See the WisPolitics General Election Scorecard
for updated results after 8 p.m.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Elections Board Certifies Official Returns

Doyle's official margin of victory over Republican Mark Green was 159,688 votes, according to certified returns posted by the state Elections Board today.

Of the 2,161,700 votes cast in the guv's race, 1,139,115 were cast for Doyle, 979,427 went to Green and 40,709 went for Green Party candidate Nelson Eisman. Another 2,449 voters wrote in a candidate.

Initial returns had the race at 1,136,726 for Doyle and 976,275 for Green, a difference of 160,451.

In a much closer race, Republican J.B. Van Hollen officially topped Dem Kathleen Falk by 8,859 votes. Fewer voters participated in the attorney general's race, with 2,124,467 citizens casting votes.

Van Hollen's official vote total was 1,065,453, while Falk's was 1,056,594.

The initial count gave Van Hollen an edge of 9,071 votes with Van Hollen at 1,062,657 and Falk at 1,053,586.

View the SEB's county by county returns for statewide and legislative races:
http://elections.state.wi.us/subcategory.asp?linksubcatid=592&linkcatid=631&linkid=155&locid=47

Thursday, November 09, 2006

LaCrosse Approved Gay Marriage Amendment, Too

Turns out all but one Wisconsin county approved the amendment to ban gay marriage.

Initial returns showed Dane County voting overwhelmingly against the amendment with LaCrosse narrowly rejecting it.

But LaCrosse County Clerk Marion Naegle said her office found a mistake yesterday that flipped the results. Instead of 20,374 no votes and 20,358 yes votes that were initially reported, the final numbers were 21,172 no votes and 21,324 yes votes.

Naegle said the Town of Campbell had incorrectly tallied its votes, causing the discrepancy.

Overall, the amendment was approved, 59 percent to 41 percent.

-- By JR Ross

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

An Early Stock Report

An early post-election Political Stock Report
(Nov. 8, 2006)
See more in Friday's REPORT

Rising

Dave Obey: The dean of the Wisconsin congressional delegation is poised to reclaim the chair of the House Appropriations Committee as he returns to the majority. Wisconsin institutions and projects, which already have benefited from his committee influence, could benefit more as well as the junior Dem members of the delegation -- Ron Kind, Tammy Baldwin, Gwen Moore and now, Steve Kagen, the new 8th CD rep from Appleton. Others say it would have been better for Wisconsin had GOP-er Tom Petri been in the majority and grabbed the Transportation Committee chairmanship. But with Dems firmly in control of the House, that possibility has passed. Dems now have a 5-3 edge in the House delegation.

See more in D.C. Wrap

Jim Doyle: The much-maligned Dem guv, who gained office with 45 percent of the vote four years ago, now can claim something of a mandate, insiders say, after his bigger-than-expected 53 percent-45 percent win over Green Bay-area Congressman Mark Green. On top of that there are increased numbers of Dems in the Assembly and enough Dems in the Senate to take back control. That should ease the partisanized, government-by-veto atmosphere in the Capitol that permeated the first term and allow Doyle to play more offense than defense. Insiders and operatives on both sides of the aisle give him and his campaign kudos for running what many claim was a flawless race. Team Doyle quickly defined Green before Green could define himself, capitalized on the Elections Board PAC decision, skillfully used the stem cell and abortion issues to exploit the gender gap, and pushed other issues to lock in seniors and independents, they say.

J.B. Van Hollen: In the space of a few months, the affable Van Hollen has gone from little-known federal prosecutor to the top elected Republican in Wisconsin and some say a possible future guv candidate. His apparent, but narrow, victory over Dane Co. exec Kathleen Falk makes Van Hollen, also a former northern Wisconsin county DA who stressed crime-fighting, the first Republican to win the AG's office since Don Hanaway in 1986. Hanaway held the office for one term before losing to Doyle. Van Hollen was aided by millions in spending from business groups led by WMC, which labeled Falk early in a negative way. Republicans also credit Van Hollen with running a solid statewide campaign, delivering a simple, powerful message. In the end, it was the crime-fighter vs. the flawed bureaucrat and that was enough to win over enough Dems to buck the national trend.

Steve Kagen: Insiders were hard on the first-time candidate down the stretch, saying he may have frittered away his chance at Congress through verbal gaffes. But Kagen proved to be a good candidate and together with his personal cash and base in Appleton helped him ride the national Dem wave to a victory in the Republican-leaning 8th CD over Assembly Speaker John Gard. In the top 50 house races, the wealthy allergist ranked 41st nationwide with at least $2.1 million spent, at last report. Gard ranked 49th at $2 million. No. 1 was Florida Republican Vernon Buchanan at $5.9 million. But Kagen ranked fifth in self-funding nationally at $1.8 million with Buchanan No. 1 at $3.7 million.

See more in D.C. Wrap.

Dem leggies: After years in the minority, Dem leggies have rebounded -- claiming four seats and an 18-15 majority in the state Senate (lost in 2002 on the heels of the Chuck Chvala indictment) and gaining at least seven and possibly eight seats in the state Assembly to drastically narrow the GOP's huge 60-39 advantage going into Tuesday. It's the first time Dems have gained seats in the state Assembly since 1990. Republicans have controlled the Assembly since the big Republican 1994 election. Now there's speculation the expected speaker in waiting, Mike Huebsch of West Salem, may not be able to muster the votes to lead the Assembly.

Negative advertising: The election results appear to say once again that negative advertising works. Examples 1 and 2 -- Doyle's negative label on Green, and the business community's negative label on Falk. Falk's ad against Van Hollen, however, was viewed by some voters as over the top or not credible. Voters experienced a blizzard of negative ads this year, but apparently they didn't quell turnout, as some had speculated. Turnout was estimated at about 51.2 percent -- the biggest since 1970 for a non-presidential year.

Mixed

Death penalty advocates: They get a thumbs-up from the electorate on reinstating the death penalty. But the emerging power structure at the Capitol discourages backers from getting too excited about the possibility of legislation passing. Dems will run the Senate, where Republican Alan Lasee occupies a seat, and Doyle has promised a veto if death penalty reinstatement arrives on his desk.

Falling

Kathleen Falk: After her primary victory over Peg Lautenschlager, fans talked about her breezing into the AG's office and then running for guv four years later. Now, given her two statewide defeats (this and the 2002 guv's primary), her statewide chances are dismissed by insiders. Also, would-be successors maneuvered to run for her Dane Co. exec post. Now, unless she quits for another job, they'll have to wait until her term is over.

