In a crowded Attorney General race — Susan Happ gets the Democratic nomination; will face Brad Schimel

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MADISON (WITI/AP) -- Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ faces Waukesha District Attorney Brad Schimel in the November Attorney General race.

Happ edged out two other Democrats to win Tuesday's primary election.

Current Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has decided not to seek re-election.

Happ beat Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne and state Rep. Jon Richards, of Milwaukee in Tuesday's primary.

Happ now gears up to face Schimel in the November 4th General Election.

Schimel did not face a challenger in the primary.

"I'm a Harley-riding Democratic prosecutor from a Republican county who wants to be your next attorney general.  What that does is it highlights the differences, but also highlights the fact that I'm a prosecutor, not a politician. I really do want to be an advocate for all of the citizens of Wisconsin, get rid of the partisan politics, and focus on getting the job done.  That's what I've done as district attorney, and that's what I'm going to do as attorney general," Happ said.

"She has less than a quarter of the experience I have in public safety.  The other issue is her attitude toward the office.  Wisconsin can not afford to have a super legislator. We can't afford to go back to the days when we were suing cranberry farmers  while the Crime Lab dies on the vine.  That's what we're up against if we have an activist A.G.," Schimel said.

Happ's victory comes in her first statewide run for office.

Richards had been in the state Assembly since 1999 and gave up his seat to run for attorney general.

Happ's only campaign ad so far featured her riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

FOX6's Mike Lowe talked with all three candidates during this campaign.

Milwaukee State Representative Jon Richards:

"I want to make sure we have an Attorney General with some strength and experience to fight for our citizens," Richards said.

Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ:

"I'm a Harley-riding Democratic prosecutor from a Republican county who wants to be your next Attorney General," Happ said.

Dane County Prosecutor Ismael Ozanne:

"I want to ensure that my children and all children have the same opportunities and options that I had when I was a child," Ozanne said.

All three Democratic candidates said they would not pursue an appeal of the federal court decision striking down the state's same-sex marriage ban.

"I think it's important to make sure we don't have state-sponsored discrimination," Ozanne said.

"Even though the voters voted to amend our state Constitution, to put a ban on same-sex marriage, you can't do a run around of the United States Constitution," Happ said.

"I believe in marriage equality and I do not believe we should be pursuing that appeal," Richards said.

The state's Supreme Court recently upheld the state's Voter ID Law -- but a federal court is weighing the matter.

"There's nothing more fundamentally American than the right to vote, and that's something that we'd be actively defending in the Attorney General's Office," Richards said.

"We are the only state that has a requirement to have a government-issued ID. That's going to disenfranchise upwards of 300,000 people," Happ said.

"We need to always be careful of putting another hurdle in front of the most essential right that we have, which is our right to vote," Ozanne said.

Ozanne touted his experience as the district attorney in the middle of the legal battles over Act 10.

"Experience and leadership matter, and my experience and leadership is second to none -- Democrat or Republican in this race," Ozanne said.

Happ said she would bring a fresh perspective to the office.

"I'm the only female candidate in the race.  As I travel around the state I talk  to people -- not just women, about wanting to have more qualified women in office," Happ said.

Richards said his experience as a politician, not a prosecutor make him the most qualified to deal with a wide range of issues.

"I have the most experience working on issues that protect Wisconsin's families from violent crime to our pocketbooks and our freedoms," Richards said.

Susan Happ's campaign issued this statement on Tuesday night:

“Tonight’s results are proof positive that Wisconsin voters are ready for a different kind of Attorney General. I’m proud that my message of protecting our families, tackling our heroin epidemic head on, and putting sex offenders and domestic abusers behind bars where they belong has resonated with voters across Wisconsin.

As Attorney General, I will never abuse our state's laws for partisan political gains. I will be an Attorney General who will protect the rights of Wisconsin families and not take them away.  I’m a fighter, and have been my whole life and I look forward to fighting to protect our rights and citizens."

Brad Schimel issued this statement on Happ's primary election victory:

“I congratulate my opponent on her victory in the Democrat primary and I look forward to the race because Wisconsin voters will have a clear choice between two starkly different candidates for Attorney General. With more than 24 years as an aggressive front line prosecutor and more than 150 jury trials, I have the experience to lead our public safety community from day one. Wisconsin's deadliest public safety challenge is the epidemic of heroin and prescription opiate abuse. Yet I am the only candidate with a comprehensive plan to combat this problem.

We’ve listened over the past six months as my opponent has repeatedly indicated she would pick and choose which laws, and more importantly, which provisions of our Wisconsin Constitution she will defend and enforce. I will hold sacred my oath to defend our constitution. I will enforce our laws as written and leave the writing of the laws to the legislature, where that responsibility belongs. I will focus the Department of Justice on keeping Wisconsin families safe.”


  • sookie sooklie sue

    happ you sap! it is called “states right” and it is in the constitution that these rights trump federal laws! better go back to law school!

  • Scott Ehlke

    “We are the only state that has a requirement to have a government-issued ID. That’s going to disenfranchise upwards of 300,000 people,” Happ said.

    Too bad that’s a complete and blatant lie. There are currently 18 states that require photo ID’s. In addition, Act 23 accepts university id’s as well, which are not government issued in the case of private universities.

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