Wisconsin primary: Tammy Baldwin to face Republican Leah Vukmir for crucial Senate seat as Scott Walker takes on Tony Evers

A large pool of Democrats are hoping to take over the state's Republican-held seats

Chris Riotta
New York
Wednesday 15 August 2018 04:34 BST
US Primaries: What are the key races as four US sates vote in primary elections?

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Leah Vukmir, a Wisconsin state senator and close ally to Governor Scott Walker, defeated a former Marine who cast himself as a political outsider to win the Republican primary for US Senate in the state's primaries

Ms Vukmir, who beat political newcomer Kevin Nicholson, advances to face Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin. Republicans have targeted Ms Baldwin - given Ms Baldwin is one of 10 Democrats defending their seats in states won by Donald Trump in 2016 - and outside groups have already spent millions in television ads attacking her.

Ms Vukmir won the endorsement of the Wisconsin Republican Party and the backing of most prominent GOP officeholders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, on her way to victory. She ran as the proven conservative in the race, pointing to her long voting record in support of Republican priorities.

Both she and Nicholson ran as strong supporters of President Trump. Ms Vukmir overcame the release just two weeks before election of a 2016 tape of her making negative comments about Trump and saying voters would have to hold their noses before casting a ballot for him.

Mr Trump, who narrowly won Wisconsin in 2016 by less than one percentage point, did not endorse in the primary.

Democrats appeared particularly motivated in Wisconsin, where eight candidates lined up for the chance to take on Scott Walker, a two-term incumbent who has warned his party about the prospect of Democratic gains.

Walker's strong anti-union policies made him a villain to Democrats long before Trump's rise. State schools chief Tony Evers, who has clashed with Mr Walker at times, won the Democratic nomination.

Once a target of Trump criticism, Mr Walker gained the president's endorsement in a tweet Monday night calling him “a tremendous Governor who has done incredible things for that Great State.” But Mr Trump's persistent attacks on Wisconsin-based motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson put Republican candidates on their heels in recent days, Walker among them.

Paul Ryan announces he will not seek re-election in 2018 midterms

Randy Bryce, a union ironworker known by the nickname “Iron Stache,” won Tuesday's Democratic primary in the race to replace Mr Ryan in Wisconsin for a seat he held 20 years before announcing his retirement earlier this year.

Republicans, for their part, pinned their hopes on a former Ryan aide, picking Bryan Steil, an attorney who is from a prominent family in the same hometown as Mr Ryan, in a five-way primary. Mr Steil will face Mr Bryce in November

Bryce called Steil a Ryan “clone” and branded him “Lyin' Bryan” in a statement his campaign texted to The Associated Press on Tuesday evening.

“He has no idea what people in this district need,” said Bryce, who defeated Janesville teacher and school board member Cathy Myers in the Democratic primary.

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