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Wittwer, Ringhand Win State Senate Primaries By Close Margins

Candidates Look Ahead To November Contest


Two of the key Democratic state Senate primaries on the ballot on Tuesday finished extremely close, setting up the possibility of a recount in one of the districts.

The closest race was in the 17th state Senate District Democratic primary in southwest Wisconsin, where Ernie Wittwer topped Pat Bomhack by a grand total of two votes.

There’s intrigue to this race for a few reasons. Not only is it the top target for Democrats, but Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson was backing Bomhack.

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Neither Wittwer nor Bomhack responded to calls on Tuesday night, but it’s likely they’ll want to see the official canvass before deciding how to proceed. Whomever emerges from that race will face a tough general election campaign against Republican Howard Marklein.

During previous election cycles, President Barack Obama won this district during his 2012 presidential campaign, but Gov. Scott Walker won it during the recall election.

The final margins were also close in the race for the 15th state Senate District, where Evansville Democrat Janis Ringhand narrowly defeated Austin Scieszinksi, of Janesville. Ringhand said it was closer than she was expecting.

“It was a very close race, but I’m feeling very good. And I’m ready to move forward and represent Rock County,” Ringhand said.

Ringhand beat Scieszinski by 274 votes out of a total of more than 15,000 votes cast.

Finishing a distant third in the race was former Democratic Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan.

Ringhand will face Republican Brian Fitzgerald in the general election, but in all likelihood, Ringhand will be that district’s next state senator. Obama won the district handily in 2012 and so did Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the recall election.