Here are all the outcomes of the races we had our eyes on.
An incumbent Democratic legislator from Green Bay was ousted and an established Madison Democrat fended off a progressive newcomer in two of the most high-profile races in Tuesday’s primary elections.
In a mostly unsurprising election, over 900,000 voters in Wisconsin requested absentee ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic, most incumbents held onto their seats, and some politicians basically stamped their tickets to Madison and Washington, D.C.
Here are the outcomes to the races UpNorthNews highlighted in advance of the primary. All vote totals are via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s election tracker.
Polack, a former U.S. intelligence official and attorney who moved back to Racine County last year after spending most of his adult life abroad or in Washington, will take on incumbent U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, who succeeded former House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Polack faces an uphill battle to unseat Steil, who won by a near-landslide in 2018. The 1st Congressional District — which includes Kenosha, Racine, and Janesville, as well a few southern Milwaukee suburbs — stopped being competitive after redistricting in 2011. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the district as “Solid Republican,” with a 5-point Republican bend.
Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, is likely exchanging his Madison office for one in the nation’s capital after crushing his primary opponent in the 5th Congressional District. Fitzgerald overcame fellow Republican Cliff DeTemple, a businessman and Coast Guard Reserve commander, by a 77-23 percent margin.
Fitzgerald will run against Democratic businessman and Navy veteran Tom Palzewicz of Brookfield, but Fitzgerald is all but guaranteed to win the race to succeed the retiring Repubican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner. The 5th Congressional District, which includes the north and west suburbs of Milwaukee, is a bonafide Republican stronghold, with the Cook Political Report giving it a 13-point Republican bend.
Incumbent state Rep. Staush Gruszynski, D-Green Bay, was eviscerated in the primary by challenger Kristina Shelton, the vice president of the Green Bay Area School Board. Democrats disowned Gruszynski and stripped him of all his assignments last year after he sexually harassed a staffer in Madison, but the representative refused to resign.
Shelton, whom the state’s Democratic leaders endorsed, received 79 percent of the vote as she cruised to the party’s nomination.
Democrat Kelda Roys, a 2018 gubernatorial candidate and former state representative, secured the 26th state Senate District seat to replace longtime Sen. Fred Risser, 92 who is retiring. Roys overcame six other Democrats, including political newcomer and progressive Nada Elmikashfi, with 40 percent of the vote. Elmikashfi received 27 percent, while the five other candidates garnered 10 percent or less.
There is no Republican candidate in the 26th Senate District, so Roys is the seat’s de facto winner.
Republican Julian Bradley of Franklin, a former Democrat and professional wrestler, became the likely successor to state Sen. Dave Craig, R-Big Bend, who is not seeking re-election in the state’s 28th Senate District. Bradley received 41 percent of the vote in the five-way Republican primary to represent the district, which includes northwestern Racine County, southern Waukesha County, and southwestern Milwaukee County.
Bradley will face fellow Franklin resident Adam Murphy, a Democrat, though Bradley is likely to win. The district has voted Republican for more than two decades and Craig was unopposed when first elected in 2016.
Milwaukee County Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez edged out community organizer JoAnna Bautch by a 53-47 percent margin for the Democratic nomination in the 8th Assembly District, which represents Milwaukee’s South Side. Incumbent Democrat state Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa is not seeking re-election because she was elected to the Milwaukee Common Council in April.
Ortiz-Velez is likely to beat Republican Angel Sanchez, a former Milwaukee alderman, in the overwhelmingly Democratic district.
Supreme Moore Omokunde, a Milwaukee County supervisor and son of U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, won a three-way Democratic primary to replace former Rep. David Crowley, who resigned from the 17th Assembly District seat this year after being elected Milwaukee County executive.
Moore Omokunde took home 49 percent of the vote, winning out over Milwaukee County Democratic Party Chairman Chris Walton and Mike Brox, a Milwaukee Public Schools teacher and field organizer for Moore.
Abie Eisenbach, a community activist, Jewish leader, and business owner in the district, which encompasses part of Milwaukee’s northwest side, ran unopposed for the Republican nomination. Eisenbach’s odds of winning are slim.
In Madison’s second seven-way Democratic primary, chef and restaurateur Francesca Hong came out on top to succeed former state Rep. Chris Taylor in the 76th Assembly District. Hong received 28 percent of the vote, a six-point lead over Tyrone Cratic Williams, the next-highest vote-getter, in the crowded race.
The seat is open because Taylor left the Legislature this year to become a Dane County Circuit Court judge.
Republican Patrick Hull is running as well, but Hong will likely win in a landslide in the district, which encompasses much of downtown Madison.