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Lemke, Bryce

RACINE COUNTY — Tuesday night Melissa Lemke won the Democratic primary for the 62nd Assembly District in Racine County.

Lemke led Democratic opponent Randy Bryce with 1,198 votes to Bryce’s 521 votes, according to unofficial county results with all precincts reporting.

Lemke will go on to face Caledonia Village Trustee Tom Weatherston, a Republican who, in comparison, received 5,772 votes and did not have a Republican challenger. That is more votes than Lemke and Bryce combined.

Explanation for results

In addition to the Assembly race, voters also were able to vote on which U.S. Senate candidate should advance to the November election. But residents could not cross-party vote. In other words, they could not vote for one of the two Democrats running for Assembly and also vote for one of the four Republicans running in the contentious U.S. Senate race that former Gov. Tommy Thompson ended up winning.

Lemke said she did not know what role the Republican U.S. Senate primary played in the results of the Assembly primary and she will be analyzing election results over the next few days. But she said she knows Weatherston has name recognition in the community.

Candidate finances

Both Lemke, a public health educator and researcher for University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Bryce, an ironworker, said jobs and the economy were their top priorities, and they supported workers’ rights.

But Rodney Fields, 39, of Caledonia, who voted for Lemke, said he heard more about Lemke than Bryce. He received several flyers about Lemke but didn’t remember receiving anything similar from Bryce, he said.

Bryce raised $4,050, compared to Lemke’s $20,853. Although $10,000 of Lemke’s money was from a loan she gave to her own campaign, she still out-raised Bryce and outspent him. She spent $6,812 compared to Bryce’s $3,322, according to early August campaign finance reports.

Moving forward

Going into the Nov. 6 election, Weatherston, who is retired from Modine but teaches motorcycle safety at Gateway Technical College, said he is “very confident” about his chances of winning.

As a member of the Caledonia Village Board, he said he has more experience than either of the Democrats who ran. Also, he said the district tends to be Republican, as primary results showed.

State Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, has held the 62nd Assembly District seat, but with that district significantly changing after redistricting, Mason is moving to outgoing Democratic Rep. Robert Turner’s old district, now the 66th.

The newly redistricted 62nd Assembly District includes Caledonia, a portion of Racine and extends into western Racine County.

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