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Wisconsin's Weird Numbers




Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett Crushes Dem Primary, but what the…

So yesterday’s Republican turnout for the Wisconsin gubernatorial primary was supposed to be low. Damn low. The conventional wisdom was that they had no reason to turn out, and if they did they might even cross over and vote for a weak (Falk) or fake (Huber) Democratic candidate. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

626,538 turned out for Walker — 631, 380, really, if you count votes cast for the GOP-backed Democrat Gladys Huber. Only 614,511 voted for Walker in the 2010 primary. And it’s hard to tell if any Republicans voted for Falk, but if they did, there weren’t many because Barrett crushed her 390,109 to 228,940 — his margin of victory far exceeding that forecast by polls. So if if we include the nearly 10,000 votes cast for Walker’s progressive Republican challenger Arthur Kohl-Riggs (who actually beat Walker in some urban districts), the total Democratic turnout was 685,366. That’s more than 631,380, according to how counting numbers work, but it was excepted to be higher.

There are a few explanations for the surprise. One, Walker’s been functionally campaigning, running ads, and devouring out-of-state money since early last year. Two, as energized as the Democratic base is in Wisconsin, it’s a seriously polarized situation. Every recall petition signature collected, and every bit of news, also charged up Walker’s supporters. Third, and there’s really no way of verifying this, Arthur Kohl-Riggs put just enough fear into Republican hearts that Democrats were going to cross over for him (more turned out for him than for Democratic Secretary of State of Wisconsin Doug La Follette), so they headed to the polls for Walker. This is likely wishful thinking on my part, but, whatever. I’m going with it.

The strangest number here is how very broke I am. Ha. It’s actually not that strange. But I would very much like to be in Wisconsin to report on the historic June 5th election — an epic rematch between Walker and Barrett. If you’ve appreciated my work on Wisconsin, and you can spare a few bucks, please click below:

Thanks. Hopefully, I’ll see you there.


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