Jack Voight: The likeable state treasurer from the Fox Valley, who had been the GOP's top statewide elected official for the past four years, got blindsided by the national Dem tidal wave. In his low-profile race, a wave of Dem voters elected Dawn Marie Sass in a narrow victory. Voight was first elected in 1994, another election that followed national trends.

Fair Wisconsin: Despite spending at least $3.5 million this year and running months of advertising, the group formed to defeat the gay marriage ban in the constitution failed in every county but two. But Fair Wisconsin is being credited by some with boosting Dem turnout on college campuses that could have contributed to Doyle's margin and Dem legislative victories.

Ed Thompson: Tommy's brother gained 10 percent of the vote as a Libertarian in 2002. This year, he stayed out of the race until the very end, staging an oddly timed write-in campaign that appeared to have little effect on the guv's race outcome.

WTMJ-TV: The Milwaukee TV station, which has done exit polling for many years, gets roasted for its early declaration Election Night that Falk and Doyle would win. The polling apparently was only half right. One TV official says the exit poll was right all the way through except for Falk and could offer no clear explanation.

Robert Lorge: The little-known attorney from central Wisconsin becomes Herb Kohl's latest victim. Largely abandoned by traditional Republican organizations and operatives, Lorge fought a lonely e-mail and press release campaign against Kohl, the millionaire Milwaukee Bucks owner who nonetheless spent at least $5.4 million -- much of it his own money -- on TV ads and a professional campaign that helped him up his re-election margin. Six years ago, he won with 61.5 percent of the vote; this year, he won with 67 percent of the vote.

GOP Margin in Assembly Could Shrink to 52-47

Democrats could close the gap in the Assembly to 52-47, pending any possible recounts in several close races. Republicans went into last night with a 58-39 edge and two open seats that had been held by GOP lawmakers before resignations left them open.

Dems won two open seats, knocked off five incumbents and may have taken out a sixth.

The lone bright spots for the GOP were freshman Brett Davis' win in a toss up seat with 51 percent of the vote and John Murtha. The Republican had just less than 52 percent of the vote with about 83 of the precincts reporting in an open seat in the Menomonie area.

Dem Ann Hraychuck knocked off GOP incumbent Mark Pettis in northwestern Wisconsin by about 300 votes, while Phil Garthwaite beat Gabe Loeffelholz in the Platteville area, Steve Hilgenberg beat Stephen Freese in southwestern Wisconsin, Jim Soletski beat Judy Krawczyk in the Green Bay area by 88 votes and Jeff Smith beat Rob Kreibich in the Eau Claire area.

Initial returns show Republican Rep. Debi Towns winning by six votes over Democrat Kim Hixson, but Hixson now seems to have a narrow lead in that race, which is likely headed for a recount.

Dems Gordon Hintz and Andy Jorgensen also picked up open seats in Oshkosh and the Fort Atkinson area.

The tally is based on unofficial returns, and recounts are possible. In addition to the close Dem wins, Republican Eugene Hahn won by 154 votes in his race.

-- By JR Ross

Schultz Not Planning to Seek Leadership Role

Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richfield, said today he will not seek the Senate minority leader position when Republicans caucus tomorrow.

Schultz's hold on the leadership position of the GOP caucus has been tenuous over the past two years as persistent rumors of a coup have swirled amid various complaints of his handling of contentious issues. Republicans lost four seats last night, meaning Dems will hold an 18-15 edge come January and putting Sen. Judy Robson, D-Beloit, in line to replace Schultz as Senate majority leader.
Schultz said in a statement he has enjoyed his two years as majority leader "more than anyone can know."

"I'm deeply humbled and indebted to my Republican colleagues for giving me this opportunity, and I will fully support our new leader whoever he or she might be," Schultz said.

See the statement here.

Schultz won his own re-election contest last night with about 54 percent of the vote.

-- By JR Ross

Van Hollen Lone Statewide Republican Winner Amid Big Dem Wins

The AP has declared Republican J.B. Van Hollen the winner in the attorney general's race, according to unofficial returns, making him the only statewide Republican winner amid a big Dem sweep that saw Gov. Jim Doyle re-elected.

Unofficial returns with nearly all precincts counted showed Van Hollen with 1,061,991 votes to Kathleen Falk's 1,052,652. Falk, the Dane Co. exec, lost to Van Hollen after knocking off incumbent Democrat Peg Lautenschlager in the September primary.

Due to the narrow margin, Falk's campaign isn't quite ready to concede.

"Kathleen Falk has called J.B. Van Hollen to wish him the best," Falk campaign manager Tim Del Monico said in a prepared statement. "Given the narrowness of the election results, we will review the official canvass when it is completed by the Elections Board and evaluate the options at that time."

For now Van Hollen, a former U.S. attorney and northern prosecutor who stressed crime-fighting, appears to be the first Republican to win the AG's office since Don Hanaway in 1986. Hanaway held the office for one term before losing to Doyle.

Dems Take State Treasurer Post

In the state treasurer's race, incumbent Republican Jack Voight, previously the highest-ranking elected Republican statewide, has been declared the loser to Democrat Dawn Sass. Unofficial returns with nearly all precincts counted statewide showed Sass winning by a mere 8,278 votes at around 6 a.m.

Voight was first elected to the post in 1994.

Doyle Audio

Listen to audio of Doyle's post-speech comments to reporters here.

Listen to Doyle's victory speech here.

-- By Greg Bump

Marotta Says Big Win No Surprise

Doyle campaign chairman Marc Marotta says he wasn't surprised by the margin of victory.

"Our numbers all along had the governor at a comfortable margin," Marotta said. "And I think people, when they look back at where we were and where we are today, think Wisconsin is in a better place today than we were four years ago."

Marotta said the difference for Doyle was that he focused on issues that make a difference in voters' lives, citing concealed carry and the gay marriage amendment.

"These kinds of things really have no impact on people's lives or future. Education, jobs, health care, the environment, those are the kinds of things people are concerned about, and those are the things Jim focused on for four years, and that's why he won by such a big margin," Marotta said.

One major issue victory for Doyle was stem cell research, Marotta said. The issue was "reflective of one guy in the campaign looking forward and the other guy kind of stuck in a very special interest sort of cage ... required by his party to oppose stem cell research, which would take the state back a significant ways.

