Obama Re-Elected, Thompson Defeated
The eyes of the nation were on Wisconsin as one of the major swing states in what started out to be extremely close state and national elections on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Voter turnout neared record levels in Wisconsin and Marinette County, as it did in much of the nation as a whole.
Democrats returned incumbent President Barrack Obama to office, defeating Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who attempted to unseat him. The Wisconsin Senatorial race between former Governor Tommy Thompson (R) and long-time Representative Tammy Baldwin (D), seen as one of the key contests for control of the United States Senate, was won by Baldwin. She will fill the seat vacated by the retirement of Sen. Herb Kohl (D).
Romneys running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R), lost his bid to become vice-president, but won another term to his seat in the House of Representatives.
In the presidential race, early returns showed Romney ahead in popular vote and Obama leading in electoral votes, but as the counting went on and west coast totals came in the spread in favor of Obama widened. The incumbent president defeated Romney despite a weak economy, high unemployment and $16 trillion national debt.
Unemployment stood at 7.9 percent on Election Day, higher than when the president took office. Obama is the first president to win re-election with unemployment above 7.2 percent since Franklin D. Roosevelt won in 1936.
Unofficial returns gave Obama 59.6 million votes to 57 million for Romney, a 2.6 million vote difference nationwide. Obama captured 303 Electoral College votes to 206 for Romney. Support for Obama came mainly from highly populated coastal states, while a majority of voters in rural areas and heartland states cast their ballots for Romney.
Marinette County voters favored Romney with 10,609 votes to 9,868 for Obama, as 21,460 of the 25,150 voters registered in the county went to the polls.
State-wide unofficial returns showed Baldwin received about 51 percent of the vote, compared to 47 percent for Thompson. In traditionally Republican Marinette County, voters narrowly went against the state trend, favoring Thompson with 9,976 votes compared with 9,579 for Baldwin.
It was the first time Thompson has ever lost a state-wide political race.
By winning the Nov. 6 Senatorial race, Baldwin also chalked up another first. According to the Associated Press, in 1998, she was the first woman elected to represent Wisconsin in the House and the first gay non-incumbent ever sent to Congress. Now she has become the first female elected senator from Wisconsin and the first openly gay candidate ever elected to the United States Senate.
Incumbent Rep. Reid Ribble (R) was returned to his District 8 congressional seat for another two year term by a 56 percent to 44 percent vote margin over challenger Jamie Wall (D). In Marinette County, 10,506 ballots were cast for Ribble, compared with 8,806 for Wall.
It appears Congress will remain divided, with Republicans in control of the House and Democrats in control of the Senate.
With almost 90 percent of the 435 House races called by The Associated Press, Republicans had won 227 seats and were leading in nine more. Democrats had won 178 seats and were leading in 19 other races. For a majority in the House, a party must control 218 seats. The balance of power will remain nearly unchanged in the House, which Republicans currently control by a 240 to 190 margin.
Leadership in the Senate also will remain largely unchanged, with Democrats holding a 54-45 advantage if two newly elected independents vote with them.
(See Page A-13 for election breakdowns.)
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