Journal Sentinel — August 15, 2018
More people voted than ever in Wisconsin’s partisan primary Tuesday.
And in what may be another sign of energy on the left, a contested Democratic primary for governor drew about 20 percent more voters than a contested Republican primary for U.S. Senate, even though the GOP race was more competitive and generated far more television advertising.
The most striking example of Democratic turnout came in the
ultramobilized “blue” bastion of Dane County, which produced 40 percent more votes than ever before in a Democratic primary for governor or Senate.
I voted stickers at Franklin City Hall during the August partisan primary in Wisconsin. Buy Photo (Photo: Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sent
Statewide, more than 537,000 Democratic votes were cast in the eight-way gubernatorial primary won by state schools Superintendent Tony Evers, according to returns reported by The Associated Press.
More than 456,000 Republican votes were cast in the suspenseless GOP contest for governor, which incumbent Scott Walker won with 92% of the party vote.
A slightly lower number of votes — a little over 443,000 — were cast in a competitive GOP primary for U.S. Senate, won by state Sen. Leah Vukmir over Kevin Nicholson.
Neither of the two marquee races — the Democratic fight for governor or the GOP fight for Senate — set any individual records for the state’s partisan primary, which for decades was held in September but was moved up to August in 2012.
The most votes ever cast in a single primary contest for governor or U.S. Senate in Wisconsin are the more than 618,000 cast in the Republican primary for governor won by Scott Walker in 2010.
The most in a Democratic primary is the roughly 553,000 cast in the 2002 primary for governor won by Jim Doyle.
Tuesday’s primary did set a record for total votes cast for both parties — more than 990,000.
But it was not a record in terms of the share of voting-age adults who voted.
About 22 percent of voting-age adults went to the polls Tuesday (though that figure will rise when official numbers are reported). The last time turnout reached that level in an August or September primary was in 2002. Primary turnout hit 25 percent in 1988 and reached higher levels in earlier decades.