Wednesday, 3 April 2013 | Molly Stentz
As is often the case with Spring elections, most people didn’t vote. Dane County did do better than predicted. Voter turnout was 25% in the county, meaning of the people eligible to vote, only 1 in 4 actually did. That’s better than the statewide prediction, which was projected to be 20% turnout.
Also of note: new Dane County Clerk Scott McDonnell did follow through on his campaign promise to upgrade the county’s election results page. The new site is much more user friendly — check it out for yourself. Keep in mind these results are not official yet. The Clerk’s office will publish the official final record once all absentee ballots have been counted.
As far as the statewide races go, there were no surprises. The biggest race on the ballot yesterday was for State Supreme Court – and incumbent Justice Patience Roggensack clearly sailed to victory over Marquette Law Professor Ed Fallone. This means the court will look exactly the same for now, with conservative justices continuing to hold the majority, 4 to 3.
In the State Superintendent race, current superintendent Tony Evers also won handily, defeating State Assemblyman Don Pridemore.
The local races here in Dane County were a little more interesting.
In what proved to be a very competitive race, Attorney Rhonda Lanford won the race for Circuit Court Judge, defeating the incumbent, Judge Rebecca St. John, 52 – 47%. This was the race where the Lanford campaign had made much hay out of the fact that St. John was a Walker appointee, despite the fact that there is no other way for Dane County to put Judges on the bench when one retires in the middle of her term, as was the case here. But here in Dane County, any connection to Walker has proved to be a scarlet letter.
There was one County Board race here in Dane County, which was District 1, Scott McDonnell’s seat. McDonnell left the Board after winning election last fall to become County Clerk. The winner was Mary Kolar, who is the director of public operations at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art downtown. Kolar won pretty handily with 70% of the vote. She was endorsed by McDonnell and had faced a challenge by activist and Capitol protestor CJ Terrell.
MADISON CITY COUNCIL
In the Madison city council races, most of the incumbents won.
District 1 – SW side/Elver Park – Incumbent Lisa Subeck won with 75% of the vote
District 2 – Isthmus/Tenney-Lapham – this was an open seat to replace Bridget Maniaci– neighborhood leader Ledell Zellers won 51% over Democratic Party employee Bryan Post
District 3- the far east side – incumbent Lauren Cnare won handily with 60%
District 6 –Isthmus/Willy St/Marquette neighborhood – this was a closely watched race – incumbent Marsha Rummel won by a landslide, with 70% of the vote over challenger Scott Thornton. This was a local race that saw statewide PAC money come in – and negative attack ads – which seemed to backfire.
District 8 – UW campus area – incumbent Scott Resnick won re-election. No surprise there; his opponent had dropped out of the race earlier.
District 9 – far west side – incumbent Paul Skidmore won re-election
District 12 – north side – open seat due to redistricting – Larry Palm (currently on council representing another district) won
District 13 - near west side/Vilas – incumbent Sue Ellingson won easily
The biggest upset in the City Council race was in District 14, Madison’s south side, where longtime alder Tim Bruer lost his seat. He was defeated by John Robert Strasser.
District 15 – near east/Olbrich – open seat – David Ahrens defeats Hawk Sullivan
District 17 – far east/north side – incumbent Joe Clausius won handily
District 20 – SW side/Meadowood – incumbent Matt Phair won easily
MADISON SCHOOL BOARD
In the three races for Madison School Board:
TJ Mertz won a seat. No surprise there, given than Sarah Manski backed out of the race. Interesting to see that there were more than 10,000 people in Madison that didn’t get that memo, though, and voted for her anyway. Despite the controversy, she still picked up 31% of the vote without trying.
James Howard, the current Board President, also sailed to reelection handily with 76% of the vote, defeating Democratic Party staffer Greg Packnett.
Seat 3 however, was an interesting and very tight race between Dean Loumos and Wayne Strong. This was an open seat and Loumos has an edge right now, but the race is too close to call yet. From the votes we have right now, Loumos has 50.2 % to Strong’s 49.4% but the difference is only 300 votes between them, out of more than 36,000 cast. Absentee votes will still be counted until Friday, so the vote totals could change.
Also popular was the advisory referendum to keep same day voting registration. It’s not binding, it was merely symbolic, but it won hands-down with 81% of the vote, the single-biggest margin of the night.
This would seem to indicate that it’s popular among Republicans, too, just like Tony Evers.