Loudenback Concedes Loss for Secretary of State
Democrat Doug La Follette wins record 12th term and duties of office won't change.
The unofficial results from the Nov. 8 election showed La Follette defeated Loudenbeck by just 7,660 votes out of more than 2.5 million votes cast, a margin of 0.3%. While this is within the 1-percentage-point difference for Loudenbeck to request a recount, it is outside the quarter-point gap that would have meant a free recount. So Loudenbeck conceded defeat after county canvasses ended Monday morning.
The office is one with few duties, but the race suddenly became important after defeated President Donald Trump claimed the 2020 election was stolen, and unproven claims of election fraud in Wisconsin led some Republicans to call for disbanding the Wisconsin Elections Commission, with some suggesting the Secretary of State’s office be converted into an election oversight position.
Loudenback’s campaign seemed in line with this movement. The 12-term Republican Assembly representative didn’t specify what changes she would make to the office, saying those issues should be determined by the Legislature, but supported consolidating election oversight duties in the secretary of state’s office, while raising questions about how the 2020 election was handled.
La Follette, 82, had served as secretary of state for 44 years, longer than anyone in state history. He was first elected in 1974 and served a single term before mounting an unsuccessful challenge for lieutenant governor. He returned to win the 1982 race for secretary of state and has served since then in the position. His victory over Loudenbeck has earned him a record 12th term.
La Follette campaigned on keeping his office’s duties unchanged and is sure to get his wish as the Republican legislature won’t expand his power. The secretary of state’s only responsibilities are issuing travel documents, serving on a timber board and as keeper of the State Seal.
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