Contributing Ariele Vaccaro
Governor Scott Walker reigned victorious over his democratic opponent Mary Burke, gaining his third win in a gubernatorial election during the past four years thanks to this year’s midterm election.
After a projected win, Walker gave his victory speech Tuesday night laying out not only a vision for a better Wisconsin, but also images to improve America as a whole. This follows speculation that he may consider joining the race for the 2016 presidential election.
“I believe here in Wisconsin and America we want to be for something, not against something,” Walker said to a cheering crowd. “It’s the American dream that talks about the dignity of work. And in America we take off the Fourth of July and not the fifteenth of April, because in America we celebrate independence from the government and not our dependence on them.”
According to unofficial election returns by the Associated Press, Gov. Walker received 52.3 percent of the votes, while Burke received 46.6 percent. Nearly 2.4 million turned out in Tuesday’s night election, out of 4.8 million eligible to vote in Wisconsin.
“I’m very happy, and also surprised by the margin Walker won with,” College Republicans of UWM Vice-Chair Vanja Pemac said. “The turnout really shows how much Wisconsin supports him.”
President of College Democrats of UWM, Austin Kieler, agrees that turnout was vital.
“It’s because Democrats didn’t turnout,” he said. “I really thought voters would come out to vote for a governor who stands for their rights. I’m honestly devastated.”
Burke was also was disheartened by the results, but encouraged her followers to keep working towards great public education, higher minimum wage, the rights of unions, and other issues important to her campaign.
“It’s okay to be disappointed tonight,” Burke said. “But it’s not okay to not get back up. The values we hold dear and the Wisconsin we stand up for are as important as they were yesterday and the day before that.”
The governor’s election was not the only disappointment in the state for Democrats. Republican candidate and Waukesha County’s District Attorney Brad Schimel, defeated his democratic opponent, Susan Happ District Attorney from Jefferson County.
Tuesday evening Happ gave her concession speech, where she guaranteed backers that her campaign ran a genuine race, free of the divisiveness.
“If we came up a little short tonight, it wasn’t because of any shortage of effort or enthusiasm,” said Happ.
She admitted that the race was a “long-shot.” Nonetheless, the Jefferson Co. D.A. was disappointed.
“We came together to wage an uphill battle against a well-funded opponent who started the election with a big financial advantage,” Happ said.
Meanwhile, Schimel celebrated his victory in Waukesha. He accredited the triumph to having “the best team, the best message, and the best volunteers that [he] could have asked for.”
He stressed a desire to reduce deaths caused by drug use. The new Wisconsin Attorney General plans to crack down on those he calls “public enemy number one,” drug dealers.
The night of hard Republican victories did not end there, Republicans gained seats in the Wisconsin State Assembly, their total now 63 seats of the chamber of 99.
Republicans also added two seats in the senate to their caucus, including previously vacant Senate District 11, which includes most of Walworth County and parts of Jefferson and Rock Counties.
Democrats have little power in state government, but Kieler guarantees that the left will do all they can to keep their voice heard in the capitol.
“The Democrats are going to continue to blow the whistle on the terrible things that the Republicans are doing to the state,” he said. “They’ve always done that and they will continue to do that.
Nationally the Republicans took over the United States Senate, won various gubernatorial races, and kept control of the House of Representatives.
Some of the success is due to the fact that lately Republicans have had a stronger turnout in midterm elections. The low approval rating of the president is also a key component talked about as reasons for failure of the Democratic Party this year.
“The historical trend tends to change the seats in congress,” Pemac said. But she and the other college republicans are hoping that this trend lasts.