"People, I think, once they understood this, it became a much bigger issue in the race than I ever expected it to be," Marotta said.

Marotta said he's not looking to run for political office himself in '08.

"In today's atmosphere my wife said to me, 'When everybody asks you that, you should tell them to talk to your second wife,'" Marotta said. "So I don't think so."

Listen to the WisPolitics interview with Marotta here.

-- By Greg Bump

Victorious Kagen Pledges a "New Path in Iraq"

During his victory speech, political newcomer Steve Kagen pledged to join a Democratic majority in Congress that would help chart a "positive path to solve this crisis in Iraq."

"Tonight's election sends forth a message," Kagen said. "We don't want more rhetoric, or more political spin - like 'mission accomplished,' - although I'd like to use that phrase here."

Picking off a solidly Republican district in which George Bush won by 11 points just two years ago, Kagen assisted Democrats nationwide in their massive gains in Congress. With about 70 percent of the precincts reporting, Kagen defeated Republican Assembly Speaker John Gard by a 5-point margin, giving Dems a 5 to 3 edge in the state congressional balance.

He said ethical lapses and widespread corruption led to large Republicans loses. Throughout the campaign Kagen characterized Gard as a career politicial who would be a rubber stamp serving Republican bosses in Washington.

"We must find a better way to solve our problems here in America, because the professional politicians in Washington, their values are upside down," Kagen said.

He said he was anxious to go to work and try and solve some of these problems voters were concerned about. "I'll earn their trust and respect," he pledged.

The Appleton allergist touted his healthcare concerns as well, saying he'd work to find a way to guarantee access to affordable care for everyone in Northeast Wisconsin.

"I'm fiscally conservative and socially progressive - I'm exactly what this district needs right now," Kagen said.

-- By Tim Maylander and Alec Loftus

Election Night Quotes

Voters are "fed up with the extreme right-wing stuff the Republicans have given us."'
--Jim Doyle, noting that while stem cells were an important issue in the race, "with a margin like this, there were a lot of issues."

"As we all know, we face great challenges in Wisconsin, and we should be pulling together -- Republicans and Democrats -- alike to meet those challenges."'
--Mark Green.

"Despite some of the things that were said about me and the way I conduct myself, my family and I have served northern Wisconsin with honor, with distinction and with integrity."
--Assembly Speaker John Gard, who lost his congressional bid.

"It's generic. It's nothing to do with any of our candidates. It's all about the national tide that swept through Wisconsin that we didn't think was going to."
--Keith Gilkes, chief operative of the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, calling Tuesday night "a Republican bloodbath."

"The mistake I probably made in this campaign was not begging for more money."
--Freshman state Sen. Tom Reynolds, R-West Allis, who lost to Dem Jim Sullivan.

"(Voters) didn't let the confusing ads by the opponents sway them."
--Vote Yes for Marriage leader Julaine Appling on the approval of the gay marriage ban.

"We did not lose because Wisconsin does not like gay people. We lost because Wisconsin does not know gay people."
--Fair Wisconsin strategist Michael Tate.

"There is still a great chunk of the state out, and we'd like to thank the media outlets who have not prematurely called this race."
--J.B. Van Hollen consultant Brian Fraley, alluding to an early WTMJ-TV call of the AG's race for Kathleen Falk based on exit polling.

"There's reason to believe the approach and leadership I've taken on Iraq has resonated well."'
--U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, still weighing a decision to run for prez.

"Not with Jim Doyle being re-elected. So, I'm not really going to spend a lot of political capital on this."
--State Sen. Alan Lasee, R-Rockland, saying chances of death penalty legislation passing was remote.

"Now I'm sorry I didn't run a campaign."'
--Ed Thompson, Libertarian brother of Tommy Thompson, who officially entered the race for guv Monday as a write-in candidate.

-- By WisPolitics Staff

Assembly Dems Poised to Knock Off Four GOP Incumbents, Possibly a Fifth

Assembly Dems were poised to knock off four Republican incumbents early this morning and had a shot at a fifth.

In the 49th AD, Dem challenger Phil Garthwaite was poised to win with 52 percent of the vote over incumbent Republican Gabe Loeffelholz and 97 percent of precincts in.

In the 51st district, Dem Steve Hilgenberg had 53 percent of the vote over Speaker Pro Tempore Stephen Freese with 99 percent of the vote in.

Dem Jim Soletski beat incumbent Republican Judy Krawczyk in the 88th Assembly District in the Green Bay area. Soletski received 8,927 votes to 8,849 for Krawczyk, according to unofficial returns.

Dem Jeff Smith knocked off Republican incumbent Rob Kreibich with 51 percent of the vote and 100 percent of precincts in for the Eau Claire seat, according to unofficial returns.

In the 28th, Ann Hraychuck had 51 percent of the vote with 88 percent of precincts reporting over incumbent Republican Mark Pettis.

The 28th District was one of six WisPolitics rated as toss ups heading into the election. The other three were in the lean Republican category.

Dems won two of the other five toss ups and was leading in another early this morning.

Republicans won one of the toss up seats and were leading in a second early this morning.

Several races were also much closer than expected.

Unofficial results indicate that GOP Rep. Debi Towns retained the 43rd Assembly Seat by six votes over Dem Kim Hixson. Towns received 10,271 votes, while Hixson received 10,265.

Incumbent Republican Eugene Hahn fended off Dem challenger Meagan Yost in the 47th AD to gain reelection by an 154-vote margin. Unoffical results list 12,088 votes for Hahn, with 11,934 for Yost with all precincts reporting.

If Dem leads early this morning hold up, the party could pick up eight seats in the Assembly, which would leave Republicans in the majority, 52-47. Republicans had a 58-39 lead going into the election with two open seats that had been held by the GOP.

-- By JR Ross

Van Hollen Says He's Going Home

With returns early this morning showing J.B. Van Hollen narrowly edging Kathleen Falk, the Republican told his supporters that he couldn't declare a win or loss until tomorrow.

"The Republicans are taking a beating nationwide; the Republicans have taken a beating around the state," he said. "But the J.B. Van Hollen for AG is not taking a beating."

This was Van Hollen's second address of the night at his victory party in Waunakee. Campaign consultant Brian Fraley said an announcement will be made by 8 a.m. tomorrow concerning the outcome of the election.

Hear Van Hollen address supporters here.

