Freshman Republican Congressman Sean Duffy defeated Democrat Pat Kreitlow last night in Wisconsin's Seventh Congressional District. Duffy bucked a Democratic tide to win re-election in a race targeted by both parties.
The Republican crowd in Wausau had already watched President Obama and Tammy Baldwin sweep Wisconsin. Sean Duffy finally gave them something to cheer about.
"This was one of the top targeted seats in the country," he says. "Nancy Pelosi told us that for her to win back her speakership, she was going to drive right through central Wisconsin."
Duffy introduced his mother Carol, described in his campaign ads as a lifelong Democrat, as he revisited one of his themes: changing Medicare to save it from bankruptcy.
"We're working to preserve and protect Medicare for her generation but save it for the next generation," he says. "And I appreciate it Mother, thank you. I take your word that you voted for me."
Across town at the Wausau Labor Temple, a Democratic crowd already stoked by the President's victory, welcomed Pat Kreitlow as a hero.
"Stay strong," he says. "Stay hungry. Stay in love with this country and this beautiful part of the country and know that my gratitude knows no bounds for this amazing adventure you've shared with me."
To the Democrats, this was supposed to be their district, held for 41-years by Dave Obey. But Obey says it's not the same district that made him one of the most powerful men in Washington, thanks to a new Republican map.
"When you take out a county like Portage County and Wisconsin Rapids and then you put in St. Croix, when people look at that map it makes it that much harder to get people to believe that you can actually win," he says.
Sean Duffy defeated Pat Kreitlow by a margin of 59-to-41 percent. More than $7 million was spent on the race.