. "But we have done all we could do and we still talk straight. So many folks in this room have so much to be proud of. We talked issues, but we didn't get the best response with the word "progressive" but we have to keep at it.

"This is not the last election that will take place. It's been an honor for me."

Mason said he was "excited, honored and humbled" by his victory, almost the only Democratic bright spot.

Cory Mason celebrates
with his wife,  Rebecca,
and their baby, Amelia

"This is a tough night," Mason noted, recalling something that Harriett Tubman, of the Underground Railroad during the Civil War era, said. "She said, 'Anytime the dogs are coming for you, you just keep going.' Well, it's the same for progressives." Mason said jobs and the economy are still his priorities. "I'm ready for the fight," he said.

All that took place at the Democratic gathering. Over at the Republicans' party at the Marriott -- which was much more like a celebration from the get-go with numerous TV screens declaring Republican victories around the country as soon as the East coast polling places closed -- the evening started with a victory speech by Rep. Paul Ryan, no less sincere with its inevitability, as he easily defeated Democrat John Heckenlively.

Paul Ryan, accepting congratulations Tuesday night

Ryan said, "A year ago, I would have been surprised (by these national results), but not now." Still, there was one outcome that surprised him: "I can't believe we beat Mike Sheridan in Janesville." Sheridan, the Assembly Speaker, a Democrat, was narrowly defeated by Republican Joe Knilans.

The national results, in which the U.S. House of Representatives went from Democratic to Republican control, mean a big promotion for Ryan: He now becomes chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee. But before that, his wife, Janna, pulled him away from the party at about midnight, to put his children -- boys 5 and 7 and a daughter, 8 -- to bed in their hotel rooms.

There was a small glitch in the Van Wanggaard victory celebration, as I discovered when I tracked him down near 11:30 p.m.. He was huddled with his staff in a small hotel room down a long corridor, pointedly staying away from the media. Reason: He still wasn't sure of the race's outcome.

Although Lehman had given his concession speech at the Democratic gathering 45 minutes earlier, that word never got to Wanggaard. Lehman told the Dems that he'd called Wanggaard to offer congratulations, "but he didn't pick up, so I left a voicemail message." Well, when I finally got to Wanggaard, he checked his cellphone, and couldn't find the message -- and his staff certainly wasn't going to take the word of a mere reporter.

Van Wanggaard has a kiss for his wife, Mary Jo, as he accepts State Senate victory

Eventually, the message was found and Wanggaard came forth to give the good news to his supporters at the victory party. After giving his wife, Mary Jo, a kiss -- well, a few of them to satisfy the cameras -- he said, "It's going to be almost a complete sweep in this county. Now we have to step up to the plate and do what we say we're going to do.

"Today we sent a message to the Madison spenders. We're going to restore accountability to Madison, and that starts in Racine County."

Here are some of the final numbers reported by the Racine County Clerk:
With 116,760 registered voters in Racine County, there were 73,498 votes cast.

There were 15,707 straight Democratic votes cast; compared to 19,551 straight Republican votes. The Wisconsin Green Party garnered 53 straight party votes; the Libertarians got 97.

For Congress:
Paul Ryan: 46,584
John Heckenlively: 24,366

State Senator, District 21
John Lehman: 28,922
Van Wanggaard: 32,031

Assembly, District 61
Robert Turner: 10,024
George Meyers: 2,166

Assembly, District 62
Cory Mason: 10,453
Chris Wright: 8,571
Tony DeCubellis: 403

Assembly, District 63
Robin Vos 19,520

Racine County Sheriff
Joseph Buckley 23,085
Chris Schmaling 44,802
Jeffrey Gerrietts 3,427

Advisory Referendum on possible additional taxation for transportation
Yes: 12,578
No: 51,316
Final Racine County vote totals are HERE.
The detailed count -- precinct by precinct -- is HERE.

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  1. Come April we can clean out City Hall as well. Bye Dickert.

  2. John Dickert will still be Mayor next year.

  3. Pete

    Think like you ant the local GOP smell blood and it' Dickert passing a property tax increase and with the candidates I see running, he will lose.


    A heavy hitter (Republican) will join the next Racine Mayoral race......

    Dickert will have no chance.


    Racine is a DEMOCRAT city. Walker won exactly 1 out of 34 wards and even Paul Ryan could only take 13 out of 34. In a WAVE year, Racine sent Turner and Mason back to the assembly.

    Dickert stays in office.

  6. 7:28

    Dicker has a lot of baggage and raising taxes will not help him any.
    Maybe Turner will run.

  7. It's hard to believe that Racinians will still vote so heavily for Dems when unemployment is so high with little or no hope for the future.

  8. Bye bye spender / yes man to Doyle....John Lehman

  9. All we need to do is get Mason out next time - otherwise Mission Accomplished!

  10. Why Racine votes for Dems? That's easy, handouts for the free loaders.

  11. If you support high taxes, high unemployment, KRM transit, Lies to your face, Then Dickert is your man! Dickert is a complete failure and has done absoultly NOTHING for the city of Racine. Bye Bye Dickert, pack your bags!

  12. Exactly right Anon 8:25

    Racine caters to these people who get their nails done every week, who get their hair done every week, who have expensive cell phones, who drive fancy cars with fancy rims, who are on welfare.

