Baldwin elected state's first woman Senator; Kind easily fends off Boland while Duffy defeats KreitlowWestern Wisconsin voters helped elect the state's first woman and the first openly gay U.S. Senator in history, while returning incumbent U.S. Representatives Ron Kind and Sean Duffy to Washington.
Democrat Tammy Baldwin handily defeated former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson by a margin of about 150,000 votes of nearly 3 millon cast.
The historic win means Wisconsinites will be represented for the first time by a woman and the first ever openly gay Senator.
"I didn't run to make history, I ran to make a difference," she said. "A difference in the lives of students worried about debt and seniors worried about their retirement security," she told a crowd gathered in Milwaukee early Wednesday, the Journal-Sentinal reported.
Baldwin, 50, an attorney, served in the Wisconsin Assembly before she was elected to seven terms in the House of Representatives, representing Dane County and neighboring counties in south central Wisconsin.
Baldwin replaces four-term Senator Herb Kohl, who is retiring.
In a statement released early Wednesday, she praised her supporters and promised to work for the "middle class".
"Through all the polls, all the ads, and, yes, all the fundraising emails, you stood with me -- fighting to level the playing field for Wisconsin workers, force millionaires to pay their fair share to reduce our debt, and reject the influence of special interests in Washington.
"I didn’t run for the Senate just to win an election -- I ran to make a difference. And just because the election’s over doesn’t mean I won’t still need you by my side going forward. We have work to do to rebuild our middle class and give the people the voice they deserve in Washington."
In the 3rd District. incumbent U.S. Representative Ron Kind won re-election, beating Republican challenger Ray Boland by a margin of more than 64,000 votes on some 335,000 cast. Boland is a former commander at Fort McCoy and a former state secretary of Veteran Affairs.
In the 7th District, one-term Congressman and former Ashland County District Attorney Sean Duffy defeated Democratic challenger Pat Kreitlow of Chippewa Falls by a margin of 200,033 to 155,068 with all but one of 711 precincts reporting. Kreitlow served in the state Senate from 2007 to 2011.
In a statement released after his concession, Kreitlow wished Duffy well.
“Thank you to all of the people across Wisconsin who stood together because the believe Washington can do better. That we can work to create jobs, grow our economy, and get Washington working. Thank you for believing in this campaign and for building the strongest grassroots operation this district has ever seen. I am so grateful for your support and for what we were able to accomplish together. I will never forget that, or the people of Wisconsin we have met throughout this campaign. I congratulate Congressman Duffy and wish him and his family the best of luck.”
Although many of the candidates backed by Gov. Scott Walker lost on Tuesday, he thanked election workers for making it all possible.
"Today, thousands of poll workers, election officials, clerks, and others have been involved in administering the 2012 Presidential Election in Wisconsin. While outcomes of elections are immortalized in history books, it’s equally as important to recognize the dedication of individuals all across our state who work hard, often times for twelve hour shifts, at the polls.
"Many of these individuals have worked seven grueling statewide elections in the last two years. On behalf of all citizens of Wisconsin, I would like to thank those who have fairly and diligently worked to administer today’s election," said Walker.