RACINE — The canvass of votes in Racine County is complete — and Democrat John Lehman actually picked up 55 votes in the final tally. The vote tally must be certified by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. With Lehman’s victory, Democrats become the majority party in Wisconsin’s state Senate.
With the votes now confirmed, Lehman beat incumbent Republican Senator Van Wanggaard by 834 votes. Lehman’s final tally was 36,351 (50.6%) — Wanggaard had 35,517 (49.4%). The canvass isn’t official until the GAB certifies the results. That’s expected to happen next week.
Wanggaard has until this Friday, June 15th to request a vote recount — and he’d have to pay $5 per ward for it. That means the taxpayers would end up paying for most of a recount.
Dan Romportl is with the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate. He says Wanggaard will decide by the end of the week whether to request a recount. Wanggaard’s Campaign Manager, Justin Phillips, says they will spend the rest of the week looking at “voting irregularities and possible fraud.”
However, Wendy Christensen, the Racine County Clerk tells FOX6 News there have been no reports of irregularities or fraud reported to her.
Brad Wojciechowski is a spokesman for the State Senate Democratic Committee. He says Wanggaard should take the high road and concede the election immediately, “We have had election day, and now the full canvass by the Board of Canvassers, and he should concede for new leadersihp with Senator-Elect Lehman,” Wojciechowski said.
The outcome of this election was being closely watched because the Senate is split 16-16, and the winner’s party would take majority control.
Lehman is a former history teacher who held the 21st District Senate seat until Wanggaard defeated him in 2010. He has proclaimed himself the winner and his fellow Democrats lined up behind him.
Wanggaard has yet to concede the election to Lehman.
Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.