    Sad, very sad.

    Hopefully Walker can do something statewide (IE cut WELFARE) so these lazy people will go back to Illinois and Minnesota for the free handouts.

    Hard working Racine residents have had absolutely enough of this crap and it's time for change.

    I work at least 60-70 hours a WEEK and cannot afford these things that these welfare people do.

    Something is wrong with this picture!!!

    Don't like what I'm saying?? Too bad. We all have our right to our opinions, and in this case, FACTS!!!!!!!

  13. The world will end in 2012 --

    I'm starting to believe that now. R.I.P.

    Has a new meaning --- REPUBLICANS IN POWER

  14. The fact that 25,000 some people would vote for that Heckenlively is telling as to how duped people are by partisan politics. That guy had no chance, no platform, no real campaign, and no discernible skills/power/background that would even remotely qualify him for the position, but still 25,000-some voted for him?

    Wake up, people. Look at your tax assessments, check your wallets, look up the current value on your home, track for even a month how much you spend in taxes and do the math.

  15. What has Dickert given us-plenty of fiasco's. Gaveling down Ald Shields, Mr Racine, recycling carts, a poorly written ten year plan, pushing an expensive, unnecessary train, the failed west Racine gas station, sidewalk repairs, not a straight answer on the percent of tax increase, no leadership on the issue with the fountain, no jobs or development.

  16. The people have spoken -- However there will be few changes in Racine. It's a true shame that Racine is just a shadow of what it was just 20 years ago.

    When you put all your eggs in one basket (Johnson's) don't cry about no egg salad on our family tables.

  17. it doesnt matter who's mayor.. they're all part of the same group of people bringing down this city.

    i'm cure becker's buddy [and dickhert's cousin] friedel will be mayor some day too.

  18. I know a lot of dems that don't want Dickert back in office. Hopefully, someone steps up that doesn't have the baggage or connection to the past so there can be some real change at city hall. The local back room deals are as bad as the state and national back room deals. Everyone is tired of politics as usual. Yesterday proved it.

  19. Time for harvesting. We put in the first reaping now more shall follow. Liberals better change unless they too want to be harvested off to retirement or unemployment. The first fruits will prosper and stamp out the weeds.

  20. Anon 7:28 - you're addled.

    "Racine is a DEMOCRAT city. Walker won exactly 1 out of 34 wards."

    The facts - Walker won 40,000 Racine county votes, to the other guy's 31,000.

    I'd say we can paint the whole county RED at this point!


    Oh yeah, Dickert's gone. If anyone finds a pulse there, please report it.

  21. Sir the last time I heard mission accomplished was a former president talking about winning a war we are still fighting.

  22. I believe in cutting welfare. Corporations and farmers get way too much.

  23. I'm not delighted with the outcome, to say the least, but since the Republicans are there, they ought to go ahead and repeal the smoking ban and approve concealed carry, so far as I'm concerned. There ought to be some silver lining.

  24. Hey Pete and Dustin, where is "Waldo" now? Seems to me he is sitting in your pals Senate seat. Losers

  25. 4:59-

    Who's addled? I was talking about the CITY, not the county in general. If you think you can paint the City of Racine red, give it your best shot. It will be fun to watch.

  26. 5:00 - I agree that was probably one of the worst quotes in history - one that probably will haunt Bush for the rest of his life, however I've put that Bush blunder behind me - and will say once again "Mission Accomplished."

  27. Sometime in the next couple weeks, a major democrat is going to announce a challenge to Dickert.

  28. Hey - Where's Jody????

  29. The city of Racine does skew heavily Democrat. Entitlement recipients vote for those who keep them enslaved to handouts. When the city reaches 99% handout recipients and 1% government "leaders," Dickert can proudly proclaim, "Mission accomplished!"

  30. Yes, now 7:14AM - you listen to 11:42 AM above.


    Oh well, I'm done with you.

  31. Dickert will probably still try to push KRM on us during the next mayoral election. Like Gorilla Monsoon, the wrestling announcer used to say "Stick a fork in him, he's done."

  32. I heard that Dickert was at the republican event on Tuesday. Rumor has it that John was called on the carpet by the repubs for his support of Lehman and showed up to do what he dose best: COVER HIS A$$. This guy plays both ends against the middle more than any politician in history.

  33. Does anyone know why the same municipalities report results late nearly every election? It seems there are problems in some locations that the Post should check into before the next lingering results election.

  34. How about some NEW news guys...this has been the top story going on almost 4 days now. Maybe you two are so bummed out with the election results you can't muster a new story? ;)

  35. Is it true??? WALKER only has a high school diploma -- and no college degrees???

  36. Yup! Walker, like Sarah Palin, quite college before finishing! Walker will cut jobs in Wisconsin for his regressive ideas. So long stem cell experts at UW-Madison and trensportation jobs! We will be closely watching his veiled promises - all talk, no walk!

  37. Life as we had known it in Wisconsin is soon coming to a end.

    I hope all you stupid people who sided we the GOP and Tea Party get your fingers burned too.

    These morons are about throw Wisconsin into the dark ages.

  38. Anon 745-
    Goodbye KRM, hello 794, hardly the dark ages.