-- By Matt Dolbey

Reynolds Fails to Win Second Term, Loss Helps Dems Control Senate

Conservative Republican Sen. Tom Reynolds did not make an official concession speech tonight, but bemoaned through a spokesman that he was out raised and out organized by his Dem challenger Jim Sullivan.

"The mistake I probably made in this campaign was not begging for more money," Reynolds said. "I was outspent 12, 15 to one. It's tough to stay in office when there's that type of money against me."

He continued, "My mistake also was believing that a group of volunteers and printing my own literature against a disproportionate amount of money... maybe I'm a little surprised that it stayed so close."

Sullivan declared victory in the 5th Senate District at around midnight in a race that flipped control of the State Senate to the Democrats.

"You have seen misdirection and divisiveness and have chosen to unite," Sullivan told more than 100 supporters at Friday's restaurant in Miller Park. "Tonight is a victory for the voices of reason and moderation and pragmatism."

-- By Andy Szal and David Wise

Doyle Says Clear Choice Made; Green Pledges to Help

Gov. Jim Doyle said voters made a clear choice in giving him another four-year term and were tired of all the "right-wing" stuff that Republicans had given them.

Doyle is the first Dem guv to win re-election since Pat Lucey in 1974. He gave an 18-minute victory speech to supporters that touched on stem cell research, health care reform, education and reproductive rights as supporters chanted, "four more years." He also mentioned Lucey, his sister's godfather.

Doyle also thanked key members of his re-election team, including campaign chairman Marc Marotta and manager Dan Schooff, and his "MVP" Katie Boyce, his fundraiser. He also singled our Fair Wisconsin for praise.

"I hope people aren't too discouraged because their work helped my campaign and others around the state ... I thank them so much for what they have done," he said.

Speaking briefly with reporters afterward, Doyle said Mark Green was very gracious in his concession call and offered his assistance to the governor.

"I hope his family, like mine, are going to get a chance to relax," Doyle said.

Doyle said he believes voters are "fed up with the extreme right-wing stuff the Republicans have given us."

While stem cells were an important issue in the race, he said, "with a margin like this, there were a lot of issues."

"I think people made a clear choice in this, and I think there was a very clear difference in direction where we wanted to go," Doyle said. "I think what people are looking for in Wisconsin and what I've tried to do for the last four years is work on the real problems of real people and coming up with solutions instead of always going off on divisive, very ideological types of battles."

Surrounded by his family, Green pledged to help Doyle continue to make Wisconsin the greatest state in the nation despite the challenges facing the UW System, public schools and the business climate.

"As we all know, we face great challenges in Wisconsin, and we should be pulling together -- Republicans and Democrats -- alike to meet those challenges," he said.

Green expressed his gratitude to his campaign staff and supporters. His message was almost exclusively focused on how grateful he was to have had the opportunity to run for governor. But Green took one shot at the governor over the decision by the Elections Board to strip him of almost half a million dollars.

"Sometimes, I felt like I was running not only against the governor but against the very organs of government, including the Elections Board itself, which all too often seemed to be stacked against us," Green said. "But that's the way it goes. That's how this campaign went."

-- By Greg Bump and Joe Ahlers

Gard Alludes to Nasty Battle in Concession Speech

During his concession speech, Republican John Gard alluded to the nasty battle between the two camps, and the harsh words that were exchanged between himself and Dem Steve Kagen in the waning days of the campaign.

"I'm sure there are some things that were said along the way that he wishes weren't said, and there's some things along the way that I wish weren't said," Gard told supporters.

"Despite some of the things that were said about me and the way I conduct myself, my family and I have served northern Wisconsin with honor, with distinction and with integrity."

Gard called himself one of the "luckiest people on earth" for all the things he was able to accomplish as speaker of the Wisconsin Assemby and said Kagen has a full plate ahead of him in Congress, which is now controlled by Democrats.

Gard's 11:30 p.m. speech followed an earlier concession by fellow Republican and joint election night party mate Mark Green.

As polls closed, Kagen held a small lead and maintained that lead throughout the night, but cautiously waited until after midnight to deliver his victory speech.

With most precincts reporting, a CNN chart showed Kagen taking a majority of the counties in the 8th district.

Included in his haul were Brown, Outagamie and Door Counties, three areas rich with independent votes. With most of the north half of the district going for Gard and the south going to Kagen, observers calculated that these districts would likely swing the election.

-- By Joe Ahlers and Alec Loftus

Falk Skipping Victory Party as Race Remains Tight

Falk campaign manager Tim Delmonico took the stage after midnight to inform the 75 or so Dems and media who were still waiting for AG returns that she will not be coming to the victory party.

Delmonico said she was still watching results at home and remains "cautiously optimistic" about her chances.

-- By Greg Bump

Lasee Pessimistic Death Penalty Will Come Back Despite Referendum

State Sen. Alan Lasee, who led the push to get the death penalty referendum on the ballot, said he did not expect legislation to reintroduce the death penalty to pass despite a solid margin election night.

"Not with Jim Doyle being re-elected," said Lasee, R-Rockland. "So, I'm not really going to spend a lot of political capital on this."

Doyle is opposed to the death penalty and is expected to veto any legislation to bring it back in Wisconsin.

The referendum appeared headed for victory early Wednesday morning. With about 60 percent of the vote counted shortly after midnight, the tally was about 55 percent in favor vs. 45 percent opposed.

Sachin Chheda, representing death penalty opponents, said he was not disappointed with the vote.

"If the percentages stay the same, this will be a victory for common sense because when this was put forward earlier, polls showed it ahead by 60 percent," he said, adding he believed the debate in the Legislature would turn people against the death penalty as they learned more about the financial and moral implications.

Lasee said the results were in line with what he expected, saying they were a "barometer" for how people in Wisconsin feel about the issue. And while he said he would introduce a capital punishment bill next year, he was not confident it would become law.

"I think I'm obligated by the poll results," he said. "But even if we passed it, Doyle would not sign it."

-- By Brian E. Clark

Dems Projected to Win State Senate

Dems are projected to win control of the state Senate, picking up at least the three seats they need to flip the chamber.

Republicans have conceded defeat in the open 21st District in the Racine area and the 31st District now held by Eau Claire Republican Ron Brown. Dem John Lehman won the district with 53 percent of the vote, according to unofficial election returns. Dem Kathleen Vinehout had just more than 51 percent of the vote with more than 76 percent of the precincts reporting in her race with Brown. Republicans said their numbers showed she would win.

