GOP Primary To Replace Petri Remains Narrow Race

AP Originally Projected Grothmann Defeated 3 Other Republicans In Competitive Race

Sen. Glenn Grothman, show chiding pro-LGBT rights protesters during a 2010 demonstration. Photo: WisPolitics (CC-BY-SA).

A candidate for Wisconsin’s open 6th Congressional District seat didn’t concede defeat on Tuesday night. The four-way race amongst Republicans came down to a few hundred vote margin between Glenn Grothman and Joe Leibham.

Grothman, a Republican well-known for his fiercely conservative beliefs, had been declared the winner of the Republican primary race by the Associated Press.

On Wednesday afternoon, however, AP was withdrawing its call. With all counties in the district reporting results from 100 percent of their precincts, Grothman was holding a 214-vote margin over Leibham.

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Grothman gave a victory speech in Fond du Lac on Tuesday night.

“A lot of smart people didn’t think we had a chance. For a variety of reasons, but we had the heart of the people in this room. That is why we won,” Grothman said.

The speech might have been premature. Later vote counts indicated the margin between Grothman and his closest opponent, Joe Leibham, amounted to approximately 200 votes. Some of those late votes were from Sheboygan County, which is Leibham’s home territory and his state Senate district.

Grothman is also in the state Senate. He had to move into the 6th district in order to run for the seat that is being vacated by longtime incumbent Tom Petri.

Leibham hosted a party in Sheboygan, where he addressed a crowd well past midnight. He did not concede.

“Good evening everyone. Or good morning,” Leibham said. “The information I have to share is that the numbers have tightened dramatically. From the last information you may have seen publicly and we believe that out of respect for the voters and people who’ve participated in this election that we should allow the counties to finish up on their processing and we can see where things are at in the morning,” he said.

Whoever wins the Republican primary will face the one Democrat in the race. That’s Mark Harris who is the Winnebago County executive.