Barack Obama wins a second term as President of the United States, Romney-Ryan comes up short in Wisconsin, and Tammy Baldwin makes history.
President Barack Obama
The 44th President of the United States was re-elected on Tuesday night with 303 electoral college votes. President Obama exceeded projections to become the third consecutive U.S. President to win a second term, winning the crucial swing states of Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. Obama has now received more than 300 electoral votes twice, something President George W. Bush did not do once. Here in Wisconsin, Obama won with roughly 53 percent of the vote, not as much as the 56 percent he received in 2008, but more than enough for a clear victory. More than 1,597,000 Wisconsinites voted to keep the President in office for another four years.
Senator-Elect Tammy Baldwin
Tammy Baldwin made history on election night, becoming both the first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Senate and the first woman elected as a Wisconsin Senator. The soon-to-be-former representative from Wisconsin’s 2nd District defeated former Governor Tommy Thompson by roughly four percent of the vote, 51 percent to 47 percent. Much like fellow Democrat President Obama, Baldwin received more than 60 percent of the vote in Milwaukee and Dane counties, had a strong showing in southwestern Wisconsin and carried the always-important Fox Valley swing county, Winnebago, by a slim margin.
While it wasn’t something that appeared on any ballot here in Wisconsin, three states voted to make same-sex marriage legal in this year’s election. Referendums in favor of marriage equality passed in Maine, Maryland and Washington, and in Minnesota, a referendum for a state amendment making same-sex marriage unconstitutional was defeated.
The state legislature in Wisconsin will have a Republican majority going into 2013. Republicans added two seats with victories by challengers Rick Gudex, who narrowly defeated Democrat Jessica King in the state’s 18th State Senate District in the Fox Valley, and Tom Tiffany, who defeated Democrat Jim Holperin in the state’s 12th State Senate District in northern Wisconsin. Republicans will hold an 18-15 majority in the senate, and a 60-39 majority in the State Assembly.
The end of the campaign
It’s over, Wisconsin. It’s been a long two years, but it’s finally over.
Former governor Mitt Romney is now former presidential candidate Mitt Romney. By receiving 203 electoral votes, the Republican candidate had a stronger showing than John McCain in 2008, but it wasn’t enough for him to win the presidency. Romney received roughly 48 percent of the popular vote and did not win more than one (North Carolina) of the highly contested “Toss Up” states.
Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan of Janesville did not significantly impact the outcome of the election, as evidenced by the Obama win here in Ryan’s home state. The Romney-Ryan ticket received roughly 46 percent of votes in Wisconsin, more than 200,000 votes behind Obama-Biden. Ryan was, however, re-elected to his seat in the House of Representatives, defeating Democrat Rob Zerban 55 percent to 43 percent.
Wisconsin’s Congressional challengers
All eight of Wisconsin’s U.S. House Districts were up for election this year and seven incumbents were re-elected. The only new member of the House from Wisconsin is Democrat Mark Pocan, who won the election for Tammy Baldwin’s open seat in the 2nd District. Along with Paul Ryan (R-District 1), incumbents Ron Kind (D-District 3), Gwen Moore (D-District 4), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-District 5), Tom Petri (R-District 6), Sean Duffy (R-District 7) and Reid Ribble (R-District 8 ) were all re-elected.
Kathy Nickolaus and reports from Waukesha
Once again, there were problems tallying votes in Waukesha County. One of the machines used to count absentee ballots “broke and zeroed out,” causing delays in reporting results, and as of 11:30 p.m. last night, the county was still waiting on results from New Berlin and parts of Waukesha. Additional oversight has been in place in Waukesha County for the past two elections, primarily because of embattled County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, who has had her fair share of problems reporting election results. Nickolaus did not seek re-election and will step down on Dec. 31.
After a seemingly never-ending campaign, complete with countless speeches, events and advertisements (and $6 billion dollars spent on this crazy ride), the United States re-elected President Barack Obama, Democrats kept a majority in the Senate and the Republicans maintained control of the House of Representatives. Democracy, sometimes you make me chuckle.
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Follow Dan Shafer on Twitter at @danshaferMKE.