Dem Jim Sullivan also declared victory in the 5th District over freshman Republican Tom Reynolds of West Allis. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Sullivan led with 52 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns.

Those three races give Dems at least a 17-16 majority next session. Dem Pat Kreitlow also had a narrow lead over incumbent Republican Dave Zien with just less than half of the vote in for the Eau Claire-area district.

-- By JR Ross

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Republicans Conceding in 21st, 31st Senate Districts

Republicans are conceding defeat in the open Senate seat covering the Racine area and the Eau Claire-area district held by freshman Republican Ron Brown.

A significant number of wards were still out in both districts were still out. But Keith Gilkes, head of the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, said he'd seen the numbers on the ground and said it's a "Republican blood bath."

"That's putting it kindly," Gilkes said. "It's generic. It's nothing to do with any of our candidates. It's all about the national tides that swept through Wisconsin that we didn't think was going to."

With 73 percent of the vote in the 21st SD, Dem John Lehman was leading Bill McReynolds with 53 percent of the vote.

In the 31st, Dem Kathleen Vinehout was leading with 52 percent of the vote over Brown. Sixty-three percent of the returns were in in.

Gilkes said Republicans continued to hold out hope they would win in the other two seats that WisPolitics rated toss ups heading into Election Day.

In the 5th SD, incumbent Tom Reynolds, R-West Allis, led with 51 percent of the vote and 69 percent of wards reporting.

In the 23rd, incumbent Republican Dave Zien narrowly led Pat Kreitlow by 65 votes with 45 percent of wards reporting.

-- By JR Ross

Gard Concedes to Kagen in 8th CD

After CNN called the race for Dem Steve Kagen in the 8th CD, Republican John Gard conceded the race.

With over 60 percent of the vote reporting in the district, Dem Kagen continued to hold a lead over the Republican 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent.

Kagen is due to make a speech soon.

-- By Alec Loftus

Van Hollen Makes Short Statement to Supporters

J. B. Van Hollen made a quick stop to his campaign party to thank his supporters and tell them that this race is "too close to call."

"Wow, what great patience you have. I hope you have more," Van Hollen said. Van Hollen predicted the race for attorney general would go until the wee hours of the night and be decided by the last few votes.

He left immediately after his short address for his campaign headquarters.

-- By Matt Dolbey

Jorgensen Wins 37th AD

Dem Andy Jorgensen has won the open 37th Assembly District covering the Fort Atkinson area with 52 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns.

Republican Greg Gasper had just more than 44 percent in the district that had been held by GOP Rep. David Ward, who resigned the seat earlier this year to return to the private sector.

-- By JR Ross

Appling Declares Victory for "Institution of Marriage"

Vote Yes for Marriage supporters reveled in their victory tonight and President Julaine Appling, speaking at the Monona Oaks Church, vowed to continue her fight to preserve the institution of marriage for "the future generation."

"The people of Wisconsin took it seriously," Appling declared. "They didn't let the confusing ads by the opponents sway them."

The amendment passed by a margin of 58 percent to 42 percent, with just more than half of the vote in, despite over $3.5 million in spending and heavy TV advertising by the opponent group Fair Wisconsin.

Supporters of all ages stood around a wedding cake at the church, complete with mini bride and groom, outfitted in military fatigues. Wedding pictures also adorned the walls of the church room, adjacent to the sanctuary.

Despite the large victory, she said a "huge percent of votes" that went to oppose the amendment should have been awarded to the "yes cause," because of what she called Fair Wisconsin's "misleading phone calls."

Appling said the "experiments" in Massachusetts and Vermont have yet to prove that a same-sex couple can produce a family unit with a "dynamic that is equivalent" to the dynamic seen in traditional families.

-- By Rebecca Kurz

Van Hollen Campaign Consultant Makes Statement

J.B. Van Hollen campaign consultant Brian Fraley made a statement around 11 p.m., shortly before the GOP AG candidate was to make his first appearance at his victory party in Waunakee.

Fraley said "there is still a great chunk of the state out, and we'd like to thank the media outlets who have not prematurely called this race."

-- By Matt Dolbey

Feingold: No Decision Yet on Presidency

US Sen. Russ Feingold says it's too early for him to determine from tonight's results whether he will run for president in '08.

"There's reason to believe the approach and leadership I've taken on Iraq has resonated well," he said.

But, he said, the Dems' takeover of the House and gains in the Senate "make it attractive to remain a member of Congress."

Feingold said first and foremost the Democratic wave tonight is "a referendum on this disastrous decision to go to war in Iraq." He said it's also the voters showing their displeasure over one-party rule in Washington, D.C., and the Bush administrations bungling of Hurricane Katrina relief and issues like health care.

Feingold stopped by the Doyle event for about half an hour, working the crowd and doing interviews. He also visited with the governor, who is in a suite in the adjoining hotel, and said he was in good spirits.

Feingold said he never really doubted Doyle would be re-elected.

"He had a good record, he's fiscally responsible and dealt with that enormous deficit," he said. "He's been a workmanlike governor."

-- By Greg Bump

Kohl, Moore, Chisholm Celebrate Wins

Seconds after the polls closed, the crowd that had gathered at Milwaukee's Lakefront Brewery erupted into cheers for Democrats Gov. Bob Doyle and Sen. Herb Kohl after they were projected to win their races.

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, Milwaukee County DA-elect John Chisholm, and Kohl gathered to give not only their acceptance speeches, but to thank their supporters.

Moore's daughter sang the "Star Spangled Banner" and State Rep. Barbara Toles, D-Milwaukee, describe Moore as a woman who takes care of Milwaukee at home and in Washington, D.C.

Moore took the microphone and said that she could not wait to get to work on the issues like raising minimum wage, lowering interest rates on college loans, and stopping outrageous transfers of wealth to the Paris Hilton’s of the world.

"What it may mean is that we are able to force the White House to sit down with us and start talking about some reasonable policy for returning control of Iraq to the Iraqi people," Moore said.

Kohl spoke about how his trademark during his 18 years in office has been working together with others for a common goal.

Kohl described his win as "a victory that recognizes the need for people of all stripes and of all party affiliations to come together, to reach across the partisan divide, to work in an atmosphere of civility, reconciliation and bipartisanship."

