Scott Walker to be Wisconsin's next governor
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Scott Walker announces his run for governor during an April 29, 2009 visit to Delavan. Dan Plutchak/WalworthCountyToday.com.
MILWAUKEE — Scott Walker, who became politically active years ago as a student at Delavan-Darien High School, will now take those skills to the state capitol in Madison.
The Associated Press is projecting Walker, a Republican, as the winner over Democrat Tom Barrett for Wisconsin governor.
Walker and other Wisconsin Republicans are hoping to ride the national tide of discontent to big wins in Tuesday's election.
The race for governor, along with a tight race for U.S. Senate where Republican Ron Johnson defeated incumbent Russ Feingold, likely set new records for spending in Wisconsin, according to a nonpartisan government watchdog group. Common Cause in Wisconsin.
The group estimated $45 million to $50 million had been spent in the governor's race and $40 million to $45 million on the Senate race.
Republican Scott Walker led in the polls heading into Tuesday's vote. The seat is open for the first time in 28 years after Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle decided against seeking a third term.
In Sun Prairie, Steve Villand, a 67-year-old retiree, said he went with Walker and Johnson. Villand said he likes their conservative positions, especially Walker's promise to stop a proposed passenger rail line between Madison and Milwaukee. The federal government has committed $810 million to the state for the project.
It's a "complete waste of money," Villand said.
Turnout on Tuesday was predicted to be 50 percent of the voting-age population, roughly the same as in 2006 when Doyle won re-election and Democrats captured majority control of the state Senate. Two years later, Democrats took control of the Assembly as President Barack Obama carried the state by 14-points.
Democrats were largely on the defensive this year, trying to maintain the seats they already control. Five of the eight congressional districts were held by Democrats, but Republicans were targeting the open seat in central Wisconsin's 7th District and the 8th District seat held by U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen. Also in play was western Wisconsin's 3rd District seat held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Kind.
All 99 of the seats in the state Assembly were to be decided, 17 state Senate seats and lower-profile races for attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer.