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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Voters' attention now turns to November

The old adage remains true. In Walworth County politics, it's harder for an incumbent to lose a race than to win one.

In the only contested primary for a Walworth County office, Republican coroner John Griebel defeated his two challengers. He will face no challenger in Nov.

The remaining Walworth County officials breezed through the primary with no competition. They include Sheriff David Graves, District Attorney Phillip Koss, Clerk of Circuit Court Sheila Reiff, Register of Deeds Connie Woolever, Treasurer Kathy Du Bois, and County Clerk Kim Bushey.

The First Congressional District race featured a five-way primary race to determine the Democrat who will challenge Republican Paul Ryan.

Despite a field of contenders that actually had some thoughtful ideas, perennial candidate Jeffrey Thomas of Janesville was the winner.

In Walworth County however, Ruth Santa Cruz-Bradley of Kenosha edged Thomas by 530-482. Elkhorn's Don Hall came in fourth with 411 votes

Thomas has pretty convincingly proven he can't be elected to the First District seat, having lost seven times.

Not that I'm saying it's time for Ryan to go, but a competitive race not keeps an incumbent honest. Plus, competitive races are a lot more interesting to cover if you're in the news business.

Turning to local assembly races, in a traditionally Republican county like this, the primary election is the election.

In most cases that is, but not all.

Two races stand out as legitimate contests.

The outcome in the 32nd assembly district won't be decided until Dec. 7. In that district, which encompasses the southern half of Walworth County, excluding Elkhorn, Democrat Ryan Schroeder a member of the Delavan City Council will face incumbent Thomas Lothian of Williams Bay.

Neither Lothian nor Schroeder faced a primary challenger, but breaking down the vote totals from Tuesday reveals that Lothian received 2,024 votes in the Walworth County Republican primary, while Schroeder received 1,366 from Democrats.

If those totals are an indication, Schroeder has his work cut out for him before Nov. 7. The wild card will be turnout, which is expected to be much heavier come November.

In the 43rd Assembly District, Democrat Kim Hixson of Whitewater will face incumbent Republican Debi Towns in November. Hixson had 448 votes in the Walworth County Democratic primary and Towns had 272 Republican Walworth County votes. However, the only part of the 43rd in Walworth County is the town and city of Whitewater.

The rest of the district stretches across the top and over to the western half of Rock county.

National political races, particularly in the House of Representatives and the Senate, will dominate the next two months.

Although we already know most of the results of our local races, a few of these can make for an interesting campaign season.

If you'd like to weigh in on the upcoming races, you can add your comments online at www.theweekextra.com/blogs/politics, or e-mail your letters to theweek@theweekextra.com

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