Chisholm pledged to work closely with unions and local law enforcements. He said his first major task will be restructuring how the office runs so that it can work more with the community.

"Everyone here knows what those problems are. (The) challenge is how do we solve those problems," Chisholm said. "We can do it one of two ways as I see it. We can all stand alone, or we can work together as a community."

-- By Samantha V. Hernandez

Fair Wisconsin Head Concedes Defeat, Vows to Continue Fight

Fair Wisconsin head Mike Tate admitted defeat at Monona Terrace, as early returns showed the amendment passing overwhelmingly.

Supporters maintained a positive attitude through the night, despite the news.

"My friends, tonight we came up short in our struggle for equality," Tate said. "While we lost today, we will not lose in the long run. We will achieve equality," he declared.

Said Tate, "We did not lose because Wisconsin does not like gay people. We lost because Wisconsin does not know gay people."

He said he recently spoke to Gov. Jim Doyle who congratulated the amendment opponents on a hard fought race and expressed his pride. "He said Mike, 'We will win this fight; we just lost today,'" Tate said.

"We know when anti gay politicians jump on the bandwagon they end up in the unemployment line," Tate said. "This is why Mark Green is joining Rick Santorum and others in the unemployment line."

-- By Kara Intrieri

Doyle Supporters Cheer Media Report of Win

Doyle's supporters have been watching returns on TV all night. But they didn't hear a projection that Doyle would win the race until just after 10 p.m.; that got a heavy cheer from the crowd.

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz offered updates to the crowd throughout the night on national races. He said it's too early to announce a result in the races everyone here has gathered for, but said, they are seeing some "very good indications."

-- By Greg Bump

Falk Trailing Doyle's Vote Total in Dane, Brown Counties

WTMJ TV called the AG race for Dem Kathleen Falk just after the polls closed tonight. But some are questioning whether that projection will hold up as returns roll in.

In Dane County, Doyle was beating Green with almost 68 percent of the vote just before 10 p.m., according to return on the county Web site. Falk had just less than 63 percent of the vote.

In Brown County, Doyle was leading Green 49.24 percent to 48.93 percent. But Van Hollen was beating Falk with almost 53 percent of the vote to just more than 47 percent.

-- By JR Ross

Kagen Leads in Three Key Counties

With just over a third of the vote reporting district wide, Dem Dr. Steve Kagen had a slight edge of 52 percent to 48 percent over Republican John Gard, but the Dem leads by significant margins in three key counties.

In the GOP-leaning Brown County, Kagen held a three-point lead with over 80 percent reporting.

Kagen spokeswoman Stephanie Lundberg said it was important for Kagen to be competitive in Brown County, but she suggested that the election may hinge on Outagamie and Door County, where many independent voters reside.

With nearly all precincts reporting in Door County, Kagen led Gard 54 percent to 45 percent. Meanwhile, in Outagamie County, Kagen held a 10-point lead over Gard with most precincts in.

Lundberg said she was "really happy" with the early results and predicted it was going to be a long night.

"We had a great program. The polls last week were showing it was neck and neck, so we needed to get out the vote to get that final push," said Lundberg.

Gard spokesman Brandon Rosner said the results do not show victory for Kagen as key precincts have yet to come in. "We have not seen a vote from Marinette County, we're expected to do pretty well up there," he said.

Rosner added, "A lot of rural areas in Outagamie and Brown County have yet to come in as well. ... A lot of what we've seen is what we expected and I think it's going to be a long night," Rosner added.

-- By Tim Maylander, Joe Ahlers and Alec Loftus

AP Calls Race for Doyle, Too

The Associated Press is the latest media organization to call the guv's race for Jim Doyle.

Doyle is up 52-46 with about 21 percent of precincts reporting.

Should the results hold up, Doyle will be the first Dem to win back-to-back terms since 1974.

-- By JR Ross

Exit Polling Gives Doyle Edge

Exit polling on CNN's Web site in the governor's race shows Doyle with a slight edge over Green among men but a 19-point advantage with women.

It also shows Doyle with a 52-46 edge over Green among white voters and a 92-8 edge with black voters.

See the exit polling.

-- By JR Ross

Multiple Media Outlets Project Marriage Amendment will Pass

Multiple media outlets are projecting that the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions will pass. With just 4 percent of the vote reporting, WLUK FOX 11 in Appleton projected that the amendment would pass. The Associated Press has also projected that the amendment will pass.

See the FOX 11 results page.

Vote Yes for Marriage President Julaine Appling declined to declare victory this early in the night, calling the results "premature and inconclusive." Appling is at Monona Oaks Church in Monona with about 60 supporters.

Fair Wisconsin spokeswoman Rachel Strauch-Nelson said she was also going to hold off on commenting on the results until more totals came in, but she remained optimistic.

"We're seeing really promising turnout in Dane Co. and Milwaukee and that's what matters," she said. "I think it's looking good."

The Fair Wisconsin crew has gathered at the Monona Terrace Crystal Ballroom in Madison. So far about 200 supporters are in attendance, including Dem Rep. Mark Pocan and U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who is set to speak later in the night.

-- By Alec Loftus, Kara Intrieri and Rebecca Kurz

WTMJ Declares Doyle, Falk Winners Based on Exit Polling

WTMJ TV in Milwaukee declared Gov. Jim Doyle and Dem AG candidate Kathleen Falk the winners in their respective races at 8:01 p.m., based on the station's exit polling.

The station said it interviewed about 5,000 voters at more than 60 wards for its exit polling.

Returns are just starting to roll in for the races.

Listen to audio of the WTMJ report.

National media have also projected a win for Doyle, including Fox News and CNN.

Doyle spokeswoman Melanie Fonder declined to declare victory.

"The polls just closed, and we're going to wait for some more numbers to come in," Fonder said. "But we're delighted they called it for us."

Green spokesman Mike Prentiss cautioned against relying on exit polling to make such an early projection.

"If exit polls were accurate, John Kerry would be president," Prentiss said.

-- By Alec Loftus

Kohl a Winner Already

Some are already projecting incumbent Sen. Herb Kohl will win re-election, even though the polls just closed.

Giving a rundown on Senate races on MSNBC, host Chris Matthews projected Kohl would win. At first, he called him the owner of the "Milwaukee Bulls" before he corrected himself.

At Kohl's victory party, supporters began cheering and clapping enthusiastically as national media pronounced him the winner. But the incumbent wasn't even at the party yet. Supporters say he's en route.

Republicans didn't mount much of a challenge to the long-time incumbent with Robert Gerald Lorge, while Green Party candidate Rae Vogeler received scant attention.

Also on the ballot was independent Ben Glatzel.

-- By JR Ross


Polls Close in Wisconsin

It's now 8 p.m. and polls are closed in Wisconsin. Stay tuned to WisPolitics.com for election results and continued coverage throughout the night.

Doyle-Lawton-Falk Party Quiet Before the Storm

It's the quiet before the storm at the Doyle-Lawton-Falk "Victory Party" at the Marriott Madison West in Middleton. Hotel staff are making final preparations for the party, stocking the bars at either end of the ballroom as a band, Madisalsa, tunes up in front of a massive American flag backdrop.

A few supporters have gathered at the venue, watching CNN election reporting on a giant projection screen. The media has gathered in numbers, readying their equipment behind a cordoned off area facing the stage and podium backed by a Doyle-Lawton banner. An adjacent media room has also been provided adjoining the ballroom.

Doyle campaign spokeswoman Melanie Fonder said after voting this morning, the governor spent the day with his family and "probably got a workout in."

She said he didn't do any campaigning today.

"It's up to the voters now," she said.

-- By Greg Bump

MissPronouncer.com

Always been curious how to prounounce Loeffelholz and Krawczyk?

You can get a handle on the pronunciations for those names and those of other candidates at:
www.MissPronouncer.com/candidates2006.html

-- By JR Ross

Green, Gard Party Quiet with Polls Still Open

Three hours before the victory party for gubernatorial candidate Mark Green and 8th CD candidate John Gard -- and with the polls still open -- the biggest cluster of guests was the media.

The parking lot was a sea of TV antenna trucks. TV reporters from Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay had already set up their cameras. About five were at the Gard event and more than a dozen pointed at a "Mark Green: Governor" banner.

Green supporters remained hopeful of a victory.

Green spokesman Mike Prentiss said that support for Republicans in other states may be down, but Wisconsin voters want Mark Green to be their next governor and that the race is going to be very close.

At about 5:50 p.m., the room suddenly got very bright as all dozen or so news stations in the Green party prepared for their live shots.

Prentiss said were all plugged into the same outlets when they did their live shots just at 5 p.m. and blew the circuit breaker, cutting off a bunch of the lights.

Green continued to campaign during the day. During a brief stop at the Milwaukee County RPW headquarters in West Allis, he told WisPolitics that an editorial in the Wall Street Journal shows "Wisconsin is becoming an embarrassment."

The article says campaign finance reform has made it easier to keep power, pointing to the Wisconsin governor's race as an example. It then recounts the controversy over the state Elections Board order for Green to dump some $468,000 in donations from out-of-state PACs converted from his congressional fund to his gubernatorial account.

"The rigged Elections Board vote is a moment in history," Green said. "It shows, I think, a governor desperate to hold on to power, but it's not the Wisconsin way."

-- By Joe Ahlers

Madison Poll Site to Remain Open Until 9 p.m.

Dane County Judge Daniel Moeser has ordered the polling place at Madison East High School to remain open until 9 p.m. at the request of the city clerk.

The school was evacuated today after a bomb threat, forcing the poll site outside for a spell. Things were moved back inside this afternoon.

The order applies only to the polling place at East High School.

-- By JR Ross

Ed Thompson Filed Declaration of Candidacy

Ed Thompson, Tommy's brother and the 2002 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate, filed a declaration of candidacy last night in the governor's race, making him a registered write-in candidate.

State Elections Board spokesman Kyle Richmond said Thompson filed an EB-1 after 5 p.m. yesterday. Richmond said an e-mail was sent to municipal clerks early this morning informing them of Thompson's late filing.

Thompson said he decided to file the form after talking to supporters who informed him that his write-in votes would officially be counted only if he registered with the SEB. Thompson said his call to voters to write him in as governor was meant as a spoof on the election but said he regrets not getting into the fray this time around.

"Now I'm sorry I didn't run a campaign," said the Tomah supper club owner. "Now is the time to do it. People are so dissatisfied, now would have been the time to do it."

Thompson said he might get a couple of hundred protest votes.

"I don't expect to keep our (Libertarian) seat on the Elections Board," he said. The party got a spot on the board four years ago because Thompson got 10 percent of the vote.

Thompson said he has his eye on the next election.

"I might run for something in 2008. I'm not sure yet. We're looking at different things, but that's a long way off," he said.

With his brother looking into a White House run, could we see a Thompson-Thompson ticket in 2008?

"Do you think Tommy would consider being vice president?" Thompson laughed. "It would have to be on the Libertarian ticket."

-- By Greg Bump

Counties See High Turnout

Early afternoon returns showed Waukesha Co. turnout poised to top 64 percent and possibly break records for a gubernatorial election year, according to County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus.

The gubernatorial race has been "pretty hot" and the marriage amendment has "fired some people up in the county," Nickolaus said. She said running out of paper ballots should not be a problem though as the electronic voting machines can always accommodate voters and produce a paper trail.

"If we run out of paper ballots, we always have the machines to rely on," she said.

When contacted by WisPolitics at 2:30 p.m., Brown County Clerk Darlene Marcelle said orders of 25,000 additional ballots had already been placed countywide.

Marcelle said turnout would be above 50 percent because of high interest in a Howard-Suamico school district referendum, coupled with the 8th CD and guv's race hype. Marcelle also said agreeable weather gave "no reason for people to stay home."

In Eau Claire County, Clerk Janet Loomis expects it to top the 2002 race by about 5 percentage points, aided by two high-profile Senate races and a number of last-minute guv visits. Forty-five percent of voters turned out for the last gubernatorial election.

Dane County Clerk Robert Ohlsen predicted turnout would be between 60 percent and 65 percent, with the marriage amendment expected to trump all other issues driving turnout.

"A lot of people are going out to vote (on the amendment) that normally wouldn't turn out," Ohlsen said, adding that it was "nuts" on the UW-Madison campus this afternoon. Aside from the bomb scare at Madison East High, Ohlsen said the only problem he'd heard of was the new electronic voting machines slowing down lines significantly.

Ohlsen said these machines are "more time consuming" because those who vote straight ticket also have to review their selections for each individual office before leaving the machines.

-- By Alec Loftus

Madison East High School - Voting Resumes Inside

Voting outside Madison East High School is being moved back inside the school, after the Dane Co. Bomb Squad completed a sweep and cleared the location, according to officials.

-- By Alec Loftus

Signs in Milwaukee Warning Felons on Parole Not to Vote Going Back Up

The signs warning felons still on parole to refrain from voting are going back up in Milwaukee polling sites.

The Milwaukee Election Commission posted the signs this morning but pulled them after state Elections Board executive director Kevin Kennedy informed the city only signs approved by the board can be posted. The signs had not been approved.

"Some people think they're intimidating. Some people think they're informative," Kennedy said.

The city started pulling sings, but Milwaukee County DA E. Michael McCann said the signs are now going back up.

McCann said police called an election hotline and were advised by Milwaukee County ADA Bruce Landgraf that the signs were lawful and could remain up. McCann said Landgraf spoke with Kennedy, who said the state was not ordering the signs be taken down.

McCann said Landgraf also spoke with U.S. assistant attorney Rick Frohling, the elections officer for the eastern district, who said that as long as the signs are city-wide, they may be lawful. He said he would check with Washington, D.C, on the matter.

McCann noted there have been problems with felons voting in Milwaukee and said his office recently charged a felon with voting who claimed he though the rule only applied to presidential elections.

McCann said most people know that felons can't vote, but in Wisconsin it applies only to felons who are on probation or parole. "The signs make that very clear," McCann said.

McCann said the last he heard, the signs were going back up.

Compared to past problems in the city, McCann said, this one "is a cakewalk."

-- By David Wise and JR Ross

SEB Executive Director Says No Major Problems

State Elections Board executive director Kevin Kennedy said he'd heard of a handful of problems around Wisconsin by mid-afternoon but nothing serious.

In Green Bay, Democrats complained that poll workers were asking for drivers licenses before allowing people to vote. Turns out a voter showed up at the wrong ward and a poll worker asked for the ID to determine the proper polling place, Kennedy said.

Kennedy said the board received a complaint that the Town of Menasha wrote on its Web site that voters had to show an ID to vote, which is incorrect. He said the agency contacted the town to correct the mistake.

See the Town of Menasha's Web site on election information.

Kennedy said he'd also heard of some polling places in Milwaukee where poll workers asked voters for a drivers license. In some cases, he said, it was simply the poll worker asking to see the license to make it easier to copy down the number, which is required for those registering to vote at the polls today.

"You can't write a script for everything," Kennedy said.

-- By JR Ross

Voting Resumes Outside Madison East High As Bomb Squad Sweeps School

Madison East High School was evacuated around 11:40 a.m. following a morning bomb threat, and the school is on lockdown as a sweep is conducted, officials said.

But voting has resumed in the street outside the building.

The Dane County bomb squad was called in and was doing an "assessment on a package that had been left behind," according to Madison police spokesperson Carlos Valentine.

Meanwhile, George Twigg, spokesman for Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, said voting booths were opened on the streets outside the high school around 1:15 p.m.

"Hopefully, this won't put a damper on turnout," Twigg said, explaining that voters were unable to cast ballots for an hour or two. He said that workers were urging lunchtime voters to either stay or come back later in the day.

"We're waiting for an an all clear from the police department, and hopefully that will take place soon," Twigg said.

-- By Alec Loftus

Pro-amendment Forces Call Fair Wisconsin Robocalls Misleading

Robocalls from the anti-gay marriage amendment group Fair Wisconsin urge listeners to vote not on the gay marriage amendment "to send a message that marriage should not be changed."

A caller named "Sue" urges listenes to "remember our children" and urges a no vote. She says marriage is a man and a woman in Wisconsin and people should vote no to "make sure activist judges don't get involved and determine what marriage might mean like they have in other states."

In a second call, "Ron" urges listeners to send a message that "marriage in Wisconsin should not be changed" and urges a no vote. He says a no vote sends a message that "you care about our family values and our children.

"We know in Wisconsin that marriage means a man and a woman. Vote no to stop activist judges. Vote no to protect our values. Vote no on the gay marriage amendment," the caller says.

At the end of each call is a statement clearly identifying them from Fair Wisconsin, the organization leading the fight against the amendment.

WISN talk show host Jay Weber collected copies of the calls from listeners, who played messages on their answering machines. He supplied copies of the calls from "Ron" and "Sue" to WisPolitics.

Listen to the calls:
http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/Sue.mp3
http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/Ron.mp3

Julaine Appling, head of the pro-amendment Vote Yes for Marriage, said in a statement the calls were deceptive and show with Fair Wisconsin there's "apparently no end to what they'll do to get their way."

Mike Tate of Fair Wisconsin defended the calls, saying they were accurate. He said the group has maintained all along that approving the amendment will allow judges to determine the definition of marriage and what qualifies as "substantially similar" to it. The second sentence of the amendment prohibits legal recognition of any relationship "substantially similar" to marriage for unmarried couples.

"We think a yes votes hurts families," Tate said.

Listen to other Fair Wisconsin robocalls from U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, actor Bradley Whitford and a student:
Feingold
Whitford
Student

-- By JR Ross

Guv Candidates Cast Their Votes

Republican candidate for governor Mark Green voted this morning at the Hobart Village Hall. Spokesman Mike Prentiss said he waited in line for 45 minutes to cast his ballot.

Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle cast his ballot this morning at Midvale Elementary School in Madison with his wife Jessica.

Smooth Sailing So Far In Milwaukee

It's two hours into Election Day and things are "going extremely well" at the polls, according to Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Sue Edman.

According to Edman, there have been a few technical problems that are being addressed at the polling places and some poll workers had to be relocated to handle demand, but it's "nothing like September," Edman said.

During the primary election, problems surfaced with some ballots and a computer glitch resulted in inflated turnout numbers being reported.

According to Milwaukee County ADA Bruce Landgraf, who's managing an election problems call center in the city, few problems have been reported so far. Landgraf said he has received some complaints about people passing out fliers too close to polling places and some forms being in the wrong location, but "nothing unusual."

The call center is housed at the Milwaukee Police Department communications building on the near Northwest side. Landgraf said officers are available to be dispatched should any major problems arise and prosecutors are on hand to give police advice and go to the scene of any problems if necessary. Landgraf said this arrangement is similar to past elections, but this is the first time a county-wide number has been available to report problems.

-- By David Wise