RACINE COUNTY — Local results in Tuesday’s Republican congressional primary almost exactly mirrored the results from across the district.
According to unofficial returns, House Speaker Paul Ryan received 85 percent of the vote (15,289 votes) in Racine County, with challenger Paul Nehlen picking up 15 percent (2,663 votes).
Across the 1st Congressional District, Ryan received 84 percent of the vote to Nehlen’s 16 percent, as he trounced the Delavan businessman who gained national notoriety in the days leading up the primary. The district encompasses all of Racine and Kenosha counties, almost all of Walworth County and portions of Rock, Waukesha and Milwaukee counties.
On the Democratic side, Ryan Solen of Mount Pleasant received 62 percent of the vote (3,690 votes) in his home county en route to winning the Democratic congressional primary over Tom Breu of Janesville. Breu picked up 38 percent (2,289 votes) in Racine County.
Solen received 59 percent of the vote districtwide. The Iraq War veteran and information security analyst faces the nine-term Ryan in the Nov. 8 general election.
In the primary for the 83rd Assembly District, which includes the village and town of Waterford, votes were fairly evenly split between three of the four candidates.
Muskego’s Chuck Wichgers, who won the primary, carried the county with 34 percent (528 votes). Waukesha County Supervisor Steve Whittow received 30 percent (460 votes) and Jordan Karweik, a Waterford Graded School Board member, received 29 percent in Racine County with 453 votes.
Town of Vernon Clerk Karen Schuh picked up 7 percent of the local vote (110 votes).
Wichgers is essentially assured of winning the seat, as there is no Democrat running in the general election.
In the little-watched Democratic U.S. Senate primary, former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold easily beat Kenosha’s Scott Harbach in Racine County and across the state. Feingold won 93 percent of the vote (6,909 votes) in the county compared to Harbach’s 7 percent (483 votes).
Voter turnout Tuesday in Racine County was 23 percent. Besides complaints of Nehlen supporters electioneering at the polls, few problems were reported, County Clerk Wendy Christensen said.
The county saw little to no confusion about voter identification laws, which were in effect Tuesday but have been in a near-constant state of flux since passage in 2011.
The electioneering complaints, meanwhile, were promptly addressed, Christensen said. Nehlen supporters were accused of campaigning too close to polling places in violation of state statutes, which prohibit electioneering on public property within 100 feet of entrances to polling places. Incidents were reported in Mount Pleasant and the Town of Norway, Christensen said.
Racine County election returns came in much faster than in the past. Final unofficial results were posted on the county’s website at 11:26 p.m., much earlier than the 2 a.m. finish in April.
Christensen said lower turnout played a big role — Tuesday’s turnout was much less than the 60 percent of registered voters who came to the polls in April. She also credited municipal clerks’ offices for working efficiently.
“We had results coming in at a fairly decent pace,” Christensen said. “I was really pleased.”