Nov. 2 was a red letter day for the GOP as Republican candidates swept nearly all of the races on the ballot in Lincoln County.
Merrill Riverfront Referendum
A referendum asking whether the riverfront development project should be allowed to proceed outside of downtown Merrill was rejected by city voters with 1,781 voting “NO” while 1,480 voted “YES.” The referendum is non-binding, but the results will be considered by the city council.
Lincoln County races
Incumbent Lincoln County Clerk of Court Cindy Kimmons (R-Merrill) retained her position over challenger Christine Ament (D-Tomahawk) by a 61 to 39 percent margin (6,849 votes to 4,327).
Incumbent Sheriff Jeff Jaeger (R-Merrill) was re-elected with 98 percent of the vote. Write-ins received 168 votes, or about 2 percent of the total. David Kirmsse ran a write-in campaign for the position.
Incumbent Republican Coroner Paul Proulx was re-elected without opposition.
The countywide transportation referendum received approval from voters with 7,797 voting “YES” to 2,235 voting “NO.”
The 35th Wisconsin Assembly District seat will remain with the Republicans. Incumbent Don Friske (R-Merrill) did not seek re-election, leaving challengers Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) and Jay Schmelling (D-Merrill) to battle it out for the open seat. Tiffany pulled out the victory by a 58-42 percent (11,729 votes to 8,514) over Schmelling district-wide. In Lincoln County the vote was closer, with Tiffany receiving 6,190 votes to Schmelling’s 5,116 for a 55-45 percent margin.
The Republicans also took the Governor/Lt. Governor race as Scott Walker/Rebecca Kleefisch won the statewide race over Democrats Tom Barrett/Tom Nelson by a 52-47 percent (1,124,456 – 1,001,882 votes) margin statewide. Lincoln County voters agreed, giving the GOP ticket the nod by a 6,201 to 4,871 vote margin (55 – 43 percent).
Incumbent State Attorney General, Republican J. B. Van Hollen, was re-elected over Democratic challenger Scot Hassett by a 58 – 42 percent vote statewide. In Lincoln County, Van Hollen’s margin of victory was 62 – 38 percent.
Of the races on the Lincoln County ballot, the lone Democrat to score a victory was incumbent Secretary of State Doug La Follette, who held off Republican challenger David King by a statewide vote of 52 – 48 percent. That race was nearly dead even in Lincoln County, with La Follette pulling out a slim 5,558 to 5,460 vote margin.
For Wisconsin State Treasurer, incumbent Democrat Dawn Sass was unseated by Republican challenger Kurt Schuller by a statewide vote of 53 – 47 percent. Lincoln County voters helped Schuller with 6,147 votes to 4,703 for Sass.
U. S. Senate/Congress
Wisconsin voters are sending two new Republicans to represent them in Washington. Incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold fell to challenger Ron Johnson in the U. S. Senate race. Statewide the vote was 52 percent for Johnson and 47 percent for Feingold. Lincoln County voters agreed, giving Johnson a 55 to 43 percent boost. With long-time incumbent Dave Obey stepping down, the District 7 Congressional seat was up for grabs, and Republican challenger Sean Duffy was able to grab it. Duffy defeated Democrat Julie Lassa by a district wide vote of 131,602 to 112,659, or 52 – 44 percent. Lincoln County voters also went for Duffy by a 55 – 41 percent margin.