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Gov. Scott Walker reelected

November 7, 2014

Republican incumbent Gov. Scott Walker has been reelected in the state of Wisconsin by nearly 140,000 votes, narrowly defeating Democrat Mary Burke for his third election victory in four years.

Walker won Pierce County by only 1,110 votes, but Burke did win the city of River Falls with 56.1 percent of the vote. So, while the county was on par with the rest of the state, the city was not. In fact, the two voting locations where UW-River Falls students voted reported slightly more votes for Burke.

“The people of Wisconsin have chosen to continue Wisconsin’s comeback,” said UWRF College Democrats President Stephen Middlemiss. “Governor Walker’s record of leadership and message of job growth have won the day. Across our great state the voters chose the candidate with solutions and a plan to keep moving Wisconsin forward.”

Walker’s $2.6 billion Wisconsin public education budget cut, which included a $250 million cut on UW System funding, may not have been a major issue for Wisconsin voters.

“I’m a Republican, so I’m happy,” said UWRF senior Benjamin Heer. “He made tough decisions cutting spending.”

Sometimes politics go beyond Republican and Democrat; some simply don’t like the fact that Walker cut education budgets.

“I would’ve preferred he not be reelected,” said UWRF freshman Jonathan Mielke. “I’m not a big fan since he cut budgets for public workers like teachers and government employees. He cut collective bargaining: the right to negotiate salaries.”

Walker, who has prevailed in three elections, including his 2012 recall, has proven that he has Republican support regardless of policy.

Some students knew very little about Burke in the first place.

“I think it’s a good thing,” said UWRF freshman Natalie Tetrick. “I think he’s better than the other candidate [Burke].”

Walker made some amiable and forthright remarks following his victory late Tuesday night in regards to Burke, Wisconsinites, and his supporters and naysayers.

“I know there are disagreements on policy issues,” Walker said. “She [Burke] had a great love for her state, just like her supporters did; together we are Wisconsinites, more than we are Republicans or Democrats.”

Last week, Kevin J. Kennedy, Wisconsin’s chief election official, speculated that the state can expect 56.5 percent of Wisconsin residents to vote on Tuesday, which would make it the highest voter turnout for a midterm election in at least 66 years. With 2.4 million votes counted thus far, not counting absentee ballots, Kennedy appears to be very close in his prediction. Only 49.7 percent of Wisconsin residents voted in 2010’s midterm election, which was still the second highest turnout since 1970.

“It was good that people turned out to vote,” Mielke said. “The people who came out are not satisfied with how the government is being run.”

The reasoning behind the high voter total is unknown, but it could be attributed to those severely opposed to Walker. Still, Walker won by popular vote and will lead the state for another four years. Regardless of outcome, voting is one our most precious rights as American citizens.

“Too many people take voting for granted,” said UWRF student Gregory Matthews.

The high voter turnout is still well below the normal 65-70 percent on presidential election years, but is still an encouraging sign for U.S. democracy. Walker acknowledged his high level of voter support at the polls on Tuesday.

“To all of you who voted for me, thank you, for those of you who didn’t, I hope to earn your support at least, and your respect over the next four years because we got a lot of work to do,” Walker said in his victory speech.

Walker’s wife, Tonette, gave a speech of her own in an effort to rile up the excited Republican crowd late Tuesday. She thanked supporters and voters for their hard work and dedication.

“We can’t thank you enough,” she said. “It’s because of your hard work that Scott [Walker] has been elected not once, not twice, but three times.”

Reporting was contributed by Maggie Sanders and Jack Haren.

Correction

An error was made in the “Governor Scott Walker reelected” story on page one in the Nov. 7 issue of the Student Voice. In the third paragraph, Stephen Middlemiss, UW-River Falls’ College Republicans president, was incorrectly labeled the College Democrats’ president. And to clarify, the UWRF College Democrats do not have a president but two co-chairs (Amanda Young and Joseph Norby-White). The Student Voice apologizes for the error.